Jace’s peircing, golden eyes glinted in the harsh lighting of the institute. As he leapt high in the air, his blade shimmered beautifully, light ripelling down the damascus pattern. He landed directly in front of Alec and brought his shimmering dagger up to Alec’s throat. Alec saw this move coming and also brought his dagger up to parry the attack. While Jace was occupied with the parry, Alec thrusted the blade in his other hand into Jace’s unprotected stomach. They smiled crookedly at each other before vaulting into a complicated series of leaps and bounds, which resulted in Jace crashing down on Alec’s docile form with his blade at his throat. A cackle rose from Jace’s throat. “You never were as good as me.” He joked lightly. “Ha. You wish.” Alec laughed as he fllipped Jace over, putting him in a hold.
Their playfight was interrupted by the heavy institute doors opening, revealing a beautiful woman, clad in a revealing shirt and tight, leather pants. Her ruby red lips turned upwards into a broad smile when she entered the training room. “You never stop do you, boys?”
“You know us. Work hard, play hard, Iz.” Came Alec’s reply, still pinning Jace to the ground.
“Well I’ve got someone to meet you here...”
“Dang the newbie’s here already?” Jace said as he heaved himself up from under Alec. “Jace! She has a name, you know.” She berrated him as he chuckled to himself. “You can come out, if you like.” Isabelle said as she looked behind her. From behind her, a head of purple hair appeared.“I- uh wow.” She said, readjusting her glasses. Isabelle moved aside and put her arm around the newcomer. Her mahogany eyes twinkled as she advanced into the room, the stranger in tow. “This is Louise Lastwell. She just came from the London institute.”
Jace’s fair locks slipped from their usual slicked-back style and dangled down onto his face as he clambered down from the training platform. He extended a lightly scarred hand towards her. She looked at it, thoughtfully. It had small scars covering it. The palm was rough and caloused, yet hiding a touch of gentle softness. Despite the apparent roughness and wear on the hand, the nails and cuticles were immaculate. Cautiously, she raised her own hand and shook his.
He smiled a dazzling grin. “I’m Jace. Also known as the handsome one.” He purred with a wink.
At that moment, Alec jumped down and joined them. “Oh, please. Who calls you that?”
“Clary used to.”
“But not anymore, thankfully. And we don’t need Louise here doing it, either.” Jace looked like he was about to say something, then stopped himself when he heard a chuckle come from Isabelle.
“Oh aren’t you two boys just so adorable, fighting over the new girl. Come on, hun. Lets leave them to it and I’ll take you to meet Clary and then we can go to my favourite place.” Isabelle smiled and put an arm around Louise as they turned away.
As they walked down the hallway, Isabelle glanced at Louise sideways. “Sooo, what d’ya think about this place? And more importantly what d’ya think about the boys?”
“They’re both uh. Well um you know.” She smiled tellingly.
“I knew it!” She yelled enthusiastically. Her eyes grew wide. “Who do you prefer?” At that, Louise was taken aback and simply stuttered and mumbled incoherently. Isabelle giggled again. After that, they wallked in companionable silence.
The library was empty, save two souls pouring over old manuscripts. They looked up when they heard the unmistakable click clack of Isabelle’s heels on the tiled floor. “Hey guys. Guess who I brought?” She greeted them with a large grin. A girl with carrot-orange hair came running towards them. She greeted Isabelle first with a loving hug and a soft kiss. Then, she hurried to Louise and smothered her in a hug. She smelled like flowers on a summers day. Her jade eyes seemed to glow in the harsh overhead lights. “You must be Louise.” She stated.
“Heh, yeah. I guess I’m well-known here already.” At that, Clary smiled and linked hands with Isabelle before adding, “Oh, I’m Clary, by the way. Sorry I forgot to say.”
Louise smiled but her eyes weren’t on Clary anymore. Her eyes were, in fact on the young man approaching the girls. He was average height with charcoal black hair and dazzling hickory brown eyes. His skin had a slightly pale hue to it. Unlike the others, who were dressed up in all sorts of leather, he simply had on a black t-shirt and jeans. And strangest of all, he had no runes. She knew what he was immediately. Downlworlder. No mundane would be in the institute.
When he got to her, he offered his hand and she took it, without hesitation. “Simon. Simon Lewis. Pleased to meet you. You’re uh... I mean wow. A-and I mean that in the nicest, most sincere way possible.” She giggled nervously “Then I’ll take it as a compliment.” Isabelle turned to Clary.
“What’s Simon doing here, hun?”
“Just helping me with some research, Iz” When Louise looked at them, perplexed, Clary clarified. “Downworlders aren’t really supposed to be in the institute.” She nodded in understanding and looked curiously to Simon. “So what type of downworlder are you?” He grinned suddenly baring a set of long, elegant fangs. Her eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Huh.” But, she couldn’t tear her gaze away.
Isabelle’s voice broke her from her reverie. “Come on then. I’ll show you my favourite place in the institute. Simon, the sun should be coming up soon. You can come with us if you like, though.” It was a struggle to tear his eyes away from Louise’s, but he managed it. She could see the longing in them, the desire to stay. “N-no I best not risk it.” His voice rang with disapointment.
“Alright. See ya later, then.” Isabelle said, already turning away. Clary waved and smiled goodbye to him, but his attention wasn’t on either of them. “Goodbye, Louise. I uh hope I’ll see you soon.” His voice wavered, but rang true with hope. She smiled sweetly at him. “Yeah me too.” She turned and walked away, following the two others, who were walking hand in hand.
Once they were out of earshot of the library, a mischievous grin grew on Isabelle’s face. “Sooo... I think I need to ask that question about boys again.” Clary swatted her shoulder playfully. “Don’t tease her, Iz.”
“Oh, come on. I’m just being friendly. So? What did you think about Simon?”
“I- uh- I didn’t realiseit was that obvious.” She murmured, blushing.
“Well some of us have certain... skills in this department.” She said, winking at Clary, before adding, ” It was adorable. Ya know I have a feeing he feels the same way.”
“Uh... isn’t it too soon to tell?”
“Hm, maybe, but like I said... certain skills. And besides if the attraction’s there, the attraction’s there.” She whispered, tapping her temple and lightly squeezing Clary’s hand.
The doors whooshed open. “Ah here we are. My favourite room.” As Isabelle said it, Clary couldn’t stop herself from smiling at her. “Sh-should I be scared that your favourite room in the whole institute is where the weapons are stored?” Isabelle laughed heartily and Clary chuckled.
“Hm maybe.” She teased.
“Nah, Izzy’s harmless as long as you’re on her good side. As soon as you cross that line, though, she’s lethal.” Clary replied, gazing lovingly at Isabelle.
“You got it, babe.”
“So why do you like it here so much?” Louise asked. Isabelle picked up a nearby knife. It shimmered beautifully in her hand with the light above transcendingly trickling over it. “This blade is made of damascus. Thats lengths of steel made into a billet and hammered flat and repeated until you get to the amount of lengths into the steel you want. It creates this beautiful pattern in the metal, but it takes skill, cratsmanship and most of all, time. This is one hundred and fifty count damascus. Thats one hundred and fifty lengths of steel heated up and hammered into one blade. And when its quenched, anything can go wrong. If its too hot or too cold, cacks, bends, delaminations... anything. And all that work for nothing. All that love for nothing... The amount of work and care and love that went into ths blade alone is unbelievable. I just think its beautiful.”
The entire time Isabelle was speaking, Clary was gazing at her, in awe. “Wow you’re right. It’s beautiful.” Louise stared at the blade, for the first time in her life, appreciating the handiwork of it.
“Hey Iz, ya know what else is beautiful?” Clary asked, still gazing at her.
“You.” Isabelle replied.
“No, silly. You.” Clary returned, booping her nose and kissing her forehead. She giggled and hugged Clary. “So, Louise, about Simon.” Isabelle’s brow furrowed.
“I thought you said not to tease her.”
“Who said I was teasing. I’m just asking a simple question.”
“As I was saying, if you like him, I can talk to him, if you like. Maybe set something up between you two. I see him a lot, so its no trouble.” Her face brightened at that.
“Y-you’d do that?”
“Then yes. Please. I would like that.”
“Aw and Jace will be so disappointed.” Isabelle smirked. She turned to Clary. “You should’ve seen them earlier, fighting over her. It was hilarious, hun.”
“I’ll bet it was.” She smiled.