They landed at Simon's feet. "Take your clothes and go!" Isabelle shouted.
"Why did he kiss you?" she said.
He kissed each finger, and with each one of them spoken a word. Five kisses, five words. His last.
"He's not feeling well," Clary said, catching at Simon's wrist. "We're going."
"No," Simon said. "No, I — I need to talk to him. To the Inquisitor."
Robert reached into his jacket and drew out a crucifix. Clary stared in shock as he held it up between himself and Simon. "I speak to the Night’s Children Council representative, or to the head of the New York clan," he said. "Not to any vampire who comes to knock at my door—"
Simon reached out and plucked the cross out of Robert's hand. "Wrong religion," he said.
“Oh, God,” Magnus said. “They’re dead. They’re all dead.”
A rune, hovering like an angel: a shape like two wings joined by a single bar
“Clary,” Jocelyn said. “I want you to meet Tessa Gray.”
The way Magnus' breath had sounded, rattling in his chest, before he'd said his father's name.
Alec pulled his knees up to his chest and looked thoughtfully at Jace. “I know,” he said. “I’m not jealous. I always knew, from the first, that everyone thought you were better than me. My dad thought it. The Clave thought it. Izzy and Max looked up to you as the great warrior they wanted to be like. But the day you asked me to be your parabatai, I knew you meant that you trusted me enough to ask me to help you. You were telling me that you weren’t this lone and self-sufficient warrior able to do everything alone. You needed me. So I realized that there was one person who didn’t assume you were better than me. You.”
Not much had changed at Magnus’s since the first time Jace had been there. Jace used an open rune to get through the front door and took the stairs, buzzing Magnus’s apartment bell. It was safer that way because Magnus could be playing video games naked or really anything. Magnus yanked the door open, looking furious. He was wearing a black silk dressing gown, his feet were bare, his dark hair was tangled, “What are you doing here?”
“My,” said Jace, “You’re so unwelcoming.”
“That’s because you’re not welcome.”
“I thought we were friends,” said Jace.
“No, you’re Alec’s friend, Alec was my boyfriend so I had to put up with you. But now he’s not my boyfriend so I don’t have to put up with you.”
“I think you should get back together with Alec,” said Jace.
Magnus looked at him, “And why is that?”
A parabatai. Like he was. And Jace knew, too, what that faded rune meant: a parabatai whose other half was dead. He felt his sympathy leap toward Brother Zachariah, as he imagined himself without Alec, with only that faded rune to remind him where once he had been bonded to someone who knew all the best and worst parts of his soul.
Jem: Come in.
Jace: Where's Brother Zachariah?
Jem: I'm right here. Jace Herondale. And once more a Herondale is the object of my deliverance. I should have anticipated.
"Did Brother Zachariah just steal our cat?"
The Frays had never been a religiously observant family, but Clary loved Fifth Avenue at Christmas time. The air smelled like sweet roasted chestnuts, and the window displays sparkled with silver and blue, green and red. This year there were fat round crystal snowflakes attached to each lamppost, sending back the winter sunlight in shafts of gold[B1] . Not to mention the huge tree at Rockefeller Center. It threw its shadow across them as she and Simon draped themselves over the gate at the side of the skating rink, watching tourists fall down as they tried to navigate the ice.
Clary had a hot chocolate wrapped in her hands, the warmth spreading through her body. She felt almost normal—this, coming to Fifth to see the window displays and the tree, had been a winter tradition for her and Simon for as long as she could remember.
“Feels like old times, doesn’t it?” he said, echoing her thoughts as he propped his chin on his folded arms.
She chanced a sideways look at him. He was wearing a black topcoat and scarf that emphasized the winter pallor of his skin. His eyes were shadowed, indicating that he hadn’t fed on blood recently. He looked like what he was—a hungry, tired vampire.
Well, she thought. Almost like old times. “More people to buy presents for,” she said. “Plus, the always traumatic what-to-buy-someone-for-the-first-Christmas-after-you’ve-started-dating question.”
“What to get the Shadowhunter who has everything,” Simon said with a grin.
“Jace mostly likes weapons,” Clary sighed. “He likes books, but they have a huge library at the Institute. He likes classical music …” She brightened. Simon was a musician; even though his band was terrible, and was always changing their name—currently they were Lethal Soufflé—he did have training. “What would you give someone who likes to play the piano?”
“A really huge metronome that could also double as a weapon?”
Clary sighed, exasperated.
“Sheet music. Rachmaninoff is tough stuff, but he likes a challenge.”
“Now you’re talking. I’m going to see if there’s a music store around here.” Clary, done with her hot chocolate, tossed the cup into a nearby trash can and pulled her phone out. “What about you? What are you giving Isabelle?”
“I have absolutely no idea,” Simon said. They had started heading toward the avenue, where a steady stream of pedestrians gawking at the windows clogged the streets.
“Oh, come on. Isabelle’s easy.”
“That’s my girlfriend you’re talking about.” Simon’s brows drew together. “I think. I’m not sure. We haven’t discussed it. The relationship, I mean.”
“You really have to DTR, Simon.”
“Define the relationship. What it is, where it’s going. Are you boyfriend and girlfriend, just having fun, ‘it’s complicated,’ or what? When’s she going to tell her parents? Are you allowed to see other people?”
Simon blanched. “What? Seriously?”
“Seriously. In the meantime—perfume!” Clary grabbed Simon by the back of his coat and hauled him into a cosmetics store that had once been a bank. It was massive on the inside, with rows of gleaming bottles everywhere. “And something unusual,” she said, heading for the fragrance area. “Isabelle isn’t going to want to smell like everyone else. She’s going to want to smell like figs, or vetiver, or—”
“Figs? Figs have a smell?” Simon looked horrified; Clary was about to laugh at him when her phone buzzed. It was her mother.
"Where are you? It’s an emergency."