First Mortal Instruments fic. Sometime after COG and life is slowly returning to normal.
It was chaos.
Then a wild blur of frantic orders and blood. Lots of blood; the smell like bitter copper. The Institute's floor was slippery with all the blood. Alec's eyes were wide in his head, standing out against his paper-white face, like sapphires in the snow. Izzy was running off towards the library, her face a sick grey. Even experienced Shadow Hunters like the two Lightwood children couldn't take this much blood. It wasn't natural for it to be sloshing around on the ground like it was. And it wasn't demon blood, but red. Vibrant red, pulsing with life. Human life.
Alec was shouting something at her. Clary whirled and suddenly a heavy weight was thrown into her arms, Alec's voice still shouting but the sound very far away, like a turned down radio. He was telling her something. Something important by the way he was gesturing. His icy eyes kept throwing themselves down to the weight in Clary's freckled arms, then tearing away as a fabric might be ripped apart by bare hands. He gestured again, then he visibly swallowed a lump in his throat and took off after his sister down the hallway.
Clary was left clutching the weight in her arms outside of the elevator of the Institute. God this thing was wet, maybe this where all the blood was coming from. And it was so heavy. Like dead weight.
Something compelled her to look down and the world came slamming back with such force, Clary gasped, trying to regain a sense of balance before she fainted. Jace lay sprawled out in her arms, blood pouring like the river Styx down the side of his head. Half of his face was drenched in wet and coagulated blood. His whole body felt covered in it. The blood, it was everywhere. And it was his blood.
"JACE!" her voice screamed. Her tiny hands were suddenly violently shaking his shoulders. "WAKE UP!"
But Clary knew that this would do very little. His head fell back over her arm, the gold hair bleached with crystallized red. A vibrant welt was peeling open his cheek, disfiguring his angled jaw. Beneath the blood she saw that his usually golden skin was a chalk white, dry as though the blood loss was drying him out. His lips were turning purple. Though she was no doctor, a little voice in her head told her he had minutes left to live.
That thought fueling a horror she hadn't felt in a long time, Clary's hand dove into one of his many pockets, shoving away weapons and seraph blades until she found it. His stele. It was slimy and sticky.
Clary's mind was screaming SAVE HIM! And so she did just that. Her wrist flicked and her fingers twisted the thin stele. Black marks covered his bare and bleeding chest. A twist there and a sharp angle there. When she finished, something resembling the famous doctors symbol of a winged staff with a serpent coiling around it glowed before sinking heavily into Jace's chest and disappeared.
Clary clutched the Shadow Hunter and time stopped for a moment: within that moment, she was horrified that it didn't work.
Then Jace's eyes snapped open and he gulped in fresh air.
Oh thank God…
"Despite the fact that I am dating one of you, I am not the Clave's servant boy," Magnus snipped as he, Alec, Isabelle and Clary were all cluttered around Jace's infirmary bed. The cat-eyed warlock frowned then. "Wait, sorry, involved. Despite the fact that I am involved…"
"Magnus, shut up." Clary barked. She was not in a particularly good mood after the two Lightwood children practically dumped Jace's dying body onto her, and expected her to not "freak out". What else were they expecting her to do after giving her the seemingly life-less form of her new boyfriend?
Something in Clary's stomach squirmed. Boyfriend, as in a couple, as in really dating? Is that what they were? It seemed strange that less than a month ago, if she had even thought about Jace shirtless, she wouldn't have talked to him for a week as punishment for having… unnatural thoughts about her brother. But that was before… and this is now. Jace was officially Jace Herondale. Not Jace Morgenstern. Not in any way related to the tiny redhead. So it was okay to have daylong fantasies about his bare chest. And kiss him often in the broom closet when they were supposed to be helping Luke and Maryse with Clave duties. Now that was okay. What was not okay was that he, Alec and Isabelle had gone out, without telling her, to kill some Sluggoth demons in the sewers. And what was REALLY not okay was that Jace was ripped up in the process. That didn't sit well with her AT ALL.
"So tell me what the hell possessed the pair of you to go off and kill some demons without telling me?" Clary snapped at the two Lightwoods without looking away from Jace's sleeping form. Well, in honesty, he looked dead, with his blood covering a good side of his face and trailing from the elevator to the infirmary. But it was the steady rise and fall of his chest that said he was alive. That and Magnus' extreme putout-ness that he had come when he wasn't needed. Although he had been making many "unnecessary" trips to the Institute recently.
"Jace just thought it would be fun," Alec sounded upset. "Like old times. Where it was just the three of us and the demons."
Clary knew Alec had been telling just the facts, exactly as Jace said it and that's what made a plume of anger build in her chest.
Why would he want just the three of them to go off? She had proven herself to be a capable Shadowhunter. Especially with some training from Luke and her newly-awakened mother and even the snarky asshat (A.K.A Jace) himself. She wasn't a dead weight anymore. She could hold her own. So why did he want to be just with his stepsiblings?
To get away from you, a solid voice in her head said. A knot tightened in her throat. This is what he wanted, right? To be with her? To be hers and she his. This wasn't some fling that only interested him because it was forbidden.
Clary spun on her heels towards the door, a heat rising in her throat.
"Tell me if he wakes up. I'll be… out." With that she slammed the door after her, the pressure from Alec and Izzy's guilty glances hitting her hard on the shoulders.
Clary slumped down on her bed and stared up at the glow-in-the-dark star-covered ceiling. Over her stay at the Institute this little room had become her second room, complete with little pictures and posters on the walls, notes from Simon and Marks of Protection and Privacy. Her drawings were up there too, some of Jace, others of her mother and Simon and Luke. Even ones of Magnus and a very happy Alec were up there too and over the past couple of weeks she had noticed an increased of bizarre cartoons that hadn't been there in the first place. One stood out strictly in her mind; perhaps because of the atrocious drawing skills that animated the tiny cartoon as fence posts with balloon heads, one with crayon yellow hair and the other in Harry Potter glasses. The one with the glasses had tiny fangs, its mouth open in horror as the blonde fence post stood over it with a jagged brown scribble in its hand. Tiny speech bubbles reflected the artist's more personal feelings in a wirey handwriting: the fence post in glasses said, "Oh no, Mr. Gorgeous Unbelievably Attractive Angel-God-thing. Do not stake me because I am attracted to your beautiful hair and eyes and angelic cheekbones. It is you who I've always wanted, never your equally stunning girlfriend."
The blonde fence post: "Haha! You fool! I may be wildly fine-looking but your flattering words will not save you now. Meet your unmaker, vile fiend!"
In the very bottom, in more messy hand writing, Just thinking about you, Jace. P.S Please show Simon.
She held this cartoon close to her chest. Now that didn't sound like it came from a guy who wanted out of a relationship, now did it?
She hoped to God of whoever, that it didn't.
It was three AM when Clary woke. She had fallen asleep in the exact same position as when she first laid down. Something wet slid off her forearm tucked beneath her head. Drool. Oh wow, she actually did drool when she slept hard. Damn it, Jace was right again.
Clary sat up, mortified that she had slept so long and hadn't checked up on her… male romatic-friend… in a while. She was suddenly very pissed that no one had woken her up. As she thought up a good long rant to Izzy, there was a distant crash and immediately Clary went still, listening for more. Another crash, but softer and the sounds, frequent, like talking. Clary grabbed a dagger from under her dresser and went out into the hall.
The sounds got louder as she went towards the kitchen, all else in the Institute completely silent. When she reached the oak doors, lights flickered beneath the door, throwing dancing shadows on the walls like chaotic demons. She heard the mumblings, but couldn't only get one person out of it. If there was more than one attacker, their voices sound very much the same.
Clary pushed the door open and dropped low immediately, a trick taught to her by many a Shadowhunter. The refrigerator was wide open and someone was rummaging through it, clearly muttering to themselves.
"Alec?" Clary asked hestitantly but she knew that was wrong. No one else had feet like that. No one could make pale purple look so good on obviously male feet. Except one person. "Jace, you shouldn't be up! You almost died today! You need to go straight back to the infirmary. Do you hear me? Jace… Jace?"
She finally understood what he was muttering to himself as he closed the refrigerator, clutching something in one arm and a spoon in the other.
"I scream, you scream," he sang, "we all scream for ice cream!"
The door closed and Clary's mouth hung somewhere down on her chest. Jace clutched a large gallon of BlueBell ice cream in his right arm, and held a giant spoon in the other. His head was wrapped in white gauze, tuffs of golden falling about randomly. His pupils were big, fazed as though he was under a spell. Across his healing jaw, a huge smile opened up to show vibrant teeth.
"Hiya, Clary." He waved with the spoon before tottering… yes, tottering… out of the kitchen and into the dark. It took Clary a moment to realize what had just happened before she flung herself down after Jace. She grabbed the witchlight stone and light illuminated the dark hallways. And there he was singing again.
"I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream."
To anyone else this would have been extremely adorable: a rough and tough bad boy with the face of an angel wearing purple flannel bottoms with a plain white shirt, eating a gallon of ice cream and singing. To anyone else and to the rest of the girls everywhere, this happy singing Jace was precious. But to Clary, after seeing him covered in more than enough of his own blood, it was weird. And frightening.
She had to practically sprint to catch up to him.
"Jace," she panted. "What is going on?"
"I was hungry."
"So you got up and—"
"Got ice cream. That's right. Isn't that how Vogue tells you to get better: chicken soup and ice cream. Want some?"
The cold spoon plunged its way into her mouth and she tasted cream and sugar and ice. Yum.
Jace had his head cocked to the side, the witchlight showing his large pupils as though they were amber flecks in a black satin fabric. He was smiling wildly again. Clary opened her gasping mouth, fighting back a brain freeze.
"Yeah, that's some great ice cream and all, but seriously. You're hurt and—"
He kissed her. Only briefly. Too briefly, came an angry remark in her head.
"You're cute when you have brain freeze." He chucked and walked off. "And when you're trying to be in control."
Spell or no spell, Jace was still there and he was having a grand ol' time. If this was a spell, Magnus would be hearing about this for weeks… Clary would see to that.
Clary followed Jace into the infirmary, to her surprise. Magnus, Isabelle and Alec were all gone and only a few burning candelabras were their companions. The room smelled strangely of soap and vanilla. Jace sat cross-legged on one of the beds, continuing to make a significant dent in the gallon of ice cream. Clary felt a shiver run up her spine, though she was not cold. Jace looked up, his eyes glowing gold across the room and Clary wondered if she should leave, something warm pooling in her stomach.
"Ice cream, for everyone!" Jace exclaimed happily as she walked closer, still unsure of what she was doing was right. "Just good for the soul, you know? It's the best thing I've ever tasted."
"Uh-huh." She nodded and slid onto the bed in front of him.
"The best part," Jace went on to say, "is that it sort of melts in your mouth, you know? How do they get it to do that? Melt, right when your tongue touches it? Maybe magic. Yeah, that's it! It's all magic and warlocks and demons! BlueBell is run by demons."
On any other day, the fact that one of the top producers of ice cream was run by evil, multi-dimensional demons would have sent Jace Horendale on a warpath but tonight, it almost seemed to excite him. Clary hadn't seen him this happy, spell-concussed or otherwise, and she couldn't help but smile.
"Is that right?" The grin peeked out more. "Tell me, what else is made by demons?"
"T.V for sure." He said seriously. He stuck the spoon in his mouth pensively and Clary had never wanted to kiss him more. "Maybe bubble baths. Because those are fantastic. Slippers. Spaghetti. Oh yeah, spaghetti is definitely the spawn of Satan."
Suddenly, she could see the five-year-old pleading with his father for a spaghetti-filled back. Clary grinned.
"Starbucks and chocolate. The sand between your toes on a hot beach and Fridays. Fridays are too good to be true." Then he paused and Clary, momentarily, thought the spell was gone, but only because he had gone so still and thoughtful. He licked one last glop of ice cream from the metal spoon before dumping them on the bedside table. His eyes were glowing again as he stared across at Clary, who immediately turned a scarlet red. "And you."
"I'm made by demons?" She asked softly, quietly. She wondered if this was coyly flirting as she tried to look cool and stare at Jace from under her eyelashes.
"Stop that. You look like you're trying to eat your chin."
Clary frowned and put her hands on her hips. "Bed. Now, mister."
"Oh my God!" Jace gasped and his hands flew to his mouth in theatric horror. "Isabelle died and now you're channeling my stepsister! Or worse… Maryse! Get out of my girlfriend's body, you bad evil spirits!"
He chuckled at his own joke, unaware of the chills that ran down Clary's spine. When she didn't respond, he frowned.
"You said it."
"Ok, I don't actually think Maryse is evil. She's just a little… anal… about everything."
"No, after that." Clary's heart was beating somewhere around her throat.
"You do have a body that can be possessed, right?"
"I've told you that I love you." He frowned, honestly confused. "I've shown you that I love you. I thought that the whole girlfriend labeling didn't need to come with the package. You're my girlfriend and my life and my love. Clary, you're my everything."
She didn't know she was crying until something cold splashed on her hands. Jace's frowned deepened.
"I'd come give you a hug, but my legs aren't working now. The gremlin's were fed after midnight."
Clary chuckled a watery laugh and immediately leapt up into the empty part of the bed next to him. One golden hand snaked into her tiny one. It was hard to believe that earlier the same day he was as pale and as cold as snow.
"I didn't think I needed to tell you that you were my girlfriend." He said in a low voice. "I don't know if there's a word absolute enough to describe what we are."
Tears flecked her cheeks again and she leaned onto him.
"Are you under a spell too?" Jace asked. She could hear his voice reverberated in his chest, a distant thump thump and the soft inhale and exhale. "I don't remember ever actually reducing you to tears with the power of my words."
"It's not what you're saying…" Clary started then stopped. "I mean it is… but it's just a relief more than anything."
His fingers were cold and sticky wrapped around hers. "What is it a relief from?"
"Nothing, it's stupid." Clary felt blush rise on her face.
"Please tell me." The sincerity of his voice shocked her and she didn't even consider refusing his request.
"I thought that you didn't want me any more. Not that you were completely done with me but it's just that… you didn't love me like before."
He was disturbingly still and she thought for a moment that he'd rip his hand away and start yelling at her horrible things about distrust and abandonment. But he didn't. Jace then turned and looked her, his golden eyes brimming with sheen and then, in some graceful movement, he captured her entire mouth in his lips and suddenly she was lying on her back, his hands on her side. He sat directly over her.
Clary grabbed him around the neck, breathing in all that was Jace and the room and the candles and the ice cream. She was no stranger to a make-out session with Jace but this was different. He held the upper ground and for the main outstanding reason, they both lay in the same bed, one on the other. Just as a flame of desire burst through her chest, singeing her throat and finally bursting through her mouth, she had to look away. She was panting in thick, heavy streams. With a small glint of happiness, she noticed he was panting too.
Her arms were loose and tingly, so they slunk down from around his neck and flopped uselessly on the sheets.
"Oh my God, Jace. Wow."
He tipped forward, his hands resting over her head so that he caged her. The way the light reflected from his hair, Jace had a halo resting around his angelic face, while his devilish and suddenly heavy eyes spoke of something not so angelic.
"You're hurt. You should rest."
A defiant chin cracked open a smile and he nodded. He bent down as though to kiss her again. Clary stifled a gasp. His lips moved by her ear.
"Yes, Ms. Warden."
Then he rolled sideways and they lay side by side. Clary was suddenly reminded of the way she and Simon would talk about the latest happenings in fourth grade and be in the same position. However this was nothing like fourth-grade Simon.
His warm hand found hers and he looked over at her with sleepy eyes.
"You're cute when you're trying to not want sex."
At this, a fire truck would have embarrassed to call itself scarlet, by the state of Clary's cheeks.
"And you aren't." Was all she managed to say.
"I'm always cute. Unlike a Cabbage Patch kid. But I am. Trying. Not to." He gave her hand a small squeeze. "Wouldn't be right and all."
Clary nodded, or jerked her head. Whatever. You try and recover from Jace suddenly turned Smoldering Sex-panther and see how it goes.
"Good night, Clary."
The next morning she wasn't ashamed to find herself tucked in neatly next to her boyfriend. And that title was ok. Slightly undermining their true relationship, but nonetheless. That was the official term.
"I might be gorgeous to look at," Jace stated after several minutes of fake-sleeping so Clary could watch him. "But I warn you, not many have smelled my morning breath and lived to tell the tale."
"Were you serious?" She asked, before anything could interrupt them. "About what you said."
"That I think you'd look great in glittering jeans while dancing to something in the Celine Dion variety?"
She slapped him on the shoulder. He winced.
"That you are my entire existence, Clarissa Fray?"
Blush again. "Yep, that stuff."
"You haven't even heard the question."
"Don't need to."
He sat up and kissed her forehead. "What I do need is a long shower. And a some good scrubbers."
"This damned Mark you put on me won't come off."
"Wait? That's what was wrong with you last night? The Mark." Clary's eyes went wide. "Not one of Magnus's spells."
Jace grinned. "Nope. Whatever you did apparently saved my life and solved all your doubts about us. Some hell of a spell."
Clary stuck out her tongue at him, a childish impulse but it was early in the morning. Jace let it go with a snicker.
Save him, she remembered thinking. And that's exactly what she did.