Lois was able to make progress with Jace when Chloe hadn't, and a part of the blonde resented that terribly, while the other was grateful. But it still stung a little, that when she'd begged Jace he hadn't capitulated, he'd been so firm, and yet with Lois he'd stopped and considered. What exactly did that say about their relationship-or whatever they had? Did he not respect her or her opinions? Her desires? Did he not see her as an equal?
The thought plagued her throughout the early morning and when she couldn't take it anymore, long after Lois had gone back to sleep, and even the sound of Jace's sleeping breaths filled the room, Chloe got up from bed and slipped out of the room. She felt weird about leaving them in the room alone but her feet could carry her weight now and she wanted to get away from her own stupid jealousy.
She hugged herself and looked around the manor, at the morning light chasing away the shadows and allowing her to view the inside of the manor. She made her way down the stairs and found a way out of the manor into the amazing garden that existed there. She moved amongst the flowers, wondering who exactly tended to them. Was it her mother?
The girl bent down and breathed in the scent of a flower, closing her eyes and letting out a small smile.
"I wondered whether you were going to try and run away," a voice declared.
Chloe straightened and turned towards the voice, bringing her hand up to shield her from the intense glare.
The guy was backlit by the sun, leaving him in shadow, and the sun's glare keeping her from being able to look at him, completely hiding him from her.
"Who are you?" She asked, feeling something odd tingle through her body.
"A curious passerby." He remained where he could be hidden from her.
"What are you curious about?" She wanted to know.
She gulped, not sure what to think about that, and yet able to understand given the fact that Valentine's minions must've known she was coming and that Valentine considered her his 'crowning achievement'. "I'm not all that interesting."
"Is that so?" He sounded intrigued.
"Yeah." She nodded, feeling a little bitter still from the night she'd had. "That's so."
He continued to eye her for a moment before he turned and began to walk away. "Do me a favor and don't tell anyone you met me. The people in this manor don't like it when others trespass onto their property."
"I haven't 'met' you. We don't even know each other's names." She called after him.
He paused and chuckled as he sent her a look over his shoulder before continuing to walk away, giving her a short wave as he shucked his hands into his pockets and disappeared around a corner, still completely covered by the sunlight.
The people in this house? So he wasn't one of Valentine's minions?
Chloe licked her lips, wondering if she'd missed a golden opportunity to get help.
She hugged herself and continued looking in the direction he'd disappeared in until the glare got too much for her and she turned, about to go into the manor house, when she noticed a woman coming out into the garden. Her body froze and her breath caught in her throat. She hadn't seen the woman since she was eight years old and yet there was no denying who she was, no confusion. "Mother?"
Moira smiled tenderly before she rushed to Chloe and embraced her tightly. "My darling." She pressed a kiss to the top of Chloe's head. "I started to fear that I would never see you again."
Chloe shook as she held on tightly to Moira, having feared the same exact thing. "Momma."
Moira trembled as she held Chloe closer. "I'm so sorry for leaving you all these years. Can you ever forgive me?"
Chloe nodded wordlessly as she clung to her mother as if to life. "I've missed you momma, I've needed you."
"I know. And I hate that." Moira sounded so ashamed. "But I need you to listen to me, Chloe. You can't stay here. You, Jonathan and Lois have to go back."
Chloe pulled away and looked up into her mother's face, shaking her head. "No. I want to stay here with you."
"Chloe, I don't have much time until it heals and I'm her again." Moira's voice was urgent, as were her eyes. "I've done all I can to keep you safe from Valentine, I've sacrificed our life together, but you need to understand that I did it all happily because it meant that he wouldn't be able to use you." Those blues bared into Chloe's greens. "He's in the dungeons right now, he won't expect you three to try and escape. He doesn't know that I had a backup plan in case he got you." She tightened her grip on Chloe. "You need to get Jonathan and Lois, and leave."
"You're coming with us." Chloe whispered, urgently. "I'm not leaving you here! He'll know you helped us!"
Moira shook her head as she pulled away and pulled up her shirt, showing a rune that had been hidden, a rune that was marred by a slice of a knife. "It's already healing up on its own. Once it does, I won't be thinking of what's best for you any longer."
Chloe stared in horror at the Loyal To rune. "He marked you." Tears streamed down her face. "That monster."
"I was only able to temporarily destroy my mark out of my pure desperation knowing you were here, because I needed to be the one to talk to you, not his faithful lapdog." Moira's eyes were determined. "And once it heals back up I won't have any memory of this, or of the fact that I love you more than I could ever be loyal to him. He'll never suspect me because by then the rune will be healed. I won't even understand what happened to you. My confusion will be genuine. But you need to do it now."
"But I only just got you back." Chloe shook her head, voice shaking.
Moira gave a cry as she pulled the girl tightly against her and pressed a kiss to her head. "One day he'll be dead and I'll be free. And when that happens I'll come for you. Just be strong till then."
She didn't want to be, she wanted to be weak, wanted to stay here in her mother's arms.
"Go." Moira's voice broke with her emotion. "You have to go and then have someone else say these words, they'll trigger the spell and take you to safety. You have to say-."
"I hate him." Chloe sobbed. "I hate him!"
"Don't darken your heart with that emotion, nothing good ever comes from it." Moira whispered before a twig snapped behind them and they turned to see Jace and Lois there, both teenagers looking conflicted. Moira raised her chin as she addressed them. "You need to escape, now, while he's savoring his victory and his guard is down."
Lois looked between them.
Jace appeared confused. "But you said-." He was silenced and went pale when she lifted her shirt to reveal the healing Loyal To rune.
Lois gasped in horror.
"You need to get them both out of here, and keep Chloe away from Valentine-out of his clutches." Moira spoke to Jace. "I know what he's told you, but I also know what he hasn't told you."
"What do you mean by that?" Jace's voice was emotionless.
Moira's blues narrowed on his golds. "She isn't meant to be only yours."
Jace's face crumbled, almost as if he'd suspected that answer and yet had been hoping against hope. He closed his eyes and took in a deep breath before he opened those golds and rested them on Moira. "How do we get out of here? The Portal is destroyed."
"I'm not leaving you." Chloe turned to her mother desperately.
"Hold onto her tightly." Moira instructed Jace and Lois. "I had Magnus place a very risky but necessary spell on her in case this happened, in case Valentine got her, and you will need to be in direct contact with her to be affected as well." She took in a deep breath. "I'd give you the Cup but if you did he would never rest until the both of them were back in his clutches-at least with the Cup here he'll be distracted, even if only for a little while."
"Come with us." Chloe begged as Jace and Lois grabbed hold of her hands. She didn't give a crap about the Cup. She never had. "We'll figure a way to free you from that rune. Please."
Moira didn't answer, tears in her eyes as she pressed a kiss to Chloe's forehead. "I love you, baby. Never forget how much your mother loves you." And with that she pulled away and whispered the words that triggered the spell.
The last thing Chloe saw before the everything blurred and the trio appeared in the sick room of the Institute next to Magnus Bane, was the sight of her mother breaking down and falling to her knees, crying into her hands.
"He's still sitting outside against the door of her room. She won't come out and won't open it to anyone either." Jocelyn whispered as she leaned hard against the wall, hugging herself. "She won't eat, won't sleep, she just cries."
"It's understandable, Jocelyn." Luke cleared his throat. "She went through something that was emotionally traumatizing. She had to leave her mother behind."
Jocelyn closed her eyes against the reminder.
"I still can't believe that Aunt Moira-." Lois hugged herself as she sat in on the meeting given the fact that Chloe wouldn't even open the door to her. "I thought such horrible things about her for so long."
"There was no way you could've known what was really going on." Surprisingly enough it was Isabelle who said this, finally away from her brother's side now that he was out of danger. "She protected Chloe despite what it cost her. That's what a mother does."
Jocelyn flinched as if hit as she looked away.
"What do we do now though?" Clark, an almost permanent fixture at the Institute now, wanted to know. "Valentine has the Mortal Cup and Chloe's mom."
"We can't do anything about either for now," Luke sighed, looking very tired. "We just have to prepare for whatever his next move is." His gaze lowered onto Lois. "He wanted you, Chloe and Jonathan with him, and Moira was right. The Cup will only be a distraction for so long. He's going to come back for you."
"I was just a hostage." Lois raised an eyebrow. "He had no real reason for wanting me other than to keep Chloe there with him. It's those two we have to worry about."
"You might be right, but you're a Lanaera, that family is very old and prized themselves on purity, just like Valentine does." Luke sneered at the very word. "Plus, I find it interesting that Moira never admitted that she was related to your father. Not even to me. Why exactly did she hide that fact? Especially considering that they didn't get along."
Lois shrugged. "Maybe I should ask the General."
"Maybe." Luke didn't look too sure though.
"Right now that isn't our main concern though." Jocelyn took in a deep breath. "The Clave is."
Clark frowned. "What do you mean? Aren't they the good guys?"
"They've been kept in the dark and been made fools of, again." Jocelyn answered. "I doubt they're going to take that lying down."
"What does that have to do with Jace, Lois and Chloe?" Isabelle wanted to know.
Luke gave her a dark smile. "You don't think they're going to believe, like we do, that they weren't sent back by Valentine as spies."
"We weren't!" Lois gasped in horror. "We escaped! And Aunt Moira might've paid dearly for helping us if Valentine found out she did!"
"We believe you." Luke reminded as he placed a hand on her shoulder. "But we aren't the Clave."
The first thing Alec saw as he opened his eyes was Church staring down into his face, the Blue Persian cat sitting happily on his chest and purring loudly.
The second thing he saw was Magnus Bane, the warlock rubbing the cat's head.
"So, Sleeping Beauty wakes." Magnus raised an eyebrow, visibly pleased. "I was getting tempted to kiss you and see if that really works."
Alec flushed as he glared up at the warlock for always managing to catch him off-guard like this. "What happened? Where are everyone?"
"You got a little too close and friendly with a Greater Demon, and so I had to save your cute butt and nurse you back to health just so I could scold you for cheating on me before we've even had a chance to go out on our first date. And with a demon nonetheless." Magnus replied flirtatiously before he went serious. "A lot has happened while you've been out."
Alec gulped. "Like what?"
"You sure you don't want to wait and hear it from someone else?" Magnus asked.
Alec narrowed his eyes at him. "No. I want you to tell me." He held up his hand to stop the warlock though, when he opened his mouth. "And, uh, thank you."
Magnus raised an eyebrow curiously. "For what?"
The Shadowhunter sputtered. "For saving my life!"
The warlock smirked. "I didn't do that for free. You owe me a date."
Alec flushed darkly. "A date?"
"Yep. And you better make it a memorable one." Magnus folded his arms over his chest and jutted his hip out to the side. "I have high expectations when it comes to you."
Alec just stared at the warlock before he gulped, loudly.
Had Valentine believed that her mother had nothing to do with what had happened? Had he somehow found out and was punishing her? Punishing the woman who, with her rune, would gladly burn herself alive if he wanted her to?
Chloe hugged her pillow tighter and cried.
This was all her fault.
She was a coward.
She should never have left!
Or she should've forced her mother to come with them-they could've found a way to get rid of that rune! To save her!
The door unlocked itself, no doubt with the help of a stele, and opened before closing softly, the lock returning.
Chloe closed her eyes tightly.
There were soft footsteps that padded towards the bed behind her, and then she felt it dip under weight as Jace's arm went around her, pulling her back into his chest as he curled around her. He didn't speak, didn't try to say anything comforting, merely held her as he lay behind her on the bed, his warmth enveloping her.
She didn't get how he knew, how he understood that she didn't want to talk, didn't want to hear any consoling platitudes-that even though she'd locked herself away all she'd really wanted was someone to hold her.
Jace tightened his grip on her and buried his face in her hair, and that was when she felt the dampness and realized she wasn't the only one who was miserable, the only one who'd left a parent behind, and despite the fact that Valentine was a monster he was Jace's father and the boy loved him.
Chloe's hands went to the one Jace had around her and she gripped him just as tightly as he gripped her, letting him know silently that she understood, that she was there for him too.
He trembled slightly before burying his face harder into her hair, as if trying to hide from the situation they now found themselves in.
The girl brought his hand up to her lips and pressed a soft kiss to it before she returned it to her stomach, and closed her eyes tightly against the world, leaving only her and Jace in warm darkness. She was scared, confused, guilty for having betrayed her only living parent, but she wasn't the only one who felt that way. Jace understood her feelings all too well, and she'd been wrong to lock him out like she had.
They stayed in bed like that, the two of them holding onto each other, and for the first time since they'd gotten back Chloe felt like it might be alright. They were together, and Lois was safe. That was all that mattered right now. Sure Valentine had the Cup. Sure her mother was still with him, but Chloe had to believe that Moira had managed to fool Valentine yet again, the woman was cunning and good at it. Chloe had to have faith, couldn't give up hope, not for her mother's sake.
Jace's trembling calmed as he drew closer, molded against her.
A tender smile touched her lips as she slowly turned in his arms to face him, gazing up into his pale and conflicted face.
Jace stared at her before he leaned down to rest his forehead against hers while he drew her closer to him.
Chloe closed her eyes and leaned into the touch, her hand going to his heartbeat, finding it so amazingly calming that she brought his hand to rest over hers.
Jace moved to press a kiss to her forehead before he rested his own against it again.
His words from the other night echoed around her like a blanket: 'You were born ... to be mine.'
In moments like these, in which he was a guiding light in her darkness, she could so easily believe those words.
Chloe curled into him, shifting and arranging herself so she rested with her cheek against his heartbeat, Jace's arms enclosing her, filling her with such bone-tingling warmth she couldn't help but let out a sigh of contentment as he rested his cheek against the crown of her head. Her arms wrapped around him as well, their legs entangling until she wasn't exactly sure where she ended and he began.
She stayed like that for a while, feeling Jace's body slowly relaxing until she could finally hear his breathing change, the boy having fallen asleep. She smiled softly to herself and rubbed her cheek against his heartbeat before letting out a little yawn, tiredness descending on her as well.
There was a lot still ahead of them, so much they'd have to face, but as she lay there, slowly drifting off to sleep, Chloe knew without a certainty that if Jace and her were together they'd get through whatever was thrown at them. And there was no way she'd be doing this alone, even if she wanted to, because Jace would just become his stalkery self and wear her down eventually like he always did.
A little chuckle escaped her lips at the thought, and she fell asleep with a smile on her face, safe within the arms of the boy she loved.