“Valentine,” she corrected. “Why would you want to see him?”
“I thought maybe I could see what he was doing with the Mortal Cup,” he said reluctantly. “Where it was.”
“Jace, that’s not our responsibility anymore. Not our problem. Now that the Clave finally knows what happened, the Lightwoods are rushing back. Let them deal with it.”
Now he did look at her. She wondered how it was that they could be brother and sister and look so little alike. Couldn’t she at least have gotten the curling dark lashes or the angular cheekbones? It hardly seemed fair. He said, “When I looked through the Portal and saw Idris, I knew exactly what Valentine was trying to do, that he wanted to see if I’d break. And it didn’t matter—I still wanted to go home more badly than I could have imagined.”
She shook her head. “I don’t see what’s so great about Idris. It’s just a place. The way you and Hodge talk about it—” She broke off.
He closed his hand over the shard again. “I was happy there. It was the only place I was ever happy like that.”
Clary plucked a stem from a nearby bush and began to denude it of its leaves. “You felt sorry for Hodge. That’s why you didn’t tell Alec and Isabelle what he really did.”
“They’ll find out eventually, you know.”
“I know. But I won’t be the one who told them.”
“Jace …” The surface of the pond was green with fallen leaves. “How could you have been happy there? I know what you thought, but Valentine was a terrible father. He killed your pets, lied to you, and I know he hit you—don’t even try to pretend he didn’t.”
A flicker of a smile ghosted across Jace’s face. “Only on alternate Thursdays.”
“Then how could—”
“It was the only time I ever felt sure about who I was. Where I belonged. It sounds stupid, but …” He shrugged. “I kill demons because it’s what I’m good at and what I was taught to do, but it isn’t who I am. And I’m partly good at it because after I thought my father had died, I was—cut free. No consequences. No one to grieve. No one who had a stake in my life because they’d been part of giving it to me.” His face looked as if it had been carved out of something hard. “I don’t feel that way anymore.”
The stem was entirely denuded of leaves; Clary threw it aside. “Why not?”
“Because of you,” he said. “If it weren’t for you, I would have gone with my father through the Portal. If it weren’t for you, I would go after him right now.”
Clary stared down into the clogged pond. Her throat burned. “I thought I made you feel unsettled.”
“It’s been so long,” he said simply, “that I think I was unsettled by the idea of feeling like I belonged anywhere. But you made me feel like I belong.”
“I want you to go somewhere with me,” she said abruptly.
He looked at her sideways. Something about the way his light gold hair fell into his eyes made her feel unbearably sad. “Where?”
“I was hoping you’d come to the hospital with me.”
“I knew it.” His eyes narrowed until they looked like the edges of coins. “Clary, that woman—”
“She’s your mother too, Jace.”
“I know,” he said. “But she’s a stranger to me. I only ever had one parent, and he’s gone. Worse than dead.”
“I know. And I know there’s no point in telling you how great my mom is, what an amazing, terrific, wonderful person she is and that you’d be lucky to know her. I’m not asking this for you, I’m asking for me. I think if she heard your voice …”
“She might wake up.” She looked at him steadily.
He held her gaze, then broke it with a smile—crooked and a little battered, but a real smile. “Fine. I’ll go with you.” He stood up. “You don’t have to tell me good things about your mother,” he added. “I already know them.”
He shrugged slightly. “She raised you, didn’t she?” He glanced toward the glass roof. “The sun’s almost set.”
Clary got to her feet. “We should head out to the hospital. I’ll pay for the cab,” she added, as an afterthought. “Luke gave me some cash.”
“That won’t be necessary.” Jace’s smile widened. “Come on. I’ve got something to show you.”
“But where did you get it?” Clary demanded, staring at the motorcycle perched at the edge of the cathedral’s roof. It was a shiny poison green, with silver-rimmed wheels and bright flames painted on the seat.
“Magnus was complaining that someone had left it outside his house the last time he had a party,” said Jace. “I convinced him to give it to me.”
“And you flew it up here?” She was still staring.
“Uh-huh. I’m getting pretty good at it.” He swung a leg over the seat, and beckoned her to come and sit behind him. “Come on, I’ll show you.”
“Well, at least you know it works this time,” she said, getting on behind him. “If we crash into the parking lot of a Key Food, I’ll kill you, you know that?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” said Jace. “There are no parking lots on the Upper East Side. Why drive when you can get your groceries delivered?” The bike started with a roar, drowning out his laugh. Shrieking, Clary grabbed hold of his belt as the bike hurtled down the slanted roof of the Institute and launched itself into space.
The wind tore her hair as they rose up, up over the cathedral, up above the roofs of the nearby high-rises and apartment buildings. And there it was spread out before her like a carelessly opened jewelry box, this city more populous and more amazing than she had ever imagined: There was the emerald square of Central Park, where the faerie courts met on midsummer evenings; there were the lights of the clubs and bars downtown, where the vampires danced the nights away at Pandemonium; there the alleys of Chinatown down which the werewolves slunk at night, their coats reflecting the city’s lights. There walked warlocks in all their bat-winged, cat-eyed glory; and here, as they swung out over the river, she saw the darting flash of multicolored tails under the silvery skin of the water, the shimmer of long, pearl-strewn hair, and heard the high, rippling laughter of the mermaids.
Jace turned to look over his shoulder, the wind whipping his hair into tangles. “What are you thinking?” he called back to her.
“Just how different everything down there is now, you know, now that I can see.”
“Everything down there is exactly the same,” he said, angling the cycle toward the East River. They were heading toward the Brooklyn Bridge again. “You’re the one that’s different.”
Her hands tightened convulsively on his belt as they dipped lower and lower over the river. “Jace!”
“Don’t worry.” He sounded maddeningly amused. “I know what I’m doing. I won’t drown us.”
She squinted her eyes against the tearing wind. “Are you testing what Alec said about some of these bikes being able to go underwater?”
“No.” He leveled the bike out carefully as they rose from the river’s surface. “I think that’s just a story.”
“But, Jace,” she said. “All the stories are true.”
She didn’t hear him laugh, but she felt it, vibrating through his rib cage and into her fingertips. She held on tightly as he angled the cycle up, gunning it so that it shot forward and darted up the side of the bridge like a bird freed from a cage. Her stomach dropped out from under her as the silver river spun away and the spires of the bridge slid under her feet, but this time Clary kept her eyes open, so that she could see it all.