This is a one shot. AU/AH/ Slightly OOC

He leaned against the cool brick wall, the heavy denim jacket protecting his back from the chill. In his hand, he held two large coffees from the local street vendor.

She loved that particular stupid coffee cart. He couldn't figure out why.

It was just your average cup o' joe, available at any street corner for the low, low price of three bucks a pop. One time, he asked her why she loved it so much.

She said it was brewed with love.

He shook his head, just once, in the sort of fashion that said, "Whatever, man."

But that was the coffee she loved. So, every weekday, Monday through Friday, rain or shine, at quarter of three, he stopped and bought two large coffees. He loaded his with cream until it was almost white. She took five teaspoons of sugar. She was crazy. But she was his.

He set the coffees on the stone bench next to him, sat up straight, and felt in his pockets for his box of Marlboros and the decorative lighter she had given him for Christmas. He slipped the thin cylinder between his narrow lips and lit up, taking a long pull. He relished the painful feeling of the smoke in his lungs, the taste in his mouth.

She'd kill him for smoking again.

She said it tasted like she was licking an ashtray.

He blew out, releasing the puff of smoke into the air in front of him. He leaned back into the wall again, rolling his shoulders over the hard bricks and tried to make himself comfortable. Impossible task. He bent his left leg at the knee and propped it against the wall. He shifted his hands into his pockets to keep from freezing and let the cigarette dangle from the edge of his mouth.

She called this his, "arrogant bad boy look."

He thought he pulled it off well.

She just smirked whenever she saw it.

Whatever. He thought.

He looked up at the sky. The sun said it was about three, so she should be out any minute now. Finally, he heard the bell sound, and a few moments later, elated students poured from the front doors, jumping down over the steps, leaping over the sidewalk and anxiously calling taxis. He couldn't blame them. He'd been the same way, if and when he bothered to show up. The way he saw it, he didn't need an education. He worked as a bartender at a local club called Pandemonium. It wasn't great money, but it paid the bills. Plus, he got free admission. And drinks. He got free drinks too.

But now he was done with that.

Unfortunately, she wasn't.

So there he stood, like an idiot. Waiting for her to emerge from the old, dank building and jump into his arms, where he could keep her captive forever.

Or, at least until Monday morning.

He sighed impatiently. He'd been waiting for at least twenty minutes, and his temper had never been that great.

Finally, he saw her bright red hair peek out from a window in the school's front door. She looked out glass, searching for him. He could tell as soon as she saw him. Her eyes lit up and a brilliant smile lit her face. He wanted to deny it, but his face broke into a smile as well. His head bobbed in a curt nod that was meant to look tough and say, "Yeah, I'm here. So what?"

She could see right through it. She could always see right through him. There was no lying, no keeping secrets. They were totally open with one another. They knew each other perfectly, better than they knew themselves.

It was kind of scary when you thought about it.

That cute little red head was headed out the door now, but suddenly, she froze. She whirled and ran back into the school. He stood up now, more than a little worried. He peered toward the door angrily, wondering what could possibly keep her. They were wasting time, and it was pissing him off.

After a few seconds, she returned to the doorway, looking miserable. There were two boys following her. One was medium height, stocky and dark haired. He had his arm around her shoulder, the other was tall and pale, his face carved with acne scars. He carried her jacket.

It was freezing outside, and even from here, he could tell that she was shivering in the chilly November air.

Now he was really pissed.

He stood up and stretched his shoulders apart, trying to appear more intimidating.

The boy with the arm around her shoulders leaned down to whisper something in her ear and she blushed. She tried to get away from him, but he just held her tighter. Her arms crossed over her chest in an effort to warm herself.

He was about to walk over and start a fight when they released her. The tall one tossed her jacket on the ground and as she bent to pick it up, the stocky one looked at her backside and whistled. She bounced up and starting running away, towards him. When she reached him, her eyes were bright, but no tears fell. She blinked a few times and smiled at him. Being the courteous gentleman he was, he helped her put her jacket on, and her eyes lit up when he handed her the coffee, and she only made a slightly disapproving noise when she noticed the cigarette hanging arrogantly from the corner of his mouth. He wrapped and arm around her shoulder as they started walking. She took a long drag from her coffee cup, and he reached around her face to pull the cigarette from his mouth and blow smoke. Once he had replaced it, he asked the question, trying to maintain his composure.

"Who were those guys?"

She tensed, but kept walking. "No one. Just some stupid guys who think they're God's gift to women."

He nodded. He knew the type.

He used to be one. Before he met her.

"So why were they following you?" His voice was dull and flat, but she could sense the turmoil behind his words.

"I don't know, Jace. They're jerks." She sighed loudly, hoping he would catch the hint and change the subject.

He didn't.

"What did they want?"

"I don't know."

"What did he say to you?"

"I don't remember."

"Bull! Quit screwing with me, Clary. I know when you're lying. Your nose twitches."

"It does not!" She cried, quickly covering her nose with her delicate artist's fingers. But she smiled. "It was nothing, Jace. Honestly. They're on the hockey team. They think they're amazing. But in all seriousness, they're not even that good at hockey." He interjected a short, humorless laugh here, "They were just looking for someone to make fun of." She paused again, removing her fingers from her face. "I happen to fill that capacity quite well."

He sighed heavily, knowing what she was getting at. They were at the small apartment he shared with his hideously fat cat, Church. She chattered about her "really, really good day," as they climbed the four flights of stairs to his apartment. He remained silent as he helped her with her coat; it went on the floor to join his. He tried to occupy his hands as he decided what he could say to comfort her. He sighed again and settled on the couch with her, pulling her onto his lap and trapping her in his strong arms. Smiling, he moved his head to her stomach and nuzzled his face against the soft warmth he found there and blew a raspberry against her firm belly. She giggled and pulled his head away from her, looking down at his face and placing a soft kiss on his lips. He tried to deepen the kiss even more, his tongue caressing her full bottom lip, but she pulled away.

"You just smoked. I'm not kissing you anymore." She wore the cutest smirk on her face, and he tried to lean in for another kiss.

She pushed him away.

Sexy, hot-tempered redhead.

She snuggled deeper against his chest. "It must be so nice to have your own apartment," she said wistfully. He sighed again and rested his cheek on her forehead.

"Clary…" He started to say something, but trailed off at the first sentence.

"I know, I know." She said playfully, "I'm incredibly special, no one can make me feel inferior without my consent, those guys are just insecure jerks, as soon as I turn eighteen, I'm moving in with you and we're getting married." She dropped a light kiss on his mouth. "I have that speech memorized." She kissed him again, lingering for a few extra moments. Then she abruptly pushed away and stood. "I need coffee."

She danced to the kitchen, gathering the coffee making supplies.

"You know, pretty soon, I'm just going to hook you up to an IV and let you mainline the caffeine."

"That would be splendid." She replied with a dreamy look on her face. She cocked her head to the side, looking at him curiously, "And, I'm hungry. What do you want for supper?"

"Whatever you make." He teased, smiling at her again. He settled back into the couch, paying more attention to her than to crime drama that was splashed across the television. He lost himself in his thoughts.

They'd met six years ago. She was ten, he was twelve. Her dad was a hot shot private attorney; his dad was on trial for the coldblooded murder of his mother. Jace was the star witness. Clary's nanny had the week off, and since her mother couldn't be bothered to actually take of her child and the nanny service didn't have a suitable replacement, Clary had to tag along to her father's office. Jace had watched as she was given harsh instructions to "sit in the corner and not make a sound. Color or read or something." If she made any noise at all, Valentine's cruel hand whipped out and slapped the ten year old's face, knocking her small head against the hardwood bookshelf. The second time, a small trickle of blood trailed down her face, but she didn't cry. Not once when he slapped her did she make a sound. She just sat there and took it. After the first three times, Clary didn't talk anymore. Jace sat in the other corner, watching as the cute red head sketched and sketched and sketched. She filled countless pages with her exquisite drawings.

Jace didn't speak to her at all that day. He didn't want to be responsible for hurting her. So he said nothing, not until six months later. At the actual trial, Jace worked up the courage to say hello. She's smiled and talked back, something neither one was used to.

They bonded over their love of animals.

They bonded over their unhealthy love of coffee.

They bonded over music.

They bonded over the hate of their parents.

They bonded over the bruises.

Both of them had ugly bruises and scars that lined their bodies in the hidden places that no one would ever see.

It's what made him testify against his father.

It's what made her draw the terrible, scary pictures.

It's what made him sue for emancipation at age fifteen.

It's what made her cut herself.

After the bitter trial, they didn't see each other for two years.

Then one day, he'd looked up from the coffee cart he was benefitting and saw her. It was the gorgeous red head that had been present at the trial. He was celebrating his win in the Family Court with a giant cup of coffee when he couldn't believe his luck.

He ran up behind her and whispered, "I bet you don't remember me." He would be heartbroken if she didn't. But he was safe. She whispered back,

"Only ever other memory."

She had reached out and boldly taken his hand. He had intertwined their fingers and swung their hands back and forth on the walk to her school.

That's how their tradition began. Every day, he would cut his last class and race to her schoolyard. He would wait there for her to come out and they would walk home together. They referred to one another as boyfriend and girlfriend.

Then one day, Clary's father came home early and saw them holding hands. In Jace's words, he "blew an effing gasket."

Clary was beaten bloody that night and was forbidden to see Jace again. After all, Valentine Morgenstern couldn't have a daughter that was polluted by the common sewer rats in New York; wasn't it bad enough that he had to talk to these people for a living? Valentine made enough money to separate himself from the hoi polloi and took great pains to maintain that image.

When Jace tried to sneak into Clary's room that night, she was so scared that she sent him away and told him that she never wanted to see him again. And that he sucked balls.

So Jace had disappeared and didn't see the red head for another two years. The second Jace crawled from her window, Clary regretted what she said and searched for him in vain. Her buffer, her comfort, her best friend had disappeared. For two miserable years, she had to cope by herself. After six months, she lost all hope. Her mother walked out and married an up and coming publicist name Luke. They lived in Paris. They sent Clary a card at Christmas.

In the throes of an abusive father, an uncaring mother, and an absent boyfriend, Clary changed. She started to cut herself, first in secret places that no one would see. She cut the bottoms of her feet; she cut the inside of her thighs. The backs of her legs, her hips. Eventually, she ran out of room and started in on her arms. She had hundreds of scars. Some were deep and jagged; she had cut those with a piece of broken glass. Some were fine and straight; she had used a razor.

Around that time, she stopped eating. Standing at a proud 5'4", she weighed a healthy one hundred fifteen pounds. By the end of her freshman year, she weighed seventy five. When he saw her again, he almost didn't recognize her. Her sallow skin was freakishly contorted over thin bones. It looked ready to tear at even the smallest movement. Jace was terrified of her. He saw her from across the room. Their eyes locked and she'd walked toward him. She was dirty and smelly, but he pretended not to notice.

"I bet you don't remember me?" She asked. The hope in her eyes caused him physical pain. He'd swallowed and nodded.

"Only every other memory." He'd joked.

She smiled, and even that slight movement caused her skin to stretch unnaturally across her face. He'd reached out and stroked her face. She leaned into his palm.

"What happened to you, Clary?"

"I changed."

"Yeah, I can see that."

He'd taken her to his apartment. He fed and bathed her, pretending not to notice the scars, pretending not to notice that he could count every single one of her bones.

She had run away, and her father hadn't noticed yet. She didn't use a nanny anymore, so there was no one to look after her or pay any attention to her.

She had no friends at school since they saw her scars, her tattoo, and her piercings.

They called her a whore, they called her a freak. They called her weird, they called her emo. They made her life a living hell.

But she took it all in stride. She acted unfazed. But deep inside, Jace could see that she was dying. It was at that point that he'd said "Screw this. Screw your dad. He's an asshole. We are going to be together. Forever."

She'd liked the sound of that, and she'd realized that he was incredibly mature for a sixteen year old boy. He took care of her perfectly. He made her go back to Valentine's house, where she received no welcome, because even after three weeks of absence, she was unnoticed. She spent, however, every waking moment at his apartment and in his arms. He made sure that she ate healthy, nutritious food. But he made sure that she indulged in simple treats as well. Simple treats like ice cream and chocolate. He was good like that. He watched her carefully, making sure no more self inflicted scars appeared on her body. Under his careful guidance, she blossomed into a beautiful woman. Though she remained slender, the natural curves of her breasts and hips and legs appeared. For once in her life, she felt truly loved and cared for.

But she realized she knew nothing about him.

She made it her mission in life to find out.

He was incredibly tightlipped about his past.

But slowly, slowly, slowly, he opened up.

The first night she ever slept over at his apartment, her father had come home drunk. He started to hit her. Clary stood there and took it, knowing that if she ran away, the punishment would be worse in the long run. But when he moved to take off his belt, she had turned and fled. She ran to Jace's apartment and flung the door open. He bolted up from his position on the couch, taken one look at her bloody and broken body and said, "You're staying here tonight."

She'd smiled, and trickling over her clean, white teeth, he could see a bloody mess. One of her teeth was broken; most of her body was bruised. Her arm dangled loosely from her shoulder; it had been ripped from its socket. He'd picked her up and gently laid her face down on the couch. He straddled her hips from behind and began to rub her back, knowing that what he was about to do would be extremely painful. She had zoned out at his tender ministrations when all of a sudden –

CRACK!

She had screamed and bucked him off of her, turned and hit him, and flew from the couch to the safety of the corner, cradling her shoulder. She had screamed obscenities, but really, she was only angry at herself. She had trusted him, let him in, and now he had hurt her. She made a mad scramble to the door, but he had intercepted her. He easily grabbed her waist and lifted her, firmly (but gently) holding her against his body. She had screamed and tried to push away, but his grip was too strong. He held her and rocked her and murmured softly in her ear. She stopped trying to push him away, but turned and wrapped her legs around her waist. She buried her head in his neck and sobbed. He stroked her back, letting her cry it out. In calm tones, he explained that her father had forced the shoulder out its socket, and it needed to be put back. He was very sorry he hurt her. She had just looked at him with a tearstained face and after a moment, kissed him. It was a passionate, sensual kiss, and he didn't want it to end.

He was a sixteen year old boy, after all, but he would not be that kind of sixteen year old boy. While she was in the shower washing the blood and sweat from her alabaster skin, he found some extra sheets. He made up the couch for himself, leaving the more comfortable mattress for her.

When she surfaced from the shower forty-five minutes later, only the dark bruises sullied her perfect body. She noticed him on the couch and furrowed her eyebrows, shaking her head. She took his arm and led him to the bed, forcing him to lie down.

"No."

"Yes."

"No. I'm not gonna sleep with you. I'm not going to take advantage of you."

"So we're in the same place, Jace. We're just sleeping. We're both adults," he raised his eyebrows at her choice of words, and she blushed, "well, sort of. At any rate, we're both old enough to know better." Now she raised her eyebrows and slipped between the sheets. Jace follow suit, not wanting to upset her any more, and crawled in beside her. Their bodies had molded and mirrored one another wonderfully. They were a perfect fit.

Then, he woke up in the middle of the night, screaming. She was lying in the bed next to him when it started. She sat up so fast that she saw spinning shapes and patterns in front of her eyes when she shook him awake. He bolted up, his fist flying and connecting with the corner of her jaw. She'd been knocked off of the bed, crashing into the table next to the bed and landed ungracefully on the floor where she sat gasping and whimpering, holding her cheek in pain. She had looked up at him with a terrified look in those luminous green eyes. He had hurt again.

He had looked down at her, then at his hands, then back to her. Then, he had thrown himself off of the opposite side of the bed. He was making funny noises, and when she gathered the courage to look and see, he was sobbing. He fell over himself apologizing and stroking her cheek, but the incident was already forgotten.

"What's wrong?" She asked gently, and like a bursting dam, all of his pent up emotions poured forth like a waterfall.

He told her how, from the day he was born, been told he was worthless and a huge burden. He told her that when he was five, his dad started to touch him in ways that made Jace hurt inside. Stephen said that it would feel good, but really, it just hurt and made him feel dirty. He tried to tell Celine, his mother, after six years of this. Instead of being a man and taking the punishment, Stephen murdered Celine. Then he tried to kill Jace.

Now he was in jail for the rest of his life. No chance of parole.

He broke down crying again, and the fourteen year old Clary had taken the sixteen year old Jace into her arms and rocked him back and forth all night. She's made quiet shushing noises, but never once did she abuse his trust.

That was when she fully understood his attitude. He used his bravado to push people away. He didn't want to be hurt again. Jace adopted a swagger and laughed in the face of adversity to show that no one could affect him. But his personality was real. This was not the act of a poser who was trying to look cool. This was his life. This was how he coped.

When Clary voiced her thoughts, he'd scoffed. But both of them knew that she was right. She held him all night, cradling his head with her hands, burying her face in his hair, letting him nuzzle his face against her neck. They'd eventually fallen asleep, only to wake up when Church tried to sit on Clary's face.

From that moment on, their relationship was understood to be that of more than friends. They accepted each other unconditionally. They were more than in love, they were one person. One mind with two bodies. She took his attitude in stride, letting him play the tough guy, the protector, but always kept him in check. He took her mental issues and made them better. They perfectly completed each other. There was even talk of marriage.

Two more years had gone by; he had turned nineteen last week, and she would be seventeen in three days. He was jostled from his reverie when Clary flopped down beside him again, handing him a cup of coffee. He looked down, seeing the comforting beige color of the coffee with cream.

"There's your cream with a few drops of coffee thrown in for taste."

"You're one to talk, sugar queen."

She made a face and swung her legs up, lying back on the couch and placed her bare feet in his lap. He absentmindedly traced one of the silver scars on the bottom of her feet. Her head fell back and giggled.

"Stop," She laughed, "That tickles."

"That's why I do it, Woman." He leaned down and kissed the top of her foot, but he didn't stop tracing the scar.

"Clary?" He started in a questioning tone. She looked up at him, curiosity sparking in her eyes.

"In all seriousness. Who were those guys?"

"This again?" His tone and the look on his face told her that he was done messing around. He wanted answers and he wanted them now. She sighed and started in, beginning with, "It's a long story."

"I've got nothing but time." He gestured for her to begin.

She sighed again, but this time she told him the story.

"They saw my scars in gym class." He groaned in defeat and his head fell back against the couch. "Those two guys?" She asked him. He nodded.

"The assholes?"

"Yes. Them." A small smile played at her lips, but it was gone a second later. She took a fortifying sip of coffee and continued, "Well, their names are Simon and Sebastian. I slept with Simon when I was thirteen."

Jace bolted up from his comfortable position, effectively spilling his coffee all over Clary's feet. She winced and sat up, brushing the hot liquid onto his lap.

"What?" He thundered, grabbing her shoulders and jerking her towards him.

"You heard me. I slept with Simon when I was in eighth grade. He was a sophomore."

"Why am I only finding out about this now?" He asked in a snide tone. For a fleeting moment, she looked hurt, but then she matched his voice.

"Because you didn't need to know. You didn't tell me about your past lovers, do you?"

She had him there. He had no idea how to breach that particular topic and tell her about Isabelle and Aline and Kaelie and the others.

She knew she hit home when his retort died on his lips. She sighed and sad look came into his eyes.

"I guess that he and Sebastian had a bet. Whoever got in the pants of the creepy redhead first won. So for a few months, Simon and Sebastian pretended to be my friends, and eventually, Simon asked me out. It was pretty soon after I made you leave that night."

He knew exactly which night she was talking about. Hadn't he just been thinking about it? His hands fisted, his breathing came faster and faster, his eyes narrowed into slits. If she noticed, she said nothing.

"So we went out on a date or two, and then he took me to this crappy pay by the hour motel and we had sex." She showed no emotion when said this, but her voice tremored just a little. "I thought I was in love with him, so I went along with it. But, whatever. It's in the past. The next day at school he got up in the cafeteria and told everyone that I begged him to sleep with me and that out of pity, he did." Jace gasped in outright outrage. "So I cornered him and told him that if he ever said anything about that night again, I would chop off his balls with the razor I used to cut myself." She chuckled and got up to refill her coffee cup. "So that's what they were ribbing me about. Simon asked if there was any chance he could get a repeat of that night. When I told him to suck it, he said 'No, baby, that's what you're supposed to do.'" She sighed again. "Yep, I walked right into the one."

She walked back to the couch and sat on his lap again, paying no mind to the still wet denim.

"Let me up, Sweetheart." His voice was gruff.

"Where are you going?" She was worried now.

"For a walk. Now let me up." She stood and watched with an ache in her chest as he walked out the door. She sighed heavily. She knew exactly what he was going to do. She turned the T.V. off and settled down at the table for him to return. He would stumble in, late at night, and would be bloody and bruised. He was going to pick a fight with Simon and Sebastian.

She should have stood her ground.

She shouldn't have told him about that night.

She was so stupid.

She stood and aimlessly walked around the apartment.

Jace said that as soon as she turned eighteen, she was moving in with him, but in reality, she was basically living with him. She had a few sets of clothing hanging in his small closet. She had a drawer of her things in that dark brown dresser in the corner; it was second from the top. She had backup toiletries in the bathroom. Jace was so wrapped around her finger that she even had a few feminine products stored in the back of his bathroom closet. She spent nearly every waking moment in this small, crowded apartment.

I should do something – anything – constructive.

She made dinner – nothing fancy, just a chicken sandwich with an apple, and left some for Jace. She did the dishes. She vacuumed. She cleaned the window and straightened up the small living room. She made the bed and bleached the shower curtain. Four hours had gone by. She made more coffee, determined to wait up for Jace. She two more cups. After she poured herself a third, she abandoned her coffee at the table and curled up in the window seat. Her head fell into her hands and for the first time in a long time, she had a good, long cry. Tears fell like rain until she was spent. Clary looked out the window at the sun setting over the Brooklyn skyline and sighed. She hated it when Jace was like this. She knew that he'd had a tough life, but so did she. And you didn't find her running out to try to kill all of Jace's ex-girlfriends. She walked back to the table.

She finished her coffee and walked into the bathroom.

Jace lit another cigarette and slipped it between his lips, a snarl building deep in his chest. He would kill that bastard Simon. And he was going to give Sebastian a run for his money too. He stood across the street from Pandemonium. Those two "men" spent a lot of time there, trying to pick up chicks, get drunk, get high, or all of the above. He had a feeling that they would be inside, and after a while, he was proved right. He couldn't go inside, of course. If he started a fight inside, he could lose his job. But outside, off of the property? Those two were free game.

And he was a predator.

He dropped the finished cigarette to the ground and stamped it out with his foot. Just as he looked up, the two stumbled from the door of the club. Even from across the street, even with all of the bass pouring from the club, Jace could hear their obnoxious laughter.

It made him sick.

He decided to fix that nauseous feeling by pounding in their worthless, ugly faces. He started across the street and got their attention.

"Hey."

They spun and the look of terror on their faces amused Jace. He nodded at them when their fear faded.

"How's it going?"

"Good, brotha, and you?" Simon answered.

"Can't complain. Especially now that I'm about to give you the worst beating of your life. You might end up in a hospital." Jace smirked, "Well, one can hope, at least."

"Listen, my man. My brotha Simon and I here play hockey. We bench two-fifteen without breaking a sweat. You don't want to do this-" Sebastian started with a cocky look on his face.

"Oh yes, I really do." Jace smiled as he interrupted and sent a fist into Sebastian's nose.

"You know Clarissa Morgenstern?" Jace savored the look of recognition that flared in Simon's face. Sebastian, on the other hand, was out cold.

Pansy.

"You were outside school today. What are you, some kind of pervert?"

Big. Mistake.

Jace's fingers curled again as he started to talk. "I guess that you would know all about being a pervert, wouldn't you?" Jace paused and let that sink in, "Clary is my girlfriend. She told me what you did to her when she was thirteen."

"Oh, please. That bitchy whore was begging for it."

As soon as Simon said that, Jace's fist flew. Simon then proceeded to fall back against the concrete, where he laid for a moment. A moment was all Jace needed though. His foot connected with Simon's ribcage in a powerful kick. Four more times this happened, and each time, Simon's body jerked and bounced against the ground. A small groan escaped his lips, but Jace didn't stop. Again and again, Jace hit and kicked the douche bag. A growing puddle of blood was surrounding the two boys.

"Please…" Simon's voice was barely above a whisper.

"What was that?" Jace taunted.

"Please, stop. Please… I won't touch Clary… ever again. I won't… talk to her. Please." His voice was small and weak. He took a moment to spit blood and curl up, holding his stomach in pain.

Jace leaned down and grabbed a fistful of hair. "I know you won't ever even look at her again, right?"

Simon nodded again, a pathetic groan escaping his lips.

"That's right, bitch, because if you do?" Jace ended on a question to scare the quivering mass on the ground in front of him, "I will find you. And this," Jace yanked on the hair he was holding, "will seem like a spa day. Understood?"

Simon nodded and gave a pathetic whimper.

"Good. Tell your friend."

As Jace got up to leave, Simon struggled into a sitting position and foolishly tried to bait Jace. "Do you treat your girlfriend like this, Tough Guy? No wonder she came running to me."

Jace stopped, counted to ten, and turned to Simon once more. He leaned down and whispered, "At least I don't have to rape someone to get a little action."

Simon at least had the decency to flinch. Jace stood and aimed one more powerful kick at Simon's face. He flew backwards and was unconscious.

Jace froze. He looked at Simon's body, and Clary's tearstained likeness appeared in front of him.

Oh no. Clary.

He never ran so fast in his life.

He got to the apartment and flung the door open. He'd left the apartment around six PM, and it was now two AM.

Don't be worried.

He repeated this to himself over and over. Clary had had several relapses since she got better, but they hadn't had an incident in over eight months. He breathed a sigh of relief when he heard the shower running.

Well, that girl certainly does like to be clean.

He quietly knocked on the door, asking, "Clary, are you in there?"

"Don't come in!" Her shrill voice alarmed him. He twisted the knob… Only to find it locked. He put his shoulder against the door and pushed, but that didn't work. It was too tightly wedged to accomplish anything.

"Clary? Clary, stand back!" He braced himself, and the door gave way with a swift kick from his boot-clad foot. He rushed in, only to recoil in shock and disgust.

Clary was sitting in the shower, the water turned on full blast with a razor in her hand. She had a slightly manic look in her eye as she dragged the razor across the inside of her calf.

At least forty scars had been opened.

Her wrists, arms, feet, thighs, calves, and chest had been sliced.

She had been at this for a long time.

He couldn't tell how much blood had been lost; the running water of the shower prevented that, but she was pale and shaky, indicating that entirely too much blood had been lost, and judging from the position and depth of the cuts, she was about to bleed out.

Jace reacted quickly. He slapped the razor from her hand and grabbed her scantily clad body from the tub. He was close to panicking; he had never seen her this bad.

She wouldn't stop trying to reassure him.

"Don't worry, Babe. It only hurts for a second. It will all be over soon. Stop, Sweetheart. Let the blood come. It feels good."

"Not for me, it doesn't." Jace spoke through gritted teeth. "Stop it, Clarissa. I need to get this bleeding to stop."

"No, don't!" She cried out with such ferocity that he was a little frightened. But he didn't stop applying pressure to the worst of the cuts.

"Why not, Baby?" Jace tried to distract her, and it worked. In a voice raw with painful emotions, she answered,

"Because it's the only way I can feel."

He grabbed her face in both hands and kissed her.

"Did you feel that?"

She nodded miserably.

"I make you feel. Don't ever say that again."

And just like that, she snapped back into herself. She lay still as he wrapped the sheets around her arms and legs to apply steady pressure.

She lay still when he went to the bathroom and dug around in the closet until he found what he was looking for. Inside a small, brown shoebox, he kept hundreds of yard of gauze and pressure bandages. She lay still as he soothingly wrapped her arms and legs with layer upon tight layer of gauze and dressings.

She sat up in bed, still motionless as he brought her orange juice and ice cream to stabilize her blood sugar. She let him feed her small bites of his sandwich, his eyes tight with worry and pain.

She stayed silent and detached the whole time. Eventually, she drifted into sleep, but not him. Jace stayed vigilante the whole night, watching her sleep, checking her weak pulse every few moments, always making sure that she was still breathing. She slept straight through the next day, not even waking up when he made himself spaghetti. It was one of her favorite dishes. He'd hoped that the smell would rouse her, but she stayed in the sweet land of dreams.

He didn't leave the apartment, calling in sick to work, calling for a pizza delivery for dinner. He only left the bed she laid in to relieve himself and to get some sustenance to coax down her throat.

After nearly twenty-four hours of sleep, she woke. He was sleeping fitfully next to her, having finally succumbed to his bodily needs. She sat up and smiled, reaching over to brush the hair from his eyes. She laid a tender kiss on his forehead as she pushed the stiff and blood matted sheets back to rise from the bed.

Clary got up and went to the bathroom. Brushed her teeth. Changed her clothes. Ran a load of laundry. Had a bowl of cereal.

Jace woke to the smell of fresh coffee. He reached out for Clary's warm body, expecting to pull her towards him and snuggle for a few moments before she had to run to school. He didn't find her.

Everything over the past thirty-six hours came back to him with a vengeance. He sat up with a start and wildly looked around the room. Her small body was curled up on the window seat. Even from the bed, he could see that she was breathing and moving. He fell back with a sigh of relief, and then wrenched himself from his comfortable bed to walk over to her. He approached Clary cautiously, but she turned and looked at him, saying, "What the hell are you doing? Why are you tiptoeing?"

That stopped him outright, and suddenly he was angry.

"What the hell did you start up again for? Clary, what were you thinking? Are you crazy? You almost died. Don't you ever do that aga-" He cut off in disbelief as she stood, poured a cup of coffee and handed it to him.

"I know. I'm sorry."

"You're sorry?" He reached out and punched the wall, leaving a sizable dent. When he saw her flinch, he regretted it.

"Yes, I'm sorry." She said it simply, as if she were stating the weather, not apologizing for almost killing herself.

"Clary…" He sighed.

"Jace..." She mimicked his tone and wrapped her arms around his waist. He was as hard and unrelenting as a statue, but he relented after a moment, slipping his arms around her waist and sliding his fingers up her shirt to rub her back.

"Why did you do it?" He asked.

"I don't know." Her voice was even and calm; it displayed none of the frenzy that had taken over the other night. "I guess… I just felt like my control was slipping. When you left, I was scared and worried, and I had to let it out somehow. I don't know how to control it all yet." She buried her face in his chest. "I wish I were more like you. You're always so in control."

"Do not. Ever. Do that to me again. Do you understand? Or else I will kick your skinny little ass."

She sighed and nodded as he rested his cheek against the crown of her head. Sexy, broken, little redhead.

"Wait," What she just said hadn't taken full effect yet. "Why do you say that I'm always in control?"

"You just are." She shrugged, not knowing quite what to say. "No matter what, you never break down. You never get upset at me, you've never hurt me. Even when I do something stupid and piss you off, five minutes later I'm always forgiven." She closed her eyes and breathed in his scent. He smelled delicious, like lemons and sweat, a little of her grapefruit body wash… and blood.

Alarmed, she took another deep whiff, trying to determine where the all-too-familiar odor came from. He took a step back and watched her with a funny look on his face.

"Uh…What are you doing, Babe?"

She looked up at him accusingly. "You got in a fight last night, didn't you?"

"No." He answered truthfully. It hadn't been last night. Knowing that he was keeping something from her, he raised an eyebrow at him and he smiled. It had taken him weeks to teach her how to do that. "Well, it wasn't last night. It was the night before. I haven't left the apartment since…" He trailed off, hesitant to say anything lest it be wrong, "Since I came home."

She sighed through her nose. "Who was it?"

"Simon and Sebastian. Well, not so much Sebastian. That pansy-ass was out cold after the first punch."

She gasped and jerked back away from him. Clary turned her back to him and walked to the kitchen, silently letting a few tears fall. She completely ignored him when he frantically called her name.

"Clary? Clary please. I'm sorry! Please, don't hurt yourself, Baby!" He came roaring to a stop behind her, grabbing at her hands and frantically checking her for any sort of injury. She looked at him, puzzled.

"What are you talking about?" Her voice was flat and even. Not even a hint of crazy. "I was just getting more coffee."

He crushed her to him, basking in her soft warmth. She kept him a safe distance from the brink of insanity. If she was gone, he would lose himself. He whimpered softly as she lifted his bruised hand and placed an adoring kiss on each of the tender knuckles. Her lips moved to his palm, and she nuzzled her lips against it. Her affection was doing funny things to him. He shook his head to clear his thoughts.

"Clary," he started in hesitantly. He didn't really apologize. Ever. His proud nature kept him from doing so, "I'm sorry that I lost it the other night. After you told me what they did, I just snapped. So I snapped a few of few of their bones." He laughed without humor, knowing that she wouldn't find it funny. She smiled sadly at him.

"That's just how you are, Jace." She looked down from his face to his chest. That perfect, muscled chest. She started tracing the planes of his chest with her fingers tips, making him shiver. "You're in control of your actions, even when you feel like your slipping." She looked back up at his half-closed eyes. His rhythmic breathing was comforting her. "I love you."

An outright grin broke across his face. "I love you too."

Later that day, they lay tangled up in the sheets, their bare arms and legs intertwined with one another's as they kissed and dozed and lazed the day away in bed. Jace trailed open-mouthed kisses along her collar bone, murmuring sweet nothing against her naked skin. She giggled and played with his too-long golden curls.

"You need a haircut, Jace."

"Hmmm?" He whispered, "I was distracted by all this lovely skin you're showing."

She giggled again and playfully pushed his face away. "You're such a dork."

"Oh yeah?" He challenged lightheartedly, "Well, you are dork-lover!" He kissed her again and trailed his fingers over her taut stomach. All of the bandages had made the past few hours difficult, but well, they figured out an arrangement.

"Jace," Clary started to ask, but she stopped and hoped he hadn't heard her. No such luck; he did.

"Yes, love?"

"Why do you love me?" She blurted out the five words before she thought them through. Jace froze and looked at her in wonder.

"What are you talking about?"

Oh well. It was too late to take it back now. But she could try.

"Nothing. Never mind." She turned over on her other side and started to get up, wrapping the sheet around her undressed body. Jace reached out and grabbed her arm, pulling her back towards him.

"Why did you ask that?" He lightly gripped her face and forced her to look at him. "Why did you say that?"

She squirmed under his intense gaze. "I don't know. Nobody else loves me. It doesn't really make sense for you love me." She shrugged again.

"Where is all this coming from?" He wanted to explode, to kill anyone who had every hurt her, but he kept his emotions in check. This was not the time to scare her.

"Well," she paused and placed a hand over her eyes, "my dad always said I'm ugly and fat and worthless. Simon and Sebastian just say I'm ugly whore. But you," She reached out and lovingly stroked his face, "You always say that I'm beautiful and wonderful. You're the only person who has ever said 'I love you' to me. I was just curious why you love me. No one else does. You've never hurt me." She finished simply, but Jace was boiling inside. He knew that Valentine was cruel to his daughter, but he never knew it was that bad.

He leaned down and kissed her, "I love you because you are you. You are unique and special and wonderful. You're funny and sweet and," he shook his head, "even though you're addicted to caffeine and any children we have will probably be born with two heads-"

"More to love!" She retorted.

"Even though it will be born with two heads," he continued, shooting her a look, "You are perfect. You fit to me perfectly. Mind, soul and body." he wiggled his eyebrows suggestively and playfully pinched her hip. His lips brushed her cheek before placing a quick peck on her nose. "That's why I love you. I just looked past all the walls you put up around other people. I just had to look past the scars." She breathed in his scent again as he reached across her body to wear his jeans lay in a heap on the floor. He dug around in the pocket for a moment. When he sat up, he had pulled a small box out.

"What's that?" She asked suspiciously.

"I can show you a little better than I can tell you," he smirked and opened the bow. Nestled inside was a beautiful ring. A gold band made a perfect circle, and sitting on top was a small diamond. "It's all I can afford right now," he said, a little embarrassed at its size, "but I'm saving up to get a better one."

"No." She said with a note of finality in her voice.

"What?" He asked, completely deflated. This was the first time a girl had ever turned him down.

"No," she repeated, "don't get a bigger one. This is perfect. It's simple and unassuming. I love it!" She pulled it from the box and slipped the ring on the third finger of her left hand.

Jace breathed a sigh of relief. "I thought you were saying no to me." He admitted in a small voice.

She looked up at him in wonder for a moment before kissing him with more passion and love than she had ever felt before. She pressed his body to his again, wanting more and more of him.

She pulled back for just a moment. "Never." She whispered, and suddenly his lips were on hers again.

All that existed was Jace; all she felt, hoped, breathed, wanted, and saw was Jace. Nothing else mattered.

So that is my first MI oneshot. Thoughts? Press that sexy little 'Review' button.

Feel free to add this to your favorite story lists too. I won't mind at all. Really.

Anyway, major props go to KissingFire, because when I read her story Paper Hearts and Twenty Dollars (which is the story I'm recommending) I got the idea. In her story, Clary is an anorexic cutter who loses her virginity to Jace, who is on a dare. This story formulated from that plot. So go read her story. It's amazing.

This is also the longest thing I have ever written. Over 8,000 words!

Goodness.

Don't get used to it. Haha.

Peace and Love,

SpeakNow1118