His queen would be pleased.
The moment Elaine Lewis had spoken the words, a telepathic message had been sent to the only person in this world with enough power to temporarily separate the Morgenstern brothers. Elaine had been the catalyst, but his queen was the savior of this battle.
Of course, Daigon knew of his lady's true intentions—she could not hope to rule this world with the Daylighter in the picture. No, she would need Sebastian free to accomplish her goals. And she'd received that in spades only a few minutes ago.
From the moment she'd entered Elaine's dreams, this had been her plan. There were no coincidences along the journey; everything had been pre-planned since the beginning, even his appearance in the small potions shop where Isabelle Lightwood had come calling for answers.
Freeing the spawn of Lilith would be quite beneficial to her cause. She grew weary of hiding from the Clave; her power was far superior and nothing to be trifled with. The Seelie Queen didn't do anything without a steep price in return for her services. Sebastian's loyalty would come. She'd already foreseen his allegiance.
The trusting band of Shadowhunters—and the warlock who detested his queen as much as she loathed his existence—were none the wiser. But soon that would change. Soon the war would come and they would be the ones begging for mercy.
Now was not that time.
Now, he had to play the part.
Daigon clutched the Mundane to his chest; she looked so peaceful sleeping in his arms. Although she was older than most of his consorts, there was an intriguing aura around the vampire's mother. However, it was a futile fancy; he could not get involved with a human.
"Simon?" Daigon heard Isabelle's weak voice crying out to the hunched figure leaning against the Morgenstern casket. "Are you okay?"
"I should be dead. You should be dead," he answered, quite out of breath.
She kicked him playfully in the leg; a smirk crept over Daigon's face. "Well, nice to see you too. And you're welcome," she snapped.
Simon looked up with bloodshot eyes. "Where's Sebastian?"
"Unfortunately, he is long gone, as is Jace. We couldn't get to them in time," interjected Magnus.
"The Queen told us that there might be consequences for the magic we used," added Alec.
How right they were. Things had turned out even better than The Seelie Queen had predicted. She was afraid for her life and the life of her people. That hadn't been a lie. But it was not Sebastian that she feared. His queen feared retribution from the Clave, which was now next to impossible with Sebastian on the loose and their precious Jace following suit.
Simon hesitantly sat up. "You let them get away? How could you do that?"
"We had a choice. We could either save your life and set Sebastian free so that we might kill him at a later date without harming young Jace, or let you take your own life and end the world right here and now. What would you have done?" grumbled Magnus.
"Well, he's still free either way. You should have just let me die," Simon moaned, tugging on loose strands of his ichor encrusted hair.
"We thought there would be a chance to get to Sebastian before he escaped, but everything happened so quickly. There just wasn't time. And this is Jace we're talking about, not some stranger. You kill Sebastian, you kill Jace," Isabelle added.
"I'm well aware." Simon got to his feet, visibly shaken from his ordeal. "And whose bright idea was it to bring my mother into this?"
"She was the only person that could break the spell," Daigon stated. "It required a sacrifice of innocence."
"What did you do to her?" Simon barked, stumbling across the blood-stained tiles. "Get your filthy hands off of my mother!"
"Easy, Simon," Isabelle cooed, fear brimming in her eyes.
"Daigon helped us rescue you. He's been very good to your mother," said Magnus.
"I don't care what he's been." Enraged, Simon turned his steely glare on Isabelle and Magnus. "You two did this. Didn't you?"
"I…" Isabelle trailed off, seemingly defeated.
Phase two of the plan was working—turning the opposition against itself.
Reluctantly, Daigon lowered Elaine's body to the Sanctuary floor. He might not agree with his leader's plan, but he would not go against the Queen. Her instructions had been followed to a tee. It was time for him to leave.
"ANSWER ME!" Simon howled, kneeling down next to Elaine's slumbering body.
"I had no choice," confessed the Shadowhunter, her voice a mere whisper. "The Seelie Queen wouldn't agree to help unless I was the one who told your Mom about you being a…vampire. It was the only way to save you. She had to accept you for what you are, not what she perceived you to be."
Tears welled in the vampire's eyes, though nothing fell. "You have no idea what you have done."
"She saved your life!" Magnus roared. "Think about that, Daylighter."
"No, she didn't. I'm already dead. And now Sebastian is out there somewhere!" Simon hissed.
"If we hadn't saved you, he would still have been freed. And you wouldn't be here to yell at us!" Isabelle screeched, throwing her hands up.
"He's easier to fight now. Don't you understand that?" Alec asked. "He's unprotected without you as a shield. There's no mark preventing us from killing him. If we found a way to pull you and Sebastian apart, we can certainly do the same with Jace."
"And then there's only Sebastian left," added Isabelle.
Wrong, Daigon thought.
"And don't you understand that my mother would have never found out about me had you not interfered? I would be dead for real, and she would be happy with Becca. But oh no, you just had to go meddling." He scooped up Elaine and cradled her close. Daigon thought he saw her lips moving. "And now nothing is ever going to be the same again."
"We can erase everything from her memory," offered Magnus. "It will be as if nothing happened."
Simon jerked away. "Don't touch her."
Elaine stirred; Daigon's heart skipped a beat.
"Simon!" Isabelle gasped.
"Stay away from me, Isabelle. You did this. No one touches her. Not again. I will not play with her memories again," snapped Simon.
"Simon, please," Isabelle pled.
Elaine opened her eyes. "Simon?"
"Mom," he breathed out. "Are you okay?"
"I had the strangest…" she trailed off, her eyes growing wider.
"Mom?" The panic in Simon's eyes was startling.
"Put me down," she demanded. "Don't touch me."
Simon did as she requested, hesitantly and full of apprehension. "Mom…"
"I may have saved you on this night, but that does not make me your mother. My son died when he became a vampire. I merely saved you from falling deeper into the Devil's grasp. Don't come home. Don't write. I never want to see you again."
Elaine rushed out of the door, leaving Simon gasping for air that he would never find.
"It doesn't have to be this way, Simon. Don't you want her to live a normal life, away from all this?" Magnus inquired, reaching for the boy. "One simple—"
"NO!" Simon crept toward the door. "Leave us alone. Leave me alone. Fight your own battles. I'm finished with all the deception and blood and tears. I'm through being used."
They all stood there in shock as Simon trudged out of the Sanctuary after his mother.
Magnus curled up next to Alec and Chairman Meow, mulling over the past few hours. Somewhere out there, Simon and Elaine were struggling with acceptance—acceptance of the truth, of rejection, and of fate. He'd always known that Elaine would pull through in the end. When faced with the death of their child, any mother would do the right thing. She just needed to see it firsthand. Of course, he hadn't expected her to revoke that choice once she saw Simon alive and well. Magnus thought that had taken everyone a little off guard.
"Sebastian's going to kill everyone," Alec mumbled into his shoulder.
"Not if I have anything to do about it," replied Magnus as he stroked his lover's silky hair.
"I don't understand why we didn't just let Simon die. I mean, Sebastian is free now anyway. It would have been nice to know that before we cut him loose," sighed Alec.
Magnus feared the worst; even the Seelie Queen knew better than to tempt fate. She had told them that there would be consequences for the magic used in order to separate the boys, but she'd neglected to tell them that Sebastian would be freed. What did she stand to gain from this? From what Magnus understood from his time in the Seelie Court, she was afraid of the dark angel. Was it possible that it had all been a clever deception? But why?
"We saved his life because he means a lot to your sister and our cause. I believe the world has plans for young Sherlock. The boy will come around," Magnus answered, doubting his words.
Alec chuckled lightly. "His name is Simon."
"Simon, Sherlock, Frank…it's all the same to me."
The sheer look of contempt upon Simon's face back at the Sanctuary dampened Magnus's spirits. His anger was out of control. Magnus wondered how long it would take before Simon fell apart.
"What are we going to do about Jace?" Alec whimpered as Chairman Meow yowled for attention in the background.
Magnus weaved his nimble fingers into the feline's hair and sighed. "We found a spell to break apart Simon and Sebastian. We can do the same for your Jace. But it will take time."
Time they might not have.
"The world is going to burn, Magnus. We failed," moaned Alec, snuggling closer.
"Well, if it's going to burn, then there's no place I would rather be than right here in your arms."
There had been no warning.
"Do it now!" Magnus had bellowed across the Sanctuary.
And then Simon had felt nothing but sheer agony coursing through his veins.
A blinding light had enveloped him; he'd heard Sebastian screaming out for mercy. But those pleas were short lived. By the time Simon reached for his first breath of freedom, Sebastian's horrific cries had been exchanged for vicious laughter, and he'd disappeared with Jace in tow before anyone in the room could gather their wits.
The next thing Simon remembered was a feeling of peace. There were no voices inside of his head, and no one pulling the strings anymore. But that too was short lived as the reality of the situation sank in—they had freed Sebastian and condemned the world.
Simon pushed the memory from his mind and crept through the dark streets of Manhattan, just following the same trail he'd been routinely walking every night since the showdown, back to the home that he had once shared with his family. Even though she detested every part of him, even though her eyes had been full of ice and hatred, Simon would not leave his mother to fend off the Shadow World alone. Sebastian would come after her and exact revenge for his loss, and that was something that Simon refused to let happen.
Isabelle's callous confession and betrayal burned through him like a hot poker, stabbing his heart relentlessly. He'd thought that if there was one person in the entire world that understood him the best, it was Isabelle. But at the first sign of danger, she'd revealed his vampire nature to the only woman in this world that could make him feel whole. His family meant everything to him, and now, he had no one.
Simon approached the old house and inhaled the bittersweet fragrance of spaghetti. Though the windows were still boarded up and the slight underlying hint of charred ash lingered in the air, everything appeared to have been returned to normal. Three weeks had passed since his separation from Sebastian—a painful experience that continued to affect his thoughts. And every night, Simon walked these streets, prepared to defend his family with his life. Although he felt freer than he had in months, the damage caused by Sebastian had long-term side effects.
Sometimes he felt as though he was a loose cannon; the slightest thing set him off. Other times, he felt like the empty shell—the puppet on a string, unable to form a coherent thought, and dragged around by a powerful demonic influence. But he was clear of Sebastian's evil control now. And Sebastian was free to claim the world.
"I should have died," he moaned to himself.
His mother would have never known about his condition had he perished. Why had he fought Sebastian so much? If only he would have allowed Sebastian full control when he'd had the chance, before Magnus interrupted, before his mother walked into the fight. Was it fate?
Securing her protection was his ultimate goal now. Sebastian would never stop. Neither would Simon. Becca and his mother were more important than anything in the world, even his disgust with Isabelle.
Simon glanced up to the old house, smiling at the good memories he'd had with his family. The lights were on, and two figures danced behind the white curtains—their black silhouettes like clockwork figurines in the glow of the lamp. Laughter spilled under the cracked doorway. Part of the frame had been reassembled, and Simon wondered when that had occurred. He wanted to reach for the knob, pry it loose, and beg for his mother's forgiveness. Only he couldn't. The entire front door was plastered in crosses, garlic, and the Star of David, forbidding him entrance. There was even a small sign hanging on the mailbox, warning him of the consequences should he try to enter.
They'd been there since the very first night he'd tried to come home.
He was an outcast, a demon in the eyes of his mother. She may have saved his life, but she wanted nothing to do with her vampire son. But he refused to give up, refused to turn his back on her like she had with him. Her life depended on his determination. She knew nothing of the danger she faced.
"Daigon, you are a wonderful dancer," laughed his mother as Simon inched closer to the window.
"What the…" he trailed off, astonished by his mother's company.
"You know, eavesdropping is illegal," said a familiar voice from behind him.
Simon spun around, only to find Clary standing a few feet away. He hadn't seen her since that awful night, but she seemed unharmed. "C-Clary. I'm so sorry for—"
"Don't mention it," she cut him off, waving her hand. "Seriously, don't. Isabelle told me what's been going on. I think you really need to sit down with her."
Simon huffed and stepped back down onto the sidewalk. "You can't be serious. Did she tell you about my Mom? Do you know who's in there right now?"
"She told me everything, and frankly, I'm kinda pissed at all of you for not letting me in on it. I mean, this is Jace. You guys knew where he was and said nothing. And now he's gone again," she snapped, her red hair looking like a wall of fire blazing out behind her.
"There were bigger things at stake," he quietly mumbled.
"Yeah, like your ego." Clary nodded up the road and began walking. Simon quickly followed after her, letting his mother's laughter fade into the distance. "Look, I know you've been through something awful, but that's no reason to turn your back on your friends."
"I haven't turned my back on anything, and Isabelle Lightwood is no friend of mine," answered Simon, a trace of revulsion in his voice.
"Come on, I know you're in love with her. Even if you don't say it…I know you," she scolded. "And you're going to need everyone else too—Alec, Magnus, Me. We're all in this together."
Simon wasn't sure if what he felt was love, but there were certain feelings present regarding Isabelle—mostly anger. "Oh yeah? And what's your plan?"
Talking to Clary was almost relaxing, almost like old times. Though nothing would ever be the same again, it was nice to find a sliver of happiness for once.
"We go to the Queen," she explained. "Obviously she's not happy with Sebastian. It can't hurt."
"Oh, it can hurt."
A flash of pain echoed through his mind—the memory of his excruciating separation.
It had felt like his entire body had been split wide open. Simon could still hear Sebastian's ear-piercing shrieks as his essence flew back into his proper, lifeless body. But instead of remaining trapped underneath that cold flesh, the momentary burst of energy about the room caused Magnus to lose his hold over Jace. They were tied together—what affected one affected the other. Jace was thrown to the ground, his blood pouring from an open wound and right into Sebastian's gaping mouth.
Sebastian's black eyes had fluttered open before anyone in the room had a chance to react. He'd looked at Simon with a hollow expression before darting through the open door with his brother, nearly killing everyone in the process. If it hadn't been for Magnus's quick reaction, they would have all perished.
The secondary agony had been far worse than the pain of separation—his mother shunning him completely. Trusting the Seelie Queen—no matter how much she had aided them in the past—was a risk no one should take. She always had a plan.
"I'm going to see her whether you like it or not," Clary argued. "Sebastian and Jace have already shown up at the Institute. I…I caught them looking for a book. I need to know where to find them."
"I don't think she's on our side at all. I think she knew that Sebastian would be freed," countered Simon, knowing his words were fact. That woman had other motives. "And I doubt Sebastian would show up at the Institute."
"She can't lie, Simon. She did it to help you, and from what I gathered, she did say there would be consequences." Clary huffed and nudged him in the arm. "And if you don't believe me about Sebastian, then that's your own problem. But I'm going to find some help regardless of what you say."
"Well, did anyone ask what was in it for her? I mean, did they ask her straight out? I really don't think asking her for help is the best idea you've ever come up with," Simon questioned, worried that Clary might be seeing things, or worse, falling into the dame destructive pattern that always made things that more complicated.
Clary chewed on her lower lip as they rounded the corner. "She just gave them the price for her assistance."
She'd been played by the queen. Simon already knew that, but in his anguished state, he hadn't the presence of mind to comprehend it. He missed her terribly.
Simon sighed. "I've got to talk to them, don't I?"
"Yep!" Clary took his hand. "Glad to see you're back on Team Good. Now we can go after Jace."
"You should print that on a t-shirt," he chuckled, feeling a little lighter, despite the fact that his mother was on a date with a Fairy, Clary was one gunman short of a posse, and Isabelle had joined forces with the Fae.
What else had he been blind to?
Isabelle sat on the stoop outside of Magnus's apartment, flicking broken sticks into a stagnant puddle. Taxi cabs zoomed past the alley, honking their horns and screeching their tires against the wet cement. Upstairs, Alec and Magnus were playing cards; she had no intentions of ruining their date, especially when Magnus had shot her the look of death from across the room when she'd asked to join. He was trying to keep Alec's spirits up. With Jace missing and still very dangerous, Alec was beside himself. Isabelle knew something was terribly wrong with that entire situation.
But she had other things on her mind at the current time, starting with the shadowy figure approaching from the east.
"Can we talk?"
Isabelle looked up.
It was Simon.
A/N: Just a chapter or two left!