Here be spoilers for the end of Lord of Shadows. DO NOT READ if you haven't finished - you've been warned!
"Come here, Emma." The steel in Julian's voice cut through the haze Emma had been lost in. She didn't know how much time had passed since the clock had chimed, when something in her had snapped. But gone was the distraught shell of a boy begging his fallen sister to return. He'd been replaced by the man he'd become at twelve years old, who'd killed his father and taken his place because there had been no other choice. The calm that radiated from him now was far more terrifying.
Because she knew, almost instantly, what he intended, with the clarity of years of observing how his mind worked. She could sense it too, in the absence of the devastation that had nearly consumed him.
It had taken Malcom centuries and the darkest book of sorcery in existence to raise Annabel.
Julian would raise Livvy almost instantly with sheer force of will.
Something within Emma recoiled at the notion, because even though she would have given almost anything to rewind the past hour she knew what he intended was wrong, on some basic level that defied articulation. They'd never be able to run from the consequences – not when they attempted this in the middle of the entire Clave. This was no covert trip to faerie, which they could cover up with half-truths and misdirection. Everyone would know.
But the Inquisitor's death shot their exile plans to hell anyway.
She considered, just for one second, denying his command. Surely she should, because of the oaths she'd sworn as a Shadowhunter. But she'd sworn an oath to him too, her parabatai, and to deny him now would be the ultimate betrayal, because that soul she shared would die right there beside Livvy, even if his body carried on. There would be no coming back from this for Julian. The only thing holding him up now was resolve – and if his plan was thwarted his mind and heart would shatter just like the Mortal Sword, spilling out his very essence in black despair. Livvy had died on his watch. That's how he would see it, because bringing Annabel here had been his plan. No one could blame Julian for not foreseeing this outcome except Julian himself, but guilt would choke the life from him sooner rather than later.
And there was a good chance Ty's would follow. Because Ty had never lived a day without his twin by his side, and Livia was the only one besides Julian who began to understand the unique way he saw the world. Alone, there would be only the knowledge that his proudest moment had been his downfall, because it had been his letter that convinced Annabelle to come.
Emma would not let either boy blame themselves for Livvy's death. She would have damned herself for any one of the Blackthorns. It was fitting doing so could save three.
So she came, crossing to stand beside the horrific tableau. It hurt to see Livvy like this, a terrible tapestry of smeared white, red and black, more than Emma thought she was still capable of hurting.
The look in Julian's eyes might have sent the Seelie King to his knees, because even Emma quailed at their ferocity, like a burning seraph blade.
"Pull it out." It seemed impossible that there had ever been any warmth in his voice. That there might ever be any warmth again.
Emma had despised the Mortal Sword since the day Julian had been forced to testify, but looking at it now she was shocked by how fiercely she could hate an inanimate object. It left Livvy's body with a sick slurp and rush of blood and ooze that turned even Emma's warrior stomach. The hilt burned in her hand, as if it realized she was the one who'd struck its fatal blow. Perhaps, more likely, it discerned what she was about to do. She dropped it, the resulting thud echoing impossibly loud through the Council chambers.
"Touch me." At any other time such a brazen request would have resulted in a smartass jibe or a hidden blush, depending on before or after. Today she simply obeyed, kneeling behind him in a puddle of blood to place her hands upon his shoulders. It was too intimate, pressed up against him like this, and yet too distant. He'd pressed both his hands against Livvy's gaping wound, and Emma dropped one of hers to cover his, squeezing gently. Only then did she notice the slightest tremble in his arm. She felt like she was shaking as violently as a leaf in a storm.
I-T-'-L-L B-E O-K she spelled into his shoulder, wanting desperately to mean it.
"I know." He sounded so certain that she let everything else fade away, determined not to let him down when he needed her the most.
She did not know what they were supposed to do. This was different than burning a church or supercharging an iratze. There was no rune to wake the dead. But she let herself be overwhelmed by the emotion coursing through her, which she'd always been taught to keep at bay. Of the love she felt for this warrior girl, patient and fearless and bright, who'd let Emma braid her hair and buy her clothes and even once snuck into her room while everyone slept to ask her about boys. Of the very different love she felt for Julian, deep as the ocean and just as fathomless, beautiful and uncontainable and deadly.
And of desperation – for a life cut too short by a meeting that had gone horribly wrong, derailed by hatred and madness. And the deeper anguish she'd grown used to living with every day, of loving the other half of her soul too completely, their perfect alignment as warriors and lovers somehow a curse instead of a masterpiece.
Power radiated outward like a shockwave, and Livvy shot upwards, gasping. Emma stumbled back, feeling drained yet exhilarated, like after a tough workout. For a moment Emma feared seeing Annabel's blank madness reflected in the girl's eyes, but they had all their normal color and clarity, though they darted wildly between Emma and Julian and then to her immediate surroundings. "Jules. Emma. What just happened?" Her voice was hoarse but strong, but ended on a gasp as she looked downwards and watched all the blood retreat back into her body as if pulled by a magnet, the flesh knitting back over it without even a scar.
She spread her hand over the smooth skin. "How is that possible?"
Julian crushed her to him, burying his face in her dark hair. "Livvy. Oh thank God, Livia. Everything's going to be fine now. Don't you worry. No one's ever going to hurt you again." Emma could pinpoint the exact moment Julian buried his own relief to assume the role of comforter. The warmth was back, in abundance, his love erasing all the sharpness of just a few moments ago.
And then Ty wedged himself between them, his face nearly as pale as Livvy's had been. "It isn't possible," he declared, clamping his arms around his sister. "You died. I felt it." But then, just as suddenly as he'd latched onto his sister, he shifted and threw his arms around Julian. "But you fixed it. Thank you."
Emma was so absorbed in the look that crossed Julian's face that she wasn't expecting the body that slammed into her own. But then Dru was clutching her, sobbing unintelligible words of gratitude. It was only then that Emma allowed herself a moment of relief.
But her tunnel vision was fading, the turmoil of her surroundings beginning to reassert itself. Through the cacophony of shouts and cries Emma looked up to see Mark standing protectively between them and their audience, as if he alone could shield them.
Yet it was not the hysterical hatred of a Dearborn that sounded clearly across the room.
The Consul's voice, calm, collected, yet slightly trembling, was somehow worse.
"What have you done?"
BECAUSE I HAD TO! From the moment Livvy got stabbed I was CERTAIN this was going to happen, and then it didn't. But I am going to have to console myself by pretending it did until the next book comes out and shatters my delusion, because I just couldn't handle the actual ending. However is Julian going to recover from this? And Ty?
I can't even!
Comments, reviews, and commiseration are all greatly appreciated!