As a not-so-pleased reviewer reminded me in response to the last chapter, not all of the quotes in this story are mine. Generally, I use one or two quotes that aren't mine per chapter. Because this is FANfiction, and I obviously don't own it, I've never really bothered to credit them before. Truthfully, I can't even remember where most of them came from.
Thanks soooooo much to everyone who reviewed or favorited (is that a word?) or anything like that! It's taken me practically ten months to write this, and I cannot tell you how glad I am to finish it! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside… and that sounds kinda weird. But speaking of warm fuzzy feelings, this chapter picks up with Jace and Clary…
"Clary," Jace's soft voice murmured. It cut through my sleepy thoughts despite my attempts to ignore it.
"Mmmphf." I gave a noncommittal grunt and rolled over onto my stomach. Burrowing my face into my pillow, I pushed him away and closed my eyes tightly.
"Clary," Jace repeated again. His tone was louder this time, and his warm breath fanned across my face. In my sleepy state, I tried to ignore the sudden warmth caused by his lips on my neck. But Jace decided to be persistent. His mouth moved to my shoulder, and I suppressed a shiver. The combination of Jace's body pressed against mine and the draft in the room were slowly waking me up. I tried to get rid of the cold by moving closer to the source of warmth beside with me. Belatedly, I realized that the thing I was snuggling closer to was Jace's body. And from what I could tell, he was completely naked.
My eyes flew open.
I shot up in bed and searched around wildly. Jace was lying beside me on his back. Because the sheets had ended up at the bottom of the bed, I could tell that he was completely naked. Which meant that I could see everything.
Jace was staring at me confidently. He wore that gaze that always made me feel as if I were naked. Only, this time I actually was naked. Yanking the covers up over my body, I grabbed a discarded pair of underwear from the floor beside the bed. I pulled them on and searched around for a top.
"What are you doing?" Jace asked. I could hear the laughter in his voice.
"What does it look like I'm doing?" I asked. "I'm getting dressed."
I dragged his sheets across the floor as I got out of bed and dug through the drawer where Jace kept my clothes. I found a tank top and tugged it on. Satisfied that I was now at least partially dressed, I turned to face my boyfriend.
"Why did you put on clothes?" Jace asked. "I've seen it all before." Grinning smugly, he added, "I've touched most of it as well."
He sat up in bed and swung his feet over the side so that he was facing me. Avoiding his question, I eyed him uncomfortably. "You know, you could put on some clothes too."
"Don't get all modest on me now, Clary." He said. But he did pull on a nearby pair of underwear. "Just last night, you were in a rush to get my clothes off. Now, you want them on?"
"Fine," I told him. "You can parade around naked if you want, but when someone comes through that door, you have to deal with the consequences by yourself."
"I'm sure they'd enjoy it." Jace pulled me closer to him and gave me a gentle kiss. "I know I'm enjoying it already."
"Sometimes, I don't know whether to kiss you or point a dagger at you." I shook my head at him.
"Personally, I'm a fan of the first option." Jace grinned confidently. "But I'm not exactly opposed to the second one."
I rolled my eyes. My boyfriend was probably one of the few people in the world who would get all hot and bothered if his girlfriend pointed a knife at him and tried to kill him with it.
I forgot these thoughts and all the others running through my brain as Jace's lips met mine once again. He sank back onto the bed and kissed me long and hard. He pulled me into his lap, and after a lengthy kiss that left me breathless, he said, "We could have been doing this for months if you weren't so stubborn."
"I'm stubborn?" I looked at him incredulously. "You're the stubborn one."
"Am not." Jace said immaturely. Not his best comeback, but that may have been due to the fact that his attention wasn't completely on our conversation. Most of it was on me, because this position gave him an excellent view down my tank top.
"You never give an inch do you?" I asked, pulling my shirt up and leaning away from him.
He grinned lecherously. "Right now I know of several inches I could give you."
I pulled his hair by way of punishment for his ribaldry, but then I giggled. "What would you say if I told you that I was okay with that?"
Jace lifted an eyebrow effortlessly. "You want to go again already? I knew I was good, but I didn't know I was that good."
"If you want to be like that, you won't be getting any for a while." I retorted, inching away from him.
"Take it back!" Jace moved closer to me. "Or I'm going to have to make you."
"You'll have to catch me first!" I teased, darting away from him. Jace obligingly chased after me. I stopped abruptly and winced. My lower body, still sore from our indecent activities last night, was protesting any form of movement.
"You okay?" Jace asked, coming to a halt in front of me.
"I'm fine." I told him. Ignoring the protesting of my body (something I had become accustomed to doing since I became a shadowhunter), I climbed over the bed. Getting back into the game, Jace raced after me, both of us using our shadowhunter speed to go faster. "Come and get me!" I taunted from the other side of the room. Jace hopped over the bed and moved to catch me.
"You run like a girl." He smirked.
"Really?" I asked sweetly, "Because if you ran a little faster, you could too."
"That's it." There was a smile in his voice and even though I was teasing him, I knew he wanted to catch me, not to punish me, but to be playful. "You're gonna pay."
I put a chair between us, and he jumped around it with an "Aha!" I squealed and ran laughing through the room. I could hear him laughing and grunting behind me, just on my tail. He reached for me and caught me around my waist just short of the bed. He knocked me to the floor and flopped on top of me, tickling me.
"Jace! Stop!" I gasped, but his hands were unrelenting.
Finally, he stopped tickling me only to take up a different form of teasing. He leaned over me and kissed me gently on the nose. His body was pressed against mine, and I definitely enjoyed the feeling. I practically melted in his arms. He didn't say anything for a long moment as he studied me silently. Then, with a slight smile curling his full lips, he reached out and caressed the side of my face with his hand.
"Hey! Jace get out here now!" There was a loud banging on the door and without waiting for anyone to answer; the person on the other side threw it open. "Jace?"
Jace let out a noise that sounded almost like a growl and threw the closest thing he could find at the door. It just so happened to be a book.
"Ow!" Alec's voice came through the doorway. "What was that for?" He dropped the book on the floor and looked up, rubbing his arm. His eyes landed on the two of us. I was on my back on the floor in nothing but a tank top and a pair of underwear that definitely were not meant to be seen by anyone but Jace. Jace himself was lying on top of me, wearing nothing but his underwear and scowling at the door. Alec's face turned bright red. "Oh, sorry." He said awkwardly.
Getting to his feet, Jace grabbed the sheet off of his bed and handed it to me. "What did you want, Alec?" He demanded.
"Don't talk to the poor boy like that." Magnus' voice came from behind his blushing boyfriend. "He's probably scarred from seeing parts of you that no one wants to see." Giving me an apologetic look, he conceded, "Except for maybe Clary."
"I have on underwear, Magnus." Jace frowned.
"That's great and all, but it's not exactly helping with your… problem." Magnus said delicately, aiming a sparkly yellow nail at Jace's crotch. Alec turned an even brighter red, and I'm sure my face was almost as red as Alec's. Even the tips of Jace's ears turned pink. Magnus alone seemed unperturbed. "Whenever you fix that, come find us," He told us. Closing the door behind them, he pulled Alec away.
Looking back at Jace, I couldn't help but let my eyes drop to what Magnus had referred to as Jace's "problem". Jace's ears were still red, but he quickly covered his embarrassment with his signature grin. "I'm aware that that particular part of my anatomy is highly attractive," he said as his eyes roamed up and down my body. I could almost feel them on me as his grin widened. "But if you want to fix my so called problem, dressing like that definitely isn't going to help."
"Oh, really?" I asked innocently. "So what exactly could I do to "help"?"
Jace cocked an eyebrow. "Do you want options A through F or 1 through 6?"
I pretended to think about it for a minute before replying with an answer to rival his own. "Neither." I answered. Grabbing my discarded clothes from their pile on the floor, I sent him one last wink. "I'm going to get dressed. Wouldn't want to make your hand jealous, now would I?" Leaving Jace to stand staring after me, I strode out of the room. I didn't need to look back to know that he would be open mouthed and gaping as he watched me walk away.
After quickly changing into clean clothes and showering, I went to find Magnus and Alec. I assumed that the two of them would be holed up in Alec's room doing… well; I probably didn't want to know what they were doing. As I passed by the room that the Lightwoods used for company on my way to Alec's room, I heard shouting. I wondered curiously who was on the other side of the door. Sending a nervous glance down the hallway, I let my curiosity get the best of me and stopped to listen.
"I don't care!" I heard Isabelle shout from inside the room. "Why should it matter what those stuffy old people think, anyway? The Clave can go screw itself!" Her tone was venomous, and I was glad her anger wasn't directed at me. I only knew two people who exhibited such a deadly fury when they were mad: Isabelle Lightwood and her mother, Maryse.
"This isn't about the Clave!" Another female voice shouted back. "You always have to be the center of attention, don't you Isabelle? Every time one of your brothers does something, you have to show them up. Alec comes out as gay, and now you have to go and get pregnant! Do you even know how this is going to affect the rest of us?"
Oh, crap. Speak of the devil… Maryse Lightwood was home, and she had the worst possible timing.
"I really don't think-" Simon's voice cut in softly.
"You think that I wanted this?" Isabelle yelled over him. This situation was bound to be dangerous. Isabelle and Maryse were two of the most strong-willed women that I had ever met. Neither was going to back down easily.
"Pssst!" Someone hissed from nearby.
I turned around, and my eyes landed on Magnus. He was waving comically from down the hall. Motioning me after him, he led me down the hall until we made it to Alec's room.
"So," he said once the door was shut and we were safely ensconced in Alec's bedroom. "How did you enjoy listening to that argument?"
"What's going on?" I asked. "When did Maryse and Robert get back?"
I looked to Magnus for a response, but Alec was the one to answer. "As far as I can tell," he spoke up, "Dad's not back yet. He's still in Idris, but Mom came back for some reason. Sounds like she figured out that Izzy's…" he stumbled on the words, not wanting to admit what we all knew.
"With child?" Magnus supplied.
"Yeah, that." Alec agreed. His cheeks were tinged pink.
"She wasn't quite as accepting of Isabelle's condition as she was of mine and Alec's relationship," Magnus informed me dryly. "We were plotting how to escape before Maryse chewed us out too. Alec suggested that we should probably warn you and Jace so that you could steer clear of the drama for a little while."
"We'll definitely be avoiding the Institute," Alec agreed. "Guess where we were planning to go."
"Don't tell me," I said, playing along. "You were going to Taki's."
Magnus shot me an amused smile. "Why on earth would you assume that?"
Taki's was Jace, Isabelle, and Alec's favorite restaurant. It was one of few restaurants in this area that catered to the magical world instead of the mundane one. Recently, it had also become one of Magnus' favorites as well. I liked the food, but to me, the service left something to be desired. Like a new waitress. But then again, I probably only felt this way because the current waitress had a bit of a history with my boyfriend.
In the end, I was out-voted. To get away from the Institute before Maryse decided to search out the rest of us in regards to Izzy's pregnancy, we took refuge in Taki's. Kaelie, our usual waitress, guided us to a booth near the back. Jace, Alec, Magnus, and I each let out a sigh of relief. We were safe from Maryse's wrath, at least for now.
With her thin build and streaming black hair, Maryse Lightwood didn't look very scary. Actually, her husband Robert was the one who looked intimidating. He looked as if he could snap you in half like a twig, but Robert had a quieter and friendlier disposition. Maryse had started to become more like a mother to me, but first and foremost, she was a shadowhunter. Everyone ran when she got mad. Especially her children.
"Can I get you anything?" Kaelie purred. She was pretty, pretty enough to have attracted Jace's attention, even if their relationship was strictly physical. Kaelie hadn't yet realized that Jace no longer desired her attention. Her eyes were fixed on my boyfriend, and she was trying to look seductive. "On or off of the menu."
Normally, Jace playfully rejected her attempts to flirt in a way that I knew was designed to make me jealous. So it surprised me when he made no effort to flirt back."Now, now, Kaelie." He pretended to admonish her. "You know that Clary is the only girl for me." He took my hand under the table and squeezed it.
"One day, you'll come crawling back," The girl sniffed.
"Believe what you like," Alec cut in. "But now, I'd like to order." He had never liked Kaelie. The two of us shared a dislike of the girl due to her prior relationship with Jace. Kaelie frowned distastefully at the dark-haired shadowhunter but took our orders anyway.
"Speaking of you and Clary," Magnus commented to Jace once the annoying Ifrit was gone, "I noticed that Clary ditch you earlier. Did your girl leave you to take care of your little problem yourself?" He teased.
Jace's expression clouded, and I resisted the urge to laugh. The only reason he was so touchy about it was because that was exactly what I had done. Well, that and Magnus' use of the word little. "Why do you insist on discussing inappropriate areas of my body?" He tried to change the subject. "I am already aware that I'm attractive."
"That's for sure," Alec muttered.
Jace continued as if the older boy hadn't spoken. "You already have Alec, Maggs. There's no need to go after me as well."
"Me?" Magnus looked as if he would choke on his laughter. "Like you? How could anyone possible be attracted to someone as repulsive and hideously disfigured as you?" Jace opened his mouth to respond, and then closed it abruptly. He looked positively taken aback.
I thought about mentioning the fact that two of the people sitting at this very table had been attracted to Jace in the past. I, for one, still was. Watching Jace's reaction amusedly, I decided not to voice my thoughts. Jace looked absolutely horrified. He glanced from me to Alec as he waited for one of us to defend him. He was out of luck. Neither of us said a word.
"I strongly object to that!" He protested. "I am the exact opposite of hideous and repulsive. I am very, very attractive!"
Magnus smirked. "Oh, I'm quite aware of that. But since Clary's not doing such a good job, someone has to keep you humble."
Alec snorted derisively. "The words 'Jace' and 'humble' don't go together unless the word 'isn't' is in between them."
"I don't have to be humble when I'm gorgeous." Jace countered with his usual grin.
There was a sudden flurry of movement from across the room as the double doors at the entrance to the restaurant swung open. A small figure stumbled through them, clutching at its side. The figure came to an abrupt halt as it slammed into a wall. Looking at the scene, I realized that I recognized the person.
"Mal!" I called. I jumped to my feet and hurried out of the booth to make sure that my little demon friend was okay.
We had left her at her home when our battle with the Greater Demon was over, and we hadn't heard from her since. I didn't think she even knew how to find us. Now, all of the sudden, she showed up at one of our favorite restaurants. Something was suspicious.
Jace and Alec were right behind me when I got to Mal. By the time we made it across the restaurant, she had risen to her feet. "I'm okay!" She announced cheerfully. "Just… a little… out of breath."
People from surrounding tables had turned around to stare, but Mal didn't seem to notice them as she beamed. "It seems like it's been forever since I saw you guys!" She smiled. "Looks like the gang's all here. Well except for Isabelle. Where is she? Is she here?" Mal craned her neck around the three of us to look. "Oh, hi Magnus!"
I turned to see Magnus making his way towards us at a much slower pace. "Hello, Darling." He greeted her. To the rest of us, he said, "We should probably go back to our table. Most of the restaurant is staring."
We pulled up a chair for Mal who began excitedly recounting her attempts to find us. Apparently, she had something urgent to tell us and had used her creepy, demon tracking skills (my words, not hers) to find us. The girl could probably talk for hours if we let her.
Magnus was listening to her with an indulgent expression on his face. He had always liked children, but then he was a very social person in general. He treated his cat as if it was a child. Jace and Alec, on the other hand, both generally avoided anyone below the age of sixteen. Well, Jace did anyway. Alec avoided people in general.
All three of them were looking at Mal with slightly amused and affectionate expressions. Looking at Malheureuse, I realized why. In battle, her strong fearlessness reminded me of Isabelle. Sitting in front of us chatting animatedly, she reminded me of someone else. Her dark hair and blue eyes and her petite, adolescent stature called to mind memories of Max Lightwood.
Jace, Alec, and Isabelle all missed the little boy dearly. Even Magnus and I mourned his death. We all missed having him around. Mal couldn't replace what we had lost, but she managed to cheer us up and make us forget for a little while.
"Um, Mal." Alec spoke up. She stopped rambling and looked up at him. "It's really good to see you again, but I can't help but wonder why you're here."
"Oh! I almost forgot." The dark-haired girl exclaimed. "It's kind of a long story, but I had to tell you guys. So I ran all the way here to find you. That's why I was out of breath."
"We have time." I told her.
She looked down at her lap a little nervously. "I kind of need your help."
"Kind of?" Jace asked.
"I need your help." Mal corrected. With a world-weary expression that told us she was so much more than a little kid, she continued. "As I'm sure you all know, most demons spend their entire existence battling for power. My world… my father's world is in disarray. It's filled with chaos. That's how demon worlds are, but normally it's organized chaos. Ever since Cacus, Belphegor, Asmoday, and Botis began fighting, that entire universe is being decimated."
"That's why so many demons come here." Magnus agreed. "More chances for both survival and power."
Mal nodded. "Lately, things have gotten out of hand. If something's not done soon, that world will crumble."
"Wouldn't that be good?" Alec asked confusedly. "No more demons to contend with."
"That's not exactly how it would work." Mal corrected. "If I can see what's happening, you can bet that the older demons have been waiting for this. Those trapped by spells or other types of magic will see this as a chance to break free. There will be a mass exodus from the universe through portals and who knows what else." Mal's earlier energy seemed to disappear as she rubbed a tired hand over her face. "Think about it this way," She suggested. "Say the world doesn't collapse. Say it pulls through. Eventually, one of the three Greater Demons won't be satisfied with winning that world. They'll want more power, more destruction. And where do you think they'll go next?"
The answer was obvious: our world. The table was filled with silence as the gravity of the situation hung heavily in the air. We were talking about the end of the world as we knew it. Demons defeating everyone, chaos and dying spreading like wildfire.
"So you want our help defeating them?" Jace asked. Mal nodded hopefully.
"I have a question," Magnus spoke up. "Where did this sudden desire save the world come from? One second, you've happily killed your mom's murderer and the next you're setting out to be a superhero." His gentle look softened the blow of his words. "It's a noble thought, but I have a feeling there's more to the story."
Mal's cheeks flushed and she looked almost embarrassed. "I've been thinking about what happened a week ago, and I keep having this feeling." She admitted. "A feeling that what Botis said is true. I think that my mother really is alive, and I want to save her."
"Isn't Asmoday your father?" I asked. My mind was stuck wondering what this girl had experienced that made her able to discuss murdering her father as if it was a normal thing. "Why would you want to kill him?"
"He's a demon." Mal said simply. "They destroy everything they touch. They're evil." I had a feeling that wasn't quite it. To me, it seemed as if there were some unresolved bad-parenting issues between Mal and her "father".
"But you're a demon," Jace couldn't resist pointing out.
"A demon with a soul." Mal reminded him. Looking hopefully from face to face, she asked, "So will you guys help?"
We all exchanged glances. I met Jace's eye and saw the determined look there. Glancing from Alec to Magnus, I was met with similar expressions.
"We're really going to do this, aren't we?" I asked.
Everything was changing lately, some things much too fast. Suddenly, Isabelle was pregnant, Jace and I were sleeping together, and we were friends with a demon. There were so many new responsibilities, so many damaging obstacles. Somehow, we had gotten from killing the Greater Demon here in Manhattan to saving the world. It was a lot to take in.
Jace took my hand once again. The corners of his mouth turned up in a smile. "When else are we going to get the chance to kill three Greater Demons?"
I let out a laugh. With all the craziness that had been happening lately, it was good to know that some things never changed.
And that, my dear readers, is the end of Begging for Mercy. Very cheesy and cliché, I know, but in case you hadn't noticed, I excel at being both cheesy and cliché. It's one of the reasons you love me. :) Thanks so much for sticking with me to the end!
P.S. Anyone still want me to do that Izzy fic?