Hi. I know that I suck; you don't need to say it.

WARNING: This chapter gets a little steamy at the end. Don't worry, there's nothing graphic. I don't do that. This story will stay rated T.


The dummy's head rolled to the floor, the slightly smoking cloth-covered plastic offering an acrid smell to the air. Jace stood back, his skin gleaming with the sweat of his intense workout. Raising his hand, he raked his hair back and wiped sweat from his face. Again and again he had attacked and destroyed the training dummies in the practice room. Again and again he tortured himself with the images of Clary and Beck kissing, touching, and being in love.

It fueled his passion. It fueled his rage.

He needed this, this release of tension and anger. It was like a drug for him, he constantly craved this feeling. He only felt whole when he fought. It was his nature. But yet…

He felt whole with Clary. He needed her more than the air he breathed. Those five years without her… Not torture. Jace could handle torture. Torture was mere physical pain. Being without Clary… the feeling was indescribable.

Five years.

Five years of every single nerve in his body alight, burning with an intensity that made the sun, in all its magnificent fire and glory, seem to be an insignificant candle. Five years of emotional anguish, a feeling akin to drowning, but the relief of death never came. Instead, every second of every day was spent in that netherworld between death and life. Every single second of five years.

He had not called. He had not texted. Emailed, visited. Nothing. He could not take the risk, for he knew that the second he saw Clary's face, the second he heard her voice, anything left of Jace's self-resolve, his determination, would crumble. He would run to her arms and collapse in heaping sobs, begging her forgiveness and mercy. He would do anything. Beg, kiss her feet, worship the very ground she traversed. He needed her.

Then, he got the proof he needed. He finally found evidence of the foul creature that tore Clary's life apart. He could finally return to Clary.

But he didn't expect that she would move past him. He didn't expect that she would forget him so quickly. He spent five years obsessing and craving her.

And she had moved on.

His long pianist's fingers shook with fatigue as he clenched the blade in a death grip; they mimicked the trembling body to which they belonged. The seraph blade glowed hotly in his hand before it savagely dismembered another practice dummy.



Beck's soft voice startled her, causing her to wince as a few drops of hot coffee splashed onto her hand from the pot. She put her fingers to her mouth and turned, stopping short at the overwhelmingly somber look in Beck's eyes.

"What's wrong?" She dreaded the words that would then come from Beck's mouth without even knowing what was wrong.

He pulled his hands from behind his back; clutched in them were various papers and photos. His next words made her blood run cold. "Jace was right."

She shook her head and turned back around to face the counter. Setting her coffee cup down, Clary braced herself against the cool, smooth, black marble top. Shaking her head again, she answered him in a word: "No."

Beck took two halting steps toward her, reaching out, and then dropped his hands to his side once more. "I'm sorry."

"No." Clary repeated one more time. "If you say he was right, that validates the last five years." Beck winced at her words and took a step back away from her. But then he stopped. Shaking his head, he slammed the papers down on the island and crossed the remaining three steps to her, where he forcefully gathered Clary in his arms and kissed ferociously. His lips attacked hers; his hands roamed her body and fetched her up hard against the refrigerator. Clary pushed frantically at him.

"What are you doing?" She gasped.

"What the hell do you mean it validated the last five years? What does that mean, Clary?" Beck's hands were painfully gripping her upper arms, and she savagely lashed out at him.

"Stop it! Beck, stop. You're hurting me." She tried again to push him away, and this time he relinquished Clary with a wounded look about his face.

"It doesn't validate the way he hurt you, Clary. It doesn't make leaving you okay. He found some stuff on the demon that killed our parents, but that doesn't give him any kinds of rights back into your life." Beck fiercely shoved the papers off of the island and turned once more to Clary. "He left you. Broken. You once told me that you almost died when he left. And now he's back." Beck slid to the floor, his back against the lavender wall. Head in his hands, he looked up at Clary with a mournful gaze. "So, where does that leave us?"

A single rolling tear tracked its way over the apple of Clary's cheek. She dropped to her knees in front of Beck and took his face in her hands. "It leaves us where we've always been. Together. Jace left. I never thought he'd be back." She was grasping at straws now, her incoherent thoughts falling from her lips before she could stop to think about what she was actually saying. "We have a family. We are a family. He's not getting in the way of this. Any of this. I can't-" Beck stopped her, pressing a soft and tender kiss to her lips. Crawling into his lap, Clary wrapped her legs around his waist and nestled her face in his soft neck. Beck's hands stroked through her hair, and they sat together, entangled in one another, for a long time.

"I'm not leaving you." Clary whispered against his skin. "Ever. I can't."

"Ditto." He murmured in her hair.


"Clary, I need to check this out."

She did not know how long they had sat together, but when Beck spoke again, light was slanting in from the western side of the building.

"No. Please, Beck. Please, please, don't leave me here with him."

Beck breathed deeply through his nose, giving every effort of his being into restraining the tears behind his eyes. "Baby, please. Please don't make this harder."

Clary sat back hard, her eyes frantic at the thought. "No, Beck. Take me with you. Please, I'm begging you. I can't be here alone with him. It will kill me!" She grabbed at him in a panic, pleading with words and actions.

"Clary, I have to. And you can't come. You aren't well enough to travel, or hell, even to Portal. Clary, I will be gone for three days, tops. I swear on the Angel, three days. I'm leaving tonight. I will be back on Friday, I promise you, Baby. Three days."

Clary shook her head, her full lips jutting out as tears fell from her emerald eyes. "I can't. Beck, I ca-"

"Yes, you can. You have to be strong, love. I know you can." He cradled her face in his hands, dropping a soft kiss on her lips, her cheeks, her forehead, her hair.

"Then I'm coming with you." Clary's eyes sparked with determination and resolve, but Beck shook his head again.

"No. You are too sick still."

"Then wait for me." Her hands waved in the air with a certain air that was distinctly Clary. He smiled and kissed her again.

"This can't wait."


Clary stepped back from the wall in a huff. The portal was complete, though she was certainly not happy about it. Beck's bad leaned against his leg as he stood back, observing her calmly. She turned and saw him there, unwillingly to let him go. Once more she tried.

"Beck, please don-"

"Ssh. I want to keep this image in my head. Me, the fearless adventurer, you, the woman he loves who is waiting anxiously for his return."

She smacked his chest, but his words had the intended effect. She smiled and stepped into his embrace. Their display of affection was cut short, however, by the patter of little feet charging down the hallway. Kale jumped into Beck and hugged him fiercely.

"Here, Beck." Kale thrust a small moonstone pendant dangling from a small woven cord at Beck. "It's a necklace I made. You pretty much have to wear it." Beck smiled and hugged Kale back, squeezing tightly, before setting the young boy back on his feet. Clary dropped the necklace over Beck's head, and fingered it lightly.

"It's beautiful, Kale."

"I know." Kale shrugged, "Be safe. 'Kay?" Beck nodded, and Kale shouted "Bye!" Over his shoulder before running off in the direction he came.

Beck turned to Clary once more. "Three days. I promise you. That's it."

They kissed once, twice, three more times before Beck stepped through the Portal. Clary waited until she was safely in her room, clutching Beck's pillow before she broke down into gut-wrenching, body-shaking sobs. She knew exactly what these next three days were going to bring, and the one person who would be able to stop it was half way around the world.


The next morning at breakfast, Clary ate silently, ignoring the blond-haired boy as he strode confidently into the room.

"Morning, Baby."

Clary slowly looked up. "Do not address me. Do not look at me. Do not think about me." She looked back to her cereal, to which she muttered, "In fact, don't even breathe."

"I heard that!" Jace answered in a singsong voice.

"I mean it, Jonathan. Leave me alone. You got in my head once, congratu-freaking-lations. It won't happen again." She stood and angrily threw her half-eaten bowl of cereal in the sink and nearly ran from the room.

This is going to be easier than I planned, Jace thought to himself.



"Seriously, Clary," Jace said as he stole up behind her that night. He had to admit that she had almost accomplished avoiding him all day… Almost. "You can't get away from me. I know you better than anyone in this world. I know what you want. I know you still love me." He laid his hands on her shoulders and pushed her back against the wall, blocking her attempted knee-shot to his groin. He tsked at her. "That's not very nice, Missy."

"Get away from me," Clary ground out from between her teeth. "Jace, stop it. Now. I love Beck. Not you. I will always love Beck. It will always be him. There is no competition." She continued struggling, but he was so much stronger than she.

Jace looked straight in the eye, his golden pouring into and searching her green. In them, she saw the truth. They still loved each other. It was as inescapable as death – or taxes – that they could never quit each other. Jace recognized it. Clary recognized it. And like that, their lips meshed, their arms entangled, his knee separated her legs and she slammed into the wall. Breathy moans and gasps fell from their lips as they tried to get closer and closer.

"He might make the ground shake, but can he make the earth move like I can?"

Jace's words came out strangled; his lips were too busy sucking and pulling at hers. He lifted her, hitching her legs around his waist, and moved to Clary's bedroom, stumbling and reeling the whole way. Once there, they fell on the bed, desperate gasps and moans accompanying exploring hands, testing and teasing, pulling and pinching and stroking and pleasing. Clothes flew from their bodies of their own accord, landing on the floor in complete disarray. Their bodies joined and separated, joined and separated. Clary's screams were muffled in Jace's neck and shoulder; Jace's trembling hands reached out and dug into her hips, trying to communicate his pleasure to Clary in every word and touch. He cried out, and they collapsed together in a shivering huddle under the thick down quilt that had once belonged to Beck's mother. There, they reveled in one another's arms, whispering declarations of love and faithfulness and regret. Safely nestled in Clary's arms, Jace fell asleep.

Clary smiled as she watched Jace, nearly dropping off to sleep herself, both emotionally and physically exhausted from the day's events. She turned away from Jace's sleeping body, resting her bare back against his naked chest, and sighed happily, her eyes drifting closed. But then, reality set in. Eyes flying open, her hand fisted and pressed against her mouth as tears flowed from her eyes for the fifth time today. Slowly, she calmed herself down and lay against Jace, staring blankly at the wall in deepest self-loathing and hatred.

How could she have done this.





So… thoughts? I don't do lemons.

Author questions:

How was your Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah?

What was your favorite holiday read?

Have you read The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara?

Leave me some love and some comments. As always, you will get a spoiler.

Be forewarned. This may not get updated for a while again.

Peace and Love,