Clary dropped her hand. "Sebastian never changed. Your blood never changed him. He's exactly like he always was." Her eyes flicked up to Jace's. "But you. You lied to me, too."
"He lied to you."
Her mind was whirling. "I know. I know that Jace isn't you-"
"He thinks it's for your good and you'll be happier in the end, but he did lie to you. And I would never do that."
"The aegis," Clary said. "If it can hurt you but Sebastian can't feel it, could it kill him but not hurt you?"
Jace shook his head. "I don't think so. If I had an aegis, I might be willing to try, but-no. Our life forces are tied together. An injury is one thing. If he were to die..." His voice hardened. "You know the easiest way to end this. Put a dagger in my heart. I'm surprised you didn't do it while I was sleeping."
"Could you? If it were me?" Her voice shook. "I believed there was a way to make this right. I still believe it. Give me your stele, and I'll make a Portal."
"You can't make a Portal from inside here," said Jace. "It won't work. The only way in and out of this apartment is through the wall downstairs, by the kitchen. It's the only place you can move the apartment from, too."
"Can you move us to the Silent City? If we go back, the Silent Brothers can figure out a way to separate you from Sebastian. We'll tell the Clave his plan so they'll be prepared-"
"I could move us to one of the entrances," Jace said. "And I will. I'll go. We'll go together. But just so there won't be any untruth between us, Clary, you have to know that they'll kill me. After I tell them what I know, they'll kill me."
"Kill you? No, they wouldn't-"
"Clary." His voice was gentle. "As a good Shadowhunter I ought to volunteer to die to stop what Sebastian is going to do. As a good Shadowhunter, I would."
"But none of this is your fault." Her voice rose, and she forced it back down, not wanting Sebastian, downstairs, to hear. "You can't help what's been done to you. You're a victim in this. It's not you, Jace; it's someone else, someone wearing your face. You shouldn't be punished-"
"It's not a matter of punishment. It's practicality. Kill me, Sebastian dies. It's no different from sacrificing myself in battle. It's all well and good to say I didn't choose this. It has happened. And what I am now, myself, will be gone again soon enough. And, Clary, I know it doesn't make sense, but I remember it-I remember all of it. I remember walking with you in Venice, and that night at the club, and sleeping in this bed with you, and don't you get it? I wanted this. This is all I ever wanted, to live with you like this, be with you like this. What am I supposed to think, when the worst thing that has ever happened to me gives me exactly what I want? Maybe Jace Lightwood can see all the ways this is wrong and messed-up, but Jace Wayland, Valentine's son... loves this life." His eyes were wide and gold as he looked at her, and she was reminded of Raziel, of his gaze that seemed to hold all the wisdom and all the sadness in the world. "And that's why I have to go," he said. "Before this wears off. Before I'm him again."
"To the Silent City. I have to turn myself in-and the Cup, too."
Chapter 18: Raziel
All Is Changed
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
-William Butler Yeats, "Easter, 1916"
Simon sat on the back porch steps of the farmhouse, looking down the path that led through the apple orchard and down to the lake. Isabelle and Magnus were on the path, Magnus glancing toward the lake and then up at the low mountains ringing the area. He was making notes in a small book with a pen whose end glowed a sparkling blue-green. Alec stood a little distance away, looking up at the trees lining the ridge of hills that separated the farmhouse from the road. He seemed to be standing as far from Magnus as he could while remaining in earshot. It seemed to Simon-the first to admit that he was not that observant about these things-that despite the joking around in the car, a perceptible distance had come between Magnus and Alec recently, one he couldn't quite put a finger on, but he knew it was there.
Simon's right hand was cradled in his left, his fingers circling the gold ring on his finger.
He'd been trying to reach her every hour since he'd gotten the message from Maia about Luke. He'd gotten nothing. Not a flicker of response.
Clary, I'm at the farmhouse. I'm remembering you here, with me.
It was an unseasonably warm day, and a faint wind rustled the last of the leaves in the tree branches. After spending too long wondering what sort of clothes you were supposed to wear to meet angels in-a suit seemed excessive, even if he did have one left over from Jocelyn and Luke's engagement party-he was in jeans and a T-shirt, his arms bare in the sunlight. He had so many happy sunlit memories attached to this place, this house. He and Clary had come up here with Jocelyn almost every summer for as long as he could remember. They would swim in the lake. Simon would tan brown, and Clary's fair skin would burn over and over. She'd get a million more freckles on her shoulders and arms. They'd play "apple baseball" in the orchard, which was messy and fun, and Scrabble and poker in the farmhouse, which Luke always won.
Clary, I'm about to do something stupid and dangerous and maybe suicidal. Is it so bad I want to talk to you one last time? I'm doing this to keep you safe, and I don't even know if you're alive for me to help you. But if you were dead, I'd know, wouldn't I? I'd feel it.
"All right. Let's go," Magnus said, appearing at the foot of the steps. He eyed the ring on Simon's hand, but made no comment.
Simon stood up and brushed off his jeans, then led the way down the wandering path through the orchard. The lake sparkled up ahead like a cold blue coin. As they neared it, Simon could see the old dock sticking out into the water, where once they had tied up kayaks before a big piece of the dock had broken off and drifted away. He thought he could almost hear the lazy hum of bees and feel the weight of summer on his shoulders. As they reached the lake's edge, he twisted around and looked up at the farmhouse, white-painted clapboard with green shutters and an old covered sunporch with tired white wicker furniture on it.
"You really liked it here, huh?" Isabelle said. Her black hair snapped like a banner in the breeze off the lake.
"How can you tell?"
"Your expression," she said. "Like you're remembering something good."
"It was good," Simon said. He reached up to push his glasses up his nose, remembered he no longer wore them, and lowered his hand. "I was lucky."
She looked down at the lake. She was wearing small gold hoop earrings; one was tangled in a bit of her hair, and Simon wanted to reach over and free it, to touch the side of her face with his fingers. "And now you're not?"
He shrugged. He was watching Magnus, who was holding what looked like a long, flexible rod and drawing in the wet sand at the lake's edge. He had the spell book open and was chanting as he drew. Alec was watching him, with the expression of someone watching a stranger.
"Are you scared?" Isabelle asked, moving slightly closer to Simon. He could feel the warmth of her arm against his.
"I don't know. So much of being scared is the physical feeling of it. Your heart speeding up, sweating, your pulse racing. I don't get any of that."
"That's too bad," Isabelle murmured, looking at the water. "Guys getting all sweaty is hot."
He shot her a half smile; it was harder than he thought it would be. Maybe he was scared. "That's enough of your sass and back talk, missy."
Isabelle's lip quivered as if she were about to smile. Then she sighed. "You know what it never even crossed my mind I wanted?" she said. "A guy who could make me laugh."
Simon turned toward her, reaching for her hand, not caring for the moment that her brother was watching. "Izzy..."
"All right," Magnus called out. "I'm done. Simon, over here."
They turned. Magnus was standing inside the circle, which was glowing with a faint white light. It was really two circles, a slightly smaller one inside a larger one, and in the space between the circles, dozens of symbols had been scrawled. They, too, glowed, a steely blue-white like the reflection off the lake.
Simon heard Isabelle's soft intake of breath, and he stepped away before he could look at her. It would just make it all harder. He moved forward, over the border of the circle, into its center, beside Magnus. Looking out from the center of the circle was like looking through water. The rest of the world seemed wavering and indistinct.
"Here." Magnus shoved the book into his hands. The paper was thin, covered in scrawled runes, but Magnus had taped a printout of the words, spelled out phonetically, over the incantation itself. "Just sound these out," he muttered. "It should work."
Holding the book against his chest, Simon slipped off the gold ring that connected him to Clary, and handed it to Magnus. "If it doesn't," he said, wondering where his strange calm was coming from, "someone should take this. It's our only link to Clary, and what she knows."
Magnus nodded and slid the ring onto his finger. "Ready, Simon?"
"Hey," said Simon. "You remembered my name."
Magnus shot him an unreadable glance from his green-gold eyes, and stepped outside the circle. Immediately he was blurry and indistinct too. Alec joined him on one side, Isabelle on the other; Isabelle was hugging her elbows, and even through the wavering air Simon could tell how unhappy she looked.
Simon cleared his throat. "I guess you guys had better go."
But they didn't move. They seemed to be waiting for him to say something else.
"Thanks for coming here with me," he said finally, having racked his brain for something meaningful to say; they seemed to be expecting it. He wasn't the sort who made big farewell speeches or bid people dramatic good-byes. He looked at Alec first. "Um, Alec. I always liked you better than I liked Jace." He turned to Magnus. "Magnus, I wish I had the nerve to wear the kind of pants you do."
And last, Izzy. He could see her watching him through the haze, her eyes as black as obsidian.
"Isabelle," Simon said. He looked at her. He saw the question in her eyes, but there seemed nothing he could say in front of Alec and Magnus, nothing that would encompass what he felt. He moved back, toward the center of the circle, bowing his head. "Good-bye, I guess."
He thought they spoke back to him, but the wavering haze between them blurred their words. He watched as they turned, retreating up the path through the orchard, back toward the house, until they had become dark specks. Until he could no longer see them at all.
He couldn't quite fathom not talking to Clary one last time before he died-he couldn't even remember the last words they'd exchanged. And yet if he closed his eyes, he could hear her laughter drifting over the orchard; he could remember what it had been like, before they had grown up and everything had changed. If he died here, perhaps it would be appropriate. Some of his best memories were here, after all. If the Angel struck him down with fire, his ashes could sift through the apple orchard and over the lake. Something about the idea seemed peaceful.
He thought of Isabelle. Then of his family-his mother, his father, and Becky. Clary, he thought lastly. Wherever you are, you're my best friend. You'll always be my best friend.
He raised the spell book and began to chant.
"No!" Clary stood up, dropping the wet towel. "Jace, you can't. They'll kill you."
He reached for a fresh shirt and shrugged it on, not looking at her as he did up the buttons. "They'll try to separate me from Sebastian first," he said, though he didn't sound as if he quite believed it. "If that doesn't work, then they'll kill me."
"Not good enough." She reached for him, but he turned away from her, jamming his feet into boots. When he turned back, his expression was grim.
"I don't have a choice, Clary. This is the right thing to do."
"It's insane. You're safe here. You can't throw away your life-"
"Saving myself is treason. It's putting a weapon into the hands of the enemy."
"Who cares about treason? Or the Law?" she demanded. "I care about you. We'll figure this out together-"
"We can't figure this out." Jace pocketed the stele on the nightstand, then caught up the Mortal Cup. "Because I'm only going to be me for a little while longer. I love you, Clary." He tilted her face up and kissed her, lingeringly. "Do this for me," he whispered.
"I absolutely will not," she said. "I will not try to help you get yourself killed."
But he was already striding toward the door. He drew her with him, and they stumbled down the corridor, speaking in whispers.
"This is crazy," Clary hissed. "Putting yourself in the path of danger-"
He blew out an exasperated breath. "As if you don't."
"Right, and it makes you furious," she whispered as she raced after him down the staircase. "Remember what you said to me in Alicante-"
They had reached the kitchen. He put the Cup down on the counter, reaching for his stele. "I had no right to say that," he told her. "Clary, this is what we are. We're Shadowhunters. This is what we do. There are risks we take that aren't just the risks you find in battle."
Clary shook her head, clutching both his wrists. "I won't let you."
A look of pain crossed his face. "Clarissa-"
She drew a deep breath, barely able to believe what she was about to do. But in her mind was the image of the morgue in the Silent City, of Shadowhunter bodies stretched out on marble slabs, and she could not bear for Jace to be one of them. Everything she had done-coming here, enduring everything she had endured, had been to save his life, and not just for herself. She thought of Alec and Isabelle, who had helped her, and Maryse, who loved him, and almost without knowing she was about to do it, she raised her voice and called out: