City of Glass / Page 2

Page 2



“You didn’t have to do that!” Clary protested. “You’ve done so much….” She thought of the clothes he’d bought her after everything she owned had been destroyed. He’d given her a new phone, new art supplies, without ever having to be asked. Almost everything she owned now was a gift from Luke. And you don’t even approve of the fact that I’m going. That last thought hung unspoken between them.

“I know. But I saw it, and I thought of you.” He handed over the box.

The object inside was swathed in layers of tissue paper. Clary tore through it, her hand seizing on something soft as kitten’s fur. She gave a little gasp. It was a bottle-green velvet coat, old-fashioned, with a gold silk lining, brass buttons, and a wide hood. She drew it onto her lap, smoothing her hands lovingly down the soft material. “It looks like something Isabelle would wear,” she exclaimed. “Like a Shadowhunter traveling cloak.”

“Exactly. Now you’ll be dressed more like one of them,” Luke said. “When you’re in Idris.”

She looked up at him. “Do you want me to look like one of them?”

“Clary, you are one of them.” His smile was tinged with sadness. “Besides, you know how they treat outsiders. Anything you can do to fit in …”

Simon made an odd noise, and Clary looked guiltily at him—she’d almost forgotten he was there. He was looking studiously at his watch. “I should go.”

“But you just got here!” Clary protested. “I thought we could hang out, watch a movie or something—”

“You need to pack.” Simon smiled, bright as sunshine after rain. She could almost believe there was nothing bothering him. “I’ll come by later to say good-bye before you go.”

“Oh, come on,” Clary protested. “Stay—”

“I can’t.” His tone was final. “I’m meeting Maia.”

“Oh. Great,” Clary said. Maia, she told herself, was nice. She was smart. She was pretty. She was also a werewolf. A werewolf with a crush on Simon. But maybe that was as it should be. Maybe his new friend should be a Downworlder. After all, he was a Downworlder himself now. Technically, he shouldn’t even be spending time with Shadowhunters like Clary. “I guess you’d better go, then.”

“I guess I’d better.” Simon’s dark eyes were unreadable. This was new—she’d always been able to read Simon before. She wondered if it was a side effect of the vampirism, or something else entirely. “Good-bye,” he said, and bent as if to kiss her on the cheek, sweeping her hair back with one of his hands. Then he paused and drew back, his expression uncertain. She frowned in surprise, but he was already gone, brushing past Luke in the doorway. She heard the front door bang in the distance.

“He’s acting so weird,” she exclaimed, hugging the velvet coat against herself for reassurance. “Do you think it’s the whole vampire thing?”

“Probably not.” Luke looked faintly amused. “Becoming a Downworlder doesn’t change the way you feel about things. Or people. Give him time. You did break up with him.”

“I did not. He broke up with me.”

“Because you weren’t in love with him. That’s an iffy proposition, and I think he’s handling it with grace. A lot of teenage boys would sulk, or lurk around under your window with a boom box.”

“No one has a boom box anymore. That was the eighties.” Clary scrambled off the bed, pulling the coat on. She buttoned it up to the neck, luxuriating in the soft feel of the velvet. “I just want Simon to go back to normal.” She glanced at herself in the mirror and was pleasantly surprised—the green made her red hair stand out and brightened the color of her eyes. She turned to Luke. “What do you think?”

He was leaning in the doorway with his hands in his pockets; a shadow passed over his face as he looked at her. “Your mother had a coat just like that when she was your age,” was all he said.

Clary clutched the cuffs of the coat, digging her fingers into the soft pile. The mention of her mother, mixed with the sadness in his expression, was making her want to cry. “We’re going to see her later today, right?” she asked. “I want to say good-bye before I go, and tell her—tell her what I’m doing. That she’s going to be okay.”

Luke nodded. “We’ll visit the hospital later today. And, Clary?”

“What?” She almost didn’t want to look at him, but to her relief, when she did, the sadness was gone from his eyes.

He smiled. “Normal isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

Simon glanced down at the paper in his hand and then at the cathedral, his eyes slitted against the afternoon sun. The Institute rose up against the high blue sky, a slab of granite windowed with pointed arches and surrounded by a high stone wall. Gargoyle faces leered down from its cornices, as if daring him to approach the front door. It didn’t look anything like it had the first time he had ever seen it, disguised as a run-down ruin, but then glamours didn’t work on Downworlders.

You don’t belong here. The words were harsh, sharp as acid; Simon wasn’t sure if it was the gargoyle speaking or the voice in his own mind. This is a church, and you are damned.

“Shut up,” he muttered halfheartedly. “Besides, I don’t care about churches. I’m Jewish.”

There was a filigreed iron gate set into the stone wall. Simon put his hand to the latch, half-expecting his skin to sear with pain, but nothing happened. Apparently the gate itself wasn’t particularly holy. He pushed it open and was halfway up the cracked stonework path to the front door when he heard voices—several of them, and familiar—nearby.

Or maybe not that nearby. He had nearly forgotten how much his hearing, like his sight, had sharpened since he’d been Turned. It sounded as if the voices were just over his shoulder, but as he followed a narrow path around the side of the Institute, he saw that the people were standing quite a distance away, at the far end of the grounds. The grass grew wild here, half-covering the branching paths that led among what had probably once been neatly arranged rosebushes. There was even a stone bench, webbed with green weeds; this had been a real church once, before the Shadowhunters had taken it over.

He saw Magnus first, leaning against a mossy stone wall. It was hard to miss Magnus—he was wearing a splash-painted white T-shirt over rainbow leather trousers. He stood out like a hothouse orchid, surrounded by the black-clad Shadowhunters: Alec, looking pale and uncomfortable; Isabelle, her long black hair twisted into braids tied with silver ribbons, standing beside a little boy who had to be Max, the youngest. Nearby was their mother, looking like a taller, bonier version of her daughter, with the same long black hair. Beside her was a woman Simon didn’t know. At first Simon thought she was old, since her hair was nearly white, but then she turned to speak to Maryse and he saw that she probably wasn’t more than thirty-five or forty.

And then there was Jace, standing off at a little distance, as if he didn’t quite belong. He was all in Shadowhunter black like the others. When Simon wore all black, he looked like he was on his way to a funeral, but Jace just looked tough and dangerous. And blonder. Simon felt his shoulders tighten and wondered if anything—time, or forgetfulness—would ever dilute his resentment of Jace. He didn’t want to feel it, but there it was, a stone weighting down his unbeating heart.

Something seemed odd about the gathering—but then Jace turned toward him, as if sensing he was there, and Simon saw, even from this distance, the thin white scar on his throat, just above his collar. The resentment in his chest faded into something else. Jace dropped a small nod in his direction. “I’ll be right back,” he said to Maryse, in the sort of voice Simon would never have used with his own mother. He sounded like an adult talking to another adult.

Maryse indicated her permission with a distracted wave. “I don’t see why it’s taking so long,” she was saying to Magnus. “Is that normal?”

“What’s not normal is the discount I’m giving you.” Magnus tapped the heel of his boot against the wall. “Normally I charge twice this much.”

“It’s only a temporary Portal. It just has to get us to Idris. And then I expect you to close it back up again. That is our agreement.” She turned to the woman at her side. “And you’ll remain here to witness that he does it, Madeleine?”

Madeleine. So this was Jocelyn’s friend. There was no time to stare, though—Jace already had Simon by the arm and was dragging him around the side of the church, out of view of the others. It was even more weedy and overgrown back here, the path snaked with ropes of undergrowth. Jace pushed Simon behind a large oak tree and let go of him, darting his eyes around as if to make sure they hadn’t been followed. “It’s okay. We can talk here.”

It was quieter back here certainly, the rush of traffic from York Avenue muffled behind the bulk of the Institute.

“You’re the one who asked me here,” Simon pointed out. “I got your message stuck to my window when I woke up this morning. Don’t you ever use the phone like normal people?”

“Not if I can avoid it, vampire,” said Jace. He was studying Simon thoughtfully, as if he were reading the pages of a book. Mingled in his expression were two conflicting emotions: a faint amazement and what looked to Simon like disappointment. “So it’s still true. You can walk in the sunlight. Even midday sun doesn’t burn you.”

“Yes,” Simon said. “But you knew that—you were there.” He didn’t have to elaborate on what “there” meant; he could see in the other boy’s face that he remembered the river, the back of the truck, the sun rising over the water, Clary crying out. He remembered it just as well as Simon did.

“I thought perhaps it might have worn off,” Jace said, but he didn’t sound as if he meant it.

“If I feel the urge to burst into flames, I’ll let you know.” Simon never had much patience with Jace. “Look, did you ask me to come all the way uptown just so you could stare at me like I was something in a petri dish? Next time I’ll send you a photo.”

“And I’ll frame it and put it on my nightstand,” said Jace, but he didn’t sound as if his heart were in the sarcasm. “Look, I asked you here for a reason. Much as I hate to admit it, vampire, we have something in common.”

“Totally awesome hair?” Simon suggested, but his heart wasn’t really in it either. Something about the look on Jace’s face was making him increasingly uneasy.

“Clary,” Jace said.

Simon was caught off guard. “Clary?”

“Clary,” Jace said again. “You know: short, redheaded, bad temper.”

“I don’t see how Clary is something we have in common,” Simon said, although he did. Nevertheless, this wasn’t a conversation he particularly wanted to have with Jace now, or, in fact, ever. Wasn’t there some sort of manly code that precluded discussions like this—discussions about feelings?

Apparently not. “We both care about her,” Jace stated, giving him a measured look. “She’s important to both of us. Right?”

“You’re asking me if I care about her?” “Caring” seemed like a pretty insufficient word for it. He wondered if Jace was making fun of him—which seemed unusually cruel, even for Jace. Had Jace brought him over here just to mock him because it hadn’t worked out romantically between Clary and himself? Though Simon still had hope, at least a little, that things might change, that Jace and Clary would start to feel about each other the way they were supposed to, the way siblings were meant to feel about each other—

He met Jace’s gaze and felt that little hope shrivel. The look on the other boy’s face wasn’t the look brothers got when they talked about their sisters. On the other hand, it was obvious Jace hadn’t brought him over here to mock him for his feelings; the misery Simon knew must be plainly written across his own features was mirrored in Jace’s eyes.

“Don’t think I like asking you these questions,” Jace snapped. “I need to know what you’d do for Clary. Would you lie for her?”

“Lie about what? What’s going on, anyway?” Simon realized what it was that had bothered him about the tableau of Shadowhunters in the garden. “Wait a second,” he said. “You’re leaving for Idris right now? Clary thinks you’re going tonight.”

“I know,” Jace said. “And I need you to tell the others that Clary sent you here to say she isn’t coming. Tell them she doesn’t want to go to Idris anymore.” There was an edge to his voice—something Simon barely recognized, or perhaps it was simply so strange coming from Jace that he couldn’t process it. Jace was pleading with him. “They’ll believe you. They know how … how close you two are.”

Simon shook his head. “I can’t believe you. You act like you want me to do something for Clary, but actually you just want me to do something for you.” He started to turn away. “No deal.”

Jace caught his arm, spinning him back around. “This is for Clary. I’m trying to protect her. I thought you’d be at least a little interested in helping me do that.”

Simon looked pointedly at Jace’s hand where it clamped his upper arm. “How can I protect her if you don’t tell me what I’m protecting her from?”

Jace didn’t let go. “Can’t you just trust me that this is important?”

“You don’t understand how badly she wants to go to Idris,” Simon said. “If I’m going to keep that from happening, there had better be a damn good reason.”


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