He didn't know how it had happened. He was fighting the vampires, (kicking ass and taking names, of course) protecting Clary, (because there was no real difference between him and a knight in a fairytale, rescuing the damsel in distress) and still looking fantastic.

Well, he got bitten. And somehow, he ended up biting back.

Maybe it was just first instinct: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth (literally), but he bit back.

To be honest, the look of shock in the Night Child's eyes was very nearly worth the painful process he had to go through now.

He sighed, the air passing through his lips in an irritated puff, and lifted the bucket to his lips. Jace gagged, the taste foreign and painful on his lips, but he swallowed several mouthfuls before pausing to cough – and wipe the blood that followed from his lips.

He grunted and slumped to his side, laying his temple against the cool stone floor, welcoming the relief against the burning skin of his face. His skin was not the only thing burning though.

He thought of Clary; her red hair swinging free of the braids she normally constrained it in, her bravery, and her absolute devotion to the rat. It was admirable; almost on par with his devotion to Alec. Jace sighed again and rubbed his hands over his eyes, scrunching his face up as he prepared to take more of the holy water into his mouth.

A soft knock on the door stopped him. The door opened slightly, and he saw a flash of red from the corner of his eye.


"Can I come in?" Her small voice asked, timidity present in everything about her right now. She was uncomfortable, but trying not to show it. Jace was half in love with her for it.

"Please," Jace made a dramatic sweep with his arm as he flopped back to the floor. Clary crossed the room to sit next to him, crossing her legs beneath her and raking a hand through her unruly curls.

"What are you doing?" She asked, puzzlement in her voice.

"I bit a vampire." Jace said simply, almost insulted that he had to answer such a ridiculous question.

Clary just looked at him. "So you're drowning your sorrows in… water?" She asked, matching his incredulous look perfectly.

He smiled out of the side of his mouth. He forgot that she did not grow up Nephilim. "Contrary to the myth, you don't become a vampire just by being bit by one. You have to share blood."

"Okay," Clary said slowly, "I get that. But, why the water?"

"It's holy water. It will burn the vampire blood from my system."

"Oh." Clary was silent for a moment, then: "Does it hurt?"

Jace lifted himself up on one elbow, looking at her in silent wonder. For the first time in his life, he didn't know what to say to a girl. Should he play it off like the dashing hero, or play up the sympathy and maybe get a pity sponge bath? Instead, he told the truth, the green of her eyes captivating and pulling him into her with a strength that scared him.

"It stings."

A long moment passed where they only looked at each other, green on gold, being smothered and inundated by the other.

Clary took a deep stuttering breath, and then said, "I'm sorry."

"It isn't your fault. Hand me the bucket." Jace turned from her, unable to sustain her direct gaze any longer. He hid his face behind his crossed arms, lying back against the marble floor once more.

Clary reached for the bucket, noting her shaking hands and willing them to stop. She placed it next to his elbow, keeping her hands on the smooth plastic as she said his name. His arm lifted, and one eye peeked out at her, as if he had forgotten that he had asked for the bucket and was wondering why she was bothering him.

"Thanks," he whispered, before reaching out to take it from her. At the movement, their hands brushed, and Clary recoiled, startled by the heat of his fingers. She reached forward, suddenly bold with concern, and pressed her palm to his forehead. Jace did not pull back, but his eyes widened and his jaw went slack, shocked by her forward action.

"You're burning up," Clary said, only slightly above a whisper, concern etched on her face.

"It's fine," Jace murmured, leaning into her hand.

Suddenly aware of what she had done, Clary lowered her hand, but Jace caught at her wrist, pulling her body into him, and looking in her eyes, he inclined his head toward her and softly caught her lips with his own. Clary inhaled sharply, tasting the blood on his lips, the coffee in his breath, and the unmistakable taste of Jace.

Jace's hand slipped behind her head, kneading the soft skin of her neck before twisting his fingers in her hair, effectively keeping her close and warm and buzzing against him.

Just then, voices buzzed in the hallway, causing Clary to gasp and break apart from him, looking up at him with huge, luminous green eyes. She started back from him, mumbling about how she needed to go, and was gone.

Jace waited until she was gone, the door pulled firmly shut behind her, before he fell back to the ground with a groan. Turning his head to the side, he grasped the bucket and tugged it towards him before upending it, letting the water cascade over his face and course across his chest.

He was in for a very long night.