On this page will be a compilation of the extras, cut scenes, short stories, and other bonus features or special content within the series, released alongside The Dark Artifices or by Cassandra Clare herself.
- 1 Lady Midnight
- 2 Lord of Shadows
- 3 Queen of Air and Darkness
- 4 Unidentified, deleted
- 5 References
Church and Clary
- source: Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
"Hello? This is Clary Fairchild."
"Clary? It’s me, Emma."
"Oh, Emma, hi! I haven't heard from you in ages. My mom says thanks for the wedding flowers, by the way. She wanted to send a note but Luke whisked her away on a honeymoon to Tahiti."
"Tahiti sounds nice."
"It probably is — Jace, what are you doing with that thing? There is no way it'll fit."
"Is this a bad time?"
"What? No! Jace is trying to drag a trebuchet into the training room. Alec, stop helping him."
"What's a trebuchet?"
"It's a huge catapult."
"What are they going to use it for?"
"I have no idea. Alec, you're enabling! You're an enabler!"
"Maybe it is a bad time."
"I doubt there'll be a better one. Is something wrong? Is there anything I can do?"
"I think we have your cat."
"Your cat. Big fuzzy Blue Persian? Always looks angry? Julian says it's your cat. He says he saw it at the New York Institute. Well, saw him. It's a boy cat."
"Church? You have Church? But I thought — well, we knew he was gone. We thought Brother Zachariah took him. Isabelle was annoyed, but they seemed to know each other. I've never seen Church actually like anyone like that."
"I don't know if he likes anyone here. He bit Julian twice. Oh, wait. Julian says he likes Ty. He’s asleep on Ty's bed."
"How did you wind up with him?"
"Someone rang our front doorbell. Diana, she's our tutor, went down to see what it was. Church was in a cage on the front step with a note tied to it. It said For Emma. This is Church, a longtime friend of the Carstairs. Take care of this cat and he will take care of you. —J."
"Brother Zachariah left you a cat."
"But I don't even really know him. And he's not a Silent Brother any more."
"You may not know him, but he clearly knows you."
"What do you think the J stands for?"
"His real name. Look, Emma, if he wants you to have Church, and you want Church, you should keep him."
"Are you sure? The Lightwoods —"
"They're both standing here nodding. Well, Alec is partially trapped under a trebuchet, but he seems to be nodding."
"Jules says we'd like to keep him. We used to have a cat named Oscar, but he died, and, well, Church seems to be good for Ty's nightmares."
"Oh, honey. I think, really, he's Brother Zachariah's cat. And if he wants you to have him, then you should."
"Why does Brother Zachariah want to protect me? It's like he knows me, but I don't know why he knows me."
"I don't exactly know … But I know Tessa. She's his — well, girlfriend seems not the right word for it. They've known each other a long, long time. I have a feeling they're both watching over you."
"That's good. I have a feeling we're going to need it."
"Emma — oh my God. The trebuchet just crashed through the floor. I have to go. Call me later."
"But we can keep the cat?"
"You can keep the cat."
A Long Conversation
- source: Cassandra Clare's newsletter
- A Long Conversation is a short story included in first editions of Lady Midnight and was later released as a separate e-story, tackling a party attended by TMI characters mentioned in and tying to events in LM, allowing the readers to check in on the TMI characters.
Clary looked around the Institute’s music room with a tired but gratified smile. It was a hot New York summer night, the windows were flung open, and Magnus had magicked up icicles that sparkled down from the ceiling and cooled the space. The room was filled with people Clary loved and cared about, and in her personal opinion it looked pretty good, considering she’d had to race to find somewhere in the Institute they could hold a party on about twenty-four hours’ notice.
There was really no reason not to smile.
Two days previously, Simon had showed up at the Institute, breathless and wild-eyed. Jace and Clary had been in the training room, checking in on the new Institute tutor, Beatriz Mendoza, and some of the Conclave students.
“Simon!” Clay had exclaimed. “I didn’t know you were in town.”
Simon was a graduate of Shadowhunter Academy, Clary’s parabatai, and a Recruiter, a job created by the Consul to help replenish the diminished ranks of Shadowhunters. When likely candidates for Ascension were found, Simon would talk to them about what it meant to become a Shadowhunter after a mundane life. It was a job that often took him away from New York, which was its downside; in the plus column, Simon seemed to truly enjoy helping scared mundanes with the Sight feel like they weren’t truly alone.
Not that Simon looked like a dependable voice of reassurance at the moment. He looked like a tornado had hit him.
“I just proposed to Isabelle,” he announced.
Beatriz screamed with excitement. Some of the students, fearing a demon attack, also screamed. One of them fell off a rafter and thumped to the ground on a training mat. Clary burst into happy tears and threw her arms around Simon.
Jace lay down on the floor, arms thrown wide. “We’re going to be family,” he said glumly. “You and me, Simon, we’re going to be brothers. People will think we’re related.”
“No one will think that,” Simon said, his voice muffled against Clary’s hair.
“I’m so delighted for you, Simon,” Clary said. “You and Izzy will be so, so happy.” She turned and glared at Jace. “As for you, get up and congratulate Simon or I’ll pour all your expensive shampoo down the drain.”
Jace bounced up, and he and Simon pounded each other on the back in a manly way, which Clary was pleased to feel she had engineered. Jace and Simon had been friends for years now, but Jace still seemed to think he needed excuses to show his affection. Clary was happy to provide them.
“Did the proposal go well? Was it romantic? Did you surprise her? I can’t believe you didn’t tell me you were going to do it.” Clary smacked Simon on the arm. “Did you have roses? Izzy loves roses.”
“It was on impulse,” Simon said. “An impulse proposal. We were on the Brooklyn Bridge. Izzy had just snipped the head off a Shax demon.”
“Covered in ichor, she had never appeared to you more luminous?” said Jace.
“Something like that,” said Simon.
“That’s the most Shadowhunterish thing I’ve ever heard,” said Clary. “So, details? Did you get down on one knee?”
“Shadowhunters don’t do that,” said Jace.
“That’s a pity,” said Clary. “I love that part in movies.”
“So why are you looking so wild-eyed?” Jace asked. “She said yes, didn’t she?”
Simon raked his fingers through his hair. “She wants an engagement party.”
“Open bar,” said Jace, who had developed an interest in mixology that Clary found amusing. “Definitely open bar.”
“No, you don’t get it,” said Simon. “She wants it in two days.”
“Um,” Clary said. “I can see why she’d be excited to share this with her friends and family but surely it can wait a little longer…?”
When Jace spoke, his voice was flat. “She wants to do it on Max’s birthday.”
“Oh,” Clary said softly. Max, the smallest, the sweetest Lightwood, Izzy and Alec’s little brother. He would be fourteen now, almost the same age as Tiberius and Livvy Blackthorn. She could understand entirely why Isabelle would want to have her engagement part at a time when it would feel most genuinely to her that Max was there. “Well, did you think of asking Magnus?”
“Of course I did,” said Simon. “And he said he’d help if he could, but they have the whole situation with Rafael…”
“Right,” Clary said. “So you want our help?”
“I was hoping we could have it here,” Simon said. “In the Institute. And you could help me with a few things I don’t really understand.”
Clary felt a growing sense of dread. The Institute had undergone major renovations recently; some were still ongoing. The ballroom that was hardly ever used was being turned into a second training room, and several floors were full of stacks of tiles and lumber. There was the music room, which was enormous, but packed with old cellos, pianos, and even an organ. “What kind of things?”
Simon looked at her with big brown puppy eyes. “Flowers, catering, decorations...”
Clary groaned. Jace ruffled her hair. “You can do it,” he said, and she could tell just from the tone of his voice that he was grinning. “Come on, you saved the world once, remember? I believe in you.”
And that was how Clary had come to be standing in the Institute’s music room, with Magnus’s sparkling icicles dripping down onto her green dress. Every once in a while Magnus would change it up a little, and illusory rose petals would blow through the room. Some of Maia’s werewolf pack had helped move the harp, the organ, and a smatter of other instruments into the adjoining empty room. (Its door was closed firmly now, half-obscured by a glamoured waterfall of tumbling butterflies.)
It reminded Clary a little of the Court of the Seelie Queen, which had been different each time she had visited it years ago: sparkling ice at some times, plush scarlet velvet at others. She felt a small pang, not for the Queen herself, who had been cruel and traitorous, but for the magic of the fey. Since the Cold Peace had been put into practice, she had not visited the Courts of Faerie again. Central Park was no longer filled with dancing on nights when the moon was full. You could no longer see pixies and mermaids in the waters of the Hudson. Sometimes, late at night, she would hear the high lonely sound of the Wild Hunt’s horn as they pounded through the sky, and think of Mark Blackthorn, and grieve. But Gwyn and his people had never been subject to any laws, and the sound of the Hunt was no replacement for the music of faerie revels that had once drifted from Hart Island.
She had talked to Jace about it, and he had agreed with her, both in his capacity as her boyfriend and also as second head of the Institute: the Shadowhunter world, without the Fair Folk, was unbalanced. Shadowhunters needed Downworlders. They always had. Trying to pretend the Fair Folk didn’t exist would only lead to disaster. But they weren’t the Council—they were only the very young leaders of a single Institute. So they waited, and tried to be prepared.
Certainly, Clary thought, there was no other Institute she could think of that would be likely to host a party quite like this one. Beatriz’s students were standing in as waiters, carrying platters of canapés around the room—the canapés had been provided by Simon’s sister, who worked at a restaurant in Brooklyn, and the platters and cutlery were pewter, not silver, out of deference to werewolves present.
Speaking of Downworlders, Maia was laughing in a corner of the room with her hand in Bat’s. She wore a floating orange dress, her curls piled on her head and her Praetor Lupus medallion gleaming at her brown throat.
She was talking with Clary’s stepfather, Luke, whose glasses were pushed up onto his head. There was a bit more gray in Luke’s hair these days, but his eyes were as bright as ever. Jocelyn had gone off to one of the offices to have a long chat with Maryse Lightwood, Simon’s prospective mother-in-law. Clary couldn’t help but wonder if she was delivering the maternal speech about how the Lightwoods were lucky to have Simon in their family and they’d better not forget it.
Julie Beauvale, Beatriz’s parabatai, passed by them, carrying a platter of tiny puff pastries. As Clary watched, Lily, the head of the New York vampire clan, snagged a pastry off the platter, winked at Bat and Maia, and sashayed over to the piano, passing by Simon—who was making conversation with Isabelle’s father, Robert Lightwood—on her way. Simon wore a charcoal-gray suit and looked nervous enough to jump out of his skin.
Jace was playing, his velvet blazer tossed over the back of his chair, his slim hands dancing over the piano keys. Clary couldn’t help but remember the first time she’d seen him in the Institute, playing the piano, his back to her. Alec? he’d said. Is that you?
Jace’s expression was focused and intent, the way it was only when he was doing something he considered worthy of his entire focus—fighting, or playing music, or kissing. He glanced up as if he could feel her gaze on him, and smiled at her. Even after all this time, he still gave her shivers down her spine.
She was amazingly proud of him. They had been as surprised as anyone when the Conclave had voted them in as the new heads of the Institute when Maryse had left. They’d been only nineteen years old, and she supposed they’d assumed Alec of Isabelle would take over, but neither of them wanted it. Isabelle wanted to travel, and Alec was involved with the Downworlder-Shadowhunter Alliance he was building.
They could always turn it down, Clary had said to Jace at the time. No one could force someone to head up an Institute, and they’d planned to go around the world together, while Clary painted and Jace fought demons in unusual locations. But he’d wanted to it. She knew that in his heart he felt it was a way of paying back for the people they’d lost in the war, the people they hadn’t been able to save. For the good fortune they’d had in coming through it all with most of the people they loved unscathed. For the fact that the universe had given him Alec, and Isabelle, and Clary, when once he’d thought that he would never have a best friend, or a sister, and that he would never fall in love.
Running the Institute was hard work. It required all Jace’s ability to charm, and Clary’s instinct to keep peace and build alliances. Alone, neither of them could have done it, but together, Clary’s determination balanced his ambition, her knowledge of the mundane world and its practicalities, his ancient Shadowhunter blood and training. Jace had always been the natural leader of their small group, a proven strategist, excellent at being able to judge who would be best at what. Clary was the one who could reassure the frightened, as well as the one who finally got a forbidden computer installed in the strategy room.
Lily said something in Jace’s ear, probably a song request—she’d died in the twenties and was always demanding ragtime—before twirling on her red heels and heading off toward a blanket that had been spread in one corner of the room. Magnus was seated on it, his son Max, a three-year-old warlock with navy-blue skin, curled up against his side. Also on the blanket was a five-year-old boy, this one a Shadowhunter, with tangled black hair, who reached for a book Magnus held out to him and gave the warlock a shy smile.
Beatriz was suddenly at Clary’s side. “Where’s Isabelle?” she whispered.
“She wants to make an entrance,” Clary whispered back. “She was waiting for everyone to get here. Why?”
Beatriz gave her a meaningful look and cocked her head toward the door. A few seconds later, Clary was following her down the hall, the skirt of her dress hoisted up so she wouldn’t trip on the hem. She could see herself in the mirror along the corridor wall, her green dress the color of a flower stem.
Jace liked her in green, and it matched her eyes, but there had been a time when the color had troubled her. She had been unable to look at it without thinking of her brother, Jonathan, whose eyes had turned green when he died.
When he had been Sebastian, his eyes had been black. But that had been years ago.
Beatriz led her into the dining room, which was full of flowers. Dutch tulips, Clary was pretty sure. They were piled on the chairs, on the table, on the sideboard.
“These just got delivered,” Beatriz said in a dire tone, as if they had been talking about a dead body and not some local flora.
“Okay, so what’s the problem?” Clary said.
“Isabelle’s allergic to tulips,” said a voice from the shadows. Clary jumped. Alec Lightwood was seated in a chair at the far end of the table, wearing an untucked white shirt over black suit pants and holding a yellow tulip in one hand. He was busy plucking off the petals with his long fingers. “Beatriz, can I talk to Clary for a second?”
Beatriz nodded, looking relieved to have the problem handed off to someone else, and slipped from the room.
“What’s wrong, Alec?” Clary asked, taking a step toward him. “Why are you in here and not with the rest of the party?”
“My mother told me the Consul might drop by,” he said darkly.
Clary stared. “And?” she said. It wasn’t as if Alec was a wanted criminal.
“You know about Rafe, right?” he said. “I mean, all the details.”
Clary hesitated. A few months previously, Alec had been sent to Buenos Aires to follow up on a set of vampire attacks. While there, he had come across a five-year-old Shadowhunter boy, a survivor of the decimation of the Buenos Aires Institute during the Dark War. He and Magnus had Portaled back and forth form Argentina over and over, telling no one what they were doing, until one day they appeared in New York with a skinny, wide-eyed little boy and announced they were adopting him. He would be their son, and Max’s brother.
They named him Rafael Santiago Lightwood.
“When I found Rafe, he was living on the street, starving,” Alec said. “Stealing food from mundanes, having nightmares because he had the Sight and could see monsters.” He bit his lip. “The thing is, they let us adopt Max because Max is a Downworlder. Nobody wanted him. Nobody cared. But Rafe is a Shadowhunter and Magnus—isn’t. I don’t know how the Council will feel about a Downworlder parenting a Nephilim kid, especially when they’re desperate for new Shadowhunters.”
“Alec,” Clary said firmly. “They won’t take Rafe away from you. We won’t let them.”
“I won’t let them,” said Alec. “I’d kill them all first. But that would be awkward and ruin the party.”
Clary had a brief but vivid mental image of Alec shooting at the party guests with his bow and arrow while Magnus took them out with magical fire. She sighed. “Do you have any reason to think they’ll take Rafe? Has there been any sign, any complaint from the Council?”
Alec shook his head. “No. It’s just—you know this Council. The Cold Peace means they’re edgy all the time. And even though there are Downworlders on the Council now, they don’t trust them. Sometimes I think they’re even worse than they were before the Dark War.”
“I’m not going to say you’re wrong,” Clary said. “But can I suggest something?”
“Is it poisoning the punch?” Alec asked with worrisome eagerness.
“No,” Clary said. “I was just going to say that you might be displacing your anxiety.”
Alec looked puzzled. Mundane psychological terms were fairly hit or miss with Shadowhunters.
“You’re really worried because having a kid is a big deal, and this was sudden,” said Clary. “But Max was sudden too. And you and Magnus are terrific parents. You love each other so much, and that just makes for more love that you have to give. You should never worry that you don’t have plenty of love for as many kids as you would ever want to have.”
Alec’s eyes glittered for a moment, bright blue under coal-black lashes. He stood up and came over to where Clary was standing by the door. “Wise girl,” he said.
“You didn’t always think I was wise.”
“No, I thought you were a pest, but I know better now.” He dropped a kiss on top of her head and went out the door, still carrying his tulip.
“Throw that out before you get back to the music room!” Clary called after him, imagining Isabelle laid out on the floor with hives.
She sighed and stared at the tulips. She supposed they could have a party without flowers. Still—
There was a knock on the door. A girl in a patchwork silk dress with long brown braids peeked through it. Rebecca, Simon’s sister. “Can I come in?” she asked, swinging the door open. “Whoa, tulips!”
“Isabelle’s allergic to tulips,” said Clary grimly. “Apparently.”
“Bummer,” said Rebecca. “Can you talk for a second?”
Clary nodded. “Sure, why not?”
Rebecca came in and perched herself on the corner of the table. “I wanted to thank you,” she said.
“For everything.” Rebecca looked around the room, taking in the portraits of Shadowhunter ancestors, the motifs of angels and crossed swords. “I still don’t know much about this Shadowhunter business. Simon can only tell me a little bit without tripping off some kind of alarm. I don’t really know what his job is—”
“He’s a Recruiter,” said Clary, knowing that this would mean nothing to Rebecca, but she was proud of Simon. Everything that had happened to him that was hard, that was painful, that was a challenge—being a vampire, losing his memories, becoming a Shadowhunter, losing George—he had turned into a way to help people. “We lost a lot of Shadowhunters in the war five years ago. And since then we’ve been trying to make new ones. The best candidates are mundanes who have some Shadowhunter blood, which often means they don’t know they’re Shadowhunters but they do have the Sight. They can see vampires, werewolves, magic—things that might make you think you were going crazy. Simon talks to them, tells them about becoming a Shadowhunter, why it’s hard—and why it matters.”
Clary knew she probably shouldn’t be saying any of this to a mundane. On the other hand, she probably shouldn’t have let Rebecca into the Institute at all, much less hired her to provide catering. But when Clary and Jace had taken over running the Institute, they had sworn to each other that they would be a new kind of guardian.
After all, Clary and Simon had both once been mundanes who weren’t supposed to be in the Institute too.
Rebecca was shaking her head. “Okay, I don’t understand any of this. But my little brother is a big deal, right?”
Clary smiled. “He’s always been a big deal to me.”
“He’s really happy,” Rebecca said. “With his life, with Isabelle. And that’s all thanks to you.” She leaned forward and spoke in a conspiratorial whisper. “When you and Simon first got to be friends and he brought you home from school, my mom said to me: ‘That girl is going to bring magic into his life.’ And you did.”
“Literally,” Clary said. Rebecca looked blank. Oh dear. Jace would have laughed. “I mean, that’s lovely, and I’m so glad—you know I love Simon like a brother—”
“Clary!” Clary looked up in alarm, fearing that it was Isabelle, but it wasn’t. It was Lily Chen, with Maia Roberts. The heads of the New York vampire clan and the New York werewolf clan, together.
Not that it was unusual to see them together: They were friends. But they were also political allies who occasionally found themselves on the opposite sides of an argument.
“Hi, Rebecca,” Maia said. She waved, and the plain bronze band on her finger glittered. She and Bat had exchanged promise rings some time ago, but nothing was official. Maia was the head of the werewolf pack of Manhattan, in charge of rebuilding the Praetor Lupus, and pursuing a BA in business management. She was terrifyingly competent.
Lily looked at Rebecca without interest. “Clary, we must speak to you,” she said. “I tried to talk to Jace, but he playing the piano, and Magnus and Alec are busy with those small creatures.”
“Children,” Clary said. “They’re children.”
“I informed Alec we needed assistance, but he told me to ask you,” said Lily, sounding put out. She was fond of Alec, in her way. He’d been the first Shadowhunter to truly buckle down and work with Maia and Lily, fusing his Shadowhunter knowledge with their Downworlder skills. When Jace had taken over the Institute, they’d taken on the odd alliance as well, and Isabelle and Simon joined when the could. Clary had put together a strategy room for them, full of maps and plans and important contacts in case of emergency.
And there were plenty of emergencies. The Cold Peace meant that the parts of Manhattan that had belonged to the Fair Folk had been ripped away from them, and other Downworlders scuffled and battled over the scraps. Many were the nights that Clary and Jace, with Alec and Lily and Maia, had sat up trying to hammer out some detail of the vampire/lycanthrope truce or stop a revenge plan before it could begin. Magnus had even woven special spells so that Lily could come into the Institute despite the fact that it was hallowed ground, something that Jace said as far as he knew had never been done for another vampire.
“It’s about the High Line,” said Maia. The High Line was a public park built atop a disused elevated train line on the West Side, recently opened to the public.
“The High Line?” Clary said. “What, you’re suddenly interested in urban development projects?”
Rebecca waved at Lily. “Hi, I’m Rebecca. Your eyeliner is incredible.”
Lily ignored this. “Because of its elevation, it is a new piece of land in Manhattan,” she said, “and therefore it does not belong to either the vampires or the lycanthropes. Both clans have been trying to claim it for their own.”
“Do we really have to talk about this now?” Clary said. “It’s Isabelle and Simon’s engagement party.”
“Oh God!” Rebecca leaped up. “I forgot! The slideshow!”
She bolted from the room, leaving Clary staring after her. “The slideshow?”
“I understand that at functions such as this, it is a tradition to humiliate the future bride and groom with pictures from their childhoods,” said Lily. Clary and Maia both stared at her. She shrugged. “What? I watch television.”
“Look, I know it’s a bad time to be bothering you,” said Maia, “but the thing is, apparently there’s a group of werewolves and a group of vamps facing off there right now. We need an assist from the Institute.”
Clary frowned. “How do you know this is going on?”
Maia held up her phone. “I just talked to them,” she said.
“Give it to me,” Clary said grimly. “All right, who am I talking to?”
“Leila Haryana,” said Maia. “She’s one of my pack.”
Clary took the phone, hit the redial button, and waited until a girl’s voice picked up on the other end. “Leila,” she said. “This is Clarissa Fairchild at the Institute.” She paused. “Yes, the head of the Institute. That’s me. Look, I know you’re on the High Line. I know you’re about to fight a clan of vampires. I need you to stop.”
Indignant yelling followed. Clary sighed.
“The Accords are still the Accords,” she said. “And this breaks them. According to, um, section seven, paragraph forty-two, you’re required to bring a territorial dispute to the nearest Institute for settling before you start a fight.”
More subdued arguing.
Clary cut it off. “Tell the vampires what I said. And be here tomorrow at the Sanctuary, early.” She thought of the champagne in the music room. “Maybe not that early. Get here at eleven, two vamps and two lycanthropes, and we’ll hash this out. If not, you’ll be considered enemies of the Institute.”
Clary paused. “Okay,” she said. “Good-bye, then. Have a nice day.”
She hung up.
“Have a nice day?” Lily said, raising her eyebrows.
Clary groaned, handing Maia back her phone. “I suck at a good sign-off.”
“What’s section seven, paragraph forty-two?” Maia asked.
“I have no idea,” Clary said. “I made it up.”
“Not bad,” admitted Lily. “Now, I am going to go back to the music room and tell Alec that next time we need him, he had better hop to it or I might nibble on one of those children of his.”
She flounced off in a swirl of skirts.
“I’m going to go prevent that disaster from happening,” Maia said hastily. “See you later, Clary!”
She departed, leaving Clary to lean back against the massive table in the middle of the room and take deep, calming breaths, She tried to envision herself in a soothing place, maybe at the beach, but that just made her think of the Los Angeles Institute.
She and Jace had gone there in the year after the Dark War to help put the place back together—it had been the most badly hit of the Institutes Sebastian had attacked. Emma Carstairs had helped them in Idris, and Clary felt protective of the small blond girl. They’d spent a day sorting books in the new library, and then Clary had taken Emma down to the beach, to look for shells and sea glass. Emma had refused to go in the water, though, or even really look at it for very long.
Clary had asked her if she was all right.
“It’s not me I worry about,” Emma had said. “It’s Jules. I would do anything, if only Jules would be all right.”
Clary had given her a long look then, but Emma, gazing out at the flaring orange-red sunset, hadn’t seen it.
“Clary!” The door burst open again. It was finally Isabelle, looking radiant in a lilac silk dress with sparkling sandals. The moment she stepped into the room, she started to sneeze. Clary bolted upright. “By the Angel—” The Shadowhunter epithet came to her now without a thought, when once it had seemed an odd saying. “Come on.”
“Tulips,” Isabelle said in a choked voice as Clary steered her out into the hallway.
“I know,” Clary said, fanning the other girl and wondering if a healing rune would help allergies. Isabelle sneezed again, her eyes watering. “I’m so sorry—”
“Ib not your foot,” Isabelle said, which Clary translated as allergic-speak for it’s not your fault.
“It is, though!”
“Pffbt,” Isabelle said inelegantly, and waved a hand. “Doan worry. It’ll be better in a second.”
“I ordered roses,” Clary said. “I swear I did. I don’t know what happened. I’ll go down to the florist and kill them tomorrow. Or maybe Alec might do it. He seems murderous tonight.”
“Nothing’s ruined,” Isabelle said in a more normal voice. “And no one needs to be killed. Clary, I’m getting married! To Simon! I’m happy!” She beamed. “I used to think there was something weak about giving your heart to someone. That they might break it. But I know better now. And it’s thanks to Simon, but also thanks to you.”
“What do you mean, thanks to me?”
Isabelle shrugged a little shyly. “It’s just that you love so much. So hard. You give so much. And it’s always made you stronger.”
Clary realized she was tearing up. “You know, you’re marrying Simon means we’re going to be sisters, basically, right? Isn’t the person married to your parabatai like your sister?”
Isabelle threw her arms around her. For a moment, they clung to each other in the shadowy hallway. Clary couldn’t help but remember the first friendly overtures she and Isabelle had really made toward each other, so long ago, here in the hallways of the Institute. I wasn’t just worried about Alec, I was worried about you, too.
“Speaking of love and love-related things,” Isabelle said with a mischievous smile, drawing away from Clary, “what about a double wedding? You and Jace—”
Clary’s heart skipped a beat. She’d never been someone who was good at hiding her expressions or feelings. Isabelle looked at her, puzzled, about to ask something—probably if there was anything wrong—when the door to the music room opened and light and music poured into the hallway. Isabelle’s mother, Maryse, leaned out.
She was smiling, clearly happy. Clary was pleased to see it. Maryse and Robert had finalized their divorce after the Dark War. Robert had moved to the Inquisitor’s house in Idris. Maryse had remained in New York to run the Institute, but she had handed it over gladly to Clary and Jace a few years later. She had stayed in New York, nominally to help them in case they were ever in over their heads, but Clary suspected it was to be closer to her children—and to her grandson Max. There was more white in her hair now that Clary remembered her having when they’d met, but her back was straight, her stance still a Shadowhunter’s. “Isabelle!” she called. “Everyone’s waiting.”
“Good,” Isabelle said, “then I can make an entrance,” and she linked her arm with Clary’s before starting down the hallway. The flaring lights of the music room were in front of them suddenly, the room full of people turning, smiling to see them in the doorway.
Clary saw Jace, as she always did: his was always the first face she saw when she walked into a room. He was still playing, a light, unobtrusive melody, but he looked over when she came into the room and winked.
The Herondale ring on his finger sparked in the illumination from the dozens of star-shaped globes of light that were drifting around the room—doubtless Magnus’s work. Clary thought of Tessa, who had given her that ring to give to Jace, and wished she were there. She had always loved to see Jace play the piano.
A cheer had gone up when Isabelle came into the room. She looked around, glowing, clearly in her element. She blew a kiss toward Magnus and Alec where they sat snuggled up with Max and Rafe, who was watching with dark-eyed puzzlement. Maia and Bat whistled, Lily raised her glass, Luke and Rebecca beamed, and Maryse and Robert watched proudly as Isabelle stepped forward and took Simon’s hand.
Simon’s face blazed with happiness. On the wall behind him the slideshow Rebecca had mentioned was still going on. A framed quote flashed up against the wall: Marriage is like a long conversation that always ends too soon.
Ack, Clary thought. Morbid. She saw Magnus put his hand over Alec’s. Alec was watching the slideshow, Rafael on his lap. Pictures of Simon—and much fewer of Isabelle; Shadowhunters weren’t big on photographs—flickered, appearing and disappearing on the blank wall behind the harpsichord.
There was Simon as a baby, in his mother’s arms—Clary wished she could have been there, but Elaine’s knowledge of Shadowhunters was nil. As far as she knew, Isabelle was a nice girl who worked in a tattoo parlor. And Simon when he was six, grinning with two teeth missing. Simon as a teenager with his guitar. Simon and Clary, ten years old, in the park, under a shower of falling autumn leaves.
Simon glanced at the picture and smiled at Clary, his eyes crinkling around the corners. Clary touched her fingers to her right forearm, where her parabatai mark was. She hoped he could see in her eyes all that she felt: that he was her anchor, the bedrock of her childhood and the guidepost of her adult life.
Through a blur of tears she realized the music had stopped. Jace was across the room, whispering to Alec, their dark and light heads bent together. Alec’s hand was on Jace’s shoulder and he was nodding.
For so long she had looked at Jace and Alec and seen best friends. She’d known how much Jace loved Alec, known since the first time she’d seen Alec injured and Jace—whose self-possession was near terrifying—had come apart. She’d seen the way he’d looked at anyone who said a bad word about Alec, his eyes narrowed, deadly gold. And she’d thought she understood, thought best friends, the way she and Simon were.
Now that Simon was her parabatai, she understood so much more. The way you were stronger when your parabatai was there. The way they were like a mirror that showed you your best self. She couldn’t imagine losing your parabatai, couldn’t imagine what hell it would be.
Keep him safe, Isabelle Lightwood, she thought, looking at Isabelle and Simon, hand in hand. Please keep him safe.
“Clary.” She’d been so lost in thought she hadn’t seen Jace move away from Alec and come toward her. He was behind her now; she could smell the cologne she’d given him for Christmas, the faint scent of his soap and shampoo, felt the softness of his blazer as he brushed his arm against hers. “Let’s go—”
“We can’t duck out, it’s our party—”
“Just for a second,” he said, in that low voice of his that made bad ideas seem like good ones. She felt him step backward and followed; they were near the door to the strategy room, and they slipped through it unnoticed.
Well, nearly unnoticed. Alec was watching them go, and as Jace shut—and locked—the door behind him, he flashed Jace a thumbs-up gesture. Which puzzled Clary a great deal, but she didn’t dwell on it, mostly because Jace strode toward her with a determined look on his face, took her in his arms, and kissed her.
Her whole body sang, the way it always did when they kissed. She’d never grown bored or tired of it or used to it, any more than she imagined that you could get tired of beautiful sunsets or perfect music or your favorite book in the world.
She didn’t think Jace had gotten tired of it either. At least not from the way he held her, as if each time could be the last time. It was often the way, with him. She knew he’d had a childhood that had left him uncertain of love, and fragile as glass in some ways, and she tried to be mindful of that. She was worried about the party and the guests outside, but she let herself relax into the kiss, her hand lingering against his cheek, until they finally drew apart to breathe.
“Wow,” she said, running her finger around the inside edge of his collar. “I guess all that romance and flower petals falling from the sky did a number on you, huh?”
“Shh.” He grinned. His blond hair was tousled, his eyes sleepy. “Let me be in the moment.”
“What moment is that?” She glanced around, amused. The room was dim, most of its light coming from the windows and the band of illumination beneath the door. She could see the shapes of musical instruments, pale ghosts covered in white sheets. A baby grand piano was wedged up against the wall behind them. “The moment of hiding in a closet while our friends’ engagement party happens?”
Jace didn’t answer. Instead he took her by the waist and lifted her up, sitting her down on the closed lid of the baby grand. Their faces were on a level; Clary looked at him, surprised. His expression was serious. He leaned in to kiss her, hands on her waist, fingers knotting in the material of her dress.
“Jace,” she whispered. Her heart was pounding. His body leaned into hers, pressing her back against the piano. The sounds of laughter and music from outside were blurring; she could hear Jace’s quick breathing, remembered the boy he had been, in the grass with her in front of the Wayland manor in Idris, when they had kissed and kissed and she had realized that love would cut you like the edge of a blade.
She could feel his pulse. His hand slid up, caressed the strap of her dress. His lowered eyes glittered in the dark. “‘Green to mend out broken hearts,’” he quoted. It was part of a Nephilim children’s rhyme, one Clary knew well. His eyelashes brushed her cheek; his voice was warm in her ear. “You mended my heart,” he whispered. “You picked up the pieces of a broken, angry boy and you made him into a happy man, Clary.”
“No,” she said in a shaking voice. “You did that. I just—cheered you on from the sidelines.”
“I wouldn’t be here without you,” he said, soft as music against her lips. “Not just you—Alec, Isabelle, even Simon—but you’re my heart.”
“And you’re mine,” she said. “You know that.”
He raised his eyes to hers. His were stark gold, hard and beautiful. She loved him so much her rib cage hurt when she breathed.
“So will you?” he said.
“Will I what?”
“Marry me,” he said. “Marry me, Clary.”
The ground seemed to sweep out from under her. She hesitated, only for a second, but it felt like an eon; she could have sworn a fist was squeezing her heart. She saw the beginning of puzzlement cross his face, and then there was an explosion and the door of the room blew open in a shower of splinters.
Magnus strode in, looking hectic, his black hair sticking up and his clothes rumpled.
Jace leaned away from Clary, but only slightly. His eyes were narrowed. “I would say ‘Don’t you knock?’ but it seems evident you don’t,” he said. “We are, however, busy.”
Magnus waved a dismissive hand. “I’ve walked in on your ancestors doing worse,” he said. “Besides, it’s an emergency.”
“Magnus,” said Clary, “this better not be about the flowers. Or the cake.”
Magnus scoffed. “I said an emergency. This is an engagement party, not the Battle of Normandy.”
“The battle of what?” said Jace, who was not up on his mundane history.
“The alarm connected to the map went off,” said Magnus. “The one that charts necromantic magic. There was a blast of it in Los Angeles just now.”
“But I was going to give a toast,” said Jace. “Can’t the apocalypse wait?”
Magnus gave him a dark look. “The map’s not that exact, but the blast was close to the Institute.”
Clary straightened up, alarmed. “Emma,” she said. “And Julian. The kids—”
“Remember, last time this happened, it was nothing,” said Magnus. “But there are a couple things that worry me.” He hesitated. “There’s a big convergence of ley lines not far from them. I checked it out, and it looks like something had happened there. The area was wrecked.”
“Have you tried to reach Malcolm Fade?” Jace asked.
Magnus nodded grimly. “No answer.”
Clary slid off the piano. “Have you told anyone?” she asked Magnus. “Besides us, I mean.”
“I didn’t want to ruin the part for a false alarm,” Magnus said. “So I only told—”
A tall shadow appeared in the doorway. Robert Lightwood, a bag looped over his shoulder; Clary could see the hilts of several seraph blades protruding from the top. He stopped short as he caught sight of Clary and Jace’s disheveled attire and flushed faces.
“—him,” Magnus finished.
“Excuse me,” said Robert.
Jace looked awkward. Robert looked awkward. Magnus looked impatient. Clary knew he wasn’t enormously fond of Robert, though their relationship had improved since Alec and Magnus had adopted Max. Robert was a good grandfather in the way he had never been a good father: willing to get down on the ground and roll around with Max, and now Rafe as well.
“Can we stop being weird about Jace and Clary’s sex life and get going?” Magnus asked.
“That’s kind of up to you,” Clary said. “I can’t make the Portal—I didn’t see the map. You’re the one who knows where we’re going.”
“I hate it when you’re right, biscuit,” Magnus said in a resigned tone, and spread his fingers wide. Blue sparks illuminated the room like targeted fireflies, a strangely beautiful effect that opened out to a wide rectangle, a shimmering Portal through which Clary could see the outline of the Los Angeles Institute, the long stretch of distant mountains, the surge and roll of the sea.
She could smell salt water and sage. Jace moved up beside her, taking her hand in his. She felt the light pressure of his fingers.
Marry me, Clary.
When they returned, she would have to give him her answer. She dreaded it. But for now, they were Shadowhunters first. Back straight, head high, Clary stepped through the Portal.
Unedited beach scene
- source: Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
Emma rolled onto her back and stared up at Julian and the sky behind him. She could see a million stars. He was shivering, his black shirt and jeans plastered to his body, his face whiter than the moon.
"Emma?" he whispered.
"I had to try —"
"You didn't have to try alone!" His voice seemed to echo off the water. His fists were clenched at his sides. "What the hell is the point of being parabatai if you go off and risk yourself without me?"
"I didn't want to put you in danger —"
"I almost drowned inside the Institute! I coughed up water! Water you breathed!"
Emma stared at him in shock. She started to prop herself up on her elbows. Her hair, heavy and soaked, hung down her back like a weight. "I didn't know."
"How could you not know?" His voice seemed to explode out of his body. "We are bound together, Emma, bound together — I breathe when you breathe, I bleed when you bleed, I'm yours and you're mine, you've always been mine, and I have always, always belonged to you!" She had never heard him say anything like this, never heard him talk this way, never seen him so close to losing control.
"I didn't mean to hurt you," she said. She started to sit up, reaching for him. He caught her wrist.
"Are you joking?" Even in the darkness, his blue-green eyes had color. "Is this a joke to you, Emma? Don't you understand? I don't live if you die!" His voice dropped to a whisper. "I wouldn't even want to, even if I could."
"I wouldn't want to live without you, either." Her eyes searched his face. "Jules, I'm so sorry, Jules —"
His face twisted. The wall that usually hid the truth deep in his eyes had crumbled; she could see the hungry panic there, the desperation, the relief that had punched through his defenses.
He was still holding her wrist. She didn’t know if she leaned into him first or if he pulled her toward him. Maybe both. They crashed together, hard, like stars colliding, and then he was kissing her.
Jules. Kissing her. The shock was all she felt at first, his cold mouth against hers, and then she tasted him, under the salt water, the hot-cool taste of sugar and cloves, and it was as if someone had flipped a switch inside her body and turned on all the lights.
"Emma," he murmured against her lips, not taking his mouth away from hers. They were clasped together, wet and cold and hot and burning all at once. He leaned into her, kissing her harder, feverishly, his hands burying themselves in the thickness of her wet hair. The weight of him bore her down onto the sand.
She clutched at his shoulders, thought of the disoriented moment when he’d pulled her out of the water, the moment she hadn’t quite known who he was. He was stronger, bigger than she remembered, than she had let herself know, though every kiss was burning away her memories of the boy he had been.
It was like nothing else that had ever happened to her. Her lips parted and her head fell back. Julian slid one hand under her head, his fingers splayed across the back of her skull, cradling her even as his tongue stroked inside her mouth like a bow across a violin, wringing painful sparks from her nerves.
So this was what it was supposed to be like, what kissing was supposed to be like, what all of it was supposed to be like. This.
Her whole body was shaking. She clutched at him, at his shoulders, his sides, her fingers digging into his skin, dragging him harder against him. He gasped into her mouth when she reached down to grab the hem of his soaking wet shirt and tore it up over his head.
His eyes were catlike, burning in the darkness, hot with hunger. "Emma, God —" he said in a choked voice, and then he was gathering her up under him again, pressing her against his body as if he could press them into each other, meld them into one person.
His hands clawed at the back of her shirt, and she pulled back far enough to let him help her shimmy out of it. And then they were kissing again, more fiercely now that they could feel each other’s bare skin. She couldn’t stop touching him, her hands roaming down his back and over his waist, feeling the dips and divots of muscle, the bumps of his spine.
And he was touching her, too. She looked down in disbelief that this was actually happening, that this was Julian touching her, her Julian. His long fingers stroking up the curves of her waist, caressing her back, fumbling against the clasp of her bra until finally it snapped open and slid off her shoulders. She shrugged it to the ground.
It fell to the wet sand and they stared at each other. His pupils widened, darkening his eyes to the color of the ocean at night. His eyes seemed to devour her, and she in turn was staring at him: he was gorgeous in the moonlight, spare and clean and muscular, and when had that happened?
"You're so beautiful," he said. "So beautiful, Emma."
She opened her arms and he went into them. Her breasts flattened out against his chest as he held her to him, his hands stroking over and over down her back. Slowly, he lowered her to the sand — he reached out and grabbed her shirt, not taking his mouth away from hers, and he pushed it under her, pillowing her head. She made a soft sound — something about the tenderness of the gesture, a bright sweet flare of gentleness cutting through the fierce dizziness of their shared hunger, made her want to cry.
"Jules," she whispered. Somehow she kicked her wet jeans off without letting him go, and the sand scratched lightly at her bare calves. She parted her knees, making her body a cradle for him to lie against. He kissed his way down her throat, his breath warm on her skin. Tangling her hands in his wet curls, she stared up in wonder at the sky above them, wheeling with stars, shimmering and cold, and thought that this couldn’t be happening, people didn’t get things they wanted like this.
He reached down to unsnap his own jeans and she helped him as much as she could. Sand scraped against her elbows when she moved. With anyone else she would have been bothered by it, but there was no room in her head for anything but Julian. She stared at him: he was propped up on one arm, his wet hair pasted to his forehead in dark curlicues. Moonlight sparked off his eyelashes, each one as long and dark as the fillip of a pen stroke. Pale white scars starred his bare shoulders. He was more beautiful than the whole of the sky.
He kicked the jeans off and surged back up her body, sliding his hands underneath her to cup her shoulder blades. He kissed her collarbones, the space between her breasts. She arched her hips up. He was hard against her thigh and when their bodies ground together he made a choked sound, a moan, as if something inside him had broken.
"Do you want to stop?" She froze.
"Never, not ever." His eyes were half-closed. "Do you — is this —?"
"Yes," she whispered. "Yes."
His eyelashes trembled against his cheek. “I can’t not,” he said, low, heartfelt, “I can’t,” and his mouth found hers, trembling, inexpert. She kissed the breath out of him, out of both of them, until he was moving against her, restless and uncontrolled. The last of their clothes were discarded. His skin was as hot against hers as if he had a fever. She heard him whisper her name.
There were only molecules of air between them, and then Emma moved to wrap her legs around his waist. Julian gasped and his body moved instinctively and then there was nothing between them at all because he was inside her.
They froze, looking at each other, motionless. Julian's teeth were dug into his lower lip. His face was flushed, his eyes brilliant. He looked shocked and amazed and overwhelmed and desperate.
"Emma, God, Emma, I —" he choked, and then his words dissolved into inarticulate sounds as his body moved against hers.
Emma held onto his shoulders, tightly, and her body was moving, too, she couldn’t stop it, but she was also staring, and she’d never done this with her eyes open before, she’d always closed them, but this was different, this was Julian. Not Jules, not her sweet boy Jules, this was someone else, someone who made harsh sounds of rapture and buried his face in her hair and gripped her body hard enough to leave marks. She hoped he did leave marks, bruises even. She hoped they’d last for days. Because she was trying to memorize him, trying to memorize the way he looked above her, silhouetted by stars, hair in his face and eyes half shut, the lines of worry that were always next to his mouth smoothed away by pleasure, but she couldn't.
She couldn’t hold it in her mind. Her concentration was fragmenting, she couldn't grasp onto it, thoughts flying from her head like the spray of the ocean dissolving in the air. Lightning forked up and down her veins and she was clawing at Jules' back, gasping, trying to get enough air, trying to pull him closer and closer still and then the world burst apart in bright fragments, a broken kaleidoscope, and she finally, finally, closed her eyes and let colors she had never seen before paint the insides of her eyelids. As if at a distance she heard Julian cry out, felt him collapse against her, kiss her shoulder, nuzzle his way into her neck.
His heart was still racing, slamming against hers. She loved him so much it felt like her chest was cracking open.
She wanted to tell him so, but the words stuck in her throat."You're heavy," she whispered instead, into his hair.
He laughed and rolled to the side, pulled her hard against him. She relaxed into the warm curve of his body. He reached down, grabbed his dry flannel jacket, spread it over them. It wasn’t much, but Emma huddled under it, giggling, and he kissed her face, almost drunkenly peppering kisses across her cheeks, the bridge of her nose, her chin.
She laid her head down against his arm. She had never felt so happy. He had stopped kissing her face and was gazing at her, head propped up on one hand. He looked dazed, his blue-green eyes half-lidded. His fingers traced slow circles on her bare shoulder.
She thought, I love you, Julian Blackthorn. I love you more than starlight.
The air was cold, but she was warm here, in this small circle with Julian, hidden by the outcroppings of rock, wrapped in the flannel jacket that smelled like him. His hand was gentle in her hair. "Shh. Go to sleep."
She closed her eyes.
Stars to Burn
- source: Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- A short story about Kieran and Mark's first kiss/first time. Takes place before Lady Midnight. Considered canon, according to Cassandra Clare.
At night they slept curled together under Kieran's blanket, made of a thickly woven material that was always warm. One night they stopped on a hilltop, in a place green and north. There was a cairn of stones crowning the hill, something built by mundanes a thousand years back. Mark leaned against the side of it and looked out over the green country, silvering in the dark, to the distant sea. The sea, everywhere, he thought, was the same, the same sea that broke against the shores in the place he still thought of as home … — Lady Midnight
From the top of Mynydd Mawr, you could see the Irish Sea. Somewhere across that ocean, Mark thought, was the country he’d grown up in, and far on its west coast was Los Angeles, where his brothers and sisters lived.
The summit of the mountain was covered with low green grass, and the peak fell away to long slopes of scree reaching down to views of more green — a patchwork of verdigris dotted with the gray lines of farmers’ stone walls. Kieran’s horse Windspear was cropping grass at the mountain’s edge, while Mark’s mount had wandered off in search of excitement, which Mark doubted she would find in this quiet corner of Wales.
Clouds scudded across the sky, low and gray, promising a downpour. Mark looked over at Kieran, who was working at putting up a shelter for them. He had draped two cloaks — Wild Hunt cloaks were made of tough fibrous material, impervious to rain —over the top of a half-collapsed cairn of stones.
Mark watched him as he spread another cloak out inside the cairn, over the grass and packed earth. His gestures were faerie gestures: economic and graceful. In the silvery rain-light, his skin looked sheered with silver, etching the fine bones of his face, his hands. When he blinked, his blue-black lashes scattered light.
Like Mark, his clothes were worn and battered; there were holes in his linen shirt, through which Mark could catch tantalizing glimpses of skin. He felt a blush rise on his cheeks. He didn’t know why he’d thought that, or why he was looking at Kieran that way: Kieran was his friend, that was all. And an odd, unpredictable sort of friend at that. He was often reminded that Kieran’s status as a gentry prince made both their lives in the Hunt easier — if he’d been alone, he wouldn’t have been allowed to break off from the main group and make camp on this hill tonight. He would have been required to attend the revel the rest of the Hunt were at with the local goblins, piskies and whatnots. But Kieran’s desire for privacy was respected, as much as the Hunt respected anything.
Kieran was moody, though, his temper changing as often as the color of his hair. He was like the water his nixie mother had lived in — sweet and giving sometimes, rough and stormy at others. Not that Mark blamed him for being unhappy in the Hunt, though Kieran had not left beloved family behind as Mark had.
“Come here.” Kieran stretched out a hand. “Or do you plan to soak yourself in rainwater?”
“I wouldn’t mind the shower.” Mark’s skin had just begun to prickle with the first drops of rain.
“You’re clean enough,” Kieran said: Mark supposed it was true; they’d both bathed in the Cwellyn lake earlier. Mark loved watching Kieran swim; you could see the water faerie in his blood as he moved under the surface, fast and sleek as an otter, or rose to shake silver drops from his hair.
The sky opened up then, and Mark dashed to fling himself into the cairn, under the roof of cloaks. It was a bigger space than he had expected, and Kieran had lit a small fire at the far end of the shallow rectangle. The smoke wound up through a gap in the rocks. Mark could feel the dampness of the earth even through the blanket, but the cloaks kept the rain off.
“I think this was a barrow-place once,” said Kieran, glancing around. “Where they buried the dead.”
Mark mock-shuddered. Kieran gave him a curious look. Faeries found death odd, because it happened only when faeries were hundreds of years old. Death in battle was different: respected and not bothersome. They didn’t really have a conception of “morbid.”
Mark lay back on the blanket and laced his hands over his stomach. He could feel his pulsebeat at the top of his stomach, just below his ribs. It was a feeling he associated with hunger, the gnawing of appetite, but he and Kieran had eaten earlier that day, and there was even bread in Windspear’s saddlebag.
“Are you all right?” In the shadows, Kieran’s eyes were both silver, the light reflecting off them like mirrors. His hair was tangled, jaw-length; he’d cut it himself using a lake as a mirror, not long ago. Mark longed to touch it, to see if it was as thick and soft as it looked.
He need to stop having thoughts like this about Kieran. He’d seen Kieran kiss both boys and girls at revels, and sometimes do more. But that wasn’t the issue. Kieran was a gentry prince and Mark was a half-blooded Shadowhunter. Even a prince in the Wild Hunt would look down on someone with human blood. He wondered sometimes if Kieran looked at him like a mascot or a lucky charm, someone it was handy and amusing to have around: he laughed often at Mark’s human idioms and puzzlement — even after all this time — at faerie customs.
Kieran lay down beside Mark. For a moment, they breathed in companionable silence. But it was hard for Mark to rest next to Kieran; he was too conscious of the other boy, of his body heat, his presence, the slight tickle of his hair against Mark’s shoulder when he turned his head. He stirred uncomfortably, warmth rising low in his belly.
“You will not be able to see the stars tonight,” Kieran said. “The clouds will blot them out.”
Kieran knew Mark’s odd custom. Each night as he fell asleep, he would find the six stars that shone the brightest in the sky and give them the names of his brothers and sisters: Helen, Julian, Tiberius, Livia, Drusilla, Octavian. Different stars shone brightly in different places and different weather; he didn’t think he’d ever picked the same six twice.
I am here, alive in the world just as you are, my family, he would think, tracing invisible lines between the stars. How was time passing for them, he would wonder sometimes: could Tavvy tie his shoelaces now, had Julian’s voice broken, had Livvy mastered the sabre, did Dru still love bright colors? Were Helen and Aline happy? He remembered when they had met, in Italy, during all that odd business; how delirious with love Helen had been when she had first come home.
But there were others things that blurred in his mind sometimes, memories whose edges had lost their sharpness. The music Ty liked — it was classical, but what was his favorite Bach fugue? Mark had known once. And perhaps it had changed. Was it Dru who loved movies, or Livvy? Was it oils Jules painted in, or watercolors?
“My Mark,” said Kieran. He had propped himself on his elbow and was looking down at Mark at an odd angle. “Tell me what troubles you.”
Mark shivered. He always did when Kieran called him that. It felt like an endearment though he suspected it was merely faerie speech: Kieran was identifying Mark as his friend rather than someone else with the same name. Faeries were very odd about names, anyway, since they had the names everyone called them by and also their true names, which held power over them. Knowing the true name of a faerie was an intimate and powerful piece of business.
Mark put his arm behind his head. The rain had intensified: he could hear the drops falling on the material of the cloaks above them. “Memories trouble me,” he said, “and wondering if my family will forget me.”
Kieran traced a fingertip across Mark’s chest, stopping over his heart. Mark nearly stopped breathing. It didn’t mean anything, he reminded himself. Faeries had no sense of personal space.
“No one would forget you,” Kieran said, quietly. “You do not forget those that love you. I remember my mother’s face still. And there is no more loving heart than yours.”
“And yet sometimes I think it would be better if I did forget,” Mark said, in a low voice. Such thoughts did not come without guilt. “For them, for me. I will never return.”
“No one can know the future,” said Kieran, sitting up with a surprising fierceness. “Your exile may end. Clemency comes in many forms — a more generous and kinder King would have brought you to his court long ago. If I had the power a Prince should have —“
Mark rose to a sitting position, but Kieran had already stopped speaking. His hand was a fist in his lap, his head bent. It was unusual for him ever to speak of the fact that he was a Prince in the world of the courts, since as an exile his power had not followed him into the Hunt.
“Kieran —“ Mark began, but it was clear that Kieran was distressed, and that was unusual enough to hold Mark back. He had rarely seen Kieran show anger or sadness, especially after his first days in the Hunt; he remained controlled, showing nothing to the other Hunters.
“We should sleep,” Kieran said, after a long pause. “We must rise with the dawn tomorrow if we wish to meet the others.”
Mark lay back down, and Kieran lay beside him, his back to Mark. Mark curled as close to Kieran as he could get — they had slept together like this on countless nights, sharing the heat of their bodies. But Mark was rattled by Kieran’s distress, and didn’t want to add to it by pressing attention on him that he might not want. He settled for moving as close to Kieran as he could without touching him, one of his arms under his head, his other hand stretched out to rest only a millimeter from Kieran’s hair. He didn’t want to admit that he hoped that perhaps, during the night, when the wind stirred the space inside the cairn, the strands might brush Mark’s fingers in something like a caress.
But he did.
Mark’s hands were bound, and he was screaming. The Endarkened were before him, Sebastian Morgenstern at their head: a sea of scarlet, covering the world in blood. His family was lined up before Sebastian, on their knees — Helen and Julian, Ty and Livvy, Dru and Tavvy. Sebastian swung the Mortal Sword, slicing open Julian’s chest. As his brother slipped to the ground, Mark saw his agonized expression, the plea in his eyes — Help me, Mark, help me —
“Mark. Mark!” Mark was sitting bolt upright in the darkness, and there were hands on his shoulders. “Mark, it is was a dream, a glamour of the mind, no more.”
Mark gasped in air, scented like rain and dirt. There was no blood, no Endarkened, no Sebastian. He was in the cairn with Kieran, and there was rain all about them. “My — family —“
Kieran brushed back Mark’s hair with a care that would have stunned the Hunt. Mark leaned into the caress without thinking: he was aware only of Kieran’s hands, gentle against his skin. Like all faeries, Kieran had no calluses; the brush of his fingertips was like moth wings. Mark leaned into the touch, even as Kieran moved gently to stroke his shoulders, fingers gliding over the rips in his shirt.
“Your scars have healed well,” Kieran said; some months before, Mark had been whipped by members of the Hunt angry at the Shadowhunter government.
Mark drew back slightly. “But they are still ugly —“
“Nothing about you is ugly,” Kieran said, and because he could not lie, Mark knew he meant it. His heart seemed to contract, sending a rush of blood and heat through his body.
In all his time in the Hunt, there had been only Kieran to lift his despair, to transmute his sorrow, to heal his heart. He leaned in toward Kieran, not knowing quite what he meant to do — it was not at all the swift and elegant move he would have wanted it to be; their lips bumped warmly together, and his hands rose to stroke through Kieran’s hair, which was as soft as he had always imagined.
Kieran’s hands tightened hard on Mark’s shoulders — surprise, annoyance, Mark couldn’t guess; he was too horrified at himself. He pulled away from Kieran quickly.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m so sorry.”
Kieran reached a hand up to touch his mouth, fingertips against his lips. “But Mark —”
He didn’t finish. Mark, burning with humiliation, had pushed past him. Kicking aside the stones at the mouth of the cairn, he plunged out into the storm.
The rain was needle-like and driving, blown sideways by the harsh wind. Mark staggered a little, slipping on the wet grass outside the cairn.
He felt immediately foolish. The sky was a gray mist and he could see little all around him: dirt, green grass, the shadow of Windspear in the distance. The wind chilled him. And how was he ever going to face Kieran again? He was a Shadowhunter, he ought to know perfectly well that running away never solved anything.
Also, where was he going to sleep?
He was about to brave the cairn again, humiliation or no humiliation, when he heard a distant whinny. His blood ran cold. His horse. It was steep up here, unstable with shale and scree, slippery now with rain. His horse could have tumbled and be lying on the cliffside with a broken leg.
Forgetting his own personal woe for a moment, Mark splashed through the downpour to the edge of the mountaintop and looked down. Rain and shadows. Thunder cracked through the air and he thought he heard another whinny; dropping to hands and knees, he edged down a narrow path he imagined was usually trod only by goats.
Still nothing. He paused to catch his breath. Perhaps if he fell off the mountain he would be saved from the embarrassment of explaining to Kieran why he’d kissed him.
He stood up, pressing himself back against the cliff. He was standing on a wide ledge, with the mist and green of the Lleyn Peninsula spread out below him. In the far distance he could see the water of the Afon Menai, churning and gray. The sight of seawater always made him ache, reminding him of the view from the Los Angeles Institute.
Missing his family came back to bite at Mark savagely, along with a new pain: what if he had driven Kieran away? He had long ago determined it was worth it to keep Kieran as a friend even if Mark could have no deeper feeling from him. Other than Gwyn, Kieran had been the only one to show him kindness in the Hunt, and Gwyn could show only so much kindness lest the other Hunters think he had an unfair partiality. But Kieran — Kieran had held Mark after whippings or when wounded. Had given him water and folded blankets around his shoulders. Had saved aside portions of food for him. And more than any of those gestures, Kieran had spoken with Mark and listened to him; one did not realize how much one lost when no one spoke to you as if you were a person with worthwhile things to say until enough time had passed that the desperation was so intense you would begin to talk to rocks and trees. Kieran had given Mark back his humanity through the grace of ordinary affection and now Mark did not know how he would live without it.
He would go now, he decided, and apologize to Kieran. That was the right thing to do, the only thing to do, the only way to salvage things.
He clambered up the path and slipped on the wet earth; he tumbled and slid several feet, fetching up hard against a rock. Standing, he brushed at the mud on his clothes and realized two things: one, that he could see his idiot horse, cropping grass several feet away, looking unfazed by the weather. The second was that Kieran was standing on a few feet from him: somehow he’d returned to the cairn, though he didn’t know how.
“Mark!” Kieran said. His voice sounded hoarse, probably because of the wind. He looked wild-eyed, his newly short dark hair the deep black color it turned when he was upset. “Mark, where were you?”
“I went to look for my horse,” Mark said. “I mean, ah, not initially. I left because — “ He sighed, letting his hands fall to his sides. “I am sorry, Kieran. I didn’t mean to do what I did.”
Kieran’s eyes had narrowed. “You didn’t mean to do what?”
Mark wiped drizzle out of his eyes. “I’d rather not say.”
“Humans,” said Kieran, with surprising vehemence, “thinking that if they do not speak the words, they can unmake the past. Tell me, Mark. Tell me what you regret.”
“Kissing you,” Mark said. “If it was something you didn’t want, then I regret it.”
Kieran stood still as a statue, looking at him. He was already drenched, his clothes sticking to him. “And if it was something I did want?”
Mark raised his head. The words were like individual flames, lighting incredulous sparks along his nerve endings. “Then I don’t regret it,” he said in a steady voice. “Then it’s the best thing that happened to me since I joined the Hunt and the first few bloody seconds in I don’t know how many years that I’ve been happy.”
The words seemed to electrify Kieran. He almost stumbled getting to Mark across the rough ground. When he reached him, he pulled Mark into his arms, his fingers raking through Mark’s soaking wet hair. “By all the Gods, Mark,” he said in a shaking voice. “How could you not know?”
Mark said nothing; he was too surprised. Kieran was running his hands over Mark’s hair, his face, as if Mark were a treasure that had been lost and then, when all hope was gone, returned, and Kieran was examining it to see if it was still whole. “You are all right,” he said, finally, a catch in his voice. “You are uninjured.”
“Of course,” Mark said, as reassuringly as he could.
Kieran’s black and silver eyes gleamed. “When you ran out into the storm, I thought only of how dangerous Mynydd Mawr is, how many have fallen to their deaths here, and how if anything were to happen to you, Mark, how I myself would die. You are unbearably precious to me.”
“As a friend?” Mark said, completely dazed — Kieran was holding him, and touching him, half frantic and half adoring. It shouldn’t be possible. Kieran couldn’t feel like that about him.
“Mark.” Kieran’s voice flared. “I beg you, stop being obtuse, or I may jump off the mountain myself.”
“But —” Mark protested, and with a groan, Kieran kissed him.
This time Mark let himself fall headlong into the kiss, as if he really were falling off the mountain, into the sea. Kieran’s lips on his were firm and sweet and he tasted like smoke and rainwater. He gave a soft cry as Mark parted his own lips and the heat where their mouths were fused together seemed to double.
Mark had never kissed anyone before tonight, not really — there had been quick furtive touches at revels during dances, but in some part of his mind he had, he thought, been saving his first kiss. And he was glad he had, now, for he was dizzy with the heart-aching pleasure of it, the almost-pain of a desperate hunger that was finally being fed.
It was Kieran who pulled away first, though only to enough of a distance to cup Mark’s face in his hands and say wonderingly, “My Mark. The heart of my regard. How did you not know?”
“You’re a prince,” Mark said. “I’m — nothing. Not gentry, or court, or anything at all. Even now I cannot possibly believe you could truly care for me — though,” he added, hastily, “if desire alone is what you have to offer, I will take it.”
“I do desire you,” Kieran said, and there was a darkness in his eyes that made Mark shiver. “But it is not all I feel. If it were, I would have acted on it long ago.”
“Why didn’t you?” Mark said. “You could have had me for the asking — at any time or moment. I am the one overreaching, not you.”
Kieran shook his head. “Mark, you are a prisoner of Faerie,” he said, and there was despair in his voice. “We keep you chained to the Hunt! You would have had reason to hate me and all others like me. I could not imagine you could feel for me the shadow of what I feel for you.”
“You are not the one who has chained me,” Mark said. “It is the Clave, my own people, who left me here. I know who betrayed me, Kieran; I know those who I do not trust, and they have never worn your face.”
“Many would not be able to make that judgement,” Kieran said.
Mark brushed the back of his knuckles along Kieran’s cheek. The prince shivered. “Many would look at me and see only a Shadowhunter and enforcer of the Cold Peace.”
“I look at you and see the steadfast companion of my days and nights.” Kieran spoke in a whisper; his wet blue-black hair was pasted to his cheeks and neck. “I would love you even if you did not love me: I have loved you since I met you. I have loved you all this time, believing that you never could love me back. I have loved you without hope or expectation.”
Mark dropped his hand to grip the front of Kieran’s shirt. “Love me, then,” he said, in a rough voice. “Show me.”
Dark fire flared in Kieran’s eyes; he cupped his hands around the back of Mark’s head and held him in place while he bent to explore his mouth thoroughly, making Mark gasp: he sucked Mark’s bottom lip, teased at the corners of his mouth, ravished Mark’s mouth with long strokes of his tongue that left Mark pressing his body helplessly against Kieran’s, wanting more. He was wet to the skin with rain and shivering hard, but he didn’t care. He felt nothing but Kieran and the heat of his body and the torturing sensuality of his mouth.
It was Kieran who disentangled them, finally, Kieran who took Mark by the wrist and pulled him back toward the cairn. They crawled under its shelter, where the fire had burned down to glimmering coals. They knelt in the dirt and kissed frantically, tearing at each other’s clothes. Wet fabric ripped and was discarded, and when they were both unclothed they fell back among the tangle of cloaks and fabric and kissed until Mark was drunk with it: long slow dark kisses like the black waters of faerie streams that made humans forget. They did not speak, except once:
“Have you?” Kieran asked, half in shadow.
“No,” Mark said. “Not with anyone.”
Kieran paused, his hand splayed over Mark’s bare chest. He was gorgeous like this, in the firelight, pale skin and dark hair like a Michelangelo sketch in pen and ink. “In the Hunt, our bodies bring us only pain,” he said. “The agony of hunger and the pain of weariness and whips. Let me show you now what a miracle a body can be.”
Mark nodded and Kieran went to work with his hands and his mouth. He was unhurried in his intensity; Mark had not realized anything could be so rough and so gentle at the same time. Kieran touched him with such care that he imagined that where Kieran’s hands went, a stele passed bearing healing runes, smoothing his scars, erasing remembered pain.
He drew the pleasure from deep within Mark’s body, unspooling it slowly, like a banner unfurling. Mark’s breath came fast, and then faster. He reached to touch Kieran, wanting to give back some of what he was receiving, and was almost undone by Kieran’s sharp gasp of pleasure. By the feel of Kieran’s body under his hands: his skin smooth and fine-grained as silk, the angularity of his bones, his intense sensitivity, responsive to Mark’s lightest touch. He was shivering already as Mark stroked down his body, licked and sucked at his skin: finally he cried out and drew Mark beneath him, propping himself over Mark on his elbows.
His eyes were glazed, unfocused: Mark felt a sense of intense pride, that he could make a Prince of Faerie look that way. The pride only lasted a moment: Kieran grinned wickedly and rocked his hips in a way that shot fire through Mark’s veins, and everything else vanished. Mark clutched at Kieran: they were pressed together chest to chest and thigh to thigh and when the prince slid his hand between their bodies and began to stroke them both together, it was the purest physical pleasure Mark had known since he had joined the Hunt. Everything else was driven out if his mind, all complications and all loss gone with the wondrous realization his body was more than an instrument that brought pain or endured privation. It was capable also of wonders.
Kieran’s hands and fingers were like fire, fire that wrought unutterable joy. Mark closed his eyes, his body arching helplessly toward the prince’s. Kieran was gasping too, his body shuddering, and every shudder brought more friction and more pleasure until Mark thought he might die of it. He reached up to capture Kieran’s face between his hands and kissed him, deep and hard, and the kiss seemed to smash the last of the prince’s resolve: Kieran came apart just as Mark did, both of them trembling and crying out in each other’s arms.
In later times, Mark would not remember what he himself had cried or whispered in that moment, but he would not forget Kieran’s words, tumbling from the prince’s lips as he sank down into Mark’s embrace, for it would not be the last time Mark ever heard them.
“You will never be nothing to me, Mark Blackthorn,” Kieran said. “For you are all on this earth and under this sky that I do love.”
Afterward they lay in each other’s arms, Mark with his head on Kieran’s shoulder, and Mark told Kieran that he was right, that the stars could not be seen, even through the gaps in the cloaks above them.
“Count the coals in the fire,” Kieran said, his fingers in Mark’s hair. “Give them the names you treasure.”
And Mark did, though by the end, his voice was slurred with sleep; he drifted off, and for the first time in many years of wandering it was without a last thought of sorrow or of pain, but only of love, and how it outshone the stars.
- In Lady Midnight, it's indicated that Kieran kissed Mark first, here Mark thinks he kissed Kieran first. It's not so much a contradiction as a comment on the inconstancy of memory. — Cassandra Clare
Cameron deleted scene
- source: Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- Cassandra Clare: "The characters don't feel quite like their eventual selves to me, and I'm glad I took it out — it flatly spelled out things that worked much better revealed more carefully — but it's kind of interesting!
Emma turned to head down the beach to the shoreline. That was when she saw him. Silhouetted against the water. She wondered how long he’d been standing there, hands in the pockets of his jeans.
“Cam?” she said.
Cameron Ashdown walked toward her, the wind off the ocean tousling his dark auburn hair. He’d always looked like a picture-perfect California surfer boy, even though the Ashdown family were Scottish, as far as she remembered. His shoulders were broad, his eyes were blue, and there was a spray of freckles across his nose.
“I texted you,” he said. “Last night. And this morning.”
“I know.” She put her hands on her hips. She felt slightly undressed, not so much because she was only wearing a sports bra and running pants, but more because when she was training, she felt vulnerable. She didn’t mind training with Cristina, Julian, or any of the Blackthorns, but anyone else from the Conclave, even Cam, was — different. “But we broke up, so —“
He laughed shortly. “Classic, Emma,” he said. “You broke up with me, so you don’t ever have to talk to me again?”
“I think that is how it works. Technically,” Emma said. “If we did still have to talk with each other, what would be the point of breaking up?”
He shook his head. “The thing is, you actually mean that.”
She rubbed her hands up and down her arms. The wind off the ocean chilled the sweat on her body, and all she wanted was to get away. “Cam, I am sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”
He looked up toward the sky, as if hoping for celestial support. “I am so stupid,” he said. “This is what, the third time? And I thought it would be different. I figured, why would you keep coming back if you didn’t actually like me?”
“I do like you. I always have liked you.” It was true; she’d always liked Cam — a lot of the members of the Conclave, like Cam’s awful sister Paige, could be viciously nasty about the Blackthorns and their connections to Fae. But Cam had never been. “So why break up with me?”
Emma tucked a damp curl of hair back behind her ear. “I don’t know,” she said. “I guess I thought it had run its course.”
“Run its course?” he echoed. “And that means what?”
She felt herself flush. “That it was never supposed to be serious. Right?”
Cam moved toward her. The sun was truly up now, casting his shadow lightly against the sand. He reached out, and she let him take her forearms, his tanned, freckled fingers spanning their width. “Emma,” he said. “You only have one serious relationship, and that’s with Julian Blackthorn.”
“He’s my parabatai,” she said. “Of course it’s a serious relationship.” She looked up into his blue eyes, squinted against the rising sun. “Why are you here?” she said. “I don’t know what I can tell you to make it different, besides that I’m sorry. Does that help?”
“Not really,” he said. “As for why I’m here — every other time you’ve dumped me on my ass, I have come by, just for the record. I think if you’re going to end a relationship, you should do it in person.”
“You’ve never come by —“
“I have,” he repeated. “I’ve just always run into Julian first.” He let go of her forearms. “You know, it’s weird,” he said. “He’s not bigger than me, and I don’t even think he’s a better fighter.”
Emma wanted to protest, wanted to say Julian could slay Cameron Ashdown with a crossbow, wanted to say that not everyone had to go around sporting huge muscles and a giant neck to prove they were strong. She’d seen Jules bend steel girders; he was as strong as any Shadowhunter needed to be. But she held herself back because she wanted to know what Cam was going to say next.
“But he’s damn convincing,” Cameron said. “I’d show up at the Institute and he’d get to me before I ever got to you. And somehow I’d find myself leaving without talking to you. So I’d wait around, until you wanted me again for some fun or company or whatever. You think I haven’t noticed that you called me and asked if I wanted to go out the day after Julian left for England, and you dumped me the day before he got back?”
“I didn’t know you were so intimately familiar with Jules’ travel schedule,” Emma snapped. “Maybe you should be dating him, if you care so much where he is.”
“I care because you care,” said Cam. “You know I’m right.”
“I know you’re jealous,” Emma said, and immediately regretted it.
“Yeah, I am,” said Cam. “Jealous of your parabatai. That’s a little weird, isn’t it? I mean, he’s supposed to be like a brother to you. Protective, maybe, but what you have between you — it’s different. I’ve been alone with you, and I’ve been with you when he’s around, and it’s like you’re a totally different person. Like he turns on a light inside you. I thought maybe I could make you like me enough that I could turn that light on for you, but —“ He broke off, shaking his head. “I don’t think anyone can.”
“You’re crazy,” she said. “It’s not like that.”
“Anyway, I came because I wanted to see you before Julian got back and stopped me,” he said. “That’s it. I didn’t really think I could change your mind.”
The tide had started to come in; it was lapping at their shoes. “I really would like to be friends,” Emma said. “With you.”
The expression that crossed his handsome face was unreadable. “We’ll see.” He turned away, and she watched him go, his shoes crunching on the sand. A few steps away he spun around to face her again. “About Julian,” he said.
She looked at him.
“There’s something cold in him,” he said. “Something scary. I don’t think you see it, but everyone else does.”
She thought of Julian, flecks of paint in his dark hair; Julian picking up Tavvy and swinging him around, Julian bandaging Dru’s scraped knees and smiling at Ty when Ty was clever and cheering Livvy on when she learned to use a sabre. Julian, grinning at her like sunrise.
“Julian isn’t cold,” she said, biting off each word. “Don’t you ever say that again.”
His face had gone stiff. “I guess you two deserve each other,” he said, and turned around. She refused to watch him walk away.
Ashdowns deleted scene
Emma discovered the sea caves when she was eleven years old. She’d been at the beach with her parents when she found them — great fingers of gray rock reaching into the ocean, and boring through them, like tunnels in the stone, were the caves. They were open to the ocean on both ends, and they smelled delightful, like sea water and wet rock and dark, secret things.
She was thirteen years old when she and Julian declared the sea caves their official meeting place. If anything ever happened at or to the Institute — and they both had nightmares about it, ever since the attack during the Dark War — they would meet at the caves.
She was fourteen years old when she first showed the sea caves to Cameron Ashdown.
The Ashdowns had come to Los Angeles after the Dark War, easily situating themselves among the small Conclave of Shadowhunters who lived in the city. Although all Conclaves were small now, since the deaths in the war. The Clave was doing everything it could to track down every wayward mundane who might have a drop of Nephilim blood, even if their family had left the Shadowhunters generations ago. Still, it would be decades before they were the strength they once had been.
Cameron, his parents, and his younger sister, Paige, moved into a house in Santa Monica and, as soon as they could, arranged to visit the Institute to decide if Paige and Cameron were going to have lessons with the Blackthorns or hire their own tutor.
Diana was there to greet them and show them the training rooms, the library, and the classroom. Emma was in the training room, practicing fencing with Livvy. She was taller and stronger than Livvy, but Livvy was lightning-fast on her feet, which gave her the advantage with a saber. Ty and Julian were watching: Ty was cheering for Livvy, and Jules for Emma, as if it were a real match.
The door opened, and Cameron and his sister came in with Diana.
Emma stopped in her tracks, which allowed Livvy to score with the side of her blade across Emma’s shoulder. “Emma!” she complained. “You’re not paying attention.”
But Emma was already pushing her mask back, letting her hair spill down. Cameron Ashdown might have grown up in Idris, but he looked like the perfect California boy, with fiery red hair, tanned skin, broad shoulders, and hazel eyes. His nose looked as if it had been broken before, but it lent his face a charming asymmetry.
His sister Paige was a small copy of him, with short red hair and a pointed chin. She regarded Emma with dislike, perhaps because Emma was staring at her brother.
Emma had been thinking lately, rather scientifically, about the fact that she was fourteen years old and hadn’t kissed anyone yet. Nor, she thought, growing up in the Blackthorn house, was it likely. They rarely saw other children their age; the Conclave simply wasn’t that big, and now that the Academy in Idris had re-opened, most younger Shadowhunters were being trained there.
She thought of Julian, the way that when he smiled at her, he seemed to put his whole self into the smile. The way it lit up the room and made her heart catch. Cameron Ashdown was looking at her curiously as Diana made the introductions; Livvy was tugging off her helmet. Lowering her blade, Emma smiled at Cameron, putting all of herself into it.
When he smiled back, he looked dazzled.
Later, after the Ashdowns had gone, Ty said, “I didn’t like them.”
Julian ruffled his hair. Instead of saying what Emma had expected — something about how Ty had to give them a chance — he said, “I didn’t like them either.”
“Why not?” she asked, curious.
He shrugged. “I just didn’t.”
“Well, too bad,” said Diana. “You kids need to spend time with some people who aren’t Blackthorns.” She eyed Emma. “Or Carstairs.”
The Ashdowns came back, the next weekend, and the next weekend after that. It was the summer, and the group spent their time at the beach, getting sunburned, swimming in the water — all except Emma — and building sandcastles with the younger children. Ty built meticulous sandcastles, carefully sculpted, while Livvy’s were shapeless and towering, collapsing under their own weight as they climbed toward the sky. They buried Tavvy in sand, and Drusilla sat cross-legged and lost in a book — Paige was nearly the same age as her, but the girls ignored each other.
Later, Emma thought that should have been a warning to her. Later she blamed herself for everything.
She was fourteen when she brought Cameron to see the caves. He had been teasing her about never going into the water; she laughed, but didn’t tell him why. Instead she drew him away from the group and brought him into her favorite of the caves: not the biggest, but the longest and most winding. It was possible to find a bend in the tunnel where the ocean couldn’t be seen from either side.
She drew Cameron in after her and faced him, her heart pounding. She studied the hazel color of his eyes in the shadows, their mixture of blue and brown and green. She held out her hands, not knowing how to be anything but direct. “Do you want to kiss me?” she said.
He swallowed hard and nodded. He was shaking as he pulled her toward him and kissed her gently, her head tipping back, her hands finding purchase on his shoulders. She stroked his arms, lightly, timidly; his mouth was warm and soft, and he tasted like strawberry ice cream.
Kissing was everything she’d hoped it would be. It was like a good kind of drowning, filling her ears and eyes with forgetfulness, blocking out the crashing sound of the waves against the shore. Cameron’s touch became more urgent, sliding up from her waist, and she leaned harder against him, and that was when she heard someone scream.
It sounded like a scream of anger rather than pain or fear, but Emma had heard screams at a distance before and she tore away from Cameron without a thought and burst into a run. He followed her. When they reached the beach where they’d left the others, they both stared: Ty was sitting on the sand, and Julian was holding Paige by the collar of her t-shirt, his face white with rage.
Later, Emma found out what had happened. Livvy and Dru had gone to collect seashells; Julian was sketching up by the dunes, and Ty had been making a sandcastle with Paige half-heartedly helping him.
He’d picked up a piece of sea glass and become fascinated with it. Ty became fascinated with things sometimes: the way an ink blot spread across a page, or the way dye feathered into water. He would sit and look at them, lost in contemplation. If he was especially distracted, it would take a gentle hand on his shoulder, or his name spoken softly, to rouse him.
But Paige had done neither of those things. When she’d asked him what he was doing and he hadn’t reacted, she’d thrown a handful of sand into his face. Ty had come back to himself choking and blinded and gasping. He’d started rocking, his hands fluttering, his butterflies frantic.
“Freak,” Paige had snapped. “Stop doing that, you freak.”
And then Julian had been there, hauling Paige bodily to her feet. As Emma ran up, Cameron beside her, they heard him hiss.
“If you ever,” he said, “ever, call my brother names again, I’ll kill you. I don’t care if you’re a girl. I’ll kill you.”
“Stop it! Stop!” Cameron darted ahead of Emma and yanked his sister away from Julian; she promptly started crying. Julian looked at him in a daze. In the distance, Emma could see Livvy and Dru running toward them across the sand.
“Get her away,” he said. “Both of you get away, and don’t come back.”
Cameron turned to Emma, his face open, puzzled. “We could talk about this,” he said. “We — we should talk about this.”
Emma looked from him, to Julian, who was crouching down by Ty now, saying his name, softly, his voice full of love and panic. And she turned to Cameron, who was holding his red-faced sister and looking at her with a look that said that he expected her to take his side. That their kiss in the caves had been a signal that her allegiance had changed. That she would be loyal to him now, and not Julian.
“Go away,” she said. “Like Julian said. And don’t ever bring her back.”
A few weeks later, she and Julian left for Idris, for their parabatai ceremony. When they came back, Paige had been sent to the Academy. A month after that, Emma began dating Cameron for the first time.
Various LM deleted scenes
"I know things haven't been exactly right between us since I got back from England," he said. "And I don't know if it's because I'm a little jealous of Cristina, or a lot jealous of —"
"JULIAN," Emma said.
Some people made lists of things they wanted to do before they died; Julian had a list of things he couldn't do. He lay with his arm circling Emma's body, his fingers barely touching her bare arm, silently reciting his list.
Emma shifted in her sleep, patting him gently with her hand, curling toward him like a cat seeking warmth. It was past midnight; Julian had to get up in four hours, but he could feel his heart hammering in the back of his throat and he knew sleep would not come.
Things I can never do:
Leave the children
Let anyone find out about Arthur
Let the Clave have Ty
Let anyone know why I get up before sunrise
“So what does this mean for us?” said Livvy. “This connection to the Blackthorns?” She looked anxiously at Jules. “What does it mean that that woman, Belinda, knew about Uncle Arthur?”
“It means that there are people that know about this and will try to use it against us,” said Julian. “But it also means we must be close, close to the answer, or they wouldn’t be threatening us now.”
“But we don't feel close,” said Emma, clearly frustrated. “At least I don’t. I feel like we’re wandering around in a fog. So what set them off? What made them think we knew more than we know?”
“They figured out we were at the theater for the Lottery,” said Cristina. “Maybe they panicked that we knew who they were.”
“We don’t,” said Emma. “We know they’re a bunch of movie producers with a bee in their bonnet about Blackthorns and a yen to bring someone back from the dead.”
“Who would movie producers want to bring back from the dead?” Ty asked.
“Marilyn Monroe?” suggested Livvy.
“Brad Pitt,” said Drusilla.
“Brad Pitt is still alive,” pointed out Emma.
“Prove it,” said Ty.
Los Angeles map
- A map of Los Angeles, with certain locations featured in the series marked and illustrated on the map.
Lord of Shadows
- A map of Alicante, with certain locations featured in the series marked and illustrated on the map. It was released with certain special editions (e.g. Target's) of Lord of Shadows.
Blackfrairs Bridge deleted scene
- A deleted scene of Emma and Julian on Blackfrairs Bridge talking about The Infernal Devices characters and indirectly relating their relationships to their own. Though it was cut from the book, it was included as a bonus story in the Barnes & Noble and Waterstones special editions.
Our Waking Souls
- source: Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- A Clace scene, somewhat canon with the books, that takes place during Clary and Jace's mission in Faerie mentioned in Lord of Shadows. It was written by Cassie on request for a friend.
For Virna, Mari and Julia.
And now good morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an every where.
— John Donne
Clary was standing over her own dead body.
There was wasteland all around, and a dull wind stirred Clary’s hair. It reminded her a little of the volcanic bare countryside around the Adamant Citadel, though the sky here looked almost burned — there were streaks of red and black char hanging in the air instead of clouds.
She could hear voices calling in the distance. She heard them every time she was here. They never got close enough to help her. She was lying on the ground, and there was blood on her face, in her hair, on her gear. Her eyes were open, green, staring sightlessly at the sky.
Clary began to kneel, to touch herself on the shoulder, when the ground beneath her gave a shudder and a jerk, and she heard someone shout her name — she whirled, and it all slid away from her as if she were tumbling from the crest of a wave. She gasped, choking, and jerked awake.
For a moment, disoriented, she had no idea where she was. She was lying on a blanket on grass, staring up at a sky full of multicolored stars. They seemed to turn above her as if she was staring into a kaleidoscope. She could hear music in the distance, soft and insistent. An unfamiliar tune, but a singular kind of melody.
Faerie. She was in Faerie. With —
“Clary?” It was Jace’s sleepy, puzzled voice. He had rolled onto his side next to her. They both slept in their training clothes here, never knowing if they’d be safe during the night. Their weapons were close at hand, too, and Clary was glad the nights were warm because she had kicked her way free of the light blanket while she was dreaming. “Are you all right?”
She swallowed. She could still feel the goosebumps on her skin. “Bad dream.”
“You’ve been having a lot of those.” He moved closer, concern in his pale gold eyes. His light hair was tousled, starting to get too long again, a little in his eyes. “Do you want to talk about it?”
She hesitated. How did you tell someone that your dreams weren’t dreams, they were visions? You knew it. And that you were seeing yourself dead, over and over, on a day that was getting closer and closer. That one day you would be looking down at your own body and knowing you were gone forever from the world you loved and the people you loved and who loved you.
No. She couldn’t tell Jace that. Sometimes she thought she was the only person in the world who thought of him as fragile (well, except for Alec, of course). To most people, he was the boy with the angel blood, the Head of the New York Institute, one of the warriors who had gone to Edom and ended the Dark War. To her he was always the skinny boy with desperate eyes who’d survived an abusive father and a soul-crushing lack of childhood love; the boy who’d learned that to love was to destroy, and that what you loved died in your hands.
She knew Alec understood, that in many ways he had the stronger ability to bear up under tragedy, to remain calm in the face of fear for his loved ones. Isabelle, maybe? But neither of them could be told, anyway; she wouldn’t ask them to keep a secret from Jace. Simon wouldn’t be able to bear it any more than Jace could. The only person who might be able to help at all was Magnus, she thought; struggling up onto her elbows; when they got back, she’d go to Magnus. She hadn’t wanted to tell him when he was ill, but she might have no choice.
“Just a really bad nightmare,” she said. It was true, as far as that went. “Sorry I woke you up.”
He propped himself up on his bent arm. “The music would have done that, anyway.” It was loud: Clary could hear pipes and fiddles echoing from the other side of the hills. He flashed a grin, the crooked one that always made her heart jump. “Should we check out the revel?”
“Isn’t that kind of the opposite of being undercover?” she said. “You know, showing ourselves at a major Faerie event. Plus, your dancing is memorable.”
“It is pretty good,” he said, the multicolored stars reflected in his eyes. He reached out and laid a hand on her hip, where it curved into her waist. She remembered him telling her once it was his favorite spot on her body. “Works like a handle,” he’d said, picking her up with one hand while she giggled. Sometimes having a boyfriend who was a lot taller than you wasn’t so bad.
“I said it was memorable. Not good.”
His eyes gleamed. “Come here, Fray.”
She just grinned. Already the dream was receding. There were times she could even forget the visions, concentrate on her mission in Faerie, the time here with Jace. She hadn’t realized when they’d accepted the Institute job how much miserable travel and paperwork it would entail; she was desperately jealous of Alec and Magnus, sometimes, who got to run their Alliance out of their apartment and be together as much as they liked. Half the time Jace was being dragged off to Idris while she was assigned to some local demon activity with Simon and Isabelle.
Actually being sent somewhere with Jace was a rare opportunity for time together, and despite the gravity of looking for a weapon, she’d been enjoying it. And Faerie was beautiful, in its alien way — fruit hung like jewels from low-hanging branches in bright colors of jade and sapphire and amethyst. Tiny pink and purple-winged faeries fluttered among the bees and flowers. There were crystal pools full of nixies who liked to come up and chatter while Clary washed her hair; she hadn’t seen a mermaid yet, but one of the nixies had confided that they mostly spent time in the ocean and had definitely gotten above themselves regarding their tails.
Of course, there was the blight to contend with. Gray patches of dead land, bisecting the green fields like dueling scars. They’d taken samples of the gray soil for the Silent Brothers. That wasn’t especially beautiful, but —
“Clary,” Jace said. He waved a hand in front of her face; it was still a jolt to see his fingers temporarily without the Herondale ring. “You have ceased paying attention to me.”
She raised her eyebrows at him. “You’re a like a cat. If I don’t give you attention, you come and sit on me until I rub your ears or whatever.”
His smile deepened. “It wasn’t my ears I —“
She smacked him on the shoulder. “Don’t say it!”
He was laughing now. “Why not?”
“I’m a very proper lady,” she said. “I might swoon.”
Sometimes she was still surprised at how quickly he could move. He’d rolled them both over in less time than it took her to blink; lying on top of her with his weight braced on his arms, he looked down at her with the laughter beginning to fade from his eyes. “I’ll revive you,” he said, his voice low.
She reached up to touch his face. He was gazing at her so seriously, and Jace was almost never serious when he could avoid it. She remembered the way he had looked at her when he’d asked her to marry him, and her heart contracted with a pain close to agony. She had hurt him, saying what she’d said then; she hadn’t wanted to, but she’d felt as if she’d had no choice. Remembering it, though —
“Kiss me,” she said.
A flicker of surprise at the abruptness of the request, but it was quick; Shadowhunter reflexes were convenient in more than battle. Jace rocked back on his heels so he was sitting up with her straddling his lap; he cradled her face in his hands, and kissed her.
Gentle, slow, exploratory: his mouth on hers was warm and soft; he parted her lips with his, the touch of his tongue against hers sending a shock through her body. Every kiss was like that first one in the greenhouse, rewriting her body’s circuitry, teaching it: you will never want anything else again.
But still she remembered: Clary, will you marry me? And her voice, shaking: You want to get … married?
“Harder,” she whispered, pressing against him, delving into his mouth with her tongue; she ran the tip across his lips, making him arch back in surprise and desire. Her hands were on his shoulders; she nipped his lower lip, and he ran his hands up into her hair, gathering handfuls of it, gasping into her mouth.
“Clary, this is going to get — out of control — very fast,” he said, and in reply, she reached down and pulled her training shirt off over her head. He stared at her in actual astonishment (rare for Jace) before his hands flew up to cover her breasts. “We’re outside,” he protested. “There’s a revel right over there. Anyone could just walk by.”
“Jace Wayland Morgenstern Lightwood Herondale,” she said, her voice a low purr. (If he’d thought putting his hands on her breasts was going to dissuade her, it was not working.) “Are you being shy? Didn’t you once run naked down Madison with antlers on your head?”
“I don’t care about people seeing me naked,” he said. “I care about people seeing you naked.”
She leaned in and kissed the corner of his mouth, his jaw, and then lower. She knew his sensitive spots now, including the one on the left side of his throat, just below the pulse point. She licked and sucked at his skin until his head fell back; his hands were moving on her body now, stroking her from her breasts to her waist, untying the cord that held her training pants on. They fell with a whisper of material and his fingers slid between her legs.
It had been years and he knew her body now the way he knew weapons, could make her writhe in his arms they way they danced in his hands. She gasped as he touched her, and her fingers tore shaking at his shirt, ripping the buttons as she dragged it off him.
“Let me,” he said, his cheeks were flushed and his voice low and gritty. It sent an ache through her deeper than the ache of longing her body felt for his: she remembered what he’d said then: Of course, marriage, what else did you think? There never will be anyone else, not for me. I thought it was the same for you. And she knew what he was saying now: let me, let me please you, for I cannot know what troubles your dreams, I cannot know your secrets, but this I can do.
She put her hands on his shoulders, let him stroke and touch her and the pleasure spiraled up inside her like smoke. It is the same for me. It always has been. Only you and no one else. But the feeling was to intense to hold onto memory; it filled her head and made her dizzy and she cried out finally, digging her hands into his back to keep herself steady.
His eyes were glazed, dark with need. “Lie down,” he said, his voice guttural, but she shook her head, her hands fumbling at the waist of his training pants. She managed to shove them down and closed her hand around him, stroking. He sank back on his elbows, and his body arched under the multicolored stars was beautiful, his hair and the tips of his eyelashes catching their brilliant gold.
She stretched herself out over him, as if she could shield his body; she ran her hands over his chest, the scars and Marks there, as if she could protect his heart. She sank down over him as if the joining of their bodies could prevent any separation, could stop death from ripping her away from him, the thing she feared most in the world.
He cried out and his hands came up to grip her hips, steadying her, holding her to him, and she remembered that day again and the look on his face, like something inside him had been crushed, and her own rising voice. I love you. I love you and you have to trust me: I’m not saying no, I’m saying not now. I have a good reason, I swear. Please believe me, Jace.
He looked up at her now. She could see herself in his eyes, backlit by a million stars, and his face was full of wonder and pleasure. Please, she prayed, let this not be the last time, let this not be my last night with him, my last day with him, let me see his face like this again: that look that only I ever get to see, that has only ever been for me. And let him have this again, too, don’t take this away from him, he’s been through enough, done enough and given everything and —
“Please,” she said, speaking aloud without realizing it, and he groaned as he moved inside her, slow and hard and then faster. He raised his shoulders off the ground, finding her mouth with his, kissing her as if he could fuse the two of them together. Her body was blanking her mind: there was just this, a drumbeat building fiercely in her chest, drawing heat through her veins; the unstoppable tide was coming, drawing him as it drew her: it would drown them both.
“I love you,” she said, pulling her mouth away from his, seeing his eyes widen, “and I always — I always —“
She broke apart around him and it was like dying; a second later, he let go and shuddered into her, throwing his left arm across his eyes in a strangely vulnerable gesture, as if to protect himself from a blinding light.
When Clary could orient herself again, he had pulled her down and rolled them both sideways, one arm around her, the other reaching to pull up the blanket and cover them both. In case a passing faun saw her naked, she thought with some amusement, and kissed his nose.
His gold hair was dark at the roots with sweat, his chest still rising and falling fast. “Jesus, Clary,” he said. “That was — “
Intense. She knew what he was thinking: after five years, when they made love it was often with laughter and teasing, always with passion, but that had been something else. Some part of her had found once more the desperate girl she had been in the ruins of the Wayland Manor, holding Jace far too tightly because she knew she would never have him again, that it was impossible.
She swallowed, curling her body close to his, tracing the line of the Herondale scar along his shoulder with her fingertip. “Missions are dangerous,” she said, in a low voice. “Tomorrow we infiltrate the Unseelie Court. I — I was thinking it could be the last time we were ever together.”
It wasn’t a lie.
He looked appalled. “Clary. I know we live a dangerous life. But we’ve survived everything it’s thrown at us.” He pulled her closer, winding his fingers through her hair. “I get it,” he said, gently. “The worst thing I can imagine is something happening to you.”
Her heart sank. She burrowed against him, her body’s exhaustion taking over, drowsiness spreading through her as he stroked her back. “It’s just that I love you so much,” she said.
“Of course you do.” His hand had stilled, fingers barely moving; his voice was thick with sleep. “I’m amazing.”
She wanted to tell him that he was actually amazing, that it wasn’t just a joke, that though she knew she’d hurt him asking him to delay proposing to her again, he’d let her have the time she’d requested and never demanded to know why. She’d said he needed to trust her, and he had.
It had made her love him more, if that was possible, and she wasn’t unaware of the irony of it. But sleep was washing over her in a tide she couldn’t hold back: the rainbow stars spun over them and Clary laid her head against Jace’s shoulder. Just before she fell entirely into unconsciousness a thought flickered at the edge of her mind — something about the gray earth of the place in her visions, and the blighted land in Faerie. But it was gone like a leaf in a whirlpool, drawn down along with both of them into sleep.
Unedited cottage scene
- source: Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- The unedited, extended, NSFW version of the cottage scene with Emma and Julian in Lord of Shadows, in Julian's POV as Cassie first wrote it.
“Jules,” Emma said. “Say something, please —”
His hands tightened convulsively on her shoulders. She gasped as his body collided with hers, walking her backward until her shoulders hit the wall. She gazed up at him with obvious astonishment; he could see his face reflected in her dark irises. He barely recognized himself, and his voice sounded strange when he spoke, even to his own ears: “Julian,” he said. “I want you to call me Julian. Only ever that.”
Her eyes seemed to spark. Her lips moved slowly — her soft, delicious lips, her mouth that he had stared at for what felt like a million years of silent, hopeless wanting.
“Julian,” she said, exhaling his name on a breath.
The sound of her voice shaping his full name — not the name she’d called him when they were children — sent something hot and dark through his veins. His hands tightened on her shoulders and he took her mouth with a hard, violent desperation that could hardly be called a kiss.
Every muscle in his body seemed to contract at once: the kiss filled all his senses, softness, sweetness, the scent of her hair and skin, the sight of her closed eyes, the flutter of her lashes. Emma. His Emma. And she was clutching him back, she was holding him to her, hard, giving back every part of the kiss. She tasted of wildness, of rain, and he wondered how he could have even imagined for a split second that the faerie he had kissed had been her. He felt a moan rise in his throat and forced it back down; Emma knew this was a bad idea, she was the sensible one and some part of his brain was telling him that if he could hide how much he wanted her, how much he would give up to have this, she would let it continue. Let them both take part in this colossal mistake that was all that was keeping his heart beating.
Her hands rose, touched the back of his neck. Her fingers were long, delicate for a warrior’s fingers, but not soft at all: her calluses scraped gently across the soft skin above the collar of his shirt and he shuddered with the effort not to lose control right then and there. She reached to yank his sweater over his head, dragging it off over his hands.
She reached for his t-shirt next; then hesitated. His heart slammed against his ribs. Please let it be that she didn’t want to stop. Please let her keep wanting him. Her lips parted as she looked up at him: her fair hair hung in thick wet golden ropes over her shoulders, down her back. It made damp patches on her shirt; he could see her bra through the material, and her nipples, stiffened with the cold. He was so hard that it hurt.
He put his hands on her waist. He loved holding her like this, as if he were about to lift her in his arms, as if they were dancing. He heard her breathing quicken. His hands slid up her body, cupped her breasts; his fingers stroked across their centers. She gave a little gasping moan and her head fell back against the wall.
Desire and triumph shot through him at once, a heady combination. Their first time had been an explosion of wanting and instinct; he had taken away from it no confidence that he could reliably please her. Every quickened breath she took now was like a match to dry tinder; he hadn’t thought he could want her more, but the fire coursing through him made him think of the church whose stone walls he and Emma had charred to ashes.
He kissed her deeply; she murmured against his mouth, her hands on his back, pulling him closer. She arched against him, against his body that ached and wanted her; he could hear his voice, saying her name, and he had to force himself not to beg her to tell him she loved him, that she wanted him.
But he couldn’t control his own words. He buried his face against her, kissing her cheek, her throat as he slid his thumbs under the waistband of her jeans and pushed down. She kicked the wet heap of denim away. His hands tightened on her curves, the delicate convexity of hipbones under his fingers, something unbearably intimate in the contact.
“I love you,” he said, or something like it: the words were half-choked. “I love you — so much.”
He thought he felt her freeze. He’d said too much. Even as the fear tore at him, his body was still aching, wanting hers; when she turned her head to the side and kissed his palm, he wanted to scream. “Julian,” she said, her voice shaking. “I —”
“Don’t,” he whispered, and kissed her, desperate not to hear that this was impossible. Her lips scorched his, feathering along the edge of his mouth. “I don’t want to hear anything reasonable, not now. I don’t want logic. I want this.”
She stopped, her lips against his jawline. “But you need to know —”
He shook his head. “I don’t.” He reached down, grabbed the hem of his shirt, dragged it off. His wet hair showered droplets on them both. “I’ve been broken for weeks,” he said, and the words hurt to say, though they were true and honest. Maybe because they were true and honest. “I need to be whole again. Even if it doesn’t last.”
She was shaking her head, but her hands stroked his collarbone, brushed across his bare skin. When her fingers found his parabatai rune and traced its contours, the rush of blood to his groin made him dizzy.
“It can’t last,” she whispered. “It’ll break our hearts.”
He couldn’t stand it. There was something about her fingertips on the rune that was driving him out of his mind; he caught her by the wrist, drew her hand away and brought it to his bare chest. Splayed her fingers over his heart, imagining she could see through his ribcage like a window, see where she had left her fingerprints on every valve and ventricle and artery. “Break my heart,” he told her. “Break it in pieces. I give you permission.”
He saw her pupils expand, blown wide like doors. She reached her arms out for him and he could hear the ache of longing in her voice, a longing that matched his own. “Julian, yes,” she said. “Yes.”
He caught her, lifted her, pulling her tank top up over her head. She unsnapped her bra, shrugged it off, reached for the waistband of his jeans. Slid her hand down under it with a wicked smile. Her hand closed around him, palm and fingers a hot sweet torment. He pressed his forehead into her shoulder, riding the waves of delight that she wanted him, was touching him, until they began to crest and in fear that it would be over too soon, he drew away abruptly to rid himself of his own clothes while she laughed the low, throaty laugh that tore a hole right through his solar plexus.
“Julian,” she breathed. “Come back.” Her arms were out to him, beckoning him back to her. Then his hands were on her hips; he was lifting her so she was pinned between his body and the wall. They looked at each other for what was probably only a second: it felt like forever. Outside the wind and rain and sea smashed against the stone of the cliffs; here, inside this house, this odd place that was a monument to lost love, they were together and nothing else mattered: they fit into the smallest space imaginable, the space inside the hearts of lovers who had found their way back to each other after an impossible separation.
He bent his head to kiss her with a gentle reverence: first her lips and then her breasts; he felt her tremble with pleasure; her long legs rose and wrapped themselves around his waist. She urged his face up with her fingers beneath his chin as he held her, hands under her thighs, and she kissed his mouth open, circled his tongue with hers until he could stand it no longer and pressed forward and inside her.
She gasped, shuddered, her body hot and soft around him. Her lips parted, her eyes fluttering shut. He said a silent apology to every cliché that he’d now realized was true: that they fit together like puzzle pieces, that she was the other half of him, that this was something so extraordinary that no one else had ever experienced it, that no one else ever would, that he had happened upon undiscovered country. Oh my America, my new-found-land —
He dragged himself back to reality. “You’re all right?” he whispered, astonished he could form the words.
Her ankles locked in the small of his back and he nearly blacked out. Sweat gleamed at her throat, her collarbones. Her voice shook: “Don’t stop.”
He began to move and she arched against him, her hands reaching back, scrabbling at the wall for something to brace herself. She was saying his name, Julian, Julian, and his hands slid up her spine, cradling her body as he fought for control. The intense sensation of it rose in a spiral with every movement, with each slide of her skin against his. Her breath came in sobbing gasps; her fingers flew to grip his shoulders; he knew he was saying he loved her, over and over and over as she cried out and the pleasure blew apart inside him, searing every nerve in his body.
He sank to his knees, still cradling Emma in his arms. There were tears on her face, though he doubted she knew it: she was holding him still; they were holding each other, dazed and exhausted, like the only survivors of a ship that had run aground on some distant, legendary shore.
Queen of Air and Darkness
Jemma deleted scene
“We should stay away from each other,” she said. “Like Magnus said.”
“I know. I wouldn’t have come to see you, but there was something I wanted to ask.” He let the knife go. It sank into the wall beside one of Emma’s. She felt a twist of grim pride; people often underestimated how good a Shadowhunter Julian was. “It’s kind of a strange question, but if you were going to think of a symbol, one thing that made you think of Livvy — what would it be?”
“Her saber,” Emma said. “Why?”
“It — doesn’t matter.” His voice was husky. “We probably shouldn’t talk about emotional things.” “So what can we talk about? Not our feelings, not your family — what?”
“We throw ourselves into what’s happening,” Julian said. “We do everything we can to take down the Cohort.”
It was Emma’s turn to grab a knife. She threw it hard, viciously, and it hit the wall hard enough to crack the wood.
A Love That Never Tires
- source: Cassandra Clare's newsletter
- A short story that functions as a sequel to A Long Conversation, released with all first editions of Queen of Air and Darkness. This will only be added once Cassie or the publisher releases it online. (The title is from the poem "Marriage Morning" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.)
Heart, are you great enough
For a love that never tires?
O heart, are you great enough for love?
I have heard of thorns and briers.
—Alfred Tennyson, “Marriage Morning”
“In another life I could have been a surfer,” said Jace. He was lying on the sun-warmed sand of the beach, beside Alec. They both had their arms folded behind their heads, the better to watch Ragnor’s fireworks exploding across the sky. Most were in the shape of love and wedding runes, but a few appeared to be rude images Jace hoped Max and Rafe wouldn’t see.
“You would have spent all your time jumping off the board and punching sharks,” said Alec. His new ring glimmered on his finger in the moonlight. “That’s not really surfing.”
He had an air about him of quiet happiness and peace. Jace couldn’t be jealous of it. He was glad for Alec, and he was also aware of everything Alec was now facing. In the three weeks since the breaking of the Clave and their exile from Alicante, a crisis team in New York had been formed. The Sanctuary of the Institute—where all Downworlders could safely come and go—had become their headquarters.
Jace and Clary would catch a few hours of sleep upstairs and come down to find Alec already hard at work, surrounded by other members of the Conclave: Isabelle and Simon, Maryse and Kadir. Luke and Jocelyn might stop by, and Bat and Maia and Lily were always on hand—as was Magnus, when he could get childcare.
There was a lot to be done. A new space had to be found to replace the Council Hall for meetings. A roster was being put together of the Shadowhunters who had stayed in Alicante and those who now made up the Clave-in-Exile. Many Institutes had been left without heads, and a score of new elections needed to be held, including one for Inquisitor (though Alec felt Diego Rosales was a shoo-in). Simon was going to help Luke, Marisol, and Beatriz set up the new Academy and ready it for students.
The Basilias would need to be rebuilt in a new location, and how? Alicante had been theirs: a secret place where they could plan and build and live. Shadowhunters outside Idris lived in the places mundanes had abandoned or forgotten. They did not create their own meeting halls and hospitals. They did not raise their own soaring spires, or at least they had not for many generations.
But this generation, Jace suspected, was going to be unique in many ways.
“Are you asleep?” Alec, propped on one arm, looked down at Jace curiously.
Jace squinted at his parabatai. Sometimes it was hard for him to remember that Alec was an adult, or that he himself was one, for that matter. Surely Alec was still the boy he had met when he’d stepped off the boat in New York. Eleven-year-old Alec, skinny and nervous, with flyaway dark hair. Jace had wanted to protect him and learn from him all at once. Isabelle he’d liked at once and later come to love. With Alec it had been more like a key fitting into a lock, a click of recognition. Something that whispered, re is someone you already know.
Jace had never thought much about reincarnation, though Jem talked about it all the time. But he did sometimes wonder if he’d known Alec in another life.
“I’m not asleep,” he said. “I’m thinking.”
“Ah,” Alec said. “Difficult, is it?”
“Marriage is making you annoying and smirky,” said Jace.
“Probably,” said Alec peaceably, and flopped down into the sand again. “Izzy and Simon are engaged, me and Magnus are married—who’d have thought you’d be last?”
Jace winced, just a little. His proposal to Clary, which she’d turned down, was a secret he’d kept. Not because it was humiliating or because he was hurt, though it had hurt. But because Clary had seemed almost wild with grief when she’d refused him. She’d gotten on her knees and put her head in his lap and sobbed as he ran his hands through her hair in bewilderment, not knowing what had happened, what he had done wrong.
Nothing, she’d told him over and over. He’d done nothing wrong. The wrongness was in her, in something she feared and dreaded. She swore she loved him. She’d asked for time.
He loved her too much not to give her that time. He trusted her too much not to believe she would only ask for it if she needed it. He’d tried to put away his thoughts of what it would have meant to be engaged, to be planning for a wedding like Simon and Izzy. But when he’d sat with Alec by Magnus’s bedside, and Alec had worried that Magnus would die without understanding how much Alec loved him, he’d felt that same cold fear. He and Clary had been in danger from the Clave. What if one of them had died, and this unfinished business was still between them?
And then Clary had told him. In their tent in Brocelind, holding his hands, she had told him about her dreams, her conviction that she was going to die. That she hadn’t wanted to leave him a widower. How she’d realized eventually that her vision was of Thule, and she’d apologized over and over for hurting him, and he’d told her that he was only sorry that she’d carried such a burden alone. They’d comforted each other.
And in the morning, when they’d prepared for battle, he’d realized: They’d never actually broached the subject of what they were going to do now. Was an offer of marriage meant to be permanent? Did it expire after a time period, like a job offer? One thing he was sure of: They still weren’t engaged.
It was all very awkward.
“Uncle Jace,” said Max, in a disapproving tone. Jace blinked, and realized that someone—Magnus, it seemed—had placed Max on his chest. Max was looking down at him, his face creased into a frown. “Uncle Jace not moving.”
“Uncle Jace appears to be preoccupied,” said Alec, scooping up Max. He was sitting up now, Max in his lap. Magnus was nearby, holding Rafe and talking quietly to Catarina.
“Uncle Jace not dead!” announce Max with a smile, and promptly went to sleep against Alec’s shoulder.
“Is everything all right?” Alec asked. His gaze was blue and direct.
Jace sat up, brushing sand from his elaborate suggenes jacket. He wondered if he’d get to wear it again. Isabelle would probably ask Alec, and Simon would ask Clary. Too bad; he looked good in gold and blue.
“I have some decisions to make,” he said.
Alec nodded. “I’m always with you,” he said. “I always have your back.”
Jace knew that was true.
“Remember when we were in Edom?” Alec said. “You came up with that strategy for how we could get into Sebastian’s fort. You’ve always been a strategist.” He lifted his face to the wind off the sea. “I need your strategy now. To help us rebuild.”
“You always have me, and whatever I can do to help you,” said Jace. “‘Whither thou goest.’”
Alec smiled. Jace glanced down the beach. Clary was talking to Izzy. She had put flowers in her hair: blue, violet, and yellow against the dark red strands. She was wearing one of his favorite of her dresses: blue, with a sweetheart neckline. It was dark, but it didn’t matter. He knew the shape of her face as well as his own, knew the way she smiled.
And every time he looked at her, it was still the way it had been when he’d been sixteen years old. It still felt like a punch to the solar plexus, like he didn’t have quite enough breath in his chest.
Alec followed Jace’s glance, and his smile crooked up at the corner. “Clary,” he called. “Come get your man. I think he’s falling asleep.”
Jace made a noise of protest, but it was too late. Clary was already coming toward them in a swirl of blue chiffon skirt, her eyes dancing. She reached a hand down to help Jace to his feet. “Bedtime?” she said.
He looked down at her. She seemed so small, so delicate. Her skin was pearlescent, dotted with freckles like a doll’s. But he knew how strong she really was. The steel that ran under her softness.
“I’ve never been more awake,” he said, his voice low. He was remembering a night long ago, a greenhouse, a flower that only bloomed at midnight.
She flushed. He knew she was remembering too. She glanced around, but no one was looking at them. The hush of a party winding down was falling over the beach.
She tugged at his hand. “Come for a walk,” she said.
I need you so much. Now the memory was darker. A manor house collapsing in on itself, Jace clinging to Clary in the ashes and dust of its ruination. He didn’t know why he was so lost in memory tonight, he thought, as he followed Clary along the line of the water, his hand in hers. Maybe it was just weddings—they made one nostalgic. Not that he missed the time he’d believed he and Clary could never be together. But sometimes you thought about how much had slipped away behind you, without you ever noticing it had gone.
Clary drew him behind a sand dune, blocking them from the beach. Scrub grass crunched under his feet as he moved close to her. There was always that anticipation when it came to the thought of kissing Clary. She always looked at him with such wide eyes, half-wanting and half-mischief.
She put her hand on his chest. “Not yet,” she said, and produced her stele.
“And now the strange and kinky part kicks in,” he said. “I should have expected this day would come.”
She made a face at him. “Just hang on, cowboy,” she said, and began to draw on the air with quick familiar movements. A Portal grew, blue-green and glowing.
“It’s very rude to sneak away from a wedding,” said Jace, peering into the Portal. What was this about?
“I’ll buy Magnus and Alec some monogrammed towels,” said Clary, then took Jace’s hand and stepped through.
* * *
Clary rarely went into the greenhouse, not because she didn’t like it, but because it was a special place to her. This was the place she’d realized she loved Jace for the first time. The place she’d really felt magic—not just known it existed, but felt it in a way that seemed to open the world to incredible possibility.
It had changed little since then. As they stepped through the Portal, the scent of night flowers thickened the air. When she’d first seen the greenhouse, she’d thought it was laid out in no particular pattern. Now she realized the winding paths through the greenery formed the Luck rune.
She took a deep breath, hoping that luck would be on her side tonight.
Jace was looking around in amusement as the last shimmers of the Portal faded behind him. Everything was in bloom, a riot of flowers from around the world: deep pink hibiscus, white angel’s-trumpet, blue hydrangea, orange and yellow marigolds.
Jace himself was all gold in the moonlight coming through the windows and his blue-and-gold formal jacket hugged the graceful shape of his body. Clary shivered. He was so beautiful.
“I’m pretty sure Magnus and Alec already have monogrammed towels,” he said.
“Fish slice?” Clary suggested. “Toffee hammer?”
“You say such sexy things.” He let her lead him down the path among the strawflowers, past the granite benches. In a few moments they had found the cleared space beneath the silver-green tree where water glimmered in a rock pool.
There was no one else here now, and she heard Jace draw in a quick breath. The clearing had been transformed. Clary had covered the ground with brightly colored silk blankets: deep blue. Jewel green, rich gold. Witchlight candles burned all around, turning the windows to opaque sheets of silver.
A bottle of wine chilled in a silver bucked by the roots of the tree. In the center of it all was a long rectangular object wrapped in gold satin.
“You—did this?” Jace said, stunned. “For me?”
Clary folded her hands in front of her to keep them from shaking. “Do you like it?”
He raised his eyes to her, and she saw the unguarded surprise in them. It was rare for Jace to let down all his fortifications, even in front of her. Somehow, she saw, her gesture had shaken him. She could see the boy he had been, the one who held up a shield against the world and all its hurts. The one who did not expect love, only a raised hand or a sharp word.
Chiffon rustled as she knelt. After a moment, Jace sank to his knees, facing her. There was still sand n his hair, from the beach. She wanted to brush it away, wanted to draw the back of her hand along his cheek, feel the rough softness of his skin. She swallowed hard and indicated the rectangular object on the ground between them. “Open it,” she said.
He lifted it onto his lap, and she saw his expression change. She had expected him to guess what it was. He was Jace Herondale. He knew the weight and feel of a sword in his hand.
The silk fell away, and he lifted the blade with a low whistle.
The blade was made of hammered steel, the hilt of gold and adamas. Etched along the blade was a pattern of herons in flight, and the crosspiece was carved in the shape of wings.
“This is beautiful,” he said. There was no humor in his voice, no deflection. “Thank you. But why—?” “Turn it over,” she whispered. She wished she had water. Opening the bottle of wine at this point didn’t seem like a good idea, no matter how dry her throat was.
He turned it, and words flashed out along the reverse side of the blade.
Visne me in matrimonium ducere?
His eyes widened as he read out the translation. “Will you be married to me?” He looked from the blade to her, his face white. “Will you—marry me?”
“Luke helped with the translation,” Clary said. “My Latin could be better—”
He set the sword down with a clink. The words continued to glow out like neon across the blade. “You mean it? You’re really asking?”
She was pretty sure she was ripping the skirt of her dress to pieces with anxiety, “I couldn’t expect you to ask again,” she said. “I know you understand why I said no when I did. But I think about it all the time. I wish I’d thought of something better, smarter to do. Some way to explain—”
“That you thought you were going to die?” His voice was ragged. “It would have killed me. I would have gone insane trying to figure out a way to stop it.”
“I never wanted you to think I didn’t love you,” she said. “And even if you don’t want to marry me now, you deserve to have me ask you. Because I always, always wanted to marry you, and that’s the truth. I love you, Jace Herondale. I love you and I need you like light and air, like my chalk and my paint, like beautiful things in the world. In that prison full of thorns under the Unseelie Tower, I was all right because you were with me.” Her voice shook.
She heard him exhale. “Clary…”
A true flash of fear went through her. That he might say no. That she had, in her fear and desire to protect him, destroyed everything. The thought of a life without him by her side loomed up as a sudden and real possibility. It was like looking into a well of loneliness so deep it had no bottom.
He stood up. There was a soft sound all around them, which Clary realized was rain, unrolling like silver thread down the high windows. It caressed the skylight high above, as if they stood in the dry alcove of a waterfall.
He held his hand out. Clary let Jace lift her to her feet; her heart was pounding. “It’s fitting for you to give me a sword,” he said.
“Something that would protect you,” she said. “Something you could carry always—”
“Like I carry my love for you,” he said quietly.
She let out a shaking breath. “So you forgive me—?”
He reached into the side pocket of his runed jacket, and drew out a small wooden box. He handed it to her silently. She couldn’t read his expression as she opened it.
Inside were two bands of adamas. They gleamed, white-silver, in the diffused light of the rainy city. Each bore an etched legend: L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.
The love that moves the sun and the other stars.
“I was going to ask you again, tonight,” he said. “I thought about it for a long time. I didn’t want to pressure you. But I decided to trust what you’d said—that you only said no because of your vision. And there’s nothing to forgive.” He took the rings out of the box, held them gleaming in his palm. “I could always fight any demons but my own. Since I met you, Clary, you have been the blade in my hand, even when I carried no weapons. You were my sword and shield against every moment I felt worthless, against every moment I hated myself, against every time I thought I wasn’t good enough.”
He slid on of the rings onto his own finger and held the other one out to her. She nodded, feeling her eyes burn with tears, and reached out her hand: He slipped the adamas band onto her ring finger.
“I want to marry you,” he said. “Do you want to marry me?”
“Yes,” she said through the tears, “I was supposed to be asking you. You always get there first, you—”
“Not always,” he said with a flash of his old grin, and took her into his arms. She could feel his heart hammering wildly. “I love the sword,” he said, nuzzling his lips against her hair, her cheek. “We can hang it over the fireplace. We can give it to our kids.”
“Kids? I thought we’d have one…”
“Six,” he said. “Eight, maybe. I’ve been thinking about the Blackthorns. I like a big family.”
“I hope you like a minivan.”
“I don’t know what that is,” he said, kissing her neck, “but if you’re in it, I’ll like it.” She giggled, feeling light-headed—a moment ago she had been imagining the bleak horror of a future without Jace. Now they were engaged. They were together, bound. Cleaved to each other, as Jia had said.
“Kiss me,” she said. “Really, really, kiss me.”
His eyes went dark—the good kind of dark, the smoldering, considering look that still made her insides shake. He drew her closer, and the familiar feeling of her body lined up against his shivered through her. She twined her arms around his neck as he lifted her half off her feet as easily as he might lift a sword.
His hands were gentle, but the kiss wasn’t. He sealed his mouth over hers and she gave a little gasp of surprise: There was heat in the kiss, an almost desperation. He drew her tighter against him—his hands slid across her back, fingers tangling in the thin straps of her dress as she tilted her head up and kissed him back.
In the distance, she thought she heard a clock chime, and for a moment, she was a sixteen-year-old girl again experiencing her first kiss. The headlong rush, the feeling of spinning and falling. She clutched at Jace’s shoulders and he moaned softly into her mouth. His hands traced her slight frame, from the flare of her hips to the violin curves of her waist. Her palms slid down his chest. She reveled in the feel of him, all hard muscles and soft skin.
He drew back. “We’d better stop,” he said raggedly. “Or things are going to get a little wild for the greenhouse.”
She smiled at him and kicked off one shoe, and then the other. “I don’t mind,” she said. “Do you?”
He laughed, all happiness and joy, and lifted her off her feet again, kissing her and kissing her as they sank down together onto the pile of silk and satin she’d laid out the day before. He rolled onto his back, pulling her atop him, smiling up at her as he threaded his fingers into her hair and dislodged the flowers there.
“You taught me it takes more bravery to love completely than it does to walk unarmed into a battle,” he said. “To love you and be loved by you is an honor, Clary.”
She grinned at him. “And what do I get in return for the honor?”
“My sparkling wit,” he said, starting to undo her zipper. “My charming company. My good looks. And…” He looked up at her, suddenly serious. “My heart, for all the days of my life.”
She bent to brush her lips across his. “And you have mind,” she said, and he wrapped his arms around her as the Institute clock chimed the witching hour and the midnight flower unfurled its white-gold petals, unnoticed.
- source: Cassie's 2017 newsletter via TMI Source
- A whole prologue was cut from Queen of Air and Darkness. Cassie intends to share the prologue on Tumblr eventually. Below is a portion of it that was previously shared as a snippet.
Fear prickled up and down Emma's arms like goosebumps. Since she was twelve, she had been terrified of the ocean: she had always believed her parents had died in it, dragged below the surface by Raziel knew what, choked to death on bitter seawater. The surge and crash of waves, the imagined black velvet of the ocean's depths, had filled her nightmares.
Even when she found out her parents had been murdered on dry land by Malcolm Fade, their bodies thrown into the sea after death, the fear remained. She reached for it now, welcomed it in. She could feel it filling the empty spaces, the hollows left by grief.
She glanced back down at the sea. The surging whirlpool below, the waves slamming like dark blue walls against sheer needles of stone, looked like a painting of a maelstrom, a photograph of a hellscape taken from a safe distance.
The wind screamed in Emma's ears like a warning. Another wave hurled itself against the cliffs, sending up an explosion of spray. Emma smiled grimly into the wind and salt, and jumped.
Cut Blackstairs Scene
- source: Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- A scene that takes place roughly on page 30. In early drafts, Julian and Emma slept together in their raw grief over Livvy. This was changed to them stopping in final drafts.
...Julian had left the rest of his clothes in a pile on the floor. He was standing in the shower in just his underwear, letting the water run down over his face, his hair.
Swallowing hard, Emma stripped down to her panties and camisole and stepped in after him. The water was scalding hot, filling the small stone space with steam. He stood unmoving under the spray, letting it streak his skin with the pale scarlet of light burns.
Emma reached around him and turned the temperature down. He watched her, wordless, as she took up a bar of soap and lathered it between her hands. When she put her soapy hands on his body he inhaled sharply as if it hurt, but he didn’t move even an inch.
She scrubbed at his skin, almost digging her fingers into his skin as she scraped at the blood. The water rank pinkish-red into the drain. The soap had a strong smell of lemon. His body was hard under her touch, scarred and muscled, not a young boy’s body at all. Not anymore. When had he changed? She couldn’t remember the day, the hour, the moment.
He bent his head and she worked the lather into his hair, stroking her fingers through the curls. When she was done, she tilted back his head, let the water run over both of them until it ran clear. She was soaked to the skin, her clothes sticking to her. She reached around Julian to turn the water off, and felt him turn his head into her neck, his lips against her cheek.
She froze. The steam rose up around them. Julian’s chest was rising and falling fast, as if he were close to collapsing after a race. Dry sobs, she realized. He didn’t cry — she couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen him cry. He needed the release of tears, she thought, but he’d forgotten the mechanisms of weeping after so many years of holding back.
She put her arms around him. “It’s all right,” she said. The water fell on and over them, and his skin was hot against hers. She swallowed the salt of her own tears. “Julian —“
He drew back as she raised her head, and their lips brushed — and it was instant, desperate, more like a tumble over a cliff’s edge than anything else. Julian’s mouth was hot above hers, his lips slanting against Emma’s, jolts shuddering through her at the contact. “Emma, my God, Emma,” he groaned into her mouth, sounding almost stunned. His hands knotted in the soaked material of her camisole. “Can I —?”
She nodded, feeling the muscles in his arms tighten. He swung her up into his arms. She shut her eyes, clutching at him, his shoulders, his hair, her hands slippery with soap as he carried her into the bedroom, tumbling her onto the bed. A second later he was above her, braced on his elbows, his mouth devouring hers feverishly.
Frantic gestures rid them of their clothes. She and Julian were skin to skin now: she was holding him against her body, her heart. He was hot and hard, pressed against her thigh. His hand slid down, shaking fingers dancing across her breasts, stroking her skin, moving down to her hipbone. “Let me —“
She knew what he wanted to say: let me please you, let me make you feel good first. But that wasn’t what she wanted, not now. She tilted her hips upward. “Come closer,” she whispered. “Closer —“
He gave a half-hopeless groan, unable to wait any more than she was. He slid inside her, setting every nerve in her body on fire. They both gasped. He drew back and thrust into her again, swallowing her moans with his kisses. His hands gripped her hips; every movement was fierce, frantic and Emma knew: these were the tears he couldn’t cry, the words of grief he couldn’t speak. This was the relief he could only allow himself like this, in the annihilation of shared desire.
Pleasure was rising inside her, sharp as pain, spiraling. Every movement drove her closer and closer to the edge; her hands slid down Julian’s back, his skin slick with sweat. He was pushing himself closer to that cliff’s edge, too, she knew, but refusing to go over; his fingers dug into the sheets on either side of her, his knuckles white with effort: he was holding on with a grip like iron, determined to push them both further and deeper into oblivion.
Her legs rose to twine around his waist; she saw his eyelashes flutter with pleasure, the deepening look of painful rapture on his face. He threw his head back as she arched up against him, his breath coming in harsh gasps, and Emma knew her own loss of control was fueling his. Stay with me, Jules, she whispered, and let herself go.
She felt her parabatai rune spark against her skin like a brand, and she jammed her hand into her mouth just in time to stifle her scream as everything imploded, pleasure searing through her like blinding white light.
His eyes flew wide open. His body surged against hers, his control shattering into a million pieces. He gasped her name as he fell apart, shuddering against her. Emma thought she might black out: she held onto Julian as if she would drown otherwise; she could no longer think, only feel.
She hung in that suspended space for what felt like a thousand years and a split second, all at the same time. When the world had meaning again, Julian had rolled them both sideways, taking his weight off her body. In the darkness, his eyes shone like glass. “I can’t lose you,” he said. For the first time since the Council meeting, the awful tension was gone from his voice: he sounded like Julian again. “I can’t lose you, Emma. I can’t. I won’t.”
She could not find words. She drew him close, kissed his forehead, and murmured meaningless noises of comfort against his skin in the dark.
Cristina looked after Emma, her hand going to the pendant at her own throat. It was silver, in the shape of a circle with a rose inside it. The rose was wrapped around with thorny briars. Words were written in Latin on the back: she didn't need to look at them to know them. She’d known them all her life. Blessed be the Angel my strength who teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight. The rose for Rosales, the words for Raziel, the Angel who had created the Shadowhunters a thousand years ago. Cristina had always thought Emma fought for her parabatai and for revenge, while she fought for family and faith. But maybe it was all the same thing: maybe it was all love, in the end.
"Livvy would know," Ty said. "She'll know if I'm not here."
"I'm used to people hiding and lying about their emotions," said Cristina, "but you don't."
I died inside. But I loved you so much, I could not stay dead. My heart beat because yours did. I breathed because you breathed. And across a thousand stars and through a million worlds, I found my way back to you.