“Yes,” Luke said. “I think so.”
“Hodge said he thought maybe upbringing might make a difference, regardless of blood. I just keep thinking—if I’d stayed with Valentine, if he hadn’t sent me to the Lightwoods, would I have been just like Jonathan? Is that how I’d be now?”
“Does it matter?” said Luke. “You are who you are now for a reason. And if you ask me, I think Valentine sent you to the Lightwoods because he knew it was the best chance for you. Maybe he had other reasons too. But you can’t get away from the fact that he sent you to people he knew would love you and raise you with love. It might have been one of the few things he ever really did for someone else.” He clapped Jace on the shoulder, a gesture so paternal that it almost made Jace smile. “I wouldn’t forget about that, if I were you.”
Clary, standing and looking out Isabelle’s window, watched smoke stain the sky over Alicante like a smudged hand against a window. They were burning Valentine today, she knew; burning her father, in the necropolis just outside the gates.
“You know about the celebration tonight, don’t you?”
Clary turned to see Isabelle, behind her, holding up two dresses against herself, one blue and one steel gray.
“What do you think I should wear?”
For Isabelle, Clary thought, clothes would always be therapy. “The blue one.”
Isabelle laid the dresses down on the bed. “What are you going to wear? You are going, aren’t you?”
Clary thought of the silver dress at the bottom of Amatis’s chest, the lovely gossamer of it. But Amatis would probably never let her wear it.
“I don’t know,” she said. “Probably jeans and my green coat.”
“Boring,” Isabelle said. She glanced over at Aline, who was sitting in a chair by the bed, reading. “Don’t you think it’s boring?”
“I think you should let Clary wear what she wants.” Aline didn’t look up from her book. “Besides, it’s not like she’s dressing up for anyone.”
“She’s dressing up for Jace,” Isabelle said, as if this were obvious. “As well she should.”
Aline looked up, blinking in confusion, then smiled. “Oh, right. I keep forgetting. It must be weird, right, knowing he’s not your brother?”
“No,” Clary said firmly. “Thinking he was my brother was weird. This feels—right.” She looked back toward the window. “Not that I’ve really seen him since I found out. Not since we’ve been back in Alicante.”
“That’s strange,” said Aline.
“It’s not strange,” Isabelle said, shooting Aline a meaningful look, which Aline didn’t seem to notice. “He’s been in the hospital. He only got out today.”
“And he didn’t come to see you right away?” Aline asked Clary.
“He couldn’t,” Clary said. “He had Valentine’s funeral to go to. He couldn’t miss that.”
“Maybe,” said Aline cheerfully. “Or maybe he’s not that interested in you anymore. I mean, now that it’s not forbidden. Some people only want what they can’t have.”
“Not Jace,” Isabelle said quickly. “Jace isn’t like that.”
Aline stood up, dropping her book onto the bed. “I should go get dressed. See you guys tonight?” And with that, she wandered out of the room, humming to herself.
Isabelle, watching her go, shook her head. “Do you think she doesn’t like you?” she said. “I mean, is she jealous? She did seem interested in Jace.”
“Ha!” Clary was briefly amused. “No, she’s not interested in Jace. I think she’s just one of those people who say whatever they’re thinking whenever they think it. And who knows, maybe she’s right.”
Isabelle pulled the pin from her hair, letting it fall down around her shoulders. She came across the room and joined Clary at the window. The sky was clear now past the demon towers; the smoke was gone. “Do you think she’s right?”
“I don’t know. I’ll have to ask Jace. I guess I’ll see him tonight at the party. Or the victory celebration or whatever it’s called.” She looked up at Isabelle. “Do you know what it’ll be like?”
“There’ll be a parade,” Isabelle said, “and fireworks, probably. Music, dancing, games, that sort of thing. Like a big street fair in New York.” She glanced out the window, her expression wistful. “Max would have loved it.”
Clary reached out and stroked Isabelle’s hair, the way she’d stroke the hair of her own sister if she had one. “I know he would.”
Jace had to knock twice at the door of the old canal house before he heard quick footsteps hurrying to answer; his heart jumped, and then settled as the door opened and Amatis Herondale stood on the threshold, looking at him in surprise. She looked as if she’d been getting ready for the celebration: She wore a long dove gray dress and pale metallic earrings that picked out the silvery streaks in her graying hair. “Yes?”
“Clary,” he began, and stopped, unsure what exactly to say. Where had his eloquence gone? He’d always had that, even when he hadn’t had anything else, but now he felt as if he’d been ripped open and all the clever, facile words had poured out of him, leaving him empty. “I was wondering if Clary was here. I was hoping to talk to her.”
Amatis shook her head. The blankness had gone from her expression, and she was looking at him intently enough to make him nervous. “She’s not. I think she’s with the Lightwoods.”
“Oh.” He was surprised at how disappointed he felt. “Sorry to have bothered you.”
“It’s no bother. I’m glad you’re here, actually,” she said briskly. “There was something I wanted to talk to you about. Come into the hall; I’ll be right back.”
Jace stepped inside as she disappeared down the hallway. He wondered what on earth she could have to talk to him about. Maybe Clary had decided she wanted nothing more to do with him and had chosen Amatis to deliver the message.
Amatis was back in a moment. She wasn’t holding anything that looked like a note—to Jace’s relief—but rather she was clutching a small metal box in her hands. It was a delicate object, chased with a design of birds. “Jace,” Amatis said. “Luke told me that you’re Stephen’s—that Stephen Herondale was your father. He told me everything that happened.”
Jace nodded, which was all he felt called on to do. The news was leaking out slowly, which was how he liked it; hopefully he’d be back in New York before everyone in Idris knew and was constantly staring at him.
“You know I was married to Stephen before your mother was,” Amatis went on, her voice tight, as if the words hurt to say. Jace stared at her—was this about his mother? Did she resent him for bringing up bad memories of a woman who’d died before he was even born? “Of all the people alive today, I probably knew your father best.”
“Yes,” Jace said, wishing he were elsewhere. “I’m sure that’s true.”
“I know you probably have feelings about him that are very mixed,” she said, surprising him mainly because it was true. “You never knew him. He wasn’t the man who raised you. You don’t even look like him, except for your fair hair—but those eyes of yours … I don’t know where you get those. So maybe I’m being crazy, bothering you with this. Maybe you don’t really want to know about Stephen at all. But he was your father, and if he’d known you—” She thrust the box at him then, nearly making him jump back. “These are some things of his that I saved over the years. Letters he wrote, photographs, a family tree. His witchlight stone. Maybe you don’t have questions now, but someday perhaps you will, and when you do—when you do, you’ll have this.” She stood still, giving him the box as if she were offering him a precious treasure. Jace reached out and took it from her without a word; it was heavy, and the metal was cold against his skin.
“Thank you,” he said. It was the best he could do. He hesitated, and then said, “There is one thing. Something I’ve been wondering.”
“If Stephen was my father, then the Inquisitor—Imogen—was my grandmother.”
“She was …” Amatis paused. “A very difficult woman. But yes, she was your grandmother.”
“She saved my life,” said Jace. “I mean, for a long time she acted like she hated my guts. But then she saw this.” He drew the collar of his shirt aside, showing Amatis the white star-shaped scar on his shoulder. “And she saved my life. But what could my scar possibly mean to her?”
Amatis’s eyes had gone wide. “You don’t remember getting that scar, do you?”
Jace shook his head. “Valentine told me it was an injury from when I was too young to remember, but now—I don’t think I believe him.”
“It’s not a scar. It’s a birthmark. There’s an old family legend about it, that one of the first Herondales to become a Shadowhunter was visited by an angel in a dream. The angel touched him on the shoulder, and when he woke up, he had a mark like that. And all his descendants have it as well.” She shrugged. “I don’t know if the story is true, but all the Herondales have the mark. Your father had one too, here.” She touched her right upper arm. “They say it means you’ve had contact with an angel. That you’re blessed, in some way. Imogen must have seen the mark and guessed who you really were.”
Jace stared at Amatis, but he wasn’t seeing her: He was seeing that night on the ship; the wet, black deck and the Inquisitor dying at his feet. “She said something to me,” he said. “While she was dying. She said, ‘Your father would be proud of you.’ I thought she was being cruel. I thought she meant Valentine….”
Amatis shook her head. “She meant Stephen,” she said softly. “And she was right. He would have been.”
Clary pushed open Amatis’s front door and stepped inside, thinking how quickly the house had become familiar to her. She no longer had to strain to remember the way to the front door, or the way the knob stuck slightly as she pushed it open. The glint of sunlight off the canal was familiar, as was the view of Alicante through the window. She could almost imagine living here, almost imagine what it would be like if Idris were home. She wondered what she’d start missing first. Chinese takeout? Movies? Midtown Comics?
She was about to head for the stairs when she heard her mother’s voice from the living room—sharp, and slightly agitated. But what could Jocelyn have to be upset about? Everything was fine now, wasn’t it? Without thinking, Clary dropped back against the wall near the living room door and listened.
“What do you mean, you’re staying?” Jocelyn was saying. “You mean you’re not coming back to New York at all?”
“I’ve been asked to remain in Alicante and represent the werewolves on the Council,” Luke said. “I told them I’d let them know tonight.”
“Couldn’t someone else do that? One of the pack leaders here in Idris?”
“I’m the only pack leader who was once a Shadowhunter. That’s why they want me.” He sighed. “I started all this, Jocelyn. I should stay here and see it out.”
There was a short silence. “If that’s how you feel, then of course you should stay,” Jocelyn said at last, but her voice didn’t sound sure.
“I’ll have to sell the bookstore. Get my affairs in order.” Luke sounded gruff. “It’s not like I’ll be moving right away.”
“I can take care of that. After everything you’ve done …” Jocelyn didn’t seem to have the energy to maintain her bright tone. Her voice trailed off into silence, a silence that stretched out so long that Clary thought about clearing her throat and walking into the living room to let them know she was there.
A moment later she was glad she hadn’t. “Look,” Luke said, “I’ve wanted to tell you this for a long time, but I didn’t. I knew it would never matter, even if I did say it, because of what I am. You never wanted that to be part of Clary’s life. But she knows now, so I guess it doesn’t make a difference. And I might as well tell you. I love you, Jocelyn. I have for twenty years.” He paused. Clary strained to hear her mother’s response, but Jocelyn was silent. At last Luke spoke again, his voice heavy. “I have to get back to the Council and tell them I’ll stay. We don’t ever have to talk about this again. I just feel better having said it after all this time.”
Clary pressed herself back against the wall as Luke, his head down, stalked out of the living room. He brushed by her without seeming to see her at all and yanked the front door open. He stood there for a moment, staring blindly out at the sunshine bouncing off the water of the canal. Then he was gone, the door slamming shut behind him.
Clary stood where she was, her back against the wall. She felt terribly sad for Luke, and terribly sad for her mother, too. It looked like Jocelyn really didn’t love Luke, and maybe never could. It was just like it had been for her and Simon, except she didn’t see any way that Luke and her mother could fix things. Not if he was going to stay here in Idris. Tears stung her eyes. She was about to turn and go into the living room, when she heard the sound of the kitchen door opening and another voice. This one sounded tired, and a little resigned. Amatis.
“Sorry I overheard that, but I’m glad he’s staying,” Luke’s sister said. “Not just because he’ll be near me but because it gives him a chance to get over you.”