She was warm and happy, ridiculously boneless and safe.
Those were her first thoughts as she stretched and hugged her body-pillow tighter, wondering why it was so firm.
"You know, if this is your way of apologizing, we should get into arguments more often."
Her eyes flew open at that lazy drawl as everything from the night before came flooding back and Chloe cried out as she threw herself away from Jace, who eyed her with dark amusement.
"Now now, you're much more true to yourself when you're asleep." He smirked and leaned up on his elbows, eyeing her. "I couldn't move because of how tightly you were attached to me."
Chloe opened her mouth, closed it, and then opened it once more as she tried to figure out how to get herself out of this with her dignity intact. A trail of blood trickled down her nostril as a jolt of pain seared through her head.
Jace's grin melted from his face and in seconds he'd pulled off his shirt and bunched it up, bringing it up to her nose to stop the bleeding. "You know, if you wanted me to take off my shirt there were easier ways to accomplish it."
She would glare at him if it wouldn't make her head ache worse. "Yes, because this is all due to my insane desire to see you naked."
"Well, at least you're becoming more truthful with yourself."
She snorted in amusement and immediately regretted it, her head hurting worse.
Jace put his free hand on her forehead, his palm cooling and calming. "I'll put an iratze on you, let me find my stele."
"I'm fine." She closed her eyes. "It's all the Shadowhunter interference that started this and I would prefer no more of it."
He frowned darkly at her, his expression grim. "The iratze is a healing rune, you know this considering you placed it on me if you are to be believed." He switched so that now the back of his palm was against her forehead. "We should call for the Downworlder to come and look at the block now that you're awake."
"Oh, now you're willing to listen to what he has to say about it?" She was being childish and knew it. "What happened to him being in league with Valentine and not giving the Clave the right information about the block?"
Jace ignored her as he removed his shirt from her nose and eyed her warily. "Good. No more bleeding." He tilted her head and examined her nose. "How's the pain? Any light sensitivity?"
Well, now that he'd mentioned it-. "Maybe a little."
The door flew open. "Jace, the mundie isn't in her room and we think-." Alec froze when he caught them in such a compromising situation, Jace' tattooed chest bare as he leaned over her in the bed they'd obviously both slept in. Something dark passed over the dark haired Shadowhunter's face. "-that she's obviously here, in your room, sleeping in your bed. Because if you weren't in her room it was a givenshe had to be in yours." He then stepped out of the room and slammed the door shut behind him.
Jace blinked and turned to face Chloe, his lips curled in dark amusement. "Is it really a given?"
Chloe stared up at him and couldn't get how he didn't see how his friend felt about him.
The door opened once more and Alec entered the room again, a muscle ticking in his cheek. "There's someone here to see Chloe."
Chloe cleared her throat. "Lois or Magnus?"
The dark haired Shadowhunter shook his head. "A different mundane."
The blonde blinked. "What?"
"He will not leave until he sees you." Alec sighed. "We do not know how he knows you are here but he won't be convinced that you aren't."
Jace narrowed his eyes. "He?"
"Who-?" And then she stumbled rapidly out of bed despite of Jace's hiss for her to be careful, and hurried towards Alec. "Please take me to him!"
Alec paused and sent a look behind her to Jace before he nodded.
Chloe hurried behind him, not noticing Jace's suddenly sombre mood as the golden haired male (still shirtless) followed them out as well. She breathed in and out, a part of her trying to tell her that it could be her father-Gabe-who was out there, but another part was sure it was someone else, and when they neared a room and heard Isabelle's voice-and then another voice answering her, her suspicions were confirmed.
Giving a cry relief, not having realized how much she'd been hoping it was him, Chloe rushed passed Alec into the room. "Clark!"
Her friend looked up at her voice in time for her to fling herself at him, relief coloring his face. "Chloe."
"I can't believe you're really here." She hugged him tightly, burying her face in his chest as he hugged her back. "How did you know where I was?"
"I've known something was wrong for a while now, especially with how your dad's been acting, and I've been staking out your house." Clark declared. "I saw you there last night and I followed you back here. I-I just-I saw how devastated you were and I couldn't approach you and-it's taken me this long to get the nerve to actually enter the place." He licked his lips. "It's not actually a church. It looks like a church from the outside-I thought it was weird that you would be living in a church."
"You left the Institute last night?" Isabelle snapped at her, eyes narrowed when she saw the look on Jace's face and realized that this was the first he was hearing of this as well. "Unaccompanied? Who gave you permission to do that?"
"Why would she need permission to come and go?" Clark wanted to know. "She went to see her dad. Why would you strangers need to give her permission to do that?"
"Listen mundie, why don't you stop talking when you obviously don't know anything about anything?" Jace's voice was cold. "You'll save yourself from looking more ignorant than you already do."
Clark narrowed his eyes at him.
"Jace." Chloe snapped at the golden haired boy.
"What?" He turned his eyes on her, his lips pulled in a grim line. "The mundie has no place here. He's seen you're fine. He should be let out, cordially."
When Jace said "cordially" like that it sounded like he was actually saying "kicked out on his butt".
Alec's eyes were on Chloe. "Why did you leave the Institute and not even tell Jace where you were going?"
"I still don't understand why you all feel she needs to report her every move to you people." Clark looked at them before he lowered his gaze to Chloe. "What's going on? Your dad's told everyone you've been staying with Lois but when I went over there to see you, her dad said that she moved out to stay with her boyfriend so I know that what your dad was saying couldn't be true." He frowned. "And now this? What's really going on? Are they forcing you to stay here against your will?"
"No." She looked away.
Clark narrowed his eyes. "You don't sound very convincing, Chlo."
"You heard her, mundie."
"Stop calling him that!" Chloe snapped at Jace before she grabbed Clark's arm and pulled him away from the others, trying to put some separation between them. "Certain... circumstances... have me staying here for right now but as soon as they're gone... so am I." She looked up at Clark and failed to see the darkness on Jace's face at those words, the way he clenched his shaking fists. She smiled at Clark. "I can't believe you found me."
Clark smiled down at her. "Of course I did."
Chloe reached out and hugged him tightly. "Of course you did."
They held each other tightly.
"It's all very suspicious, don't you think?" Jace's voice was dark steel that drew them apart. "How convenient it was that he found you and was able to follow you here."
Chloe drew apart and turned to look at Jace, eyes narrowed. "What's that supposed to mean?" And then she blinked in shock.
Jace looked unlike she'd ever seen him before. He looked like a wounded lion striking out angrily at all around him, his golden eyes narrowed and vicious.
"You still haven't answered my question," Alec reminded her.
Chloe tore her wide gaze from Jace and cleared her throat as she turned her greens onto Alec. "I got a text from my father. He asked me to go home and see him. I wanted to. It would make him confused if I didn't so I did." A part of her wanted to tell them about Valentine, about everything he'd told her, but she bit it back. "Just because Magnus confounded him doesn't mean he's not my father and doesn't miss me and I him. He would've gotten suspicious if I had disobeyed him anyway. And if I'd shown up with Jace or anyone he didn't know he'd get even more suspicious." She was too used to lying to the people around her, she realized that when all these lies came so easily to her without her even having to hesitate. "It was easier to do it this way. Plus, Jace and I had just argued and I wanted to get out of here and away from you all for a while and clear my head."
Alec and Isabelle turned their gazes on Jace for confirmation on the later part.
He gave a reluctant nod, his molten gold orbs on her. "That doesn't mean you should've gone out on your own. It's not safe."
Church entered the room, the blue Persian eyeing Alec before he meowed and flicked his tail with command and walked away back the way he'd come.
Alec sighed. "I'm being summoned."
Clark blinked. "By the cat?"
"Of course not." Alec looked at Clark as if he was silly. "By Hodge." He turned to Isabelle. "Keep an eye on them, I'll report everything we've learnt to him."
Isabelle nodded and watched as Alec and Church left the room. She then turned her gaze on Chloe. "I don't care if your father texts you. You can't go out on your own like that, especially at night." Her gaze went to Clark. "You obviously don't know what's going on, but let me fill you in enough for you to get that we're not holding her hostage, even if she obviously feels that we are. We're keeping her safe. She was already attacked and we're the only ones that stopped her from getting seriously hurt."
Clark paled. "What?"
"Yuh." Isabelle nodded. "She's lived a mundane life, and because of that, she's ridiculously weak. That means she's safest behind these walls." Her charcoal eyes went to Chloe. "Whether she likes it or not."
Chloe had no idea whether Isabelle was trying to be nice or not, you could never tell with that one.
"So now that you know, you can leave." Jace motioned towards the general direction of the front door.
"Jace." Chloe glared at him. "What the hell is your issue? You let Lois visit!"
"One mundane is enough. Two is-" he seemed to be searching for the right word, and then had to settle for: "two."
"Your way with words is outstanding." Clark surprised her by declaring dryly, the boy usually not one to be hostile, but then again Jace had been attacking him verbally, endlessly, since he'd arrived. "You must win all sorts of academic debates with that sort of sharp reasoning."
Isabelle's lips twitched and her eyes twinkled with amusement. "That's our Jace alright."
Jace shot her a look.
She totally didn't notice it, eyes on Clark.
"Clark, I'm half something called a Shadowhunter." Chloe blurted out before she turned to Jace. "There. He can stay."
A muscle jumped in Jace's cheek. "There are Laws about telling mundanes about us."
"I got away with telling Lois." Chloe reminded.
"She found out on her own." Jace raised an eyebrow.
"Mundane?" Clark asked Isabelle.
"Someone not from the Shadow World like us-someone who isn't Shadowhunter or Downworlder." Isabelle seemed to like Clark enough to fill him in. "We call them 'mundies' for short."
"Downworlder?" Clark made a face.
Isabelle opened her mouth.
"Isabelle." Jace narrowed his eyes.
"Vampires, werewolves..." Chloe supplied the answer.
Clark's eyes widened. "They exist?"
Jace turned his narrowed gaze on Chloe.
She ignored him and nodded to Clark. "I know, right? Go figure! And we thought meteor freaks were the only thing we had to worry about."
It was Isabelle's turn to look confused. "Meteor freaks?"
"Apparently they believe that some meteor rocks have mutated mundanes so that they exhibit certain Downworlder abilities." Jace's voice was a drawl. "I informed Hodge of this. He has Shadowhunters investigating it."
Chloe's eyes widened. "They are?"
"Of course." Jace raised an eyebrow at her. "If your archives are correct, then these Meteor Freaks are a new, otherwise uncategorized species of Downworlder, and thus they come under the jurisdiction of the Shadowhunters."
"My... archives?" Chloe blinked in utter confusion.
Jace nodded. "I believe you call the collection "The Torch? Which I quite fitting considering the light they shine on the subject."
"Hodge wants to see you." Alec reappeared and brought their attention to him, his eyes on Chloe. "He says I'm to bring you, and only you, to him now."
Chloe nodded and followed after Alec in silence to Hodge's office.
"Do you really want to leave as soon as you can?" He broke the silence between them.
She eyed him. "Yes."
"Good." He took in a deep breath. "You're not good for Jace. Having you out of his life will help him go back to the way he used to be."
She should feel insulted, but Chloe sympathized all too well when it came to being in love with someone who saw you as a sibling. "You think I'm bad for him."
"I know you're bad for him," he corrected.
She eyed him. "How? Or why?"
He hesitated. "I don't need to answer to you."
She nodded in agreement. "I suppose you're right."
He frowned at her. "That's it? You're not gonna argue?"
"Would it change how you feel?" Chloe watched him shake his head. "Then why argue?"
Alec eyed her yet didn't say anything else as they reached Hodge's office, the boy opening the door for her.
"Thanks." Chloe paused before she sent Alec a sad smile. "I get it, you know, wishing that that someone you care about more than anyone else would just see you the way you want them to?" She entered the room and left Alec before he could react to her words.
The door closed behind her.
Hodge was, like last time, nowhere to be seen in the vast office.
Chloe stepped further inside, her gaze going to the Gray Book of runes before she shook her head and gazed around, noticing a book open on the table and instead making her way towards there. It looked like some sort of record, a journal maybe, but not like a diary. She flipped through the pages curiously and came upon the Oath of Loyalty Hodge had told her about earlier, the girl's eyes widening when she realized what she had in her hands. This must be Hodge's personal journal concerning the Circle of Raziel. She was about to close the journal when she noticed the edge of a picture peeking out from the pages and she couldn't stop herself, the girl slipping it out free to stare at the picture of a larger group than the one Hodge had shown her earlier.
Her mother was in this one as well, grinning brightly and looping her arms around those of a handsome man (the same man who'd been in the other picture) and those of the same redheaded woman who'd also been in that other picture.
Hodge was in this picture, younger yet not that much younger to not be unmistakably Hodge.
Valentine stood on the other side of the redheaded woman, tall and handsome, a smirk curving his lips as his black eyes stared at the camera.
But it was none of these faces that drew or kept Chloe's attention.
It was the grinning face belonging to the young man leaning against Valentine, his elbow resting comfortably and companionably on Valentine's shoulder, that she couldn't tear her greens away from.
Chloe was frozen, her whole body going into shock.
What-what was this?
The girl looked up and gazed around, making sure that Hodge was no where in sight as she shoved the picture shakily into her pocket and closed the book. She took in a stuttered breath and turned her back towards this book, put distance between her and it as she went towards the Gray Book of runes, trying to immerse herself in something else so that when Hodge arrived her guilt and questions and confusion weren't so visible on her face. The girl licked her lips and tried to remember what exactly had happened the last time she'd looked through this book but all she could remember was getting dizzy and Hodge catching her.
Intrigued, Chloe realized the book was still opened to the page she'd left it at.
The blonde let her eyes wander over the rune, over the description of what it was called and what it helped with, before she flipped the page, repeating this over and over again silently as she waited for Hodge to show up. Progressively the flipping of pages grew faster, a buzz humming in the back of her head, the words and symbols beginning to blur together in her mind's eye, and by the time she blinked next and shook her head, the girl realized that she'd finished the book.
She let out a huffed breath of laughter as she brought her hand to her head, a little dizzy and yet not like she'd been before. "I'm never going to remember, much less learn any of these if I can't concentrate on them better than that." She frowned slightly when she tasted metallic and brought her hand to her mouth, coming back with blood. Her eyes widened as she hurried to the quickest reflective surface and saw that both nostrils had trails of blood leading down from them.
The girl wiped at the blood and stared at her bloody hands before she clenched those hands into shaking fists.
She looked around.
Hodge still wasn't around, he must've been held up somewhere, probably had gotten some message (or maybe even a call) from the Clave.
The girl licked her lips, still able to taste her own blood on them, the picture in her pocket weighing heavy.
The others weren't expecting her back as yet. If she wanted to do this, it was now or never.
Taking in a deep breath, Chloe moved towards the door and eased it open, and once she verified that there was no one lurking around outside, she raced down the corridor towards the front door of the Institute.
He looked up when he saw her, his eyes widening. "Chloe." The worry in his voice was like a vicious stab in the gut to her as he moved towards her. "Where have you been? I've been so wor-!"
Chloe slapped him hard, the blow hurting her hand and obviously shocking the hell outta him as his head swung with the force she'd put behind it. "How could you keep this from me?"
He brought his hand to his cheek, eyes narrowed in confusion. "What-?"
She didn't let him finish that as she tore out the picture from her pocket and showed it to him in condemnation. "You knew."
His eyes widened and his hand fell from his reddening cheek. "Where did you get that?"
"You don't get to ask me questions." Her hand shook as it held the photo up between them like a wall. "You're the one who told him where we lived all those years ago and made him come seduce her away! You've been keeping an eye on me and reporting back to him!" Her whole body shook, her voice breaking with emotion. "You knew the truth about everything, you knew what I thought-what I felt-and you never told me anything!" A sob escaped her lips in an ugly sound. "How could you?" Tears began to fell. "You're one of the only people I've ever trusted, Luke!"
"Chloe, you need to believe me," he took in a deep breath. "I know how this looks, I know what you must think, but I did not tell him anything." He frowned at her. "Obviously you know enough to know..." he cleared his throat. "When Jocelyn and Moira ran away..."
"Jocelyn?" Chloe frowned in confusion.
"She's the redhead in that picture, your mother's best friend and parabatai. Do you know what that means?"
Chloe nodded numbly. "Alec and Jace are parabatai. They're warriors who are bound to fight side by side, or something like that."
"There's more to it than that, but, yes, basically you're right." Luke took in a deep breath as he came closer and flinched when she moved away. "Chloe, you have to believe me when I say that I have neverbetrayed you or your mother. On the contrary, I've been watching over you, especially after Moira sacrificed herself to keep you safe." The look in his eyes was fierce. "You are like the child I never got to have and I would never let anyone hurt you."
Chloe couldn't breathe, too many things he'd said beating her from every angle. But one in particular echoed hard in her head. "Sacrificed-? She left me! She abandoned me!"
"She protected you from Valentine." Luke's eyes narrowed, his voice hard. "Had she fought him he would've used you against her. She knew that the best way to protect you was to go with him without fight." He let out a deep breath and ran his hand over his face. "We used to talk while you looked around the shop as a child, about what she'd do if he found her, and for her the only important thing was keeping you safe from him. She didn't care what happened to her, all that mattered to your mother was that you were safe and that he didn't touch you."
Chloe gulped. "Because I was his daughter and she didn't want someone like him raising me."
"No, because he would use you against her knowing that you were her only weakness." Luke shook his head and pulled his hand from his face. "Why would you think that you were Valentine's-?"
"Because that's what Valentine told me when I saw him last night." Chloe replied numbly as suddenly her world shattered viciously around her and she collapsed to her knees in the middle of Luke's shop. "Oh my god. That's what the block's about-about him being-about him." She dropped the picture and brought her trembling hands to her face. "She sacrificed herself, went back to that man, to keep mesafe. She didn't abandon me because she didn't care-didn't not look back at me because she didn't love me-she just didn't want him to know that she did!"
Luke was in front of her in seconds, carefully pulling her hands from her face as he bent on his knees. "You've seen Valentine? And he said you were his daughter?" Luke's dark eyes were narrowed. "He said those exact words?"
"What does it matter-?"
"Chloe! It matters with Valentine!" Luke's grip on her wrists was strong before he took in a deep breath and stared into her tear-filled eyes. "I need you to think long and hard. Did Valentine actually use the word 'daughter'?"
Chloe gulped as she looked up at Luke, wanting so desperately to have him on her side once more. "N-no."
Valentine nodded as he let out a little breath. "Okay. What did he say? Exactly?"
The girl narrowed her eyes as she tried to remember, her head beginning to hurt. "He kept saying things like, like, uh-"You belong to the house of Morgenstern". And that's his surname. And when I said Gabriel Sullivan was my dad he got angry and said he was my, what was his wording?" Now that Chloe thought about it, the choice of wording had been curious. "He said he was my creator. Him. That I was the girl-child he'd been praying for my mother to conceive, that he'd been praying for me until his knees bled, or something along those lines." She looked up at Luke. "And he said that I was wholeShadowhunter and didn't have mundane in me so Gabe can't be my dad. He has to be telling me the truth. He has to be my father."
Luke had gone progressively paler as she'd spoken. "He knows."
So Valentine really was telling the truth, huh?
Chloe looked away.
Luke suddenly grabbed the picture she'd dropped and forgotten, and raised it to face Chloe this time, pointing to the man Moira had one of her arms looped around. "This is your father. Not Valentine.Him."
Chloe's eyes widened in shock as she took the picture back from Luke and gulped. "Who is he?"
Chloe dropped the picture and stared up at Luke in horror. "What?"
Luke picked back up the picture and placed it in her hand. "You need to come with me." His dark eyes stared into her horrified greens. "There is someone you need to meet."
Chloe numbly placed her hand in Luke's and let him lead her out of the shop, the girl lost in a horrified daze.