City of Fallen Angels
Page 13

 Cassandra Clare

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"He just vanished." Jace snapped his fingers. "He saw what happened to his friend, and he was gone, like that. I don't know what they were, exactly. Not demons, but not exactly human, either."
"Yeah, I figured that part out, thanks."
Jace looked at him more closely. "That-what happened to the mugger-that was you, wasn't it? Your Mark, here." He pointed at his forehead. "I saw it burn white before that guy just ... dissolved."
Simon said nothing.
"I've seen a lot," Jace said. There was no sarcasm in his voice, for a change, or any mockery. "But I've never seen anything like that."
"I didn't do it," Simon said softly. "I didn't do anything."
"You didn't have to," said Jace. His golden eyes burned in his soot-streaked face. "'For it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.'"
Chapter 6
Jace's room was as neat as ever-bed made perfectly, the books that lined the shelves arranged in alphabetical order, notes and textbooks stacked carefully on the desk. Even his weapons were lined up along the wall in order of size, from a massive broadsword to a set of small daggers.
Clary, standing in the doorway, held back a sigh. The neatness was all very well. She was used to it. It was, she had always thought, Jace's way of exerting control over the elements of a life that otherwise might seem overwhelmed with chaos. He had lived so long not knowing who-or even what-he really was, she could hardly begrudge him the careful alphabetization of his poetry collection.
She could, however-and did-begrudge the fact that he wasn't there. If he hadn't gone back home after leaving the bridal shop, where had he gone? As she looked around the room, a feeling of unreality came over her. It wasn't possible that any of this was happening, was it? She knew how breakups went from hearing other girls complain about them. First the pulling away, the gradual refusal to return notes or phone calls. The vague messages saying nothing was wrong, that the other person just wanted a little space. Then the speech about how "It's not you, it's me." Then the crying part.
She'd never thought any of that would ever apply to her and Jace. What they had wasn't ordinary, or subject to the ordinary rules of relationships and breakups. They belonged to each other totally, and always would, and that was that.
But maybe everyone felt that way? Until the moment they realized they were just like everyone else, and everything they'd thought was real shattered apart.
Something that glittered silver across the room caught her eye. It was the box Amatis had given Jace, with its delicate design of birds around the sides. She knew he had been working his way through it, reading the letters slowly, going through the notes and photos. He hadn't said much about it to her, and she hadn't wanted to pry. His feelings about his biological father were something he was going to have to come to terms with on his own.
She found herself drawn to the box now, though. She remembered him sitting on the front steps of the Accords Hall in Idris, holding the box in his lap. As if I could stop loving you, he'd said. She touched the lid of the box, and her fingers found the clasp, which sprung open easily. Inside were scattered papers, old photographs. She drew one out, and stared at it, fascinated. There were two people in the photograph, a young woman and a young man. She recognized the woman immediately as Luke's sister, Amatis. She was gazing up at the young man with all the radiance of first love. He was handsome, tall and blond, though his eyes were blue, not gold, and his features less angular than Jace's ... and yet still, knowing who he was-Jace's father-was enough to make her stomach tighten.
She set the photo of Stephen Herondale down hastily, and nearly cut her finger on the blade of a slim hunting dagger that lay crosswise in the box. Birds were carved along the handle. The blade of it was stained with rust, or what looked like rust. It must not have been cleaned properly. She shut the box quickly, and turned away, guilt like a weight on her shoulders.
She had thought about leaving a note, but, deciding it would be better to wait until she could talk to Jace in person, she left and went down the hall to the elevator. She had knocked on Isabelle's door earlier, but it didn't look like she was home either. Even the witchlight torches in the hallways seemed to be burning at a lower level than usual. Feeling utterly depressed, Clary reached for the elevator call button-only to realize it was already lit. Someone was heading up from the ground floor to the Institute.
Jace, she thought immediately, her pulse jumping. But of course it might not be him, she told herself. It could be Izzy, or Maryse, or-
"Luke?" she said in surprise as the elevator door opened. "What are you doing here?'
"I might ask you the same thing." He stepped out of the elevator, pulling the gate shut behind him. He was wearing a fleece-lined zip-up flannel jacket that Jocelyn had been trying to get him to throw away since they'd first started dating. It was rather nice, Clary thought, that just about nothing seemed to change Luke, no matter what happened in his life. He liked what he liked, and that was that. Even if it was a ratty-looking old coat. "Except I think I can guess. So, is he here?"
"Jace? No." Clary shrugged, trying to look unconcerned. "It's fine. I'll see him tomorrow."
Luke hesitated. "Clary-"
"Lucian." The cool voice that came from behind them was Maryse's. "Thank you for coming on such short notice."
He turned to nod at her. "Maryse."
Maryse Lightwood stood in the doorway, her hand lightly on the frame. She was wearing gloves, pale gray gloves that matched her tailored gray suit. Clary wondered if Maryse ever wore jeans. She had never seen Isabelle and Alec's mother in anything but power suits or gear. "Clary," she said. "I didn't realize you were here."
Clary felt herself flush. Maryse didn't seem to mind her coming and going, but then, Maryse had never really acknowledged Clary's relationship with Jace at all. It was hard to blame her. Maryse was still coping with Max's death, which had been only six weeks ago, and she was doing it alone, with Robert Lightwood still in Idris. She had bigger things on her mind than Jace's love life.
"I was just leaving," Clary said.
"I'll give you a ride back home when I'm done here," Luke said, putting a hand on her shoulder. "Maryse, is it a problem if Clary remains while we talk? Because I'd prefer to have her stay."
Maryse shook her head. "No problem, I suppose." She sighed, raking her hands through her hair. "Believe me, I wish I didn't need to bother you at all. I know you're getting married in a week-congratulations, by the way. I don't know if I told you that before."
"You didn't," said Luke, "but it's appreciated. Thank you."
"Only six weeks." Maryse smiled faintly. "Quite a whirlwind courtship."
Luke's hand tightened on Clary's shoulder, the only sign of his annoyance. "I don't suppose you called me over here to congratulate me on my engagement, did you?"
Maryse shook her head. She looked very tired, Clary thought, and there were strands of gray in her upswept dark hair that hadn't been there before. "No. I assume you've heard about the bodies we've been finding for the past week or so?"
"The dead Shadowhunters, yes."
"We found another one tonight. Stuffed in a Dumpster near Columbus Park. Your pack's territory."
Luke's eyebrows went up. "Yes, but the others-"
"The first body was found in Greenpoint. Warlock territory. The second floating in a pond in Central Park. The domain of the fey. Now we have werewolf territory." She fixed her gaze on Luke. "What does that make you think?"
"That someone who isn't very pleased about the new Accords is trying to set Downworlder against Downworlder," Luke said. "I can assure you my pack didn't have anything to do with this. I don't know who's behind it, but it's a very clumsy attempt, if you ask me. I hope the Clave can see through it."
"There's more," Maryse said. "We've identified the first two bodies. It took some time, since the first was burned nearly beyond recognition and the second was badly decomposed. Can you guess who they might have been?"
"Anson Pangborn," she said, "and Charles Freeman. Neither of whom, I might note, had been heard from since Valentine's death-"
"But that's not possible," Clary interrupted. "Luke killed Pangborn, back in August-at Renwick's."
"He killed Emil Pangborn," said Maryse. "Anson was Emil's younger brother. They were both in the Circle together."
"As was Freeman," said Luke. "So someone is killing not just Shadowhunters but former Circle members? And leaving their bodies in Downworlder territory?" He shook his head. "It sounds like someone's trying to shake up some of the more ... recalcitrant members of the Clave. Get them to rethink the new Accords, perhaps. We should have expected this."
"I suppose," Maryse said. "I've met with the Seelie Queen already, and I have a message out to Magnus. Wherever he is." She rolled her eyes; Maryse and Robert seemed to have accepted Alec's relationship with Magnus with surprisingly good grace, but Clary could tell that Maryse, at least, didn't take it seriously. "I just thought, perhaps-" She sighed. "I've been so exhausted lately. I feel like I can hardly think straight. I hoped you might have some idea about who might be doing this, some idea that hadn't occurred to me."
Luke shook his head. "Someone with a grudge against the new system. But that could be anyone. I suppose there's no evidence on the bodies?"
Maryse sighed. "Nothing conclusive. If only the dead could talk, eh, Lucian?"
It was as if Maryse had lifted a hand and yanked a curtain across Clary's vision; everything went dark, except for a single symbol, hanging like a glowing sign against a blank night sky.
It seemed her power had not vanished, after all.
"What if...," she said slowly, raising her eyes to look at Maryse. "What if they could?"
Staring at himself in the bathroom mirror in Kyle's small apartment, Simon couldn't help but wonder where that whole business about vampires not being able to see themselves in mirrors had come from. He was able to see himself perfectly well in the dinged surface-tousled brown hair, wide brown eyes, white, unmarked skin. He had sponged off the blood from his cut lip, though his skin had already healed over.
He knew, objectively speaking, that becoming a vampire had made him more attractive. Isabelle had explained to him that his movements had become graceful and that, whereas before he had seemed disheveled, somehow now he looked attractively rumpled, as if he had just gotten out of bed. "Someone else's bed," she had noted, which, he'd told her, he had already figured out was what she meant, thank you.
When he looked at himself, though, he didn't see any of that. The poreless whiteness of his skin, as it always did, disturbed him, as did the dark, spidering veins that showed at his temples, evidence of the fact that he had not fed today. He looked alien and not like himself. Perhaps the whole business about not being able to see yourself in a mirror once you had become a vampire was wishful thinking. Maybe it was just that you no longer recognized the reflection looking back at you.
Cleaned up, he headed back into the living room, where Jace was sprawled out on the futon couch, reading Kyle's beaten-up copy of The Lord of the Rings. He dropped it onto the coffee table as Simon came in. His hair looked newly wet, as if he'd splashed water on his face from the kitchen sink.
"I can see why you like it here," he said, making a sweeping gesture that encompassed Kyle's collection of movie posters and science fiction books. "There's a thin layer of nerd all over everything."
"Thanks. I appreciate that." Simon gave Jace a hard look. Up close, under the bright light of the unshaded overhead bulb, Jace looked-ill. The shadows Simon had noticed under his eyes before were more pronounced than ever, and his skin seemed tight over the bones of his face. His hand shook a little as he pushed his hair away from his forehead in a characteristic gesture.
Simon shook his head as if to clear it. Since when did he know Jace well enough to be able to identify which gestures of his were characteristic? It wasn't as if they were friends. "You look lousy," he said.
Jace blinked. "Seems an odd time to start an insult contest, but if you insist, I could probably think up something good."
"No, I mean it. You don't look good."
"This from a guy who has all the sex appeal of a penguin. Look, I realize you may be jealous that the good Lord didn't deal you the same chiseled hand he dealt me, but that's no reason to-"
"I am not trying to insult you," Simon snapped. "I mean you look sick. When was the last time you ate anything?"
Jace looked thoughtful. "Yesterday?"
"You ate something yesterday. You're sure?"
Jace shrugged. "Well, I wouldn't swear on a stack of Bibles. I think it was yesterday, though."
Simon had investigated the contents of Kyle's fridge earlier when he'd been searching the place, and there hadn't been much to find. A withered-up old lime, some soda cans, a pound of ground beef, and, inexplicably, a single Pop-Tart in the freezer. He grabbed his keys off the kitchen counter. "Come on," he said. "There's a supermarket on the corner. Let's get you some food."
Jace looked as if he were in the mood to object, then shrugged. "Fine," he said, in the tone of someone who didn't much care where they went or what they did there. "Let's go."
Outside on the front steps Simon locked the door behind them with the keys he was still getting used to, while Jace examined the list of names next to the apartment doorbell buzzers. "That one's yours, huh?" he asked, pointing to 3A. "How come it just says 'Kyle'? Doesn't he have a last name?"
"Kyle wants to be a rock star," Simon said, heading down the stairs. "I think he's working the one-name thing. Like Rihanna."