THE STAND

9

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"


Clary did not speak, nor did she even acknowledge hearing Isabelle's comment, Clary knew that she could not afford to lose it right now, right here, not with the youngest Lightwood in the same room. She shut her eyes tightly, breathing in and out slowly, desperately trying to stay calm. Once her heart rate had slowed Clary opened her eyes slowly, gazing around the kitchen Clary found that Max was still standing only a few feet from her, a frown covering his perfectly sweet face, "Max, are you okay," Clary leaned over toward her young friend.

Max shook his head, "Izzy and Alec are being meanies."

Clary refused to look at the older Lightwoods, not until she could get Max out of the room at least, "I have a new idea, Max do you know how to get to the living room," Clary waited for Max to answer.

"Yeah, I watched cartoons in there yesterday," Clary smiled, her fondness for the boy was growing.

"Good, do you remember the large wooden cabinet under the television?"

"Yep," Max was grinning from ear to ear.

Clary nodded, "now Max, I want you to go to that very cabinet and open the bottom doors, there you will find an Xbox, PS3 and some other gaming consoles, please use any of them you wish."

Max's eyes were wide as saucers, "Really," he quickly ran up to Clary, stopping right in front of her.

Clary had to bite the inside of her cheek to keep herself contained, she knew the older Lightwood children were watching her every move, "of course Max, there should be plenty of games for each and every console, now run along."

Before Clary knew what was happening Max threw his arms around her, hugging her tightly to him, "thank you, thank you," Max paused for a moment, then he stepped even closer to Clary whispering something only she would be able to hear, "I know you're not Seraphina, I just know it," and with that the little boy turned running out of the kitchen, leaving a very shocked Clary staring after him.


Clary paid no attention to the Lightwood children that were still with her in the kitchen, her thoughts were with Max, he hugged her, he really hugged her and Clary had not been hugged since before her mother and Luke had been killed. She had forgotten what it felt like to have someone hug her, to have someone love her; it made her feel almost normal again. What was so special about Max Lightwood, how could he cause all these foreign emotions to stir within her, when she had lived so long without them, what caused her to care for the young Lightwood so much, so much that Clary was risking everything for him. How could Max know that she really was not Seraphina, in truth she was Seraphina but she was also Clary. The only time she allowed herself to become Seraphina was when she needed to be on the defense, Clary could not handle hurting anyone, Clary was too gentle and Seraphina was not. Her mother had told her once that Seraphina was her alter ego in a way, when Clary feels threatened; Seraphina steps in to protect her from anyone or anything that would want to cause harm to Clary.

Clary was still lost in her thoughts when Isabelle decided it was time for the three of them to have a little chat.

"I suggest you stay away from my brother Morgenstern," Isabelle was standing behind the chair that Max had previously sat in to eat his dinner, her dark brown eyes danced with rage as she stared down at Clary.

Clary finished putting the utensils away before she gracefully walked over toward Isabelle, placing both of her hands on top of the table, Clary leaned over, "if you had been watching after your baby brother like you should have, he would not have been with me," Clary removed her hands from the table, taking a small step back, her emerald green eyes never wavering from Isabelle's, "we are finished with this matter," Seraphina turned to leave the kitchen, stopping at the doorway to eye Isabelle once more, "Miss. Lightwood I would suggest you learn some manners while staying at the Institute, we would not want you getting hurt like Jace did, now would we," and then Seraphina left without another word.


Seraphina walked down the long narrow hallway quickly, she needed to get away, needed to be alone, time to think; time to sort through all the foreign emotions that were beginning to crash down on her. She headed toward the elevator, knowing exactly where she would go, with Jace still in the infirmary, Seraphina knew she would have the greenhouse all to herself; none of the other Lightwoods would dare to go up there.

When the elevator doors finally opened, Seraphina stepped inside, with shaky hands she pressed the fourth floor button. Seraphina let out a sigh of relief, knowing that soon enough she could have a moment of peace. Leaning her head back Seraphina was about to close her eyes when she heard two small footsteps jumping inside the elevator with her.

Her emerald eyes looked down to find young Max Lightwood standing right beside her with a smile covering his entire face. Clary no longer felt angry or frustrated, all of that departed the minute her eyes landed on Max.

"Hey," Max giggled, noticing Clary looking down at him, "I hope you don't mind me tagging along, Alec and Izzy never want me around, Jace's sick still, so I have no one to play with."

Clary felt that foreign emotion once again, crashing down on her like a giant tidal wave.

Hearing the sadness in the young boy's voice was what caused Clary to feel the need to comfort him but yet she had no idea how, "Max I would love for you to go with me."

Max was quiet at first, alarming Clary that something must be wrong, "Max?"

For a moment Max still did not speak but just as the elevator doors opened he turned to Clary, his face full of hidden questions, "Can I ask you something?"

Clary felt a large lump forming in her throat as she stepped out of the elevator, turning slightly to make sure Max had also, seeing that Max was right behind her, she finally answered, "what would you like to know?"

Max pinched his eyebrows together, "promise you won't get mad."

Clary gave Max a small smile nodding, "of course I promise, I would never be mad at you."

Max let out a sigh, "why do you lie?"

Clary was more than a little surprised by his question, "Excuse me?"



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