The room was black, as if it had yet to be made from nothingness, a stuffed vulture glaring with beady eyes stood against a high bay window. Heavy, floor-length curtains hung from the window, the red velvet drawn tight so nothing got through into the void. The air was odorless, but the taste of rot was everywhere. Nexus stood in the middle of the room, a white satin dress billowing in the faint breeze. The air was cold, so she had her arms crossed firmly over her chest, her teeth chattering in the back of her head as she walked to the window to open the curtain and let the light in. Eying the vulture in distrust, it looked back her, breathing slowly. She almost gasped in fear, but Nexus had a sinking feeling that if she made a single sound, something terrible would happen. Watching the living bird, she began to pull the curtain back, but the bird suddenly attacked her, pecking and clawing at her face. It tore at her skin, scratching her eyes. A frail voice cried out from the shadows at the vulture.
"Stop, let her see me! Let her see what I am, what this body has become!" The voice commanded regally, a hint of bitterness stabbed through each syllable.
The vulture ceased its attack, returning it its perch. Nexus looked at herself, blood red as candle wax running in twisting patterns across her skin, bright bursts of it blooming on the white material of her dress. She shook her head, opening the curtain. The room beyond was pure white, hung with powder blue strips. A bed, laid on top of a slab of white marble, was engraved with lines of Purgatoric, sky blue sheets layered over the top. A gauzy veil separated the bed from the room, a slit fluttering open along the side. The windows were covered in here as well, and the air grew rapidly colder as Nexus approached the bed.
"Wait, that is close enough..." The voice cracked, speaking from behind her, "Don't look at the bed... Just turn around."
Turning, she was met with the back of a woman facing her. The woman's hair was like black rain, strands of white spilling at odd intervals down to her thighs. The woman was thin, too thin to have her internal organs intact, an ash-colored corset binding her majestic navy coat to her body. Silver bands wound up the woman's arms, pinning the shimmering material to her, a white long sleeved dress poking up from the low collar of the jacket.
"Nexus, my sweet," The woman spun slowly around, her body stiff as if it didn't want to obey her, "don't be afraid."
The woman's face was almost as white as her low-cut dress, her cheeks hollow and sticking out like pitched tents on either side of a face that was once beautiful. Her eyes were gold, the irises a dim gray, filmed over by blindness. Bags hung from her eyes like double-ended leeches, a tracery of veins masking her visible body like lilac lace. A black velvet choker was tied around her neck, dangling limply was a silver star connected to a crescent moon. Her lips were probably painted black, but the chunky scarlet stain trailing from her mouth, down her chin, over her dress all the way to the floor made it impossible to tell. The wall of gore spilling down her was fresh and nearly solid, explaining why she was so thin.
Looking at the woman, Nexus screamed.
XxX You Think You Love Me XxX
"Pass the milk," Nexus stabbed violently at her cereal, scowling at the other end of the table where Magnus sat with the milk carton.
Her eyes were dark, almost bruised-looking, ringed with slim circlets of exhaustion, and her father did not fail to notice, "Did you sleep at all last night?"
She shrugged, "I woke up half-way through the night, and I wasn't able to get back to sleep. Milk?"
Alec remembered what had happened to Jace eighteen years ago, when Lilith had resurrected Clary's brother Sebastian, "That's more than a night's worth of insomnia. Nexus, you have to tell us what's happened, or what is happening could get much worse."
"It's nothing like that... She was already dead," She sighed, crumbling underneath her fathers' concerned gazes, "the truth is, I have been having nightmares these past few weeks, and in every single one, I start out in some undefined black room, a window and stuffed vulture the only things visible. It's freezing, so I reach to open the window, and it attacks me, but a voice calls it off. That's where it ended the first night, but last night, I was able to open the window, and see what was behind the curtain."
Magnus, who had been listening intently, looked alarmed, "What did you see?"
"A bedroom. It was full of white light, and a bed on stone," She shook her head, deeming the room's details unimportant, "the same voice who called to the vulture spoke to me, telling me to turn around and to be unafraid. I turned, and I saw a woman."
"What did she look like?" Alec was following the story as if his life depended on it, which in a sense, it did.
The sunken flesh and dead skin flashed across Nexus' mind, "She wasn't facing me at first, so all I saw was long back hair, lined with white. When she turned, her skin was almost as white as her dress, and was stretched over bones and veins. Her eyes were gold, filmed to a dim gray, and below that were thick black bags, like slugs. Her necklace, it was very expensive looking, made of black velvet and hung with a silver star and moon. But the terrible part was her body; it was falling in on itself, only a little more meatier than a skeleton. Blood was pouring from her lips, all the way to the floor."
Magnus and Alec exchanged meaningful glances, the former speaking in a low, soothing tone, "Lollipop, that woman was an old friend of mine... And your birth mother."
That's a way to kick this fic off, huh? Fifteen years later, and poor Nexus is seeing the corpse of her mother? And with a poll? (Do you see Clary and Jace as parents?) Well, in case this fic gets any new readers, allow me to explain the situation. Fifteen years ago, three after City of Fallen Angels/conclusion of the Mortal Instruments, Alec is away on a crap ton of missions, and suddenly Clary and Jace show up at Magnus' apartment with a baby and a letter. The letter is from Magnus' old friend Devon Grey, naming him as the Godfather of her baby girl, Nexus Bane. She has passed away, so now Magnus is the father of her baby, and the minute he finds out, Alec comes back. Accepting the child at once, they discuss taking the next stage in their relationship; moving in together. The end of "Enter At Your Own Risk", sees the family going home together.
Told you all that Magnus and them would return!