Twenty years later…
"Oh, Asher! I'm so glad I found you." Clary exclaimed as she quickly walked up to her seventeen-year-old nephew.
"Is everything okay, Aunt Clary?" the blonde-haired, green-eyed boy – who bore a striking resemblance to his father at that age – asked.
"I hope so. I can't find Lina and I was hoping you may have seen her?" Clary asked hopefully. Tonight, the Morgenstern royals were receiving many other Idrisian royals in preparation for Prince Liam and Princess Linaia's - her and Jace's twin children - Sweet Sixteen birthday party the next night.
To Clary's dismay, Asher shook his head no and smiled apologetically. "Sorry, the last time I saw her she was with Mom helping the Lovelaces settle in, but that was hours ago now."
Clary bit her lip worriedly; the Lightwoods had just landed, and Lina and Liam were strictly told that they needed to receive each and every party guest as they exited their planes. While Liam was certainly capable of greeting the youngest Lightwood royals himself, it wasn't like Lina to be missing in action. She was usually the responsible one who was always looking out for her brother – who was as mischievous as his father and as big of a flirt as his uncle at that age, Clary thought.
Clary also couldn't help but think about the times that she had snuck off with her now husband when she was sixteen. Clary's face flushed at the memories that flooded her mind when she remembered a nineteen-year-old Jace sneaking into her bedroom at night… She shook her head to clear her thoughts. She knew her angel, Lina, would never do the things she had been doing at her age and quickly pushed that idea out of her mind.
"Okay, thanks Asher. Would you like to come with me to help Liam greet Max and Rafe in Lina's place?"
"Of course, Aunt Clary." The future King said as he quickly walked with his aunt toward the landing strip at the castle.
"So, have you and Liam talked any further about where you want to study after next year? Are you still thinking about waiting a year and going away to college together?" Clary asked her nephew as they walked.
Asher shrugged, "We want to go together, but we can't agree where. Liam wants to go to America like mom and Uncle Jace did, but I've been trying to convince him to stay in Idris and go to the University in the Blackthorn territory."
Clary smiled at the young man teasingly, "Something tells me it's no mystery why you would want to be near the Blackthorns, Ash."
Asher winked at his aunt, "You know a gentleman never kisses and tells."
Clary let out a very un-ladylike snort causing Asher to laugh out loud. "You are exactly like your dad at that age. A complete and total ladies' man."
Asher raised a hand to his heart in mock hurt, "Aunt Clary! How dare you. I am much more like Uncle Jace, if anything. I may be a flirt, but there's only one girl in my heart."
Clary grabbed her nephew's arm as they neared where Liam and Jace were waiting for the plane, "Aw, Asher… I knew you loved me but I'm afraid my heart is taken." Clary said with a wink toward the young man.
Asher playfully pushed his aunt away, "Aunt Clary, don't be weird."
Liam raised an eyebrow at his mother, "Yeah, Mom… don't embarrass the future King. He's quite sensitive."
Clary laughed and walked over and kissed her son on the cheek, "Would you rather I embarrass you, my little Liam-poo?"
"Ugh, Dad. Please take her." Liam said as he guided his mom toward his father, trying to sound annoyed but unable to hide his smile at his mom's antics. His mom and dad lived to embarrass him and his cousin, but they never seemed to bother Linaia and Everly – Asher's younger sister – like they did the two young men.
"With pleasure." Jace replied as he pulled his wife of nineteen years toward him and winked at her. Clary couldn't help but giggle at her beautiful husband, who still took her breath away after all these years. At the sound of his wife's laugh, Jace's heart felt full, and he couldn't help but lean in and kiss her deeply. He couldn't have cared less that his son and nephew stood just a few feet away, him and Clary had never been able to hide their affection from their children and they honestly hadn't really tried. They wanted them to see how much they still loved each other after all of these years and that true love can exist – you just have to fight for it.
Clary closed her eyes and deepened the kiss briefly, before pulling back at the sound of the plane door opening. "I missed you, too." She whispered against her husband's lips.
He smiled and kissed her quickly one last time before releasing his hold on her hips. "I take it you couldn't find Lina and brought Ash in her stead?"
Clary nodded and worriedly bit her bottom lip again, "I just don't know where she could have run off to. It's so unlike Lina to ignore her responsibilities. And then I remember what we used to disappear to go do when I was sixteen, and I get a little nauseous at the thought."
Jace visibly paled as Clary's words sunk in before he adamantly shook his head, "There's no way. Lina is our baby. She's nothing like us."
Liam, apparently having been listening in on his parents' conversation, snorted. "Okay, Dad."
Jace turned his golden eyes onto his son, "What are you trying to say?"
Liam threw up his hands placatingly, "Nothing! You are absolutely right. Lina is the picture of innocence."
Before Clary and Jace could further question their son, they heard a familiar voice shout, "Biscuit!"
Clary dropped Jace's hand, and all thoughts of Lina fled, as she ignored all sense of decorum and ran and leapt into her lifelong friend's arms. "Mags!" she shouted. "I missed you so much!"
"Oh, Biscuit. I swear you are like a fine wine. Forty years old and looking better and better." He said with a wink as he set her down and hugged her properly before greeting Asher, Jace, and Liam. "And just where might my darling niece Linaia be hiding?"
"Your guess is as good as ours, Uncle Magnus." Asher replied coolly.
Magnus glanced at Liam and Asher thoughtfully, "You know, if it weren't for Liam's eyes, I would hardly be able to tell the two of you apart these days." Magnus said to the young men.
Clary couldn't help but agree as she studied her son and nephew. Asher and Liam were both tall like their fathers, and they were both well-built for their age from many hours spent playing soccer and training with the guards like Jon and Jace used to do. They both had curly blonde hair, and while Jon's hair was white-blonde, Asher's was more of a dirty blonde while Liam had reddish streaks that made his appear dirty blonde, unless you looked close-up. Both boys had inherited the emerald-green eyes of the Morgenstern lineage, the only difference being Liam's golden ring on the outside of his iris. The boys both had golden tan skin with few freckles, and really did bear a striking resemblance to one another.
Their sisters, on the other hand, could not have looked more different. Evie had dark curly hair, tanned skin, and hazel eyes and resembled her mother more than her father. Whereas Lina had blonde hair, Jace's golden eyes, and Clary's fair skin and freckles. Both girls were as drop-dead gorgeous as the boys were handsome, and Clary knew she was not just saying that out of bias.
As Magnus and Alec's two twenty-one-year-old adopted sons, Rafael and Max, exited the plane Clary squealed and gave each boy a hug. She had always been an honorary aunt to the young men, just as Magnus had always been an honorary uncle to her and Jon's children.
Magnus and Clary had remained very close over the years, and he even remained her personal stylist all while living on opposite sides of Idris. "Magnus, I'm so glad you are here. I am having trouble choosing a dress for the party tomorrow night, and I desperately need your help."
Magnus winked toward his friend as he linked his arm through hers as they walked toward the castle - where Magnus and the boys would be staying for the next few days. "Oh, my dearest Clarissa, you absolutely will not be wearing anything used to your children's Sweet Sixteen. You know your favorite friend in the whole world has brought a custom designed dress for you."
Clary beamed at her friend, "Oh my goodness, I knew you loved me. Now, let's get to your room and drop all this off so we can try the dress on." Clary looked over her shoulder at the men following behind her and Magnus and smiled sweetly toward her husband, "Oh, Jace. Take the boys to search for Lina, will you?"
Jace sighed and ran a hand through his curly blonde hair, "Yes, dear."
Clary heard Rafe whisper, "Whipped." under his breath before Jace replied, "I'd rather be whipped than face the red-headed wrath of my Princess." Jace shuddered. "Trust me."
Clary winked at her husband, "He'll be rewarded later for his good behavior, don't you boys worry."
Clary heard Liam groan loudly as Jace smirked at his wife before her and Magnus left the boys behind.
After catching up with Magnus for a couple of hours, Clary made her way back to her house to see if the boys had made it home with Lina yet.
When Clary entered her home, she found Asher and Liam downstairs watching a movie and eating their body weight in chips. "Hey! We have a royal dinner in an hour. Who gave you chips?"
Liam raised an eyebrow at his mother, "Mom. We're grown men. We walked into the pantry and grabbed a bag of chips like normal human beings."
Clary huffed and set down her garment bags that Magnus had given her, containing a casual dress for tonight's dinner and a sexier cocktail dress for tomorrow night's party. "First of all, you are not grown men. You aren't even legal yet. Secondly, do not spoil your dinner. Thirdly, did you find Lina?" she asked as she sat down and took a few chips from the bag.
"Ouch, Aunt Clary. I like to think we are very mature young men, but yes, as soon as you and Magnus left us, we called Lina and she was already home getting ready for dinner." Asher replied.
Clary sighed, "Thank goodness. Did she say why she missed the Lightwoods arrival?"
"Something about getting caught up with Sophie." Liam said through a mouthful of chips.
"Ugh, Liam Herondale you are the worst!" Clary scolded her son as she threw a pillow at his head.
"Seriously, Mom! I already did my hair." Liam huffed.
"Sure, you did. Asher, go home and get ready. Liam, go fix your hair for real this time." Clary said as she grabbed more chips. "You boys could at least pretend to be sophisticated like Maia and I do."
Asher gave his aunt and incredulous look while Liam rolled his eyes and replied, "Yes, mother."
"That's better." Clary replied. "Bye Ash, see you in an hour." She said as she leaned back and closed her eyes, swearing it would only be for a few minutes.
Fifty minutes later, Clary was startled awake by someone leaning over her and kissing along her jaw causing her to moan softly. "Princess, wake up. We have to leave soon."
Clary sighed softly and kept her eyes closed as she ran her hands through Jace's soft curls, "Mmm, do we have to go? It's really a dinner for the kids, right?"
Jace kissed along her neck up to her ear before replying, "It is, but unfortunately they are our kids."
"Mmmm, that is unfortunate." She replied as she opened her eyes and took in her husband who was dressed in a black button down with grey pants that were tailored to perfection. Seeing her handsome husband dressed up made her want to forgo dinner and go straight upstairs to their bedroom for dessert. Or maybe to the pool, or shower… anywhere would do she supposed. "You look like a dream." She told her husband.
"Mmm…" he whispered in her ear, "I hope it's a wet one."
Clary laughed out loud before standing and walking around the couch to wrap her arms around him and kiss him properly, "Very."
"In that case, the kids will be fine without us. Let's go." Jace said as he grabbed her hand and began dragging Clary toward the stairs just as Lina walked down them.
"Ugh, do you two ever stop?" Lina said with a groan.
Jace looked at his wife, disheveled from sleep but lust lingering in her green eyes, and winked before simply replying, "Never."
Clary laughed and released Jace's hand. "Let me get my dress. I just need to change and freshen up. Give me ten minutes."
Thirty minutes later, Clary walked down the stairs to her waiting family before they walked to the castle for their own dinner party, which they were now twenty minutes late for.
"You know I think it's funny how you chastised Asher and I-"
"Don't start, Liam." Clary said as she held up a hand to silence whatever smart remark her son was about to say.
As they entered the large dining room at the castle the kids instantly went to greet their grandparents while Clary and Jace greeted the guests. There were so many young royals that it reminded Clary of some of the parties that they had held years ago. She looked around the room trying to picture which royals would end up dating or marrying as she sat down next to Maia. She gestured for Maia to look at King Sebastian's oldest son, Montes, flirting with Sophie Lovelace and smiled at the thought of all of the potential romances in the room.
Even though the Morgenstern territory was more relaxed and now had a law in place stating that no treaties or agreements could be made by using marriage as a political tool any longer, no other territories had adopted such laws. And most territories still required royals to marry others of royal blood. The only territories to have removed such laws were the Morgenstern and Penhallow territories, which were considered much more forward thinking than other territories in Idris.
Under her brother's rule, many laws in the Morgenstern territory were dissolved. Granted, most were his wife's stipulations before agreeing to their engagement. She refused to be Queen of a territory that was still stuck in the old-fashioned ways of the past.
The first law that needed to be annulled was the marriage law, allowing her brother and all other royals in their territory to marry anyone of their choosing. The second was that betrothals would no longer be utilized for political reasons. Then he dissolved the law of inheritance, stating that only a male heir could rule the territory. If Everly had been born first, she would be Queen rather than Asher becoming King, however since Ash is indeed the oldest, he is in line to inherit the throne. Another law King Jonathan removed was one that made same sex marriage illegal. In fact, the first same-sex couple to be married in the Morgenstern territory was Magnus and Alec.
Overall Clary was proud of all her brother and Maia had accomplished together. She had been surprised when their relationship had gone from purely physical to emotional, but she had to admit her best friend and brother had been great for each other – and for the Morgenstern territory.
After an evening of lighthearted celebration and toasts from the twins' overzealous grandparents, the guests slowly began to make their way to their rooms in the castle. As Clary was debating another glass of wine and staying a bit longer or heading back to her house, she felt familiar lips brush her ear as Jace whispered, "You know, Princess, it's been a long time since we ditched a party early to go have our own private party."
Clary leaned into his touch as he rested his hands on her exposed shoulders, "What did you have in mind?"
"Hmm, there's always the old clubhouse, or the pool, or I could just kick everyone out and take you right here on this table." He whispered in her ear causing Clary to visibly shiver.
She turned her head just enough that their lips met softly, and she whispered against him, "The pool it is." Before kissing him chastely – even though she was craving anything but chaste in the moment.
As Jace released his wife, she stood to say goodbye to the remaining guests and they walked quickly toward the indoor area of the castle pool, as they had done so many times all those years ago. Once behind closed doors, Jace pulled her toward him roughly and kissed her with the same passion that had never swayed, no matter how many years went by.
By the time Clary broke away from the kiss she was panting heavily and Jace was quickly removing her dress. "I love you." She said between breaths as she began to unbutton her husband's shirt.
Jace stilled his movements and looked into her eyes before letting her dress drop down to the ground and removing his pants swiftly. Once they were only in their undergarments, he picked her up and said with fervor "And I love you, Princess. I love you more and more every single day." He then carried her bridal style into the pool and walked them to their favorite spot.
They were so caught up in each other that they didn't even realize someone else was already there until they were right upon them. It took Clary a few seconds to process what she was seeing but when she did her emotions went from shock to anger quickly.
"Linaia Jo Herondale! What is going on here?" Clary practically screamed at her daughter in her shock. Jace, having been too wrapped up in his wife to notice their daughter until that moment, dropped Clary into the water at her words. When he turned to find his daughter in the pool, with her arms and legs wrapped around a boy – no, he realized, not just any boy - Prince Levi Lovelace, future king of the Lovelace territory - his face paled and he shook his head in disbelief.
As Clary watched her husband go through his emotions, she saw the moment he settled on anger, and knew she needed to step in before things got heated. Clary grabbed Jace by the shoulder and stopped him before he could hurt Levi – as he was likely to do in that moment. "Lina, answer me now before your father hurts the prince." Clary's voice held a lethal edge to it as she spoke.
Lina dropped into the water as Prince Levi dropped her like she had burned him, and Clary saw Lina glare at the young man in response before stepping in front of him as though to shield him from her parents' wrath. "Look, Mom… we were just… hiding. No not hiding, well, we were hiding but really we were just kissing. It's not a big deal."
"Not a big deal?" Jace said calmly. Too calmly for Clary's liking and she held his shoulder tighter to help ground him. "Not a big deal, Lina! You are in your underwear!" Jace yelled and tried to stalk closer to his daughter in the pool but allowed Clary to hold him back.
"Your father is right, Lina. Being alone in a pool in the middle of the night, in your underwear, is a big deal." Clary stated, while staring into Levi's eyes. The four of them were silent as they assessed the situation further and Lina and Levi attempted to think of a way out of their situation. "Are you two courting?" Clary asked after a long pause.
Lina held her chin up before replying to her mom, "We're in love." She said defiantly. Levi looked on the verge of being ill from behind her.
"Love?!" Jace's eyes flashed with anger. "What do you know about love? Lina, you are a child!"
She crossed her arms over her chest, "A child? You and mom were practically married when she was my age! Don't think Aunt Maia hasn't told me stories about you two sneaking off when mom was a lot younger than sixteen."
Jace's face paled and he shook his head, "No, no, no. Don't compare yourself to me and your mom. You aren't allowed to do anything we did. Ever." Clary couldn't help but snort at his comment and Jace glared at his wife, "I think I'm going to be sick." He said as he ran his hands down his face roughly. "I'm too old for this."
Clary couldn't help it any longer as she let out the laugh she had been holding back as the ridiculousness of the situation hit her full force. She lived her whole life trying to avoid the exact fate her daughter was running into with open arms. The irony was not lost on the Princess.
Jace looked pained but his anger was dissolving at the sound of his wife's laughter. He was afraid she had officially lost her mind. "What's so funny?" he turned to ask her.
Clary pointed at Lina and laughed harder. "She's in love with the future Lovelace king. After all we did to ensure she could marry anyone she wants…" she trailed off as she wiped the tears of laughter from her eyes.
Jace couldn't help the smile that quirked the side of his lips as he studied his wife. "Do you have anything to say to us, Levi?" he asked the young man, who had been silently wallowing in self-misery until that moment.
Levi coughed and cleared his throat before speaking, "With all due respect, sir, Lina tells the truth. We are in love, and I know without a doubt that she will be my queen someday."
"Is that so?" Jace narrowed his eyes at the boy.
Levi put his hands up placatingly, "Only if you will allow it, of course. Sir. I mean, Prince Consort Herondale."
Clary pinched her brow with one hand and held up her other to make the young Prince stop speaking before he put his foot any further into his mouth.
"Please, just… both of you get out and get dressed. Levi, go to your room and Lina go home. I will come see you when I get back. Your father and I need to discuss this with Isabelle and Simon tomorrow before we make any decisions." Clary said sternly and watched as the young man scrambled out of the pool, but not before helping their daughter out first.
Clary sighed deeply before turning to look into Jace's eyes to see him warring with his emotions. "Well, that was a complete mood-killer." She stated.
Jace ran a hand through his curly hair, "You know what the worst part of all is?"
Clary draped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer to her, "What's the worst part?"
Jace looked into her eyes and found himself getting lost before he quirked the side of his mouth into a small frown, "They've completely ruined our sexiest getaway spot. This spot will forever be tainted with that memory." He said with a shudder.
Clary laughed and pulled him in for a kiss, "It's a good thing we have our own pool then, huh?" she whispered against his lips.
Jace kissed her deeply before pulling away to reply, "It's a very, very good thing." He said as he scooped her back into his arms and carried his wife out of the pool.
When they finally walked into their bedroom that night their moods had improved dramatically, thanks to the use of an outdoor shower that heated them both up in more ways than one. As Clary glanced at her husband and thought about their lives together, she couldn't help but know in her heart that this is how it was always meant to be. She was meant to live this life, with this man by her side and she intended to savor every single moment – no matter how horrifying some of them may be.
"I love you, Jace Herondale." She whispered as she wrapped her arms around his stomach. "Thank you for being a part of my destiny."
As Jace looked into her eyes and she saw his love – a love so real she could almost touch it – he replied softly, "There's nowhere else I was ever meant to be. You are a part of me, and I am a part of you. It's been that way since the day you were born, and it'll be that way long after we are gone. I love you, Princess."
As Clary closed her eyes and laid back on their bed, asking him to show her his love once again, she knew he was right, they were exactly where they were meant to be.
... ... ...
As this story comes to an end, I am beyond grateful for the support it received. You are all amazing and have made writing this story a joy.
This story came to me and demanded to be written, so I truly hope I did this version of Jace and Clary (a version that isn't hardened by hurt and loss) justice.
I would love to continue writing occasionally and have some stories in mind, but they will probably be much shorter – like 10-20K words total. I am contemplating just doing a story of all one-shots, as well. So, if anyone has any ideas they would like to see please let me know.
I am not fully ready to say goodbye to this Jace and Clary yet, but this is how I always pictured their story to end. If anyone wants to see other snippets of their lives and/or their children's lives I would be more than happy to write more – but I need ideas. Creativity has always been one of my weaknesses with writing.
Thank you all again and I hope you enjoyed the story.