"First thing's first." Jocelyn was getting her things ready. "We need to go to your house to see if we can find where Moira hid the card that I placed the Cup in."
Luke frowned. "I should go and do that. You two should stay away from there, Valentine has already been to Chloe's house and other than the Mortal Cup the two of you are what he wants the most. We shouldn't put all three things he desires under one roof."
Jocelyn looked like she wanted to argue but couldn't, the woman nodding. "Be careful."
Luke smirked as he turned to leave. "Of course."
Chloe moved to go with him.
He stopped and turned to look at her. "And where do you think you're going?"
"My father was beaten up by that insane lunatic, I need to check up on him. Plus, you wouldn't even know where to start looking." Chloe raised an eyebrow. "I'm coming along."
"If she's going, then so am I." Jocelyn placed her hands on her hips. "You can't keep an eye on her and look for the Cup all on your own. Plus, if you find it, you'll need me there to free it, so I'm going too. I won't be left behind."
Luke looked between the females' resolute expressions before he gazed up at the ceiling in despair. "Thank the Angel Lois isn't here, because I couldn't handle another stubborn woman throwing herself recklessly and head-first into danger." He turned to Jocelyn and Chloe. "Come on, if you both get killed or kidnapped it's your own damned faults."
"So, have you reconsidered your attraction now that you've seen what he drives?"
Isabelle flipped her adopted brother the finger as she looked around the bustling school parking lot, at the teenagers walking to and fro, giving them strange glances. They'd decided not to use their invisibility runes since they were working with Clark and he wouldn't be able to see them, but with all the looks they were getting she almost wished that they had. She was used to getting looks because she was hot, not because she was weird, and the expressions on those people's faces definitely said they thought she and Jace were weird-hot but weird.
"Okay, this way." Clark arrived by their side, having been locking up the truck.
Isabelle eyed Chloe's mundane friend in curiosity and intrigue as they followed him through the throng of students, who parted and let them pass.
Clark was visibly uncomfortable with all the attention on them as he called out to someone. "Hey, Greg, have you seen Chloe?"
"No, she's been MIA, you should know that better than anyone else. Anyway, she needs to get back soon if she wants there to be a newspaper left when she returns, or staff, for that matter." The pimple-faced, bespectacled boy shook his head and continued on wherever he'd been going.
Clark sighed as he moved on, searching through the crowd before he caught the eye of a seriously hot guy. "Hey! Van! Have you seen Chloe here today?"
Van shook his head in answer and was about to turn his head back to talk to his friend when he thought of something and hurried over. "Wait, does this mean she's supposed to be back?"
Clark blinked, obviously not having expected Van to come up and talk. "I-."
"Because, seriously, ever since Principal Kwan asked Lana to take over the Torch in her absence those computers have been suffering. I don't know what the heck that girl is doing." Van snorted. "Then again she is a cheerleader." He smirked and ignored the dark look that crossed Clark's face at that comment. "Tell Chloe to get her butt back soon or I'm quitting taking care of those computers because it's only a matter of time before they crash and I can't do anything about it." With that he left.
Jace frowned as he watched the guy go, he opened his mouth.
"Clark!" A new voice yelled as a cute blonde guy hurried towards them. "I heard Chloe's name. Please tell me she's back."
Jace clamped his mouth shut.
"Hey Gabriel." Clark gave him a nervous little smile. "We're not too sure…"
"Tell her she needs to come back, the Smallville Torch isn't the same without her. We all need her there!" Gabriel reached out and grabbed Clark by the shoulders. "Desperately."
"I'll, uh, tell her." Clark cleared his throat.
"Good." Gabriel nodded before his gaze went to Jace and Isabelle, he nodded a hello, and then left.
Isabelle really hadn't taken the time to get to know Chloe while the girl was self-exiled in her room in the Institute, but she was beginning to wish she had, because so far every single guy they'd met (be he cute or not) seemed desperate to get the girl back. Sure, it didn't seem romantic, but that was what made it more intriguing to Isabelle. Guys looked at her and they saw a pretty face, and while they knew that she was a warrior she always had a feeling that her looks… But these guys apparently worked in the department that did the chronicling for the archives on the potential new species of Downworlders, and Chloe seemed to not only to be their leader, but they seemed to recognize that they couldn't function without said leadership. That… That sort of recognition, that was something she craved.
They moved into the building, having to move around the tilling mob, and Isabelle eyed the students, especially the girls, in intrigue. There was no way she'd ever dress girly like these ones. She-she was a warrior, the Shadowhunter garb-it was what felt most comfortable and natural to her.
They neared a door in time for it to be thrown open, and an angry guy stormed out, the guy only stopping his stalking when he noticed Clark and turning his trajectory to take him towards the guy. "You tell Chloe that when she gets back I'll rejoin the Torch, until then, the Nash is done with this whole damn thing."
Clark's eyes widened. "You quit? But Brendan, you're the best-!"
"Remind Chloe of that!" Brendan snapped as he continued storming away.
Clark stared after him in visible horror. "Chloe's going to have a heart attack when she finds out that Brendan Nash quit. Do you know how long it took her to convince him to join the Smallville Torch as a part of the staff?" He turned to look at the door in worry and went to open it, voices heard from inside.
"Not you too, Justin." A female voice begged. "I can't have you and Brendan quit on me. I need you both to help keep the Torch running and the pages full!"
"Well, you didn't seem to have a problem doing so when you kept not finding space to put my comics in the Torch because your football and cheerleader buddies wanted more advertising space for their parties and important stuff like that." Justin replied hotly. "I'm out of here, I have a Chem test I need to take." He grabbed his bag and stopped when he saw Clark, moving towards him and shoving something into his hand. "This usb has all of my work up to date that hasn't been used. Give it to Chloe when you see her. She'll fix things when she gets back." And with that he shouldered passed them and left the room.
The girl in the room with them, getting the brunt of all the male anger, let out a cry as she sat down heavily on the seat. "How did Chloe do this?"
Clark moved towards her. "You're-you're doing Principal Kwan a favor, Lana, and you're doing a good job."
She snorted in derision at that. "She made it look so easy, but it isn't. Everyone complains! No matter what you write or publish, no matter how nice you try to be, there will always be hate mail! Always be someone complaining about you and how you run things!" She threw her hands in the air. "She needs to come back soon before I go insane! I can't do this! I can't fill Chloe Sullivan's shoes and I'm going insane just trying to! And my friends keep trying to pressure me to use the Torch like some sort of physical facebook page of theirs…" She gave a cry as she covered her face with her hands. "I find it very hard to say no to them, and the staff really don't like me because of it."
"Lana…" Clark sighed and went over to rub her shoulder. "I'm sure Chloe would be grateful for all your help during her absence."
"Are you kidding me?" Lana snorted and pulled her hands away from her face. "This place is her baby! When she sees just how down the drain it's gotten under my care I'm going to have to dye my hair blonde and move to China!"
"That'll just make you stand out more." Isabelle finally spoke, eyebrow raised as she eyed the interaction between Clark and Lana.
Lana seemed to only then notice them, and wiped at her eyes with the heel of her hands as she looked between Isabella and Jace before pausing on Jace, her eyes wide and face a visible blush. "Uh, hi."
Clark tensed and turned to look back at Jace.
"She obviously isn't here." Jace turned to look at the articles pasted on the walls. "This was a waste of time."
Lana hurriedly got to her feet and cleared her throat. "I'm Lana."
Isabelle raised an eyebrow when she noticed Clark look away, clearly jealous and insecure. So there definitely wasn't anything between him and Chloe, and it was because of this Lana girl, who didn't notice him as a guy but as a friend, and seemed to have the hots for Jace, who was completely ignoring her.
Jace turned to Isabelle. "We should try her house. It's a longshot, but we're in Smallville-and she was there last night."
Isabelle felt vicious amusement at the tangled web of emotions in front of her. "What are we waiting on?"
Jace turned and stalked out of the room.
Isabelle did the same before she turned and peered back inside. "Let's go, Clark."
Her father wasn't home. That shouldn't surprise her given the fact that he was never there to begin with, but still, Chloe had hoped he would be home resting so she could talk to him about what had happened the night before. She'd thrown herself into her task her, searching for this card that supposedly held the Mortal Cup, but so far Luke, Jocelyn and her hadn't been able to find anything of interest, except for her mother's box.
Jocelyn held it in her arms, a sad smile on her face. "This was mine, I have Moira's in my apartment."
Chloe looked up at that.
"Inside is engraved the oath we took when we began parabatai, as well as other things." Jocelyn hugged the box to herself. "I figured she'd gotten rid of it, considering she was living the life of a mundane."
"Mom used to pull this out and wish out loud that someone was safe, I caught her doing it a couple of times but never confronted her about it." Chloe admitted. "She might've left you to keep me safe, but she was always worried about you."
Jocelyn smiled and placed a hand on Chloe's shoulder. "You have a kind heart."
Chloe was shocked at this as she looked up at the woman who had left her own son, had hated him, because he had whatever could be in Chloe's veins. And yet she was being nice to Chloe, was actually touching her. "I don't know about that."
Jocelyn chuckled. "You're so much like Moira. Not physically, not really, but your mannerisms are just like hers."
Chloe blinked, never having expected to hear that, tears coming to her eyes unexpectedly and she cleared her throat as she looked away to try and hide them. She wasn't sure how to feel about all of this. She was still processing that everything she'd thought she'd known about her mother were lies, still battling the resentment that she'd grown up with, and still coming to terms with the harsh sense of guilt and loss within her.
"Look at this." Luke's voice brought the females' attentions to him as they moved to where he stood.
Chloe and Jocelyn moved on Luke's side, their green eyes widening as they saw what was there.
"She spilled her blood on it and then hid it in such an impossible place so I'd be the one one able to find it." Luke gave a dark smile. "She was always so smart and able to think much farther ahead than most."
"How did she know that you'd be here looking with me?" Chloe wanted to know.
"It's probably one of the reasons why she brought you to Luke's store since you were a child, to engender a closeness between the two of them so that if a situation like this were to happen, you'd eventually go to him for help." Jocelyn shook her head as she hugged the box to her chest. "Smart."
"But it's not the Cup." Chloe stared at the picture of Moira, a handsome man, and a young blonde boy. Moira's blood had been smeared in the shape of a rune un the back of the photo. "What rune is that?"
"It's called Loyal To." Jocelyn responded softly. "It's a permanent rune of loyalty that binds a Shadowhunter to whoever has placed the Mark on them."
"So it's like a wedding rune?" Chloe asked.
"No, our 'wedding rune' is called the Wedded Union." Jocelyn shook her head. "It's another permanent Mark, this one made on the back of the hand of the Shadowhunters to be 'wedded', binding the pair in matrimony, and once the Marks are made the Nephilim are considered married." Her eyes were on the picture. "This was Moira's way of showing, even if only to herself, that even if she had to betray and leave them behind, she was loyal to Michael and his son. Even if only in her heart."
Chloe's heart went out for her mother, for the suffering the woman must have gone through silently and alone all those years. "If she hadn't gotten pregnant with me she wouldn't have had to leave them like she did."
Luke turned to Chloe. "Moira loved you, I know that while she must've mourned their loss, she loved you more than she loved them-loved herself."
Chloe looked up at Luke, feeling worse.
Luke narrowed his eyes and turned towards the door. "There's someone here."
Jocelyn yanked out an angel blade, eyes narrowed. "The mundane Moira married?"
Luke shook his head as he put the picture into his pocket and turned towards the door as he pushed Chloe behind him protectively.
Suddenly creatures burst through the windows around them, sending glass flying.
Chloe cried out and raised her hand to cover her face to protect her eyes from the flying shards as thuds hit the ground all around them. She then pulled her hand from her face and looked up at the sound of something heavy dragging, slithering towards them. Her eyes widened in horror at her first view of what was around her, crouched against the floor. They were long, scaly creatures with a cluster of flat black eyes set dead center in the front of their domed skulls. They almost looked like the result of something a mad scientist would get if he crossed an alligator with a centipede. The creatures had thick, flat snouts and barbed tails that whipped menacingly from side to side, as well as multiple legs bunched underneath it as they visibly readied to spring themselves at the three.
These monsters were a sight that would haunt her nightmares for years to come.
It was all she could do not to scream, not to do anything to excite these monsters more than they already were.
Luke snarled, seeming half-turned.
Jocelyn tightened her grip on her seraph blade. "Nuriel!" The Shadowhunter yelled as she activated the power within her blade.
Low growls bubbled from the throats of those around them, and it took a moment for Chloe to realize that those noises were actually garbled words.
"Flesh. Blood. To eat, oh, to eat." It seemed like a mantra to these creatures. "Bones, to crunch, to suck out the marrow, to drink the veins…" The creatures seemed almost in a frenzy at this thought. "To eat, to eat," they moaned in despair. "But we are not allowed to swallow, to savor." And then they murmured: "Valentine was not specific. He said not to kill the girl who lived in this house. We will leave her, eat the other two, Valentine will not be angry." Their jaws opened slowly, showing roads of fanged teeth spilling greenish liquid.
"Chloe, run." Jocelyn narrowed her eyes at the creatures. "Run as fast as you can. Now."
"But they're not trying to kill me." Chloe whispered in terror, unable to move.
Luke sent her a sideways look, expression fierce. "Go!"
Something in his voice sent her moving, the girl turning and racing out of there as the first creature lunged at the two, followed by more.
The girl raced towards the front door before she heard a snarl from behind her, a werewolf snarl.
She turned at the sound, eyes wide, but then she realized that she wasn't alone, some of those things had gotten passed Jocelyn and Luke and were slithering out towards her.
One lunged and flew over her head, landing hard on the front door and caging her inside. "Girl," it hissed, its putrid breath on her face.
Chloe shrieked and stumbled away as she hurried up the stairs, the creatures seeming to be herding her, like predators cornering their prey. She made it to her room and slammed the door shut in time for those things to lunge onto the wood of the door, attacking it, the material obviously not going to hold long against the deadly assaults.
She backed away slowly as the door began to crack visibly, the blonde gulping as she looked around her for something to use as a weapon. Her room had nothing that could be used! It horrified her to realize just how unprotected she was.
Down below, she could hear Jocelyn cry out.
Chloe's eyes widened in horror.
Were they okay? They were battling these things while she hid in fear, and the guilt and shame rolled up in her stomach but she was too afraid-the wood of her bedroom door finally broke inwards tow reveal a face with rows of fangs smiling menacingly at her.
She grabbed a pen from off the desk and held it in her hand, tightly. They'd said amongst themselves that they wouldn't kill her but their actions spoke otherwise, and if she was going to die she'd stab up some of them while doing so.
Then again, would the pen even pierce their scaly skin or just break on impact?
The girl gulped loudly and pressed herself back hard against the desk.
Chloe watched in horror as the door was torn to pieces and five of those things slithered in.
They surrounded her on either side, slowly approaching her on every side before one lunged at the girl and knocked her to the ground, pinning her under its massive girth. Its legs pushed her hands and legs down, keeping her immobile underneath it as it stared down at her.
"So hungry," it groaned.
"Valentine will never know." The others coaxed as they drew nearer.
"Don't touch-get-!" Chloe froze as she stared into those eyes and a flash of something, someone, crossed before her vision. It was so quick and fleeting she could only make out white-blonde hair and dark eyes.
Had-had that been Valentine?
The creatures froze in shock all around her before suddenly a howl of agony pierced the air behind them, followed by another and another and another. She couldn't see what was happening due to being pinned down and the blinding disorientation, but she noticed it through her haze when a seraph blade sliced down and beheaded the one holding her down, a booted-foot kicking its remains off of her.
Chloe stared up dazedly up into the grim face of Jace Wayland.
He knelt by her. "Were you hurt?"
She let out a half-sob as terror welled up inside of her throat, and she flung her arms around his neck, trembling.
Jace tensed for a split second before his arms wrapped around her. "It's okay. You're safe. I'll always protect you."
The blonde clung tightly to him.
I'll always protect you.
She closed her eyes tightly.
I'll always protect you.
Jace pulled away far enough to stare into her face, his molten gold eyes seeming to want to make sure she was fine as they surveyed her. He then slid his fingers into her hair and cupped the back of her head before bringing her to him, his lips moving over hers in a mystifying mixture of harshness and tenderness. She grabbed his shirt and pulled him closer, opening her mouth to his kiss and urging him to take it deeper.
He followed the silent command hungrily, pulling her flush to him as his mouth claimed hers, sending chills and fire racing down her spine.
Chloe let out a cry into his mouth, her body trembling as she reached up and grabbed painful fistfuls of his hair.
He groaned as he tightened his grip on her, his kiss growing desperate as he began to lower her to the ground.
Jocelyn's face flashed in Chloe's mind. Your father, Michael Wayland.
Giving a cry of horror, Chloe pushed Jace away as she brought a hand to her mouth. What-what had she just been-how could she have forgotten this already? Shame filled her because as she stared at him, and saw the way he stared back, what she felt wasn't the disgust she knew she should. Instead, it was a burning, all-consuming need to straddle his lap and kiss him harder.
"We can't." The girl looked away when Jace moved to touch her, her chest rising and falling with her erratic breaths. "Jace-I've just found out something." She licked her lips and turned her self-pitying gaze towards him. "And because of what I just found out-what just happened between us can never happen again."
His eyes narrowed. "What are you talking about?"
Her eyes filled with tears. "I didn't know until today-I shouldn't have kissed you two seconds ago-I'm so sorry!"
Jace moved closer on his knees, face fierce. "Speak clearly." There was movement at the door and Jace grabbed his discarded seraph blade, turning it towards the door. "Who are you and what have you done to her?"
"You saved her." Jocelyn raised an eyebrow as she stared at the teary-eyed girl and the bodies of the dead creatures around her. "Thank you." She took in a deep breath. "I am Jocelyn Fray. And you are?"
His eyes narrowed. "Jace Wayland."
Jocelyn's eyes widened and those greens turned to Chloe. "You didn't tell me you knew your brother!"
Chloe pushed back the desire to cry. "I was trying to digest the fact that that's what he is."
Jace turned a horrified expression on her. "I'm not your brother." He shook his head in denial. "My mother died when I was born. I don't have-."
Chloe turned to him. "I'm your half sister, Jace." She took in a deep breath. "Your father... Our father... He didn't even know my mother was pregnant with me."
He stared at her in silence, all the horror and conflicting emotions she was feeling at the revelation visible ten-times worse in his golden eyes.