Chloe wondered how in the world she was going to tell Jace and the others about this new development concerning the Cup without telling them about Clark's secret (because there was no way in hell she'd break his confidence and reveal he was a handsome ET) but she was considering saying it was a 'theory'. She knew that when Jace got back and found out that she'd told everyone (well, almost everyone) about the Mortal Cup he was going to be seriously pissed, but then again, maybe he'd split some of that annoyance between her and Isabelle considering that it had been the girl's actions which had brought about the reveal. Then again, considering that Isabelle had rushed back out to where Jace and Alec were, she'd probably gone to confront him herself about what she'd discovered, so he must definitely know about it already.
This would not be fun.
Lois had stayed on despite it was Clark's shift, and Chloe's only remaining ties to her old life, both whom she loved and adored, had spent the whole evening arguing on whether The Hobbit movies were as good as The Lord of the Rings movies, and Clark and Lois were close to trading actual blows because Lois declared that the lack of innumerable and seriously hot men like in the first trilogy made the Hobbit less appealing while Clark announced it was the story that counted, not the hotness of the men. Lois, of course, scoffed at the very thought.
Chloe smiled and watched in amusement as the bells on Lois' newest piece of jewelry, her bracelet, jingled as she shook her hand at Clark and schooled him on how the hotness of the men starring in it had everything to do with if a movie was interesting or not.
Suddenly, Church could be heard meowing loudly at the door, scratching at it viciously, urgently.
Chloe's eyes narrowed, fear gnawing at her gut. "Something's happened."
Clark stood. "I'm going to go see what's going on. You two stay here." And with that he hurried to the door, opened it, and followed in the direction the cat had taken off in immediately.
Lois and Chloe shared looks as they sat in bed, but when ten minutes passed and Clark had not come back yet they shared looks once more and got up as they chorused at the same time: "I've gotta know what's going on." The cousins then smiled at each other and turned to hurry out the door.
"Hodge has got to be in the know," Chloe rationalized as she led the way to the Head Honcho's office.
Lois felt seriously wiggy as she followed after her cousin and looked around her. There was something dank in the air, something that just seemed off and she kept eyeing her cousin in worry as she kept up with her.
The two made it to Hodge's office and Chloe threw the door open as she rushed in.
There was an odd sound behind them and Lois hesitated, looking around them warily before she ventured into the office and closed the door firmly behind them.
"Jace!" Chloe's voice drew Lois' attention as she turned to see that Jace and Hodge were by the lit fireplace. "Are you okay? What's going on?"
"Miss Wayland, Miss Lane." Hodge stood taller as he eyed them.
Lois hurried to get closer to them, her whole body cold as she hugged herself. "What's wrong with this place?"
Hodge narrowed his eyes at her. "What do you mean?"
"Something… something is off." Lois' teeth chattered slightly as that cold grew even as she drew closer to the fireplace.
"Alec and I were attacked by a Greater Demon, he's been scratched by its talons and its poison is inside of him." Jace spoke only to Chloe, his face pallid. "The runes won't work, won't heal him. If Isabelle hadn't come back-."
Chloe brought her hand to her mouth to silence her gasp before asking: "What can we do to help?"
"I've sent Jocelyn and Luke to get Magnus Bane." Hodge took in a deep breath. "He is the only one who can help us now."
Lois stared around her, eyeing Hugo, Hodge's bird as it hovered just above them, a flash of fear racing down her spine. "Something… no… something's not…" She brought her hand to her head and whimpered. "What else is wrong here?"
Hodge's gaze went to her and narrowed further. "Miss Lane. What are you feeling right now?"
She felt almost claustrophobic, her hand going to her throat. "I-."
Chloe's eyes narrowed on her in worry as she moved closer. "Lo?"
Even Jace looked concerned.
Suddenly Hodge's eyes narrowed in understanding and he turned to the raven. "Hugin."
With an unearthly caw the bird dove straight for Lois' face, claws outstretched.
Lois cried out in confusion and fear as the world became feathers and talons, the girl batting desperately at the creature attacking her, pain blooming along her cheek as she was unable to fend off all of the attacks.
She could hear Chloe yell her name, and then Jace shout.
Suddenly an agonizing pain shot up her body and Lois felt her legs go out from under her as she slipped and fell to the floor.
"That's enough, Hugo." Hodge's voice was quiet.
Obediently the bird flew away, leaving her.
Lois looked up as she gasped, wiping at the blood from her face as she gazed at how the scene had changed.
Hodge stood, holding Chloe tightly by her upper arm, and Jace lay on the floor at their feet, very still, as if he'd fallen asleep all of a sudden.
"You sonofa-!" Lois tried to move but couldn't, and was terrified to realize she was paralyzed.
"What are you doing?" Chloe asked Hodge, her voice slightly elevated and her face pale. "What did you do to them? To her? She's mundane! If you've-!"
"She's safe, and he's not been hurt." Hodge seemed to want to assure Chloe, still not seeming the villain despite it all. "Do not worry about your cousin. The girl is not hurt and will not be hurt either. I have made sure of that."
"You sick-!" Lois snarled as she tried to move but couldn't even lift her middle finger to him.
"Why are you doing this?" Chloe seemed to want to talk him out of whatever he had planned. "Why are you-?" She gasped. "Is this something the Clave wanted?"
He sighed, seeming so tired. "When the Clave finds out what has happened at this Institute I will be long gone."
Lois stopped trying to fight, confused.
Chloe seemed to get it though, her eyes widening. "You haven't told them anything, have you? They're not here not because they don't know if Valentine is watching. They just don't know." She let out a stuttered breath. "You work for Valentine."
"I do not work for him." Hodge seemed adamant to clarify that as he bent them down and withdrew something from Jace's hand, it was the engraved ring Jace always wore. He slipped it onto his own finger as he straightened them up once more, leaving Jace on the floor. "But I am Valentine's source of information, that is true."
Lois felt her heart skip a beat in horror. "What information did you give him?"
Hodge never answered her. Instead he swiftly twisted the ring three times around his finger before he slipped it off and instead slid it onto Chloe's thumb.
For a second nothing seemed to happen, and then the sound of a door opening echoed around the room. Lois' gaze went instinctively to the door to Hodge's office, relieved at the thought that Luke was back with Magnus, but that door was still firmly shut. Her hazels, narrowed in confusion, returned to Hodge in time to see that the air beside Hodge was shimmering, like the surface of a lake seen from a distance. The shimmering wall of air parted like a silver curtain, and then a tall man was standing next to Hodge and Chloe.
Lois didn't have to ask who he was, didn't have to wonder, the horror on Chloe's face the only thing she needed to know as to the identity of this man. So this is Valentine.
"Starkweather," he spoke, his black eyes on the man. "I assume you have the Cup?"
Hodge tightened his grip on Chloe and yet didn't say a word, he looked a mixture of fearful and astonished. "My Lord Valentine. I had not expected you so quickly."
"I told you I would come to you through a Portal." His voice was uninterested, although slightly mocking. "Didn't you believe me?"
"Yes. It's just-I thought you'd send Pangborn or Blackwell, not yourself."
He sneered at the very thought. "You think I would send them to collect the Cup? I'm not a fool. I know its lure." His gaze then finally turned on Chloe and he froze, those impassive black eyes widening as he took half a step towards her. "It cannot be."
Lois was going to vomit. "Stay away from her you creep!"
But Valentine didn't even seem to hear her as he drew nearer to Chloe, a mixture of horrified and fascinated as he reached out to cup her face, tilting it up to face him. "How is it that I did not realize before that-?" His eyes widened and he then chuckled darkly. "What a sneaky little mouse you are, Moira." His thumb brushed over Chloe's cheek. "So that was what the block was for." He turned to Hodge. "Give her to me."
Hodge held onto her tightly. "I want what you promised me first."
"First? You don't trust me?" He smirked with no humor. "A bargain is a bargain, Starkweather, although I have to say that I was highly surprised to get your message. I would've thought a life a hidden contemplation wouldn't be something you would have minded all that much. You never were much for the battlefield."
"You don't know what it's like," Hodge let out his breath in a hiss. "Being afraid all the time-."
"That's true. I don't." Valentine sounded like he pitied Hodge in the same way one would something insignificant and disgusting but which didn't have the fault for the way it was. The dislike and scorn was visible in his features. "If you don't intend to give her over to me, then why summon me?"
Hodge gulped. "It isn't easy to betray those who trust you."
Lois narrowed her eyes, suddenly realizing that Hodge was hesitating.
Valentine tilted his head. "Do you mean the Lightwoods or their children?"
"Both." He whispered.
"Ah, yes, Maryse and Robert." Valentine sneered. "Do you really owe them anything considering they let you be cursed in their stead? They should've shared in this punishment of yours but because of their high connections in the Clave they got off so much easier than you did, they can even return to Idris while you are left here rotting in their place. You and I wouldn't have done that, wouldn't have let a friend suffer in our places, but they did. And that does not make them worthy of your hesitation."
Oh, he was good.
"T-the children-," Hodge closed his eyes tightly.
"Since when did you become so fond of children?" Valentine sounded highly amused.
"Jace…" Hodge whispered.
"You will not speak of him." Valentine's amusement turned into immediate anger as his gaze finally turned to the boy on the floor. "He is bleeding." He observed that casually. "Why?"
"It's not his blood. He's unconscious but not injured."
Valentine chuckled darkly. "I wonder what the boy will think of you when he wakes. Betrayal is never pretty, but to betray a child-that's double betrayal, don't you think?"
"You won't hurt him," Hodge whispered to himself, as if trying to convince himself of this. "You swore you wouldn't hurt him."
"I never did that," Valentine countered.
"Hodge, don't you dare do this." Chloe finally spoke, and her voice was oddly strong, her eyes narrowed on Valentine. "You can give me to him. I give you full permission to do so. But you do not give him Jace!"
"Chloe you idiot!" Lois screamed and was once more ignored.
"Such a commanding presence she has, isn't that right, Starkweather?" Valentine chuckled as he eyed her once more. "Imagine if her mother had not stupidly, selfishly hidden her from me and I had been able to train her, raise her, mold her, free her into becoming the fierce lioness just simmering beneath the surface." His black eyes pierced her. "That I could assure that no weakness was within her."
Chloe tilted her chin upwards. "Why don't you get Hodge to take off whatever rune he put on me and then we'll see how weak I am?"
"Rune?" Valentine turned to Hodge questioningly and then smirked when the man turned her arm slightly to reveal the mark there. "Ah, a Binding rune. Effective." He turned his gaze on Hodge. "You know that even if you kill me the Clave will never lift your curse. You'll hide here till you die, terrified to do so much as open a window too widely. What wouldn't you trade away to not be afraid any longer? What wouldn't you give up to go home again?"
"You sadistic bastard," Lois whispered as she stared at the look on Hodge's face.
Hodge appeared about to breakdown and cry. "Tell me you won't hurt him, and I'll give her to you."
"No." Valentine's voice was soft yet sure. "You'll give her to me anyway." And with that he reached out his hand.
"Hodge, don't!" Lois screamed, by now sure that they couldn't hear or see her but still unable to keep quiet or stop struggling.
"You don't need Jace." Chloe didn't seem to think speaking to Hodge himself would change anything, so she spoke to Valentine instead. "Please. I'll come. I'll go willingly. But just leave him. Please."
Valentine eyed her and then Jace in deep contemplation. "Such heartfelt pleading for the boy."
Hodge closed his eyes and looked the picture of despair as he handed her over to Valentine.
"Thank you." Valentine took her from Hodge and eyed her thoughtfully. "What is the boy to you, my little Cup Bearer?"
She gulped and stared up into his black eyes. "Please."
He eyed her in interest before reaching down to pick up Jace as if he weighed nothing, flinging the boy over his shoulder while still holding onto Chloe's arm. "This will make for an interesting night." He tightened his grip on her arm and forced her to walk besides him as he made his way towards the shimmering curtain of air that he'd come through, that Portal he'd talked about.
"Don't you-!" Lois tried.
Hodge reached out an imploring hand. "Wait! Is it done? Am I free?"
"You are." Valentine turned his head to look hard at the man, who gasped and stepped back as if something had struck him in his heart, black fluid seeping around his splayed fingers and trickling to the floor. "May your bought freedom bring you joy." And with that he stepped through the curtain of glowing air, yanking Chloe along with him, and for a moment they seemed to shimmer as if underwater before they vanished, taking Jace with them.
Lois stared at the air where the Portal had been seconds ago before she screamed. "HODGE! LET ME OUT YOU ASSHOLE!"
He finally turned and acknowledged her. "Don't worry, you are safe. You will only stay like this until I am a safe distance away from the Institute."
"I don't care about me!" She was doing her best to keep from crying. "How could you do that? They trusted you and you gave them to him! He's going to kill them!"
"He didn't say that."
"He didn't have to!" Lois screamed back. "They trusted you and you traded them for an end to a curse you deserve!"
"Is that what you think?" He asked tiredly.
"It's what I know." She glared at him.
"You only know bits and fragments, Miss Lane, and it is better for you that way. You are young and the past means nothing to you. The Clave cursed me because I aided Valentine, but I was hardly the only one who did so. The Lightwoods, the Waylands, the Lanaera-they were all just as guilty and yet they weren't cursed as I was, to live my life without being able to set so much as a foot outdoors, not so much as a hand through the window."
"That's not our damned fault!" Lois snarled at him, not wanting to feel even an ounce of pity for this man. "Look, just, just let me go. Tell me where Valentine is. I won't tell the others, I'll just-."
"No." He shook his head. "You were not raised as one of us. You have no part of this life of scars and killing. You can still get away." He turned his gaze on Lois. "Leave the Institute, Miss Lane, as soon as you can. Leave and never come back."
She couldn't believe he thought she was capable of such cowardly actions. "I can't, and even if I could, I wouldn't."
"Then you have my condolences," he whispered before he walked out of the room.
"Hodge!" Lois screamed. "HODGE!" But he didn't come back and no one else came either, and she realized in horror that she was stuck there for as long as he was still close to the Institute. She shook her head, about the only thing she could move, and refused to believe that she was such a useless person as this. There was no way that she could just stay there and wait to be freed, like some damned fairytale princess!
She had to move. She had to. The girl wouldn't just sit down and-!
"SOMEONE! ANYONE! DAMN IT!" Lois tried to move with all her might, sweat dripping down her face, terror bubbling up in her body at the thought of what Valentine might be doing to Chloe right now. She was even worried about Jace, surprisingly enough.
She didn't know how long she'd been struggling, but her fingers were twitching now, and muscles sore.
Suddenly the door flew open and Luke and Jocelyn stepped in.
"Hodge, we've brought-!" Jocelyn paused as she looked around the room. "Everyone must be by Alec's side. Come on, Magnus should be there by now." She turned and exited the room.
"GUYS!" Lois screamed. "I'M HERE! I'M HERE!"
Luke narrowed his eyes on the room, clearly hesitating as he turned to follow Jocelyn out.
"LUKE!" Lois screamed, tears of frustration falling down her face. "LUKE, PLEASE!" He was closing the door. "DAMN IT LUKE! NOTICE ME FOR ONCE IN YOUR DAMNED LIFE! I'M HERE! PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME!"
The door stopped inches from closing before it opened and Luke peered inside once more, his face scrunched up in confusion.
Lois let out a gasped cry of relief. "You can hear me… or sense me… or something." She cried a shaky laugh as she sniffled. "Luke! Luke I'm here. Luke!"
The werewolf frowned as he stepped back in cautiously and took a whiff of the air. "Lois? Are you in here?"
She was crying now, tears falling down her face as she continued to scream as loudly as she could. "Over here!"
The werewolf still didn't seem able to hear her but sniffed the air once more as he moved closer and closer to her, his eyes narrowing as he seemed to pick up her scent stronger as he did so.
"Luke, I could kiss you!" Lois grinned brightly at him through her tears as she found her body finally able to twitch.
Luke circled her before he turned his head and eyed her face-on, the werewolf slowly lowering to his knees on the ground and reaching out, his palm hitting the barrier that kept her prisoner. His eyes flashed gold. "Lois?"
She smiled and nodded. "I'm here."
Suddenly he snarled and slammed his knuckles into the barrier.
Lois' eyes widened. "What are you-?"
Luke slammed his fist into the barrier over and over again, his knuckles cut and bloody as his eyes remained that wolf-gold.
"Stop it!" Lois screamed, horrified. "You're hurting yourself! Stop! Please!"
He hit the barrier harder and harder.
"Please!" Lois whimpered as she stared at his knuckles.
Suddenly, with one last roar and slam of his knuckles, the barrier came crumbling down around her like broken glass.
Lois eyes widened as she looked up at him. "Are you okay?"
His wolf-eyes stared down at her. "Are you?"
Lois flung herself at him, wrapping her arms around Luke's neck as she cried into his neck.
Luke froze, his whole body tense before he slowly, awkwardly, brought his arms around her and patted her back. "Lois? You-were marked with a rune."
"And you hurt yourself! You damned werewolf!" She held on tighter. "I'm going to kill Hodge with my bare hands!"
He tensed harder. "Starkweather did this to you? Why?"
She pulled away and looked up into Luke's face, her eyes filled with tears. "He gave them to Valentine, Luke." Her breath came out in an emotional stutter. "Chloe and Jace are gone and there was nothing I could do to stop it from happening."
Jace stared down at the sleeping blonde's face, the girl glowing brighter than the moonlight in the darkness. He'd awoken to find himself in bed with her, the boy confused and disoriented because he didn't know this place, and then he remembered Hodge's attack and his worry increased ten-fold. Where were they? What had Hodge done? And why would he do it?
"You don't have to worry, she's merely sleeping." An oddly familiar voice said from the shadows.
Jace twirled around and reached for his seraph blade, only to remember he didn't have it.
A dark chuckle came from the man in the shadows. "That is why I took your blade from you for now. So we could talk."
"Who are you, where are we, and what have you done to Chloe?" Jace's eyes narrowed, trying to get a good view of the man and yet unable to thanks to the darkness.
"I told you, she's sleeping, for now." That voice was calm and far from hostile. "She needs her rest. I do not think they were taking proper care of her." There was an exhale of breath. "Look at her, look at that glow and how it's increased now that she's away from them."
Jace wouldn't look away from this man, darkness creeping inside him. "You're Valentine, aren't you?"
"Yes." The man moved in the shadows as if he belonged there, moving closer to Chloe's side of the bed.
"Don't come any closer to her," Jace hissed viciously. "I don't care if you're her father, and I don't care if I don't have a weapon, I will tear you apart with my bare hands if you so much as-."
"Her father?" Valentine asked curiously. "Whatever gave you the belief that she was my child?"
Jace froze, horror filling him. "You said she belonged to the house of Morgenstern. You said-."
"I did, and she does, but that doesn't mean that she's my child." Valentine interrupted easily. "That girl is not my daughter."
Jace felt cold as confirmation hit him straight in the gut. Chloe was a Wayland. She was his sister. He-he was in love with his sister. He desperately wanted his sister.
"Don't worry, that doesn't change the fact that I do not plan on killing her. Her not being my daughter makes her much more valuable to me than if she had been." The man spoke no sense. "You mightn't believe it now, Jonathan, but I want nothing more than for the both of you to be safe and sound."
Jace's eyes widened further. "How do you-?"
"We will find a way to remove the Mortal Cup from her without damaging her. She is not to be hurt, by anyone. That girl, and the Cup within her, are the corner stones to everything. And they both must be protected."
He was confused and disoriented. "What are you-?"
"I must admit, I am curious as to what your relationship is with her though." He once more didn't let Jace finish his question. "She is scared of me, erroneously so, obviously believing the lies that have been told about me, painting me as the villain in this story. And yet she tried to trade herself for you, for your safety." There was a pause. "You must be very important to her."
Jace felt his stomach clench at this. "That idiot did what?!"
There was a soft chuckle. "I see that she is important to you as well."
Jace didn't like this. "I don't know what your game-plan is, but if you think I'm going to fall for your words and just let you-."
"Jonathan." Valentine stepped forwards into the moonlight, letting it bathe him for the first time and reveal himself completely. "It's me."
Jace's breath left him in complete horror as he stared at the man he'd never thought he'd ever see again. "Father?"