Jace watched as the shadows lengthened across the cabin floor. His knees ached from being curled up for hours. His neck cracked as he picked his head up, twisting it right and left to loosen the sore joints.
It seemed like only seconds after Clary had collapsed that Magnus had thrown him in this room, barring the door from the outside and trapping him. Not that he could blame him. He’d seen the unadulterated terror on Alec’s face as he’d raced to catch her. He hadn’t heard a sound since then. No yells from the crew, no knocks to gain admittance, no murmured voice just outside the door-absolute silence.
The moon rose, casting it’s cool light over the ocean. He stared out the small window, tracing the constellations with his eyes like he’d been taught. According to his calculations he was approximately 60 leagues south of his father’s kingdom. Jace watched the waves crest gently as a soft wind rippled over the water.
What exactly did he have to go back to? He hadn’t thought of his father all day-except in abstract terms. He didn’t want to get married. He didn’t want to produce brats with a woman who only wanted him for what he could give her-wealth, status and a life of luxury. He definitely didn’t want the responsibility of ruling a nation. He hadn’t been mistreated on The Institute-quite the opposite in fact. Clary treated him with a respect he’d never been shown before. He’d been fed and watered, clothed to the best degree they could with what was already on board.
His heart pounded as he contemplated the traitorous thoughts racing through his brain. Did he want to go back? Did he want Clary to take him back? And what exactly would happen if they did return him to his father? Their kingdom definitely did not have the best of reputations when it came to dealing with pirates. Jace shuddered as he thought of the treatment the female pirates would endure.
No, he couldn’t subject any of the crew to that. Especially not after…well, he wasn’t exactly sure what had happened earlier. But he knew that he wasn’t only worried about what his father would do to the pirates. He was also worried about what the pirates might do to his father.
x . x . x . x . x
Clary’s head pounded as she floated through the darkness. Her limbs refused to cooperate, anchoring themselves to whatever soft surface she’d been placed on. She heard a cacophony of sound around her, muddled and indistinct as if her ears were stuffed with cotton.
A warmth seeped into her chest, radiating outward as it engulfed her body. The pleasant sensation soon turned hot, a raging inferno blazing through her blood as she screamed for mercy without making a sound. Her back arched upward, bowing to the point where she felt the bones creak in protest and still her voice stayed silent.
Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks-time had no meaning as she fought wave after wave of agony. Her strength waned, but relief was a dream she had no control over-and no idea when or if it would come. In a scorching flare of fire Clary lost the battle, slipping into the place where dreams and nightmares rule.
x . x . x . x . x
“Clary? Clary?” A sharp pain stung her cheek and her nose wrinkled. “Oh for fuck’s sake Morgenstern, get your lazy ass up!”
Clary’s eyes cracked open slightly and she blinked hazily at the face above hers. “Alec?” Her head tipped to the side, taking in the cabin around her. “What-uh…huh?”
A giggle drifted to her from the corner and she turned her head slowly, her eyes lighting on Isabelle. “What’s so funny Lightwood? Did I drink too much?” She sighed, her hand coming up clumsily to rub at her pounding head. “Did I strip in the Crow’s Nest again?”
Magnus joined in with a snort while Simon hacked out a cross between a chuckle and a cough. “Uh no. Here-you need to eat.” The tall boy shoved a platter into her lap, tossing himself roughly onto the bunk next to her. She grinned and swatted at him lightly, struggling to prop herself against the wall. Alec rolled his eyes and shifted himself to wrap an arm around her, lifting her slight body with no effort at all.
Clary’s face broke into a smile at the gesture, though the expression dropped hastily when she lowered her eyes to the food in her lap. She glared balefully up at them in turn, her eyes finally settling on Alec. He shifted uncomfortably before throwing his hands up in defeat, shoving her over gracelessly to squeeze himself in on her other side.
“Do you remember trying to train the fuc-” He cut off the word abruptly, clearing his throat as he ran a hand through his already messy hair. “-prince?”
She screwed up her face as Magnus came closer, leaning casually against the bunk as Isabelle hauled herself up onto the one across from them. Slowly it came back, the memories seeping into her brain like rainwater.
“Oh.” It dawned on her then, the reason they all looked petrified. “Yes. I do.”
“Clary-eat. Now. We’ll talk around you.” Magnus gestured toward the platter and she wrinkled her nose again, sagging backward and turning her face to hide in Alec’s neck.
“But I don’t wanna!” Simon snorted as she peeked out from under Alec, her lips jutting out comically. Isabelle pursed her lips, containing the smile threatening to crack her face as she pulled an apple from the folds of her skirts.
“Don’t care.” Magnus gestured again, flicking the knife she hadn’t noticed him twirling in her direction.
Her eyes found Alec’s and the mirth dropped from her face as she saw the fear still residing within him. “Please Clare? That-it just…you-”
“You fucking terrified him, is what you did. What were you thinking?!?” Magnus shot away from them, pacing spastically in the narrow space between bunks. His hands flew wildly around him and Isabelle ducked lithely to keep from being smacked in the cheek.
Clary sighed, grabbing a fruit off the tray. Her finger dug into the soft flesh of the Angel fruit, ignoring the spurt of purple juice that coated her hands and dripped to her shirt. She raised it to her mouth, her teeth crunching into the flesh noisily. Alec winced at the sound that so resembled bones cracking.
“Okay, I’m eating. Now explain.” Clary glanced around, twisting her body to see out the porthole behind her. The sun was descending behind the water, throwing brilliant sparks of light toward the ship as it gave up it’s hold on the earth. “What happened this morning?”
Magnus paused in his pacing, his cat like eyes glaring at her. “This morning? Motherfucker!”
Clary reared back as he shot out the door faster than her eyes could track in her still weakened state. “What?!?”
“You’ve been out since the day before yesterday.” Isabelle explained, nibbling daintily at the apple core. She nodded toward the two men smushing Clary between them. “I thought those two would do something drastic if you didn’t wake up soon.”
Simon blushed as he ducked his head away from the Captain’s penetrating eyes. “Well, I was concerned. Plus these heathens are trying to eat us off the ship! We’ll need to make port soon.”
The other girl scoffed, waving her hand at the chef. “Psh, it’s not that bad.”
“Easy for her to say. She’s the worst of the lot, constantly demanding I try a new recipe or make another batch of something!” Simon scoffed, throwing his hands into the air, smacking the slats on the bunk above them painfully. He shook his head slightly, smirking at Isabelle. “I’ve never seen a woman eat as much as you.” He turned his eyes to Clary in exasperation. “Except for maybe you!”
Alec grinned and Clary huffed, tossing the stem and core of her fruit to the floor. “Hey now!” Magnus’ voice echoed around the cabin, a note of hysteria in his voice as he stomped back through the door.
“Sorry Mags.” Clary smirked apologetically as she bit into another Angel fruit. She could already feel the strength seeping back into her, the magical energy suffusing into her very marrow.
“Whatever. We have another issue.” Magnus ran a hand through his hair, cringing as his fingers combed through the stiff spikes. Clary raised an eyebrow, not bothering to wipe the purple juice leaking down her chin. “There’s another ship a few leagues off. Raphael saw it a little while ago.”
“Royal Navy? We knew they’d send scouts to search for their wayward prince.” Alec rested his head lightly on Clary’s knee, his fingers pressing softly into her bare calf as he played with the fraying hem of her trousers.
“No.” Magnus gulped audibly, his eyes darting around the cabin and Clary’s brows furrowed. “It’s-The Dumort. It’s Jonathan.”