"I never had to fake caring about Jace."
She saw something flash in his eyes then, a dark jealousy, and she wasn't even sure who he was jealous of. He put his lips against her cheek, close enough that she felt them move against her skin when he spoke. "You screwed us over," he murmured. His hand was around her left arm like a vise; slowly he began to move it down. "Probably literally screwed Jace over-"
She couldn't help it, she flinched. She felt him inhale sharply. "You did," he said. "You slept with him." He sounded almost betrayed.
"It's none of your business."
He caught at her face, turning her to look at him, fingers digging into her chin. "You can't screw someone into being good. Nicely heartless move, though." His lovely mouth curved into a cold smile. "You know he doesn't remember any of it, right? Did he show you a good time, at least? Because I would have."
She tasted bile in her throat. "You're my brother."
"Those words don't mean anything where we're concerned. We aren't human. Their rules don't apply to us. Stupid laws about what DNA can be mixed with what. Hypocritical, really, considering. We're already experiments. The rulers of ancient Egypt used to marry their siblings, you know. Cleopatra married her brother. Strengthens the bloodline."
She looked at him with loathing. "I knew you were crazy," she said. "But I didn't realize you were absolutely, spectactularly out of your goddamned mind."
"Oh, I don't think there's anything crazy about it. Who do we belong with but each other?"
"Jace," she said. "I belong with Jace."
He made a dismissive noise. "You can have Jace."
"I thought you needed him."
"I do. But not for what you need him for." His hands were suddenly on her waist. "We can share him. I don't care what you do. As long as you know you belong to me."
She raised her hands, meaning to shove him away. "I don't belong to you. I belong to me."
The look in his eyes froze her in place. "I think you know better than that," he said, and brought his mouth down on hers, hard.
For a moment she was back in Idris, standing in front of the burned Fairchild manor, and Sebastian was kissing her, and she felt as if she were falling into darkness, into a tunnel that had no end. At the time she'd thought there was something wrong with her. That she couldn't kiss anyone but Jace. That she was broken.
Now she knew better. Sebastian's mouth moved on hers, as hard and cold as a razor-slice in the dark, and she raised herself up on the tips of her toes, and bit down hard on his lip.
He yelled and spun away from her, his hand to his mouth. She could taste his blood, bitter copper; it dripped down his chin as he stared at her with incredulous eyes. "You-"
She whirled and kicked him, hard, in the stomach, hoping it was still sore from where she'd punched him before. As he doubled up, she shot by him, running for the stairs. She was halfway there when she felt him grab her by the back of her collar. He swung her around as if he were swinging a baseball bat, and flung her at the wall. She hit it hard and sank to her knees, the breath knocked out of her.
Sebastian started toward her, his hands flexing at his sides, his eyes shimmering black like a shark's. He looked terrifying; Clary knew she ought to be frightened, but a cold, glassy detachment had come over her. Time seemed to have slowed. She remembered the fight in the junk shop in Prague, how she had disappeared into her own world where each movement was as precise as the movement of a watch. Sebastian reached down toward her, and she pushed up, off the ground, sweeping her legs sideways, knocking his feet out from under him.
He fell forward, and she rolled out of the way, bouncing to her feet. She didn't bother trying to run this time. Instead she grabbed the porcelain vase off the table and, as Sebastian rose to his feet, swung it at his head. It shattered, spraying water and leaves, and he staggered back, blood blooming against his white-silver hair.
He snarled and sprang at her. It was like being slammed by a wrecking ball. Clary flew backward, smashing through the glass tabletop, and hit the ground in an explosion of shards and agony. She screamed as Sebastian landed on top of her, driving her body down into the shattered glass, his lips drawn back in a snarl. He brought his arm down backhanded and cracked her across the face. Blood blinded her; she choked on the taste of it in her mouth, and its salt stung her eyes. She jerked up her knee, catching him in the stomach, but it was like kicking a wall. He grabbed her hands, forcing them down by her sides.
"Clary, Clary, Clary," he said. He was gasping. At least she'd winded him. Blood ran in a slow trickle from a gash on the side of his head, staining his hair scarlet. "Not bad. You weren't much of a fighter back in Idris."
"Get off me-"
He moved his face close to hers. His tongue darted out. She tried to jerk away but couldn't move fast enough as he licked the blood off the side of her face, and grinned. The grin split his lip, and more blood ran in a trickle down his chin. "You asked me who I belong to," he whispered. "I belong to you. Your blood is my blood, your bones my bones. The first time you saw me, I looked familiar, didn't I? Just like you looked familiar to me."
She gaped at him. "You're out of your mind."
"It's in the Bible," he said. "The Song of Solomon. 'Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.'" His fingers brushed her throat, looping into the chain there, the chain that had held the Morgenstern ring. She wondered if he would crush her windpipe. "'I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love.'" His blood dripped onto her face. She held herself still, her body humming with the effort, as his hand slipped from her throat, along her side, to her waist. His fingers slid inside the waistband of her jeans. His skin was hot, burning; she could feel that he wanted her.
"You don't love me," she said. Her voice was thin; he was crushing the air from her lungs. She remembered what her mother had said, that every emotion Sebastian showed was a pretense. Her thoughts were clear as crystal; she silently thanked the battle euphoria for doing what it had to do and keeping her focused while Sebastian sickened her with his touch.
"And you don't care that I'm your brother," he said. "I know how you felt about Jace, even when you thought he was your brother. You can't lie to me."
"Jace is better than you."
"No one's better than me." He grinned, all white teeth and blood. "'A garden enclosed is my sister,'" he said. "'A spring shut up, a fountain sealed.' But not anymore, right? Jace took care of that." He fumbled at the button on her jeans, and she took advantage of his distraction to seize up a good-size triangular piece of glass from the ground and slam the jagged edge of it into his shoulder.
The glass slid along her fingers, slicing them open. He yelled, jerking back, but more in surprise than pain; the gear protected him. She slashed the glass down harder, this time into his thigh, and when he reared back, she drove her other elbow into his throat. He went sideways, choking, and she rolled, pinning him under her as she yanked the bloody glass free of his leg. She drove the shard down toward the pulsing vein in his neck-and stopped.
He was laughing. He lay under her, and he was laughing, his laughter vibrating up through her own body. His skin was spattered with blood-her blood, dripping down on him, his own blood where she had cut him, his silver-white hair matted with it. He let his arms fall to either side of him, outstretched like wings, a broken angel, fallen out of the sky.
He said, "Kill me, little sister. Kill me, and you kill Jace, too."
She brought the glass shard down.
Chapter 20: A Door into the Dark
Clary screamed aloud in pure frustration as the shard of glass embedded itself in the wooden floor, inches from Sebastian's throat.
She felt him laugh underneath her. "You can't do it," he said. "You can't kill me."
"To hell with you," she snarled. "I can't kill Jace."
"Same thing," he said, and, sitting up so fast she barely saw him move, he belted her across the face with enough force to send her skidding across the glass-strewn floor. Her slide was arrested when she hit the wall, gagged, and coughed blood. She buried her head against her forearm, the taste and smell of her own blood everywhere, sickening and metallic. A moment later Sebastian's hand was fisted in her jacket and he was hauling her to her feet.
She didn't fight him. What was the point? Why fight someone when they were willing to kill you and they knew you weren't willing to kill, or even seriously wound, them? They'd always win. She stood still as he examined her. "Could be worse," he said. "Looks like the jacket kept you from any real damage."
Real damage? Her body felt like it had been sliced all over with thin knives. She glared at him through her eyelashes as he swung her up into his arms. It was like it had been in Paris, when he'd carried her away from the Dahak demons, but then she had been-if not grateful, at least confused, and now she was filled with a boiling hatred. She kept her body tense while he carried her upstairs, his boots ringing on the glass. She was trying to forget she was touching him, that his arm was under her thighs, his hands possessive on her back.
I will kill him, she thought. I will find a way, and I will kill him.
He walked into Jace's room and dumped her onto the floor. She staggered back a step. He caught her and ripped the jacket off her. Underneath she was wearing only a T-shirt. It was shredded as if she'd run a cheese grater over it, and stained everywhere with blood.
"You're a mess, little sister," he said. "Better get in the bathroom and wash some of that blood off."
"No," she said. "Let them see me like this. Let them see what you had to do to get me to come with you."
His hand shot out and grabbed her under the chin, forcing her face up to his. Their faces were inches apart. She wanted to close her eyes but refused to give him the satisfaction; she stared back at him, at the loops of silver in his black eyes, the blood on his lip where she'd bitten him. "You belong to me," he said again. "And I will have you by my side, however I have to force you to be there."
"Why?" she demanded, rage as bitter on her tongue as the taste of blood. "What do you care? I know you can't kill Jace, but you could kill me. Why don't you just do it?"
Just for a moment, his eyes went distant, glassy, as if he were seeing something invisible to her. "This world will be consumed by hellfire," he said. "But I will bring you and Jace safely through the flames if you only do what I ask. It is a grace I extend to no one else. Do you not see how foolish you are to reject it?"
"Jonathan," she said. "Don't you see how impossible it is to ask me to fight by your side when you want to burn down the world?"
His eyes refocused on her face. "But why?" It was almost plaintive. "Why is this world so precious to you? You know that there are others." His own blood was very red against his stark white skin. "Tell me you love me. Tell me you love me and will fight with me."
"I'll never love you. You were wrong when you said we have the same blood. Your blood is poison. Demon poison." She spat the last words.
He only smiled, his eyes glowing darkly. She felt something burn on her upper arm, and she jumped before she realized it was a stele; he was tracing an iratze on her skin. She hated him even as the pain faded. His bracelet clanked on his wrist as he moved his hand skillfully, completing the rune.
"I knew you lied," she said to him suddenly.
"I tell so many lies, sweetheart," he said. "Which one specifically?"
"Your bracelet," she said. "'Acheronta movebo.' It doesn't mean 'Thus always to tyrants.' That's 'sic semper tyrannis.' This is from Virgil. 'Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.' 'If I cannot move Heaven, I will raise Hell.'"
"Your Latin's better that I thought."
"I learn fast."
"Not fast enough." He released his grip on her chin. "Now get into the bathroom and clean yourself up," he said, shoving her backward. He grabbed her mother's ceremonial dress off the bed and dumped it into her arms. "Time grows short, and my patience wears thin. If you're not out in ten minutes, I'll come in after you. And trust me, you won't like that."
"I'm starving," Maia said. "I feel like I haven't eaten in days." She pulled the refrigerator door open and peered in. "Oh, yuck."
Jordan pulled her back, wrapping his arms around her, and nuzzled the back of her neck. "We can order food. Pizza, Thai, Mexican, whatever you want. As long as it doesn't cost more than twenty-five dollars."
She turned around in his arms, laughing. She was wearing one of his shirts; it was a little too big on him, and on her it hung nearly to her knees. Her hair was pulled up in a knot at the back of her neck. "Big spender," she said.
"For you, anything." He lifted her up by the waist and set her on one of the counter stools. "You can have a taco." He kissed her. His lips were sweet, slightly minty from toothpaste. She felt the buzz in her body that came from touching him, that started at the base of her spine and shot through all her nerves.
She giggled against his mouth, wrapping her arms around his neck. A sharp ringing cut through the humming in her blood as Jordan pulled away, frowning. "My phone." Hanging on to her with one hand, he fumbled behind himself on the counter until he found it. It had stopped ringing, but he lifted it anyway, frowning. "It's the Praetor."
The Praetor never called, or at least rarely. Only when something was of deadly importance. Maia sighed and leaned back. "Take it."
He nodded, already lifting the phone to his ear. His voice was a soft murmur in the back of her consciousness as she jumped down from the counter and went to the refrigerator, where the take-out menus were pinned. She riffled through them until she found the menu for the local Thai place she liked, and turned around with it in her hand.
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