City of Fallen Angels / Page 45

Page 45


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She stood still for a moment, staring after him. She could call for the elevator, of course, ride it down, wait for the Clave in the lobby with everyone else. If Jace didn't want to talk, he didn't want to talk. She couldn't force him to. If Alec was right, and he was punishing himself, she'd just have to wait until he got over it.

She turned toward the elevator-and stopped. A little flame of anger licked its way through her, making her eyes burn. No, she thought. She didn't have to let him behave like this. Maybe he could be this way to everyone else, but not to her. He owed her better than that. They owed each other better than that.

She whirled and made her way to the doors. Her ankle still ached, but the iratzes Alec had put on her were working. Most of the pain in her body had subsided to a dull, throbbing ache. She reached the doors and pushed them open, stepping onto the roof terrace with a wince as her bare feet came into contact with the freezing tiles.

She saw Jace immediately; he was kneeling near the steps, on tiles stained with blood and ichor and glittering with salt. He rose as she approached, and he turned, something shiny dangling from his hand.

The Morgenstern ring, on its chain.

The wind had come up; it blew his dark gold hair across his face. He pushed it away impatiently and said, "I just remembered that we left this here."

His voice sounded surprisingly normal.

"Is that why you wanted to stay up here?" said Clary. "To get it back?"

He turned his hand, so the chain swung upward, his fingers closing over the ring. "I'm attached to it. It's stupid, I know."

"You could have said, or Alec could have stayed-"

"I don't belong with the rest of you," he said abruptly. "After what I did, I don't deserve iratzes and healing and hugs and being consoled and whatever else it is my friends are going to think I need. I'd rather stay up here with him." He jerked his chin toward the place where Sebastian's motionless body lay in the open coffin, on its stone pedestal. "And I sure as hell don't deserve you."

Clary crossed her arms over her chest. "Have you ever thought about what I deserve? That maybe I deserve to get a chance to talk to you about what happened?"

He stared at her. They were only a few feet apart, but it felt as if an inexpressible gulf lay between them. "I don't know why you would even want to look at me, much less talk to me."

"Jace," she said. "Those things you did-that wasn't you."

He hesitated. The sky was so black, the lit windows of the nearby skyscrapers so bright, it was as if they stood in the center of a net of shining jewels. "If it wasn't me," he said, "then why can I remember everything I did? When people are possessed, and they come back from it, they don't remember what they did when the demon inhabited them. But I remember everything." He turned abruptly and walked away, toward the roof garden wall. She followed him, glad for the distance it put between them and Sebastian's body, now hidden from view by a row of hedges.

"Jace!" she called out, and he turned, his back to the wall, slumping against it. Behind him a city's worth of electricity lit up the night like the demon towers of Alicante. "You remember because she wanted you to remember," Clary said, catching up with him, a little breathless. "She did this to torture you as much as she did it to get Simon to do what she wanted. She wanted you to have to watch yourself hurt the people you love."

"I was watching," he said in a low voice. "It was as if some part of me was off at a distance, watching and screaming at myself to stop. But the rest of me felt completely peaceful and like what I was doing was right. Like it was the only thing I could do. I wonder if that's how Valentine felt about everything he did. Like it was so easy to be right." He looked away from her. "I can't stand it," he said. "You shouldn't be here with me. You should just go."

Instead of leaving, Clary moved to stand beside him against the wall. Her arms were already wrapped around herself; she was shivering. Finally, reluctantly, he turned his head to look at her again. "Clary..."

"You don't get to decide," she said, "where I go, or when."

"I know." His voice was ragged. "I've always known that about you. I don't know why I had to fall in love with someone who's more stubborn than I am."

Clary was silent a moment. Her heart had contracted at those two words-"in love." "All those things you said to me," she said in a half whisper, "on the terrace at the Ironworks-did you mean them?"

His golden eyes dulled. "Which things?"

That you loved me, she almost said, but thinking back-he hadn't said that, had he? Not the words themselves. The implication had been there. And the truth of the fact, that they loved each other, was something she knew as clearly as she knew her own name.

"You kept asking me if I would love you if you were like Sebastian, like Valentine."

"And you said then I wouldn't be me. Look how wrong that turned out to be," he said, bitterness coloring his voice. "What I did tonight-"

Clary moved toward him; he tensed, but didn't move away. She took hold of the front of his shirt, leaned in closely, and said, enunciating each word clearly, "That wasn't you."

"Tell that to your mother," he said. "Tell it to Luke, when they ask where this came from." He touched her collarbone gently; the wound was healed now, but her skin, and the fabric of her dress, were still stained darkly with blood.

"I'll tell them," she said. "I'll tell them it was my fault."

He looked at her, gold eyes incredulous. "You can't lie to them."

"I'm not. I brought you back," she said. "You were dead, and I brought you back. I upset the balance, not you. I opened the door for Lilith and her stupid ritual. I could have asked for anything, and I asked for you." She tightened her grip on his shirt, her fingers white with cold and pressure. "And I would do it again. I love you, Jace Wayland-Herondale-Lightwood-whatever you want to call yourself. I don't care. I love you and I will always love you, and pretending it could be any other way is just a waste of time."

A look of such pain crossed his face that Clary felt her heart tighten. Then he reached out and took her face between his hands. His palms were warm against her cheeks.

"Remember when I told you," he said, his voice as soft as she had ever heard it, "that I didn't know if there was a God or not, but either way, we were completely on our own? I still don't know the answer; I only knew that there was such a thing as faith, and that I didn't deserve to have it. And then there was you. You changed everything I believed in. You know that line from Dante that I quoted to you in the park? 'L'amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle'?"

Her lips curled a little at the sides as she looked up at him. "I still don't speak Italian."

"It's a bit of the very last verse from Paradiso-Dante's Paradise.'My will and my desire were turned by love, the love that moves the sun and the other stars.' Dante was trying to explain faith, I think, as an overpowering love, and maybe it's blasphemous, but that's how I think of the way that I love you. You came into my life and suddenly I had one truth to hold on to-that I loved you, and you loved me."

Though he seemed to be looking at her, his gaze was distant, as if fixed on something far away.

"Then I started to have the dreams," he went on. "And I thought maybe I'd been wrong. That I didn't deserve you. That I didn't deserve to be perfectly happy-I mean, God, who deserves that? And after tonight-"

"Stop." She had been clutching his shirt; she loosened her grip now, flattening her hands against his chest. His heart was racing under her fingertips; his cheeks flushed, and not just from the cold. "Jace. Through everything that happened tonight, I knew one thing. That it wasn't you hurting me. It wasn't you doing these things. I have an absolute incontrovertible belief that you are good. And that will never change."

Jace took a deep, shuddering breath. "I don't even know how to try to deserve that."

"You don't have to. I have enough faith in you," she said, "for both of us."

His hands slid into her hair. The mist of their exhaled breath rose between them, a white cloud. "I missed you so much," he said, and kissed her, his mouth gentle on hers, not desperate and hungry the way it had been the last few times he had kissed her, but familiar and tender and soft.

She closed her eyes as the world seemed to spin around her like a pinwheel. Sliding her hands up his chest, she stretched upward as far as she could, wrapping her arms around his neck, rising up on her toes to meet his mouth with hers. His fingers skimmed down her body, over skin and satin, and she shivered, leaning into him, and she was sure they both tasted like blood and ashes and salt, but it didn't matter; the world, the city, and all its lights and life seemed to have narrowed down to this, just her and Jace, the burning heart of a frozen world.

He drew away first, reluctantly. She realized why a moment later. The sound of honking cars and screeching tires from the street below was audible, even up here. "The Clave," he said resignedly-though he had to clear his throat to get the words out, Clary was pleased to hear. His face was flushed, as she imagined hers was. "They're here."

With her hand in his Clary looked over the edge of the roof wall and saw that a number of long black cars had drawn up in front of the scaffolding. People were piling out. It was hard to recognize them from this height, but Clary thought she saw Maryse, and several other people dressed in gear. A moment later Luke's truck roared up to the curb and Jocelyn leaped out. Clary would have known it was her, just from the way she moved, at a greater distance than this one.

Clary turned to Jace. "My mom," she said. "I'd better get downstairs. I don't want her coming up here and seeing-and seeing him." She jerked her chin toward Sebastian's coffin.

He stroked her hair back from her face. "I don't want to let you out of my sight."

"Then, come with me."

"No. Someone should stay up here." He took her hand, turned it over, and dropped the Morgenstern ring into it, the chain pooling like liquid metal. The clasp had bent when she'd torn it off, but he'd managed to push it back into shape. "Please take it."

Her eyes flicked down, and then, uncertainly, back up to his face. "I wish I understood what it meant to you."

He shrugged slightly. "I wore it for a decade," he said. "Some part of me is in it. It means I trust you with my past and all the secrets that past carries. And besides"-lightly he touched one of the stars engraved around the rim-"'the love that moves the sun and all the other stars.' Pretend that that's what the stars stand for, not Morgenstern."

In answer she dropped the chain back over her head, feeling the ring settle in its accustomed place, below her collarbone. It felt like a puzzle piece clicking back into place. For a moment their eyes locked in wordless communication, more intense in some ways than their physical contact had been; she held the image of him in her mind in that moment as if she were memorizing it-the tangled golden hair, the shadows cast by his lashes, the rings of darker gold inside the light amber of his eyes. "I'll be right back," she said. She squeezed his hand. "Five minutes."

"Go on," he said roughly, releasing her hand, and she turned and went back down the path. The moment she stepped away from him, she was cold again, and by the time she reached the doors to the building, she was freezing. She paused as she opened the door, and looked back at him, but he was only a shadow, backlit by the glow of the New York skyline. The love that moves the sun and all the other stars, she thought, and then, as if in answering echo, she heard Lilith's words. The kind of love that can burn down the world or raise it up in glory. A shiver ran through her, and not just from the cold. She looked for Jace, but he had vanished into the shadows; she turned and headed back inside, the door sliding shut behind her.

Alec had gone upstairs to look for Jordan and Maia, and Simon and Isabelle were alone together, sitting side by side on the green chaise longue in the lobby. Isabelle held Alec's witchlight in her hand, illuminating the room with a nearly spectral glow, sparking dancing motes of fire from the pendant chandelier.

She had said very little since her brother had left them together. Her head was bent, her dark hair falling forward, her gaze on her hands. They were delicate hands, long-fingered, but calloused as her brothers' were. Simon had never noticed before, but she wore a silver ring on her right hand, with a pattern of flames around the band of it, and a carved L in the center. It reminded him of the ring Clary wore around her neck, with its design of stars.

"It's the Lightwood family ring," she said, noticing where his gaze was fixed. "Every family has an emblem. Ours is fire."

It suits you, he thought. Izzy was like fire, in her flaming scarlet dress, with her moods as changeable as sparks. On the roof he'd half-thought she'd strangle him, her arms around his neck as she called him every name under the sun while clutching him like she'd never let him go. Now she was staring off into the distance, as untouchable as a star. It was all very disconcerting.

You love them so, Camille had said, your Shadowhunter friends. As the falcon loves the master who binds and blinds it.

"What you told us," he said, a little halting, watching Isabelle wind a strand of her hair around her forefinger, "up there on the roof-that you hadn't known that Clary and Jace were missing, that you'd come here for me-was that true?"

Isabelle looked up, tucking the strand of hair behind her ear. "Of course it's true," she said indignantly. "When we saw you were gone from the party-and you've been in danger for days, Simon, and what with Camille escaping-" She caught herself up short. "And Jordan's responsible for you. He was freaking out."

"So it was his idea to come looking for me?"

Isabelle turned to look at him for a long moment. Her eyes were fathomless and dark. "I was the one who noticed you were gone," she said. "I was the one who wanted to find you."


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