The touch of cool metal was reassuring in her hands. It was strange how in just a few short months the weight of a weapon in hand had become a comfort. It was strange, but she welcomed it. If she was weaponless, she would be dead…several months ago.
"This doesn't look very good," she commented under her breath, looking across the street as her grip tightened around the hilt of the Seraph blade belted at her side.
"We've faced worse," her companion gave a half smile at the comment.
"That doesn't make this situation any better," Clary took a step back so her free arm brushed against Jace's. He smiled, his golden eyes flashing with amusement.
"We fought your deranged brother, hordes of demons, and beat Valentine. I seriously doubt this guy is going to be half as bad as dragging Simon through any of that."
Clary fought not to smile at his jibe at Simon. Despite his bold talk, Jace did actually care about Simon. Not only that, but Simon had been helpful, even instrumental in them surviving all those battles since Clary's sixteenth birthday.
"I don't know Jace, he seems different," she wrinkled her nose watching after the boy they were tailing. For the most part he looked normal, but Clary and Jace's Sensors had been going haywire in this little town; and they had narrowed the issue down to a normal looking teenager.
Or his girlfriend.
"He seems trained," Jace responded. Leave it to him to notice if someone was trained just by watching him shop with his girlfriend. And it had been grocery shopping, which Clary could never get Jace to help with.
"You can tell that from way back here?" Clary asked sarcastically. Of course he could tell; Jace had trained his entire life to find demons and kill them.
"It's the way he walks, full of confidence. I'm willing to bet Simon's life that he's cocky too."
"Really?" Clary's brow arched as she looked up at Jace. "Simon's life?"
"I have a short list of important things to bet," Jace shrugged, his hand curling around Clary's so their fingers twined together. "Or rather, important things I'm willing to bet," Jace corrected with a crooked smile.
"Well, I'm not willing to bet Simon's life on your judgment of this guy," Clary smiled at her boyfriend and pulled her hand free of his. "And if we don't make some kind of move, we'll have to spend the night stalking the streets of this backwards little town," she gave a sour look at the "mom and pop" shops lining the main street.
Coldwater lacked all the things Clary associated with city life. There was a distinct lack of chain restaurants and shops, and it was too quiet. But it was nothing like the country side in Idris, where Jace and Clary had spent the past several weeks cleaning the Herondale estate. Coldwater was something between Manhattan and Idris, and Clary was not fond of it or the idea of spending a night there.
"Or you could just draw us a Portal to the Institute, and we can come back in the morning," Jace grinned at her, clearing meaning he wanted more than just to sleep in his bed at the Institute once they got there.
"And let the trail get cold?" Clary asked in mock horror. "What would Maryse say?"
"Nothing if we don't tell her," Jace answered leaning down toward Clary. "We could be in and out before she even knew we were home."
"Jace," Clary smiled, and turned away from Jace so that his well aimed kiss landed on her cheek. "We're supposed to be working."
"Fine," Jace wrapped his arm around her protectively and lovingly. "But then we go Portal to the Herondale estate in Idris."
"That's not the Institute," she reminded him. Though she did prefer the estate during the warmer months; "and it's a long way from home, Jace."
"But you didn't say no," he kissed her again, lightly on the neck.
"Let's do this," Clary smiled in response, pulling away from Jace. Her hand wrapped around her stele, drawing it from her pocket. "And then we can talk about Idris."
Jace's smile grew as he drew his own stele from his pocket and followed after her.
"I know you don't eat, but you could at least be a little more helpful," Nora handed him the basket she had been filling with the seemingly fresh produce displayed in front of the store.
"I already said I'd get the groceries, you don't have to worry about it," Patch answered, watching Nora as she sorted through another fruit display. "What are you even looking for?"
"I'm just looking," she answered, smiling at him as she added more fruit to the basket in Patch's hands. "Unless, you wanted something in particular?"
"Is 'you" an acceptable answer?" Patch asked following Nora into the store.
"You already have me," she wrapped her hand through his arm and guided him through the store, toward the small selection of freezers.
"Angel," Patch looked over his shoulder, toward the door that was propped open to let in the warm spring air. "I think we're being followed."
"Is it some of Hank's men again?" Nora was smart enough not to turn and look as well.
Since Nora had disbanded the Nephilim Army, there had been several attempts on her life again. There were fewer Fallen Angels around, but there were still several nephil holding a grudge. Since Nora had disbanded the army, and was dating a fallen angel, she was their favorite target.
"I don't think so," he answered slowly, watching the door. The pair following them had started toward the store the same time Nora had left the street. If the two of them were following Patch and Nora, they would have come into the store too. "I didn't recognize them."
"Are you going to fight them?" Nora asked quietly.
"If I have to," Patch answered, glad that she had asked that way. Nora could fight and take care of herself, but Patch always preferred to do the fighting. He would never allow anything to happen to her, and for the most part Nora had accepted that. "It looks like I might have been over reacting," no one had entered the store after them.
"Good, we'll buy this stuff and head to Delphic," Nora pulled away from Patch, taking the half-filled basket from him.
"I thought you'd never ask," Patch smiled, trailing after her toward the register by the door.
Patch stood in the doorway of the store while Nora paid for the produce she had picked up in front of the store. He watched down the street, looking for the odd pair that had showed up that morning and started tailing him. He knew they were tailing him, they had showed up everywhere Nora went that morning, watching him.
He could not see them. It was like they had vanished. With any luck they had given up on whatever they had been after. Patch's attention drifted over to Nora for a moment, watching as she gathered her shopping bags in her arms.
The blow came out of nowhere. He had been alone, watching Nora, and suddenly he was sprawled out on the ground. He looked up to see Nora go down in a similar fashion. Only he could see her attacker.
A tall boy with golden hair, dressed in all black appeared in his vision just as Nora hit the floor. The shopkeeper screamed in a panic and reached for the phone, clearly intending on calling the police about this sudden attack. Patch wanted to stop her, but before he could say anything she was also going down.
"That was close," the boy nodded his agreement to the unseen speaker's comment, pulling a small black device out of his pocket.
"It's unfortunate that the Mundie got involved though," the boy walked toward Patch, holding the small device out in front of him. It looked like a cellular phone, but Patch had the feeling it was anything but that. "Is she okay?"
"I just knocked her out," a girl stood up from behind the register. She was dressed the same way as her counterpart, but with fiery red hair pulled back in a high pony tail.
"What about the other one?" the boy asked, coming down on one knee in front of Patch.
Patch clenched his jaw, waiting to hear if these two had hurt Nora. Once he heard the okay, he was going to take this boy down. The boy held the device closer to Patch, it let off a high pitched beep.
"This is it."
"It's a pretty weak one then," the girl was beside Nora, checking to make sure she was okay. "I barely did anything."
"You did enough, is that Mundie okay?"
Patch moved before the girl had finished speaking. One hand took hold of the boy's wrist while his feet came up under him. The black device fell from the boy's grip, still letting off the high pitched beep.
As quick as Patch was, the boy was just as fast. And as well trained, in moments the boy was armed and had broken free of Patch's grip. They stared at one another, Patch's dark eyes locking on the boy's golden ones. Surprisingly, the boy smiled at Patch.
"Not as weak as you look," the boy commented snidely, pulling another weapon from his belt.
"I could say the same about you," Patch snarled, squaring his shoulders as he looked the boy in the eye. "What are you doing here?"
"You know very well what we're doing here," the boy answered. "Scum like you don't belong on the Earth."
"I was sent here," banished actually, but that was hardly something this guy needed to know. "I've been here for hundreds of years."
"Then your time has finally run out. Govad," the second weapon the boy had pulled from his belt sprang to life, burning with white light.
Patch felt panic rising in his throat. He had seen these weapons before, but not in a long time; they were the used by Archangels. How had this boy gotten one? More importantly, how well could he use it?
If this boy was any good with that weapon, Patch could be banished to Hell again; or some other plane. In short, this could be a serious problem. And they had pulled Nora into it as well.
"Clary, get the Mundies to safety. I'll take care of this," the boy smile darkly at Patch.
"You're not taking her anywhere," Patch lunged past the boy, meaning to scoop Nora up from the ground and run. He would have to come back to face the strangers, when Nora was safe back at the apartment. Then he would beat some answers out of them.
Nora was awake, it seemed she was just waiting for the perfect time to strike as well. She pulled a weapon from Clary's belt, and sprang to her feet. Clary jumped aside, cleanly dodging Nora's miserable attempt at an attack with her left hand.
Patch sighed in relief as he came to stand beside her. She was alright, really okay. He had been worried that she had been hurt by the sneak attack.
"You had me worried, Angel," Patch muttered under his breath.
"You had me worried," Nora responded, holding the sword awkwardly in her grip. She was trained for combat, but she had not fought since the army had been disbanded. This was supposed to be a time of peace. "Who are these people?"
"I don't know, but they're dangerous. You should let me handle this Angel."
"I can fight," Nora also had a stubborn streak, her eyes hardened against him.
"I'd rather you didn't."
"Clary, you take the girl," the boy handed another of the glowing blades to his companion. She held the weapon confidently in her hand.
"Cassiel," Clary's weapon burst to life, the pale light accenting her pale skin and vibrant hair.
"We're leaving," Patch scooped Nora in his arms and leapt over the pair, running out into the street.
"Draw a Portal, we need to talk to someone about this," Clary watched as Jace paced the length of the storefront. "That demon took a mundie."
"Maybe it's fine," Clary offered. Magnus had told her recently about demons socializing with Mundanes and Shadowhunters in the past. Apparently it once had been a big thing. Maybe it was still happening, or it was making a comeback. "Maybe she's a demon too," Clary shrugged.
"Then we let two demons get away, into a city full of Mundanes," Jace snapped making a tight turn beside Clary to start down the front of the store again.
He was agitated that the demon had escaped so easily. Carrying a Mundane, it had leapt over Jace and Clary, and ran out into the street. Not only that, but the demon had managed to vanish on the practically empty street. That was most likely the thing that had enraged Jace the most; that he had lost the demon they had been tracking so easily.
"I wouldn't really call this a city," Clary grumbled folding her arms as she straightened in her seat.
"Nothing," she pushed herself out of her seat, walking to meet Jace as he started down the sidewalk again. "Why don't we go to the estate and see if there's anything in the library there."
"There won't be anything at the Herondale estate," Jace passed her on the sidewalk, his hands opening and closing at his side while he paced. She knew he wanted to be fighting something, training so he could fight something. Jace was a man of action, and the mild defeat he had just suffered was killing him.
"Then the Institute," Clary tried again, quickening her pace to keep up with Jace. "There's bound to be something in the books at the Institute."
"We need to talk to someone," Jace repeated, he was fixated on this. Jace did not like to be bested, and that was what had happened.
"Then let's talk to someone," Clary tried, Jace had wanted to talk to someone, so if she offered that he would take her up on it. "Magnus could help, and Alec would know what to do," she caught Jace's hand and pulled him to a stop. "That girl looked like she knew how to use a sword."
"Poorly," Jace commented, his free hand clenching tightly at his side.
"That means she's trained, for something Jace, and it's possible we'll need help," it might have been his idea so seek help, but she had distracted him from it. And just talking to someone might not be enough.
Jace rolled his head on his shoulders, taking a deep breath as he stopped looking up at the sky. Clary saw his muscles relax, and felt the tension fall out of her own body. His fingers found their way around hers, and slowly he brought his golden eyes down to meet her green ones.
"Who do you want to talk to? We'll go talk to them," Clary offered, holding his hand tightly. "Just tell me who you want to talk to."
"Have I ever told you how much I love you?" Jace smiled as he leaned down to kiss her.
"Only every day," Clary answered, drawing Jace's stele from the pocket of his jeans. "So who do you want to talk to?"
He smiled again, breathing in her aroma. "I think, Tessa Gray, is a good start."
"Then we'll go talk to Tessa." Clary started down an alley, "California, here we come."
"I shouldn't have taken this weapon from her," Nora looked down at the strange blade she had taken from Clary at the store. Patch recognized it as one of the glowing weapons the golden haired boy had been using. "I've never seen anything like this before."
"I have," Patch kept his distance from the weapon in his girlfriend's hand. "A long time ago."
The more he thought about the heavenly weapon, the more he could remember about seeing them before. The archangels used them, naturally. They glowed with the light of heaven, they were pure goodness.
And it would probably do horrible things to a fallen angel.
"And you shouldn't feel bad that you have the weapon, that's one less they have now," he needed to get past the fact that these people had those heavenly weapons, and determine how to disarm them.
"It's a strange weapon," Nora held the sword upright between them, the blade centered before her eyes. "How do they make them light up?"
"I don't know," Patch answered, swallowing. "But it won't matter, I won't give them the chance to do it again."
"You mean we won't," Nora looked away from the blade to Patch. "We won't give them another chance to light their swords."
"No, Angel, I mean 'I'. You're not going to fight them."
"I can fight, Patch. You taught me how," Nora snapped, her hand clenching around the hilt of the weapon she had taken from the girl, Clary.
"I taught you so you could protect yourself, not go looking for trouble."
"Trouble found me," Nora seethed, her eyes narrowing to a pointed glare at Patch. "They were following us."
"They were following me," Patch corrected, knowing that it was the truth. The device had been tracking him, not the two of them. If Nora had been anywhere else, she would have no idea that this fight was brewing. "They want to fight me, and I'm going to send them back to wherever it is they came from."
"That boy lets the girl with him fight."
"He clearly doesn't love her as much as I love you," Patch stood up, crossing the room in two long strides. Gently he took the sword from Nora and set it on the counter beside her. Just as tenderly he pulled her into his chest.
"What's the point in knowing how to fight, if you never let me help you?" her arms wrapped around his waist, holding him to her. "Why teach me all of that?"
"Contingency plan?" Patch smiled breathing in the familiar scent of Nora.
"Patch," he heard the annoyance in her voice, but he could not stop himself.
"Angel," he responded, tilting her head up to meet his eyes.
"Patch," she released him, exhaling sharply as she met his eyes. He could have looked into those eyes for eternity, and never grown tired of it. Everything about her intrigued him, and her eyes showed him her thoughts. Thoughts he could never decipher. But he could read the expressions on her face; he knew this look of annoyance well.
"Nora," he sighed, stepping back from her and brushing his hair back from his face. "Those two are trained, and I'm willing to bet it's professionally." She was still so young. She was still so naïve to the Nephil world, if this was even associated with the Fallen Angels, Nephilim and the recently halted war. He had to protect her, for both their sakes and his sanity. "I can't risk you getting hurt."
"I won't get hurt. I'm a Nephil now, Patch. I have super human strength and speed, you taught me how to fight," Nora contested, her eyes steeled as she spoke. "If you're worried about my safety, I'm worried about yours. I couldn't stand it if something happened to you."
"Nothing's going to happen to me, Angel," Patch cupped Nora's face in his hand, rubbing her cheek with his thumb.
"You can't know that," the hardened look softened as she looked up at him. "You're worried about them. What they're capable of."
"And that is exactly why you're not going," he kissed the top of her head, holding her close to him once again.