A/N at the bottom.
Songs: Power - Kanye West; Glad You Came - The Wanted
Disclaimer: Mortal Instruments and all its associated characters, places and events all belong to Cassandra Clare and the copyright holders. This is a non-profit fan work and no copyright infringement is intended. All other work belongs to lightlacedwithbeauty.
*Chapter Seven: The Heavenly Ring*
Moonlight filtered through Jace's window, emitting a soft glow in his room. He lay on his bed with one arm tucked under his head and the other on his stomach. Jace sighed and glanced at the alarm clock on the bedside table. The numbers blinked at him: 4:15, only a couple more hours before the flight. Only a couple more hours before the mission began. He felt a surge of excitement rush through his muscles.
One of the things he enjoyed about the missions was the places he was sent to. So far, he had been to many places around the world, including secluded islands such as Aruba, as well as exotic places such as China and India. But he had yet to venture to Europe. Jace knew it was a matter of a few months before he explored that continent too. And for that, he couldn't wait. Couldn't wait to face the new world and meet people, especially Valentine.
God, if only he had been capable of killing Valentine back then . . .
Jace shook his head of the thoughts and absently reached under his pillow to find his iPhone. He unlocked the screen with a swipe and went straight to his contacts. His mouth pulled up into a smile when he found the person he was looking for: Shorty (aka Clary).
Jace knew he should probably keep away from his partner (unless it was absolutely necessary he be with her), but he clicked on her name anyway. What did it matter? He only wanted to talk to her. And if Jace Wayland wanted to talk to someone, he would do his damndest to get what he wanted.
From: Jace Wayland
Greetings, Sleeping Beauty.
Jace set his phone down on the bedside table and slid off the mattress. He made his way over to the other side of the room and carried the duffel bag back to his bed. Jace unzipped the bag and checked for clothes and other necessary items he needed for the trip.
A buzz sounded from his phone, distracting him. Jace picked it up and smirked. So maybe Clary wasn't awake earlier. But at least she was now.
To: Jace Wayland
What do you want?
Jace chuckled. He could almost hear her annoyance through text, if it was possible to hear it.
From: Jace Wayland
You need to wake up.
Her reply came back instantly.
To: Jace Wayland
It's only 4:30 . . . I can sleep for at least 2 more hours.
From: Jace Wayland
Make that 1.5 hours. I'll be driving you to the airport.
To: Jace Wayland
Good night, Jace.
From: Jace Wayland
7, sharp. I'll be at your doorstep.
To: Jace Wayland
Okay, Mr. Bossy.
Jace smiled and placed his phone back in its original spot, then continued with his inspection. He sorted through his clothes and paused as he came across his seraph blade. He picked it up and traced the runes on the weapon. The familiar wave of excitement rushed through him as it always did whenever he held a weapon in hand. Jace twirled the blade easily, remembering the last time he did that he was facing Clary in a battle.
Jace looked up and half-turned to find Michael standing in the doorway. "Hello, father."
Michael was already dressed in a dark suit, with his hair slicked back. He adjusted his tie and cleared his throat. "I wasn't aware that you would be up so early."
Jace fully turned and shrugged. "Couldn't sleep."
"Ah, well, I'm glad you're awake. I have something to give you."
Jace cocked his brow but stayed silent.
Michael pulled out a ring from his pocket and handed to his son.
Jace took the object and stared at it. The ring was thick and silver, and had one cut going through it. But other than that, it looked simple, with no designs on it whatsoever.
Michael studied Jace's face for a few moments before answering. "It's a ring that can save lives. Made from Heaven. The only one of its kind left," he said at last.
Jace was stunned. He held something magical, something very important, something that could save someone. He didn't know what to feel about it. He didn't know what to think about it. Why had his father given him this? Especially now?
"This isn't just a mission for fun and games. It's very dangerous. The ring you're holding," Michael nodded at it, "can save only one life. I have a strong feeling you'll need it. I do not know when or where, but you will. Use it wisely, Jace."
"How does it work?" Jace asked, his voice low, and slid the ring on his third finger on his right hand. Earlier, it looked like it would be a little small for Jace, but as soon as it touched his skin, the ring adjusted itself perfectly according to his finger.
"Did you notice where the ring splits in half?"
"Yeah," he nodded, tracing the jagged line with his thumb.
"All you need to do is think of the person you wish to save - whether it be yourself or anyone else - and instantly, liquid will pour down from that cut. Have the person drink the substance, and they won't die." There was a pause. "And one more thing."
Jace looked up. "Yeah?"
Michael put a hand on Jace's shoulder and gave it an assuring squeeze. "I want you to promise me something," he said, his voice colored with concern.
Jace looked at his father and, for the first time, noticed the startling difference in his appearance. He had dark circles under his eyes and his face was almost pale under the moonlight.
Michael sighed defeatedly. "I know I haven't been the best father, but you are my son. I need you to promise me to keep yourself safe. I won't be there to-"
"Dad." Jace cut him off. He hadn't seen this side of Michael since he was ten years old. It made Jace feel as if he was that age again, and that was something he couldn't feel. He couldn't let himself feel that. Not if he wanted to bring Valentine down.
But his father had never asked anything from him. The least Jace could do was give him that. "I promise."
"Clary, wake up!" Someone's voice came from outside her bedroom door.
Clary groaned and pulled her blanket over her head, trying to block the noise that threatened to break the sleeping spell she was under.
"Yeah, it's time to leave!" Another voice spoke, banging on her door.
She clenched her eyes shut once more, before throwing away the cover and glancing at the clock. The large red numbers blinked angrily at her. 6:30. Oh, crap. Jace had said he would pick her up at 7 sharp, and she wasn't even close to being ready yet. What was she going to do? She needed to shower, get ready-
"Will you open the door already? My arms are getting tired," her best friend's voice interrupted her mini freak-out.
A snort. "Simon, you're a loser." This sounded like Izzy.
"Coming," Clary yelled, sliding off her bed, and ran across the room. She threw open the door and found her friends staring at her.
Simon opened and closed his mouth, but no words came out. Izzy, on the other hand, just pointed at the mess of tangles that was Clary's hair and asked, "What is that?" Her tone was full of disgust.
"What?" Clary self-consciously matted down the wild curls.
"Never mind," Izzy said, and stalked inside Clary's room, pulling Simon behind her. "You realize Jace will be here in 30 minutes, don't you?"
"I, uh . . ."
Isabelle rolled her eyes. "Just go get ready. Have you packed everything you need?"
Clary bit her lip. "Bits of it. I was going to finish this morning."
"Okay . . ." the other girl said slowly. "Simon and I will fix that while you go and freshen up."
Clary threw a grateful glance at her two friends and scurried inside the bathroom.
She quickly took out her toothbrush and toothpaste and proceeded to make her mouth minty fresh. Once finished, she shed her clothes and stepped into the shower, making sure to take as little time as possible.
After she was done, she turned off the water and reached for the towel to dry herself. Clary hoped to God she wasn't going to be late. If that happened, she didn't know what the consequences would be. Maybe she'd get suspended, or worse, kicked out from the Academy forever.
Clary wrapped herself in the white towel and walked over to the mirror on her wall. She took out a brush and tried to comb through the tangles. When the red curls didn't obey, she gave up and threw her hair up in a ponytail.
Her bright green eyes, she noticed, looked more tired than they should. She felt anything but that. Clary was more nervous and excited than anything else. Excited to go out and fight. But nervous about her partner. Why did he have to be so . . . him? So strong, so confident, so . . . beautiful.
No, she couldn't think about that. She had enough on her plate to think about. So without wasting another minute, she opened the door and froze.
There was a third person standing in her room, talking to Simon. His back was facing her, but Clary could identify that back, that mess of glorious blond curls, that confident posture, anywhere. It was him. Jace. He was dressed completely in black. Black jeans. Black shirt. Black shoes.
Clary trembled, and with sudden realization, she looked down and noticed she was only wearing a towel that barely covered her thighs. Clary felt her cheeks warm and she was about to lock herself in the bathroom when she heard her name being called.
It was Izzy, shoving clothes in her arms, but Clary was unaware of that. All she felt was another pair of eyes looking at her.
She raised her gaze to Jace, and found him staring at her. His smoldering gold eyes slid down then back up, his mouth curling into a lazy smile, making Clary shiver in response. Too late, she realized everybody had seen her reaction and her cheeks flared even further. Without another word, she ambled inside the bathroom and locked the door, swiftly throwing on whatever Izzy had handed her.
Clary walked over to the mirror and quickly assessed her outfit. She was wearing a pair of dark skinny jeans, with a soft green shirt that brought out her eyes. Simple yet also sophisticated.
Once she was satisfied with what she saw, she opened the door again.
Simon and Izzy talked to Jace as Clary made her way over to them, her stomach full of butterflies. It wasn't like he saw anything. Everything was covered. Clary tried to calm herself down.
"I believe we're ready to go," Isabelle said, throwing a smile in Clary's direction.
"Yeah," Clary responded, avoiding looking at Jace at all costs.
"All right, well, I'll see you at the airport, Clary," Simon said.
"Me too. And your luggage is already in Jace's car," Izzy added.
"Thank you, Izzy." Clary gave the other girl a genuine smile.
"It was my pleasure. Really," she winked.
And before she knew it, Simon and Izzy left. It was just her and Jace now. In her room. Oh by the Angel, if this weren't so awkward already. She stifled a groan.
"Got everything you need?" Jace asked, breaking the silence.
"Yeah," Clary looked around once more at her room-her safe haven that had always been there for her, but now would be left alone for who knew how long-before turning back to face Jace.
Both of them headed down the stairs, when Clary paused at the last step. There was no sound in her house. No sound of her mother or Luke. She frowned. Where had they gone?
"I saw them leaving when I came in," Jace answered her unasked question.
"Do you know where?"
Something flashed across Jace's face, but it was gone as quickly as it'd come. "No. You can call them at the airport."
"Oh, okay." Clary furrowed her brows at Jace's response, but chose to not question him further, and followed him out the door.
Maybe it was the fact that Clary had forgotten Jace owned a black Ferrari, but Clary, nevertheless, stopped in her tracks when she saw it on her driveway. She remembered, just a day ago, she would have given everything and anything to be in this Ferrari with Jace. And now that dream was going to come true.
"Are you waiting for me to carry you to the car?"
Clary looked at Jace. "No, I was just admiring it, that's all."
Jace chuckled. "Well, she is a beauty."
Jace opened the passenger door for her, and Clary stared at it with her mouth hanging open. Of course the door didn't open like a regular car's would. Instead, the doors opened upward. Before she could let out a little squeal, Clary clambered inside and took deep breaths. Just a car, just a car. She kept chanting to herself.
Jace sat beside her, with one hand hovering over the steering wheel. "You look like you're about to faint," he commented, scanning her face.
She crossed her arms over her chest. "Just drive. I'll be fine."
He cocked a brow, and a rush of jealousy enveloped Clary. She wished she could do that.
"I would prefer you don't throw up before we leave."
She glared at him. "I'm fine."
He shrugged. "Whatever you say."
Jace put the car in reverse and easily maneuvered it out of the driveway.
"There's something for you in the backseat," said Jace as he pressed his foot on the accelerator, and the car shot forward.
Confused, Clary twisted her body to look behind her, and found a paper bag lying on the seat. With a little bit of effort, Clary reached for the bag. When she opened it, her mouth watered. It was a sandwich, from her favorite restaurant in Manhattan.
She unwrapped it and bit into the delicious bread. She let out an involuntary moan, then immediately felt her cheeks warming up.
Jace chuckled. "I take it you like it?"
"How did you know it was my favorite?" Clary asked, her mouth full of food.
He stopped at a red light and handed her a napkin from the compartment in front of Clary.
"Thanks," she mumbled, wiping the corners of her mouth with it.
The light turned to green and the car revved to life again.
"Simon told me," he spoke at last.
"Oh." Clary wondered when Jace had talked to her best friend, besides this morning. As far as Clary knew, Jace and Simon were barely acquaintances. Simon didn't talk to Jace because he didn't like Jace's personality, and Jace . . . just thought Simon was a dork. Maybe even worse things, but she didn't want to hear it. Not if it meant insulting one of her favorite people in the world.
She sighed softly and leaned her forehead against the cool glass window. She was exhausted after all the rushing that had happened this morning and just wanted a little bit of peace and quiet before the flight. Clary closed her eyes and let the quiet music in the background lull her to sleep.
Jace pulled the car into the parking lot near the airport. He cut off the engine and leaned back in his seat. His eyes drew to the clock on the dashboard that flashed 6:47. They still had time. He'd made sure to have enough time.
The soft snores coming from his partner caused a small smile to pull up at the corners of his mouth. He turned his body to face her.
He tried to keep his thoughts appropriate as he studied her. She was curled up in the seat, her legs underneath her and her hands clasped together, resting on her lap. She had a hint of a smile playing on her soft, pink lips. Her coppery-colored lashes brushed against the top of her cheekbones, and . . . his dropped his gaze back to her mouth once again. It looked inviting, so damn inviting. The color, the softness-
He swore under his breath and looked away. He needed to control his hormones before they got the better of him. It wouldn't help anyone in the least if that happened. Well it might help his hormones to stop raging, but Jace could take care of that without involving Clary. Perhaps Maia would be able to help . . .
"Jace?" Clary's gentle voice caused him to look back at her.
"Good morning, Sleeping Beauty," he said as she rubbed her eyes sleepily and looked at him. A lock of red hair fell into her face and she brushed it away with annoyance, but it came back down again.
"How long have I been asleep?"
Jace pulled his hand up and tucked the curl behind her ear. "Not that long."
Clary's cheeks turned bright red.
Oh, shit. Why the hell did he have to do that?
"We should probably get going," Clary said a little too quickly.
Jace smirked and noticed her face flamed even more. "Let's go."
After many protests from Clary, she let Jace carry most of her bags. It puzzled her why he was being like this. She still thought this "nice" Jace would change into the one that thought of her as a little girl.
"Do you just really enjoy standing or is that an indication for me to carry you?" Jace called over his shoulder as Clary hurried to his side.
"What's with you and carrying me?" Clary volleyed back.
Jace's lips twitched but he said nothing.
There was something nagging in the bottom of her stomach, but Clary couldn't pinpoint what it was. And then she remembered. She had to call her mom.
Clary fished out her phone from the pockets of her jeans and called Jocelyn. The phone rang and she waited for her mother to pick up.
Something was off. She could feel it in her gut. It wasn't like Jocelyn to not freak out about Clary. One of the things that bothered Clary about her was how protective she was of her daughter. But now, now that she hadn't heard from her in Angel knows how long, Clary was worried.
"Hi, sweetie," Jocelyn said, her voice sending a relief through Clary.
"Hi, mom. Where are you?" She nervously chewed on her bottom lip and followed Jace inside the airport. She ignored the people passing her, and many others running into her as she dragged her suitcase behind her.
"I was picking up a few things for the wedding. Where are you? Shouldn't you still be in bed?"
Clary furrowed her brows. Was she joking or was she serious? "I'm leaving for a few months, remember?"
There was a short pause. "Oh, I'm so sorry I couldn't see you before you left, baby! Do you want me to come over to the airport to see you off?"
Clary glanced at Jace, who was currently getting the tickets from a male sitting behind a desk. What would her mother think if she saw him? She didn't want to risk anything.
"No, that's okay. Don't worry about it. I'm sure I can keep in touch with you the next few months. I miss you," she added.
"I miss you too. But have fun, it's a good experience to have."
Clary sighed. "I love you. I have to go."
"I love you too. Call me when you land."
She swallowed. "I will." And then she hung up. Tears welled up in her eyes and she blinked them back. This wasn't the time to cry. She could cry later. Just not now.
Without further delay, she set off toward Jace. Her future for the mission. Her partner. Her possible savior. Clary pushed away the thoughts swarming in her brain about her mother and replaced them with the mission. She was about to have fun. And possibly die in the process, but she was going to have fun. With the mission, and Jace. Because he was definitely going to pay for what he did to her in the car, whether or not it was intentional.
With a smile on her face, she set off to her destiny; even though she wasn't in the least bit sure she was going to come back.
There you have it. The mission is about to start. Yay! But, I wonder who the lady was that was talking to Clary? Was it actually her mother? Maybe. Guess we'll have to wait and found out.
A huge thank you to my fantastic beta, for getting this back to me so quickly. You rock. :)
Also, thank you for all the reviews. Please keep them coming. I love them as much as I love rainbows and butterflies. And trust me, I do love them.
See you all soon. xoxo