Title: Jace Morgenstern's Unlucky StreakSequel to: Jace Wayland's Unstealthy StalkingCharacters: Chloe/Jace, Lois, Clark, Magnus/Alec, Jocelyn, Luke, Isabelle, others...Rating: T+Disclaimer: Don't ownSummary: Chloe is settling into life as the last Wayland. Lois is training. Jace is highly annoyed with Lois and Jocelyn, who tend to interrupt him and Chloe when he least wants them to. But with Valentine still loose, the Inquisitor breathing down their necks, and an unexpected arrival, they all have more important things to worry about.
Chloe looked at her reflection and felt sick. She hadn't wanted the dress, hadn't wanted to change out of her clothes because Valentine had something ready for her; something in her size; something that fit her body perfectly.
And yet she wore the saffron and bronze dress with the red corset built into it, because for now she had to play along. If she wanted Jace free, if she didn't want to be a prisoner here, she had to at least try. Valentine was keeping a close eye on her, so was her mother. She needed to convince the both of them that they didn't need to, that she could be trusted on the ship on her own. There was no other way that she'd be able to find out what she needed.
Twirling the Fae ring around her thumb, Chloe stared at herself in the mirror. How long had Valentine had this dress? Had it been specifically made for her or had he had one of Jocelyn's old dresses tailored for her? Neither thought was comforting, because both proved that he'd known this day would come, and it had.
Her gaze then fell on the necklace around her neck, the one she hadn't ever taken off since Lois had given it to her a while back. It was gold, so it matched the color of the dress, and Valentine had thought the idea of her wearing a bell around her neck amusing. He hadn't told her to take it off and she'd been relieved. This was a piece of Lois.
This was connected to Lois' bracelet.
Chloe's eyes widened as she wrapped her hand around the bell. Why hadn't she thought about using this? Then again, she wasn't exactly sure how to jumpstart the connection. She'd never tried to-why hadn't Lois tried to connect? She would've thought of it-unless…
Lucian was hurt.
Chloe's free hand went to her mouth in realization as her eyes watered. Luke being hurt – gravely hurt – or even dead – that would distract Lois enough to forget about the connection between her bracelet and Chloe's necklace – the connection which was the reason why neither ever took off said jewelry.
Please don't let him be dead. She closed her eyes tightly as two tears glided down her cheeks. Please Luke – don't be dead! Not because of me!
She clutched the bell so tightly it hurt.
For a split second she saw a broken, battered Lucian Greymark hooked up to machines, obviously in a hospital. Then it was gone, and Chloe was looking at herself. And then it was back, and the angle had changed, as if the person looking had quickly stood. And then it was back to Chloe as she brought a hand to her head, a headache starting. And then she saw a cellphone – Lois' cellphone – in her hands, the girl quickly texting into it. Texting the words: CHLOE?
The door opened and Valentine stepped inside, reflected behind Chloe in the mirror. "You look beautiful."
She shivered slightly. "Thank you."
He moved towards her and placed his hands on her shoulder, gazing at her in the mirror. "This is how you were meant to look – not like someMundane."
Lois' image was back, her bag and phone on the ground.
And then Chloe lost it – the connection. It was probably for the best, especially since Valentine was so close to her.
"You remind me so much of Jocelyn," he declared, surprising her. "We always wanted a daughter, but Josie had so much trouble conceiving." He let out a sigh and began to knead her shoulders.
She fought to keep from shivering, continuing to meet his dark eyes in the mirror. "I thought my mother was the one having trouble."
"No, your mother was unable to carry a child to full-term, she was quite capable of conceiving," he corrected. "When Jocelyn grew pregnant with Jonathan I knew that he could be the only child we ever had – I needed him to be strong – to live. I made sure that he would be superior to all others, and he is. He has exceeded my expectations, my hopes and dreams."
"And yet you still haven't done anything to save him from the Inquisitor." She tried not to sound harsh, but she couldn't help it.
He smiled sadly. "If only Jocelyn would be as faithful to me as you are to him."
You experimented on your child! You gave your wife nightmares every single night because of the crap you were feeding her – without her knowledge! You tore a rift between her and Jace that may never be repaired!
Chloe's face didn't reveal any of her angered tirade. "She is a good woman."
"My eyes and ears tell me that she has, for all intents of purposes, become your mother." There was something odd in the way he said that, his grip on her shoulders tightening.
"I have a mother," she replied. "Jocelyn is my guardian."
"Does she see it that way?" He asked curiously. "I find it fascinating that she will not spend time with Jonathan, and yet seems to dote on you, overprotect you."
"I've been working on that." Chloe had no idea why she felt so defensive about this, but it felt like he was blaming her somehow for the rift between Jocelyn and Jace. "I've been doing my best to get them in the same room to talk to each other. To bond."
"The only one they are interested in bonding with is you."
She glared at his reflection. "What is your point?"
He didn't answer, merely raised a hand and cupped it around her neck. "I do not understand it yet, but those tied to the Morgenstern house seem obsessed with you."
"Does that apply to you as well?" She asked testily.
He laughed and pulled away. "In a sense it would, but not the way you seem to believe."
Relief speared through her, but it was still tainted with wariness. "Then why did you kiss me when you gave this to me?" She lifted her hand to show her inner wrist and the rune seared into it. "What does it mean?"
Valentine eyed the rune in silence. His gaze then lowered to her thumb and narrowed as he reached for her hand and jerked it up. "Where did you get this ring? It's Fae."
She flinched under the tightness of his grip. "Isabelle Lightwood was dating a Fae and after they broke up she dumped everything he ever gave her." She hoped he couldn't hear the way her heart raced in fear. If he realized that this ring could take her to the Faerie Realm she was terrified to even think about what he'd do. "I thought it was beautiful so I asked her if I could have it."
His eyes narrowed on her. "Is that so?"
"It is time," a voice declared behind them.
Chloe's gaze shifted to find her mother in the doorway.
Valentine nodded and turned. "Come, child, and witness the dawning of a new era."
Unable to do anything else, Chloe followed.
"What color was the dress?"
Lois blinked, not exactly sure why he thought that was important. She glanced at Luke's unconscious figure and ran her fingers through her hair in frustration. "I don't know! I didn't pay attention!"
"Think, Lois!" Jace's voice hissed.
Why was this important? "I don't know!"
"If father made her change into a gown it means she's going to either take part of, or stand front and center of, a ritual of some kind." Jace could hardly be heard from wherever he was. "I need to know what color the dress was to figure out if it's the Infernal Conversion, or something else!"
"What else could he be planning for her?" Lois wanted to know as she tried to remember. She couldn't pinpoint what the color was, but if she forced herself hard enough she kinda might've remembered it as seeming kinda goldish, maybe? "What does a gold dress signify?"
There was a pause. "A Shadowhunter bride wears gold on her wedding day."
Her eyes widened. "You people get married in gold? Really?"
"You're part of 'you people', you realize that, right?" Alec could be heard in the background, which meant that she was on speakerphone.
She ignored that as she paced outside Lucian's room. She'd been trying to connect with Chloe ever since the girl had jumpstarted their connection, but something was interfering. She got glimpses only. Nothing concrete. Magnus had said that if they trained they'd be able to make this connection stronger – maybe even hear things and not just see hem – but Lois hadn't ever brought it up with the blonde. Why hadn't she?
"He was really hands-on with her, Jace." She nibbled on her thumbnail.
There was a pause, and then a dark: "Define: hands-on."
"As in: he was basically pressed up against her from behind and his hands were all over her shoulders and stuff. And then he grabbed her hand. It was creepy as hell." She groaned. "I don't remember the color of her dress, it seemed kinda goldish but I can't bet my life on it! I was too busy paying attention to the creepy ick factor!" She looked up at the ceiling. "What if he's marrying her, Jace? I know he's still technically married to your mom – but with all the crap he's pulled this wouldn't be too out there – would it?" She was close to hyperventilating. "Dear god! What if he's forcing Chloe to become your stepmother?"
Jace promptly hung up on her.
Lois groaned and covered her face. "Everything's going to hell."
Clark had managed to get one of the small windows in his cell open. It wasn't enough to even stick his hand through, but he didn't need a hand. Not for his purpose at least. They obviously didn't think him much of a threat, so they'd just locked him in a small library, and he was using the tools at his disposal.
This was probably a thing of folly, it was probably just wishful thinking from a guy who was at his wits end and with no other recourse, but Clark was desperate, and with the runes locking him in and keeping him weaker than ever this was all he had.
He had no reason to believe this message would get to the person he was sending it to, or that even if it did that it'd do any good. But he had to tryto use the little he knew about this world - most of it gleaned from Isabelle - he had to.
Tossing the piece of paper into the water below, he watched it floating away. His gaze never left the piece of paper, not for one second, and the further it got from the boat the deeper the sinking sensation grew in his gut.
He was about to look away - the piece of paper drifting far and far on the current - when suddenly, in the blink of an eye, something gripped it from the water and it disappeared.
Eyes widening, Clark stared out at the sea, heart racing.
"No no no no no!" Lois' eyes widened as she grabbed her bag, horrified at the latest image to appear for a split second in front of her before disappearing. She turned to look at Lucian and hesitated before going to his bedside. "Don't die while I'm out, okay? I'll never forgive you if you do." Tightening her hands into fists, she leaned down and pressed a soft kiss to Lucian's lips. "Stupid werewolf."
Turning to the two wolves in Lucian's pack who stood guard outside of his door, she emerged from the room and glared at them. "I am going out now, but you two make sure nothing happens to him." She didn't let either answer. "If he so much as develops a cough while I'm gone I'll skin you both!"
And with that, Lois raced out of the hospital towards her car, destination the docks.
The vampire's blood spurted over Chloe's face and it was all she could do to keep from screaming. She took in a deep breath and tried not to react, tried not to cry, as the newborn's blood was collected.
Before killing the vampire he'd held captive, Valentine had mused on the fact that it was said those who died upon the Mortal Sword's point would achieve the gates of heaven. This had then made him declare to the scared newborn that, given that knowledge, he was actually doing her a favor. He'd then sliced open the neck of the newborn, and one of his minions hurried forwards to gather the blood and not waste a drop.
That was how Chloe found herself, half an hour later, speckled all over with dried blood. She hadn't tried to remove it, hadn't wanted to touch it. Valentine had been watching her, waiting for her to do something, and seemed amused that she'd left the blood where it was.
"So, given how the Inquisitor has been acting, and things she's said to me, I'm assuming she had a son and you killed him." That was probably not the best thing to say now as Valentine readied himself for the Infernal Conversion, but Chloe needed to do something to keep her mind off of the fact that his latest victim's blood was splattered all over her.
"You are right that she had a son, Stephen was her golden boy, but I did not kill him." Valentine's gaze never left his spellbook (or what she assumed was a spellbook - or the Nephilim equivalent of a spellbook). "He was one of those people who was good at everything, unfailingly nice without being boring, handsome without everyone hating him." He chuckled. "Well, there was resentment, he was hard to be compared to, especially if pitted against in training."
"You went to school with him?" Chloe asked in surprise.
"He went to school in London, I only met him after he graduated and moved to Alicante." Valentine glanced over at a silent Moira at that. "You dated him at one point, didn't you?" When she nodded his gaze turned to Chloe. "I encouraged it, the Herondales were a good connection. They were in charge of running the London Institute, which was why he was schooled there and not in Idris like most." He looked disgusted. "He married someone undesirable, completely unsuitable, but saw the light soon. After Lucian became a disgrace I knew that Stephen had to be my new second in command, and he eagerly joined the Circle. When his parents, who were faithful to the Clave, found out I wanted him to join the Circle they begged him not to, and he cut them off immediately. He was faithful, loyal, completely dedicated - completely unlike that disgusting dog." Valentine shook his head, obviously telling himself not to allow himself to be angry right now. "He very quickly realized that his wife was not the sort of person who was the wife of a second in command, and divorced her to marry Celine, a sweet eighteen year old who was also dedicated to our cause - to ridding the world of the impurities and the disease that infects it."
"How did he die?" Chloe wanted to know. "There has to be a reason why she hates you so much."
"He was killed in a Circle raid on a vampire nest." Fire and anger burned in Valentine's eyes, betraying how much this loss had hurt him. "Celine killed herself when she found out." He shook his head. "She was eight months pregnant at the time. Soon after Stephen's father died, some say of a broken heart, but if he'd truly cared for his son he wouldn't have abandoned him for taking up such a just cause."
Chloe's eyes widened. "So basically Imogen's whole family died around the same time."
"It probably did not help that she couldn't even bury her daughter-in-law and grandchild's ashes in the Bone City," Moira added, and when she noticed Chloe's confused look she explained. "Celine was a suicide, she couldn't be buried there. Instead she was buried at a crossroads outside Alicante."
"The Clave and their many despicable laws," Valentine hissed.
"Sed lex dura lex," Chloe whispered.
"The Law is hard, but it is the Law," Valentine translated with a sneer. "I see they taught you the Covenant's motto."
She shrugged. "I'm better at the academic than the physical part of being a Shadowhunter."
"Starkweather used to be our academic," Valentine informed her.
This was the second time she'd been compared to the traitorous Hodge, and she couldn't stop the glare.
Valentine chuckled. "He never had fire in him, don't worry, I don't think you are like that coward." He held a hand out to her, and when she reluctantly placed her hand in his, he smiled as he led her to stand by his side. "Her stele, Moira."
Moira came forwards and handed him the purple stele with dark aura.
Thanking her with a nod, Valentine handed the stele to a surprised Chloe. "This was never meant to be kept permanently from you. Unlike the Clave my intention was never to keep you prisoner, I just merely do not want you escaping before I can make you realize you are home - like you did last time."
Chloe stared at him in confusion. "Why are you giving this to me now?"
"Did you know what Jace's greatest fear was?" Valentine instead asked. "He came upon Agramon while he was here, and the result was, well, it was quite intriguing." When she didn't ask, he provided the answer nonetheless. "His greatest fear was his love for you."
Confusion grew to a dizzying magnitude. "What?"
"When faced against Agramon, Jace's fear manifested as a reality in which you were his sister… and he didn't care. He still wanted you and acted upon it." Valentine tilted his head. "I must admit I was… unkind… to him once I found out. I tested him."
"Tested him how?" She remembered how shaken up and unnerved Jace had been that morning, how he'd opened up about his insecurities for the first time ever.
"I made him believe that that was true, for a moment, to see his reaction." Valentine actually looked somewhat contrite. "I regret hurting him purposefully like that, but I needed to know for sure."
"Know what for sure?" Chloe couldn't wrap her own
"How far he was willing to go to have you," Valentine responded. "I needed to know that what I have done truly worked."
Chloe trembled, her eyes wide. "What are you saying?"
"I've told you, Chloe. I created you, for all intents and purposes I am your father. Even though I never actually thought you would survive your mother's womb, you must understand that my experiments were not done at random." He trailed the back of his hand down her cheek tenderly. "I had a purpose, and if Jace's reactions to you are anything to go by, then it was a success."
Her heart suddenly crumbled to her stomach. "You're saying that the only reason Jace feels the way he does for me - and the only reason I feel the way I do for him - is because of something you did to me?"
Suddenly an alarm sounded through the ship.
Moira looked up with a glare. "We're under attack."
Valentine nodded for her go.
She hurried off, no doubt to order the other minions stationed throughout the whole ship.
Chloe watched her mother leave in worry.
Valentine returned his attention to Chloe. "We both know what your greatest fear is."
The image of Jace dying in her arms returned to haunt her.
"I do not want my son to die, but I also cannot give the Clave what they want." His black eyes stared almost trancelike into her green ones. "But together we can save Jace."
Chloe's grip on her stele trembled. "What do you want me to do?"
Considering that Magnus had to concentrate all his attention and magic on deactivating the wards around Valentine's ship, it left him vulnerable and open to attack from the demons guarding it. Sure, they were lower level demons, but there were tons of them. Lucy had not been surprised at all when Alec had told Jace he'd be staying behind to protect the Warlock.
She'd grinned at Alec and followed Jace as he boarded the ship to attack. It was basically a suicide mission, but this was personal, to both Jace and herself. They were not going to let the odds of two hundred to one intimidate them. It was the Fear Demon Lucy was worried about. The others she'd figure a way around, but how in the hell could you fight someone who you couldn't even see?
It was too close to daybreak for the vampires to be any help whatsoever, and with Lucian out of commission the werewolves were not going to help either, so they merely had one Warlock as backup - and he was being used up just making sure the wards didn't disintegrate them.
'Don't be an idiot and let yourself get distracted by anything but the battle, Lucy,' she could almost hear Ragnor snarling unhappily at her. It made her grin and continue on, using her seraph blade against the demons as they swarmed.
Suddenly a demon shrieked and collapsed, dead, next to her. Lucy glanced up in surprise, not having noticed the demon attacking. She glanced over to see a hand over the railing, and then in seconds Lois had pulled herself over and was throwing blessed throwing knives at the demons.
"What are you doing here?" Jace yelled at her.
"Get to Chloe!" Lois snapped at him as she yanked out a seraph blade and called its name, causing it to come alive. "Go down below and find her,now!"
Lucy didn't know what Lois had seen, but if it'd been enough to drag Lois away from an ailing Lucian's side, she knew Jace needed to haul ass. "What are you still doing here, Morgenstern?"
He glanced between them, obviously conflicted.
"Get your ass out of here, now!" Lucy snapped at him.
Lois kicked a demon away from her and sidestepped an attack before slashing the demon's throat open. "Are you deaf or something?"
Jace jumped up, high, and ran over the top of the demons.
What the hell are they feeding the shadowhunters at the Metropolis Institute? Blinking, Lucy was distracted only for a second before a demon attacked and she was pulled back into the fight.