For a long moment nothing happened. Then, with a terrible suddenness, the dead Shadowhunter's eyes flicked open. They were blue, the whites flecked red with blood.
Maryse let out a long gasp. It was clear she hadn't really believed the rune would work. "By the Angel."
A rattling breath came from the dead man, the sound of someone trying to breathe through a cut throat. The ragged skin of his neck fluttered like a fish's gills. His chest rose, and words came from his mouth.
Luke swore, and glanced toward Zachariah, but the Silent Brother was impassive.
Maryse moved closer to the table, her eyes suddenly sharp, almost predatory. "Shadowhunter," she said. "Who are you? I demand your name."
The man's head thrashed from side to side. His hands rose and fell convulsively. "The pain... Make the pain stop."
Clary's stele nearly dropped from her hand. This was much more awful than she had imagined. She looked toward Luke, who was backing away from the table, his eyes wide with horror.
"Shadowhunter." Maryse's tone was imperious. "Who did this to you?"
Luke whirled around, his back to Clary. He seemed to be rummaging among the Silent Brother's tools. Clary stood frozen as Maryse's gray-gloved hand shot out, and closed on the corpse's shoulder, her fingers digging in. "In the name of the Angel, I command you to answer me!"
The Shadowhunter made a choking sound. "Downworlder ... vampire..."
"Which vampire?" Maryse demanded.
"Camille. The ancient one-" The words choked off as a gout of black clotted blood poured from the dead mouth.
Maryse gasped and jerked her hand back. As she did so, Luke reappeared, carrying the jar of green acid liquid that Clary had noticed earlier. With a single gesture he yanked the lid off and sloshed the acid over the Mark on the corpse's arm, eradicating it. The corpse gave a single scream as the flesh sizzled-and then it collapsed back against the table, eyes blank and staring, whatever had animated it for that brief period clearly gone.
Luke set the empty jar of acid down on the table. "Maryse." His voice was reproachful. "This is not how we treat our dead."
"I will decide how we treat our dead, Downworlder." Maryse was pale, her cheeks spotted with red. "We have a name now. Camille. Perhaps we can prevent more deaths."
"There are worse things than death." Luke reached a hand out for Clary, not looking at her. "Come on, Clary. I think it's time for us to go."
"So you really can't think of anyone else who might want to kill you?" Jace asked, not for the first time. They'd gone over the list several times, and Simon was getting tired of being asked the same questions over and over. Not to mention that he suspected Jace was only partly paying attention. Having already eaten the soup Simon had bought-cold, out of the can, with a spoon, which Simon couldn't help thinking was disgusting-he was leaning against the window, the curtain pulled aside slightly so that he could see the traffic going by on Avenue B, and the brightly lit windows of the apartments across the street. Through them Simon could see people eating dinner, watching television, and sitting around a table talking. Ordinary things that ordinary people did. It made him feel oddly hollow.
"Unlike in your case," said Simon, "there aren't actually all that many people who dislike me."
Jace ignored this. "There's something you're not telling me."
Simon sighed. He hadn't wanted to say anything about Camille's offer, but in the face of someone trying to kill him, however ineffectually, maybe secrecy wasn't such a priority. He explained what had happened at his meeting with the vampire woman, while Jace watched him with an intent expression.
When he was done, Jace said, "Interesting, but she's not likely to be the one trying to kill you either. She knows about your Mark, for one thing. And I'm not sure she'd be keen to get caught breaking the Accords like that. When Downworlders are that old, they usually know how to stay out of trouble." He set his soup can down. "We could go out again," he suggested. "See if they try to attack a third time. If we could just capture one of them, maybe we-"
"No," Simon said. "Why are you always trying to get yourself killed?"
"It's my job."
"It's a hazard of your job. At least for most Shadowhunters. For you it seems to be the purpose."
Jace shrugged. "My father always said-" He broke off, his face hardening. "Sorry. I meant Valentine. By the Angel. Every time I call him that, it feels like I'm betraying my real father."
Simon felt sympathetic toward Jace despite himself. "Look, you thought he was your father for what, sixteen years? That doesn't just go away in a day. And you never met the guy who was really your father. And he's dead. So you can't really betray him. Just think of yourself as someone who has two fathers for a while."
"You can't have two fathers."
"Sure you can," Simon said. "Who says you can't? We can buy you one of those books they have for little kids. Timmy Has Two Dads. Except I don't think they have one called Timmy Has Two Dads and One of Them Was Evil. That part you're just going to have to work through on your own."
Jace rolled his eyes. "It's fascinating," he said. "You know all these words, and they're all English, but when you string them together into sentences, they just don't make any sense." He tugged lightly on the window curtain. "I wouldn't expect you to understand."
"My father's dead," said Simon.
Jace turned to look at him. "What?"
"I figured you didn't know," said Simon. "I mean, it's not like you were going to ask, or are particularly interested in anything about me. So, yeah. My father's dead. So we do have that in common." Suddenly exhausted, he leaned back against the futon. He felt sick and dizzy and tired-a deep tiredness that seemed to have sunk into his bones. Jace, on the other hand, seemed possessed of a restless energy that Simon found a little disturbing. It hadn't been easy watching him eat that tomato soup, either. It had looked too much like blood for his comfort.
Jace eyed him. "How long has it been since you ... ate? You look pretty bad."
Simon sighed. He supposed he couldn't say anything, after pestering Jace to eat something. "Hang on," he said. "I'll be right back."
Peeling himself off the futon, he went into his bedroom and retrieved his last bottle of blood from under the bed. He tried not to look at it-separated blood was a sickening sight. He shook the bottle hard as he headed into the living room, where Jace was still staring out the window.
Leaning against the kitchen counter, Simon unscrewed the bottle of blood and took a swig. Normally he didn't like drinking the stuff in front of other people, but this was Jace, and he didn't care what Jace thought. Besides, it wasn't as if Jace hadn't seen him drink blood before. At least Kyle wasn't home. That would be a hard one to explain to his new roommate. Nobody liked a guy who kept blood in the fridge.
Two Jaces eyed him-one the real Jace, the other his reflection in the windowpane. "You can't just skip feeding, you know."
Simon shrugged. "I'm eating now."
"Yeah," Jace said, "but you're a vampire. Blood isn't like food for you. Blood is ... blood."
"That's very illuminating." Simon flung himself into the armchair across from the TV; it had probably once been a pale gold velvet but was now worn to the grayish pile. "Do you have a lot of other profound thoughts like that? Blood is blood? A toaster is a toaster? A Gelatinous Cube is a Gelatinous Cube?"
Jace shrugged. "Fine. Ignore my advice. You'll be sorry later."
Before Simon could answer, he heard the sound of the front door opening. He looked daggers at Jace. "That's my roommate. Kyle. Be nice."
Jace smiled charmingly. "I'm always nice."
Simon had no chance to respond to this the way he would have liked, for a moment later Kyle bounded into the room, looking bright-eyed and energetic. "Man, I was all over town today," he said. "I almost got lost, but you know what they say. Bronx up, Battery down-" He looked at Jace, registering belatedly that there was someone else in the room. "Oh, hey. I didn't know you had a friend over." He held out a hand. "I'm Kyle."
Jace did not respond in kind. To Simon's surprise, Jace had gone rigid all over, his pale yellow eyes narrowing, his whole body displaying that Shadowhunter watchfulness that seemed to transform him from an ordinary teenage boy into something very much other than that.
"Interesting," he said. "You know, Simon never mentioned that his new roommate was a werewolf."
Clary and Luke drove most of the way back to Brooklyn in silence. Clary stared out the window as they went, watching Chinatown slide past, and then the Williamsburg Bridge, lit up like a chain of diamonds against the night sky. In the distance, out over the black water of the river, she could see Renwick's, illuminated as it always was. It looked like a ruin again, empty black windows gaping like the eye holes in a skull. The voice of the dead Shadowhunter whispered in her mind:
The pain... Make the pain stop.
She shuddered and drew her jacket more tightly around her shoulders. Luke glanced at her briefly but said nothing. It wasn't until he had pulled up in front of his house and killed the engine of the truck that he turned to her and spoke.
"Clary," he said. "What you just did-"
"It was wrong," she said. "I know it was wrong. I was there too." She swiped at her face with the edge of her sleeve. "Go ahead and yell at me."
Luke stared through the windshield. "I'm not going to yell at you. You didn't know what was going to happen. Hell, I thought it might work too. I wouldn't have gone with you if I hadn't."
Clary knew this ought to have made her feel better, but it didn't. "If you hadn't thrown acid on the rune-"
"But I did."
"I didn't even know you could do that. Destroy a rune like that."
"If you disfigure it enough, you can minimize or destroy its power. Sometimes in battle the enemy will try to burn or slice off a Shadowhunter's skin, just to deprive them of the power of their runes." Luke sounded distracted.
Clary felt her lips tremble, and pressed them together, hard, to stop the shaking. Sometimes she forgot the more nightmarish aspects of being a Shadowhunter-This life of scars and killing, as Hodge had said to her once. "Well," she said, "I won't do it again."
"Won't do what again? Make that particular rune? I have no doubt you won't, but I'm not sure that addresses the problem." Luke drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. "You have an ability, Clary. A great ability. But you have absolutely no idea what it means. You're totally untrained. You know almost nothing about the history of runes, or what they have meant to Nephilim through the centuries. You can't tell a rune designed to do good from one designed to do harm."
"You were happy enough to let me use my power when it was the binding rune," she said angrily. "You didn't tell me not to create runes then."
"I'm not telling you not to use your power now. In fact, I think the problem is that you so rarely do use it. It's not as if you're using your power to change your nail polish color or make the subway come when you want it. You use it only in these occasional life-and-death moments."
"The runes only come to me in those moments."
"Maybe that's because you haven't yet been trained in how your power works. Think of Magnus; his power is a part of him. You seem to think of yours as separate from you. Something that happens to you. It's not. It's a tool you need to learn to use."
"Jace said Maryse wants to hire a rune expert to work with me, but it hasn't happened yet."
"Yes," said Luke, "I imagine Maryse has other things on her mind." He took the key out of the ignition and sat for a moment in silence. "Losing a child the way she lost Max," he said. "I can't imagine it. I should be more forgiving of her behavior. If something happened to you, I..."
His voice trailed off.
"I wish Robert would come back from Idris," said Clary. "I don't see why she has to deal with all this alone. It must be horrible."
"Many marriages break up when a child dies. The married couple can't stop blaming themselves, or each other. I imagine Robert is gone precisely because he needs space, or Maryse does."
"But they love each other," Clary said, appalled. "Isn't that what love means? That you're supposed to be there for the other person to turn to, no matter what?"
Luke looked toward the river, at the dark water moving slowly under the light of the autumn moon. "Sometimes, Clary," he said, "love just isn't enough."
The bottle slid out of Simon's hand and crashed to the floor, where it shattered, sending shards flying in all directions. "Kyle's a werewolf?"
"Of course he's a werewolf, you moron," said Jace. He looked at Kyle. "Aren't you?"
Kyle said nothing. The relaxed good humor had gone out of his expression. His hazel eyes were as hard and flat as glass. "Who's asking?"
Jace moved away from the window. There was nothing overtly hostile in his demeanor, and yet everything about him implied a clear threat. His hands were loose at his sides, but Simon remembered the way he had seen Jace, before, explode into action with almost nothing, it seemed, between thought and response. "Jace Lightwood," he said. "Of the Lightwood Institute. What pack are you sworn to?"
"Jesus," said Kyle. "You're a Shadowhunter?" He looked at Simon. "The cute redheaded girl who was with you in the garage-she's a Shadowhunter too, isn't she?"
Taken aback, Simon nodded.
"You know, some people think Shadowhunters are just myths. Like mummies and genies." Kyle grinned at Jace. "Can you grant wishes?"