City of lost souls, p.55
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       City of Lost Souls, p.55
 

         Part #5 of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
Page 55

 

  "I feel tired," Jace confessed. "If I could sleep a few more hours. . . "

  "Of course. Of course you can. " Isabelles fingers pushed his hair back, out of his eyes. Her tone was firm, absolute: fierce as a mother bear protecting her cub.

  Jaces eyes began to close. "And you wont leave me?"

  "No," Alec said. "No, we wont ever leave you. You know that. "

  "Never. " Isabelle took his hand, the one Alec wasnt holding, and pressed it fiercely. "Lightwoods, all together," she whispered. Jaces hand was suddenly damp where she was holding it, and he realized she was crying, her tears splashing down-crying for him, because she loved him; even after everything that had happened, she still loved him.

  They both did.

  He fell asleep like that, with Isabelle on one side of him and Alec on the other, as the sun came up with the dawn.

  "What do you mean, I still cant see him?" demanded Clary. She was sitting on the edge of the couch in Lukes living room, the cord of the phone wrapped so tightly around her fingers that the tips had turned white.

  "Its been only three days, and he was unconscious for two of them," said Isabelle. There were voices behind her, and Clary strained her ears to hear who was talking. She thought she could pick out Maryses voice, but was she talking to Jace? Alec? "The Silent Brothers are still examining him. They still say no visitors. "

  "Screw the Silent Brothers. "

  "No thanks. Theres strong and silent, and then theres just freaky. "

  "Isabelle!" Clary sat back against the squashy pillows. It was a bright fall day, and sunlight streamed in through the living room windows, though it did nothing to lighten her mood. "I just want to know that hes all right. That he isnt injured permanently, and he hasnt swollen up like a melon-"

  "Of course he hasnt swollen up like a melon, dont be ridiculous. "

  "I wouldnt know. I wouldnt know because no one will tell me anything. "

  "Hes all right," Isabelle said, though there was something in her voice that told Clary she was holding something back. "Alecs been sleeping in the bed next to his, and Mom and I have been taking turns staying with him all day. The Silent Brothers havent been torturing him. They just need to know what he knows. About Sebastian, the apartment, everything. "

  "But I cant believe Jace wouldnt call me if he could. Not unless this is because he doesnt want to see me. "

  "Maybe he doesnt," Isabelle said. "It could have been that whole thing where you stabbed him. "

  "Isabelle-"

  "I was just kidding, believe it or not. Name of the Angel, Clary, cant you show some patience?" Isabelle sighed. "Never mind. I forgot who I was talking to. Look, Jace said-not that Im supposed to repeat this, mind you-that he needed to talk to you in person. If you could just wait-"

  "Thats all I have been doing," Clary said. "Waiting. " It was true. Shed spent the past two nights lying in her room at Lukes house, waiting for news about Jace and reliving the last week of her life over and over in excruciating detail. The Wild Hunt; the antiques store in Prague; fountains full of blood; the tunnels of Sebastians eyes; Jaces body against hers; Sebastian jamming the Infernal Cup against her lips, trying to pry them apart; the bitter stench of demon ichor. Glorious blazing up her arm, spearing through Jace like a bolt of fire, the beat of his heart under her fingertips. He hadnt even opened his eyes, but Clary had screamed that he was alive, that his heart was beating, and his family had descended on them, even Alec, half-holding up an exceptionally pale Magnus. "All I do is go around and around inside my own head. Its making me crazy. "

  "And thats where were in agreement. You know what, Clary?"

  "What?"

  There was a pause. "You dont need my permission to come here and see Jace," Isabelle said. "You dont need anyones permission to do anything. Youre Clary Fray. You go charging into every situation without knowing how the hell its going to turn out, and then you get through it on sheer guts and craziness. "

  "Not where my personal life is concerned, Iz. "

  "Huh," said Isabelle. "Well, maybe you should. " And she put the phone down.

  Clary stared at her receiver, hearing the distant tinny buzz of the dial tone. Then, with a sigh, she hung up and headed into her bedroom.

  Simon was sprawled on the bed, his feet on her pillows, his chin propped on his hands. His laptop was propped open at the foot of the bed, frozen on a scene from The Matrix. He looked up as she came in. "Any luck?"

  "Not exactly. " Clary went over to her closet. Shed already dressed for the possibility that she might see Jace today, in jeans and a soft blue sweater she knew he liked. She pulled a corduroy jacket on and sat down on the bed beside Simon, sliding her feet into boots. "Isabelle wont tell me anything. The Silent Brothers dont want Jace to have visitors, but whatever. Im going over anyway. "

  Simon closed the laptop and rolled over onto his back. "Thats my brave little stalker. "

  "Shut up," she said. "Do you want to come with me? See Isabelle?"

  "Im meeting Becky," he said. "At the apartment. "

  "Good. Give her my love. " She finished lacing her boots and reached forward to brush Simons hair away from his forehead. "First I had to get used to you with that Mark on you. Now I have to get used to you without it. "

  His dark brown eyes traced her face. "With or without it, Im still just me. "

  "Simon, do you remember what was written on the blade of the sword? Of Glorious?"

  "Quis ut Deus. "

  "Its Latin," she said. "I looked it up. It means Who is like God? Its a trick question. The answer is no one-no one is like God. Dont you see?"

  He looked at her. "See what?"

  "You said it. Deus. God. "

  Simon opened his mouth, and then closed it again. "I. . . "

  "I know Camille told you that she could say Gods name because she didnt believe in God, but I think it has to do with what you believe about yourself. If you believe youre damned, then you are. But if you dont. . . "

  She touched his hand; he squeezed her fingers briefly and released them, his face troubled. "I need some time to think about this. "

  "Whatever you need. But Im here if you need to talk. "

  "And Im here if you do. Whatever happens with you and Jace at the Institute. . . you know you can always come over to my place if you want to talk. "

  "Hows Jordan?"

  "Pretty good," said Simon. "He and Maia are definitely together now. Theyre in that ooky stage where I feel like I should be giving them space all the time. " He crinkled up his nose. "When shes not there, he frets about how he feels insecure because shes dated a bunch of dudes and hes spent the past three years doing military-style training for the Praetor and pretending he was asexual. "

  "Oh, come on. I doubt she cares about that. "

  "You know men. We have delicate egos. "

  "I wouldnt describe Jaces ego as delicate. "

  "No, Jaces is sort of the antiaircraft artillery tank of male egos," Simon admitted. He was lying with his right hand splayed across his stomach, and the gold faerie ring glittered on his finger. Since the other had been destroyed, it no longer seemed to have any powers, but Simon wore it anyway. Impulsively Clary bent down and kissed his forehead.

  "Youre the best friend anyone could ever have, you know that?" she said.

  "I did know that, but its always nice to hear it again. "

  Clary laughed and stood up. "Well, we might as well walk to the subway together. Unless you want to hang around here with the rents instead of in your cool downtown bachelor pad. "

  "Right. With my lovelorn roommate and my sister. " He slid off the bed and followed her as she walked out into the living room. "Youre not just going to Portal?"

  She shrugged. "I dont know. It seems. . . wasteful. " She crossed the hall and, after knocking quickly, stuck her head into the master bedroom. "Luke?"

  "Come on in. "

  She went in, Simon beside her. Luke was sitting up in bed. The bulk of the
bandage that wrapped his chest was visible as an outline beneath his flannel shirt. There was a stack of magazines on the bed in front of him. Simon picked one up. "Sparkle Like an Ice Princess: The Winter Bride," he read out loud. "I dont know, man. Im not sure a tiara of snowflakes would be the best look for you. "

  Luke glanced around the bed and sighed. "Jocelyn thought wedding planning might be good for us. Return to normalcy and all that. " There were shadows under his blue eyes. Jocelyn had been the one to break the news to him about Amatis, while he was still at the police station. Though Clary had greeted him with hugs when hed come home, he hadnt mentioned his sister once, and neither had she. "If it was up to me, I would elope to Vegas and have a fifty-dollar pirate-themed wedding with Elvis presiding. "

  "I could be the wench of honor," Clary suggested. She looked at Simon expectantly. "And you could be. . . "

  "Oh, no," he said. "I am a hipster. I am too cool for themed weddings. "

  "You play D and D. Youre a geek," she corrected him fondly.

  "Geek is chic," Simon declared. "Ladies love nerds. "

  Luke cleared his throat. "I assume you came in here to tell me something?"

  "Im heading over to the Institute to see Jace," Clary said. "Do you want me to bring you anything back?"

  He shook his head. "Your mothers at the store, stocking up. " He leaned over to ruffle her hair, and winced. He was healing, but slowly. "Have fun. "

  Clary thought of what she was probably facing at the Institute-an angry Maryse, a wearied Isabelle, an absent Alec, and a Jace who didnt want to see her-and sighed. "You bet. "

  The subway tunnel smelled like the winter that had finally come to the city-cold metal, dank, wet dirt, and a faint hint of smoke. Alec, walking along the tracks, saw his breath puff out in front of his face in white clouds, and he jammed his free hand into the pocket of his blue peacoat to keep it warm. The witchlight he held in his other hand illuminated the tunnel-green and cream-colored tiles, discolored with age, and sprung wiring, dangling like spiderwebs from the walls. It had been a long time since this tunnel had seen a moving train.

  Alec had gotten up before Magnus had woken, again. Magnus had been sleeping late; he was resting from the battle at the Burren. He had used a great deal of energy to heal himself, but he wasnt entirely well yet. Warlocks were immortal but not invulnerable, and "a few inches higher and that would have been it for me," Magnus had said ruefully, examining the knife wound. "It would have stopped my heart. "

  There had been a few moments-minutes, even-when Alec had truly thought Magnus was dead. And after so much time spent worrying that he would grow old and die before Magnus did. What a bitter irony it would have been. The sort of thing he deserved, for seriously contemplating the offer Camille had made him, even for a second.

  He could see light up ahead-the City Hall station, lit by chandeliers and skylights. He was about to douse his witchlight when he heard a familiar voice behind him.

  "Alec," it said. "Alexander Gideon Lightwood. "

  Alec felt his heart lurch. He turned around slowly. "Magnus?"

  Magnus moved forward, into the circle of illumination cast by Alecs witchlight. He looked uncharacteristically somber, his eyes shadowed. His spiky hair was rumpled. He wore only a suit jacket over a T-shirt, and Alec couldnt help wondering if he was cold.

  "Magnus," Alec said again. "I thought you were asleep. "

  "Evidently," Magnus said.

  Alec swallowed hard. He had never seen Magnus angry, not really. Not like this. Magnuss cat eyes were remote, impossible to read. "Did you follow me?" Alec asked.

  "You could say that. It helped that I knew where you were going. " Moving stiffly, Magnus took a folded square of paper from his pocket. In the dim light, all Alec could see was that it was covered with a careful, flourishing handwriting. "You know, when she told me youd been here-told me about the bargain shed struck with you-I didnt believe her. I didnt want to believe her. But here you are. "

  "Camille told you-"

  Magnus held up a hand to cut him off. "Just stop," he said wearily. "Of course she told me. I warned you she was a master at manipulation and politics, but you didnt listen to me. Who do you think shed rather have on her side-me or you? Youre eighteen years old, Alexander. Youre not exactly a powerful ally. "

  "I already told her," Alec said. "I wouldnt kill Raphael. I came here and told her the bargain was off, I wouldnt do it-"

  "You had to come all the way here, to this abandoned subway station, to deliver that message?" Magnus raised his eyebrows. "You dont think you could have delivered essentially the same message by, perhaps, staying away?"

  "It was-"

  "And even if you did come here-unnecessarily-and tell her the deal was off," Magnus went on in a deadly calm voice, "why are you here now? Social call? Just visiting? Explain it to me, Alexander, if theres something Im missing. "

  Alec swallowed. Surely there must be a way to explain. That he had been coming down here, visiting Camille, because she was the only person he could talk to about Magnus. The only person who knew Magnus, as he did, not just as the High Warlock of Brooklyn but as someone who could love and be loved back, who had human frailties and peculiarities and odd, irregular currents of mood that Alec had no idea how to navigate without advice. "Magnus-" Alec took a step toward his boyfriend, and for the first time that he remembered, Magnus moved away from him. His posture was stiff and unfriendly. He was looking at Alec the way hed look at a stranger, a stranger he didnt like very much.

 
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