Chapter 1

Author's Note: I know, I know! Patricia, you already have a billion multi-chapter fics on the go; why are you starting a new one? Sorry, but inspiration strikes. This is a rare piece of writing from me in the respect that there will be no Clary bashing (O: gasp!). Let's get to it, shall we? Don't forget to review!

It had gotten a little tense between Clary and Jace lately. The redhead could feel it in the air whenever they spent time together and it was growing every day. Clary didn't know how to stop it. She didn't know what she had done or was doing wrong. The poor girl had no idea how to fix her relationship because she didn't know why it was falling apart in the first place.

It had started a few weeks ago. Jace suddenly started distancing himself from Clary; they didn't spend as much time together anymore. In fact, the only time they spent long hours in each other's presence was when they were training.

Clary still had a lot to learn when it came to becoming the Shadowhunter that she could have been if her mother had told her about the true nature of her father and her blood. She had only started training a few weeks ago, after the great battle they had all faced, so Jace was assigned to teach her all that she needed to know in Shadowhunter society. And most of that was fighting and killing demons.

Clary was trying her best to learn as quickly and greatly as possible, but she no longer got those special looks from Jace when she did something well, the looks that she lived through every gruelling session to see. It hurt Clary so much to think that Jace didn't love her anymore. It was as if a dravak demon had decided to eat out her heart and she didn't know how to fend it off. And no one wanted to help her, either.

"Come on, Clary!" Jace shouted, jerking the girl from her troubled thoughts as he scuffed her head. "Get your mind into this!" They were praccticing hand-to-hand combat, sparring, and Jace was in strict-teacher-mode again. He usually was, whenever he was around Clary nowadays.

She shook her head to clear it, glad that she had pulled back her curly hair from her face, and tried to concentrate on the sparring. She watched every move Jace made, trying to anticipate his strike, but no matter what, Jace surprised her and got through her weak defences. Maybe it was all she had on her mind, maybe she wasn't good at this kind of fighting, maybe she couldn't concentrate on where Jace was moving rather than how he moved. She couldn't help but get distracted by the tensing of his muscles under his tight T-shirt. She remembered, when they had first started, how their sparring usually ended in them both on the floor, which usually resulted in a hot and sweaty make-out session. Not anymore.

She noticed the way the sweat glinted off his face. He was just slightly winded, where she felt about to collapse. "Jace," She started, breathing hard and lunging at him once. He easily blocked her sloppy strike. "Can we take a break?"

"A break?" Jace looked as if the word was unfamiliar to him. "No, we may not. You haven't improved at all in this class."

Clary bit her lip at the blunt remark. She was trying her hardest and pushing herself to her limits, but it all seemed in vain when it came to Jace. He didn't even acknowledge how hard she tried, anymore. "Well, I don't think I'll improve if I pass out." She shot back, then proceeded to approach the bench that supported her towel and water bottle. She was sick of the physical and emotional stress. It was late in the evening, she was exhausted, and she needed a shower.

Jace shot out his arm and grabbed Clary's wrist quickly. As she turned around, he swiftly dropped it as if it burned him. Clary cringed inwardly. His golden-eyed gaze was stern and unfamiliar to her. "No, you are not leaving this training room until you get at least one hit in." Clary used to admire his resiliance, but she didn't like this attitude towards her at all.

"No," She demanded, going to turn once more, "I'm done for today."

Suddenly, Jace exploded. He threw his hands in the air. "Ugh! Why do you have to be like this all the time?" He yelled, causing Clary to jump and then listen to his poisonous words with dread and hurt. Jace had never shouted at her like this. He could get quite intensly angry, but he never blew up at her. "Why can't you be more like Alec?" He exclaimed.

The redhead was taken aback, "Alec! What does he have to do with any of this?" She shouted back. She felt like she could relate more to Alec these days, loving Jace who was always angry and self distructive and who didn't seem to love her back. But, that doesn't mean that they were in any way friends. And having Jace compare her to his parabatai out of the blue did not improve her mood towards him.

Jace leaned in as he raged and Clary was hyper aware of their difference in height as the boy towered over her threateningly. This was all too much. She barely recognized him. "At least Alec can fight!" He threw the words at her like darts.

She advanced, trying to make up for the height difference and showing that she wasn't one to cower, but Jace didn't back down and they just ended up nearly nose-to-nose in proximity. "He has been training for most of his life, Jace! I've only trained for a few weeks! How could that be any comparasin?"

"Yeah, but Alec isn't selfish, like you! At least he knows when to keep his mouth shut! At least he looks out for his family and cares about other people at least as much as he cares about himself! That's a trait that you two do not share."

Clary stepped back swiftly. She couldn't retort. If was as if Jace had slapped her. Selfish? He thought she was selfish?

Seeing her face, Jace looked as if he might take his words back or at least apologize. His fists unclenched and the harsh lines in his face smoothed out into an expression of self-defeat. But, Clary didn't give him the chance to do or say anything. She ran out of the training room and down the infinite maze of halls in the Institute. She nearly got lost once, but was too upset to care, so she kept going until she found her way to her room. The Lightwoods had given her one of her own since she spent so much time here for training. She slammed and then locked the door, looking around at the organized clutter with blurring vision.

She grabbed things, then went into the bathroom for a shower, to wash away the sweat and tears. Standing under the spray of hot water, Clary reflected that all she had ever wanted was Jace and now he didn't seem to want her at all.

Author's Second Note: Okay well that was the first time that I have seriously written Clace. What do you think? And, Malec fans stay tuned because Magnus and Alec have the spotlight in the next chapter! Review?

Take care.
-Patricia Sage