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.
A/N: The conversation between Valentine and Imogen is taken from the book.
"What?" Jace stared at his brother in horror. "No."
"It's okay." Alec came as close to the box as he dared. "We'll get her back."
"I knew this would happen." Jace looked around him in desperation. Not even finding out that he was to be taken to Idris in the morning for sentencing had filled him with this dread. "I need to get out of here. I—."
"You can't, you know that, Jace." Alec let out a sigh. "It'll kill you if you try to pass through it." He sighed. "The Inquisitor sure meant business."
"Of course she did," Jace couldn't keep his snap back. "Haven't you heard? I'm going to Idris in the morning for sentencing. There won't even be a trial."
"It's not like you made it easier on yourself." Alec's eyes were somber. "What the hell were you thinking, going to see Valentine? I mean, seriously, what was going through your head?"
A number of smart remarks occurred to Jace, but he was too tired to utter any of them. "I was thinking that he was my father."
Alec sighed, obviously trying to maintain his patience. "Jace—."
"What would you have done if it was your father?" Jace pressed.
"My father?" Alec snorted. "My father would never do the things that Valentine—."
"Your father did do those things!" Jace snapped viciously. "He was in the Circle along with my father! Your mother too! Our parents were all the same. The only difference is that yours got caught and punished, and mine didn't!"
Alec opened his mouth and then closed it as his eyes lowered to the ground. "What I'm trying to say is that I don't understand why you would want to see him after what he's done to you." His blue eyes rose to Jace's. "He experimented on you before you were even born. Not only that, but he made you think you'd witnessed his murder, Jace. I remember what you were like when you arrived - ten years old and traumatized. You woke up screaming for years. How could he have done that to his son?"
Jace tightened his hands into fists, his gaze now the one that lowered. "Valentine told me that if I supported him against the Clave that he'd made sure no one I cared about was hurt. Not you or your family. Not Chloe - even Lois. He said—."
"They wouldn't need protection if it wasn't for him!" Alec interrupted. "And good and all he decided he wouldn't kill us all personally, but what about Magnus? Or Lucian? Or any other Downworlder? Will he just let them live too? Is he suddenly so magnanimous?"
Jace licked his lips. "I saw what he can do, Alec. The kind of demonic force he can summon." He rose his gaze. "If he brings his demon army against the Clave there will be a war and people get hurt in wars. They die in wars." He looked up at Alec. "I can't save everyone but I can save the most important people."
"You idiot." And yet Alec's tone wasn't condemning in the least bit. "Valentine kissed Chloe in her dreams, remember that?" Alec leaned forwards. "What do you think he'll do to her now that he has her all alone?"
Jace looked up at Alec with narrowed eyes. Alec was playing dirty, extremely dirty, and a part of Jace was highly impressed with his Parabatai for it.
"You need to get her back, and then prove to the Inquisitor that you're to be trusted," Alec declared. "But to do that you need to get out of this thing without burning to a crisp, and I have an idea that might sound crazy."
"I'm all for crazy," Jace declared.
"Well, I've seen you do things that were practically flying. I've seen you fall three stories and land like a cat, jump from the ground to the roof—," Alec began.
"Hearing my achievements recited is certainly gratifying, but I'm not sure what your point is," Jace declared.
Alec let out a heavy breath. "My point is that there are four walls to this prison, not five."
"So, Hodge wasn't lying when he said we'd actually use geometry in our daily lives," Jace drawled. "You're right, Alec. There are four walls to this cage. Now, if the Inquisitor had gone with two, I might—."
"JACE." Alec glared at him. "I mean there's no top to the cage. Nothing between you and the ceiling."
Jace craned his neck back and gazed at the ceiling. The rafters seemed to sway dizzily high above him, lost in shadow. "Alec, your faith in my abilities is both humbling and terrifying. And also, insane. That's a thirty foot jump straight up into the air. There's no way that I can make that."
"Is it?" Alec asked softly. "Magnus told me that Chloe thinks she can create runes. And let's be honest, that's the least of her oddities." He cleared his throat. "The both of you were experimented on, Jace. Since you found out haven't you wondered if that's not the reason why you're so… you?"
Jace looked at his adoptive brother and couldn't answer. Alec and Izzy were one of the few people who knew the truth about him, and they'd accepted him despite not knowing what exactly ran in his veins - despite the fact that Jocelyn swore when he first opened his eyes after birth they were demon black. Alec and Izzy knew him better than most people, and now that Alec pointed out this to him - well - how would he know if he didn't try?
Alec was right. Chloe had started showing side effects of the experimentation she'd gone through as a fetus - she could create runes, something only the angels were supposed to be able to do. And Jace - how many people had marveled at the physical feats he could perform? He'd thought it was his father's training, and yet, what if it was more to it than that?
"He could be kissing her right about now," Alec declared casually. "There could be tongue involved."
Shooting his brother a glare, Jace looked back up at the rafters, the runes that gave him excellent long sight kicking in so that the rafters came into focus. They'd held up the Institute roof for hundreds of years, they could hold a teenage boy. He flexed his fingers and took in deep, slow breaths, just as his father had taught him.
In his mind's eye he saw himself leaping, soaring, catching hold of a rafter with ease and swinging himself up onto it. He was light, he told himself, light as an arrow winging its way easily through the air, swift and unstoppable.
"I am Valentine's arrow," Jace whispered. "Whether he knows it or not."
And he jumped.
Lucy had known it was a good idea to get Isabelle Lightwood's telephone number. "How did he get out of the Metropolis Institute? The Inquisitor had it locked down as tightly as a pentagram!"
"It doesn't matter," Isabelle declared abruptly. "You said Magnus is with you, right?"
"Yeah, I have you on speakerphone." She turned to look at Magnus, who was already searching his closet for an appropriate jacket.
"Magnus, Jace said to tell you to meet us by the waterfront. You can pick the place but it has to be somewhere deserted. We're going to need your help getting to Valentine's ship."
"Already on it!" Magnus called from the closet as he pulled out a black frock coat with glimmering silver buttons, swinging it on. "I'm assuming that there are protection wards around the ship that you'll need my help getting through." He stood tall. "And a means to get to the boat would probably be good too. I'm sure he's not at the dock anymore, not after kidnapping Chloe."
Lucy nodded her agreement but eyed him critically. "Are you sure that coat goes with those shoes?"
Magnus blinked and looked down at his shoes. "You're so right." With that he turned and went back to the closet.
"You guys, there's more," Isabelle declared, her voice worried. "Jace says that Valentine is using a fear demon. That's how he was able to kill the Silent Brothers. It's also what slaughtered the warlock, the werewolf, and the fae. It's why they all had those looks on their faces. Those terrified looks. They were literally scared to death."
Lucy frowned. "But the blood—."
"He took the blood later," Isabelle responded.
"Agramon." Magnus turned towards them, two different shoes in his hands, expression solemn.
"Yeah, Jace said Valentine called him that," Isabelle declared.
"He's not a fear demon." Magnus chucked one of the shoes behind him into the closet before he kicked off the ones he was wearing. "He's the fear demon. How did Valentine get Agramon to do his bidding? Even a warlock would have trouble binding a Greater Demon, and outside the pentagram—-." Magnus paused as he put on the new shoes. "That's how the warlock died, summoning Agramon." He sighed and sat down next to Lucy. "The Mortal Cup is what's letting Valentine control Agramon."
"The Cup?" Lucy's eyes were wide.
"Apparently it gives you come power over demon, not like the Sword does, though," Magnus declared.
Lucy looked him over. "We're totally screwed, aren't we?"
He sighed and didn't answer.
She'd dreamt about being with her mother again, she'd dreamt about being in her arms and holding her tightly and never wanting to let her go. In those dreams her mother loved her above all else and promised to never go away ever again. She'd also had nightmares where her mother was an emotionless robot who didn't care about anything or anyone else who wasn't Valentine. This seemed like a mixture of both. Her mother was there, her mother hugged her, touched her, told her how much she loved and missed her - how happy she was for Chloe to be there - to be amongst them. And yet her mother wore Valentine's mark upon her heart and his commands in her mind. This wasn't the mother who cried and sent Chloe away to protect her.
And yet, a part of Chloe didn't care. It was still her mother.
Moira leaned her cheek over Chloe's head as she rested with an arm around the girl.
Chloe leaned into her mother but watched Valentine like a hawk. She didn't know what sort of runes were on the room they were keeping Clark in, but they were keeping the alien locked in. Valentine said it was for the "mundane's" safety, but Chloe knew very well that Valentine was holding Clark's safety over her. He was Valentine's trump card.
"When I created you, I never expected the impact you'd have on my house," Valentine admitted as he turned to face her. "There is something about you that incites obsession in the fruit of my loins."
"Jace loves me, he's not obsessed." Chloe didn't blame Valentine for not knowing the difference though. It wasn't as if she would ever believe that this man had ever known what it was to truly love someone.
"Did you know that when a Morgenstern man finds his woman, that's it?" Valentine asked her curiously. "I will never love another other than Jocelyn, no matter how many times she betrays me I will always welcome her back with open arms." He leaned against the desk as he eyed her. "I have no doubt that should you betray my son, he would take you back as well. His ego might be hurt, and he might act out on it, but he wouldn't think twice about it."
"I'd never betray Jace." She glared at him for even insinuating she might.
"Jocelyn promised me the same thing, many times," Valentine declared. "And yet she betrayed not only me, but my cause."
She wanted to yell that Jace wasn't an evil pseudo scientist who experimented on his own son, but she was trying not to alienate the only chance she had of saving Jace.
"Would you forgive Jonathan if he betrayed you?" Valentine asked curiously. "Would you take him back no matter his sin - as he would you?" He tilted his head. "Do you love my son with the same feverish devotion he does you?"
"Jace would never betray me." Her eyes narrowed and she snarled at him.
"Oh, I doubt that he would see it as a betrayal, he'd see it as helping you - protecting you. Keeping you safe by keeping you in the dark. Him and Lois both."
Chloe went still, a sense of confused dread filling her stomach. "What are you talking about?"
Valentine moved towards her and stared down into her green eyes. "Have you not noticed that they have been sneaking off together?"
Something dark churned in her stomach. "They wouldn't - Jace wouldn't cheat and Lois would never do that to me."
"Of course they wouldn't," he agreed coolly. "But don't you wonder what they were doing so many nights that they didn't think you should know - that they didn't think they could tell you?" He leaned in closer. "Does this mean they trust each other more than they trust you?"
Oh Angel, Valentine had just hit her in her Achilles heel, and emotions she'd felt the last time she was here - all the insecurities - came rushing back.
He turned his back at her and walked away.
Isabelle had forced her way into Hodge's office despite the fact that she knew that the Inquisitor and her mother were waiting for Valentine to arrive and answer the Inquisitor's proposal. The women had been locked in an unending argument so loud that Isabelle had been able to easily hear it all for hours outside the doors. Her mother defended Jace, fought the trade, tried to get "Imogen" to see reason, but the other woman wouldn't.
And now Isabelle had had enough and stormed inside. Alec and Jace had gone to meet Lucy and Magnus, and she'd stayed behind because they needed someone here to keep an eye on the conversation between the Inquisitor and Valentine.
The woman was definitely about to get a guard to escort Isabelle out when Maryse's voice stopped her.
"Imogen." There was something in her voice - and urgency - that made even the Inquisitor turn and look.
The three women in the room turned to see the air just by the freestanding brass globe shimmering like water. A shape began to coalesce out of it, like black paint being stroked over white canvas evolving into the figure of a man with broad, plank-like shoulders. The image was wavering too much for Isabelle to see more than the fact that the man was tall, and had a shock of close-cropped salt-white hair.
"Valentine," in Inquisitor spoke.
The air by the globe shimmered violently and Isabelle couldn't keep her gasp as a man stepped out of the air, as if coming through layers of water. Valentine Morgenstern was over six feet tall with a wide chest and hard, thick arms coded with ropy muscle. His face was almost triangular, sharpening to a hard, pointed chin. He might've been handsome, but he lacked any of his son's pale-gold looks. Jace must've gotten his features from Jocelyn's side of the family.
The hilt of a sword was visible just over his left shoulder, it was definitely the Mortal Sword. The man wasn't corporally present so he didn't need it to protect himself. He must've worn it just to irritate the Inquisitor.
"Imogen." Valentine's dark eyes looked darkly amused, and that was when Isabelle finally saw the resemblance with Jace. "And Maryse." His gaze shifted to Isabelle. "And this is definitely your daughter." He smiled. "She looks just like you."
"Leave my daughter out of this, Valentine," Maryse said, clearly struggling to keep her voice steady.
"Well, that hardly seems fair," Valentine declared, "considering you haven't left my child out of this." He turned to the Inquisitor. "I got your message. Surely that's not the best you can do?"
She hadn't moved but now blinked slowly. "I hope the terms of my offer were perfectly clear."
"My son in return for the Mortal Instruments and the girl," Valentine recited. "Otherwise you'll kill him."
"Kill him?" Isabelle couldn't keep the horror from her voice. "MOM!"
"Isabelle," Maryse hissed. "Shut up."
"You have the correct terms, Morgenstern," the Inquisitor agreed.
He nodded. "Then my answer is no."
"No?" The Inquisitor looked as if she'd been slapped. "You can't bluff, Valentine. I will do exactly as I threatened."
"Oh, I have no doubt in you, Imogen. You have always been woman of single-minded and ruthless focus," he assured her. "I recognize these qualities in you because I possess them myself."
"I am nothing like you," she denied. "I follow the Law—."
"Even when it instructs you to kill a boy still in his teens just to punish his father?" Valentine sneered at her in disgust. "This is not about the Law, Imogen, it is that you hate and blame me for the death of your son and this is your manner of recompensing me. It will make no difference. I will not give up the Mortal Instruments, I will not give up the girl." He paused. "Not even for Jonathan."
The Inquisitor simply stared at him, as if unable to digest this turn of events. "But he's your son," she whispered. "Your child."
"Children make their own choices," Valentine answered. "That's something you never understood. I offered Jonathan safety if he stayed with me but he spurned it and returned to you. You'll exact your revenge on him as I told him you would. You are nothing, Imogen, if not predictable."
The Inquisitor didn't seem to notice the insult, in fact, she looked dumbstruck. "The Clave will insist on his death should you not give me the Mortal Instruments. I won't be able to stop them."
"I am aware of that." He nodded. "But there is nothing I can do. I offered him a chance. He didn't take it."
"You asshole!" Isabelle yelled at him. "He's your son!"
"You… offered him…" The Inquisitor started to look like she was getting weak at her knees, her eyes wide. "And he turned you down?" She shook her head, her voice odd. "But he's your spy—your weapon—."
"Is that what you thought?" Valentine looked genuinely surprised. "I am hardly interested in spying out the secrets of the Clave." In fact, he looked as if the thought was ridiculous. "I'm only interested in its destruction, and to achieve that ended I have far more powerful weapons in my arsenal than a boy."
"But—," the inquisitor's voice broke.
"Believe what you like," Valentine said with a shrug. "You are nothing, Imogen Herondale. The figurehead of a regime whose power is soon to be shattered, its rule ended. There is nothing you have to offer me that I could possibly want."
"Valentine!" The Inquisitor threw herself forward, as if she could stop him, catch him, but her hands only went through him as if through water.
With a look of supreme disgust, Valentine stepped back and vanished.
Maryse turned to the Inquisitor. "Imogen."
The Inquisitor didn't seem to hear her, her expression horrified, her face pale as she sank bonelessly into Hodge's old chair. "My God," she whispered. "What have I done?"
"You've handed the victory to Valentine," Maryse declared harshly.
"No," the Inquisitor breathed.
"You knew exactly what Valentine was planning when you locked Jace up," Maryse pushed, eyes narrowed and voice harsh. "You refused to allow the Clave to become involved because it would have interfered with your plan. You wanted to make Valentine suffer as he had made you suffer, you wanted to him you have the power to kill his son the way he killed yours. You wanted to humble him."
"Yes…" the Inquisitor whispered.
"But Valentine will not be humbled," Maryse didn't let up. "I could have told you that - I did tell you that. He only pretended to consider your offer to make absolutely certain that we would have no time to call for reinforcements from Idris. And now it's too late."
Isabelle had never seen her mother like this before, and while she'd always been proud of her mother, she'd never realized just how much of a bad ass she could actually be.
"We need to do something." The door opened behind them and Isabelle's father stood in hunting armor. "The Conclave stands ready, the boats are waiting at the dock."
"It's not good." The Inquisitor's hands fluttered around her face. "There aren't enough of us - we can't possibly - and the Clave should be informed."
"You tell them." Maryse shoved the phone on the desk towards her. "Tell them what you've done."
The older woman merely stared at the phone.
Pulling out a blade from a holster, Maryse pointed it directly at the Inquisitor's heart.
Imogen Herondale looked up at Maryse blankly. "Are you going to kill me?"
"Not even close," Maryse hissed. "We need every Shadowhunter in the city, and right now, that includes you, so get up and get ready for battle. From now on the orders around here are coming from me." She smiled grimly. "And the first thing you're going to do is free my son from that accursed Malachi Configuration."
The Inquisitor slowly nodded and stood.
Isabelle cleared her throat. "Actually, uh, about Jace…"
What the hell were these runes?
Clark had only felt something similar to the stinging pain he got whenever he moved towards the door or window when he was around green meteor rock. These definitely weren't that. It made him wary to realize that he had another weakness. Runes. There was still so much that he didn't know about himself or his abilities. But he had to keep them hidden, keep Valentine thinking he was just a Mundane. Not only wouldn't Valentine try to experiment on him – or kill him – but it bought him time to figure out how to get himself and Chloe out of here.
They were on a ship. That much was obvious from the endless sea outside his window and the sound of waves and the subtle way the ship (which had to be large) rode the waves.
Clark strained to listen. He'd found that he could hear things others couldn't, but only sometimes, and only when he really tried. He sat on the ground and closed his eyes, trying to concentrate.
Clark's eyes widened. That had been Valentine!
He closed his eyes tighter and concentrated hard once more.
"She will realize the truth of the matter soon." That was Moira.
"We must keep it from her as long as possible, she is not ready for the truth," Valentine muttered. "She has too many ties to that world, ties which will need to be broken if she's supposed to take her rightful place. Until then she cannot know."
"Jocelyn will be a problem."
"When has my darling wife not been an issue?" Valentine wanted to know with a huff. "She should be here, by my side, and yet she chooses to be with the werewolf."
"I know that you wished Jonathan to be here for this," Moira declared.
"I do want my son here by my side for this monumental event," he agreed. "But it is best that he stay away for now. There is more than enough time afterward for him to join us. And by then, Chloe will have-."
Right around then Clark's hearing gave out on him… not his total hearing… but his pinpoint accurate one. He tried to get it back, to figure out what Valentine had been about to say, but it was all for naught