Jace woke as the sun was coming up. His neck cracked as he sat up, staring around blearily as he took in the vaguely familiar quarters. He yawned, not bothering to cover his mouth. He smirked as he thought of what his father would say for his lack of decorum.
He stood, stretching up on his toes before bending over. His back cracked arthritically and he groaned at the relief from the uncomfortable position he’d slept in. A sharp rap on the door startled him and he pitched forward, only catching himself at the last moment before his face met the floor. The door creaked inward and Magnus raised an eyebrow at the odd position he’d found their guest in.
“Uh, good morning. Sleep well?”
Jace straightened up and blinked, his mouth staying resolutely closed as he refused to engage his captors. The pirate, now bedecked in more makeup than he’d seen a courtesan wear and something sparkly in the sharp spikes of his hair, stepped inside and leaned against the door.
“Alright, well-Isabelle convinced Simon to try this new thing called…uh pamcakes? I don’t really remember, but we picked up the recipe from a merchant when we stopped over in Thailand. British chap. Quite friendly.” He pulled a dagger out of his pocket, twirling it carelessly between his fingers. Jace followed the blade with his eyes, those tawny orbs growing bigger and bigger as Magnus twirled faster and faster.
“Uh, please be careful. I have no desire to scrub blood off the Captain’s floor.”
Magnus chuckled, tossing the dagger into the air-where it hung suspended. Jace’s eyes bugged and his mouth dropped open, his feet scrambling backward. He stumbled back until he reached the bed where he climbed up and flattened himself against the wooden plank walls.
“What? Are you afraid, princeling?” The pirate stepped forward, his gait slow and leonine as he stalked forward.
Jace swallowed audibly, his eyes darting around wildly.
A groan followed the soft command and Jace sucked in a deep breath, beyond grateful for the tiny pirate Captain.
“Yes Captain?” The Asian man winked cheerfully at Jace, spinning around as if he hadn’t just been frightening him half to death. He bowed sarcastically to Clary who rolled her eyes, a smirk half formed on her lips.
“Alec was looking for you. Or did you plan on torturing our guest until we have nothing but a corpse to send back to the King?” Jace blanched at her words, his skin paling a few shades. Clary’s eyes sparkled with mischief as she waved the other man away, slapping his ass on the way out. She plucked the dagger from the air, twirling it the same way Magnus had. “Oh, calm down your majesty. I have no desire to maim, kill or otherwise alter you at all.”
Jace’s heart stuttered once as he watched the girl toss the knife up and catch it deftly. Clary sighed, tossing the knife casually to the table where it embedded itself deeply into the wood.
“Come along, young prince. Simon-our chef-has made breakfast and if you lollygag any longer there may not be any left.”
Clary led the way, Jace plodding skittishly behind as she led him to the room where they’d eaten last night. A few stragglers were still gathered around the table, mugs clutched in their hands as they murmured to each other. They nodded to Clary, who smiled down at them and led him past to the entrance of the kitchen.
“Simon?” She stuck her head through the swinging door, bending at the waist. Her ass thrust out and Jace yanked himself to a stop a hairsbreadth away from her body. He let out a startled yelp as he nearly fell backwards. Clary straightened, throwing an amused smirk over her shoulder as she held the door open.
A tall lanky man with disheveled brown hair tripped through the door, nearly tossing his platter of food. He stood sheepishly, pushing his spectacles up his nose as he placed the large plate down on the table. Clary grinned, throwing her arm around his waist as she spun him to face their guest.
“Your majesty, this is Simon Lewis. He’s the best chef I’ve had the pleasure of finding.” The man blushed a shade to match her hair as he ducked his head modestly. She giggled and fell into his side, his calloused fingers caressing her waist through her thin shirt.
Jace ground his teeth, an unexplainable feeling of discontent flowing through his veins as he watched the two play and flirt harmlessly with each other.
Their eyes whipped to him, Clary’s brow down low and Simon’s quirked upward in a question.
“Call me Jace. Not your majesty, not your highness. Just Jace.” He paused, taking in the sight of the chef’s hands all over the Captain. “Please.”
Jace unclenched his fists deliberately as he bit the inside of his cheek. What was that? And why? Smirking, Clary nodded her head slightly as she motioned for him to take a seat. She lunged to her toes, pressing a short kiss to Simon’s cheek and giggled as she felt a swat on her ass when she turned her back toward him.
Simon stuck his tongue out as he retreated to the galley, saluting saucily as the door swung shut behind him. “Forgive him. He gets a little…rambunctious in the mornings.”
Clary giggled once again, pushing herself up onto the table, swinging her short legs underneath as Jace glowered at her. “And obviously you’re cranky in the mornings. Good to know. Well, here’s breakfast. Pancakes, or so I’ve heard. They are exceptional. So eat up.” She jumped down, her fiery hair swinging around her shoulders as she stepped toward the door.
Panic gripped him, making Jace choke on the first bite of pastry. “What?! You’re not staying?”
She shook her head, grinning as the few remaining crew members yawned tiredly. Jace guessed they’d been on the night’s watch. “You’ll be fine, princeling. Eat, drink-be merry! Come find me when you’re finished and I’ll give you a task if you like.”
She winked, her emerald eyes glittering with happiness as she made her way out the door. Jace stared after her, dumbstruck. What on earth did she think he could do?
x . x . x . x . x
Turns out, he could do plenty. Or at least she thought so. He’d found Clary after finishing his pancakes-which, he had to admit, were disgustingly delicious. He’d hoped that they tasted like sandpaper, if only to give him a reason to hate that Simon bastard.
“Once more, princeling! Come on! You can do this!” Isabelle goaded as she crouched down, her wooden dagger brandished as she swayed from side to side. Jace swiped his sweaty hair off of his forehead, already feeling a sunburn beginning to take hold. He groaned as he raised his tired arm, his fist clenched around a wooden sword.
Clary watched from the shade of the mast, her eyes narrowed as they observed the ‘training’. Jace snorted inelegantly as Isabelle lunged again, knocking him onto his back as his sword clattered to the deck.
“You can do better than this, prince! Come on!” The dark haired girl wrinkled her nose as she held a hand out exasperatedly. Jace tripped as she hauled him up-she was a hell of a lot stronger than she looked.
“Jace! Focus! Did your father not train you?!” Clary called, her brow scrunched down low over her eyes as she raised a hand to block the sun.
“In swordplay, no. He trained me to take over after he’s gone-politics and strategy. Not barbaric, sweaty bouts of exertion!”
Alec chuckled as he knocked his shoulder into Clary’s. “That’s a travesty. Sweaty bouts of exertion are the absolute best kind. Imagine what he could do with the proper training.”
Clary smirked, her eyes narrowed in thought as she contemplated. “Magnus!”
The Asian man appeared as if from nowhere and Jace yelped as he felt a sharp pinch on his backside. Alec barked out a laugh as Magnus leaned against the rail, an innocent expression plastered onto his face.
“Could you do me a favor?” Clary leaned forward, muttering lowly into the man’s ear. His eyebrow quirked upward and he glanced at her with a slight air of disdain.
“You can’t be serious, Clare? Him?”
Isabelle sauntered away, waving over her shoulder as Jace stared after her. He panted as he stumbled over to where Clary was, leaning heavily against the mast to her left. She eyed him warily before she sighed and turned back to Magnus.
“Yes, him. I can sense it. Just tell me how strong it is. Please.” She added grudgingly as Alec nudged her again.
“Alright, alright. Don’t get your knickers in a twist.” Jace choked at Magnus’ words, his eyes skirting over Clary’s casual pose.
“Even if I was wearing them, you’d have absolutely no effect on my knickers, darling.” She smirked at Jace’s wide eyed stare, her tongue peeking out as she chewed on it thoughtfully.
He jumped as he felt hands on his head, his arms flailing out as he whipped his eyes around to see Magnus. “Calm down. This isn’t going to hurt.”
Jace froze-through no conscious decision of his own. His eyes rolled in their sockets, his breathing speeding up once again as Magnus settled his hands on either side of his head, lightly grazing his temples.
“Hurry Magnus. He’s fighting it.”
The prince whipped his eyes to the diminutive pirate Captain, terror seeping out of his pores as he struggled against whatever invisible force held him. Sweat beaded along her forehead as a soft light encased Magnus’ hands. Clary’s breath hitched in her throat and Alec glanced worriedly at her, then back to his lover as he took a step toward them. Jace continued to struggled futilely, his mind racing with possibilities-each more far fetched than the previous. His eyes rolled back toward Magnus, only to see his strange cat like eyes widen in astonishment as he took a large step backwards, bumping gracelessly into Alec in his hasty retreat.
Exhaustion overwhelmed him as whatever had held him immobile vanished. He stumbled backward to slump against the hard mast as he fought to catch his breath. A blur of muted color startled him out of his daze, only to realize Alec was lunging toward him. Jace ducked to the side, slipping as his hands flew up to ward off the impending attack. But his eyes widened in horror as he saw Alec’s true goal was Clary.
She hung suspended in shocked silence for a moment. And then her eyes rolled back in her head as her small body crumpled lifelessly to the deck.