This story is the combined effort of myself and Ski October. It started off as a series of PMs, and progressed to this. We appreciate you taking the time to read this, and please review!
Disclaimer: We do not own Will, Jem or Gabriel, many thanks to Cassie Clare!
"Grace! Grace, where are you?" Elina called down the beach, looking for her friend. The sky was grey and thunder rumbled distantly, looking as though the clouds were about to release one hell of a torrential downpour. There was no answer from Grace, so Elina wandered a little farther up near the cluster of tide pools and caves at the beach's end. "Grace, it's about to rain. You need to come back! It's almost six, anyway, and I want dinner."
Elina Carter was barely eighteen and had recently acquired her own apartment, a mere twenty-minute walk from the beach. She was of average height, slender, with a heart shaped face, dark brown hair, and multicolored eyes. Her closest friend was Grace Blackwell, tall for her age of seventeen. She had only recently come to live with Elina, but tended to be a bit on the independent side. "Grace, I mean it! I'll leave without you!"
This time an answer came back. "God, Elina, I'm right here." The slender silhouette of Grace picked its way over the rocks to rejoin her friend. Her dirty blonde hair was wind-tousled and still damp from their swim, her skin not even a bit tanner than the morning. "Are you really that desperate to get home?"
"I told you, it's going to rain." She waved a hand in the general direction of the skyline, where storm clouds rolled menacingly. As they watched, a bolt of lightning plummeted into the far-off waves. Elina shivered in the sudden spray of mist the ocean threw over them and slipped her sundress over her bathing suit.
"Eh, we've got plenty of time," Grace scoffed, brushing sand off her shorts, but even as she said the words the sky opened up, drenching them instantly. Elina growled in annoyance as she rummaged in her bag for her baseball cap, which she pulled, with some difficulty, over her head of tangled locks. Her eyes, which changed between various shades of blue and green, were narrowed at her friend.
"Plenty of time, my ass! Lucky we live so close, or I'd take the car and you'd have to walk home!" She started striding away from Grace toward home, but the younger girl caught up quickly.
"Hey! Don't run away. I'm sorry I didn't listen." Elina said nothing. "Lina, I am sorry. Want me to make dinner?"
Elina considered this. Grace only called her Lina in times of stress. "No, I'll take care of it. Thanks for offering, though. Sorry I'm being a bitch, I don't know what's wrong with me today."
They made the rest of the journey in silence, Grace kicking a rock down the beach, Elina humming to herself. They couldn't see anything but the driving sheets of rain; they couldn't even see each other. And yet, as lightning split the sea, they saw a trio of boys not twenty yards ahead. Elina, who had gotten a bit too much sun, wondered if it was an illusion. She nudged Grace with her elbow.
"Do you see those three boys? You do, right? I'm not imagining them, right?" Grace nodded then shook her head, a confirmation of their existence. They hesitated but decided to at least ask if the boys needed a ride anywhere. They looked quite lost, and no one deserved to be out in such weather.
"Uh, hi," Elina said when they reached the trio. She was put off by their clothing, which seemed terribly out of place, not just for July, or the beach, but also for the time period. They looked like they would be right at home a hundred-something years ago, with their nice pants, vests (she vaguely remembered they used to be called waistcoats) and jackets. It was like they were on their way to a wedding, but even that wasn't quite right.
"Do you need a ride somewhere? It's just that my friend and I would hate to be in this weather, so we thought… Well, that you shouldn't be in it either."
The boy in the middle, a handsome dark-haired one with piercing blue eyes, turned to the boy on his right. "Jem, what do you say? Now that we're stuck here– and make no mistake, I'll murder Henry when I find him– we might as well have somewhere to stay, right?"
The boy called Jem, a curious thing with strange silvery hair and eyes, shrugged. "They asked if we wanted a ride, not a place to stay. If we could get that…" He turned to Elina and smiled. "I don't suppose you know where we can stay for the night, or a few nights?" He had a pleasant voice, a British accent, and seemed genuinely kind. Elina checked with Grace.
"What do you say? The apartment's big enough."
"No, absolutely not. We don't even know them! What if they're, like, crazy killers or something?"
"What are the chances of that? Come on, it's just for a few nights, and they seem nice enough."
Grace sighed in apparent aggravation. "Whatever, it's your apartment. I'm just living there. Do what you want."
"Now I know why your mother kicked you out," Elina muttered before turning back to Jem. "Come on, then. It's cold and I'm wet and starving. Follow me." The three boys trailed after her obediently. The doorman, Jeff, shot her a glance that clearly said "And just where did you pick them up?"
"Ask me no questions and I shall tell you no lies, Jeff. They're staying with me for a couple of days." The elevators were, as usual, out of order, so she started sprinting up the staircase, taking the steps a few at a time. She was, as she always was, out of breath by the time she reached the third floor. Grace was too, but the strangers were not. They were in good shape considering none of them looked older than Elina herself, eighteen or nineteen at most.
"Now," she said as she unlocked her door and stepped inside, "I think we need to know who you guys are and how you ended up on the beach with no way to get… wherever you were before." She took off her hat and tossed it in a corner with her bag.
The dark-haired blue-eyed one answered first. "I'm called Herondale, Will Herondale."
His friend Jem spoke up next. "James Carstairs, but call me Jem."
The last boy stepped inside. "Gabriel Lightwood." He had an angular face, hair the color of black coffee and brilliantly green eyes. Grace took an instant liking to him. "And, uh, how did you get here?"
Will shot Jem a glance. "How do we explain?"
"I suppose we explain who and what we are before we can explain how we got here."
"Whoa, whoa," Elina interjected. "What d'you mean, what you are? You're human, aren't you? Or are you an alien come to kill and eat us?"
"I don't know about alien, but I am not entirely human," Will declared. "None of us are. Well, neither Jem nor me nor Gabriel are, at any rate. We are a special– race, as it were, of demon killers."
"Demon killers," Grace repeated. "Am I supposed to believe this?"
"That would make it easier, yes," said Gabriel. "They call us the Nephilim, Shadowhunters, a race of humans created to kill the demons that would ravage the Earth to ashes if we did not prevent it. We used special weapons"– he indicated a blade strapped to his belt, like a shard of ice. The girls wondered why they did not see it before– "and have special markings, called runes, on our skin to… well, they do many different things."
"Runes and demons and Shadowhunters," Elina repeated softly. "And the tattoos, the runes, you all have them?"
"Yes," Jem answered slowly, shooting Will a glance of confusion. "Why?"
"Because I've seen them before! A man, I saw him on the beach just last week, he had those same tattoos… The only one I remember was–" She grabbed Jem's right hand and examined it, yelling in triumph. "This one! The one like an eye!"
"I didn't see any man with those markings," Grace said with a tone of finality, like she was the only sane one of the lot. "I think you must've imagined things."
"I did not! I saw him, I did, I know it!"
"We believe you," Jem said, taking his hand back carefully. "We put on glamours most of the time– glamours hide us from view– but you must've seen through it. I'm impressed, it's not often one meets a mundane with the Sight."
"Wait," Elina begged. "I don't understand."
"There is a world, the Shadow World, where the demons and people like us live. It's hidden from your mortal world, the mundane world. Mundanes are what we call ordinary people. Mundanes with the Sight– like you, apparently– can see through the glamours we put on. You see the world for what it is."
"So she's special, and I'm not? Why can I see you now, then?" Grace asked angrily. She didn't like being outshone by the others, like they were better than her because they could see something she couldn't.
"Because we removed our glamours. We needed you, so we let you see us as we were," Gabriel said quietly.
Elina nodded. "But… why are you telling us all of this?"
"Why did you invite us to stay?" Will said in an arrogant voice, spreading out on the floor and unbuttoning the black jacket he wore.
"Because you looked cold and wet and lonely, and you didn't have anywhere else to stay."
"We could have been murderers. How did you know we were trustworthy?"
"I didn't," she admitted. "I just took a guess. I'm big on adventure, and just looking into Jem's eyes convinced me."
Will shot Jem, who had sunk to the floor a few feet from Will, a carefully appraising look. "You have a gift, my friend. The gift of manipulation. You must use this power, but don't forget, with great power comes great responsibility."
"I was honest, William. I don't know how to manipulate, that's your job, isn't it? Now, unless I am very much mistaken, she did ask why were telling them all this. Because," he started, turning back to Elina with a soft smile, "you need a reason to trust us, and we can't give you that unless you know who we are. You did ask us that before, remember. Besides, you have a touch of the Sight. You ought to know the truth of who you are and about the world you live in."
Grace nodded. "So now that we know who you are, how did you get here without any way to get back? And who's Henry, and why do you want to kill him?"
"Henry is… a friend," Will said with a bit of thought. "It's his damn fault that we're here, that–" He let out a string of curses.
Grace swore under her breath. "Just tell us what happened, why don't you?"
"What year are we in?" Gabriel asked suddenly from his place in the corner. Grace shot him a sideways look. "It's 2011, why wouldn't it be?"
Jem looked down. "Because we just came from 1878, London, and we are not in England anymore, are we? No, your accents give you away."
"London? 1878?" Elina asked in shock. "You must have– I dunno, time-traveled or something to get here!" She was surprised that she believed them, but they seemed honest, and after everything she had learned about Shadowhunters that explained so much, nothing was too unbelievable anymore.
"That," Gabriel said bitterly, "is exactly what happened. Henry was fooling around with magic again, and here we are."
"Magic? You can do magic?" Grace said excitedly.
"No, we can't," Will corrected with his eyes closed. "Henry was messing around with things far too advanced for him– for any human, in fact. That should be left to the warlocks."
"Warlocks? There are warlocks? What exactly–" Elina said, but Jem interrupted. "We'll talk about that some other time, I think. Yes, Will was helping Henry, I was looking for Will, and Charlotte– Henry's wife– sent Gabriel down to fetch the three of us for dinner. We got… sucked in, I suppose you'd say, and found ourselves on the beach with no one in sight but you two."
Elina hopped up from where she had been perching on the arm of a chair. "Dinner! I suppose you all will need to be fed as well… Well, I can manage it, if you eat spaghetti. I guess it doesn't matter, 'cause if you don't eat it you can go hungry." She headed into the small kitchen adjacent to the living room and grabbed a pot for pasta.
Grace stretched. "Lina, I'm taking a shower before dinner."
"Sure, go ahead, just don't take too long and for God's sake don't use all the hot water or I will murder you in your bed."
She rolled her eyes but strode into her bedroom, grabbing a change of clothes and a towel. As long as she was in sight, Gabriel watched her, eyes dipping from her face, to her waist, to her legs and back up. When she was gone he relaxed.
Will, meanwhile, had stripped himself of all unnecessary clothing, wearing only his trousers and shirt, which was untucked and had a few buttons undone. Jem sighed. "Will, kindly keep your clothes on, if not for her sake then for mine." Something hit him. "I'm sorry, miss, but I've realized I haven't caught your name."
Elina turned to him, wooden spoon in hand. "Elina Carter."
"Pretty name," he said with a smile. "Elina."
"Who's your friend?" Gabriel and Will asked simultaneously. They glared at each other before turning to Elina expectantly.
She smirked, recognizing the look in their eyes. Most boys got that looked when they looked at Grace, who was, after all, quite pretty. "Grace, Grace Blackwell."
Will frowned. "Blackwell is a Shadowhunter name. The stars will fall from Heaven before I thought I'd meet a Shadowhunter who not only doesn't know what she is, but doesn't even have the Sight! She's like an anomaly…" His voice trailed off thoughtfully as Grace came back in, towel wrapped around her head.
"Oh, excellent, dinner's ready."