THE STAND

14

Seraphina gasped. "Love," she whispered placing her fingers on her lips as if that one word had never left her mouth. Love was something that she was taught would destroy her but she had never cared about herself so she chose to love with everything she had in her. That changed the night her mother and Luke left her and never returned. That night taught Seraphina that love would not only destroy her but anyone that dared to love her. "Max?"

Seraphina looked up to see Max holding the drawing of the two of them in his hands. He looked sad. Hurt. "Yes."

She swallowed. "Do-do you lo-ve me?"

Seraphina silently prayed to whatever God was listening that Max would say no. That the boy would laugh at her and tell her of course not but something deep down inside of her told her that was not the case.

Max's eyes were wide and bright as he stared up at her behind his glasses. He was so innocent, so pure. "Yes. I love you, Clary."

Max stepped toward Seraphina his arms wide open waiting to embrace her. Here was this young boy willing and wanting to love her. Love her. He didn't care about her past or presence. He just loved her. No. No. No. Seraphina held her hands out protectively in front of her preventing Max from touching her. "Stop. Stop. Don't come any closer."

Max's face scrunched up in confusion but he didn't drop his hands. "Why?"

Seraphina felt the room closing in on her. Her heart was racing, hands were sweating. "Because Max. I destroy everything I touch. I will destroy you. Can't you see that?" Seraphina could feel a wetness sliding down her face. She lifted her hand to touch her face pulling it away she noticed the wetness covering her hand. Tears? Was she crying? No. Seraphina Morgenstern would not cry not over this. Not over love. Never over love.

"Clary. You're not going to destroy me. You can't. You love me." Max spoke with conviction it was as if he believed in each and every word that left his mouth.

Seraphina shook her head violently. "I don't. N-o. I can't. I don't love. I don't love anyone. I don't love you."

"You're lying. You might be telling yourself you don't love me but you do. I know you do." Max's voice held so much confidence, his voice didn't waiver, not once.

Seraphina gritted her teeth. "Shut up. Sh-ut up." She ran her hands through her messy hair pulling at her curls roughly. She had to get away from this kid before he ruined everything she had worked so hard for. "Do you want to know why I came to see you? Do you really want to know?"

Max finally dropped his hands down to his sides. "Yeah. I guess."

"I came to kill you Max." Seraphina stopped and stared down at the young boy. She needed to see the change in him. She needed to see the exact moment his love for her morphed into hate, anger, fear. Her hard green eyes studied every movement, every breath the boy took as her words finally clicked in his small mind. She watched as his small hands started to tremble as he took a small step back. He was scared of her. This was good, this is what she wanted. A tightness formed in her chest as the boy continued to back away from her, creating a distance between the two of them. Seraphina didn't move. She stayed frozen where she was, watching the young boy's love for her turn to what she assumed was fear. When Max finally reached the door that would free him from Seraphina, he reached out with his small hand and wrapped it tightly around the door knob twisting it slowly but then he stopped.

With his hand still clutching the door knob he turned to look back at her. His brown eyes filled with tears that were beginning to spill over and run down his rosy cheeks. "You're a liar Clary. You do love me just like I love you. And if you think I'm crying because I'm scared you're wrong. You may think you could hurt me but you can't. You wouldn't." Seraphina's breath escaped her as she listened to Max's words. "I'm crying because I love you and you're lying. Lies turn our hearts dark. You're turning dark Clary. I can feel it." When Max finished he took a deep breath before opening the door and running out of the room leaving Seraphina staring after him.


"Jace. You can't be serious. That girl is nothing but a cold hearted bitch. How can you stand here and say different?" Jace, Alec and Isabelle had just finished training and were stepping off the elevator to head to their appointed rooms.

Jace shook his head staring down at the hall in front of him. "Alec. I'm not saying anything about her. I just said to stop talking about her like she's a monster." He wasn't ready to share his conflicted feelings that he had over this girl with anyone, not even Alec and Isabelle.

"That's kind of hypocritical wouldn't you say?" Jace's body stiffened as Isabelle's irritating voice touched his ears. "Seeing as you've been planning on killing her for how long? And now you're all protective about her. A Morgenstern. Tell me Jace. What's changed?"

Without thinking Jace spun around and moved to where his face was only inches from his adopted sister's. "I don't recall you asking me that about your father. In fact none of you questioned it. You were too happy to care. That girl may be a Morgenstern but she was not the one who raped, beat and killed my family. Your father was." Jace felt guilty the minute the words left his mouth. He didn't mean to say those things he was just angry. Alec and Isabelle had been bashing the redhead since the three of them had left the greenhouse and something in Jace just snapped. He would never intentionally hurt any of them, especially not Max, Alec and Isabelle.

Isabelle flinched away from Jace, her brown eyes filling with tears. Jace opened his mouth to tell her how sorry he was, to beg her to forgive him but stopped when he heard Max calling out to them.

"Jace. Jace," Jace, Alec and Isabelle turned to watch as Max ran to them.

Jace kneeled down as Max neared them. He noticed that the young boy had tears streaming down his face. "Max? What's wrong? Why are you crying?" Max ran into Jace's body wrapping his arms around him and burying his face in Jace's neck. Jace immediately wrapped his arms around his brother's waist pulling the small boy impossibly closer to him. "Max?"

"Jace. What's wrong with Max?" Alec was bending down beside Jace placing his hand on Max's back trying to help soothe the young boy.

Jace looked over at Alec and shook his head. "Max. Please tell us what's wrong so we can help." Max shook his head burying his face deeper into Jace's neck.

"Should I go get Mom?" Isabelle asked as she stood above them with a worried look on her face.

"No," Max mumbled into Jace's skin.

"Max. You better tell us what's wrong or I'll go get her. I mean it" Isabelle shoved her hands on her hips as she glared down at them.

"Isabelle," Alec hissed.

"What?" Isabelle asked moving her hands from her hips to hold them up in the air.

"Why don't you two go shower. I got this." Jace's golden eyes shifted between Alec and Isabelle as he continued to hold Max in his arms.

"Fine," Isabelle snapped. "Come on Alec."

Alec was more hesitant. "I don't know. Are you sure?" Jace nodded. "Ok-ay. But if you need me you'll come get me. Right?"

"'Yeah. Of course." Jace gave Alec a small smile hoping it would be enough to reassure Alec.

"Alright then." Alec stood. "Come on Iz." Alec looked down at Jace and Max once more before following Isabelle down the hall to their rooms.

Jace waited until he could no longer see Alec and Isabelle before speaking again. "Alright Max. Do you want to tell me what happened?" The small boy slowly pushed himself up and locked his eyes with Jace's.

"If I tell you promise you won't get mad." Max stretched his hand out for Jace to shake.

Jace bit his lower lip to hide his smile. His golden orbs lit with amusement. "Alright Max." Jace placed his hand in Max's and shook it lightly. "You've got yourself a deal."

Max released Jace's hand smiling. "I knew I could count on you." Max took both of his hands and wiped away the remaining tears that were left on his face. "I need you to come with me. Now."

"Where are we going?" Jace stood from the ground stretching, his muscles were still sore from working out with Alec and Isabelle.

"My room. Clary's in there." Max had already started walking back to his room.

"Hold up Max. Why is she in your room?" Jace had one hand on his hip and the other was in the air waving at Max to come back.

Max groaned as he stomped back to where Jace was standing. "She came to see me." Jace knew Max was keeping something from him because he refused to look Jace in the eye.

Jace leaned over placing his hands on his knees in order to be able to look Max in the eye. "You know you shouldn't lie. You're not very good at it."

Max frowned. "I am not lying." Jace raised an eyebrow. Max huffed. "I'm just not telling the whole truth."

Jace shook his head. "You're walking a fine line there buddy. Don't you think that's pretty close to lying?"

"Yeah," Max whispered. "I just don't want anyone to hurt her. She's just confused that's all."

"Who? Clary?" A feeling of dread washed over Jace when he realized that he already new the answer to his own question.

"She doesn't know who she is right now. She says she's Seraphina but she's not she's Clary and-well." Max's bottom lip began to quiver. "She said she didn't love me. That if someone loves her she destroys them. But she's lying she loves me. I know it."

Jace placed his hand on Max's shoulder. "Hey. It's okay. She's just having a bad day. I'll go talk to her." Max shook his head as a small tear ran down his cheek.

"That's not all. She told me that she had planned to kill me." Jace felt his body stiffen. Anger began to course through his veins. Alec and Isabelle had been right about her. She was nothing but a filthy Morgenstern. He was going to kill her.

"Stay here Max." Jace pushed Max out of his way and headed toward the young boy's room.

"No Jace. You promised," Max cried out from behind him but Jace refused to stop, refused to listen. All that mattered now was that he was going to be the last person Seraphina Morgenstern saw before she took her last breath.


Seraphina stayed still until she knew Max was long gone. Standing she made her way to the bathroom. Once inside she stood in front of the mirror and took in her reflection. She looked the same. She had the same red curls, green eyes, pale skin and freckles. Everything was the same nothing had changed but yet something had. Seraphina leaned forward staring into her reflection's green eyes. She growled in frustration when she could not find even one little difference in the girl staring back at her. Seraphina knew that there was something there. She knew it. She felt it. A gasp left her mouth. That's it. She feltdifferent. It had nothing to do with her appearance. How could she have been so stupid? The change went deeper than her appearance. Much deeper. How could she let this happen? How could she let somepathetic child toy with her emotions? Her hand went to her chest as she cried out it pain. No. This couldn't be happening. She wouldn't let it. Clary was weak. She would destroy everything that Seraphina had worked so hard for. No. Seraphina would not allow it. If she were going to cease to exist so would Clary. Seraphina looked back at the mirror an evil smile forming on her lips as she balled her hand into a tight fist. "Goodbye my dear sweet Clary," she whispered before ramming her fist into the glass.


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