Clary blinked. “Excuse me?”
Magnus wrung his hands, shifting from foot to foot in an uncharacteristic way. His usual composure was dwindling rapidly and Clary could see it draining away.
“Jonathan and his crew. They’re coming up hard and fast.” He sighed, running a hand through his spiky hair. “What do you want to do, Captain?”
Alec glanced at his lover before he stood, wrapping his arms around the older man. Magnus clung to him desperately as he tried to take deep, calming breaths.
“Well. That’s wonderful. We don’t have a dose of the plague as a welcoming gift by any chance, do we?”
Isabelle snorted and Simon choked on a grape he’d popped into his mouth from Clary’s plate. Rolling her eyes, the small pirate Captain whacked him on the back harshly.
“Let’s…ugh. Let’s get this over with then. Drop anchor.” Clary hung her head down, her neck aching slightly as a demonic drum beat began sounding through her skull.
“What are we going to do with the prince? You know your brother. You know what he’ll do.”
Clary shrugged and sighed again as Simon’s fingers found the back of her neck, kneading to relieve her tension. His head leaned against hers as they watched Alec lead Magnus from the cabin, probably taking him to the storeroom for a tonic.
“Come on. Izzy, prepare the crew. You know the drill.”
Nodding once, Isabelle gathered her skirts and jumped off the bunk. She sashayed gracefully from the room, leaving Clary and Simon alone.
“Can you make…oh by the Angel, I have no idea. Something suitably fancy and pretentious, I guess. You know what he likes.” Simon nodded silently, pressing a soft kiss to her forehead before ducking his head out of the low bunk.
“It’ll be alright, Clary. I promise. I won’t let him hurt you again.”
Clary sighed, glancing up at her friend as she tried to smile. “Thanks Simon. But he’s my burden to bear. It’ll be fine. Really.”
His eyes still held worry, but he still nodded to his Captain as he turned to go back to the galley.
Clary threw herself back onto the mattress, uncaringly tipping the platter off her. She slung her arm across her eyes to block the fading twilight as it spilled through the porthole. With a heavy heart, she heaved herself up as she tried to mentally prepare herself for the fiasco she was facing.
x . x . x . x . x
Jace jumped as the door flung inward, crashing into the wall with a bang.
“Here. Eat.” The curly haired man-Simon, if he remembered-tossed a plate full of food onto the table before he spun, slamming the door shut behind him.
Jace pursed his lips, trying to ignore the delectable smells wafting his way in the small cabin. His stomach grumbled in irritation as he fought back the hunger pains unsuccessfully. He’d had a single meal the day before and a scant one at that, but he’d be damned if he asked them for anything. Sighing with resignation, he slowly unfurled his limbs from where he’d curled himself up on the bed. His joints ached and creaked with disuse as he stood, slowly stepping to the table to survey the offerings he’d been brought.
He ate slowly, savoring the food. His mind wandered to Clary. He wondered if she was alright. He had absolutely no idea what had happened. One minute he’d been fighting Isabelle, then he’d been frozen in place by…something. The next thing he knew, Clary was hitting the deck and he’d been thrown into this room. No one had…
He jumped at the door clattered open again, this time revealing the very girl that had consumed his thoughts.
She darted in, the door swinging shut behind her. Her eyes wandered around the room spastically, completely ignoring his body hunched over the table. She made her way to the wardrobe, flinging it open and leaning inside to rifle through the garments.
“Need something?” His voice came out much more sarcastically then he’d intended, but his patience was wearing thin with the silent treatment. He hadn’t done anything wrong. They on the other hand had done….something. He didn’t know what and it hadn’t hurt, thank God, but it was still invasive and confusing.
“Uh, yes. I need to change. Well, I at least need to prepare myself to change. They won’t be here until the morning, more than likely. Maybe even early afternoon.”
Jace stared at her blankly as she yanked a fancy tunic out of the wardrobe and tossed it toward the bed. It fluttered to the ground helplessly, a foot short of its goal.
She bent, sifting through a pile of wadded fabric at the bottom before she pulled out a pair of soft brown leather trousers that she tossed in the general direction of the bed as well. She turned quickly to scan the room, her brow furrowing as she searched. She threw herself toward Jace and he hopped up, backing up quickly as she ducked down under the table.
“What are you doing?!?”
“My boots. I need my boots and I can’t remember where I left the fucking things!”
Jace scowled, his irritation coming to a head in an explosive burst of anger. “I have no idea where your boots are, nor do I care! Now, if you’d kindly stop your frantic…shit, I’d like to know what the hell happened the other day!”
Clary paused, her ass the only thing peeking out from under the table. He heard a huff and her front half dropped, her back arching tantalizingly though he tried to avert his eyes. He scowled once again as his eyes drifted to her upturned backside, erotic images racing through his mind that he had no interest in indulging. All he wanted was answers.
She backed up slowly, resting back on her haunches as she leaned her arm against the table. Her face fell to the crook of her elbow and her tangled locks hung limply, hiding her face from his angry stare.
“I don’t have time to explain it to you right now.”
Jace stomped his foot with a pathetic ‘fwap’ and he immediately cringed internally. But he refused to give up. “I have a right to know! You’re keeping me here against my will and doing…whatever the hell you did! I demand to kn-”
“YOU DEMAND?!?” Clary jumped to her feet as she stalked toward him, her delicate features twisted with rage. Jace stumbled backward as his eyes shot wide, flattening himself against the wall. “You are not my only priority on this ship! You may be a prince and you may be a guest here, but there are things bigger than you. Bigger than me. Bigger than any single person on this vessel and I will not hesitate to do whatever it takes to protect what is mine!”
Her chest was heaving, nearly brushing his as she panted angrily. Her eyes smoldered up at him and he looked down at her fearfully. He didn’t really think he should be afraid of a girl more than a foot shorter than him, but at that moment he’d never felt smaller. He gasped in a stilted breath as he saw…something flicked in the backs of those mercilessly green eyes. Her fingers twitched by her sides, shooting sparks down toward their bare feet and he cringed even further back.
Clary backed up a step, planting her hands on her hips as she tipped her head back. She sucked in a measured breath, the glimmer fading from her fingertips. “I’m sorry. I’m still out of sorts.” She rubbed her temples in irritation. “I will explain-I promise. But at this moment there is another ship sailing toward us. My brother’s ship.”
Jace let out a breath he hadn’t been aware of holding, his body sagging slightly against the wood. “And that’s cause for all this hubbub?”
Clary huffed out a chuckle, though it was completely devoid of humor. “Yes, I’d say so. The ship we found you on was one of his fleet. And I’m pretty sure he’s looking for you.”
x . x . x . x . x
Clary rolled her eyes as the sun beat down on her with relentless precision. Her scalp itched where Isabelle had tried to tame her hair and the hat she’d shoved onto her was making her sweat. She wasn’t used to being so…dressed. Her crew knew she prefered comfort over pretension and were amused to see her in her Captain regalia.
She fidgeted with her vest and Alec rolled his eyes, smacking her hand lightly. Clary huffed, side eyeing her lieutenant as he lounged to her right.
“Shouldn’t you be more nervous? You know how he is.”
Alec scoffed as Magnus appeared at his side. “Let him taunt us all he likes. I’m secure with myself this time around.”
Magnus smirked and leaned his head against his lover’s shoulder. Clary giggled as Isabelle flounced her way.
“Is he where we discussed?”
The dark haired beauty blanched slightly and Clary narrowed her eyes. “Isabelle. What the fuck?”
“Don’t call me Isabelle. You know it gives me hives.” She scowled at Clary, picking at her nails. “He didn’t agree with your plan. I had to do some…creative maneuvering.”
Simon ambled up to the group, slinging his arm around the Captain. “Creative maneuvering? That sounds dangerous.”
Clary wrapped an arm around him as she sighed. “Yes, it does. However, we need to stop talking about it. You know he’s got ears everywhere.”
Alec’s eyes wandered slightly as he looked over the crew assembled on the deck. His head tipped down to rest on top of Magnus’ and Isabelle sighed. “You two are disgusting. You make me want a man-but I also sort of want to vomit.”
Simon chuckled and Clary turned to hide her face in his chest as she fought back a giggle.
“Oh Izzy. There’s a perfect guy for you somewhere…trust me.” Clary smirked as she cut her eyes up to Simon who flushed a deep ruby.
“Cut the shit, kittens. They’re here.”
All humor vanished from Clary’s face as she cast her eyes toward the east. White sails billowed in the gentle breeze as The Dumort pulled alongside The Institute, ropes flying from one ship to the other as the crew tied them off.
Clary straightened and Simon pressed a soft kiss to her hair, slipping away silently to the galley. Isabelle fell in behind her brother and Magnus, who fisted his hand in the folds of his cloak.
They waited for what seemed like forever before a shrill call broke through the calm sea air. Varis swooped through the air, his black feathers glistening in the bright light. He landed lightly on the railing before them. Clary rolled her eyes.
“He sent you? Fucking birdbrain!” The crow cawed as if mortally offended, though he stood his ground with a ruffle of his feathers.
“Insulting birds now, sister? That’s low, even for a runt like you.”
Clary pursed her lips as Jonathan stepped onto the Institute, his black eyes scanning over her crew. Magnus twitched beside her as his eyes landed on Ragnor Fell, whose wrists shackled tightly as he limped behind his Captain. The duo stopped a mere foot away from Clary’s small group.
“Welcome aboard, brother mine. What brings you to my corner of the sea? I thought we had an agreement.” Her eyes flashed dangerously, though Jonathan merely smirked in return.
“Now, now Clarissa. Don’t go getting all womanly on me.” Isabelle scowled and Clary narrowed her eyes. “As a pirate Captain, you really should try to keep your emotions in check.”
“It’s so touching of you to be concerned with my womanly emotions, but alas-it’s not relevant to this conversation. What do you want, Jonathan?”
“Oh, I think you know, little sister. You have something of mine-” His eyes scanned the deck before finally settling on Clary’s small form. “-and I want it back.”