It had taken Alec less that ten minutes to get from Magnus's apartment to the institute, but by the look on Jace's face when he burst through the great carved doors of mahogany and steel, he may as well have been a century. Jace looked like he had lived a thousand years since yesterday, and all traces of the nimble young man full of vitality that he had seen just yesterday were gone, replaced by haze of desperate anxiety and... nails were already bitten to the quicks, and his hair, usually silken and smooth was knotted and tousled.
He looks destroyed, and as he thought it he remembered One of Jace's sayings, an old one that he hadn't heard in a long time.
"To love is to destroy, and to be loved is to be the one destroyed."
He had never truly understood what Jace had meant, but seeing him, gaunt and pale, his golden eyes full of pain and a kind of veiled rage, the true meaning of the words washed over him like an unwanted tidal wave of understanding.
He rose immediately from where he had been sitting, hunched in a particularly regal looking chair. It was intricately carved with glorious looking angelic figures with flowing hair and strong, muscular torso's. Even from where he stood, Alec could see how even their faces had been meticulously perfected, with high, angular cheekbones and strong, beautiful faces.
But Alec's eyes were fixed not upon the faces of the still, wooden angels, but the contorted, strained, and yet still no less beautiful Face of his friend. He watched warily, unsure whether he dared speak. Something in Jace's eyes warned him it would be unwise to choose the wrong words here, a dangerous sparkle flickering in the golden flecks around his iris. Eventually, after a ringing silence, Jace spoke.
"I woke up" He said, and his voice was soft and full of self loathing. "and she was gone, she wasn't with me so I called out for her, looked everywhere and I found this" He held up his hand, and in it was the Morgenstern right, the chain broken, as if it had been torn from the wearers neck.
"Next to me."
Alec stared at it in confusion, and without thinking said
"But why would she be next to-"
Oh. Alec realised with a jolt what Jace had meant by "With me".
He flushed scarlet and felt his cheeks begin to burn. Luckily, Jace seemed too full of his own spiralling thoughts to notice. He was staring at the ring in blatant, undisguised horror. It was one of the rare times Alec saw Jace as he was, genuine. It brought him no pleasure to see him in this state, but some small part of him acknowledged that he, Alec, had been he first person Jace had thought to call. This part of him was swiftly crushed, however, as a door at the far end of the entrance hall swung open, revealing His sister, Isabelle, clad in a skimpy pyjama set, her hair pulled into a scruffy bun. Alec noted with some disapproval that those shorts were very short. He would have protested, but seeing as it was only him and Jace present, it hardly matter-
And then the door swung open again, and the vampire walked through. His hair was ruffled and he was wrapped in an old robe and what appeared to be nothing else. Alec's Jaw dropped open as he stared from Isabelle to Simon and back again. The thought of Jace and Clary flew from his mind, replaced with a strong desire to punch simon repeatedly in the face.
"What is he doing here?!" He heard a voice say, realising only a split second later that it it was in fact his own voice. It sounded strangely high pitched to his ears, and left a ringing silence echoing around the high ceiling, in which Isabelle, Jace and Simon all stared at him. One of Isabelle's dark, meticulously perfected eyebrows was raised in a high ark and behind her simon had frozen, a distinctly horrified look on his face as he stood, mouth hanging slightly open, at Alec. He looked quite gormless.
"Seriously Alec, only bats could understand that. Bring it down a couple of decibels, its not even eleven yet." Isabelle's tone was light but her eyes flicked from Alec to simon, as if calculating how fast she would have to be if Alec decided to go for simon.
Not fast enough. Alec thought with malice, but before he could act on this thought Jace moved, quick as a cat, blocking Simon from Alec's view. Alec moved his eyes up to meet with Jace's incredulously. Isabelle was practically Jace's sister too, surely he felt the same way, surely he too wanted to rip him limb from-
And then he met Jace's distraught gaze, and he remembered.
Alec was by no means done with that vampire, but as much as it pained him to admit it, there were bigger things at stake here.
"I thought you were at Magnus's?" Isabelle said, almost apologetically to Alec.
"He was." Said Jace, before Alec could respond. "I called him here. It's Clary-" Jace broke off mid-sentence and Alec took up the rest
"Clary's gone missing." Alec said, then immediately regretted it. He had never had Jace's eloquence, and the way he had said it made it sound as casual as if she had gone for jaunt to central park.
There was a long, shocked silence, and to Alec's surprise it was Simon who broke it.
"She's gone?" He asked, and his voice sounded almost as broken as Jace's
"But, I mean- You must have some Idea where she is? Who was she with, when did she go, what was-" Simon began to blurt questions and his voice was becoming panicked and desperate.
Jace cut through his monologue, his tone flat and resigned
"Me." he said simply, his voice full of self loathing. "She was with me."
Isabelle stared at Jace, and her huge brown eyes were glistening as the light from the stained windows shone across her face. Tears began to roll gently down her face and she moved towards him, her arms outstretched.
"Oh, Jace" she said softly, bringing him into her in an embrace.
Jace stood rigidly, not acknowledging Isabelle at all.
Simon was now in clear view of Alec, and Alec purposefully avoided looking at him, he didn't think his big brotherly restraint stretched that far.
"What happened?" Simon asked, looking at Jace's hollow expression.
"I don't know." Jace said flatly.
Simon stared at him for the longest time, and when he spoke his voice was loud full of incredulity.
"What do you mean you don't know! Did she just spontaneously vanish or was it a gradual transition to invisibility? How couldn't you have noticed? Having a nap, were we?!" His voice had risen to an accusatory shout, bouncing off the walls and ricocheting down on Jace like shards of glass. Jace turned to simon and his golden eyes focused for the first time.
"Yes, actually." He said coldly.
Isabelle let go of Jace and rounded on Simon, her dark eyebrows knotted in anger.
"Simon!" reprimanded him, her voice matching his tone.
Simon stared at her, then at Jace, and then finally, to Alec. His dark eyes were full of fear and anger. Alec noticed that his hands were bunched into shaking fists, and he seemed to be restraining from launching himself onto Jace. Jace probably wouldn't have stopped him if he had, the state he was in. But Alec would. Some small part of him was hoping Simon would lose it and give Alec and excuse to ram his fist-
But that was a selfish part of him, and he could deal with his sister frivolous activities later, right now it was Jace who needed help.
"Simon" said Alec, and despite his calm voice, there was a tone that promised violence would ensue if Simon did not listen . "Perhaps you should go cool down, let the family talk?"
Simon stared at Alec, eyes blazing. For a moment he considered refusing, considered fighting Alec, considered ripping his skin and drinking his fresh, warm-
Simon moved without realising, and before he knew it he was on top of Alec, his teeth needle sharp and bearing down over Alec's exposed neck. Simon could see blood pulsing beneath Alec's pale skin. and then he felt a pang of pain, like an electric shock, and he was thrown off Alec and across the room, Isabelle's golden whip wrapped around his torso.
Simon blinked and his stomach rumbled. He looked around him and saw what must have happened. He had attacked Alec. Alec, his friend.

Simon opened his mouth, to apologise or to cry out in pain he wasn't sure. All too late he remembered his pointed teeth and as reopened his mouth Isabelle drew back her whip and prepared to strike again. It was Alec who moved this time, throwing himself in front of Izzy and murmuring something to her. After a moment he moved and simon could see she had lowered the weapon. simon wondered vaguely where she had been hiding that, she certainly hadn't had it on her earlier-
and then he noticed her face. It was contorted in a look of disgust.
Simon realised with a sickening jolt.
She hated him. He didn't blame her, For what he had done, he deserved it. For what he was, he deserved it.
"Izzy I-" Simon started pleadingly, his voice a moan of pain.
But Isabelle cut him off before he could finish his plea.
What was he going to say anyway
Sorry I got the munchies for your brother?
"Get out." she said, her voice shaking with barely contained rage.
"Get out you filthy Downworlder, and never come near me or my family again or I swear I will shove a steak through your un-beating heart." She put extra emphasis on the word "Downworlder", as if it were something filthy and unclean, as if he wasn't simon, her friend.
He knew he had to get away, he wasn't safe, not when he was this hungry. He had to remember to feed, it was his own fault. He wouldn't accept his loss of humanity and as a result he was becoming a monster. He had to get away from the accusatory glares of the Lightwoods, had to clear his head, had to feed. He got shakily to his feet and moved towards the door. When he reached the great wooden door he paused. he could feel their eyes upon him, un-trusting, fearful. Without looking back, he moved through the door and dissipated from view.
Jace, who had not spoken during the entire event turned to face Alec. His eyes were focused now, pupils dilated with adrenaline. He no longer looked empty, or shocked or even afraid. His mouth was a grim slash and his eyes twinkled with something unidentifiable, more than the adrenaline. He looked determined, and very, very dangerous. When he spoke his voice was a low, steady growl.
"I know where she is."

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