Scattered Sparkles and Flipped Pages
Nail biting, foot tapping, and finger nails hitting against wooden tables were the only noises Clary could hear in the silence that hung in the air. They were all currently sitting in the main living area, within the Lightwood’s household, waiting for Luke, Jocelyn, and Maryse to portal as soon as possible. Clary shut her eyes and slid her hand across the leather sofa to grip Jace’s hand tightly, which were previously balled up in tight fists. She opened her eyes and turned her head towards him, showing a look of despair and pure dread. He returned the look with a more sympathetic, but still worried one, trying to thank her for the reassurance.
“It’ll be okay,” he said under her breath, wrapping his arm around her to pull her against his body. She could feel his hand rubbing up and down on her upper arm as she leaned her head on his shoulder. Clary could never understand how Jace could always remain calm in the most challenging situations; however, she knew Jace, and she knew that Jace did not like revealing his emotions often.
Isabelle ran her manicured hand through her midnight black hair, sitting on the brown fabric chair across the room, and sighed. “They should be here by now,” she said, tensely. “Shouldn’t they? I mean it’s been an hour. Portals shouldn’t take that long, and they said that they were on the way –”
“Isabelle,” Alec hissed across the room, cutting her off. “Everything’s fine, okay? Everything is going to be fine.” However, Clary couldn’t really tell if Alec was trying to reassure Isabelle or himself. Simon and Magnus were sitting across from herself and Jace in an identical looking sofa, still being as silent as they were an hour ago. Clary knew, that they knew, that this wasn’t their place to feel emotional, especially when the three occupants of the Institute were, mostly, holding themselves together.
They all turned their heads when Robert walked through the room, but no one moved until they saw who followed. Isabelle was up first, sprinting into her mother’s arms before she even had a chance to walk entirely into the room. “Mom,” she whispered; her voice cracking on the end, and just like that Isabelle burst into tears in front of their very eyes. Clary looked away, feeling rather like she was seeing something that she wasn’t supposed to while watching Isabelle, the strongest and most confident girl that Clary knew, crying into her mother’s shoulders. Maryse rested her hand on the top of Isabelle’s head as she looked at Jace and Alec, who were standing behind her now, their hands were resting awkwardly at their sides and they had looks of pain on their faces.
“Clary?” That was all it took for Clary to push past both of the boys and rush right into her own mother’s arms. “Clary,” Jocelyn sighed in relief. “I was so worried about you,” she pushed Clary away a bit so that Jocelyn could get a correct look at her whole body, checking for any bumps and bruises. “Are you okay?” She asked finally, her eyebrows pinched together in concern.
“I’m fine mom, really,” she reassured her. Clary then glanced over her mother’s should and her face broke out into a grin. “Luke,” she sighed, hugging him tightly.
He hugged her back tightly and pressed his hand to the back of her head; his fingers bunching up in her curls. “I’m glad that you’re okay.”
Clary turned around quickly when she felt a soft touch on her shoulder blade. “Why don’t we all get caught up,” Jocelyn said, gesturing to the living area. Clary looked back to where she was previously sitting only moments ago and noticed that everyone was sitting back in their original places, while Jace was in the middle of hugging Maryse. She noticed Jace’s lips moving over Maryse’s shoulder and glanced away, not wanting to look like she was eavesdropping. She also realized that Robert had pulled a kitchen chair up next to Isabelle, and that Isabelle in return was obviously trying to ignore him. Her eyebrows pulled together in confusion and then went back to sit with Jace on the couch again, now realizing that she probably missed a lot over the past couple of days.
Once Jocelyn, Maryse, and Luke had all pulled up some chairs, Alec spoke first. “What’s going on, mom?” He asked in exhaustion. “Can we go back to New York?”
Maryse inhaled deeply, looking at the floor, and then hesitantly looked up to glance around the room. “No, we can’t, not for a while at least,” she voiced to the entire room, eyeing her children specifically. Jace covered his mouth with his hand and Isabelle rubbed her hands over her eyes while Maryse explained the whole story of how the Institute vanished before her eyes.
“None of us actually thought that Sebastian was telling the truth back there,” Simon spoke up above the rest of them, talking to the whole group for the first time.
“What are you talking about?” Luke asked, looking around the room in confusion; he was nervously bobbing his knee up and down while glancing at Clary every couple of seconds. “What did Sebastian tell you?”
Magnus glanced at Alec before returning his gaze to Luke, running a hand through his spiked up hair and causing a handful of multi-coloured sparkles to scatter among the wooden floor. “He just mentioned how the Institute wouldn’t be the same as when we left it, or something along those lines,” he muttered, getting quieter the longer he remained speaking.
“What’s going to happen to the Institute?” Jace asked, moving forwards and off his seat a bit. Clary placed her hand gently on his knee, trying to comfort him in any way that she could. “Is there anything… left?” He asked hesitantly.
Maryse swallowed noticeably before speaking. “The Clave is going to do everything they can to rebuild the Institute, but it will take a while because they’ll have to get in contact with the Iron Sisters and the Silent Brothers,” she paused, gesturing with her hands and not making direct eye contact with anyone. “However, all of your personal belongings,” she continued, looking at Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Alec, and Robert all individually. “Were destroyed within the fire. I’m sorry.”
Looks of horror crossed their faces as Isabelle, Alec, and Jace stared only at each other, while Clary kept her eyes on the ground. It wasn’t like she had very many personal items in the Institute to begin with; she had only just moved in a couple weeks before hand, but the Institute was their home for all of their lives. Clary couldn’t even imagine how she would feel if her home was destroyed in the matter of minutes. Jace had a hard look on his face; his mouth was set in a straight line, while Alec couldn’t keep his eyes on one spot for longer the two seconds. It was all deathly quiet until Isabelle spoke up with a gasp. “Max,” she whispered silently. “Almost everything that we had of Max was in that building.”
She was breathing deeply as everyone looked at her in concern. Robert reached his hand across to touch her arm with what was supposed to be a comforting gesture; however, Isabelle brushed him off quickly, crossing her arms over her chest and moving to the opposite end of her seat. “Don’t,” she hissed.
“Isabelle,” Robert said again in exhaustion. “We all loved him.”
Isabelle wiped harshly at the unshed tears on her face, but didn’t reply. An awkward silence entered the room, which was broken after a couple of seconds with Jocelyn’s voice. “Why don’t we try to think of something else for now? The Clave is going to try and fix this,” she said gently, tilting her head towards Isabelle. Seeing Jocelyn talk to Isabelle easily reminded Clary of how her mother always spoke to her, and a smile lightly appeared on her face. “I think that the only way to stop more destruction from occurring is to find Jonathan, or Sebastian,” she corrected herself, shaking her head.
Clary yawned uncontrollably as she realized how long it’s been since she slept in a bed, or slept at all for that matter. Jocelyn’s head snapped towards her daughter as she heard this, narrowing her eyes and tilting her head to the side. “Why don’t we start with what happened with you two?” She asked, and then automatically all eyes turned to the opposite side of the room where Jace and Clary were sitting, hand in hand.
Fear burst in Clary’s chest and her heart beat quickened. There was no way that she wanted to explain what occurred down in that horrible place. She didn’t want to remember anything about it at all. Clary looked up at Jace anxiously; Jace opened his mouth to start speaking and closed it again before speaking. “What do you mean?” He asked, playing a little dumb.
“What happened between you, Clary, and Sebastian, Jace?” Maryse asked again.
Jace looked down at Clary again, but her gaze was already on her converse; not feeling ready to speak. “Um, nothing important,” he answered with hesitation.
Everyone was listening intently now. Jocelyn, Luke, and Maryse narrowed their eyes, Isabelle, Alec, and Magnus had their full attention on Jace, while Simon was trying to catch Clary’s attention with his worried gaze.
“Clary,” Jocelyn said more sternly, pushing herself forward in her seat; her hands were balled up in fists on her knees.
Clary still wasn’t looking up, but she could feel everyone’s gazes on her back; on Jace’s scuffed up shirt that she was still wearing since she didn’t have time to change yet. “Clare?” A small voice asked from just above her head. She felt a hand rubbing on her back, and she looked up to see Simon’s brown eyes staring at her. She hadn’t even realized that he removed himself from where he was sitting to kneel in front of her. Clary could practically feel the water swelling up in her eyes, and all of the sudden, she felt Sebastian’s hands back on her. Hitting, and slapping, and grabbing all different parts of her body.
“Clary,” she heard Jocelyn’s voice again in the background, more harshly now, but all she could hear was Sebastian’s voice in her head. Jace’s worried tone was added in now, and soon it was all too much. There were too many voices, too many, and not even Simon’s familiar face could keep her grounded any more. She sat up sharply and ran up the stairs; brushing past Jocelyn’s stretched out arm that was trying to stop her. She wasn’t even sure where she was heading, but she ran into the very first room and slammed the door. She slid her back down the door, and gripped her hands through her red curls, trying to stop the horrible images from entering her mind.
Jace watched as Clary sprinted away from the room and vanished up the stairs. He stood up with is hands clenched in tight fists at his side at the same time that Jocelyn did. He only began talking when she started to walk up the stairs herself. “I wouldn’t do that,” he spoke quietly, but it echoed throughout the entire room.
Jocelyn stopped and then slowly turned around to look at Jace with a glare that could kill. “I was told that you went there to protect her,” she hissed so calmly that it sounded threatening. She kept stalking towards him, one step at a time, while everyone else’s eyes darted between the two of them.
“I did,” Jace responded through clenched teeth. “I did everything that I could to protect her,” he said louder.
“Then why is she acting like this,” she practically yelled, pointing up towards where Clary ran.
Jace scrunched up his face, but before he could respond, Alec stood up and ran between the two of them, facing Jocelyn. “Jocelyn,” he said with his hands up to his sides to block Jace. “I don’t want to make you feel any angrier, but Clary would have probably reacted worse without Jace there.”
Jocelyn didn’t say anything as she slowly retreated to her seat next to Luke. “Would you like to explain to us why Clary is acting this way?” Luke inquired, holding Jocelyn close to his body.
Jace shook his head from side to side and looked across the room. “I’m not going to say anything if she isn’t ready to share.”
“Well, how can we help her then?” Simon asked, while he was still kneeling on the floor.
Jace took a deep breath. “I think that what she needs is to talk to a girl, who isn’t her mom,” he said very slowly.
All eyes turned to Isabelle, who was still gazing out into space on the far edge of her seat. She didn’t turn her eyes towards the rest of the group until she felt the weight of their gazes. “What?” She asked, looking directly at Jace.
“I just really think that she needs a girl that she trusts to talk to right now,” he said uncomfortably, scratching the back of his head.
Isabelle turned her entire body towards him in one swift movement; her heels sweeping across the floor. “I can barely keep myself together, Jace,” she said exasperatedly. “And you expect me to comfort someone else?”
Jace walked past Simon and kneeled down in front of Isabelle, so that he was looking up at her. He glanced quickly at Robert before returning his gaze. “Please, Iz,” he whispered.
Isabelle pursed her lips together and looked up at the ceiling, before standing up and walking towards the stairs.
Isabelle knocked on the only shut door after hesitating for a second. She had to pull herself together. Clary was the one who was hurting right now, and she had to put her feelings aside for at least a couple of minutes. She heard slight muffling and sniffing on the other side of the door before a weak voice was heard through the barrier of the door. “Jace, I just want to be alone right now, ok? I’ll be down in a bit, I promise,” Clary said with a cracked voice.
“No, it’s me, Isabelle, Clary,” she corrected, leaning her head against the door slightly.
“Did Jace send you up here?”
Isabelle bit her lip. “No,” she squeaked. She continued to hear some quiet sniffling but no other noise came from the other side of the door. She sighed. “Fine, Jace sent me up here, ok? But I want to help in any way that I can because you’re the closest friend I have and I’m worried about you. Can I please come in Clary,” she asked, closing her eyes.
Isabelle then felt the door open a crack and she popped her head in to see Clary sitting on the floor beside an un-made bed, among many of her brother’s clothes. She had her knees pulled up to her chest and she was playing with a tangled strand of her hair. As Isabelle slid her way into the room and quietly closed the door behind her, she noticed for the first time how battered up and tired Clary actually looked. There were slight bruises painted along her arms, a couple of small holes in her jeans, and dark circles under her eyes. Isabelle walked over and sat down next to Clary, leaning her body against the bed as well. She felt a little uncomfortable considering she had never been in this position before, living in a house full of boys.
She licked her lips slightly before finding her own voice. “Clary,” she whispered. “You don’t have to, but if you want, you can talk to me or tell me about anything. Anything at all. You know that right?”
Clary looked up and gave her a reassuring smile. “I just don’t want to return to that place again, Iz,” she said in a stronger voice.
“And you don’t have to,” Isabelle replied, placing her hand on the top of Clary’s knee.
“I just don’t even know how to explain,” Clary continued, gesturing. “It’s like I can still feel his hands on my body and his voice in my head, and its driving me insane,” she paused to look at Isabelle. “Am I going crazy, Izzy?” She asked with worry heavily lacing her tone.
“No, no, Clary,” Isabelle replied, shaking her head. “Any of us would feel the exact same as you do if we were in your position,” she took a breath before continuing. “When I came in Clary,” Isabelle started, while Clary looked up at her with questioning in her eyes at the sudden change in her voice. “You were lying on the floor, with, with just a bra on, and I-I was just wondering… if that’s what has been bothering you?” She stuttered throughout.
Clary opened her mouth, but no noise came out; she bit her lip as if trying to prevent tears, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, Clary was sobbing on top of her. Clary’s curls were sprawled out on her lap as she cupped her hands over her eyes. Isabelle was shocked, she had never seen Clary, who was usually so brave and tough, so vulnerable. Isabelle slowly patted the side of her head as she closed her eyes. So her suspicion had been correct, and she couldn’t blame Clary for not wanting to tell anyone.
When Isabelle opened her eyes again she was surprised to see Jace, leaning against the door frame with his full attention on Clary. Clary started to mumble incoherently as Jace cringed and turned his head to face Isabelle. “H-He, he almost, ra-raped m-me, Iz,” Clary’s voice cracked over the sobs.
“It’s okay,” Isabelle whispered back, keeping her hand on Clary’s head, and looking back up at Jace. He walked over to her, keeling down, and put his hand on her shoulder.
“I’ve got it,” he whispered to Isabelle softly. “Thank you,” he finished, nodding his head once.
Isabelle slowly removed her body from under Clary’s lap as Jace filled the spot at once. He moved Clary so that she was now sitting in his lap with her head resting on his shoulder. He brushed her hair lovingly as she opened the door. Isabelle took one last look at Jace and Clary, huddled on the floor, and then closed the door behind her. She inhaled a deep breath and opened her eyes, gasping when she saw someone else in the hallway.
“Is she okay?” Simon asked, concern lacing every inch of his voice.
Isabelle shook her head, but refused to make direct eye contact. “No,” she admitted. “She’s not, but she’s strong, she’ll get through this.”
Simon nodded his head and then walked closer to her. He placed his hand on her arm. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” she said, shaking her head to blow off his worry. “It’s just been a long day, that’s all.”
Simon opened his mouth and then closed it again, almost as if he were considering what the right thing was to say. “Max is always going to be with you, no matter what, and I know that that is a super cliché thing to say, but it’s true. Even if the Institute is gone for now, he’ll be standing right next to you every step of the way with his little manga comic books,” he finished, smiling.
Isabelle laughed, closing her eyes. “I love you,” she whispered, resting her hand on the side of his face to bring him closer. Their lips touched softly, and it was perfect to Isabelle. It was nothing too intense, but rather soft, and perfect, and purely Simon. She couldn’t hear anything at all outside of the silence that filled the corridor, except for the brief flipping of pages that could have only been inside her head.
Clary was finding it hard to catch her breath with her face pressed against Jace’s shoulder. There were too many thoughts flooding through her head, and she couldn’t keep track of them all. However, there were no more tears flooding down her face any more. It was as if there just weren’t any more tears to shed. Before she could overwhelm herself further, she felt a soft hand tilt her chin up.
“Clary,” Jace whispered, furrowing his eyebrows. Clary began shaking her head from side to side, confusing Jace further. “What?”
“You guys always tell me how strong I am, how-how brave I am, but I’m not,” she squeaked. “I’m really not.”
“Yes you are; nobody could have gone what you went through and still be even remotely okay.”
“Yeah?” She asked in disbelief. “Then what about you? You were down there, you got hurt, but you seem fine,” she cracked. “And you saw me back there; I couldn’t fight him off, Jace. I tried to fight him off, and I couldn’t,” she finished, gripping her hands through her hair.
“Clary,” he said disbelievingly. “You had an immobility rune drawn on you; no one could have fought it off, and as for me, well, most of my pain is remembering what I couldn’t do to help you further.” He shook his head and looked down at the ground. “You know, I say that I can protect you and I say that you’ll be fine, but what if I can’t? What if, no matter how hard I try, Sebastian will always be one step ahead of me, one step closer to you?”
“You can’t think like that,” Clary whispered.
“I’m being honest, Clary,” he responded. “Are you okay, now? I know I haven’t done much to comfort you, but – ”
She stopped him, placing her lips firmly on his. When she pulled away, she focused her green eyes on his gold ones. “You just being here makes me feel better. Everything you do for me,” she paused, shaking her head. “I don’t deserve it; I don’t deserve you, so thank you for helping me through everything.”
Jace laughed quietly. “You don’t give yourself enough credit. You know that you’re positively beautiful right?” He asked with a smirk playing on his lips. Clary just laughed and rolled her eyes as a grin made an appearance on her face. “Ah,” Jace exclaimed, leaning away from her to point at the smile on her face. “There it is,” he said, laughing as Clary’s smile grew. “I have been waiting to see that, Miss Fray.”
Clary rolled her eyes and patted his chest, while her body was still currently sitting in Jace’s lap. “You’re such a dork.”
“Yes,” Jace replied. “But, I’m your attractive dork,” he ended, winking.
Clary opened her mouth to say something when loud noises and yells began coming from down stairs. She swallowed and looked up at Jace. He moved out from underneath her and reached down to help her up carefully, while looking at the door. He then placed his gaze back on her face and smiled reassuringly. “I’m sure it’s fine,” he said, grabbing her hand more firmly. “It’s probably just Simon and Alec fighting over who has the best fashion sense, which,” he said leaning down as if he were telling a secret and cupping a hand over his mouth. “We all know is neither of them,” he whispered, pulling the side of his face up in a playful grin.
Clary smiled as if this thought comforted her, but in reality, something didn’t feel right, and she wasn’t quite sure that everything really was fine.
When Clary got to the end of the staircase, she noticed quickly that no one was in the living area. All of the seats were abandoned, and as she looked to her left she realized why. Everyone was hurdled in the entrance way looking out the door and practically screaming at a woman. As Clary drew closer with Jace closely behind her; she was surprised to see that the woman was Jia Penhallow. She wasn’t saying anything back to Jocelyn and Luke’s constant screams of protest, but as Clary looked around at the others she saw that something must have been very wrong.
Simon and Isabelle we’re holding hands so tight that they’re fingers were turning red as Simon kept his eyebrows furrowed and his eyes on the floor, Alec and Magnus were also holding hands, but both of them were only staring off into space. Meanwhile, Maryse and Robert we’re standing close together, but not close enough to touch, and they were both staring at each other with nervous glances.
Clary was sick and tired of the screaming that was occurring as she pursed her lips and took one last look back at Jace. “Mom?” She asked, raising her eyebrow. She took one step forward. “What’s going on?”
“Clary, go back upstairs,” her mom said venomously, pointing at the ceiling.
“What? No – ” she began, but Jocelyn interrupted her again.
“Clary, I’m not joking.”
Clary stepped farther forward so that she had full view of Jia now. “Neither am I,” she said precisely.
“Ah, Clary, so good to see you,” she said with a genuine smile on her face.
“It’s good to see you too,” she replied, pushing her hands inside the pocket of her jeans. She felt a little underdressed in her battered up clothes that she still hadn’t changed out of.
“I was actually looking for you,” she continued, gesturing towards Clary. Clary then felt Jace move beside her and reach down to grab her hand protectively as Jocelyn moved in front of Clary slightly.
“For me? Why?” She asked nervously.
Jia sighed. “It seems, that even against my better judgment,” she said looking directly at Jocelyn and Luke for a moment. Clary had never seen Luke, kind and loving Luke, give someone that deathly of a glare, and not be in his wolf form. Clary felt her palms begin to sweat as she continued to listen to Jia. “That a vote has been decided, ever since the Consul heard about your return home, Clary.”
Clary narrowed her eyes. “And?”
Jia pursed her lips. “I have to ask you to come with me right now, so that we can have a meeting and further questioning with you, but the overall consensus is that you, Clary, will be used to capture and lure out Jonathon Christopher Morgenstern.”
As soon as these words were said she was being pushed backwards and aside by Jace and the rest of her friends. Her parents continued their rant of screaming as the rest of them formed a barrier between her and Jia. However, she couldn’t really hear any specific words or see any details. Everything began to get blurrier and blurrier, her hearing and her eye sight, as she stumbled backwards, unable to catch her feet. She felt herself falling farther and farther away, towards Jonathan and, in reality the hard ground, as everything around her turned black.
And it felt as if she were, again, staring into the monster’s eyes himself.