"Shut that thing up!"
"Daniel, it's a baby." the woman's mouth twitched, like she wanted to smile, "which one do you think- Felicia or Jacob?"
"Probably Felicia..." Daniel muttered, "Jacob's too... quiet for a baby."
The woman rolled her eyes, "It's a wonder you don't find a wife Daniel."
"I.... shut up Alexis."
Alexis laughed quietly and a disheveled yet pleased looking man entered. Alexis crossed to him and gave him a kiss on the cheek, "Ben." she tossed a glance at a narrow-eyed Daniel, "Let's see if I'm right," she said, "So, which one was crying Ben?"
Ben gave her a puzzled look, "What do you mean?"
Alexis gave him a glare, "Our children. The brand new ones we got last week."
Ben grinned, "Yeah, I remember that lovely occasion. What about the kids?"
"Which one was crying?" she said. Daniel sighed heavily, looking at Alexis. She practically glowed- her long dark hair swept back form her narrow, angled face. Her wide blue eyes held her husband's and Daniel turned away again, hunching his shoulders.
"Neither one, they were both asleep," Ben said. His wife opened her mouth and he sighed, "Yes, I'm sure. Felicia was splayed out like she was skydiving and Jacob was curled into a little ball."
Alexis looked amused for a moment, then tipped her head, "Then what-"
The Ashwright's room got slightly more crowded as a tall man with silver hair poked his head in, "Did you hear that?" he asked, thunking his cane on the ground.
"If you mean the baby crying, yes," Daniel drawled, "We only heard it once though, since Ben and Alexis' love-fest has drowned out any hope of hearing anything."
Without looking, Alexis swatted Daniel in the stomach. She pushed to the door, "I'm going to check on the nursery," she said, whipping down the hallway towards the small nursery where her children slept.
"Weapon room," Ben muttered, racing in the opposite direction, his brown hair whipping as he ran.
Daniel sighed, "What now Jake?" he asked.
"It's coming from the door," the old man said softly. "The front door."
"The front-" Daniel repeated disbelievingly. But the old man had already set off at a hobble, down to the heavy door.
Daniel stood in front of him, throwing the door open with a grunt. He thrust out his dagger-
At thin air.
The night was cold, snow falling on the ground in flurries. The thick woods that surrounded the Seattle Institute were on visible as dark shadows in the moonlight. The mountains rose in the distance, the moon a cold silver disk. But there were no demons, no wolves, no vampires or fey.
With wide eyes, Daniel brought the dagger back. "No one's there he whispered,"
Ben had caught up with them, dressed in leather gear, his bow notched with a dark arrow. "What'd I miss?"
"Nothing pretty boy," Daniel said bitterly, "Absolutely nothing."
"Quite the contrary," Jake said, looking down, "You both missed something."
The two men looked down and Ben gasped in surprise.
"How...how can this have happened?" Ben asked quietly.
"It can't be a mundie," Daniel rationalized, "They wouldn't be able to see the Institute or get close enough-"
"She," Jake said quietly, "It's a girl."
The three grown Shadowhunters stared in confusion at what lay on the step before them.
It was a baby girl. Swaddled in white cloth, a piece of parchment folded neatly against her, a black necklace peeking through her blankets.
After a few moments, Jake reached down and grasped the parchment. He unfolded it carefully and something flicked in his eyes.
"Josie," he said softly, "Her name is Josie Ravenwood."
Chapter 1 Edit
The blindfold is heavy. The dark material cancels out all the light and I take a steadying breath. I can't see, but that doesn't really matter to me. I smirk, taking comfort in the fact that Jacob is wearing one too.
I can hear him across from me. Shadowhunters have great reflexes, but mine have always been better then most. Jacob is breathing quietly across the training room from me. I imagine him now- shaggy black hair and brown eyes that are probably narrowed in frustration under the blindfold. When Jake told us we would be sparring blindfolded, Jacob promptly retreated into his room and didn't come out until it was time to go, wreathed in glowing runes. Protection runes, offensive runes, all kinds of the thing. Jacob always had a thing with runes... I could never understood how he and Felicia could be such different twins. While Jacob is all runes and history, Felicia is fire and fight. I'm somewhere in the middle, which is what makes the three of us a terrific team.
"Begin!" Jake booms from the left where he, Daniel, and Felicia stand, watching.
I whip out my seraph blade, and hold it close to my lips, ready to whisper its name.
"No seraph blades!" Jake says, reprimanding me. "I'm not having you two pull blades out the first time we do this with blindfolds!"
Reluctantly, I return it to its sheath and wait for Jacob to make the first move.
Jacob tips his head, then launches himself forward. He's fast, I thought grimly. And he has his runes. I dodge his attack and wait for the next.
"Come on Josie! Tackle him!" Felicia cries. "Don't wait!"
"Shut up Felicia!" Jacob says through gritted teeth. He comes at me again, and this time I let him. Surprised, Jacob barrels right through me and I get my legs in his stomach, then push him away. Jacob lets out a very unmanly shriek as he flies through the air and lands (luckily) on a gym mat. I wince a little. I can hear the air whooshing out of him from where I was standing, ten feet away.
"Great," Felicia was saying, "Can I have a go now?"
I tear off my blindfold and, after a moment of disorientation, run over to where Jacob has curled into the fetal position. "You okay?"
Jacob tries mouthing something and I feel bad. Sure Jacob was a bit of a prick and he was extremely annoying and bossy, but what if he was seriously hurt? What if-
Jacob who has adopted a pained expression suddenly convulses into giggles. I blink in surprise, then narrow my eyes, "You little freak! You were pretending?!?!"
Jacob manages to get the words 'protection runes' out of his mouth before dissolving into another fit of giggles.
"When those wear off, you had better make sure I don't catch you..." I give up, Jacob is too busy rolling around laughing. Felicia sighs, joining me. "Little freak," she comments fondly.
Suddenly, Ben pokes his head in the room. I had always liked him- he was a great father to the twins and I growing up.
"Demons, outside." he says quickly. Jake and Daniel immediately leave, leaving Felicia and I to unceremoniously haul Jacob to his feet.
"You better hope those are still working Rune-Boy," Felicia mutters, grabbing her stele. Jacob turns serious as we raced towards the huge doors where Jake, Ben, and Daniel are already disappearing.
Chapter 2 Edit
The hallway I run down with the others is long and mostly empty. The Seattle Institute is an empty place- there are only a few other families who live here. Most are in Idris at the moment, visiting family or something of the sort. The family that is here has two young children and the parents are likely still putting protective runes and the sort on their kids before joining the battle.
Jake and Daniel have already reached the door where Ben stands, his body glowing with runes. Ben is a lot like Jacob- more quiet, better with runes. Felicia takes after Alexis, her mother, who is currently leaping out the door to stab some demons.
I catch up with the others. Alexis has her whip out while Daniel pulls out his dark sword. Ben notches an arrow and Jacob is still drawing on himself with his stele. I pull out my seraph blade and whisper "Ariel,"
The blade flares with angelic light and I nod in satisfaction. Nothing like a glowing blade and demons to lift your spirits.
Ben and Daniel follow Alexis and Jake crouches, "Okay kiddos. There's a pack of demons outside- nothing we can't handle. Maybe five Eidolon demons. Ready to go?"
"Eidolon demons are shape-shifters," Jacob tells me and Felicia quickly, "They might try to take the shape of one of us."
"No way, brother," Felicia rolls her eyes, "Because Josie and I slept through Identifying Demons Class,"
"Josie didn't, you did," Jacob points out. I snicker as Felicia whapps her brother with her hand. Jake sighs and opens the door for us. I charg after Felicia into the fray.
Daniel and Alexis are facing off with two of the demons while two other ones circle around them, Ben shooting arrow after arrow towards them.
"Didn't Jake say there were five?" I ask Jacob. Felicia ignores us, charging for her father.
Jacob pulls out a sensor and nods, "I'm getting enough signals for there to be five,"
"So where's the fifth one?"
Jacob shruggs, "Let's look, they'll be okay."
I look nervously towards where one of the demons has taken Jake's shape and is advancing on Felicia. I take a step towards my parabatai, then back away, following Jacob and his sensor through the woods. I can help her by finding the fifth demon.
"Closer...closer..." Jacob monotones, his eyes on the sensor.
We burst into a clearing and I curse, putting myself between Jacob and the boy with red eyes who is staring at us.
The boy holds up his hands. He has taken on the shape of a cute boy, about my age, maybe a year older with curly black hair. He has left his eyes as red though and I wonder why. It marks him as a demon. I didn't have time to think though, I just lunge for the demon.
"Woah woah!" the boy says, neatly dodging my swipe. "Put that down,"
"Shut up demon," Jacob hisses, drawing his own, unlit seraph blade.
"No need for the name-calling," the demon says, placing a hand over his heart, "I'm hurt,"
"Huh, a smart Eidolon demon," Josie say, "Shame we have to kill it."
The demon rolls his eyes, "But you don't. Look, you're going to think I'm crazy, but I know the shadowhunters are having trouble taking down demons because more and more are coming everyday."
"Not true," Jacob hisses.
The demon continues like he hasn't heard Jacob, "And I figured you guys could use some help...so I want to join you!"
Chapter 3 Edit
"What the hell?" Jacob says, dropping his sensor.
The demon looks at the sensor, "I'd pick that up if I was you... those things are kinda expensive. I'd pick it up for you, but there's some of your blasted angelic crap on it and, as you've probably guessed, I'm a demon,"
"Demon's don't just 'join' Shadowhunters when they feel like it." I say incredulously, "It's.... impossible! We kill you! And you kill us!"
"No way!" the demon says sarcastically, red eyes widening, "Here I thought we were all buddies!" he takes on a condescending tone, "Look kid. Why on earth would I desert my sect, wait out here for you, not kill you, and even leave my eyes red as a handy little hint that I'm not a human? Now take me to your leader and maybe they will see sense."
Jacob presses against me, "Demons aren't capable of feeling like this...they're not capable of this level of intelligence. He's not who he says he is- he might not even be a demon!"
No way dum dum! "I know you're not what you say you are." I tell the demon, "Do you at least have a name?"
The demon seems to consider this for a while, "Call me Az," he decides finally.
"Whatever," I say, "Look, if we take you to our leader..." I know better then to trust demons, but something about Az was so... I lose the thought. "We'll take you to Jake, but if you make a single move I will gut you like a fish. Clear?"
Az nods, looking amused. "I would suggest haste- the demons your friends are fighting are not what they appear to be."
I feel my blood turn to ice and Jacob mutters, "Hurry,"
I grab Az's arm and yank the bemused looking demon through the woods to the clearing where Felicia, Daniel, and Alexis have surrounded what appear to be two Bens.
"What's going on?" Jacob puffs as we join them.
Daniel refuses to take his eyes off of the twin Bens, "One of these is your irritating father, the other is an irritating demon."
"The real Shadowhunter is the one on the left," Az points out casually. I shoot him a look and the real Ben looks relieved, then suspicious, "He's right, but...who is that? Jacob?"
"Um...he wants to talk to Jake," Jacob supplies.
"How did he know I was the real one though?" Ben asks wonderingly.
"He might not," Alexis says, narrowing her eyes, "He might want us to spear the other one and save his friend,"
Ben looked pained, but he nods.
Az simply smiles, "My apologies, I was simply trying to help. Although if you'd like proof..."
He mutters something, making motions with his hand and suddenly, the Ben on the right lets out a shriek. His skin begins melting off and I look on in horror as the disguise melts away leaving a slimy, formless mass.
"Good night Abegendl," Az says cheerily.
I drop my seraph blade in shock. Felicia's eyes widen and Daniel raises an eyebrow. The real Ben looked as though he would faint.
"You little twirp!" the...thing roars, "When your father finds out, he'll have your head! When he-"
Suddenly, the demon was gone. A smoking crater was all that was left. We all silently turned to stare at Az. He shrugs, "There a policy against fireballs here? Sorry."
Looking slightly dazed, Daniel and Alexis go to sides and warily begin to walk him back to the house where Jake is waiting.
Felicia nudges me, "Who is that?"
"I don't know," I reply honestly, "But he said to call him Az."
"Whoever he is," Jacob intones, "He must be demon royalty or something." Felicia and I throw him startled glances and Jacob rolls his eyes, "Sheesh, you guys seriously DO sleep through Identifying Demons! His escort, the one who got incinerated?"
"Yeah, what Az call him...Abegendl? What about him?" Felicia asks.
"Abegendl is the Greater Demon of Shape-Shifters," Jacob says solemnly, "Whoever this Az guy is, he's important enough to have a Greater Demon as his security guard."
Chapter 4 Edit
We've been through some weird adventures together, Felicia, Jacob, and I. I was the one who had suggested we get one of the training rooms turned into a giant trampoline to practice acrobatics for our fifth birthdays. Jacob had planned an RV trip across Washington, fighting demons as their 8th grade field trip. Felicia her 16th birthday party on top of Mount Rainier. But inviting a demon to see Jake? Crazier then all of that.
I stand outside of the library doors. It was killing me, not knowing what was happening between Az and Jake. Sure, Daniel was in there too, but if Az could kill a Greater Demon with the flick of his wrist...I shudder.
Daniel looked at Jake desperately, "Jake, this isn't a good idea..."
Jake waved his hand, still looking at Az. "Why should we believe anything you say?"
Az raised an eyebrow, "If I were a Shadowhunter, wouldn't you?"
"You're not a Shadowhunter, you're a demon," Jake reminded him.
Az grinned, "Nice. But... I actually need your help with something."
Jake tipped his head, "As interesting as that is, I do know a few secrets about you...Jake Nevermore, your name is, right? I'm guessing you read a lot of Edgar Allen Poe,"
Jake flinched and Daniel threw him a worrie3d glance, then turned back to Az, "So, you're blackmailing us."
Az smirked, "Yeah. And you wouldn't believe the dirt I have on you."
Daniel remained expressionless. "You've done your research."
Az smiled radiantly, "Yeah, I have. So... can I crash here and whatnot?"
Daniel muttered something about infuriating teens and looked to Jake who stared at the table quietly, his eyes lost. "Jake?"
Jake sighed and nodded, "He can stay...for now."
Az grinned cockily, "Huzzah!"
Jake leaned forward, a challenging glint in his hazel eyes, "But, there are some ground rules..."
I must have fallen asleep against the door because when I wake up, the door is falling from behind me. I let out a yelp as I fall to the floor, only to be caught by Az. His eyes are now the blue of a winter sky- kind of gray and very intense.
I blink, groggy, then snap up, "Let me go," I mutter.
Az stands, smirking, "Your welcome. Hey, what's your name anyways?"
"Josie," I say, more sharply then I intend to. I turn and begin to walk to my room when he calls another question.
"What's wrong with your eye?"
Without meaning to, my hand flies up to my left eye and I turn, stalking back to the smug looking demon.
"I happen to be blind, okay?" I hiss.
"So why is it smaller then the other one?" he asks. Unlike the other families who ask nosy questions all the time, he doesn't sound nosy or mean, just curious.
I drop the attitude and my voice, "I dunno."
"Do you wear a contact?"
Why is it so easy to talk to this demon? "Yes, I wear a contact," I reply, "Which is why a lot of people don't want me to fight- what if my contact falls out or breaks? They think I'd be helpless."
I can't help but smirk, "You come watch me train sometime, then you tell me."
Az cracks a smile, then looks at me, "Huh. I didn't expect talking to a Shadowhunter to be so...easy."
"I didn't expect a demon to be so goofy," I shoot back. We both laugh.
Just then, Jacob rounds the corner and sees us together. Laughing. Something falls in his face and he quickly walks away.
Chapter 5 Edit
I race after Jacob, feeling awful. And not just because if Felicia founds out I hurt his feelings she'll pound me.
Jacob...it's complicated. I did have a massive crush on him for a year or so when we were in eighth grade. But when it became pretty clear he didn't feel the same way, I dropped it. I knew it was kind of weird, we were practically brother and sister. But the thing was we weren't. So why would he feel weird about it? It was ridiculous.
Not that I've been obsessing.
I chase him down the empty, winding hallways, "Jacob, wait!"
He stops, then turns, brown eyes revealing nothing, 'Hey Josie. 'Sup?"
"Why did you walk away?" I say, skipping the pleasantries.
"Didn't want to interrupt the snuggle-fest you and Az had going on," Jacob says, "Look, I get it. Girls are into the bad-boy thing. He's some kind of Greater Demon- about as bad as you can get. I get it."
"Jacob," I say stiffly, "Why do you even care?!"
I won't lie. I was hoping he'd say it was because he liked me.
"Because you're like my little sister!" he explodes, "I don't want you getting hurt."
Ouch. I stay silent for a moment, my eyes squeezed shut so no tears escape. I open my eyes and give Jacob a smile. It sucks- Jacob is so good at cloaking his emotions and I know he can read me like a book. "Well that's my business. So butt out."
"Fine," Jacob retorts, "Just don't come to me when your boyfriend singles off your hair with his giant fireballs."
I raise an eyebrow suggestively, "Has it ever occurred to you I'm getting close to him to figure out who he is?"
Jacob looks at me scornfully, "Please Josie. A mundie has more chance of getting with demon-boy then you do."
His protection runes must have worn off, because when I slap him he lets out a surprised yelp and falls backwards. I turn and storm away, muttering curses and asking myself why I could ever fall for a scumbag like Jacob Ashwright.
Suddenly Az is lounging in front of me,"The old man said you'd show me to my room,"
I look at him with narrowed eyes, "Look, it's bad enough we had to give you permission to enter our sacred Institute, but do you have to use your freaky powers?"
Az looks confused, "Why are my powers freaky? Don't you deal with demons like me all the time?"
"Demons who can kill their Greater Demon escorts with a flick of their wrists? Not really," I snap. I know I shouldn't be giving so much about what we know away, but I'm ticked off at Jacob and the last thing I want is to babysit Sir Demon here.
"Oh, catty," Az mocks, holding up his hands, "I'm horrified."
I grab his arm and drag him to the room next to Daniel's- which is also conveniently the furthest empty room away from mine. "There. If you need anything else, go bug Daniel,"
I turn, ready to go back to my room, remembering a time when I didn't have a pesky demon to deal with. So....about two hours ago.
"What?" I sigh, defeated.
Az's blue eyes are fill of concern- and something else. I'm not good at reading people like Jacob is- but I felt both slightly comforted and slightly uneasy. "Are you okay?"
I want to laugh. Since when do boys take the time to just ask girls if they're okay. "Not really," I reply honestly before heading back to my room for the night.
Chapter 6 Edit
I rub the necklace between my fingers, thinking. The necklace is something I've never taken off- it's a black square with a single golden rune on it- one that no one seems to know, not even Jake. Jake tells me when they found me on the Institute's porch with nothing but this necklace and my name.
Of course I always wanted to know who my parents were. And Jake was the only one who would try and help me- although there wasn't really a lot to go on. Even though I stayed with the Ashwright's for a while, Jake was the one who raised me. He taught me how to fight, how to think like a Shadowhunter, how to be what I am today.
But after a while I decided I needed a place of my own, so I took over one of the spare apartments. It's bigger then the spare bedrooms we have for guests and sleepovers. It also has a small office and kitchenette- as well as a nice big shower. After taking a hot shower to relax I crawl into bed, unable to fall asleep.
When Felicia finds me the next morning, I'm sprawled on the trampoline floor of one of the smaller training rooms. She sits next to me and sighs, "Rough night?"
I grin at her, "You tell me."
She smiles, then it falls form her face, "Jacob... feels bad you know."
"Since when has Jacob felt bad about anything." I scoff.
Felicia looks sad- or as sad as she can look, Felicia isn't really someone who gets sad. "You don't know."
"Don't I?" Felicia knows all about my Jacob troubles, but she would never tell him.
"So, how's cute demon boy?" Felicia asks, changing the subject, her eyes glittering with mischief.
I sit up, "Felicia, I know you like to fool around with guys, but Az is a demon!"
Felicia grins, bouncing down beside me, "I know, I was teasing. Besides, if either of is gonna get picked to be his lover, it'll be you."
"Me? Why the hell would he-"
The door opens and Jacob walks in. He looks disturbingly cute in a gray t-shirt that sports a pair of Harry Potter glasses and a wand with swirly pink writing underneath that says 'Magic is real'.
Felicia snorts, "Brother, you know that shirt was meant for a twelve year old fan-girl, right?"
Jacob shrugs, grinning, "I thought it was ironic." he meets my eye and says seriously, "Magic IS real Josie. Be a believer."
I can't help a giggle. Felicia opens her mouth to say something but the door creeks open again. I expect one of the peewees to come through and ask in a terrified voice if they could jump on the trampoline, but Az comes through.
He's dressed in black- black jeans, a black t-shirt, and boots. "Hey,"
"If you want to come on here you have to take off your boots," Jacob says loudly. Felicia snorts, but my eyes are on Az's. He doesn't look any different then yesterday, but I find myself thinking he seems different.
Az slips off his boots and bounces over to join us in the center of the trampoline. "Do all Shadowhunters have trampolines? If I'd known that I would've come here sooner."
"Do demons not allow trampolines?" I ask drily.
"Well, they make us happy," Az says, tipping his head like he's thinking, "So no."
We sit quietly, wondering about the secret lives of demons when I finally get the nerve to ask, "What's it like being a demon?"
"Well..." Az looks slightly uncomfortable, but he retains his charm, "As a wicked hot shape-shifter who can throw fireballs and teleport...it's pretty awesome. Although I'm not your typical demon." he looks at me, "What s it like being blind?"
I give a small smile, 'Didn't we have this discussion last night?"
"Well, yeah." he admits, "But...can you see anything? At all?"
My contact is still out, so I switch over to my other eye. Most people see out of both of their eyes at the same time- I can only use one at a time. I see blurs of color- which is really cool when I look at wet pavement (which looks like scattered dimonds) or fire (which just looks...amazing) but looking at the training room and the others, everything is just a blur.
"A little," I say.
Az seems to be thinking something over, "Would you ever... I mean, if you somehow could see... would you want to?"
And stop being ridiculed? Stop being weaker then the others? Be able to fight?
"Yes," I say without hesitation.
Chapter 7 Edit
Daniel lounged next to Alexis. Her dark hair was pulled back in a hasty pony-tail and her eyes were blue fire.
"I don't want that... thing hanging around my children!"
"And Josie?" Daniel drawled, raising an eyebrow.
"I said my children, didn't I?" Alexis snapped.
"Why aren't you ranting to Ben about this?"
Alexis rolled her eyes, "Ben wasn't in the meeting. You were. So what's the demon like?"
"He's strangely charming," Daniel said, "And despite his murderous nature towards his fellow demons, he seems to be doing fine with the children."
Alexis relaxed a little, "Alright..."
"What does Ben think?" Daniel couldn't help asking.
Alexis narrowed her eyes, "What's with the Ben obsession?"
Daniel flinched slightly, but Alexis didn't notice, "Nothing. I'll get the children for dinner, shall-"
There was a tremendous crash and Alexis and Daniel were out of the door before either of them could say a word.
It's extremely hard to get across a trampoline when the very house is shaking.
"I can't get up!" Jacob shouts.
"Come on, you can-" Felicia falls and bounces back several paces.
"Try to crawl!" I shout, inching forward only to slide back.
Az is the only one who seems unaffected. "Az, help!" I say, reaching my hand out to him.
He sighs and suddenly, though the shaking is still going on, I suddenly feel light. Lighter then air. Light then...I look over to see if Jacob and Felicia have stopped sliding around as well- and yelp.
They are floating.
"You guys are...jumping a little high," Jacob says quietly. I look down and let out a delighted shriek. I'm flying.
Az is suddenly next to us, floating as well, "This good for you guys? I just thought it would be more convenient if we were off the ground." he meets my eye, "But I know you don't like me using my 'freaky powers', so I could just turn it off..."
"You can levitate?" Felicia shrieks the same time I whisper, "I always wanted to fly."
"Well, now you can," Az says, smiling though his eyes look urgent. "We need to leave,"
"Right after I go get me some knives!" Felicia says cheerily, "I am guessing that whatever out there is a demon?"
"I need my stele," Jacob mutters, drifting close to us.
"No, no, NO!" Az sounds so much like a toddler throwing a fit that I drop a few inches closer to the ground.
Jacob is looking at Az scornfully and Felicia has an eyebrow raised. Az takes a deep breath, "Look, we just have to leave, okay?"
"Why on earth would we leave?" I ask, puzzled.
There are screams from the hall and I flinch. They're raw and filled with horror. Fear. They are terrified and I have to help them.
I don't even realize that I've taken a few steps forward until Az is standing in front of me, his eyes intense. "Look, Josie, I know you want to help them. But whatever is out there...it's here for me."
"My friends-" I say numbly.
"Josie, I know this will sound bad," Az says gently, "But giving me to whatever's there will be worse then loosing them."
"No," I say. Then, with Felicia and Jacob close behind and Az's cries to stop ringing in my ear, I fly out the door.
Chapter 8 Edit
I float down the hallway as fast as I can make myself go. About halfway down I saw a huddled shape. I let myself drift until I hang only far enough above the ground not to be affected by the shaking, but close enough to touch the man on the shoulder. "Daniel?" I breathe.
Daniel is a mess. His face is streaked with tears and his eyes dance with a wild light I'd never seen before.
"Alexis, Alexis..." he whispers.
Jacob floats beside me, "What happened to him?"
"Daniel, what happened?" Felicia asks.
"I couldn't save her, I was too late..." Daniel's eyes roll back in his head. He fell limp and slipped from my arms.
"By the Angel..." I whisper.
Another shriek echos down the hallway- female this time. "Mom," Jacob whispers, leading the charge.
Alexis was a little further down the hall, sprawled at the corner. Ben and Jake are out of sight but an enormous black, shapeless mass looms over her. Alexis let out a whimper, "Not the children..."
With a cry, Felicia leaps at the thing, slashing at it with a seraph blade. Suddenly she falls, hovering millimeters off the ground. Her eyes widen and something wicked gleam in the thing's saucer-like eyes. "No," she whispers. It grows into a shriek, "Nononononooo,"
"What did it DO to her?!" I shriek, trying to get forward. Jacob pulls me back.
"Are you crazy?" he squeaks, "That's Agramon! He's the Greater Demon of Fear!"
"He has your sister! My parabatai!" I hiss furiously.
"I know," Jacob is pained, "But we should wait for-"
"Youuuu" Agramon's voice is like something out of my nightmares- like...darkness and screeching and all kinds of horrid things. He has turned his eyes past Felicia who crumples to the floor, past Jacob and I, to where Az stands behind us, his eyes blue eyes full of fire.
"Really Agramon, all of this for me?" Az looks around the scene, "You shouldn't have.
"When yourrrr fatherrrrr getsss youuuuu," the demon hisses, "He willl skin the fleshhh from your bonesssss, he willl-"
"I'm aware of my father's favorite punishments," Az drawled, "And he sent you to come get me? A pity. If only he'd come himself, you could've avoided this."
His blue eyes turn molten red and a fire ball flashes from his hand. Agramon lets out a terrible shriek and Jacob rushes to his mother and sister, flashing out his stele. I leap towards the demon, seraph blade flashing.
Suddenly, everything vanishes. I can hear the battle going on but I can't see. For some reason I think That's crazy, I still have the blindfold from training on!
I claw at my eyes, but only succeed in scratching my eyes. I scream.
I am blind.
Chapter 9 Edit
I hear Agramon screeching and Az is throwing fireball after fireball. Then something happens and there's silence.
"You killed a Greater Demon." Jacob is breathing in awe, "All by yourself. In a minute."
Az doesn't reply and I feel a sense of panic. Okay, so maybe one of my fears is not being able to see. But... if Agramon is dead, shouldn't I be able to see now?!
"Did you see that Josie? That was the coolest thing I've ever seen!" Felicia says weakly.
"Felicia...you rest...don't sit up so fast," Alexis mutters, sounding groggy and more then a little freaked out.
"Josie?" Jacob's breath is hot on my cheek, "Are you okay?"
"I can't see." I whisper.
"Well switch to your other eye dummy!" Jacob's tone is light, but I can sense the fear in it. For a wild moment, I wonder what his greatest fear if, what Agramon would've shown him.
Suddenly Az is next to me. He grips my arm, "By the Great Demon...Josie... you're blind, aren't you?"
"Yes," I say, disgusted that it comes out a whimper. I clear my throat, "But it'll wear off, right? I mean, you did kill Agramon, didn't you?"
"While he was trying to scare you to death," Az says faintly.
"Why does that matter?" Alexis asks, sounding more like herself.
"Because," Az says softly, "If I killed the demon while he was using her fear...it may be...stuck."
"STUCK?!" I yell, "You listen here Az Whatever The Heck Your Last Name Is! I did not let you come here so you could have Greater Demons blind me! No! Now you knock this off and change it the hell back!"
"I can't," Az whispers, pained. "I'm so sorry."
I slump. Footsteps echo down the hall and I hear Ben's voice, "Where's Daniel?"
"Daniel..." Alexis' voice is shaky, "Down the hall I think." Ben retreats and suddenly Jake has me in his arms.
"What happened to her?!" he demands of Az.
"Jake, it wasn't Az's fault..." Felicia protests, "There was this Greater Demon-"
"No, it was him." Jake says, his voice shaking with fury. "What did you do to her?"
"Agramon was hunting me. Josie tried to fight him off and when I killed him..."
"The curse stuck," Jake sounds horrified. I know I should tell him that it'll be okay, but it won't'. I'll never be a Shadowhunter now.
Ben has returned, dragging Daniel, "He's got a pulse, but he's not waking up."
"Agramon had more time to work on him," Alexis whispers, horrified, "He knocked me out and Daniel fought him."
"He seems comatose," Ben says, voice shaking slightly. I heard him draw out his stele and assumed he was trying to heal his fallen friend.
"Can we heal her?" Jacob asked. He hadn't spoken since Az proclaimed me blind and now I could sense something in his voice- I wasn't sure what, but it made me want to cry.
"No," Jake whispers, "We can't."
"Well that is bullshit." Felicia's furious, I can tell. She stands, ignoring her mother's pleas to relax and stalks over to where Az kneels by me, "Listen here Demon Boy, you better figure out how to make this right, or whatever your father will do to you when he gets you will seem like a trip to the beach compared to the pain I will bring you." she takes a breath to continue and Az stops her.
"Listen," he says quickly, "I have an idea on how to help her. And all of us."
There's a beat of silence.
"What?" Jacob asks softly.
"We're going to get some angelic help." Az proclaims.
Chapter 10 Edit
It's hard to hug someone when you can't tell where they are. But Jake finds me and tears from my still-blind-eyes leak onto his coat.
"You be careful, you hear? When you get back...everything will be okay." he says soothingly.
"I'm scared," I admit.
Jake pulls away, giving me a kiss on the forehead, "You're not scared of anything," he whispers. Which is touching, but since I'm permanently stuck in blind-mode because the Demon of Fear knew that was my fear and used it against me, it doesn't make me feel any better.
"Come on," Az pulls me gently through the halls. Felicia and Jacob follows behind, the adults calling good-byes as we head into the night.
The cool breeze is refreshing on my face.
"So where exactly are we going?" Felicia asks.
"The clearing where you found me," Az says, mostly to Jacob and I. Felicia huffs slightly and I ask, "Why?"
Az hesitates and suddenly I know he's lying about something, "There's... a lot of power there."
We head through the night and despite Az's help, the flight spell has worn off and soon I'm tripping over all sorts of things. Roots, rocks, roots, Jacob's foot, Felicia's foot, roots...
Finally, we reach the clearing. I'm not sure how I know, but...there's an energy there, just like Az said.
"Okay, I'll do the summoning," Az says bossily.
"Shouldn't one of us do it? I mean, it was your idea, but a demon summoning an angel probably won't go good..." Felicia points out.
"Unless he's not summoning an angel," Jacob says. I can hear two seraph blades being torn from their sheaths and I wish I could see more then ever. "Trying to get us killed by summoning your Dad or something?"
Az says nothing, but the twins gasp and I can hear their seraph blades fall to the ground. "Look, I'm really sorry guys," Az says, "But no angel is going to help Josie- she's just one kid and they won't care. But I can get someone to help- that's why we have to be here. The demons can scent me here- they'll come and if they think I'll come with them in exchange for Josie's sight...they'll do it."
"Az, you can't give yourself up," I hiss, "And whatever you did to Jacob and Felicia....stop it."
"I'm just making sure they won't interrupt the show," Az says calmly. "Now just wait."
He begins chanting in a tongue I don't understand, but the sound is so horrible I almost fall to the ground. Jacob and Felicia are shouting something, but neither of them comes to me or stops Az. I squeeze my eyes shut, wishing for Jake, Daniel, Alexis, anyone to come help.
After a few minutes, Az stops, breathing heavily. "Hello Father,"
"Son," a cold voice responds, "Why have you summoned me?"
Chapter 11 Edit
Az's father made me terrified. He radiated evil power, his vice was cold like ice that clings to you in the winter, freezing you...
"I am surprised you managed to summon me," Az's father said. He didn't sound proud or surprised....just empty, "Not many can."
"I don't have time for chitchat," Az said, "Mostly because I know you're probably summoning a bunch of goonies right now to get me, soooo," he took a deep breath, "Agramon blinded this girl," he uses a cold voice when referring to me and I feel slightly stung, "While I killed him. It seems permanent, but I know you can give her sight back. Do it and maybe I'll think about coming home."
If I thought his voice was bad, Az's dad had a terrible laugh. It was high and full of bemusement- but the kind of bemusement a cat gives a mouse before it kills it slowly and painfully.
"Son," the demon says, "You have grown soft. Your hard-fought freedom for a mortal girl's vision?"
"Just do it Dad,"
There's a beat of silence and then I scream. My eyes are burning.
"Done," the voice professes boredly, "However, because I know that you will try to run, the spell won't work for an hour or so. Also, as you said my 'goonies' are coming now to dispose of the others and take you home,"
"No," Az says. He sounds triumphant, cocky even. Suddenly I hear twin thumps- Jacob and Felicia? Maybe Az suspended them and now he's letting them go. I never really found out.
"Jeez dude, warn us about your secret plan before," Jacob complains.
"What is this treachery?!" Az's father booms.
"Sorry Dad, I gotta Portal to catch." Az grabs my hand and yanks me forward.
I hear a horrifying scream of rage, then Az and I are tumbling into an abyss.
"Is she gonna live?"
"Dude, Josie's gonna be fine! Are you worried about us at all?"
"Please Jacob, we're fine,"
"Only because Demon Boy can levitate us! Other wise we'd all be crazy right now from the water!"
"Would you stop calling me Demon Boy?"
"Guys, shut up! I think she's waking up..."
I open my eyes. The world comes into focus and I smile, the sky, trees....everything is normal. Then I turn to my friends, eager to see their faces.
Then I scream.
Chapter 12 Edit
When I look out my normal right eye, I see my friends, happy at first, then the joy draining out of their face as I shriek. But when I switch to my left... I can barely describe it.
Felicia and Jacob both glow with white light. But while Felicia looks like fire, Jacob is glowing with rune after rune. Both are humanoid shapes, but they aren't...them. I look at Az and I'm too terrified top even scream. He is a demon. Red eyes, fangs, the whole thing. It's terrifying. He smiles at me and a demons growl is over his real voice, "Josie, what's wrong?"
"What did you Dad do to me?" I gasp, switching back to my right eye. Az looks at me through sorrowful eyes.
"I thought he might try something like this...what happened?"
I quickly explained- or tried to- and Az and Felicia looked dumb-founded while Jacob widened his eyes. "I think I remember something from a book... something about the magic plane? I don't remember,"
"Since when have you not remembered anything?" I ask, my voice high.
"Since it could actually help us," Felicia says sharply, glaring at her brother.
I sit up, "Where are we,"
"Lake Lyn," Az says.
"And how did we get Demon Boy here?" I ask. "Aren't they... forbidden."
Felicia and Jacob share a twin look- a very long, knowing look, "Demon Boy is a very powerful Demon Boy," Jacob finally says.
They know something, I know they do. But I decide not to bring it up.
"We should go to Alicante," I say, "They can figure out what's wrong with me."
"Nothing's wrong with you," Jacob protests.
"Yes there is! Every time I look out of my freaking left eye-" I do so at that moment which is a mistake because I'm turned towards Lake Lyn.
I see a mirror, reflecting swirling white mist from the inside. The gilded edges are such a bright gold it almost hurts. I can't look at it for too long and when I turn away, dark spots speckle my vision. I switch eyes. "Yeah, definitely still want to go to Alicante,"
Az shrugs, "I think it's a good idea,"
"What about you?" Felicia asks, "I know you can get in here, but...the inner city is too dangerous,"
"Then you and I can wait out here," Az says, adopting a teasing stare, "Unless you're afraid to be alone with me...?"
Felicia laughs, but Jacob does look uneasy. "Wait at the edge of the forest over there, okay?" I say, "If more people come through the portal they'll see you."
Az nods and Felicia throws herself at me in a hug. Az gives me a wave and a crooked half-smile.
"Take care of each other," he says. Felicia nods, "You better both come back or you'll be sorry, kay?"
Jacob grins and motions for me. Together, we begin to walk towards Alicante.
Chapter 13 Edit
Jacob and I walk in silence for a little while. Then, I finally blurt out, "Who's his father?"
Jacob stiffens, but keeps walking, "Whose?"
"Az's father you derp," I reply testily, "Since I was blind the whole time, maybe you could enlighten me,"
"Know? You do know, and don't even think of lying to me Jacob Matthew Ashwright."
"It's not my place to tell," Jacob replies simply. I punch him on the arm, not really meaning it. Jacob smirks, "He'll tell you. Or he'll at the very least introduce you at the wedding."
"What's that supposed to mean?!" I stop, turning to face him.
Jacob takes a deep breath, "It's very clear that our very own Demon Boy likes you. A lot."
I refuse to be embarrassed, "So? It's not a crime,"
"Actually it is," Jacob says quietly, "Demons and Shadowhunters are forbidden to fall in love."
The piece of information feels like a slap in the face. I know I should have expected it- demons and Shadowhunters try to kill each other on a regular basis. But it's against the law?
Jacob reads me like he always does, "It's true. Article 5, Section 2, Paragraph 3. You can look it up if you want."
I blink, "So you can't remember anything useful like what's wrong with my eye, but you can remember some meaningless law about demons and Shadowhunters?"
Jacob seems to be wrestling with himself. Finally he sighed, "That's because the stuff about the magic plane I read ages ago. I dug up that law yesterday."
He begins walking again and after a while, I begin to follow. But I'm reeling.
Yesterday... Az was here yesterday. Jacob- who has always been good at reading people- was already teasing me about him.
Was he worried about Az and I becoming a couple?
Not knowing whether to feel infuriated or in love, I just walk quickly, beginning to see the city lights.
Chapter 14 Edit
Alicante is gorgeous. I've been here several times before, but every time it stuns me. Jacob is equally silenced, although that could be because he's thinking about where we need to go.
After getting through the gates, Jacob quietly leads me through a maze of manors, tiny cottages, shops, and marketplaces. Finally, we stand in front of a small shop. Jcob starts to go in but I grab his shoulder, "Jacob, why are we here? Not at the Silent City?"
"I know this lady," he says, "Relax,"
He leads me into the shop and a bell tinkles as we step into the threshold. The shop is dark and carpeted- both the walls and floor.
"Jacob, this looks like an insane asylum," I whisper, "Can't we just go to the Silent City?"
Before Jacob can respond, a woman appears, "Do not always trust what you see. It can deceive you,"
She wears a simple cream-colored robe and a filmy looking thing over her eyes. When I switch to my left eye, she looks the same, but her eyes are a tortured white.
Jacob bows, "Madame,"
I quickly do the same. The woman sits and Jacob nudges me to do the same.
The woman clasps my hands without asking and she smiles warmly, "You have fire in you, you were born for great things,"
"But you have lost your way... your vision," she smiles again, "And now you have found it... in an unexpected place, if that not so?"
"It's...so," I say slowly, looking at Jacob who, though he looks like her's thoroughly enjoying this, gives me a nod of encouragement.
She looks up at Jacob, "You were right my young friend. She has the gift, the Sight,"
"What does that mean though?" I ask, gritting my teeth.
"You will always see the world as it is around you," she replies cryptically, "No charm shall fool you, nothing shall escape your sight. It is a gift as well as a curse,"
"A curse? How?"
She smiles wide, "You shall see,"
I look at Jacob, worried. Then as silently and quickly as she comes, when I turn back, she's gone.
We exit the shop and start walking back, "What's her deal?" I ask.
"She's blind," Jacob says, "She has the gifts of the Silent Brothers, but since she was born a female she was ostracized and banished here to try and earn a living. I ran into her the last time I was here when Felicia dared me to go in."
"What did she tell you?" I ask, generally interested.
"Oh, nothing much," Jacob says airily, "Just some stuff about meeting a super model and owning a mansion."
I hit his arm and we weave back to the gates.
Chapter 15 Edit
We hike out of the city and tell the kindly old man who asks us if we need an escort that we are meeting friends to go back home.
After a walk that mostly consists of meaningless banter and chatter that neither of us really seem into, we get back to the lake. Felicia waits for us, "Where's Az?" I ask, looking around. Jacob rolls his eyes and mutters something and I elbow him in the ribs which shuts him up.
"He's in the forest where we're hiding out," Felicia says cheerily, "Said something about the lake being 'too pretty'?"
Jacob snorts, "Demons."
"So? What happened at Madam Creepy's?"
"She's not that creep-" Jacob breaks off after seeing his sister's expression, "Whatever. Josie has the Sight or something. She can see the magical plane,"
"Oh, cool! What do I look like?" Felicia asks me eagerly.
"A turkey. Can we go now?" I say tersely, not wanting to see the gilded mirror again.
Felicia laughs and we walk to the dark forest. The sight of it sends shivers down my arm- I've been raised on the knowledge that evil things lurk in there- Downworlders and things, just beyond Lake Lyn.
At the very edge, Az waits for us. "Hey," he greets us nonchalantly. Jacob gives a nod in return and tells him quickly about our visit to the Madam's.
Az sighs, "That actually might help us. Look, if you guys want to go straight home after this, I'm fine, but my father is after me with a vengeance now."
"And what are we supposed to do about it?" Jacob asks. But instead of hostility his tone implies that he generally has no freaking idea what we could do.
"Well, you guys are Shaowhunters. You're trained to fight/kill demons." Az says hopefully.
"Calling your father 'a demon' is like saying I'm better then the angels at writing runes," Jacob says, "Even if it's technically true, it doesn't exactly send out the right message,"
"Disrespectful little twit," Felicia says, rolling her eyes.
"I know, I understand that," Az says, "But I'm not asking you to help me take down my father or anything. Yet. But if you could help me evade him for just a little while longer..."
"Yet?!" Felicia and Jacob exclaim.
"Guys," I say, holding out a hand, "I think we should."
Felicia sighs, but I can tell she agrees but the fact she doesn't immediately start yelling at me. Jacob throws up his hands in surrender.
"Fine Demon Boy, we'll help you."
End of Book One