By Leanne Golightly
I do not own the Infernal Devices series or any of its characters. This is just for fun. Everything shadowhunter belongs to the talented Cassandra Clare. No copyright infringement intended.
This is just a brief glimpse of what I think Will was thinking during some of my favourite parts of Clockwork Angel, and is by no means a complete retelling—I will skip sections rather than repeat. This is more of a complimentary fanfic, to be read in conjunction with the appropriate sections of CA.
1. Hell is Cold
When I'd envisioned the downworlder brothel ran by the Dark Sisters, I'd certainly had something a little more...occupied in mind. Not that I was complaining, of course. I wasn't here for recreational purposes, and I'd never imagined for a second, after what I'd heard, that the establishment would suit me.
No, today I was breaking and entering in the hope that I could find something that would tie the two warlocks from the Pandemonium Club to a number of vicious rumours regarding the sale of dead bodies. The idea was to sneak in and back out without anyone ever knowing I had been there—after all, trespassing wasn't looked on kindly by the Clave.
Not that breaking a few rules ever bothered me—in fact, I preferred using shady methods. It made things much more...interesting.
I opened a room and squinting in the dark, I found a chambered decked out in white, with a white wedding dress hanging in the corner. Hell, I guessed that it was true that this place catered to some strange fetishes.
I tried another room, this time finding that it was stripped completely bare. I closed the door silently and moved onto the next, finding the door locked with the key still in the lock from the outside.
Stepping through the door tentatively, a moving shape to the left caught my attention. Darting away, I wasn't quite quick enough, and some kind of jug shattered against my forearm.
It hurt—although, I found a much more colourful way to express my displeasure aloud.
The shape bolted for the door, which had closed behind me, and now rattled the door knob in an attempt to leave. In order to get a closer look at the creature which had attacked me, I raised my witchlight.
It was a girl. She was a girl. Screwing her face up in the sudden brightness, I saw that her dress was black, stained down the front with something that looked like blood. At first I thought she might be one of the night children, with her attire, pale skin, and vicious expression; when her face relaxed and I saw her wide grey eyes, soft brown hair flowing loose, and the rapid movements of her chest that indicated panicked breathing, I realised that she was human.
For a short while, we both paused, and her eyes darted up and down as she also assessed me. After a few moments, the customary parting of lips and staring began. Yes, she was definitely a human girl—she'd passed the test. Damn my devilish good looks!
"You cut me. It might be fatal," I said. Maybe this brothel was more to my tastes than I'd first realised. I had very little money on me; maybe a little guilt would help me get one on the house.
Rather than rushing to fuss over me, the girl remained still. "Are you the Magister?" she asked firmly.
Angling my hand so the wound the porcelain had caused bled more dramatically, I gave it one last go. "Dear me, massive blood loss. Death could be imminent."
"Are you the Magister?"
She was an insistent little thing...although, by female standards she was rather tall, and not little at all. Her eyes glinted fiercely.
"The Magister? That means 'master' in Latin, doesn't it?"
She blinked and the look in her eyes faded to confusion. "I...I suppose it does." I detected a hint of an accent in the way she drawled her vowels. Was she American?
"I've mastered many things in my life. Navigating the streets of London, dancing the quadrille, the Japanese art of flower arranging, lying at charades, concealing a highly intoxicated state, delighting young women with my charms. Alas, no one has ever actually referred to me as 'the master,' or 'the magister,' either. More's the pity..."
"Are you highly intoxicated at the moment?" she interrupted.
I found her bluntness amusing. "How very direct, but I suppose all you Americans are, aren't you?" She looked surprised, as if her nationality wasn't obvious. "Yes, your accent gives you away. What's your name, then?"
Her brow furrowed. "What's my name?"
Too easy. "Don't you know it?" My natural sarcasm came to the fore.
"You—you've come bursting into my room, scared me nearly to death, and now you demand to know my name?" she snapped angrily. "What on earth's your name? And who are you, anyway?"
If I'd known Americans were this unfriendly, I'd have put it on my list of places not to visit much sooner. "My name is Herondale. William Herondale, but everyone calls me Will." I glanced around the room for something that would give me any indication of why this girl was here, and for what purpose. The room seemed very impersonal, even sparser than the unused rooms at the institute, and far less well kept.
"Is this your room? Not very nice, is it?" I took a closer look and found a few novels by the bed, but then did a double take as I saw the knotted ropes attached to the bed posts. Oh. So that was how it was. I guessed, being in a brothel, I shouldn't have been so surprised to find a prostitute, but this girl didn't seem the type. "Do you often sleep tied to the bed?"
She blushed and looked away. She was quite pretty with a bit of colour in her face. Prostitutes didn't blush in my experience. No, she must be a captive here. Shame.
I made my plans to escape, but a door slamming elsewhere in the building made the situation much more urgent. There was no escaping out of the window, and it seemed like the building was about to get much more occupied than I would have liked. We'd have to take our chances on finding a back way out.
"Come along..." I paused, realising I still didn't know her name.
"Miss Gray," she whispered. "Miss Theresa Gray."
Pursued through the humid darkness, I dragged Miss Gray behind me. The voices of the Dark Sisters calling her name taunted me as the building suddenly became a maze. I inadvertently led us into a corridor with no other exit than a pair of tall metal doors. Now we were closer to ground level, I hoped that inside we'd find a window.
Hurling myself against the entrance, it swung open and I stumbled forward with the momentum. The girl struggled to close them behind us, but she did. I quickly put the bolt in place, though it looked far from sturdy. It would take more than these doors to keep out a pair of warlocks, and...
Looking down, I realised that in bolting the door, I had pinned Miss Gray against it, and my body was pressed against hers. In her eyes, I could tell that I wasn't the only one to have had that realisation.
Her pupils were dilated as her eyes dropped from mine to neck level. For a moment, I forgot my urgency and where I was. I was alone in the dark, in a house of disrepute, and dangerously close to a pretty young girl.
"Where are we? Are we safe?"
For a brief second, I wondered about the meaning behind her words, but then realised that we were not yet free of the clutches of the Dark Sisters.
Turning away, the contents of the room soon snapped me out of my temporary haze. It was like Frankenstein's laboratory, with human bodies strewn on tables and all manner of strange contraptions about.
Breaking a window, I called for Henry, but the warlocks burst in a blaze of blue sparks, obviously delighted that they had us cornered.
"Little Miss Gray, you ought to know better than to run. We told you what would happen if you ran again..."
"Then do it! Whip me bloody. Kill me. I don't care!" Miss Gray yelled in reply. "I won't let you give me to the Magister! I'd rather die!"
As stunned as the Dark Sisters, I stared at the human girl after her outburst. She didn't want to be taken alive—a girl after my own heart.
"What an unexpectedly sharp tongue you have, Miss Gray, my dear," said the shorter sister. "Perhaps if we cut it out of your head, you'd learn to mind your manners."
I leapt down from the table and took a defensive stance between the feisty damsel and the downworlders who threatened us, hoping Henry had heard my call. The Dark Sisters taunted me.
"...has she told you what she is? About her talent? What she can do?" the warlock revealed. Miss Gray had a talent? I tried to bluff and keep the Dark Sisters talking.
"If I were to venture a guess, I would say it had something to do with the Magister."
"You know of the Magister?" The taller sister eyed me dubiously, and then her gaze flickered over to Miss Gray. "Ah, I see. Only what she has told you. The Magister, little boy angel, is more dangerous than you could ever imagine. And he has waited a long time for someone with Tessa's ability. You might even say he is the one who caused her to be born—"
Henry came to the rescue in a dramatic shower of bricks and mortar. I pulled Miss Gray—Tessa—toward me, shielding her as best as I could.
As the dust settled, the shorter warlock attacked and I flung my seraph blade in her direction, which pierced her chest with such flair it was certain that I could never repeat it. I could not help but be impressed with my own handiwork. Why did I always strike the perfect blow when Jem wasn't there to see?
Needing someone to witness my moment of glory, I turned and gave Tessa a satisfied grin. She stared at me with a strange look in her eyes—not the admiration I was expecting. What was she thinking? She almost looked as if she disapproved.
What did I care if a complete stranger didn't recognise an act of extreme skill and precision when they saw it? I didn't care—at all. By the sounds of it, she wasn't as human as she seemed anyway.
What was she?
Miss Gray backed away, as Henry and Thomas joined us, Mrs Dark holding them at bay with the energy bolts from her hands.
"Will! Will, she bit me!" Henry yelled as we he tried to protect the not quite human girl.
"It's bad form to bite. Rude, you know. Hasn't anyone ever told you that?" I chided Miss Gray with mock seriousness.
"It's also rude to go about grabbing at ladies you haven't been introduced to. Hasn't anyone told you that?" Her eyes flashed at me again.
She hadn't reminded me of that earlier, when I'd pinned her against the door, I noted with some satisfaction. Somehow, it seemed less of a victory now that I knew she wasn't just a girl.
Thomas yelled in warning as a piece of machinery flew across the room. The squat Dark Sister wasn't quite as dead as I'd hoped. She pounced, knocking Henry to the floor. Instinctively, I grabbed a new blade, named it, and neatly beheaded her.
The remaining sister was far from impressed with my actions, and with a roar, she attacked with renewed fire. Diverting the sparks with my blade, I reminded Henry that a retreat would work quite well right about now.
A bolt got by me, and I could only look on in horror as Miss Gray went flying through the air and painfully struck the wall. She crumpled into a pile of dark fabric and brown hair on the floor, and Thomas rushed over to her.
When I swung back round, all I could hear was the sound of Mrs Dark's retreating laughter. She was gone.