Peeling Wallpaper

Sebastian walked through the halls of his new apartment; his face as cold as stone. Thoughts were flying in and out of his mind at a rapid pace and he couldn’t help but keep picturing her face, while tears escaped her eyes. It was as if her red curls were burned to the inside of his eyelids. She will love me. Sebastian thought as he punched his fist through the drywall next to him. The impact didn’t make him wince even though his knuckles were now a bright red. The old wallpaper was peeling from the walls and he was breathing heavily. Even if I have to force her to love me.

“Is everything okay?” He heard a hard, feminine voice behind him and turned around sharply to see Amatis, who had her arms crossed over her chest. Her brown hair fell down over her shoulders and against her blood red uniform, and her blue eyes looked out of place.

Sebastian cocked his head to the side, cracking his neck. “Everything’s fine. Could you please go downstairs and unlock Clary,” he stated, while Amatis gave him a questioning look. She didn’t make a retort back though. She would never defy Sebastian. “But make sure that she doesn’t leave the room,” he added as an afterthought.

“Of course,” she said obediently. “However, if you don’t mind me asking, why?”

“I have things that I need to do with her when I get back and it is easier to accomplish those things when she isn’t smacking herself against the wall all the time, but it is nothing of your concern.”

“Where are you going?”

Sebastian brought his hands up in front of his chin and cracked his knuckles, narrowing his eyes slightly. “Why are you asking so many questions?”

“I just like to know where my leader is,” she replied without any hesitation.

“I have some business to attend to,” he said sharply, wiping his dried, bloody hands on his white shirt. “Just do what I ask.”

His black eyes were piercing through Amatis like the injection of a needle. “Are you sure you don’t need backup?”

Sebastian scoffed. “No, I’ll be fine,” he smirked, turning around to continue walking down the hallway. “I have a certain faerie that I need to speak to.”

He stopped at the corner of the hall to turn around and face Amatis once again. His hand was placed against the wasted wallpaper. The sconces in the hall made the area very dim of light, since the ceiling lights were off, and all he could see were highlights of her face. He looked between the wall and her. “Oh, and clean that up,” he said, nodding towards the whole in the wall. “Say hello to Clarissa for me,” he grinned.

Amatis nodded in response because she had to and because that was all she could do.

Clary still hadn’t looked at Jace after their encounter with Sebastian only minutes ago. She didn’t know what to say or do. She was waiting to let Jace know what happened at the apartment at the right time, but Sebastian had ruined that royally. Her legs were pulled up against her chest and she slowly tucked her head so that it was facing her knees. She brought her hands up to the tops of her kneecaps and played with her nails nervously. Why am I so nervous? She scolded herself. This is your boyfriend. You know you can tell him anything. She tried to calm herself and her thoughts down, but nothing was working.

“Clary?” She snapped her head up to look at Jace, whose voice was cracking. Clary had never seen Jace like this. His body language was all the same, but his golden eyes that she gets lost in, looked sad and confused and hurt. Clary felt like she was going to vomit all over the concrete at any moment.

She tore her eyes away from him and looked at the floor again. “Clary, look at me,” he said, his voice was wavering, but there was a sharp tone to it that made Clary peer up at him. “You haven’t told me everything about, about what happened when I wasn’t …myself, have you?”

Clary bit her lip and shut her eyes. “I told you everything that was important.”

“And how is your safety and well-being not important?” He asked angrily, causing Clary to wince.

“It’s over, done with, in the past, nothing that you need to worry about now, okay?” She replied, her voice coming out stronger than she felt. She opened her eyes to see Jace giving her the most incredulous look. It was a look that Jace rarely used with her.

“Really, Clary? You want to play that card?” She could tell that as the seconds went by that he was getting angrier and angrier. “Tell me what happened.”

“I don’t want to tell you what happened,” Clary exclaimed, her voice cracking a little. She could see the heavenly light glowing off of him, which she knew that she had to fix fast. She didn’t know what would happen if he burned up too fast, and she didn’t want to find out.

“What are you so afraid of, Clary?” He asked more gently, noticing that Clary was getting upset.

Clary put her head into her knees, squishing her face against her kneecaps. She didn’t know how to respond because she truly didn’t understand what she was actually scared of. She kept her face buried in her knees as she kept talking, gripping her hands together around her legs to prevent them from shaking. “I don’t know; I don’t want you to see me as a different person, so I guess what I’m most afraid of is your reaction.”

“Look at me,” Jace whispered precisely. Clary lifted her head up as her hair fell in front of her face. She could feel the tears starting to swell up in her eyes and cursed internally. “There is nothing in the world that you could say that could change the way I feel about you. I don’t even think it’s possible for me to love you any less. Okay? So no matter what happened, know that I will always love you and that will never change.”

Clary couldn’t help but notice how stunning he looked even with angry scratches covering his face. She knew that he was telling the truth from the way that he looked at her as he tried to do anything possible to get closer to her. She took a shaky breath and looked up at the ceiling. She rested the crown of her head on the wall behind her. There was no way that she could look at him while talking without totally falling apart.

“I almost killed him that night while you were at the Burren, waiting for the ritual to begin. I had a shard of glass at his throat, just millimetres away from his neck.” She shook her head and rolled her eyes. “But I couldn’t do it. He reminded me that he was connected to you, and I couldn’t even imagine a life without you, so I couldn’t do it. The look on his face made me want crawl into a hole and hide. He was so overjoyed.” She stopped to rub her hands over her eyes. “He kept saying over and over how I belonged to him and telling me information about royal bloodlines to make me think that what he was feeling was even remotely okay. I was trapped underneath him, and he began playing with the button at my jeans, and I hate to admit it, but I am terrified about what’s going to happen when he comes back because he said that he wanted to finish what he tried to start-” Clary broke off, tears were finally making their way down her face as she tried to catch her breath. They were flowing down her face as fast as the weight of telling him what had happened was coming off of her shoulders. Something that she had been carrying around for weeks now.

Silence filled the room other than Clary’s quiet sobs. She removed her hands from her eyes to look up at Jace through the tears that were still making their way down her cheeks. His teeth were gritted together and his eyebrows were furrowed. She could see the glow on his skin becoming more prominent now as he took in the new information. “Please say something,” Clary pleaded, noticing that his silence was worse than any other way he could have responded.

“I am so sorry, Clary,” Jace croaked, shaking his head back and forth.

“It’s not your fault, Jace. There was nothing you could have done to prevent it,” she whispered, bringing her hands up to wipe the tears off of her face.

“I know,” he said frustratingly, rubbing his palm harshly against his forehead. “But I’m supposed to protect you and be there for you, and I wasn’t. I mean, I know that I couldn’t have done anything to change what happened, but I should have noticed something these past couple of weeks. We spend so much time together and I didn’t even realize how much you were probably hurting. You’ve been keeping this all on yourself, and for that I am so sorry,” he finished, a look of pure self-hatred and sadness plastered onto his face.

“You don’t need to apologize. You have been there for me in all the ways that I needed, so don’t you dare think poorly of yourself.”

Jace was still shaking his head, looking straight at her. His golden strands of hair were stuck to the side of his face. “Did you honestly think that the way that demon acted,” he continued, pointing at the door. “Would change how much I love you?”

Clary shrugged in response, not knowing what to say. She looked down at her paint-splattered converse and played with the holes in her jeans.

Jace sighed. “I wish I knew what you were thinking, right now and all of the time,” he said, looking at her with wonder and resting his head on his hand.

“That’s a bit creepy, Jace,” she said, the corner of her mouth lifting up as she looked at him out of the corner of her eyes.

Jace laughed and closed his eyes momentarily. “You know what I mean. What are you thinking right now?”

Clary pursed her lips and shook her head. Her eyes narrowed and that feeling of tears overwhelmed her again as her thoughts pushed her back into reality. Jace, seeing the way she was acting, knew immediately what was going on inside her head. “I will never let him touch you again, Clary, alright? I’ll kill him before he even comes close to touching you.”

Clary shook her head faster from side to side, shutting her eyes tightly. “You won’t be able to do anything when he comes back, Jace. You’re chained up and what Sebastian wants, Sebastian gets.”

“Clary,” Jace began, but she cut him off before he could continue.

“No, Jace, I’m being realistic and I am trying to prepare myself for what’s ahead, and false hope isn’t going to do that.”

Clary knew that she was being very negative with the situation that they were currently in, but the past couple of days were taking their toll on her, and there was nothing that she wanted more than to be able to go home. “Hope is all we have right now, Clary,” he whispered, while a sad smile grew on his face.

She looked at him again and nodded her head. “I know.” Before she could continue the door creaked open. Clary squinted as the light from outside poured over her and her heart started to slam in her chest. When the door slammed shut she was surprised to see that it, in fact, wasn’t Sebastian.

Relief washed over her when she saw a shorter woman in the darkness. She heard Jace struggle with the chains in the corner and waited for her eyes to adjust back to the darkness, but before she could, there was a firm and harsh grip on her forearm. Clary attempted to pull her arm away, but the small hand was holding on tightly. She looked up again, after her eyes adjusted to the light, to see a familiar face. “Amatis?” Clary asked in amazement. She knew that Amatis had to be around here somewhere, but she was shocked that Sebastian would let anyone else down here.

Amatis didn’t say anything back, but instead took out a small key and commenced putting the key within the locks on the shingles. Clary instantly stopped struggling after realizing what she was doing. Clary then rubbed at her bruised, red wrist and waited for Amatis to finish taking the rest of them off.

After she was free of her shingles, Clary stood up hesitantly to stand in front of Amatis, and was momentarily thrown off by the resemblance of Luke and Amatis. Luke. She looked away to clear her head and then looked back at Amatis, wearing her red gear.

“What’s going on?” Clary asked dryly, still rubbing her wrists.

“Sebastian told me to let you out of your restraints,” she replied with no emotion in her voice.

“Oh, so Sebastian has finally realized that I’m not a dog, who can be put on a leash?” Clary retorted mockingly. She heard Jace snicker behind them and realized that she could finally go and touch him again. She started to make her way towards him when a hand pushed against her chest, causing her to stumble back to where she was previously standing.

“Just so we’re clear,” Amatis told her without hesitation. Her hand was still pressed into Clary’s collarbone. “If you decide to have one of you ‘heroic’ moments, that you two seem to like having,” she commented, looking between the two. “I won’t hesitate to hang you to the ceiling by your fingers. And if Sebastian has a problem with that then instead I will do it to your precious little boyfriend.” There was no emotion in her voice at all; it remained monotone the entire time.

Clary couldn’t keep biting her tongue anymore as that same resemblance thought returned to her head. “This isn’t you Amatis,” Clary said sadly, shaking her head. “Luke wouldn’t want this. You wouldn’t want this.”

Amatis removed her hand from Clary slowly, never once shifting her gaze. “You have no idea what I want.”

“I know that you would never want to be led by Sebastian. You would have rather died than take orders from him.”

“I’m not going to listen to this,” she said, turning towards the door. “The Clave was clouding my judgement back then, but Sebastian has made things so much clearer. I owe everything to him.” She opened the door, while light, once again, poured into the room. “Sebastian will be back soon, so be ready to do whatever he tells you to do if you know what’s best for you and Jace. Don’t get any funny ideas Clarissa,” she ended, closing and locking the door with a loud slam.

As soon as she heard the door close, Clary ran over to Jace and landed in his arms. She wrapped her arms around his muscular body and leaned her head into his shoulder. He embraced her as well and kissed the top of her forehead. She was sitting in his lap now and when she loosened her arms to look up at him, he was already staring down at her. “I know you’ve been right across the room from me this whole time, but I have missed you so much, and it feels like it’s been forever since I did this,” he finished, leaning in quickly to capture her lips with his own. Both of his hands cupped her face as her hands went up to his shoulders. She closed her eyes and tried to forget everything that was going on around her, so that she could just focus on this moment. She hadn’t even realized how much she craved this until now, it felt like years since the last time she was able to touch him, hold him, kiss him.

Jace released her lips reluctantly, needing air, but kept his hands on her face. He looked down into her eyes as if she were the only thing that mattered in the world. “I love you,” she whispered. He gave a sweet smile in return, which was all the response that she needed. She turned around so that her back was now leaning against his stomach. His head was resting on top of hers and her made slow circles up her arms with his fingers. “Jace?”

“Yeah?” He asked, worried.

“Do I weigh you down?” She asked, rubbing her lips together.

Jace hesitated before responding, stopping the movement up and down her arms. “You can’t listen to what he says. You can’t let him get to you.”

“You didn’t answer the question,” she noted, disappointed.

“Clary, you’re only in training, you can’t compare yourself to Alec, Izzy, and I. We’ve been doing this for our whole lives.”

“So, your answer would be yes,” she confirmed, turning so that she was facing him.

“You’ll get there eventually, Clary,” he replied, placing his hand gently on her arm in reassurance. Clary nodded, but didn’t say anything to respond. “Clary,” he said, beginning to apologize until Clary spoke again.

“No, Jace, I get it. I’m not mad,” she said, ending with a small smile.

“You aren’t weak though Clary. You’re the strongest person that I’ve ever met,” he stated, brushing her cheek with the back of his hand. “And don’t even think for a moment that my life would be easier without you in it. If anything it would be harder. You’ve made me such a better person, and I don’t think that I’ll ever be able to repay you for that.”

Clary leaned into him once again; her lips were so close to his and their foreheads were touching. She wove her hand up to the top of his head to grip his hair gently. “You already have,” she whispered before she closed the little of amount of space between them to kiss him again. It was as if she could never get enough of him; of the feeling of being with him. The kiss began to get more heated as Jace reached his arms around her waist to pull her chest against his own. He slipped his hands under the hem of her shirt, and rested his hands on her bare skin. They both froze with their lips still touching when the door creaked open once again. She shut her eyes securely and held on to Jace tighter as if being close to him could shield her away from the nightmare that was walking through the door.

Simon looked up from the table that he, Alec, and Magnus were sitting at in the dining room to see Isabelle walking down the stairs. She looked way better with some sleep than she did the other day. She pulled the chair out, which made a squeaking sound against the hardwood, and sat down next to Simon and across from Alec. “Okay, I’m ready,” she confirmed with a nod of her head.

“Alright what’s our plan? How do we find Jace and Clary?” Simon asked, looking at Alec.

“Magnus?” Alec asked, shifting his gaze.

“Well, I can’t track them anymore, they won’t show up.”

“If you were an evil, disgusting demon where would you go in Idris?” Isabelle asked everybody at the table, holding her hands together on top of the wooden surface.

Everyone was quiet, thinking, not knowing where to suggest first. “Lake Lyn,” Alec whispered to himself.

“What?” Isabelle asked, not hearing what he had just said.

“Lake Lyn,” he said again more clearly.

“Why there?” Simon questioned, shaking his head slightly in confusion. “Out of every possible place in Idris?”

“I mean think about it,” Alec said, getting more excited as he worked the pieces out in his mind. “That’s where Valentine died. That’s where he almost succeeded in his ritual. That’s the place where the Angel Raziel rose. It makes perfect sense. Sebastian isn’t a sentimental person, but if he cared about anyone’s approval it would be Valentine’s. That’s what he tried to prove his whole life. He probably wants to finish his own plan where Valentine left off.”

Isabelle nodded her head. “You’re right. It’s worth a shot,” she said, exhaling and looking at her brother still. “We should leave within the hour to go search, so get ready, and pack anything that we may need.”

After Alec nodded his head in approval Isabelle stood up from the chair, ready to leave the room to get prepared herself, when Alec’s voice stopped her. “What happened to your neck?”

Her back was facing him, but Simon could tell from his angle that she was blushing and that her eyes grew a bit wider. She was opening her mouth looking for something to say, while Simon looked down at the floor and bit his lip, scared to look at his girlfriend’s overprotective brother.

“N-nothing,” she stuttered, reaching up to touch where Simon had bitten her the previous night. “I must have scratched myself in my sleep or something. Don’t worry about it,” she concluded, starting to climb up the stairs and never once turning around to face her brother. If she did, he would have been able to tell that she was lying almost instantly by the blush painted on her face. Alec didn’t question her again, but when Simon looked up he saw that his eyes were narrowed and still watching Isabelle walk up the stairs.

“Okay,” Alec murmured to himself in confusion. He stood up from his chair at the same time that Magnus did and was caught off guard. They both looked at each other for a couple of seconds, which felt like a lifetime in Simon’s eyes. He felt as if he were imposing on a private, intimate moment.

There was something in the way that they looked at each other that was confusing to Simon. He couldn’t quite place his finger on it. Was it affection? No, it was something more serious than that. There was a tension held within the air that snapped like a rubber band when Alec spoke again. “I’m going to go get ready,” he said, never once shifting his gaze from Magnus’. He turned his head and body sharply to look at the floor and went to walk up the stairs where Isabelle had just previously left.

Magnus walked around the table to leave as well, but Simon stopped him before he had the chance to leave the room. “Wait,” he said, standing up as well to face Magnus who was turning around.

Magnus exhaled in annoyance. “What do you want, Samuel?”

Simon sighed and rolled his eyes. “It still and always will be just Simon,” he noted, raising his eyebrows.

“Mm-hm,” Magnus said smugly in response.

“Look, I just wanted to thank you,” Simon continued, shifting his eye sight between the ground and Magnus.

“For what?”

“For helping us,” Simon said. “For doing everything you can to help find Clary and Jace, even though you don’t have to.”

“I made a promise a long time ago to Jocelyn, that I would be there for her daughter whenever she needed it, and I’m sticking to that promise,” he said confidently, sticking his chin up in the air a little bit.

“I know, but it has to be uncomfortable for you, given the circumstances…” Simon ended in a whisper, not wanting to make Magnus angry.

“If you are referring to Alexander, then know that our complications will never get in the way of my job and those same complications really shouldn’t be any of your concern.” Magnus turned to walk away; his boots made an echoing sound on the ground and little pieces of glitter flew from his hair.

“Do you still love him?” Simon asked with a clear voice. Magnus froze in mid-stride, unmoving.

“What?” Magnus asked breathily, turning around slowly to face Simon again.

“Do you still love him?” Simon repeated.

Magnus hesitated and looked at the ground. “I don’t think I could ever stop,” he said quietly, just loud enough for Simon to hear him. Simon noticed the pain that was held within his voice, and he knew that Alec had pained him badly. Magnus was hurt, but he was only hurt because he cared deeply for Alec.

Simon stepped closer to him. “Then if I were you I would tell him that. I know what it’s like to hold in feelings for years; it sucks, and if you wait too long he will move on. Trust me,” he finished, pushing past Magnus to wait in the living room for the others.

Isabelle closed her door with her bag slung over her shoulder and walked towards her father’s room. She took a deep breath and knocked against the wooden door loudly with the palm of her knuckles when someone touched her shoulder. She turned her head around to see Alec standing behind her with a questioning look on his face. What are you doing? He mouthed to her, but she just shook her head and didn’t respond.

“Come in,” said the voice of her father from the other side of the door.

She opened the door slowly and stepped into the room; Alec standing close behind her. She saw their father lying down on his bed, and reading a book. She squinted, trying to make out the title, but she couldn’t see anything from where she was standing. He set the book down on the table next to the still broken picture and stood up to walk closer to them.

As soon as he started to get a couple feet away from her she stepped backwards and closer to Alec, clutching the strap of her bag with both hands. She looked at him with a glare and saw him stop suddenly, noticing her change in body language. “Not that you would care, but I wanted to let you know that we’re leaving to go save them, or to try to anyways.”

“Isabelle,” Alec said in a warning tone from behind them, but Isabelle ignored him and kept talking.

“I just wanted to let you know because, unlike you, I like to tell people what’s going on and not leave them questioning.”

Robert stepped closer to Isabelle and quickly placed his hands on her shoulders, not letting her step away from him. “I love you, Isabelle,” he said, then looked at Alec. “I love both of you, and don’t you ever think that I won’t.”

Isabelle stepped away from him and almost bumped into Alec, never once dropping her gaze from her father’s; no matter how badly she wanted to look away. “If you really loved us as much as you say you do then you wouldn’t have left us the moment that we needed you the most,” she said sharply as she turned away from her father and out of the room, listening to hear Alec walking behind her quietly.

“Isabelle,” Robert said from the door frame, looking at both her and Alec on the other end of the hall. She didn’t turn around to look at him. “We need to talk about this as soon as you get back, all three of us, Jace included. We have to work this out before things in Alicante get worse.”

“Of course Dad,” she said into the opposite end of the hallway. “We wouldn’t want the city to get worse, would we?”

Isabelle ran down the stairs, not letting her father say anything more, and leaving Alec and Robert standing in the hallway with blank faces. How could the city get any more broken than our family is? She didn’t look back.

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