City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments 6) - Page 31

9

THE ARMS YOU BEAR




Clary woke to the fading afterimage of a rune against her closed eyelids—a rune like wings connected by a single bar. Her whole body hurt, and for a moment she lay still, afraid of the pain that moving would bring. Memories crept back slowly—the icy lava plain in front of the Citadel, Amatis laughing and daring Clary to hurt her, Jace cutting his way through a field of the Endarkened; Jace on the ground bleeding fire, Brother Zachariah lurching back from the blaze.


Her eyes flew open. She had half-expected to wake up somewhere entirely foreign, but instead she was lying in the small wooden bed in Amatis’s spare room. Pale sunshine poured through the lace curtains, making patterns on the ceiling.


She began to struggle to sit up. Near her someone had been singing softly—her mother. Jocelyn broke off immediately and leaped up to lean over her. She looked as if she had been up all night: She was wearing an old shirt and jeans, and her hair was scraped back into a bun with a pencil stuck through it. A wash of familiarity and relief went through Clary, quickly followed by panic.


“Mom,” she said as Jocelyn leaned over her, pressing the back of her hand to Clary’s forehead as if checking for fever. “Jace—”


“Jace is fine,” Jocelyn said, taking her hand away. At Clary’s suspicious look Jocelyn shook her head. “He really is. He’s in the Basilias now, along with Brother Zachariah. He’s recovering.”


Clary looked at her mother, hard.


“Clary, I know I’ve given you reason not to trust me in the past, but please believe me, Jace is perfectly all right. I know you’d never forgive me if I didn’t tell you the truth about him.”


“When can I see him?”


“Tomorrow.” Jocelyn sat back on the chair beside the bed, revealing Luke, who had been leaning against the wall of the bedroom. He smiled at Clary—a sad, loving, protective smile.


“Luke!” she said, relieved to see him. “Tell Mom I’m fine. I can go to the Basilias—”


Luke shook his head. “Sorry, Clary. No visitors for Jace right now. Besides, today you have to rest. We heard what you did with that iratze, at the Citadel.”


“Or at least, what people saw you do. I’m not sure I’ll ever understand it exactly.” The lines at the corners of Jocelyn’s mouth deepened. “You nearly killed yourself healing Jace, Clary. You’re going to have to be careful. You don’t have endless reserves of energy—”


“He was dying,” Clary interrupted. “He was bleeding fire. I had to save him.”


“You shouldn’t have had to!” Jocelyn tossed a stray lock of red hair out of her eyes. “What were you doing at that battle?”


“They weren’t sending enough people through,” Clary said in a subdued tone. “And everyone was talking about how when they got there, they were going to rescue the Endarkened, they were going to bring them back, find a cure—but I was at the Burren. You were too, Mom. You know there’s no rescuing the Nephilim that Sebastian’s taken with the Infernal Cup.”


“Did you see my sister?” Luke said, his voice gentle.


Clary swallowed, and nodded. “I’m sorry. She’s—she’s Sebastian’s lieutenant. She’s not herself anymore, not even a little bit.”


“Did she hurt you?” Luke demanded. His voice was still calm, but a muscle jumped in his cheek.


Clary shook her head; she couldn’t bring herself to speak, to lie, but she couldn’t tell Luke the truth, either.


“It’s all right,” he said, misunderstanding her distress. “The Amatis that is serving Sebastian is no more my sister than the Jace who served Sebastian was the boy you loved. No more my sister than Sebastian is the son your mother ought to have had.”


Jocelyn put out her hand, took Luke’s, and kissed the back of it lightly. Clary averted her eyes. Her mother turned back to her a moment later. “God, the Clave—if only they would listen.” She blew out a frustrated breath. “Clary, we understand why you did what you did last night, but we thought you were safe. Then Helen showed up on our doorstep and told us you’d been injured in the Citadel battle. I nearly had a heart attack when we found you in the square. Your lips and fingers were blue. Like you’d drowned. If it hadn’t been for Magnus—”


“Magnus healed me? What’s he doing here, in Alicante?”


“This isn’t about Magnus,” said Jocelyn with asperity. “This is about you. Jia’s been beside herself, thinking she let you go through the Portal and you could have been killed. It was a call for experienced Shadowhunters, not children—”


“It was Sebastian,” Clary said. “They didn’t understand.”


“Sebastian’s not your responsibility. Speaking of which—” Jocelyn reached under the bed; when she straightened, she was holding Heosphoros. “Is this yours? It was in your weapons belt when they brought you home.”


“Yes!” Clary clapped her hands together. “I thought I’d lost it.”


“It’s a Morgenstern sword, Clary,” her mother said, holding it as if it were a piece of moldy lettuce. “One I sold years ago. Where did you get it?”


“The weapons shop where you sold it. The lady who owns the store now said no one else would buy it.” Clary snatched Heosphoros out of her mother’s hand. “Look, I am a Morgenstern. We can’t pretend I don’t have any of Valentine’s blood in me. I need to figure out a way to be partly a Morgenstern and to have that be all right, not to pretend I’m someone else—someone with a made-up name that doesn’t mean anything.”


Jocelyn recoiled slightly. “Do you mean ‘Fray’?”


“It’s not exactly a Shadowhunter name, is it?”


“No,” her mother said, “not exactly, but it doesn’t mean nothing.”


“I thought you picked it randomly.”


Jocelyn shook her head. “You know the ceremony that must be performed on Nephilim children when they’re born? The one that confers the protection that Jace lost when he came back from the dead, the one that allowed Lilith to get to him? Usually the ceremony is performed by an Iron Sister and a Silent Brother, but in your case, because we were hiding, I couldn’t officially do that. It was done by Brother Zachariah, and a female warlock stood in as the Iron Sister. I named you—after her.”


“Fray? Her last name was ‘Fray’?”


“The name was an impulse,” said Jocelyn, not quite answering the question. “I—liked her. She had known loss and pain and grief, but she was strong, like I want you to be strong. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. For you to be strong and safe and not have to suffer what I suffered—the terror and the pain and the danger.”


“Brother Zachariah—” Clary suddenly bolted upright. “He was there last night. He tried to heal Jace, but the heavenly fire burned him. Is he all right? He isn’t dead, is he?”


“I don’t know.” Jocelyn looked a little bewildered at Clary’s vehemence. “I know he was taken to the Basilias. The Silent Brothers have been very secretive about everyone’s condition; they certainly wouldn’t speak about one of their own.”


“He said the Brothers owed the Herondales because of old ties,” said Clary. “If he dies, it will be—”


“No one’s fault,” Jocelyn said. “I remember when he put the protection spell on you. I told him I never wanted you to have anything to do with Shadowhunters. He said it might not be my choice. He said that the pull of the Shadowhunters is like a riptide—and he was right. I thought we had fought free, but here we are, back in Alicante, back in a war, and there sits my daughter with blood on her face and a Morgenstern blade in her hands.”


There was an undertone to her voice, shadowed and tense, that made Clary’s nerves spark. “Mom,” she said. “Did something else happen? Is there something you’re not telling me?”


Jocelyn exchanged a look with Luke. He spoke first: “You already know that yesterday morning, before the battle at the Citadel, Sebastian tried to attack the London Institute.”


“But no one was hurt. Robert said—”


“So Sebastian turned his attention elsewhere,” Luke went on firmly. “He left London with his forces and attacked the Praetor Lupus on Long Island. Almost all the Praetorians, including their leader, were slaughtered. Jordan Kyle—” His voice cracked. “Jordan was killed.”


Clary wasn’t aware that she had moved, but suddenly she was no longer under the covers. She had swung her legs over the side of the bed and was reaching for the scabbard of Heosphoros on the nightstand. “Clary,” her mother said, reaching to place her long fingers on Clary’s wrist, restraining her. “Clary, it’s over. There’s nothing you can do.”


Clary could taste tears, hot and salty, burning the back of her throat, and under the tears the rougher, darker taste of panic. “What about Maia?” she demanded. “If Jordan’s hurt, is Maia all right? And Simon? Jordan was his guard! Is Simon all right?”


“I’m fine. Don’t worry, I’m fine,” said Simon’s voice. The bedroom door opened, and to Clary’s utter astonishment Simon came in, looking surprisingly shy. She dropped Heosphoros’s scabbard onto the coverlet and launched herself to her feet, barreling into Simon so hard that she banged her head into his collarbone. She didn’t notice if it hurt or not. She was too busy holding on to Simon as if they’d both just fallen out of a helicopter and were hurtling downward. She was grabbing fistfuls of his creased green sweater, mashing her face awkwardly into his shoulder as she fought not to cry.


He held her, soothing her with awkward boy-pats to her back and shoulders. When she finally let him go and stepped back, she saw that the sweater and jeans he was wearing were both a size too big for him. A metal chain hung around his throat.


“What are you doing here?” she demanded. “Whose clothes are you wearing?”


“It’s a long story, and Alec’s, mostly,” Simon said. His words were casual, but he looked strained and tense. “You should have seen what I had on before. Nice pajamas, by the way.”


Clary looked down at herself. She was wearing a pair of flannel pajamas, too short in the leg and tight in the chest, with fire trucks on them.


Luke raised an eyebrow. “I think those were mine when I was a kid.”


“You can’t seriously tell me there wasn’t anything else you could have put me in.”


“If you insist on trying to get yourself killed, I insist on being the one who chooses what you wear while you recover,” Jocelyn said with a tiny smirk.


“The pajamas of vengeance,” Clary muttered. She grabbed up jeans and a shirt from the floor and looked at Simon. “I’m going to change. And by the time I get back, you better be ready to tell me something about how you’re here besides ‘long story.’?”


Tags: Cassandra Clare The Mortal Instruments Young Adult
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