Simon stalked up the concrete steps in the direction of the large Institute doors, his black converse making marks in the thin layer of snow that was dusting the ground. He banged loudly on the doors with his knuckles, and then returned his hand to his coat pocket. He closed his eyes and waited for the door to open, letting out a breath of air, which could be seen in the cold December air. He opened his eyes suddenly when he heard the creaking sound of the Institute doors opening. He looked up to see a black haired girl staring down at him. Isabelle always looked beautiful to Simon’s eyes, but something was different this time. Her makeup was set perfectly and her clothes were all in order, but there were bags under her eyes and her normally straightened hair was pulled back into a very messy bun. He would have immediately asked if she was okay, but he was here for other reasons. “Isabelle, what is going on?” Simon asked, saying each word separately.
“I’m sorry I didn’t call you earlier, but I had to make sure Jace calmed down a bit first,” she replied, rubbing her hands against her eyes. Simon simply stood there waiting for her to explain what happened while she stepped out into the cold air and closed the door behind her. “Trust me; it wasn’t easy with the whole heavenly fire thing. He basically turned into a human glow stick,” she attempted to laugh, but failed to actually do so. She took her gaze off the ground and looked up at Simon again. She noticed the worry in his eyes and continued to talk. “Sorry, that’s not why you came here,” she said, rubbing her temple.
“It’s okay Iz, just tell me why you sounded so frantic on the phone,” he said, placing both hands on Isabelle’s shoulders.
She bit her bottom lip nervously and shut her eyes. “It’s Clary, Simon,” she exhaled.
Simon’s eyebrows furrowed and his face turned serious automatically. “What about Clary?”
“She’s gone, and we’re pretty sure Sebastian took her.”
“When did this happen?” Simon was nearly shouting now as he gripped Isabelle’s shoulders a bit more.
She again, returned her brown eyes to his, and he noticed a glassy look in her eyes that wasn’t there before. “Yesterday,” she replied, her voice cracking a little. Simon looked at her for a second more before pulling her into a hug. His head rested on top of hers as he wrapped his arms tightly around her torso. She had her hands covering her eyes as she put her head into his shoulder. Sobs went through her body as Simon kept his arms around her body. After a couple minutes of holding her, he loosened his hold on her and used his arm to tuck a stray piece of hair behind her ear, which was falling out of her bun. He searched her eyes, which were now a bit puffy and red. This did not look like his strong and confident Isabelle because all Simon could see in her eyes was guilt.
“Hey,” he said, using his thumb to tilt her chin up gently, so that she was looking directly at him. “You can’t blame yourself for this. It wasn’t your fault.”
“I told Clary that everything would be fine before Jace, Alec, and I left. I told her that we would be fine and that she had nothing to worry about,” she replied, taking a shaky breath. “But, I didn’t even think that she would be the one in danger. I never think!”
“It’s okay Iz, we’re going to find her. I’m sorry that I lost my temper a bit, but she’s my best friend.”
“I know,” she sighed. “You aren’t really allowed inside though, so I’ll try to convince the boys to go to Takis for brainstorming.”
“Sounds good,” he replied, staring at her for a couple more seconds before talking again. “We haven’t really been able to talk in a while,” he mentioned awkwardly, not meeting her eyes.
Isabelle looked up immediately, crossing her arms across her chest while Simon removed his hands from her shoulders to scratch his forehead. “About what?” She asked.
“About us, you and me,” he replied, gesturing between himself and Isabelle. “I don’t know whether to act as your friend or, or something else, and I’m just really confused.”
“I don’t know how you expect me to respond to that,” she said, while her eyes searched the ground.
Simon took one step towards her and cupped her face in his hands, which caused her eyes to leave the ground. Her mouth was slightly open, and he could see her breath in the air that looked like a little cloud floating through the wind. Simon chuckled under his breath. “I’ve got nothing to lose.” Isabelle did not say a word as she continued to stare up at Simon. “Isabelle Sophia Lightwood, I love you more than I have ever loved anyone in my entire life. I love you and your brave heart and your beautiful smile and your ability to light up any room that you enter. I love your perkiness and your incredible sense of fashion and even your stupid brothers who always make fun of me,” he said, rolling his eyes. “I have been told many times before that you are a heartbreaker, but that has never stopped me. And I’m not very good with words, so I’m sorry,” he ended, leaning in quickly to put his lips against hers. Both of their eyes closed and he still had his hands cupped around her face. She reached her arms up to wrap around his neck, melting into the kiss. He slowly moved his hands down to her torso, and pulled her towards him slightly. After a couple more seconds, both of them moved away, breaking the kiss.
Isabelle continued to look into Simon’s eyes, shaking her head back and forth slightly. “So?” Simon asked, hesitantly.
The corner of her lips quirked up into a smile and she laughed lightly. “I love you so much,” she replied, finding her voice again. They kissed again, lightly. The kiss was not as intense as the first one, but it still made Isabelle’s stomach fill with a thousand butterflies. She pulled away slightly and sighed, her hand was resting on the side of his face. “As much as I never want this moment to end, we need to find Clary.”
“I know, that’s the main priority right now,” he replied.
“I’m going to go talk to the boys, and then I’ll meet you at Takis,” she said, backing away from Simon and towards the door. He simply nodded, and never took his eyes off her. She opened the door and began to close it, looking at Simon through the crack of the door until it finally shut with a loud bang.
She rested her head on the tall doors, closing her eyes, and sighing inwardly. A smile spread across her face as she turned around, her eyes still closed. She opened her eyes when she heard a cough come from across the room. Alec was standing in front of her only a couple feet away. He rolled his eyes as he began to walk away. Isabelle opened her mouth to talk, but Alec just held up a hand while he walked. “I don’t even want to know,” he said, shaking his head. Isabelle looked down at the floor, grinning, and then ran after Alec and up the stairs to deal with the main problem.
Isabelle followed Alec down the halls of the Institute towards Jace’s bedroom. She was filled with an overwhelming feeling of happiness after her encounter with Simon outside of the Institute, but she knew that she had to put that aside and focus all of her energy on finding Clary before something bad happened. Alec knocked lightly on the door, and without even waiting for a response, he walked into Jace’s room. Isabelle was close behind him as she prepared herself for what she may see behind the door. Isabelle was shocked to see Jace’s usually spotless room, messy with random pieces of paper and wrappers scattered on the floor. His garbage bin was tipped on its side on the hardwood, there was a broken picture frame on his bedside table, and there were random burn marks on the walls and furniture. Isabelle smiled sadly at the picture in the frame of Jace, Clary, and Max only days before Max had died. She regained her focus as they both stepped further into the room to see Jace lying on the bed. His head was under a pillow and his hands were scrunched up on top of the pillow, probably trying to keep the pillow on his head.
“Jace?” Alec asked cautiously, walking slowly towards the bed. Jace made a muffled sound and pulled the pillow tighter against his head. “Jace, I know that you’re upset, but we have to do something about it. You can’t just lay there and mope.”
Jace threw the covers off violently and threw the pillow across the room towards Isabelle, looking straight at Alec. Isabelle made a little yelp and moved quickly out of the way of the flying pillow, which landed on the ground behind her. “I am sorry if my moping is bothering you Alec,” he said through clenched teeth, still kneeling on the bed. “You out of all people should know how it feels to have your loved one taken away from you!” Alec stepped back as if Jace had slapped him in the face.
“This isn’t about him; this is about Clary, Jace. Don’t bring him into this,” he said, pointing his finger angrily in Jace’s direction.
Jace put his face into his hands and then kneeled down further into the bed. He wiped his hand over his eyes and then looked up at Alec again. Alec noticed tear stains on the edge of his eyes that he had never seen before. Alec wasn’t used to seeing Jace broken, Jace was always the strong one, and he wasn’t exactly sure what to do now that he wasn’t the strong one. “I’m sorry Alec, I didn’t mean to say that,” Jace sighed, standing up from the bed.
“It’s fine. I understand how hard this is, but we have to do something,” Alec replied, putting his hand on Jace’s shoulder. Isabelle stood in the corner of the room, unsure of what to do or say. She felt as though she were walking in on a private conversation. Jace simply nodded, while his expression turned from one of sadness and anger to one of determination.
“Okay, what’s the plan?” he asked, turning around so that he was now looking at both Isabelle and Alec.
Isabelle stepped forward bit, finally deciding that she should join in on the conversation. “Well, we’re going to meet Simon at Takis to figure out a plan,” Isabelle said, looking between her brothers. “I told him that we would be there soon, so we better get going,” she continued, while gesturing towards the door.
“Okay let’s get going then,” Jace said, beginning to follow Alec out the door. However, Isabelle did not move, and when Alec attempted to walk past her, she stopped him by grasping his arm in her hand. They both stopped, while Jace bumped slightly into Alec.
“What?” Alec asked, staring down at his sister with a confused expression on his face.
Isabelle sighed. “I know that you aren’t going to like this, and I’m sorry, but we need extra help.”
“What are you talking about?” Alec asked once again, shaking his head.
“We need to call Magnus, Alec. He’s the only person who could help us in this situation.”
Alec backed up and removed his arm from Isabelle’s grasp. “We can do this on our own, Isabelle. Besides, I don’t think he would be very willing to help, he wants nothing to do with me.” Isabelle could tell that Alec was getting angry because he rarely used her full first name.
Jace placed his hand on Alec’s arm and spoke softly to him. “Please, Alec, I know that this sucks, but I need to find Clary.” Alec sighed and nodded his head, moving his gaze to Isabelle.
“Fine, but good luck trying to contact him, I’ve been trying for months and all I’ve gotten is voicemail,” he said bitterly, while he walked out the door. Jace and Isabelle looked at each other for a moment more and then turned to walk out after Alec. She felt a tugging on her arm though, before she even got the chance to move her feet. She turned back towards Jace, confused.
“What?” She asked, shrugging her shoulders.
Jace walked closer to her and then chuckled to himself. “You might want to check the lipstick that is smudged on the side of you face, little sis,” he said, tapping her cheek lightly and grinning. Isabelle blushed and moved her hand up to rub at her cheek. “I mean I knew that Simon was a sloppy dresser, but also a sloppy kisser? You may need to rethink this whole relationship you have going on with him,” he continued, winking at Isabelle, who in return gave him a death glare. Jace then left the room to follow in the direction that Alec went.
She rolled her eyes, and grabbed her phone from her coat pocket, exiting the room shortly after Jace. She dialed and put the phone up against her hear, letting it ring a couple times. She held her breath while walking through the hallway of the Institute, praying that he would answer the phone. She exhaled deeply when the phone finally stopped ringing and there was a voice on the other end. “Look, I know that you aren’t very happy with us at the moment, but Magnus we need your help. It’s Clary.”
After arriving at Takis and ordering their food, Jace, Alec, Isabelle, and Simon started brainstorming ideas for tracking down and finding Clary. Alec and Jace were sitting beside each other, while Simon and Isabelle were sitting across from them in a side booth. Simon was trying to avoid Alec’s gaze, which was as piercing as a spear. Simon knew that he was just being an overprotective brother, but it was distracting him from the main purpose of being here. “Would you stop shooting holes through Simon with your eyes?” Jace asked, whacking Alec in the arm. “If it makes you feel any better, I’ll sit next to Isabelle,” he said, gesturing towards Isabelle.
“Really?” Isabelle asked, shaking her head.
“No, forget it; let’s just get back to the matter at hand.” Alec replied, when the door to the restaurant suddenly swung open, causing a jingle to go off. Jace looked to the door and put his hand up to say hello as Alec put his head down to stare at the scratched up table. Alec heard the squeaking of a chair scraping across the tiles and the sound of wood settling. He looked up to see Magnus sitting in a chair at the end of the booth.
Magnus looked at each of them one by one, his gaze held on Alec for a second longer, before he started speaking. “So, what’s the plan?”
“Well,” Isabelle said, smoothing her hair back which was still in a messy bun. “I think that the first thing that we should do is try a tracking spell. I don’t think Sebastian is stupid enough to make it that easy for us, but it’s worth a shot.”
“Okay,” Magnus replied, nodding his head. “I’m going to need something that she owns in order to do the spell.”
“I’m sure that I can find something in her room at the Institute, if you’re willing to come back to the Institute to do the spell. I think I saw her Morgenstern ring on her bedside table, which would probably work.” Jace said.
“Yes, I will do the spell at the Institute, anything for Clary,” Magnus replied, and then sighed heavily. “But, as you know I am no longer free to you guys, so this is going to cost a bit.”
“I wonder why,” Alec mumbled, looking back at the table, just loud enough for everybody to hear. The whole table went quiet, while Simon and Isabelle gave each other knowing looks. Magnus coughed and leaned forward, putting his elbows on the table, while Jace sat between them.
“If you have something to say Alexander; then say it,” Magnus said, staring directly at Alec.
“No, no, just don’t make my friends pay the cost because you’re really just mad at me” Alec replied, flinging his hands around.
“We are not having this talk here,” He said to Alec, while rolling his eyes.
“Then when do you want to talk Magnus?” Alec nearly yelled, sitting up in his seat a bit. “I’ve called you, texted you, walked to your house, and you just keep shutting me out!”
Jace put his hand on Alec’s shoulder and forcefully shoved him back into his seat. “Not here,” he told Alec quietly. Alec rolled his eyes, and then looked in the opposite direction. They were all quiet for a couple more moments, while the door opened and more customers walked in, but they all kept their eyes down, waiting for their food.
“Well, well, well, look at the dynamic five all sitting down for a nice little lunch,” said a sneering voice behind Magnus. Jace turned pale and everybody at the table froze, afraid to look up at the familiar voice. Jace took a shaky breath and turned his head up to the one person who he hated most in the world. He stood up automatically, and attempted to walk closer to Sebastian, but Alec held him back.
He sat back down, while Alec whispered in his ear. “Don’t be stupid.”
“Where is she?” Jace breathed, not up for Sebastian’s small talk.
“Aw, Jace. I was expecting more of a greeting from my favorite brother,” Sebastian replied, putting his hand over his heart. He slid a chair over and sat down in between Magnus and Jace. Alec kept a hand on Jace’s knee to prevent him from attacking Sebastian on the spot, while Isabelle and Simon held each other’s hands underneath the table. They wanted to get at least some hint to where Clary was, and trying to kill him right away was not going to get them any answers.
“I am going to kill you, if you do not tell me where she is right now,” Jace said, pronouncing each word separately. Jace’s eyes looked violent as if the gold in his eyes had been replaced with the raging heavenly fire.
“I didn’t come here to fight, angel boy. I came here to offer you a chance to see Clary.”
“What do you want?” Simon asked tentatively.
“Well, you can see Clary, Jace,” Sebastian replied, totally ignoring Simon. “You just have to stay there with me as well.”
Isabelle stood straight up in the booth and shot daggers at Sebastian with her eyes. “No way in hell! There is no way that Jace would be that stupid, right Jace?” She looked at Jace expectantly, but when he didn’t answer, she grew worried. “Jace?”
Looking at Sebastian, Jace replied, biting his bottom lip a little bit. “Have you hurt her?”
“Not yet,” Sebastian sneered. “But that can and probably will change. It just depends on whether you’re there to protect her or not.”
Jace shut his eyes and looked back towards his siblings and friends. “I’m sorry, I have to do this,” he whispered, while placing a strand of his hair secretly into Alec’s hand, so that they could track him later. “She means everything to me, and I can’t imagine passing the chance to protect her.”
“Jace,” Isabelle whispered, while a tear escaped her eye. “Please don’t do this. I can’t lose you too.”
“I’ll be fine,” Jace assured her, reaching his hand across the table to squeeze Isabelle’s. He looked back to Sebastian and nodded his head once. “Okay, I’ll go with you, as long as I get to see Clary.”
“Of course brother, I promise,” he said without hesitation. “Let’s go then. See? That wasn’t so hard was it? No fighting at all.” They both stood up and started to leave, while the rest of the people at the table were frozen to their seats. They all knew why he did it. They all would have done the same thing if they were in his situation, but that didn’t mean that it hurt any less. Sebastian turned around again to look back at everybody in the booth before they left the restaurant. “It really was lovely to see you all again. I hope we have the chance to do this in the future, hopefully under different circumstances.” Sebastian hissed, smirking. Jace turned around once more to look at Isabelle, who looked like she was about to burst into tears, and Alec. He nodded once at Alec, and Alec did the same, before Jace walked out the front door and into the fresh air.
Clary woke up to the sound of loud footsteps echoing in her ears. She blinked a couple times to regain her focus before she heard the door in front of her screech open. She sat up quickly and pressed her back into the wall behind her, trying to blend in with her surroundings. The chains on her wrists and ankles made chiming noises on the ground. The same light flashed in her eyes again as a tall, dark shadow blocked her view. The shadow stepped in and closed the door by kicking it with his foot. “Clarissa,” he snickered. Clary closed her eyes and took a deep breath as her heartbeat sped up. “I brought you a little present.” Clary didn’t even realize that he was holding something, until she heard a loud thump on the floor and saw Sebastian drop a large figure. She slowly looked over at the muscular figure on the ground and immediately saw the striking blond hair.
“Jace,” she gasped, struggling against the chains that were restricting her. She looked up at him, while rage filled her eyes. “What did you do to him?”
“Nothing at all,” he replied, grinning. “He came willingly, all I had to do was knock him out so then he wouldn’t know where we were going. Did you not miss him?”
“Of course I missed him,” she said violently. “But I would never wish for him to be in this hell-like place with you.”
He walked over to Clary, his boots making the same echoing sounds in the room, and kneeled down so that he was at eye level with her. “I suggest that you start talking to me nicer, because your actions will have consequences,” he said, not as a statement but as a threat.
Clary laughed, but no sound came out, as she leaned in closer to his face. “I am not scared of you.”
“You should be,” he replied, standing up and walking back towards the door. She stayed where she was and stared at Jace who was lying unconsciously on the ground. He didn’t say another word to her as he slammed the door shut behind him, which sent shivers up and down Clary’s spine. The truth was that Sebastian did scare her, and the only thing scarier than Sebastian was a mad Sebastian. The thought of tomorrow and what would happen terrified her, so she kept her eyes open on Jace’s body, too terrified to close them.