He pulled her closer. He was shaking. She felt the heat of his strong body against hers as his hands slid down her back. "Maia," he whispered. He started to lift the hem of her sweater, his fingers gripping the small of her back. His lips moved against hers. "I love you. I never stopped loving you."
You're mine. You'll always be mine.
Her heart hammering, she jerked away from him, pulling her sweater down. "Jordan-stop."
He looked at her, his expression dazed and worried. "I'm sorry. Was that not any good? I haven't kissed anyone but you, not since..." He trailed off.
She shook her head. "No, it's just-I can't."
"All right," he said. He looked very vulnerable, sitting there, dismay written all over his face. "We don't have to do anything-"
She groped for words. "It's just too much."
"It was only a kiss."
"You said you loved me." Her voice shook. "You offered to give me your savings. I can't take that from you."
"Which?" he said, hurt sparking in his voice. "My money, or the love part?"
"Either. I just can't, okay? Not with you, not right now." She started to back away. He was staring after her, his lips parted. "Don't follow me, please," she said, and turned to hurry back the way they had come.
Chapter 5 : Valentine's Son
She was dreaming of icy landscapes again. Bitter tundra that stretched in all directions, ice floes drifting out on the black waters of the Arctic sea, snow-capped mountains, and cities carved out of ice whose towers sparkled like the demon towers of Alicante.
In front of the frozen city was a frozen lake. Clary was skidding down a steep slope, trying to reach the lake, though she was not sure why. Two dark figures stood out in the center of the frozen water. As she neared the lake, skidding on the surface of the slope, her hands burning from contact with the ice, and snow filling her shoes, she saw that one was a boy with black wings that spread out from his back like a crow's. His hair was as white as the ice all around them. Sebastian. And beside Sebastian was Jace, his gold hair the only color in the frozen landscape that was not black or white.
As Jace turned away from Sebastian and began to walk toward Clary, wings burst from his back, white-gold and shimmering. Clary slid the last few feet to the frozen surface of the lake and collapsed to her knees, exhausted. Her hands were blue and bleeding, her lips cracked, her lungs seared with each icy breath.
"Jace," she whispered.
And he was there, lifting her to her feet, his wings wrapping around her, and she was warm again, her body thawing from her heart down through her veins, bringing her hands and feet to life with half-painful, half-pleasurable tingles. "Clary," he said, stroking her hair tenderly. "Can you promise me that you won't scream?"
Clary's eyes opened. For a moment she was so disoriented that the world seemed to swing around her like the view from a moving carousel. She was in her bedroom at Luke's-the familiar futon beneath her, the wardrobe with its cracked mirror, the strip of windows that looked out onto the East River, the radiator spitting and hissing. Dim light spilled through the windows, and a faint red glow came from the smoke alarm over the closet. Clary was lying on her side, under a heap of blankets, and her back was deliciously warm. An arm was draped along her side. For a moment, in the half-conscious dizzy space between waking and sleeping, she wondered if Simon had crawled in the window while she slept and lain down beside her, the way they used to sleep in the same bed together when they were children.
But Simon had no body heat.
Her heart skittered in her chest. Now entirely awake, she twisted around under the covers. Beside her was Jace, lying on his side, looking down at her, his head propped on his hand. Dim moonlight made a halo out of his hair, and his eyes glittered gold like a cat's. He was fully dressed, still wearing the short-sleeved white T-shirt she had seen him in earlier that day, and his bare arms were twined with runes like climbing vines.
She sucked in a startled breath. Jace, her Jace, had never looked at her like that. He had looked at her with desire, but not with this lazy, predatory, consuming look that made her heart pulse unevenly in her chest.
She opened her mouth-to say his name or to scream, she wasn't sure, and she never got the chance to find out; Jace moved so fast she didn't even see it. One moment he was lying beside her, and the next he was on top of her, one hand clamped down over her mouth. His legs straddled her hips; she could feel his lean, muscled body pressed against hers.
"I'm not going to hurt you," he said. "I'd never hurt you. But I don't want you screaming. I need to talk to you."
She glared at him.
To her surprise he laughed. His familiar laugh, hushed to a whisper. "I can read your expressions, Clary Fray. The minute I take my hand off your mouth, you're going to yell. Or use your training and break my wrists. Come on, promise me you won't. Swear on the Angel."
This time she rolled her eyes.
"Okay, you're right," he said. "You can't exactly swear with my hand over your mouth. I'm going to take it off. And if you yell-" He tilted his head to the side; pale gold hair fell across his eyes. "I'll disappear."
He took his hand away. She lay still, breathing hard, the pressure of his body on hers. She knew he was faster than her, that there was no move she could make that he wouldn't outpace, but for the moment he seemed to be treating their interaction as a game, something playful. He bent closer to her, and she realized her tank top had pulled up, and she could feel the muscles of his flat, hard stomach against her bare skin. Her face flushed.
Despite the heat in her face, it felt as if cold needles of ice were running up and down her veins. "What are you doing here?"
He drew back slightly, looking disappointed. "That isn't really an answer to my question, you know. I was expecting more of a 'Hallelujah Chorus.' I mean, it's not every day your boyfriend comes back from the dead."
"I already knew you weren't dead." She spoke through numb lips. "I saw you in the library. With-"
He let his breath out in a low chuckle. "I knew you were there too. I could feel it."
She felt her body tighten. "You let me think you were gone," she said. "Before that. I thought you-I really thought there was a chance you were-" She broke off; she couldn't say it. Dead. "It's unforgivable. If I'd done that to you-"
"Clary." He leaned down over her again; his hands were warm on her wrists, his breath soft in her ear. She could feel everywhere that their bare skin touched. It was horribly distracting. "I had to do it. It was too dangerous. If I'd told you, you would have had to choose between telling the Council I was still alive-and letting them hunt me-and keeping a secret that would make you an accomplice in their eyes. Then, when you saw me in the library, I had to wait. I needed to know if you still loved me, if you would go to the Council or not about what you'd seen. You didn't. I had to know you cared more about me than the Law. You do, don't you?"
"I don't know," she whispered. "I don't know. Who are you?"
"I'm still Jace," he said. "I still love you."
Hot tears welled up in her eyes. She blinked, and they spilled down her face. Gently he ducked his head and kissed her cheeks, and then her mouth. She tasted her own tears, salty on his lips, and he opened her mouth with his, carefully, gently. The familiar taste and feel of him washed over her, and she leaned into him for a split second, her doubts subsumed in her body's blind, unreasoning recognition of the need to keep him close, to keep him there-just as the door of her bedroom opened.
Jace let go of her. Clary instantly jerked away from him, scrambling to pull down her tank top. Jace stretched himself into a sitting position with unhurried, lazy grace, and grinned up at the person standing in the doorway. "Well, well," Jace said. "You may have the worst timing since Napoleon decided the dead of winter was the right moment to invade Russia."
It was Sebastian.
Close up, Clary could more clearly see the differences in him since she had known him in Idris. His hair was paper white, his eyes black tunnels fringed by lashes as long as spider's legs. He wore a white shirt, the sleeves pulled up, and she could see a red scar ringing his right wrist, like a ridged bracelet. There was a scar across the palm of his hand, too, looking new and harsh.
"That's my sister you're defiling there, you know," he said, moving his black gaze to Jace. There was amusement in his expression.
"Sorry." Jace didn't sound sorry. He was leaning back against the blankets, catlike. "We got carried away."
Clary sucked in a breath. It sounded harsh in her own ears. "Get out," she said, to Sebastian.
He leaned against the door frame, elbow and hip, and she was struck by the similarity in movement between him and Jace. They didn't look alike, but they moved alike. As if-
As if they'd been trained to move by the same person.
"Now," he said, "is that any way to talk to your big brother?"
"Magnus should have left you a coatrack," Clary spat.
"Oh, you remember that, do you? I thought we had a pretty good time that day." He smirked a little, and Clary, with a sick drop in her stomach, remembered how he had taken her to the burned remains of her mother's house, how he had kissed her among the rubble, knowing all along who they really were to each other and delighting in the fact that she didn't.
She glanced sideways at Jace. He knew perfectly well that Sebastian had kissed her. Sebastian had taunted him with it, and Jace had nearly killed him. But he didn't look angry now; he looked amused, and mildly annoyed to have been interrupted.
"We should do it again," Sebastian said, examining his nails. "Have some family time."
"I don't care what you think. You're not my brother," Clary said. "You're a murderer."
"I really don't see how those things cancel each other out," said Sebastian. "It's not like they did in the case of dear old Dad." His gaze drifted lazily back to Jace. "Normally I'd hate to get in the way of a friend's love life, but I really don't care for standing out here in this hallway indefinitely. Especially since I can't turn on any lights. It's boring."
Jace sat up, tugging his shirt down. "Give us five minutes."
Sebastian sighed an exaggerated sigh and swung the door shut. Clary stared at Jace. "What the f-"
"Language, Fray." Jace's eyes danced. "Relax."
Clary jabbed her hand toward the door. "You heard what he said. About that day he kissed me. He knew I was his sister. Jace-"
Something flashed in his eyes, darkening their gold, but when he spoke again, it was as if her words had hit a Teflon surface and bounced off, making no impression.
She drew back from him. "Jace, aren't you listening to anything I'm saying?"
"Look, I understand if you're uncomfortable with your brother waiting outside in the hallway. I wasn't planning on kissing you." He grinned in a way that at another time she would have found adorable. "It just seemed like a good idea at the time."
Clary scrambled out of the bed, staring down at him. She reached for the robe that hung on the post of her bed and wrapped it around herself. Jace watched, making no move to stop her, though his eyes shone in the dark. "I-I don't even understand. First you disappear, and now you come back with him, acting like I'm not even supposed to notice or care or remember-"
"I told you," he said. "I had to be sure of you. I didn't want to put you in the position of knowing where I was while the Clave was still investigating you. I thought it would be hard for you-"
"Hard for me?" She was almost breathless with rage. "Tests are hard. Obstacle courses are hard. You disappearing like that practically killed me, Jace. And what do you think you've done to Alec? Isabelle? Maryse? Do you know what it's been like? Can you imagine? Not knowing, the searching-"
That odd look passed over his face again, as if he were hearing her but not hearing her at the same time. "Oh, yes, I was going to ask." He smiled like an angel. "Is everyone looking for me?"
"Is everyone-" She shook her head, pulling the robe closer. Suddenly she wanted to be covered up in front of him, in front of all that familiarity and beauty and that lovely predatory smile that said he was willing to do whatever with her, to her, no matter who was waiting in the hall.
"I was hoping they'd put up flyers like they do for lost cats," he said. "Missing, one stunningly attractive teenage boy. Answers to 'Jace,' or 'Hot Stuff.'"
"You did not just say that."
"You don't like 'Hot Stuff'? You think 'Sweet Cheeks' might be better? 'Love Crumpet'? Really, that last one's stretching it a bit. Though, technically, my family is British-"
"Shut up," she said savagely. "And get out."
"I..." He looked taken aback, and she remembered how surprised he'd been outside the Manor, when she'd pushed him away. "All right, fine. I'll be serious. Clarissa, I'm here because I want you to come with me."
"Come where with you?"
"Come with me," he said, and then hesitated, "and Sebastian. And I'll explain everything."
For a moment she was frozen, her eyes locked on his. Silvery moonlight outlined the curves of his mouth, the shape of his cheekbones, the shadow of his lashes, the arch of his throat. "The last time I 'came with you somewhere,' I wound up knocked unconscious and dragged into the middle of a black magic ceremony."
"That wasn't me. That was Lilith."
"The Jace Lightwood I know wouldn't be in the same room with Jonathan Morgenstern without killing him."
"I think you'll find that would be self-defeating," Jace said lightly, shoving his feet into his boots. "We are bound, he and I. Cut him and I bleed."
"Bound? What do you mean, bound?"