So, this is it! This is rather long, but I hope you all enjoy it!
For ten days, neither Clary, Jace, nor Jonathan woke. No matter what anyone did, no matter what potions Magnus suggested, no matter how much Jocelyn begged with them, and no matter how many tears Isabelle shed, they did not wake. They remained three sleeping shadowhunters.
At first, they had all assumed the force of will, the energy, the effort involved in…well, whatever had happened, had simply worn them out. Magnus had checked that they were all still breathing and for any life-threatening wounds; when he found none he suggested they be moved out of the castle. Luke had picked up Jonathan, Alec had carefully positioned Jace over his shoulder, and Simon held Clary delicately. They had slipped through the castle, expecting to meet residual demons, but there were none. When they left and entered the grounds, they found that the wintery grasp on the world had gone too. It seemed that Lilith and her demons had been destroyed.
The group marched down to the city. It was a disaster: houses were smoldering in fires, animals had run wild, bodies were piled in the streets, blood ran like small rivulets and the sounds of desperation and fear were floating up into the air and meeting nothing but unforgiveable silence. They found the Counsel and the Inquisitor, both of whom had gone into battle and were nursing their injuries; it seemed that as the war climaxed and the demons seemed to gain more ground, there was a sudden thunder that shook the earth, and the demons had fled. Some shadowhunters thought it was trick, others thought the Angel himself had come to their rescue. The Downworlders, always a bit cynical of the power of the Angel, had looked to other explanations, but neither Luke nor Magnus offered one.
Though she refused to comment on how it had happened, Jocelyn told the Counsel and Inquisitor that Lilith had been destroyed and she was taking her children home. Malachi tried to argue, but there was such a look of fury on her face and in her eyes, that, after a brief word with the Inquisitor, he agreed to let her go.
Jocelyn had thought it might be best if they left the city before questions were asked, and she didn't have any intention of allowing someone to disturb her children's rest. So, just as the sun began to rise over Alicante and the remains of its war, Jocelyn, Luke, Magnus, Alec, Isabelle, Simon, and Aline, carrying Clary, Jace, and Jonathan, left the city on horses, never once looking back.
The ride back to the Glass City had been mostly quiet. They met no resistance along the way, and saw only the lands of Idris, slowly emerging from the chill of winter. Trees were coming into bloom, grass pushing forward, the air, warmer than before. Small animals were creeping forward from their holes, pressing their noses to the air. Even the villages they passed through seemed to be in a sense of late bloom. They saw children looking out of house doors curiously, women smiling uncertainly at their husbands, men, their faces unknowable.
The world is recovering, and we are all looking to our lives once more, thought Jocelyn solemnly, and she tightened her grip on her daughter's unconscious body, and glanced furtively to Jace and Jonathan. It is long overdue that I return to mine.
"How long will they sleep?" Max asked, poorly disguising his annoyance at the audacity of Clary and Jace for daring to be unconscious when he wanted a story of their heroism. "It's been days and all they do is sleep!"
"Max," Isabelle said sharply, "if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, keep your voice down. Clary and Jace have been through an ordeal, and if you're responsible for waking them before they're ready, I swear on the Angel, I'll lock you down in the cellar for good."
"If it was the other way round, Jace and Clary would be banging on my door every morning," Max said stoutly, and Isabelle glared, trying to herd her brother from the room Clary and Jace were currently occupying. She spared them one more look, and saw only their pale, delicate sleeping figures. "They'd want to know I was okay."
"Well, it's not the other way round, is it?" Isabelle replied smartly.
"If it were," said a very croaky, raspy voice, "I'm sure we'd be just as insistent."
"Jace!" Max crowed, narrowly avoiding Isabelle's hands and rushing to his side. Isabelle followed in some sort of dream state, and found that Jace's eyes were cracked just a little, the smallest of smiles on his face. Max was prancing around his side of the bed. "You're awake! You're awake! Now you can tell me everything. About the demons and Lilith and Jonathan and the court and-"
"Max." Isabelle's hand fell on his shoulder and he paused. "Go get Jocelyn and Magnus at once."
"Now," she ordered, and pushed him toward the door. As Max went Isabelle sank down onto her knees before Jace until her face was level with his. Her throat felt oddly tighter, like something was caught in it. "Jace, I'm so sorry…"
"Izzy," he whispered in his weak voice, and then grasped pitifully for one of her hands. "…you don't…"
"Don't speak," she said fretfully. "You don't have to, just relax, we'll get you help soon." Jace looked like he wanted to say more, but maybe physically couldn't; Isabelle was relieved because she could feel tears trickling down her cheek.
Magnus, Jocelyn, and Alec arrived on the scene not five minutes later, Magnus with a deep bowl of some strange, peppermint-scented liquid and Jocelyn with a jug of water and rag. Jace didn't really have the strength to lever himself up, but he turned to face them and lazily winked. At his Magnus's side, Alec's smile broke out.
"Are you in pain?" Magnus asked, skipping over any niceties and pulling back the covers to examine Jace's body. "I've been working on most of the bumps and bruises you accrued, but anything I missed?"
Jace squinted. "My side…" he managed. "…the side where Jonathan…"
Jocelyn paled. "Did Jonathan hurt you?" She peered at his side, but saw nothing other than his pale gold skin.
"No." Jace found it was going to be hard to describe exactly what had occurred in those last minutes with his currant vocal abilities. "I'll explain…later."
Jocelyn smiled and pushed the hair out of his eyes. "There's no hurry, no rush. You and Clary can sleep as long as you like. As long as it takes to get you better."
"Jonathan?" Jace asked while Magnus poked his side. Please, by the Angel, don't have hurt him. Clary will never recover if she knows her brother is dead.
"He's in the next room," offered Alec guardedly. "No one really knows he's here, though once everything settles down he might have a trial."
Jace could still recall the look on Clary's face when she thought Jonathan was dying, and he could still remember the sharp pain he'd felt, mirroring her pain, as they watched him bleed out. "No…he's not…bad anymore…"
Alec's eyes widened and Jocelyn could feel her heart expanding. None of them had known exactly what had happened that night in the palace, and they were unsure whether Jonathan could be trusted. Though Jocelyn was sure Clary and Jace's presence with him was a sign of his innocence, Magnus and Luke had both insisted that once Jonathan had been attended to and put in bed, he be bound to the frame, just in case. Now, hearing that her son really was her son again, Jocelyn could feel a few small tears in her eyes.
"This is important, Jace," said Magnus slowly, "and I know you're probably unbelievably tired and just want to sleep, but I need to know so if the Clave comes calling we can send them away. How do you know Jonathan is healed?"
How can I explain that? How can I explain that Clary forced him to see the world through our eyes, tore Lilith's darkness out of him, bound the three of us together? He shuddered as he recalled those memories he had seen, not because they scared him, but because the power Clary had scared him. When he saw Magnus still looking at him, he gave the only safe answer he could, the only one that would keep the Clave and everyone else away from Clary.
"He did it…killed Lilith."
Magnus sighed and closed his eyes. "So be it. I think there is more to this tale than you're saying, but I think when you choose to tell us, we should be the only ones to know. Until then, drink this and rest, hopefully, Clary and Jonathan will soon follow suit."
Magnus rose and nodded to Jocelyn, who was looking at her daughter with expectant eyes, but she left after a moment to consult with Magnus. Isabelle, Alec, and Max stayed behind, though, and helped him drink the potion of Magnus's, and cleaned his face with the warm water Jocelyn brought.
"I was so scared it was too late," said Isabelle, tipping the bowl up for Jace. "When we came in and saw the three of you just lying there, and all the blood…and you looked so-so gone. I thought we'd lost you, but Magnus said you were alive." Isabelle bit her lip and smiled up at Jace, who didn't have the strength to speak anymore. He nodded instead and Isabelle brushed his cheek with the back of her hand. "But it's over now, isn't it? You and Clary are back, and Jonathan-well, he's on the mend, I suppose, and all the demons are gone. We're all together again."
"You can start training me soon," piped up Max, and Jace's eyes widened in mock shock.
"Max," Alec warned, but Jace was smiling.
"It only seems fair, Max, that since Jace told you all those stories, you might return the favor. Why don't you entertain him for once?"
Max looked gratified at the idea, and launched into a detailed description of his life since his and Clary's absence: how angry he was when he found they'd left him with Simon, the war councils, Isabelle and Alec's Ascendance, practicing in school for the day he'd drink from the Cup, and all the lessons he had. By the time he'd reached the war march, Jace had drifted off to sleep again, and Isabelle picked Max up and carefully tucked Jace in. Alec offered to stay behind and keep watch if one of them woke.
It was another six hours before Clary finally struggled back to life, and Jace stirred with her. This time, Jocelyn was the first in the door, and she dropped to her knees before Clary and threw her arms around her, weeping freely into her hair. Clary wasn't even completely conscious, but she felt warm arms around her, and a voice from a long time ago, and she relaxed.
Like Jace, Clary was made to drink the potion Magnus made, and like Jace, they questioned her gently if she was hurt. She too, had pain in her side, but no marks so to speak of. Jocelyn personally cleaned off Clary's face, spoke to her, and fed her, and anyone who even dared come near received a fierce, dark frown. Jace watched it all with a slight, amused smile, but he felt only bone-deep weariness.
"Jace already told us what happened…to the best of his abilities." Magnus gave her a reassuring pat. "Jonathan killed Lilith? An impressive feat." Clary couldn't even speak, she was so weak, but nodded her head as firmly as she could. "Then we can swear it on the Angel to the Clave and they'll hopefully leave you alone."
"They'll leave her alone no matter what," said Jocelyn with a warning note in her voice. "No one is speaking to my daughter unless she wants them to. I don't care if the Angel himself came knocking, I'd still send him away."
The Angel indeed, Clary said to herself bitterly, thinking of the powers that were even now coursing through her, the powers that had dragged her from her friends and family and thrown her into battle with Lilith herself. I never want to hear of the Angel again.
"For now, though, how about we keep the two well fed and warm," Magnus suggested lightly, and Jocelyn subsided.
As soon as Clary finished the warm potion, her mother felt hers and Jace's faces and frowned. She quickly threw a few more logs on the fire and stoked it up until the room was broiling. Though both Isabelle and Alec were sweating, Clary snuggled down deeper into her blankets and reached out for Jace until she felt the warmth of his body and the reassuring grip of his hand.
It's over, Clary thought faintly. It's finally over.
The next few days were filled mostly by the company of Clary and Jace's friends. Isabelle, Alec, and Max were common visitors, at least once daily, and Luke showed up the next day, his eyes filled with tears. Simon came too, and Clary tried to hug him. Maia arrived, dragged by Aline, who had been housing with her since their return. Upon seeing her old mistress, Aline broke into tears, and Clary had to pat her hand in comfort to make her stop. They were constantly also given the drink Magnus made, and though it began to be repetitive, Clary could honestly say she felt more awake and more aware every passing day. She and Jace still had difficulty speaking, and both complained of a pain in their sides. What seemed to worry Clary the most was Jonathan, who still continued to sleep.
"Do you think he's…in a coma?" Clary ventured on their fourth night awake. She and Jace were alone in their room, secreted under their blankets, and Clary was sure no one would hear her. "Do you…think…it's the rune?"
"No," said Jace firmly, and pulled her against him, relishing the feel of her body against his. "He just needs sleep."
Though Clary worried the entire night, the next morning, Jonathan woke.
It was a strange for Jonathan, waking in a room he'd never seen, in a bed he'd never slept in, in clothes that weren't his own. What he saw first were the wooden beams of the ceiling above him, and the walls decorated with a few small paintings. Then the fire across from the bed, blazing and spitting like it had just been fed, and the rugs on the floor, and the quilts on his bed. He ran his fingers over the fabric in wonder, curious as to how he was alive now.
I'm alive, I must be, I can feel my pulse, but…how? And where am I? Jonathan tried to speak but his voice was gone. He tried to lift his head and make sound, but he was so bone-achingly tired that all he could do was roll on his side and hope someone might pass by the open door to his room.
For almost an hour, no one came, and Jonathan wondered if maybe he had been forgotten, left behind in some house to die. It seemed the thing the shadowhunters might do, especially if Clary and Jace had died or been unable to defend him. He shuddered and hoped they were near, and shied away from the idea of his sister dead; he had only just gotten her back, he didn't want to lose her now.
As it happened, Alec Lightwood was passing his room with he saw the pair of black eyes staring out from the pale face. He jumped and fell against and wall, and Jonathan managed a weak smile before Alec vanished.
Great… Jonathan thought dismally, but no sooner had the thought crossed his mind than the sound of rushing footsteps were heard and Jocelyn arrived, her face red, her eyes bright.
A moment passed before either of them moved, and in that moment, an eternity seemed to stretch. Jonathan knew he was looking at his mother, at the woman who had loved him and mourned him, at the woman who had come to stop him, maybe even kill him. But all that seemed pointless now, and Jonathan knew that she loved him, and that she had never stopped loving him. She came slowly into the room, sank down on his bed, and wrapped him in her arms. Jonathan sat there, feeling so confused and so…happy.
"Jocelyn…" he gasped.
"I'm your mother, Jonathan," she said firmly, and then kissed his hair and rested her forehead against his. "I'm your mother and you're my son, and nothing is going to change that."
Jonathan's consciousness had marked the beginning of a long, trying recovery for Clary, Jace and Jonathan. Now that they were all awake and alert, Magnus seemed to make it his ambition to fill them to bursting with his many drinks; three bowls a day they drank, drank until they all thought they'd be sick, and still Magnus pushed more on them. They slept for hours and hours too, and woke when someone came to help them sit up and go through muscle exercises. Isabelle was forever patient, and would sit and make Clary and Jace bend their knees, and Jocelyn stayed with Jonathan constantly, watching over his every move like a hawk. Every other day, they were taken one-by-one to a tub where they were bathed constantly with hot water, meant to help their muscles relax, and it left them drowsy and heavy-lidded.
By the end of each day, all three were exhausted to the point of sleep, but they usually had company then. The Lightwoods would come and sit and talk, or Simon might arrive with a new book; Magnus came and told stories of his travels, and Jocelyn and Luke would question them gently of how they felt and what they wanted.
It became obvious, though, that the one thing all three seemed to want was each other's company. At first, Jonathan had stayed alone, with Jocelyn his only visitor, but Clary had begged and pleaded, and even Jace had admitted to wanting to see Jonathan. Once a day, Luke or Alec or Magnus, would cover Jonathan in the warmest clothing they could and carry him to see Clary and Jace. There he would sit on the end of their bed, and the three would share meaningful glances or secretive words. Though no one had asked, their friends were beginning to wonder exactly what had brought the three of them to this point.
For their part, it was comfort. Clary and Jace and Jonathan knew after a day that they shared something now. It wasn't quite the bond Clary and Jace had, which was still as strong as ever, but it was something. They could all tell when one was awake or asleep, when one was feeling sad or happy, when one was afraid. Sometimes, if the emotions were powerful enough, the others might feel a similar wave of emotion wash over them, but it subsided.
One night, they sat up late together, talking.
"You saved my life," Jonathan said blankly to Clary. "With your rune. I don't know how you did it, but I can feel it now; I'm bound to you two."
Jace was reclining, holding Clary around the waist. "Are you trying to seduce me?"
They all laughed. "Jace," Clary sighed, rolling her eyes, but enjoying the feel of his hand on her. "I don't know what it means, to be honest; the three of us are tied to each other, it seems, permanently."
Jonathan looked uncomfortable. "What does this mean for you two?"
"How do you mean?" Clary asked, watching him closely.
"Well, I'm sure the Clave will want to speak to me," Jonathan answered.
"The Clave can go to hell," Jace replied smartly. "Whatever one of us has to say, the other two probably agree, and I, personally, don't really feel like speaking to them all that much anyway. I did once and I'll do it again, if they want to speak to my wife, they'll have to get through me first."
"Ah," agreed Jonathan, "I suppose they'll have to roll you off the bed then?"
Again, they all laughed.
"The Clave doesn't have to know what happened," Clary said gently to Jonathan. "Our mother is going to tell them you killed Lilith and sent the demons back and that you were possessed before. Apparently, everyone thought Jace and I were just rotting away in your prison, so no one has anything to say to us."
Jonathan bit his lip and his eyes dropped. "It shouldn't be that way. They need to know the truth…about what you did. It wasn't me that killed Lilith, it was you two."
Jace and Clary shared a look. "They can't," said Jace after a moment, "they don't know about Valentine's experiments, and I don't want them knowing Clary can make new runes. If they ever found out what Clary did they'd never let her go."
Jonathan's eyes met Clary's and he saw how desperate she looked. For a moment, he felt a brief, but very powerful, longing for simplicity and the mundane, and he it was Clary wishing for a life away from it all. "I owe you that much," he said to her. "But what about after? There will be others who will want me to see justice."
"What do you mean?" Jace asked.
"I mean…in the end," Jonathan whispered. "I mean when we have to meet our fate. Will you two be tied to mine?"
"You're not tied to a fate," Clary said flatly. "Whatever you did when Lilith was possessing you was her crime, not yours." When Jonathan flashed a look, she glared. "Anything you did. You're as free of guilt as any of us, and as far as the Angel…I'm half sick of angels and demons."
Though Jonathan seemed to want to push the point further, Jace shot him a warning look, and they fell back into companionable conversation.
"You're awfully quiet these days," Simon observed, casting Isabelle a sideways glance from his place on the bench beside her. They were sitting in the garden in Jocelyn's yard, watching Max chase Alec around with a wooden sword. "Whenever I see you you're either nursing Clary and Jace, or watching Max. Are you well?"
No, I'm not well, I'm miserable and scared, I'm hopeful and excited, all at once and every moment seems to fall through my grasp like sand. "I'm tired is all, Simon."
"You're lying," he said smartly. "I know you too well now, Izzy, and I've never see you looking so…empty. Shouldn't you be celebrating? We've won the greatest victory any shadowhunter could hope for, we have our friends and family back, life can finally start."
"I'm afraid, Simon," she said after a moment. There seemed no point in lying to him, after all, she loved him. Simon had consistently been the voice of reason for the last few months, he had managed to pull her together when she seemed on the verge of collapse. She needed him more than she needed anyone else. "Suddenly the entire world is laid out at my feet, I have my brothers, I have you, I have Clary and Jace, I even have the blood of a shadowhunter, and it all seems so utterly useless now. I don't know what to do. It seems as if all my goals, all my hopes and dreams are fulfilled; I'm simply unhappy in my tranquility." Isabelle ran a hand through her hair. "What an awful thing to say…"
Simon leaned back and carefully ventured his arm around Isabelle, who allowed him to pull her against his side. For a while, he watched Max stab haphazardly at Alec, and considered that he too, was suddenly a useless commodity. "It's not so awful, to say that you don't like to sit still, but you must be careful to who you say it to is all. Personally, I don't feel very comfortable here myself."
Isabelle turned an intrigued look on him. "No?"
"I told you I don't think my sister is dead," Simon said. "I think she escaped, and I want to find her. I just haven't the slightest idea where to look."
"Well," Isabelle considered, "if you're up to it, you could ask Jonathan if he remembers her. He's seems obliging to anyone who comes knocking."
Simon couldn't help himself. "What's he like, you've seen him more than I?"
Isabelle pursed her lips. "He's very quiet and still, and sometimes, I think he's not even there; sometimes, I think he even forgets. He's got this look in his eyes, like he's lost, but then he sees Clary or Jace, and he knows."
"Do you wonder what happened?" Simon asked. "I mean, how did they actually stop Lilith? How did they turn Jonathan?"
"No idea," Isabelle said softly, and her hand found Simon's and she held him tight. "Sometimes I see them look at each other, the three of them, and it's like they have this secret between them, one that goes deeper than explanations, and I wonder what happened, but I know I'll never fully understand." Now Isabelle turned her whole body to face Simon. "I see love written all over their faces, this burning love, and it's like light all around them. Do you know?"
Simon smiled down on Isabelle's pale, beautiful upturned face do full of determination and energy and thought that if he had a heartbeat, it would have jumped just then. Instead, he bent and kissed her luxuriously. She smiled against his lips as he said, "I think I might."
Clary plodded along the halls of her mother's house in search of the kitchen and a warm mug and milk and honey. She'd woken up in the early hours before Jace and decided more sleep would be just the thing, however, sleep had evaded her, and she'd gone in search of the antidote. Still uncertain on her feet, and weighed down by massive amounts of covering, Clary tottered like a child. Her mother and Magnus had conferred and agreed that should Clary or Jace or Jonathan like to explore the house, they would have to do so wearing woolen socks, woolen bed clothes, and a fur lined robe.
How am I supposed to manage these stairs? Clary thought, eyeing them unkindly. Just the thing Mother would have planned, putting me on the second floor so I'd have to ask for help.
However, as if on command, help arrived in the form of a drowsy Isabelle. She was slipping from the hall into the kitchen with a large fresh picture of Magnus's potion when Clary spotted her. "So that's how Mother has been sneaking that foul drink in?"
Isabelle jumped, but held tight to the jug, and then turned to face Clary. Slowly, she smiled. "Just doing my part to make sure little baby Clary doesn't catch cold."
"You're a foul thing," Clary rejoined, but Isabelle was already setting down the jug and coming to Clary's aid. Clary leaned on her while they took the stairs saying, "Good of you to come when you did, I'm sure my mother would have had me back in bed."
"I'm half tempted," said Isabelle, helping her into the kitchen and to a chair. "It's too early for you to be up and about, especially when you're in such a del-"
"Don't you dare say delicate condition," Clary said sharply. "I'm not pregnant, am I?" When Isabelle continued to smile at her, Clary sighed. "Will you pour me a glass of warm milk with honey?"
As the milk heated, Isabelle said, "Have you spoken with Simon lately?"
"He comes and goes," she said absently. "I don't know how he feels about Jonathan, I keep seeing him looking at him askance, like he's got a thought on his mind. Why?"
Isabelle joined Clary with the glass of warm milk and a bowl of honey. "He really should get on more. I keep telling him he's wasting time."
"What do you mean?" Clary slurped her milk. Warm milk and honey should be served in every household in every country, she thought contently. "Get on with what?"
Isabelle glanced about and then dropped her voice. "Simon wants to go after his sister. I guess she ran off before the demons could turn her, and he'd like to pick Jonathan's brain if he could, get some clues as to where she might have gone."
"Simon wants to find Rebecca?" Clary demanded. "He can't! Not yet, anyway! Jace, Jonathan, and I are still stuck in bed."
Isabelle laughed. "I didn't know Jonathan had to be out of bed for him to speak."
"You can't go without us!" Clary pouted. "Do you expect us to just stay here, lounging around, getting fat and old? We may be weak now, but in a month or so the three of us will be right as rain. And I've got no intention of staying in this city; at the very least, Jace and I were going to head for Woodend Manor. But a rescue…that's even better."
Isabelle felt her mouth hanging open. "W-well we just thought you three might want to…relax."
"Relax right into the grave, you mean?" Clary returned. "No, Jace and Jonathan and I discussed it. The armies are returning, the Clave is going to meet, they're going to want to talk to us and we've no intention of talking back. I think even my mother and Luke might be amendable to leave the city. Woodend is plenty spacious enough."
"I didn't know you were thinking of going; you three are all but heroes now."
It was true, to some extent. The real story was still unknown, and the Clave hadn't given out that Lilith herself had been present, but the facts had aligned nicely enough. People were already talking of Jonathan Morgenstern, abandoned by his father, Valentine Morgenstern, and enslaved by a greater demon who used him to summon armies of demons into their world. In the end, it seemed Jonathan had overcome his demon master, and the Herondales had played some part, but what that was, no one knew. Rumors flew faster than fire writing, though, and no one could forget how skilled both Clary and Jace were in battle. Speculation had led to the idea of an epic battle fought between Jonathan, the Herondales, and some greater demon, but the truth remained a mystery.
"I don't want to be a hero," said Clary heavily. "I want to be Clarissa Herondale, wife of Jace Herondale, and I want to see the world, and I want to be happy. I'm weary of glory and honor and bravery; it wears the soul down faster than anything else I know."
A true hero never thinks much of their own glory, I suppose. Isabelle watched her drink and mulled over her own thoughts. "Clary, can I ask…what did happen that night?"
She flinched from the memory, and instead, Clary took solace the in the constant, warm presence of Jace, and that strange new connection that grew stronger every day with Jonathan. "It-it's difficult to explain."
"I suppose it will make more sense in time?" Isabelle shrugged.
"No, I don't think it will," Clary mused, "but hiding from it won't solve my problems."
"Your sister has been acting oddly," Magnus said casually to Alec over his pillow. "I think her and the vampire are up to something."
"You think they're planning a wedding?" Alec asked sharply.
"I doubt that," Magnus chuckled. "No, I don't know what, but I see them looking at each other, and then looking off, and sometimes, I think they want to leave."
"Leave?" Well, a nice farm in the country would be nice, anything in the country would be nice… Alec thought. "Nonsense."
Magnus looked speculative. "I suppose it beats this place though, doesn't it? People hanging on the doorstep all day, rumors, searching eyes, annoying neighbors. I could do with a bit of fresh air."
Alec rolled over and faced that warlock, who was smiling his polite, charm-baby birds-from-their-nest smile. "You wouldn't miss the city?" Alec asked, and dropped down by Magnus. Their faces weren't even an inch apart now, and Alec couldn't almost feel Magnus's lips.
"I've been in cities all my life," Magnus sighed. "I think I need a change of pace." And then he kissed Alec. It was a long sort of kiss, the kind that lingered and simmered for a long time afterward.
And as Alec sank down into the blankets and Magnus's arms, he said, "We could do that."
A day after, Clary, Jace, and Jonathan asked for everyone to come sit with them. Luke guessed what was on their mind, and remained quiet when Clary announced that she wanted to tell them the truth. Jocelyn and Magnus both leaned in closer, and Isabelle and Simon exchanged excited looks. It seemed that they had all been waiting with baited breath for the real story, and could hardly hide their excitement with it. Clary and Jace had decided it was better to tell the story once through with no interruptions, and the three had practiced their parts well.
Jonathan began by explaining his alliance with Lilith, how the blood hadn't only poisoned him, it had opened a door for Lilith to travel through. She had come to him, and slowly and surely, consumed his mind and soul over years and years. Clary was quick to put in that it explained all his cruelty and malice as a child, and that it had been Lilith not Jonathan, who had acted so horribly in their youth. Jonathan also gave an account of the books he had found, documenting Valentine's experiments on the three of them.
From here, Clary revealed her power over runes, for strengthening them, even making them. Without preamble, she, Jace, and Jonathan revealed the rune they all shared, and Clary explained how it had bound at first, she and Jace, and how their lives had been tied so to kill one was to kill the other. Jace quickly picked up with the story, explaining the castle and demons, and all the things they saw and did while there. He explained how Aline had discovered it was Lilith controlling Jonathan, and that they had agreed to help Jonathan in the hope of getting near enough to break her hold on him.
Clary resumed with the retelling of the last night in the palace. Of Jonathan summoning Lilith and Clary realizing that the only way to stop her was to break her connection to Jonathan. She told them how she made a new rune, one that bound all three together, and then showed it. Jonathan explained how the rune had untied his soul from Lilith's finally, and how he had been freed from her power.
At the finish, no one asked any questions, but they all wanted to see the rune. It was oddly nondescript, but when they touched it, the others felt power shoot through their fingers and burn in their blood. It was like fire, and though they all admired it, they all wondered: what did it mean?
Jace pressed a kiss to the soft spot on Clary's neck, right her shoulder met her throat, and she shuddered. "I don't know if my mother would approve of such…untoward behavior in our delicate conditions."
Jace mulled over the statement, continuing pepper Clary's shoulder and neck with slow kisses. "I highly doubt she'd approve of any such behavior, delicate condition or no, which seems to me all the most reason to proceed."
"I married a rake," Clary sighed pleasantly, and then reached her hands up and wrapped them around his neck and pulled him down on top of her. For a while, they continued in the same manor, slow, passionate kisses and exploring hands and murmured sweetments, but after a bit, Clary leaned back against her pillows. "It might not be quite safe to continue. I don't think the door has a lock."
Jace scowled at the door, but carefully removed himself from Clary and contented himself by pulling her closer to him. "Have you spoken with your mother yet about leaving?"
"She and Magnus went to the Clave today to give a statement; I thought I might wait until after she returned. I don't want to overwhelm her."
"When are Isabelle and Simon going?" he asked, lazily stroking her hair.
"As soon as you, me, and Jonathan can ride." Clary considered her limbs and her head. "I'd say in four days, no more; by that time the story will have gotten out that we're in the city and people will being coming to see us. I'd like to avoid the crowds if I can."
"Me as well," Jace murmured. "Is Jonathan up for it?"
Clary smiled. "He wanted to leave yesterday he hates the attention so. No, he's more than ready to leave this place."
"Is it just the four of us?" Jace wondered.
"As far as I know." Clary turned and looked out the window, seeing the many houses, the green witchlights, and longed for the moon and the stars. It had been weeks since she'd seen the moon and stars. "By the Angel, I want to go. I want to leave this city, this country, just leave it all behind and never look back."
"Who knows where Rebecca went," Jace said conversationally. "We could travel far and wide before we find her."
Clary thought of all the maps she had seen in her mother's study, all the strange names and places. "I hope so."
"Are we ever going to tell them?" Jace asked abruptly.
Clary knew at once what he meant. "I suppose we must but…what if they're angry?
Jace chuckled. "I highly doubt that."
"That's because you love me no matter what I do," Clary argued with a tired smile. "You love me even though I bound you to my brother."
"I like Jonathan," said Jace casually. "He's damn good in a fight; that'll be useful."
"Well I'm glad you've determined his worth," she said tartly.
Jace kissed her nose. "Calm yourself, little one."
Clary rolled back over and relaxed into Jace's embrace, allowing him to rub her back in slow, numbing circles. After a bit, she drifted off into sleep, but it was dreamless, and when she awoke, she found that Jonathan had joined them and he and Jace were speaking in low voices. They were mostly discussing routes and places they might visit during their search, and Jonathan was scouring his memory for any clues to where she might have gone. She pretended to be asleep instead, enjoying the companionable conversation between her brother and husband.
Not long after, though, the door below opened and voices of the Lightwoods, Jocelyn, Luke, and Magnus were heard. They drew closer and closer to their room, and Clary knew she'd have to wake up and face her mother then. Gently, she tugged on Jace and he helped her to sit up. Jonathan, seated at his usual place at the end of the bed, cast her an encouraging sort of look.
"The Clave believed it," announced Magnus as soon as the door was open. "About Jonathan killing Lilith, I mean. Didn't ask a thing about Clary or Jace. You three are free as birds."
What an excellent analogy. "I'm glad to hear it," said Clary, and she flashed a look at Isabelle. "Because we've been talking and…we'd like to go."
"Go?" Jocelyn rasped. "You can't!" Luke shot her a warning look.
"Go where?" he asked politely.
Clary gestured at Isabelle and Simon. "Well, Isabelle said Simon wanted to find his sister, and we don't want to stay here anymore with all those people watching us. We thought we'd help them."
"I knew it," Magnus said smugly, shooting a superior look at Alec. "I was telling him just the other day Simon and Isabelle had a secret." He preened a bit before saying, "When are we leaving?"
"Excuse me?" Isabelle asked. "I don't remember inviting you along."
"Must have slipped your mind because I'm not letting my sister roam in the woods alone," Alec returned smugly. "We're coming with you."
"That's too many!"
"That's too bad."
"Stop it, you two," Luke said, not unkindly, to Isabelle and Alec. "You realize if you leave you'll be out on your own? There won't be coming back for visits if you're searching for her?"
"We don't want to come back," Jace answered. "This city, this place, it's got too many bad memories in it. I think exploring the world is just what we need."
Jocelyn was glancing frantically between both her children who looked resigned. "But…I've only just got you back."
Jonathan smiled sadly. "We won't be gone forever."
"How about this?" Magnus offered. "How about we all go? What if we all leave for Woodend Manor, and when we get there, those of us in the search party can regroup and plan, and Jocelyn, Luke, and Max can settle down there. It's the perfect place to set out from, if you think about it. It's right on the boarder of Idris, the first place we'd come through if we were returning." When Jocelyn looked uncertain, Magnus smirked at her. "Do you really want to stay here?"
"No," she finally said, "but I don't want to lose my children either."
Clary reached out and took her mother's hand, holding it close. "You're not going to lose us. We'll always come home."
So it was that four days later, Jocelyn and Luke procured a small collection of horses and travel gear, and the other packed all their things, and as night came in and people returned home for their meals and family, a small group of cloaked and hooded figures left the Glass City. Just as Jace had led so many months ago, they took the old Watch route, through the city, ablaze with light and still drunk on its victory over the demons, through the tunnels in the dark, and finally, out into the world.
The moon had just risen when they came out in the small opening in the woods, and the stars were glowing like thousands of candles, lighting their way and bathing the world in silvery light. It seemed that an entire season had gone by since Clary, Jace, and Jonathan had returned. Summer had come in, and the trees were heavy with leaves, and the stalks with their flowers, and the world was fresh and new and ready for the start of a new age.
Magnus took the lead, Alec at his side, and set off through the trees. Next came Isabelle, with Max, and Simon, their heads bowed in quiet conversation. Then came Clary and Jace on one horse, their hands clasped as they rode, and Jonathan was behind them, smirking a bit at their display. Lastly were Luke and Jocelyn, riding side by side, and watching the three children ahead of them with considering looks and keep a look out behind them. Though they were not expressly forbidden to leave, Jocelyn thought the Clave wouldn't appreciate their vanishing, so she would send word once they were at Woodend, and Maia, who had remained behind to watch after Aline, would announce Luke's farewell to the pack the next day.
Clary, tucked against Jace, was watching the trees, thinking lazily, how far she had come in little more than a year. She would never have thought to see her mother, her brother, a husband, or a friend, and now she had them all. She leaned back against Jace and felt his heart beating in time with hers, and felt the burn of her rune.
We have certainly changed, she thought, and felt Jace kiss her hair. There can be no going back from now, no running away, no turning around. We're leaving it all behind us.
It felt right, Clary thought, to be leaving the shadowhunters and the angels and the demons and the darkness all behind, it felt right that she should go forward with her friends and family, no matter where that road might take them. She knew, too, that their future was still as uncertain as before, that their journey to find Rebecca had only just begun, but that was alright.
We've faced the dark and found ourselves equal to it, thought Clary, turning her face up so Jace could kiss her. Whatever the future holds now, we shall simply meet it when it comes.
So, I'd first like to say, thank you to everyone who read or commented or both during this trilogy. I really appreciated the reviews and encouragement. I'd also like to thank anyone who read it and enjoyed it, because that's why I wanted to write in the first place. Next, after some thought, I've decided that sometime in the future(not sure when), I will make a sequel to this series though I'm not sure what it will be called; also, I am currently working on a Lord of the Rings and Pellinor fiction. If any of you are interested in any of those three and would like to be notified when I publish them, send me a message here or leave a note in a review. They won't be out for a while, but I am working on them.
Thank you again to anyone who stuck with me to the very end of this, it's been a pleasure writing for you!