On this page will be a compilation of the extras, cut scenes, short stories, and other bonus features or special content within the series, released alongside The Dark Artifices or by Cassandra Clare herself.
Jules deleted scene
- source: Cassandra Clare on Twitter
Some people made lists of things they wanted to do before they died; Julian had a list of things he couldn't do. He lay with his arm circling Emma's body, his fingers barely touching her bare arm, silently reciting his list.
Emma shifted in her sleep, patting him gently with her hand, curling toward him like a cat seeking warmth. It was past midnight; Julian had to get up in four hours, but he could feel his heart hammering in the back of his throat and he knew sleep would not come.
Things I can never do:
Leave the children
Let anyone find out about Arthur
Let the Clave have Ty
Let anyone know why I get up before sunrise
A Long Conversation
- A Long Conversation is a short story included in first editions of Lady Midnight and was later released as a separate e-story, tackling a party attended by TMI characters mentioned in and tying to events in LM, allowing the readers to check in on the TMI characters.
Unedited beach scene
- source: Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
Emma rolled onto her back and stared up at Julian and the sky behind him. She could see a million stars. He was shivering, his black shirt and jeans plastered to his body, his face whiter than the moon.
"Emma?" he whispered.
"I had to try —"
"You didn't have to try alone!" His voice seemed to echo off the water. His fists were clenched at his sides. "What the hell is the point of being parabatai if you go off and risk yourself without me?"
"I didn't want to put you in danger —"
"I almost drowned inside the Institute! I coughed up water! Water you breathed!"
Emma stared at him in shock. She started to prop herself up on her elbows. Her hair, heavy and soaked, hung down her back like a weight. "I didn't know."
"How could you not know?" His voice seemed to explode out of his body. "We are bound together, Emma, bound together — I breathe when you breathe, I bleed when you bleed, I'm yours and you're mine, you've always been mine, and I have always, always belonged to you!" She had never heard him say anything like this, never heard him talk this way, never seen him so close to losing control.
"I didn't mean to hurt you," she said. She started to sit up, reaching for him. He caught her wrist.
"Are you joking?" Even in the darkness, his blue-green eyes had color. "Is this a joke to you, Emma? Don't you understand? I don't live if you die!" His voice dropped to a whisper. "I wouldn't even want to, even if I could."
"I wouldn't want to live without you, either." Her eyes searched his face. "Jules, I'm so sorry, Jules —"
His face twisted. The wall that usually hid the truth deep in his eyes had crumbled; she could see the hungry panic there, the desperation, the relief that had punched through his defenses.
He was still holding her wrist. She didn’t know if she leaned into him first or if he pulled her toward him. Maybe both. They crashed together, hard, like stars colliding, and then he was kissing her.
Jules. Kissing her. The shock was all she felt at first, his cold mouth against hers, and then she tasted him, under the salt water, the hot-cool taste of sugar and cloves, and it was as if someone had flipped a switch inside her body and turned on all the lights.
"Emma," he murmured against her lips, not taking his mouth away from hers. They were clasped together, wet and cold and hot and burning all at once. He leaned into her, kissing her harder, feverishly, his hands burying themselves in the thickness of her wet hair. The weight of him bore her down onto the sand.
She clutched at his shoulders, thought of the disoriented moment when he’d pulled her out of the water, the moment she hadn’t quite known who he was. He was stronger, bigger than she remembered, than she had let herself know, though every kiss was burning away her memories of the boy he had been.
It was like nothing else that had ever happened to her. Her lips parted and her head fell back. Julian slid one hand under her head, his fingers splayed across the back of her skull, cradling her even as his tongue stroked inside her mouth like a bow across a violin, wringing painful sparks from her nerves.
So this was what it was supposed to be like, what kissing was supposed to be like, what all of it was supposed to be like. This.
Her whole body was shaking. She clutched at him, at his shoulders, his sides, her fingers digging into his skin, dragging him harder against him. He gasped into her mouth when she reached down to grab the hem of his soaking wet shirt and tore it up over his head.
His eyes were catlike, burning in the darkness, hot with hunger. "Emma, God —" he said in a choked voice, and then he was gathering her up under him again, pressing her against his body as if he could press them into each other, meld them into one person.
His hands clawed at the back of her shirt, and she pulled back far enough to let him help her shimmy out of it. And then they were kissing again, more fiercely now that they could feel each other’s bare skin. She couldn’t stop touching him, her hands roaming down his back and over his waist, feeling the dips and divots of muscle, the bumps of his spine.
And he was touching her, too. She looked down in disbelief that this was actually happening, that this was Julian touching her, her Julian. His long fingers stroking up the curves of her waist, caressing her back, fumbling against the clasp of her bra until finally it snapped open and slid off her shoulders. She shrugged it to the ground.
It fell to the wet sand and they stared at each other. His pupils widened, darkening his eyes to the color of the ocean at night. His eyes seemed to devour her, and she in turn was staring at him: he was gorgeous in the moonlight, spare and clean and muscular, and when had that happened?
"You're so beautiful," he said. "So beautiful, Emma."
She opened her arms and he went into them. Her breasts flattened out against his chest as he held her to him, his hands stroking over and over down her back. Slowly, he lowered her to the sand — he reached out and grabbed her shirt, not taking his mouth away from hers, and he pushed it under her, pillowing her head. She made a soft sound — something about the tenderness of the gesture, a bright sweet flare of gentleness cutting through the fierce dizziness of their shared hunger, made her want to cry.
"Jules," she whispered. Somehow she kicked her wet jeans off without letting him go, and the sand scratched lightly at her bare calves. She parted her knees, making her body a cradle for him to lie against. He kissed his way down her throat, his breath warm on her skin. Tangling her hands in his wet curls, she stared up in wonder at the sky above them, wheeling with stars, shimmering and cold, and thought that this couldn’t be happening, people didn’t get things they wanted like this.
He reached down to unsnap his own jeans and she helped him as much as she could. Sand scraped against her elbows when she moved. With anyone else she would have been bothered by it, but there was no room in her head for anything but Julian. She stared at him: he was propped up on one arm, his wet hair pasted to his forehead in dark curlicues. Moonlight sparked off his eyelashes, each one as long and dark as the fillip of a pen stroke. Pale white scars starred his bare shoulders. He was more beautiful than the whole of the sky.
He kicked the jeans off and surged back up her body, sliding his hands underneath her to cup her shoulder blades. He kissed her collarbones, the space between her breasts. She arched her hips up. He was hard against her thigh and when their bodies ground together he made a choked sound, a moan, as if something inside him had broken.
"Do you want to stop?" She froze.
"Never, not ever." His eyes were half-closed. "Do you — is this —?"
"Yes," she whispered. "Yes."
His eyelashes trembled against his cheek. “I can’t not,” he said, low, heartfelt, “I can’t,” and his mouth found hers, trembling, inexpert. She kissed the breath out of him, out of both of them, until he was moving against her, restless and uncontrolled. The last of their clothes were discarded. His skin was as hot against hers as if he had a fever. She heard him whisper her name.
There were only molecules of air between them, and then Emma moved to wrap her legs around his waist. Julian gasped and his body moved instinctively and then there was nothing between them at all because he was inside her.
They froze, looking at each other, motionless. Julian's teeth were dug into his lower lip. His face was flushed, his eyes brilliant. He looked shocked and amazed and overwhelmed and desperate.
"Emma, God, Emma, I —" he choked, and then his words dissolved into inarticulate sounds as his body moved against hers.
Emma held onto his shoulders, tightly, and her body was moving, too, she couldn’t stop it, but she was also staring, and she’d never done this with her eyes open before, she’d always closed them, but this was different, this was Julian. Not Jules, not her sweet boy Jules, this was someone else, someone who made harsh sounds of rapture and buried his face in her hair and gripped her body hard enough to leave marks. She hoped he did leave marks, bruises even. She hoped they’d last for days. Because she was trying to memorize him, trying to memorize the way he looked above her, silhouetted by stars, hair in his face and eyes half shut, the lines of worry that were always next to his mouth smoothed away by pleasure, but she couldn't.
She couldn’t hold it in her mind. Her concentration was fragmenting, she couldn't grasp onto it, thoughts flying from her head like the spray of the ocean dissolving in the air. Lightning forked up and down her veins and she was clawing at Jules' back, gasping, trying to get enough air, trying to pull him closer and closer still and then the world burst apart in bright fragments, a broken kaleidoscope, and she finally, finally, closed her eyes and let colors she had never seen before paint the insides of her eyelids. As if at a distance she heard Julian cry out, felt him collapse against her, kiss her shoulder, nuzzle his way into her neck.
His heart was still racing, slamming against hers. She loved him so much it felt like her chest was cracking open.
She wanted to tell him so, but the words stuck in her throat."You're heavy," she whispered instead, into his hair.
He laughed and rolled to the side, pulled her hard against him. She relaxed into the warm curve of his body. He reached down, grabbed his dry flannel jacket, spread it over them. It wasn’t much, but Emma huddled under it, giggling, and he kissed her face, almost drunkenly peppering kisses across her cheeks, the bridge of her nose, her chin.
She laid her head down against his arm. She had never felt so happy. He had stopped kissing her face and was gazing at her, head propped up on one hand. He looked dazed, his blue-green eyes half-lidded. His fingers traced slow circles on her bare shoulder.
She thought, I love you, Julian Blackthorn. I love you more than starlight.
The air was cold, but she was warm here, in this small circle with Julian, hidden by the outcroppings of rock, wrapped in the flannel jacket that smelled like him. His hand was gentle in her hair. "Shh. Go to sleep."
She closed her eyes.
Stars to Burn: Kieran/Mark (Rating: R)
A short story about Kieran and Mark’s first kiss/first time. Takes place before any of the events of Lady Midnight, so no real spoilers. If Kieran/Mark is not your thing, while this is canon, there’s nothing in here you desperately need to know, so feel free to skip!
Illustration by the lovely Loweana. From Lady Midnight:
At night they slept curled together under Kieran’s blanket, made of a thickly woven material that was always warm. One night they stopped on a hilltop, in a place green and north. There was a cairn of stones crowning the hill, something built by mundanes a thousand years back. Mark leaned against the side of it and looked out over the green country, silvering in the dark, to the distant sea. The sea, everywhere, he thought, was the same, the same sea that broke against the shores in the place he still thought of as home …
From the top of Mynydd Mawr, you could see the Irish Sea. Somewhere across that ocean, Mark thought, was the country he’d grown up in, and far on its west coast was Los Angeles, where his brothers and sisters lived.
The summit of the mountain was covered with low green grass, and the peak fell away to long slopes of scree reaching down to views of more green — a patchwork of verdigris dotted with the gray lines of farmers’ stone walls. Kieran’s horse Windspear was cropping grass at the mountain’s edge, while Mark’s mount had wandered off in search of excitement, which Mark doubted she would find in this quiet corner of Wales.
Clouds scudded across the sky, low and gray, promising a downpour. Mark looked over at Kieran, who was working at putting up a shelter for them. He had draped two cloaks — Wild Hunt cloaks were made of tough fibrous material, impervious to rain —over the top of a half-collapsed cairn of stones.
Mark watched him as he spread another cloak out inside the cairn, over the grass and packed earth. His gestures were faerie gestures: economic and graceful. In the silvery rain-light, his skin looked sheered with silver, etching the fine bones of his face, his hands. When he blinked, his blue-black lashes scattered light.
Like Mark, his clothes were worn and battered; there were holes in his linen shirt, through which Mark could catch tantalizing glimpses of skin. He felt a blush rise on his cheeks. He didn’t know why he’d thought that, or why he was looking at Kieran that way: Kieran was his friend, that was all. And an odd, unpredictable sort of friend at that. He was often reminded that Kieran’s status as a gentry prince made both their lives in the Hunt easier — if he’d been alone, he wouldn’t have been allowed to break off from the main group and make camp on this hill tonight. He would have been required to attend the revel the rest of the Hunt were at with the local goblins, piskies and whatnots. But Kieran’s desire for privacy was respected, as much as the Hunt respected anything.
Kieran was moody, though, his temper changing as often as the color of his hair. He was like the water his nixie mother had lived in — sweet and giving sometimes, rough and stormy at others. Not that Mark blamed him for being unhappy in the Hunt, though Kieran had not left beloved family behind as Mark had.
“Come here.” Kieran stretched out a hand. “Or do you plan to soak yourself in rainwater?”
“I wouldn’t mind the shower.” Mark’s skin had just begun to prickle with the first drops of rain.
“You’re clean enough,” Kieran said: Mark supposed it was true; they’d both bathed in the Cwellyn lake earlier. Mark loved watching Kieran swim; you could see the water faerie in his blood as he moved under the surface, fast and sleek as an otter, or rose to shake silver drops from his hair.
The sky opened up then, and Mark dashed to fling himself into the cairn, under the roof of cloaks. It was a bigger space than he had expected, and Kieran had lit a small fire at the far end of the shallow rectangle. The smoke wound up through a gap in the rocks. Mark could feel the dampness of the earth even through the blanket, but the cloaks kept the rain off.
“I think this was a barrow-place once,” said Kieran, glancing around. “Where they buried the dead.”
Mark mock-shuddered. Kieran gave him a curious look. Faeries found death odd, because it happened only when faeries were hundreds of years old. Death in battle was different: respected and not bothersome. They didn’t really have a conception of “morbid.”
Mark lay back on the blanket and laced his hands over his stomach. He could feel his pulsebeat at the top of his stomach, just below his ribs. It was a feeling he associated with hunger, the gnawing of appetite, but he and Kieran had eaten earlier that day, and there was even bread in Windspear’s saddlebag.
“Are you all right?” In the shadows, Kieran’s eyes were both silver, the light reflecting off them like mirrors. His hair was tangled, jaw-length; he’d cut it himself using a lake as a mirror, not long ago. Mark longed to touch it, to see if it was as thick and soft as it looked.
He need to stop having thoughts like this about Kieran. He’d seen Kieran kiss both boys and girls at revels, and sometimes do more. But that wasn’t the issue. Kieran was a gentry prince and Mark was a half-blooded Shadowhunter. Even a prince in the Wild Hunt would look down on someone with human blood. He wondered sometimes if Kieran looked at him like a mascot or a lucky charm, someone it was handy and amusing to have around: he laughed often at Mark’s human idioms and puzzlement — even after all this time — at faerie customs.
Kieran lay down beside Mark. For a moment, they breathed in companionable silence. But it was hard for Mark to rest next to Kieran; he was too conscious of the other boy, of his body heat, his presence, the slight tickle of his hair against Mark’s shoulder when he turned his head. He stirred uncomfortably, warmth rising low in his belly.
“You will not be able to see the stars tonight,” Kieran said. “The clouds will blot them out.”
Kieran knew Mark’s odd custom. Each night as he fell asleep, he would find the six stars that shone the brightest in the sky and give them the names of his brothers and sisters: Helen, Julian, Tiberius, Livia, Drusilla, Octavian. Different stars shone brightly in different places and different weather; he didn’t think he’d ever picked the same six twice.
I am here, alive in the world just as you are, my family, he would think, tracing invisible lines between the stars. How was time passing for them, he would wonder sometimes: could Tavvy tie his shoelaces now, had Julian’s voice broken, had Livvy mastered the sabre, did Dru still love bright colors? Were Helen and Aline happy? He remembered when they had met, in Italy, during all that odd business; how delirious with love Helen had been when she had first come home.
But there were others things that blurred in his mind sometimes, memories whose edges had lost their sharpness. The music Ty liked — it was classical, but what was his favorite Bach fugue? Mark had known once. And perhaps it had changed. Was it Dru who loved movies, or Livvy? Was it oils Jules painted in, or watercolors?
“My Mark,” said Kieran. He had propped himself on his elbow and was looking down at Mark at an odd angle. “Tell me what troubles you.”
Mark shivered. He always did when Kieran called him that. It felt like an endearment though he suspected it was merely faerie speech: Kieran was identifying Mark as his friend rather than someone else with the same name. Faeries were very odd about names, anyway, since they had the names everyone called them by and also their true names, which held power over them. Knowing the true name of a faerie was an intimate and powerful piece of business.
Mark put his arm behind his head. The rain had intensified: he could hear the drops falling on the material of the cloaks above them. “Memories trouble me,” he said, “and wondering if my family will forget me.”
Kieran traced a fingertip across Mark’s chest, stopping over his heart. Mark nearly stopped breathing. It didn’t mean anything, he reminded himself. Faeries had no sense of personal space.
“No one would forget you,” Kieran said, quietly. “You do not forget those that love you. I remember my mother’s face still. And there is no more loving heart than yours.”
“And yet sometimes I think it would be better if I did forget,” Mark said, in a low voice. Such thoughts did not come without guilt. “For them, for me. I will never return.”
“No one can know the future,” said Kieran, sitting up with a surprising fierceness. “Your exile may end. Clemency comes in many forms — a more generous and kinder King would have brought you to his court long ago. If I had the power a Prince should have —“
Mark rose to a sitting position, but Kieran had already stopped speaking. His hand was a fist in his lap, his head bent. It was unusual for him ever to speak of the fact that he was a Prince in the world of the courts, since as an exile his power had not followed him into the Hunt.
“Kieran —“ Mark began, but it was clear that Kieran was distressed, and that was unusual enough to hold Mark back. He had rarely seen Kieran show anger or sadness, especially after his first days in the Hunt; he remained controlled, showing nothing to the other Hunters.
“We should sleep,” Kieran said, after a long pause. “We must rise with the dawn tomorrow if we wish to meet the others.”
Mark lay back down, and Kieran lay beside him, his back to Mark. Mark curled as close to Kieran as he could get — they had slept together like this on countless nights, sharing the heat of their bodies. But Mark was rattled by Kieran’s distress, and didn’t want to add to it by pressing attention on him that he might not want. He settled for moving as close to Kieran as he could without touching him, one of his arms under his head, his other hand stretched out to rest only a millimeter from Kieran’s hair. He didn’t want to admit that he hoped that perhaps, during the night, when the wind stirred the space inside the cairn, the strands might brush Mark’s fingers in something like a caress.
But he did.
Mark’s hands were bound, and he was screaming. The Endarkened were before him, Sebastian Morgenstern at their head: a sea of scarlet, covering the world in blood. His family was lined up before Sebastian, on their knees — Helen and Julian, Ty and Livvy, Dru and Tavvy. Sebastian swung the Mortal Sword, slicing open Julian’s chest. As his brother slipped to the ground, Mark saw his agonized expression, the plea in his eyes — Help me, Mark, help me —
“Mark. Mark!” Mark was sitting bolt upright in the darkness, and there were hands on his shoulders. “Mark, it is was a dream, a glamour of the mind, no more.”
Mark gasped in air, scented like rain and dirt. There was no blood, no Endarkened, no Sebastian. He was in the cairn with Kieran, and there was rain all about them. “My — family —“
Kieran brushed back Mark’s hair with a care that would have stunned the Hunt. Mark leaned into the caress without thinking: he was aware only of Kieran’s hands, gentle against his skin. Like all faeries, Kieran had no calluses; the brush of his fingertips was like moth wings. Mark leaned into the touch, even as Kieran moved gently to stroke his shoulders, fingers gliding over the rips in his shirt.
“Your scars have healed well,” Kieran said; some months before, Mark had been whipped by members of the Hunt angry at the Shadowhunter government.
Mark drew back slightly. “But they are still ugly —“
“Nothing about you is ugly,” Kieran said, and because he could not lie, Mark knew he meant it. His heart seemed to contract, sending a rush of blood and heat through his body.
In all his time in the Hunt, there had been only Kieran to lift his despair, to transmute his sorrow, to heal his heart. He leaned in toward Kieran, not knowing quite what he meant to do — it was not at all the swift and elegant move he would have wanted it to be; their lips bumped warmly together, and his hands rose to stroke through Kieran’s hair, which was as soft as he had always imagined.
Kieran’s hands tightened hard on Mark’s shoulders — surprise, annoyance, Mark couldn’t guess; he was too horrified at himself. He pulled away from Kieran quickly.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m so sorry.”
Kieran reached a hand up to touch his mouth, fingertips against his lips. “But Mark —”
He didn’t finish. Mark, burning with humiliation, had pushed past him. Kicking aside the stones at the mouth of the cairn, he plunged out into the storm.
The rain was needle-like and driving, blown sideways by the harsh wind. Mark staggered a little, slipping on the wet grass outside the cairn.
He felt immediately foolish. The sky was a gray mist and he could see little all around him: dirt, green grass, the shadow of Windspear in the distance. The wind chilled him. And how was he ever going to face Kieran again? He was a Shadowhunter, he ought to know perfectly well that running away never solved anything.
Also, where was he going to sleep?
He was about to brave the cairn again, humiliation or no humiliation, when he heard a distant whinny. His blood ran cold. His horse. It was steep up here, unstable with shale and scree, slippery now with rain. His horse could have tumbled and be lying on the cliffside with a broken leg.
Forgetting his own personal woe for a moment, Mark splashed through the downpour to the edge of the mountaintop and looked down. Rain and shadows. Thunder cracked through the air and he thought he heard another whinny; dropping to hands and knees, he edged down a narrow path he imagined was usually trod only by goats.
Still nothing. He paused to catch his breath. Perhaps if he fell off the mountain he would be saved from the embarrassment of explaining to Kieran why he’d kissed him.
He stood up, pressing himself back against the cliff. He was standing on a wide ledge, with the mist and green of the Lleyn Peninsula spread out below him. In the far distance he could see the water of the Afon Menai, churning and gray. The sight of seawater always made him ache, reminding him of the view from the Los Angeles Institute.
Missing his family came back to bite at Mark savagely, along with a new pain: what if he had driven Kieran away? He had long ago determined it was worth it to keep Kieran as a friend even if Mark could have no deeper feeling from him. Other than Gwyn, Kieran had been the only one to show him kindness in the Hunt, and Gwyn could show only so much kindness lest the other Hunters think he had an unfair partiality. But Kieran — Kieran had held Mark after whippings or when wounded. Had given him water and folded blankets around his shoulders. Had saved aside portions of food for him. And more than any of those gestures, Kieran had spoken with Mark and listened to him; one did not realize how much one lost when no one spoke to you as if you were a person with worthwhile things to say until enough time had passed that the desperation was so intense you would begin to talk to rocks and trees. Kieran had given Mark back his humanity through the grace of ordinary affection and now Mark did not know how he would live without it.
He would go now, he decided, and apologize to Kieran. That was the right thing to do, the only thing to do, the only way to salvage things.
He clambered up the path and slipped on the wet earth; he tumbled and slid several feet, fetching up hard against a rock. Standing, he brushed at the mud on his clothes and realized two things: one, that he could see his idiot horse, cropping grass several feet away, looking unfazed by the weather. The second was that Kieran was standing on a few feet from him: somehow he’d returned to the cairn, though he didn’t know how.
“Mark!” Kieran said. His voice sounded hoarse, probably because of the wind. He looked wild-eyed, his newly short dark hair the deep black color it turned when he was upset. “Mark, where were you?”
“I went to look for my horse,” Mark said. “I mean, ah, not initially. I left because — “ He sighed, letting his hands fall to his sides. “I am sorry, Kieran. I didn’t mean to do what I did.”
Kieran’s eyes had narrowed. “You didn’t mean to do what?”
Mark wiped drizzle out of his eyes. “I’d rather not say.”
“Humans,” said Kieran, with surprising vehemence, “thinking that if they do not speak the words, they can unmake the past. Tell me, Mark. Tell me what you regret.”
“Kissing you,” Mark said. “If it was something you didn’t want, then I regret it.”
Kieran stood still as a statue, looking at him. He was already drenched, his clothes sticking to him. “And if it was something I did want?”
Mark raised his head. The words were like individual flames, lighting incredulous sparks along his nerve endings. “Then I don’t regret it,” he said in a steady voice. “Then it’s the best thing that happened to me since I joined the Hunt and the first few bloody seconds in I don’t know how many years that I’ve been happy.”
The words seemed to electrify Kieran. He almost stumbled getting to Mark across the rough ground. When he reached him, he pulled Mark into his arms, his fingers raking through Mark’s soaking wet hair. “By all the Gods, Mark,” he said in a shaking voice. “How could you not know?”
Mark said nothing; he was too surprised. Kieran was running his hands over Mark’s hair, his face, as if Mark were a treasure that had been lost and then, when all hope was gone, returned, and Kieran was examining it to see if it was still whole. “You are all right,” he said, finally, a catch in his voice. “You are uninjured.”
“Of course,” Mark said, as reassuringly as he could.
Kieran’s black and silver eyes gleamed. “When you ran out into the storm, I thought only of how dangerous Mynydd Mawr is, how many have fallen to their deaths here, and how if anything were to happen to you, Mark, how I myself would die. You are unbearably precious to me.”
“As a friend?” Mark said, completely dazed — Kieran was holding him, and touching him, half frantic and half adoring. It shouldn’t be possible. Kieran couldn’t feel like that about him.
“Mark.” Kieran’s voice flared. “I beg you, stop being obtuse, or I may jump off the mountain myself.”
“But —” Mark protested, and with a groan, Kieran kissed him.
This time Mark let himself fall headlong into the kiss, as if he really were falling off the mountain, into the sea. Kieran’s lips on his were firm and sweet and he tasted like smoke and rainwater. He gave a soft cry as Mark parted his own lips and the heat where their mouths were fused together seemed to double.
Mark had never kissed anyone before tonight, not really — there had been quick furtive touches at revels during dances, but in some part of his mind he had, he thought, been saving his first kiss. And he was glad he had, now, for he was dizzy with the heart-aching pleasure of it, the almost-pain of a desperate hunger that was finally being fed.
It was Kieran who pulled away first, though only to enough of a distance to cup Mark’s face in his hands and say wonderingly, “My Mark. The heart of my regard. How did you not know?”
“You’re a prince,” Mark said. “I’m — nothing. Not gentry, or court, or anything at all. Even now I cannot possibly believe you could truly care for me — though,” he added, hastily, “if desire alone is what you have to offer, I will take it.”
“I do desire you,” Kieran said, and there was a darkness in his eyes that made Mark shiver. “But it is not all I feel. If it were, I would have acted on it long ago.”
“Why didn’t you?” Mark said. “You could have had me for the asking — at any time or moment. I am the one overreaching, not you.”
Kieran shook his head. “Mark, you are a prisoner of Faerie,” he said, and there was despair in his voice. “We keep you chained to the Hunt! You would have had reason to hate me and all others like me. I could not imagine you could feel for me the shadow of what I feel for you.”
“You are not the one who has chained me,” Mark said. “It is the Clave, my own people, who left me here. I know who betrayed me, Kieran; I know those who I do not trust, and they have never worn your face.”
“Many would not be able to make that judgement,” Kieran said.
Mark brushed the back of his knuckles along Kieran’s cheek. The prince shivered. “Many would look at me and see only a Shadowhunter and enforcer of the Cold Peace.”
“I look at you and see the steadfast companion of my days and nights.” Kieran spoke in a whisper; his wet blue-black hair was pasted to his cheeks and neck. “I would love you even if you did not love me: I have loved you since I met you. I have loved you all this time, believing that you never could love me back. I have loved you without hope or expectation.”
Mark dropped his hand to grip the front of Kieran’s shirt. “Love me, then,” he said, in a rough voice. “Show me.”
Dark fire flared in Kieran’s eyes; he cupped his hands around the back of Mark’s head and held him in place while he bent to explore his mouth thoroughly, making Mark gasp: he sucked Mark’s bottom lip, teased at the corners of his mouth, ravished Mark’s mouth with long strokes of his tongue that left Mark pressing his body helplessly against Kieran’s, wanting more. He was wet to the skin with rain and shivering hard, but he didn’t care. He felt nothing but Kieran and the heat of his body and the torturing sensuality of his mouth.
It was Kieran who disentangled them, finally, Kieran who took Mark by the wrist and pulled him back toward the cairn. They crawled under its shelter, where the fire had burned down to glimmering coals. They knelt in the dirt and kissed frantically, tearing at each other’s clothes. Wet fabric ripped and was discarded, and when they were both unclothed they fell back among the tangle of cloaks and fabric and kissed until Mark was drunk with it: long slow dark kisses like the black waters of faerie streams that made humans forget. They did not speak, except once:
“Have you?” Kieran asked, half in shadow.
“No,” Mark said. “Not with anyone.”
Kieran paused, his hand splayed over Mark’s bare chest. He was gorgeous like this, in the firelight, pale skin and dark hair like a Michelangelo sketch in pen and ink. “In the Hunt, our bodies bring us only pain,” he said. “The agony of hunger and the pain of weariness and whips. Let me show you now what a miracle a body can be.”
Mark nodded and Kieran went to work with his hands and his mouth. He was unhurried in his intensity; Mark had not realized anything could be so rough and so gentle at the same time. Kieran touched him with such care that he imagined that where Kieran’s hands went, a stele passed bearing healing runes, smoothing his scars, erasing remembered pain.
He drew the pleasure from deep within Mark’s body, unspooling it slowly, like a banner unfurling. Mark’s breath came fast, and then faster. He reached to touch Kieran, wanting to give back some of what he was receiving, and was almost undone by Kieran’s sharp gasp of pleasure. By the feel of Kieran’s body under his hands: his skin smooth and fine-grained as silk, the angularity of his bones, his intense sensitivity, responsive to Mark’s lightest touch. He was shivering already as Mark stroked down his body, licked and sucked at his skin: finally he cried out and drew Mark beneath him, propping himself over Mark on his elbows.
His eyes were glazed, unfocused: Mark felt a sense of intense pride, that he could make a Prince of Faerie look that way. The pride only lasted a moment: Kieran grinned wickedly and rocked his hips in a way that shot fire through Mark’s veins, and everything else vanished. Mark clutched at Kieran: they were pressed together chest to chest and thigh to thigh and when the prince slid his hand between their bodies and began to stroke them both together, it was the purest physical pleasure Mark had known since he had joined the Hunt. Everything else was driven out if his mind, all complications and all loss gone with the wondrous realization his body was more than an instrument that brought pain or endured privation. It was capable also of wonders.
Kieran’s hands and fingers were like fire, fire that wrought unutterable joy. Mark closed his eyes, his body arching helplessly toward the prince’s. Kieran was gasping too, his body shuddering, and every shudder brought more friction and more pleasure until Mark thought he might die of it. He reached up to capture Kieran’s face between his hands and kissed him, deep and hard, and the kiss seemed to smash the last of the prince’s resolve: Kieran came apart just as Mark did, both of them trembling and crying out in each other’s arms.
In later times, Mark would not remember what he himself had cried or whispered in that moment, but he would not forget Kieran’s words, tumbling from the prince’s lips as he sank down into Mark’s embrace, for it would not be the last time Mark ever heard them.
“You will never be nothing to me, Mark Blackthorn,” Kieran said. “For you are all on this earth and under this sky that I do love.”
Afterward they lay in each other’s arms, Mark with his head on Kieran’s shoulder, and Mark told Kieran that he was right, that the stars could not be seen, even through the gaps in the cloaks above them.
“Count the coals in the fire,” Kieran said, his fingers in Mark’s hair. “Give them the names you treasure.”
And Mark did, though by the end, his voice was slurred with sleep; he drifted off, and for the first time in many years of wandering it was without a last thought of sorrow or of pain, but only of love, and how it outshone the stars.
* In Lady Midnight, it’s indicated that Kieran kissed Mark first, here Mark thinks he kissed Kieran first. It’s not so much a contradiction as a comment on the inconstancy of memory.*
Lord of Shadows
Our Waking Souls
- source: Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ... it is, however, canon with the books and takes place while Clary and Jace are on their mission in Faerie in LoS. (If you squint, you can even guess when.) Clary struggles with what it means to love and keep secrets, and sexy times are had. Definitely R-rated, and with extremely sexy art by Aegisdea (a tiny bit excerpted above): so, warnings for sexual content both visual and textual.
- Some spoilers for LoS; Clary and Jace are about 22, 23 here.
For Virna, Mari and Julia.
And now good morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an every where.
— John Donne
Clary was standing over her own dead body.
There was wasteland all around, and a dull wind stirred Clary’s hair. It reminded her a little of the volcanic bare countryside around the Adamant Citadel, though the sky here looked almost burned — there were streaks of red and black char hanging in the air instead of clouds.
She could hear voices calling in the distance. She heard them every time she was here. They never got close enough to help her. She was lying on the ground, and there was blood on her face, in her hair, on her gear. Her eyes were open, green, staring sightlessly at the sky.
Clary began to kneel, to touch herself on the shoulder, when the ground beneath her gave a shudder and a jerk, and she heard someone shout her name — she whirled, and it all slid away from her as if she were tumbling from the crest of a wave. She gasped, choking, and jerked awake.
For a moment, disoriented, she had no idea where she was. She was lying on a blanket on grass, staring up at a sky full of multicolored stars. They seemed to turn above her as if she was staring into a kaleidoscope. She could hear music in the distance, soft and insistent. An unfamiliar tune, but a singular kind of melody.
Faerie. She was in Faerie. With —
“Clary?” It was Jace’s sleepy, puzzled voice. He had rolled onto his side next to her. They both slept in their training clothes here, never knowing if they’d be safe during the night. Their weapons were close at hand, too, and Clary was glad the nights were warm because she had kicked her way free of the light blanket while she was dreaming. “Are you all right?”
She swallowed. She could still feel the goosebumps on her skin. “Bad dream.”
“You’ve been having a lot of those.” He moved closer, concern in his pale gold eyes. His light hair was tousled, starting to get too long again, a little in his eyes. “Do you want to talk about it?”
She hesitated. How did you tell someone that your dreams weren’t dreams, they were visions? You knew it. And that you were seeing yourself dead, over and over, on a day that was getting closer and closer. That one day you would be looking down at your own body and knowing you were gone forever from the world you loved and the people you loved and who loved you.
No. She couldn’t tell Jace that. Sometimes she thought she was the only person in the world who thought of him as fragile (well, except for Alec, of course). To most people, he was the boy with the angel blood, the Head of the New York Institute, one of the warriors who had gone to Edom and ended the Dark War. To her he was always the skinny boy with desperate eyes who’d survived an abusive father and a soul-crushing lack of childhood love; the boy who’d learned that to love was to destroy, and that what you loved died in your hands.
She knew Alec understood, that in many ways he had the stronger ability to bear up under tragedy, to remain calm in the face of fear for his loved ones. Isabelle, maybe? But neither of them could be told, anyway; she wouldn’t ask them to keep a secret from Jace. Simon wouldn’t be able to bear it any more than Jace could. The only person who might be able to help at all was Magnus, she thought; struggling up onto her elbows; when they got back, she’d go to Magnus. She hadn’t wanted to tell him when he was ill, but she might have no choice.
“Just a really bad nightmare,” she said. It was true, as far as that went. “Sorry I woke you up.”
He propped himself up on his bent arm. “The music would have done that, anyway.” It was loud: Clary could hear pipes and fiddles echoing from the other side of the hills. He flashed a grin, the crooked one that always made her heart jump. “Should we check out the revel?”
“Isn’t that kind of the opposite of being undercover?” she said. “You know, showing ourselves at a major Faerie event. Plus, your dancing is memorable.”
“It is pretty good,” he said, the multicolored stars reflected in his eyes. He reached out and laid a hand on her hip, where it curved into her waist. She remembered him telling her once it was his favorite spot on her body. “Works like a handle,” he’d said, picking her up with one hand while she giggled. Sometimes having a boyfriend who was a lot taller than you wasn’t so bad.
“I said it was memorable. Not good.”
His eyes gleamed. “Come here, Fray.”
She just grinned. Already the dream was receding. There were times she could even forget the visions, concentrate on her mission in Faerie, the time here with Jace. She hadn’t realized when they’d accepted the Institute job how much miserable travel and paperwork it would entail; she was desperately jealous of Alec and Magnus, sometimes, who got to run their Alliance out of their apartment and be together as much as they liked. Half the time Jace was being dragged off to Idris while she was assigned to some local demon activity with Simon and Isabelle.
Actually being sent somewhere with Jace was a rare opportunity for time together, and despite the gravity of looking for a weapon, she’d been enjoying it. And Faerie was beautiful, in its alien way — fruit hung like jewels from low-hanging branches in bright colors of jade and sapphire and amethyst. Tiny pink and purple-winged faeries fluttered among the bees and flowers. There were crystal pools full of nixies who liked to come up and chatter while Clary washed her hair; she hadn’t seen a mermaid yet, but one of the nixies had confided that they mostly spent time in the ocean and had definitely gotten above themselves regarding their tails.
Of course, there was the blight to contend with. Gray patches of dead land, bisecting the green fields like dueling scars. They’d taken samples of the gray soil for the Silent Brothers. That wasn’t especially beautiful, but —
“Clary,” Jace said. He waved a hand in front of her face; it was still a jolt to see his fingers temporarily without the Herondale ring. “You have ceased paying attention to me.”
She raised her eyebrows at him. “You’re a like a cat. If I don’t give you attention, you come and sit on me until I rub your ears or whatever.”
His smile deepened. “It wasn’t my ears I —“
She smacked him on the shoulder. “Don’t say it!”
He was laughing now. “Why not?”
“I’m a very proper lady,” she said. “I might swoon.”
Sometimes she was still surprised at how quickly he could move. He’d rolled them both over in less time than it took her to blink; lying on top of her with his weight braced on his arms, he looked down at her with the laughter beginning to fade from his eyes. “I’ll revive you,” he said, his voice low.
She reached up to touch his face. He was gazing at her so seriously, and Jace was almost never serious when he could avoid it. She remembered the way he had looked at her when he’d asked her to marry him, and her heart contracted with a pain close to agony. She had hurt him, saying what she’d said then; she hadn’t wanted to, but she’d felt as if she’d had no choice. Remembering it, though —
“Kiss me,” she said.
A flicker of surprise at the abruptness of the request, but it was quick; Shadowhunter reflexes were convenient in more than battle. Jace rocked back on his heels so he was sitting up with her straddling his lap; he cradled her face in his hands, and kissed her.
Gentle, slow, exploratory: his mouth on hers was warm and soft; he parted her lips with his, the touch of his tongue against hers sending a shock through her body. Every kiss was like that first one in the greenhouse, rewriting her body’s circuitry, teaching it: you will never want anything else again.
But still she remembered: Clary, will you marry me? And her voice, shaking: You want to get … married?
“Harder,” she whispered, pressing against him, delving into his mouth with her tongue; she ran the tip across his lips, making him arch back in surprise and desire. Her hands were on his shoulders; she nipped his lower lip, and he ran his hands up into her hair, gathering handfuls of it, gasping into her mouth.
“Clary, this is going to get — out of control — very fast,” he said, and in reply, she reached down and pulled her training shirt off over her head. He stared at her in actual astonishment (rare for Jace) before his hands flew up to cover her breasts. “We’re outside,” he protested. “There’s a revel right over there. Anyone could just walk by.”
“Jace Wayland Morgenstern Lightwood Herondale,” she said, her voice a low purr. (If he’d thought putting his hands on her breasts was going to dissuade her, it was not working.) “Are you being shy? Didn’t you once run naked down Madison with antlers on your head?”
“I don’t care about people seeing me naked,” he said. “I care about people seeing you naked.”
She leaned in and kissed the corner of his mouth, his jaw, and then lower. She knew his sensitive spots now, including the one on the left side of his throat, just below the pulse point. She licked and sucked at his skin until his head fell back; his hands were moving on her body now, stroking her from her breasts to her waist, untying the cord that held her training pants on. They fell with a whisper of material and his fingers slid between her legs.
It had been years and he knew her body now the way he knew weapons, could make her writhe in his arms they way they danced in his hands. She gasped as he touched her, and her fingers tore shaking at his shirt, ripping the buttons as she dragged it off him.
“Let me,” he said, his cheeks were flushed and his voice low and gritty. It sent an ache through her deeper than the ache of longing her body felt for his: she remembered what he’d said then: Of course, marriage, what else did you think? There never will be anyone else, not for me. I thought it was the same for you. And she knew what he was saying now: let me, let me please you, for I cannot know what troubles your dreams, I cannot know your secrets, but this I can do.
She put her hands on his shoulders, let him stroke and touch her and the pleasure spiraled up inside her like smoke. It is the same for me. It always has been. Only you and no one else. But the feeling was to intense to hold onto memory; it filled her head and made her dizzy and she cried out finally, digging her hands into his back to keep herself steady.
His eyes were glazed, dark with need. “Lie down,” he said, his voice guttural, but she shook her head, her hands fumbling at the waist of his training pants. She managed to shove them down and closed her hand around him, stroking. He sank back on his elbows, and his body arched under the multicolored stars was beautiful, his hair and the tips of his eyelashes catching their brilliant gold.
She stretched herself out over him, as if she could shield his body; she ran her hands over his chest, the scars and Marks there, as if she could protect his heart. She sank down over him as if the joining of their bodies could prevent any separation, could stop death from ripping her away from him, the thing she feared most in the world.
He cried out and his hands came up to grip her hips, steadying her, holding her to him, and she remembered that day again and the look on his face, like something inside him had been crushed, and her own rising voice. I love you. I love you and you have to trust me: I’m not saying no, I’m saying not now. I have a good reason, I swear. Please believe me, Jace.
He looked up at her now. She could see herself in his eyes, backlit by a million stars, and his face was full of wonder and pleasure. Please, she prayed, let this not be the last time, let this not be my last night with him, my last day with him, let me see his face like this again: that look that only I ever get to see, that has only ever been for me. And let him have this again, too, don’t take this away from him, he’s been through enough, done enough and given everything and —
“Please,” she said, speaking aloud without realizing it, and he groaned as he moved inside her, slow and hard and then faster. He raised his shoulders off the ground, finding her mouth with his, kissing her as if he could fuse the two of them together. Her body was blanking her mind: there was just this, a drumbeat building fiercely in her chest, drawing heat through her veins; the unstoppable tide was coming, drawing him as it drew her: it would drown them both.
“I love you,” she said, pulling her mouth away from his, seeing his eyes widen, “and I always — I always —“
She broke apart around him and it was like dying; a second later, he let go and shuddered into her, throwing his left arm across his eyes in a strangely vulnerable gesture, as if to protect himself from a blinding light.
When Clary could orient herself again, he had pulled her down and rolled them both sideways, one arm around her, the other reaching to pull up the blanket and cover them both. In case a passing faun saw her naked, she thought with some amusement, and kissed his nose.
His gold hair was dark at the roots with sweat, his chest still rising and falling fast. “Jesus, Clary,” he said. “That was — “
Intense. She knew what he was thinking: after five years, when they made love it was often with laughter and teasing, always with passion, but that had been something else. Some part of her had found once more the desperate girl she had been in the ruins of the Wayland Manor, holding Jace far too tightly because she knew she would never have him again, that it was impossible.
She swallowed, curling her body close to his, tracing the line of the Herondale scar along his shoulder with her fingertip. “Missions are dangerous,” she said, in a low voice. “Tomorrow we infiltrate the Unseelie Court. I — I was thinking it could be the last time we were ever together.”
It wasn’t a lie.
He looked appalled. “Clary. I know we live a dangerous life. But we’ve survived everything it’s thrown at us.” He pulled her closer, winding his fingers through her hair. “I get it,” he said, gently. “The worst thing I can imagine is something happening to you.”
Her heart sank. She burrowed against him, her body’s exhaustion taking over, drowsiness spreading through her as he stroked her back. “It’s just that I love you so much,” she said.
“Of course you do.” His hand had stilled, fingers barely moving; his voice was thick with sleep. “I’m amazing.”
She wanted to tell him that he was actually amazing, that it wasn’t just a joke, that though she knew she’d hurt him asking him to delay proposing to her again, he’d let her have the time she’d requested and never demanded to know why. She’d said he needed to trust her, and he had.
It had made her love him more, if that was possible, and she wasn’t unaware of the irony of it. But sleep was washing over her in a tide she couldn’t hold back: the rainbow stars spun over them and Clary laid her head against Jace’s shoulder. Just before she fell entirely into unconsciousness a thought flickered at the edge of her mind — something about the gray earth of the place in her visions, and the blighted land in Faerie. But it was gone like a leaf in a whirlpool, drawn down along with both of them into sleep.
* * *