THE STAND

8

Clary's eyes were extremely heavy; slowly she sat up, focusing in on her surroundings, soon realizing that she was in her room at the Institute. Turning to stand, Clary noticed a figure leaning casually against the wall, Magnus Bane.

"Magnus, what are you doing," Clary stood from the bed, running her hand through her messy red curls as she questioned Magnus

Clary could not help but notice that Magnus looked dreadfully tired, healing took a lot out of him, more than the warlock would like to admit.

"I wanted to inform you that I will be staying here at the Institute," Magnus did not ask Clary for her permission, knowing that Clary would have refused him. Magnus's cat eyes watched Clary carefully, waiting for her reaction.

"Of course, the High Warlock of Brooklyn knows that it would be unwise for anyone to refuse him, however, with that being said I am certain that you have more pressing matters to deal with, I assure you that I am quite capable of dealing with the Institute's small affairs"

Magnus studied the young redhead standing before him; something was clearly different, her demeanor had changed within a matter of seconds. Magnus's body stiffened, realizing that he was now dealing with Seraphina Morgenstern and no longer Clary Fray. The warlock knew to tread lightly when dealing with a Morgenstern, Magnus knew what the Morgenstern's would do to people that offended them.

Seraphina was silent, staring at Magnus waiting for him to respond, taking a mental note of the dark circles under the warlock's eyes, deep down Seraphina worried for the warlock, not that she would ever show it.

Magnus stood straight, moving away from the wall he made sure to keep eye contact with Seraphina, "Seraphina, you know that I would never doubt your abilities," Magnus stood directly in front of Seraphina, his cat eyes piercing her emerald green, "and you know that I always tend to my business in a timely manner"

The two stood staring each other down for several minutes before a forced smile appeared on Seraphina's face, "Warlock, I must say I am impressed with your courage, standing up to a Morgenstern, showing no fear whatsoever, very impressive indeed," Seraphina turned, walking toward the bathroom, right before she stepped through the doorway, her eyes focused on Magnus once more, "the Institute is your home as much as it is mine, I assume that you remember your way around"

Magnus nodded slightly, "Yes, I think I can remember my way around," Magnus watched as Seraphina turned to close the bathroom door, waiting until the door was almost completely closed, Magnus called out to her, waiting until he saw the top of her red curls to speak, "One more thing, in the future do not concern yourself with my affairs, you may be a Morgenstern but I am the High Warlock of Brooklyn for a reason Seraphina, you know better than anyone how I achieved my title, it would be wise for both of us to remember our places"

Anger flashed in Seraphina's emerald green eyes, hearing the threatening tone in Magnus's voice made her blood boil, "Of course, I will remember my place as you will remember yours warlock, I would hate for one of us to get hurt over a little misunderstanding," Seraphina's eyes locked with Magnus's, "now if that is all, I would like to shower, goodnight Magnus"

Magnus nodded toward Seraphina, waiting until the bathroom door was closed completely to make his way out of the room; he made sure that Seraphina's bedroom door was locked before shutting the door behind him. Magnus walked down the long hallway finding his room quickly, once inside he shut and locked the door behind him. Sighing he allowed his body to collapse on the bed, he knew Seraphina Morgenstern was going to be a problem; he also knew that he could not harm the Morgenstern without harming Clary Fray too.


The hot water ran down her tiny frame, releasing all the tension in her muscles, allowing Clary to relax and finally breathe. Closing her eyes tightly, Clary's forehead fell forward, resting on the solid white tiles that covered the shower walls, she stood that way until her body began to shiver due to the water running cold.

After drying off and dressing in her solid black attire, Clary wandered out of her room making her way toward the kitchen, the noises coming from her stomach had reminded Clary just how hungry she was. Without thinking she opened the wooden door, the entrance to the very large kitchen, stepping through the door Clary was met by one of the Lightwood children, Max.

Clary could not help but smile as she quietly spied on the youngest Lightwood, Max was standing in front of the large pantry, mumbling something about how stupid it was that someone put the peanut butter on the top shelf. Clary watched in amusement as Max tried his best to climb up the wooden shelves, she had to give it to him; Max was a go getter. Clary stepped up behind the young boy, preparing to catch him if he should fall. Just as Max went to step on the fourth shelf, losing his balance he fell backwards landing in Clary's arms perfectly.

"Um, I, I didn't mean to do it, it's just well, why'd you have to go and put the peanut butter way up there," Max rambled on as Clary carefully placed him down on the floor

Clary grinned at Max, "It's okay Max, really just so you know I didn't stock the pantry, if I did the peanut butter would definitely not be on that top shelf," Clary was looking around the room for something to stand on, unable to find a stepping stool anywhere, "well looks like I will have to use a chair" Clary walked to the table, pulling a chair back with her towards the pantry

"My parents won't let me climb on furniture, you sure it's okay," Max's eyebrows furrowed together as he frowned at Clary

"Well Max, considering it's my furniture, in my house," Clary muttered, standing on the chair she was still too short to reach the peanut butter, sighing as she stood on her tiptoes, reaching out with her tiny fingers, "yes, I got it Max," Clary's fingers were able to move the peanut butter jar far enough for her to grab it.

Clary turned to look down at Max, he was still standing there watching her, Clary carefully stepped down from the chair handing Max the peanut butter before placing the chair back under the table.

"You want some," Max asked holding the peanut butter out towards Clary

"Hmmm, what are you having, peanut butter and jelly sandwich," Clary asked, walking toward the pantry once more

"Yep, but mine's gonna be special, hey you want one of my special sandwiches," Clary turned toward the young boy, the look in his eyes made it impossible to refuse him

"I'd love one," Clary watched as Max began to run around the kitchen, pulling out the bread, grape jam, butter

"Just so you know, I know what I'm doing," Max face was very serious as he spoke to Clary, he turned away from her to look in a drawer, pulling out a small frying pan and a few utensils

"That's good to know, do you mind if I watch or would you rather me sit at the table," Clary felt a strange yearning to be near the young Lightwood, there was something about him that made her feel calm, it was almost like Clary felt at home when she was near Max

Max had everything place on top of the counter, "you really wanna watch me"

Clary's breathe left her as her emerald eyes took in Max, the boy was standing there staring at her with his big gray eyes and messy brown hair but what Clary noticed was the look on his face, Max was staring at her as if she were someone special to him. She felt her throat tighten, slowly she made her way over to Max, fearing what her voice may sound like Clary simply nodded, hopping that he would realize what she meant

Max's face lit up with the goofiest grin, jumping lightly off the floor as he turned back toward the stove, "Awesome, you're gonna love it, I promise," suddenly the young boy stopped, a small frown appeared on his perfect little face, "I can't do it, I can't reach the stove at home we have a stool I step on but not here"

"Max Lightwood, you should never say "I can't", there is always a way," Clary wasn't looking at the young boy as she spoke, Clary was already heading for the chair that she had just used to step on, pulling the chair up to the stove Clary finally glanced over at Max

Max was chewing on his bottom lip, his eyes darting between Clary and the chair, "Um, I don't know, my parents never let me stand on furniture"

Clary smirked, "Well Max, seeing as this isn't your parents furniture, it's mine and I'm telling you to use it as a step stool, I think it's okay," she paused waiting to see if Max would react in any way, noticing he still was having a hard time deciding, Clary added, "If they get mad, I'll handle it, deal"

Max finally agreed, taking his time to step up on the chair, once he was standing straight up on the chair, Max turned the stove top on medium heat, "you promise to stay right beside me, to catch me if I fall," Max's eyes were staring straight at Clary's, waiting for her to answer him

"Yes, I promise," Clary felt as if Max was staring straight through her, seeing everything she had hidden deep down in her black soul. Clary immediately felt relief wash over her when the young boy finally broke their connection; she did not know what it was about Max Lightwood, the boy made her feel things that she had refused to feel for several years but here was this young scraggly little boy that she barely knew and he already had her wrapped around his tiny little finger. Clary knew that what she felt towards the Lightwood boy was dangerous, she should walk away now, be alone like she had been for the last few years, staying safe and hidden, no attachments, no one that her family could use to hurt her with; Clary could not find it in her to leave, standing there with Max, watching him as he masterfully grilled their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Clary decided that she would be selfish this one night, allowing herself to pretend just this once that Max was hers and together they made her perfect family.

When Max finished grilling the sandwiched, Clary helped him down from the chair and placed the chair back at the table. Max was grabbing two forks and some napkins while Clary pulled two glasses from the cupboard, "How about some milk with our sandwiches," she headed toward the refrigerator as she waited for Max to answer

"Sweet, hurry though I want to know what you think," Max begged as he placed their sandwiches on the napkins he had brought with him to the table

"Okay, okay I'm coming," Clary giggled, pouring the milk in their glasses, she quickly went to take a seat on the opposite side of the table from Max

Once she had taken her seat Clary noticed Max staring at her, "What"

"I'm waiting on you to try it silly," Max was smiling as he leaned over the table, as far as it allowed him to, his eyes big and bright, watching and waiting for Clary to try the sandwich he prepared for her

Knowing how important this moment was for Max, Clary made sure to take her time, examining the sandwich as she carefully picked it up, "Here goes nothing," she whispered, closing her eyes Clary took a small bite out of the grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Clary knew that a smile was forming on her face after she swallowed her first bite, opening her eyes she immediately found Max's eyes on her, fearing he may die of anticipation, Clary quickly gave him her assessment on the sandwich, "Max, I will never be able to eat a regular peanut butter and jelly sandwich again, this sandwich is awesome"

"Really, I was hoping you'd like it, we can make more anytime you want, tomorrow even," Clary could not help but notice the hope in Max's little voice, she said nothing in return, not wanting to promise him something that she could not give him, instead she smiled and continued to eat her sandwich.

Max and Clary were more than comfortable around each other; Max had told her about school, his friends, and even threw in a few jokes while the two finished eating. Clary listened to everything he was telling her, truly enjoying Max's company, he was easy to be around, even easier to care for.

The two had just started to clean the kitchen when Max asked her something that she was not prepared for, "Where's Clary"

"What," Clary asked, swiftly turning her back to Max, fearing he would be able to see right through her

"I just wondered where she was, Clary, I wanted her to read manga with me, you know she like it too, right," Clary listened to Max's sweet voice as he spoke, not wanting to lie to him Clary tried to steer him away from the Clary subject

"Max, I almost forgot to tell you," Clary chimed out, turning to face Max grabbing his hand in hers, "I wanted to show you my special place, the greenhouse, I've never taken anyone up there with me, I wanted that first person to be you," she watched Max waiting for his response, secretly praying that this would be enough to steer away from the Clary conversation.

Max seemed more than willing to go with Clary but before he had the chance to answer a voice intervened, "My little brother will not be going anywhere with a Morgenstern, is that a clear enough answer for you"


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