A/N: This story is kind of a companion/ prequel to "Battles," in the sense that they compliment each other pretty well. If you liked "Battles," you will like this, and if you like this, check out "Battles"! Happy reading!
Being Shadowhunters, they know how to fight.
They are precise, accurate, and always victorious. They have spent a good part of their lives in training rooms and study rooms, learning how to wield complicated machinery, draw a perfect rune, and how to battle with the mentality of a Shadowhunter.
They are proficient, knowledgeable, and deadly. When they decide something must die, it's only a matter of time before their goal becomes reality.
The fight is easy. They have it down to a formula. If an enemy does a, you retaliate with b, c, or maybe e, depending on your condition and what weapons you have available. The science is exact and rarely faulty.
They are taught to think only about the moment with the adversary when you are in battle. They leave their emotions outside of the playing field. Shadowhunters don't feel for their victims, they kill because they must. They have a duty to fulfill, and so they do it, and keep the world safer for all that are not blessed with the ability of sight.
It's clean and uncomplicated.
Emotions are messy. Relationships are complicated. These are the new lessons Jace Lightwood is learning. There's no science of dating, only educated guesses that have a 25% chance of being wrong depending on a countless number of variables he has yet to identify.
He assumed it would be simple, easier than even slicing down a Gorank demon. Even Alec could kill a Gorank. He liked her, and she liked him, and they established that, and they were going to go home, and live happily ever after, because when you like another person as much as he likes Clary, nothing could possibly get in the way.
The courting had been complicated, only because he didn't know her feelings. Well, now he knows her feelings, so nothing is going to stand in their way. He never understood Robert and Maryse, or Isabel and her flavor of the week. They always seemed to argue so much, and if they loved each other as much as they claimed to, what is there to argue about? They just must not love each other as much as he and Clary did. There were times Robert and Maryse would slam doors and swear that they hated the other more than they hated Valentine. Well, they weren't as lucky as he and Clary were, because there was no way they would ever think that about each other, because they loved each other.
He was so, so, so wrong. By the angel, he was an idiot. It's a wonder he managed to survive this long with the lack of brain he seemed to own.
Or maybe this lack of a brain was a recent thing. That must be the case, considering that he could talk to Clary just fine not more than a week ago, and now, everything he seemed to say was the wrong thing.
Shortly after the victory party, the interviews, the debriefing, and the meetings with council, they left Idris and headed home for New York. They were heading to guaranteed bliss back at home. Jocelyn and Luke decided to give their relationship a try, and Clary was sent to The Institute to learn the craft. She could have stayed home, but the three decided it would be best for Clary to enter intensive training, and plus, it was going to take a while for Clary to get used to the fact that a) her mother was a Shadowhunter and b) she was dating a werewolf. So maybe it wasn't the best idea for her to go downstairs in the morning and to be assaulted with the very image first thing in the morning.
Of course, there were limits on Clary and Jace, since they hadn't bothered to keep their relationship secret from anyone. They happily told everyone and anyone, and those that were not personally notified were shown, considering they had engaged in more PDA in the past week than private displays of affection.
There relationship was a source of excitement for the Shadowhunter community. The two children, both raised in their own way by Valentine, bestowed with special gifts, gifts that could save their society again some day, forming a deeply personal alliance? It was a dream for the community to see two gifted warriors match so perfectly in such an effortless manner.
Dream match of not, they had bed assignments and room checks to ensure the demands of the parents were being followed. Just because they lived in the same house did not give them grounds to gallivant around and move too fast in their relationship, Jocelyn and Maryse said. Translation: They were too young to be grandparents, so no sharing beds.
They decided to move slow, too, though, so there weren't even any conflicts there. They were content with kissing, for now, at least, especially since there was so much more to contend with.
They had become targets of the demon world. Word of their defeat of Valentine and their special gifts reached even the most sinister circle, and a hefty price was put on both of their lives. Clary engaged in intensive Shadowhunter training, and Jace, Alec, Isabel, the Lightwood parents, Jocelyn, and sometimes even Simon and Luke's pack spent nearly every night on the streets until late at night.
Jace and Clary had no energy to sneak around and engage in deception. They were too busy with their own conflicts, the conflicts that Jace assumed they would simply never have.
It started small. He'd say something utterly innocent, and she would snap at him and refuse to talk to him for an hour. But once that hour was over, they'd reconcile with breathless kisses and powerful embraces. The hour of the cold shoulder was almost worth their reconciliation.
But these small arguments escalated. She began to accuse him of not putting effort into their relationship, and he'd retaliate by saying that she was the one that got mad at him for no reason. Then she'd shriek and call him an idiot, and he'd look at her like she lost her mind, which, he's beginning to realize, they're both slowly losing their minds.
What other explanation could there be? He was madly in love with her, no arguments about that. She was by far the coolest girl he had ever met. She chose to live her life as a Shadowhunter, so he didn't have to deal with a difference of lifestyles. She was gorgeous; she had the ability to give him one look that would simply make him go crazy. He frequently lost sleep just lying awake at night, focusing on a minute part of her, like how sexy the arch of her collarbone was, or how perfectly her muscles worked together when she was training, or how sometimes when she spun around her hair would catch the light in the most beautiful way, sending bright beams of red around the room, like she set the room on fire.
And she did. She would walk into a room in Idris, and the room would go silent, admiring her grace, beauty and poise. She was so naïve, and she never realized she had this affect on people, which is one reason he was eager to get her away from Idris; he didn't want her figuring out how utterly magical most people found her. Guys simply fawned over her, but she would only focus on him. It was the greatest feeling in the world; could he really be blamed for wanting to protect that feeling?
No matter. They were slowly going insane, and eventually, they would probably forget why they loved each other so much. It was just a matter of time.
Just yesterday, he had woken up to find her in the middle of an intense sparring session with Luke. He slept later than she, since she didn't go out on patrol yet; Jocelyn and Maryse had decided she was simply not ready for that kind of training. She woke much earlier than him to work on weights, endurance training, and sometimes sparring, if she could find a willing partner. She absolutely refused to spar with him, no matter how many times he offered.
This was simply another conflict they were doomed to have: he couldn't understand why she wouldn't trust him to spar with her, and she couldn't understand why he can't understand that she feels too intimidated by him as a Shadowhunter to fight with him yet.
He had watched Clary and Luke intensely fight, full out, for five minutes, before Clary finally moved Luke into a subservient position.
"Congratulations, Clary! That's the first time you managed to get the best of me."
Her eyes shone with the confidence that made Jace melt. "I'm so proud! I feel like my work is finally paying off. Jace, did you see that?"
He looked at her with admiration. "Good job, Clary. Your form was awkward, but thankfully, you still managed to get the best of Luke. Luke, of course, is out of practice, as he has not worked as a Shadowhunter for two decades, so, of course, you can't let this victory go to your head. The demons you will fight will be much more proficient than Luke."
He didn't know why, but right away, he could see what he said was the wrong thing to say. Her eyes darkened to a deep forest green, and her whole face seemed to just get redder. She was furious.
"What did I say?" He asks dumbly.
She looks at him like he's the biggest moron on the planet; further proof their brains are slowly disintegrating. She never looked at him like that before they entered into a relationship.
Love might make you strong, but it also makes you an idiot.
She doesn't waste time explaining what he said wrong this time. She did the first 16 times, and if he hasn't filled in the blanks right now, there's really no hope for him.
Since when did entering into a relationship make such a moron out of what was once a sensible, considerate man?
He watches her walk away, and it's like his brain is literally on pause. Before they were together, she walked away from him hundreds of times for all different reasons, and he always could make him feel better by yelling the right retort to her retreating backside. Now, nothing. He has no idea what he should tell her, what he should do.
Two weeks later, Aline comes to visit. Clary is preoccupied for most of her visit, studying for her first major Shadowhunter test. In the education of a Shadowhunter, there are certain checkpoints one must fulfill. If Clary passes this first examination, she will get the marks for strength and agility, which would allow her to do some mild fieldwork. Needless to say, it's an intense exam, but a necessary one, so she is occupied with feverishly studying runes, history, weapons, and battle techniques.
Jace is bored, so Aline comes at the perfect time. They are friends, and have been for many years. Aline hasn't visited New York since she left when she was 13. He is eager to show her around the city, along with Isabel and Alec.
Three days into her weeklong visit, they end up in the training room after hours, sparring full out. Aline is a proficient Shadowhunter, and was trained well by the kind of teachers it cost to have. Her methods are skillful, but his strength is far superior, so he quickly gets her into a submissive position. With her gazing up at him, panting from exertion, he suddenly feels uncomfortable, and instantly leaps up.
She is quick to readjust her workout clothes and smooth her hair. She crosses the room to where he is now, and, once again, he finds her too close to him.
"What are you thinking, Jace Wayland?"
"Lightwood." He weakly reminds her. "The Lightwoods formally adopted me a month ago."
"Jace Lightwood. Beautiful." She moves closer to him, if that's even possible, and brings her hand through his hair. It feels foreign and her hand gets caught in his tangles like Clary's never does. "Just like you."
He's quick to move away when he sees her lips ascending toward his. He doesn't know what to say to her, though. She looks confused, like she expected him to kiss her the way he did in Idris.
But they are not in Idris anymore, and he is happy with the one person that makes him feel like he can do absolutely anything. He's not ready to sacrifice that feeling for Aline, even if he and Clary are nothing if not dysfunctional right now. She may always be mad at him, but he loves her and he knows that she loves him too.
Sure, they have a lot to work out. He doesn't know how to talk to her now, and she doesn't know how to communicate without getting frustrated with him, but they are Jace and Clary, and you don't give up on something like that. So he stumbles out of the room, without saying a word to Aline, which he's sure he will eventually regret, and runs to Clary.
He finds her in the greenhouse, which is undoubtedly their spot ever since that fateful birthday, when he kissed her and they sealed their romantically entangled fate. It was the second he knew he would not be able to abandon her and not look back.
She turns. Her face is dark; the moon is not out tonight. She looks surprised that he is there. "Jace?"
He walks closer, his body elegant in its motions. "I've been looking for you."
"I can't see why." She snaps.
"Why would I not?"
She looks at him with hurt eyes. "I saw you and Aline, just now. In the training room. I couldn't sleep, so I went to your room, but you weren't there, so I went to work off some energy. And there you were."
"So, you saw everything?"
"Yes, Jace! I saw everything!" It's amazing, he thinks, how fast she can go from hurt to furious.
"You saw her run her hands through my hair, get closer to me, try to kiss me?"
"Yes!" The anguish reappears.
"You saw me pull away and leave her without another word, and run to you?"
" … No …"
He sighs, knowing she would have turned and ran out away as fast as possible when she saw Aline move in.
"What are we doing, Clarissa?"
"You called me Clarissa." Clarissa is reserved for his most serious (usually stern) moments.
"I want to be clear here. I love you, Clary. I am not interested in Aline, I only have eyes for you, as I have since I first gazed upon you."
"I thought …"
"I thought you were running to her since we've been fighting so much."
"I would never leave you because of that. Granted, I think we're both losing our minds … we've been fighting so much lately, I don't know why, but I love you, and that's the most important part."
"You treat me like a student when you should treat me like your girlfriend. I hate when you talk down to me, Jace. I'm not as good of a Shadowhunter as you, and I accept that. But you can't criticize me constantly. I'm your girlfriend."
"The only reason I do that is because I want you to be as good as anyone! I can't stand the idea of you being hurt, ever!"
"So you're hard on me because you want me to be better?"
"I can't stand the idea of bringing you home like I've brought Isabel or Alec home, bleeding so much that an iratze can only help them stay alive, not regenerate. It's haunting to me."
She laughs, as they often do when they discuss things seriously. "Your theory of us losing our minds may be correct if you keep talking like this. Jace, I'm a Shadowhunter. I'm going to be hurt, and we're going to have to deal around that. I love you for trying to make me better, but sometimes I will fail."
"I can't lose you."
"You're not going to, Jonathan." Like he uses Clarissa for his most serious moments, she uses Jonathan for her's.
"Love makes us stupid." He groans. "We don't think things through. We don't talk."
"We just love each other too much to hurt the other. I don't want to talk to you about us being in pain. But we have different expectations now that we're together."
"I want the old Clary back, the one that would have kicked my ass when I was being an idiot, instead of running away and being hurt. You can't run to where I can't follow, Clarissa."
"I won't. Not anymore."
Being a Shadowhunter, they're learning everything there is to succeed at their craft.
Being in a relationship, well, that's going to take some more work.
Jace and Clary both realized they have a lot to learn. They will keep fighting, resolving, and holding on to the other, through good times and bad.
A relationship is a complication, but it may be one that they can live with. In their clean, Shadowhunter life, the one thing they will always make allowances for is each other.
A/N: I can't get enough of Jace and Clary lately! Thankfully, my muse is definitely cooperating. I hope you enjoyed my latest! I have a couple more ideas floating around in my head, so if you like (or didn't like), review please!