“I don't care," Clary said. "He'd do it for me. Tell me he wouldn't. If I were missing-"
"He'd burn the whole world down till he could dig you out of the ashes. I know," Alec said.”
“Basia coquum," Simon said. "Or whatever their motto is."
"It's 'Descensus Averno facilis est.' 'The descent into hell is easy," said Alec. "You just said "Kiss the cook."
"Dammit," said Simon. "I knew Jace was screwing with me.”
“She turned and looked at him. "Ducks?" she said again.
A smile tugged the edge of his mouth. "I hate ducks. Don't know why. I just always have.”
“I've got the Mark of Cain," said Simon. "That means nothing can kill me, right?"
"You can kill yourself," Magnus said, somewhat unhelpfully. "As far as I know, inanimate objects can accidentally kill you. So if you were planning on teaching yourself the lambada on a greased platform over a pit full of knives, I wouldn't."
"There goes my Saturday.”
“Isabelle snorted. 'All the boys are gay. In this truck, anyway. Well, not you, Simon.'
'You noticed' said Simon.
'I think of myself as a freewheeling bisexual,' added Magnus.
'Please never say those words in front of my parents,' said Alec. 'Especially my father.'
'I thought your parents were okay with you, you know, coming out,' Simon said, leaning around Isabelle to look at Alec, who was — as he often was — scowling, and pushing his floppy dark hair out of his eyes. Aside from the occasional exchange, Simon had never talked to Alec much. He wasn’t an easy person to get to know. But, Simon admitted to himself, his own recent estrangement from his mother made him more curious about Alec’s answer than he would have been otherwise.
'My mother seems to have accepted it,' Alec said. 'But my father — no, not really. Once he asked me what I thought had turned me gay.'
Simon felt Isabelle tense next to him. 'Turned you gay?' She sounded incredulous. 'Alec, you didn’t tell me that.'
'I hope you told him you were bitten by a gay spider,' said Simon.
Magnus snorted; Isabelle looked confused. 'I’ve read Magnus’s stash of comics,' said Alec, 'so I actually know what you’re talking about' A small smile played around his mouth. 'So would that give me the proportional gayness of a spider?'
'Only if it was a really gay spider,' said Magnus, and he yelled as Alec punched him in the arm. 'Ow, okay, never mind.”
“I stabbed you. With a massive sword. You caught on fire."
His lips twitched, almost imperceptibly. "Okay, so maybe our problems aren't like other couples.”
“Jordan doesn't really care about the blood," Simon said now. "His whole thing is about me being comfortable with what I am. Get in touch with your inner vampire, blah, blah."
Clary slid in next to him onto the bed and hugged a pillow. "Is your inner vampire different from your...outer vampire?"
"Definitely. He wants me to wear midriff-baring shirts and a fedora. I'm fighting it."
Clary smiled faintly. "So your inner vampire is Magnus?”
“As far as I’m concerned, this is the worst thing that’s happened since I found out why Magnus was banned from Peru.”
“Missing, one stunningly attractive teenage boy. Answers to 'Jace' or 'Hot Stuff”
“Does she still love you?"
"I don't think so," Magnus said dryly. "She wasn't very pleasant the last time I saw her. Of course, that could be because I've got an eighteen year-old boyfriend with a stamina rune and she doesn't."
Alec sputtered. "As the person being objectified, I ... object to that description of me.”
“What have you done to my cat?" Magnus demanded... "You drank his blood, didn't you? You said you weren't hungry!"
Simon was indignant. "I did not drink his blood. He's fine!" He poked the Chairman in the stomach. The cat yawned. "Second, you asked me if I was hungry when you were ordering pizza, so I said no, because I can't eat pizza. I was being polite."
"That doesn't get you the right to eat my cat."
"Your cat is fine!" Simon reached to pick up the tabby, who jumped indignantly to his feet and stalked off the table. "See?"
“He grinned. It was a wicked grin, the kind that made the blood in Clary's veins run a little faster. "You want to go on a date?"
Caught off guard, she stammered. "A wh-what?"
"A date," Jace repeated. "Often 'a boring thing you have to memorize in history class,' but in this case, 'an offering of an evening of blisteringly white-hot romance with yours truly."
"Really?" Clary was not sure what to make of this. "Blisteringly white-hot?"
"It's me," said Jace. "Watching me play Scrabble is enough to make most women swoon. Imagine if I actually put in some effort.”
“Simon rolled his eyes. “It’s a good thing we know the person who’s dating Magnus Bane,” he said. “Otherwise, I get the feeling we’d all just lie around all the time wondering what the hell to do next. Or trying to raise the money to hire him by selling lemonade or something.”
Alec looked merely irritated by this comment. “The only way you could raise enough money to hire Magnus by selling lemonade is if you put meth in it.”
“Do you remember,” he said, “when we first met and I told you I was ninety percent sure putting a rune on you wouldn’t kill you—and you slapped me in the face and told me it was for the other ten percent?” Clary nodded.
“I always figured a demon would kill me,” he said. “A rogue Downworlder. A battle. But I realized then that I just might die if I didn’t get to kiss you, and soon.” Clary licked her dry lips. “Well, you did,” she said. “Kiss me, I mean.”
He reached up and took a curl of her hair between his fingers. He was close enough that she could feel the warmth of his body, smell his soap and skin and hair.
“Not enough,” he said, letting her hair slip through his fingers. “If I kiss you all day every day for the rest of my life, it won’t be enough.”
“Excellent. I've been told I have a lovely, melodic reading voice." He flipped the book open to the front page, where the title was printed in ornate script. Across from it was a long dedication, the ink faded now and barely legible, though Clary could make out the signature: With hope at last, William Herondale.”
“I never cared,” he said. “I wanted you anyway. I always wanted you.”
“I've noticed the Fair Folk often say 'perhaps' when there is a truth they want to hide," Clary said. "It keeps you from having to give a straight answer."
"Perhaps so," said the Queen with an amused smile.
"'Mayhap' is a good word too," Alec suggested.
"Also 'perchance,'" Izzy said.
"I see nothing wrong with 'maybe'," said Simon. "A little modern, but the gist of the idea comes across.”
“Take off your shirt."
Jace raised his eyebrows.
"I'm not going to attack you," she said impatiently. "I can take the sight of your naked chest without swooning."
"Are you sure?" he asked, obediently sliding the shirt off his shoulders. "Because viewing my naked chest has caused many women to seriously injure themselves stampeding to get to me.”
“Speaking of hope, did you see that shot Alec got off with his bow? That's my boyfriend.”
“How was the Seelie Queen?"
"Same as usual."
"Raging bitch, then?"
“Alec isn’t happy,” said Magnus, as if she hadn’t spoken.
“Of course he isn’t,” Isabelle snapped. “Jace—”
“Jace,” said Magnus, and his hands made fists at his sides. Isabelle stared at him. She had always thought that he didn’t mind Jace; liked him, even, once the question of Alec’s affections had been settled. Out loud, she said:
“I thought you were friends.”
“It’s not that,” said Magnus. “There are some people — people the universe seems to have singled out for special destinies. Special favors and special torments. God knows we’re all drawn toward what’s beautiful and broken; I have been, but some people cannot be fixed. Or if they can be, it’s only by love and sacrifice so great it destroys the giver.”
Isabelle shook her head slowly. “You’ve lost me. Jace is our brother, but for Alec — he’s Jace’s parabatai too —”
“I know about parabatai,” said Magnus, his voice rising in pitch. “I’ve known parabatai so close they were almost the same person; do you know what happens, when one of them dies, to the one that’s left—”
“Stop it!” Isabelle clapped her hands over her ears, then lowered them slowly. “How dare you, Magnus Bane,” she said.
“How dare you make this worse than it is —”
“Isabelle.” Magnus’ hands loosened; he looked a little wide-eyed, as if his outburst had startled even him. “I am sorry. I forget, sometimes . . . that with all your self-control and strength, you possess the same vulnerability that Alec does.”
“There is nothing weak about Alec,” said Isabelle.
“No,” said Magnus. “To love as you choose, that takes strength. The thing is, I wanted you here for him. There are things I can’t do for him, can’t give him . . .” For a moment Magnus looked oddly vulnerable. “You have known Jace as long as he has. You can give him understanding I can’t. And he loves you.”
“Of course he loves me. I’m his sister.”
“Blood isn’t love,” said Magnus, and his voice was bitter. “Just ask Clary.”
“Of course he loves me. I’m his sister.”
“Blood isn’t love,” said Magnus, and his voice was bitter.”
“Even the trip throught the Portal had not disarranged Magnus's hair spikes. He tugged on one proudly. "Check it out", he said to Isabelle.
"Hair gel. $3.99 at Ricky's.”
“I will have you know I practiced that speech. In front of a mirror before you got here."
"So what do you think it meant?"
"I'm not sure," Jace admitted, "but I know I look damn good delivering it.”
“What's wrong, little sis? You look upset."
She could barely catch her breath. "Cracked...my...nail polish slapping your... worthless face. See?" She showed him her finger - just one of them.
"Cute" He snorted.”
“Jace set what he was holding down on the windowsill and reached out to her. She came to lean against him, and his hand slid up under her t-shirt and rested caressingly, possessively, on the small of her back. He bent to kiss her, gently at first, but the gentleness went quickly and soon she was pressed up against the glass of the window, his hands at the hem of her shirt — his shirt —
“Jace.” She moved a little bit away. “I’m pretty sure people down there in the street can see us.”
“We could …” He gestured toward the bed. “Move…over there.”
She grinned. “You said that like it took you a while to come up with the idea.”
When he spoke, his voice was muffled against her neck. “What can I say, you make my thought processes slow down. Now I know what it’s like to be a normal person.”
“How … is it?” The things he was doing with his hands under the t-shirt were distracting.
“Terrible. I’m already way behind on my quota of witty comments for the day.”
“You may have the worst timing since Napoleon decided the dead of winter was the right moment to invade Russia.”
“He is a Shadowhunter,” said Jocelyn. “His loyalty will be to Clave and Covenant.”
“He’s my friend,” said Magnus coldly. “His loyalty is to me.”
“I hope you told him you were bitten by a gay spider.”
“And I don’t see how Sebastian can be all that fond of Jace, either. He was horribly jealous of him all his life. He thought Jace was Valentine’s favorite,” added Clary.
“Not to mention,” Magnus noted, “that Jace killed him. That would put anyone off.”
“Naturally, we lunatics are the kindest of the bunch.”
“That sounds like one of those clever things people say that mean precisely nothing!”
“What you ain't never understood is that I ain't got nothing, don't own nothing, ain't never really wanted nothing that wasn't for you. There ain't nothing as precious to me...There ain't nothing worth holding on to, money, dreams, nothing else--”
“Every new experience is unusual. The rest of life is just sleep and committee meetings.”
“[Perverse] unreason has its own logical processes”
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