Chapter 2

Four years later –

"Clary! Wake up, wake up!" Maia yelled as she jumped up and down on Clary's bed excitedly, her curly brown hair flying all around.

"Stooooppp!" Clary groaned as she covered her face with her blanket and burrowed deeper into the bed.

Maia's big brown eyes were gleaming with laughter as she pulled the covers back down, "It's your birthday! Wake up!"

"If it's my birthday, then you should let me sleep." Clary groaned as she sat up.

"Here, your mom and dad said you can have breakfast in bed." Maia said as she handed Clary a plate of donuts, with a candle on top.

"Okay, you should have started out by mentioning the donuts." Clary said with a smile, as she was finally waking up a bit at the prospect of food.

"I also brought you some cards that came in the mail. You got one from Izzy, one from Aline, this one's from all of the Blackthorns, oooooh and one from Simon." Maia said while she teasingly batted her eyelashes at Clary.

"Oh, hush you snoop!" Clary laughed at her friend as she snatched the cards from her hand.

"Please just open Simon's, please!" Maia begged.

Clary begrudgingly obliged her friend and scanned through the card before sighing and handing it over to Maia. "'Happy Birthday, Clarissa.'" Maia said as she read the card out loud. "That's it?! Where's the romance?!"

Clary rolled her eyes as she took the card back, "Maia, he's an eleven-year-old boy… he doesn't even know what 'romance' is yet."

"He's so formal, though… I mean, only your dad calls you Clarissa… why doesn't he call you Clary?" Maia asked seriously.

"I don't even know if he knows that's my nickname… we barely know each other." Clary said with a sigh as she absentmindedly rubbed a long scar on her forearm. "Anyway, are you all packed for the sleepover?" Clary asked her friend.

Maia only managed to nod as she dug into a donut before handing one to Clary.

"Aline told me about a game called truth-or-dare, do you think Jace and Jon would let us play that?" Clary asked between bites.

Maia nodded and swallowed a big bite before replying, "Yeah, they've probably already played before. I heard Jordan talking about it with Magnus once, I think the older kids play games like that all the time. What about ghost stories, can we tell those, too?"

Clary nodded, "That sounds fun. I wish Dr. Bane would have let Magnus come. Did you invite Jordan and Daniel?"

"No, they've been weird lately. Acting like they are too old to hang out with us 'little kids'" Maia said as she crossed her arms across her chest. "It's so annoying… I'm glad Jon and Jace aren't like that yet."

"Yet? You think they will stop playing with us soon?" Clary asked worriedly.

Maia just shrugged and ate another donut as Clary rubbed her forearm again, wishing things never had to change.

Later that day the Morgenstern's hosted a late lunch for Clary's best friends and their families, and after eating so much cake she thought she might burst, Clary sat down to open presents.

Maia had gotten her a new adventure novel, knowing that Hodge never allowed her to read anything so "frivolous". Jon had gotten her a silver locket with a picture of the two of them inside and Clary eyes welled with tears at the gesture. The Herondales had gifted her with a new saddle and grooming kit for her horseback riding, which Clary had become quite proficient in the past few years. Jace had wanted to gift her something with his own money, as well, and he gave her the best colored pencils set he could find, along with thick paper for her sketching. He knows the King and Queen don't believe drawing is a necessary skill for a future Queen, and therefore Clary would never be able to buy it for herself. Clary's green eyes widened and her whole face lit up with a huge smile as she opened the gift, and Jace couldn't help but think that her reaction alone was enough to make him happy for the next year.

As Clary once again thanked her guests and hugged them goodbye, she couldn't help but be giddy with excitement at the night to come. Her parents had finally agreed to let her, Maia, Jon, and Jace have a sleepover at their tree fort, and she couldn't wait. They had strung battery-operated lights up and the boys had taken sleeping bags and games earlier that day, and they planned to stay up all night playing and laughing.

Once the last guest left, Clary ran to Jace and gave him a big hug. "Thank you so much for the drawing kit. I've wanted those pencils for ages!"

"I know, Princess. I've seen you drooling over them every time we've gone to town for the past two years." Jace said with a laugh as he hugged her back.

She just beamed at him as she released the hug and clapped her hands. "Are we ready to head to the clubhouse?"

"Not so fast, Clare-bear. Do you four remember the rules?" King Valentine asked.

"No swimming in the dark, no wandering through the woods in the dark, and no telling scary stories to the girls." Jon recited as he struggled to hold in an eye-roll.

Valentine nodded, "And be back by noon tomorrow. Do you have your phone, Jon?"

"Yes, and Jace has his, too. And we have battery operated phone chargers. We'll be fine, Dad." Jon answered.

Jace nodded, "We'll watch out for the girls, King Valentine."

Clary smirked at Jace, thinking it was rather wise to butter her dad up with the use of his title, as Jace threw her a wink.

"Okay, then. Bye, my Princess. Happy birthday." Valentine said as he leaned to hug his daughter and kiss her cheek.

"Bye Daddy, bye Mom!" Clary said as the others waved goodbye and Jace ran to tell his parents goodbye, as well.

Once they got out of the small lounge and the door closed behind them the four friends took off in a sprint, grabbing their bags from Jon's room on their way out.

"Freedom at last!" Jon yelled as they made it outside and he threw his arms into the air.

Clary and Maia couldn't help but laugh at the Prince's dramatic behavior but knew deep down he really did need a break from the royal life for a night. Now that Jon and Jace were teenagers they were being trained thoroughly for their future roles, but Clary knew Jon had the worst of it – by far. Jace's parents were much more lenient – a fact the Lord was all too willing to admit.

Since the friends were staying the night at the fort, they opted to walk the two miles rather than ride their horses. The boys were kicking a ball back and forth as they walked, and Maia was telling Clary a story about her mom finding her brother Daniel with a girl in his room, and Clary was crying from laughter. Ms. Roberts has been Clary's personal maid since she was born, and had always been a stern woman, so she can only imagine the tongue lashing that Daniel received after getting caught in a precarious position.

As the boys joined their sides to hear the story for themselves, they couldn't help but laugh. Daniel was two years older than Jace and Jon and he never let them forget it. They had never gotten along particularly well, although they did get along with his best friend, Jordan, but lately Jordan's company wasn't worth having to endure Daniel, as well.

As the laughter died down, Maia turned to Clary with a more serious expression. "Clare, have you heard what's going to happen now that King Levi has passed away?"

Clary sighed deeply and ran a hand through her long red hair before nodding, "Dad says that Queen Elaine will rule alone until Simon turns eighteen, then he will immediately be coronated King." King Levi Lovelace - the father to Clary's betrothed, Prince Simon - had been ill for the past few months with cancer and recently passed away. "Dad says I'll be coronated Queen on our wedding day." Clary began looking down as she walked, to avoid her friends seeing the tears welling in her eyes.

Jon and Jace remained quiet by Clary's side, but Maia let out a deep breath as she turned to Clary, "Wow, that's really heavy, Clare." Maia tried to turn the conversation around and smiled at Clary, "But just think, in nine years you will be a Queen."

"Yep, like it or not." Clary said with a shake of her head, she could feel Jace staring at her intently, but she refused to meet his eyes. He always had a way of knowing how she was feeling just with one look, and Clary couldn't bear to let him see her cry.

"Look, there's the tire swing!" Jon yelled, "Last one there has to run around the castle naked!"

"Ew, Jon! No one wants to see that!" Clary yelled after him, as him and Maia had already taken off in a sprint.

Jace walked over to Clary and nudged her with his elbow, "Go ahead, it's not like it's something I haven't done before…" he said with a smirk.

"Really? I thought Jon was kidding about that! Did you really wear antlers?!" Clary asked incredulously as she finally looked up at him.

Jace nodded, "Yep, I only wore antlers." He said with a wide grin.

"Ew, okay, you are on your own, weirdo." Clary said with a laugh as she started running to the tree.

"Weirdo?" Jace yelled after her. "Who still says that?"

Clary just looked back with a smile and waved over her shoulder.

Later, after the friends had tired of jumping into the pond from their tire swing, they settled on the grass enjoying some berries as the sun began to set. "I wish we knew how to build a fire; we could have had s'mores." Clary said with a sigh.

"Ha, even if we knew how, your Dad would never let you near an open flame without 'adult supervision'." Jace teased.

"I think it's just the two of you that he doesn't trust, after you brought me back to the castle bleeding to death a few years ago." Clary teased as she traced her scar again.

"Bleeding to death, huh? I could swear I remember you calling me your hero." Jace teased with a grin and Clary replied by throwing a raspberry at him, which to her dismay he caught easily and popped in his mouth.

"Thanks, Princess." He said with a wink.

Maia rolled her eyes at the exchange and interrupted, "Clary and I want to play Truth or Dare, are you guys up for that later?" Maia asked towards the boys.

"Yeah, I love that game. I played at the Lightwoods last year." Jon said. "Why don't we pack up and head to the fort now… the sun is setting quick, and it'd be best to be settled before it gets too dark."

"Yes, Your Highness." Jace teased as he stood and helped Clary and Maia up, as well.

Once they were settled into the fort, they began playing different card games, until the friends became annoyed with Jon's constant winning. "How are you so good at this? You must be cheating somehow." Jace said with a shake of his head.

"What can I say, I'm a man of many talents." Jon teased as Maia snorted the water she was drinking out of her nose and he pinched her arm lightly. "Are you saying I'm not talented, Miss Roberts? I could have you executed for treason!" Jon teased.

Maia rolled her eyes, "Like you would ever risk getting on my mom's bad side… she's much scarier than you, we all know that."

Jon shuddered, "You have a point."

Jace and Clary just smiled at the exchange. "Truth or Dare, then?" Jace asked. "I've never played it before." He admitted with a shrug of the shoulders.

Clary nodded, "Yeah, let's play. Aline says it's fun."

"Okay, then, Clary… truth or dare?" Maia asked.

"Dare." Clary said without even thinking about the answer.

"I dare you to run around the fort three times, while howling like a wolf." Maia said seriously.

Clary laughed, "Okayyy, how do you come up with this stuff, Maia."

Once they had been playing for about thirty minutes, and Clary had just fit seven marshmallows into her mouth at once – the most her tiny mouth could hold – she turned to Maia.

"Truth or Dare?" Clary asked.

"Truth, these dares are getting weirder and weirder." She said with a laugh.

"Have you ever kissed anyone before?" Clary asked shyly.

"Nope." Maia said as she popped her bubble gum she was chewing. "Have you guys?" She turned to the boys to ask.

"It's not our turn." Jace said at the same time Jon said, "Of course we have."

Maia laughed, "How about you, Clary?"

Clary shook her head and looked down at her hands.

Jace grabbed her chin lightly to force her to look at him. "What's wrong, Princess?"

Clary blew out a breath and looked at her friends, "Izzy sent a letter with my birthday card. She said she heard Simon kissed someone when he visited the Lightwoods last month."

Clary saw Jace's hands tense into fists at his side as Maia and Jon furrowed their brows.

"Don't you dare worry about what that boy does." Maia said to her friend.

"Clare-bear, please don't be sad. I can go up there and punch him for you." Jon offered.

Maia's eyes lit up, "You just need to have your first kiss, too! Then you will feel better!"

Clary shook her head, "Who, exactly, am I supposed to kiss?"

"Easy! I'll do it with you!" Maia exclaimed.

Jon and Jace's eyes lit up with confusion as they whipped their heads towards Maia.

She slapped Jon's arm and laughed, "Not like that! I'll kiss Jon and you kiss Jace! Then we will have our first kisses together!"

"Wait, you expect me to let my little sister have her first kiss right in front of me… with my best friend?" Jon asked incredulously.

"Well, we can go outside, and they can kiss in the fort. Then you won't have to see." Maia said.

Jon looked weary as he glanced at Clary, "You want this, Clare-bear? It's your birthday."

Clary nodded, "If it's okay with Jace, it's okay with me."

Jace cleared his throat, "Uhm, yeah. Totally fine with me." He replied without meeting Clary's eyes.

Maia grabbed Jon's hand and led him outside, "Come on! Who ever thought my first kiss would be with a future King?" Maia said excitedly as Jon rolled his eyes. "Is that why you suggested this?" Clary heard him ask as they disappeared from sight.

Clary smiled at Jace, "We don't have to do this if you don't want to. We could always just tell them we did."

"No, it's fine. I'd be honored to be your first kiss." Jace said with a smirk, although Clary noticed his cheeks were a little flushed, probably from nerves she thought.

"Okay then, so should we stand up or something?" she asked nervously.

"Uhm, sure. Here…" Jace said as he stood and helped Clary up. She couldn't think of a time he had ever seemed so nervous. "Okay, so… I'll just kiss you now…" he said awkwardly, and Clary couldn't help but smile. Surely, she wasn't the calm one right now?! Jace was always so cool and collected, how could she be making him nervous?

Clary was still lost in her thoughts when she realized Jace had grabbed her hands as he leaned down to her and his lips were now only centimeters away from hers. She could smell his mango scented shampoo coming from his curly blonde hair, and it instantly relaxed her. Why was she nervous? This was one of her best friends, of course her first kiss should be with him! With that thought she leaned forward to close the distance and press her lips against his. His lips were soft and warm, but the kiss was short and awkward, with neither of them knowing exactly what they were doing.

Clary smiled as she pulled away, "That was a little awkward."

Jace kept hold of her hands and laughed lightly, "Yeah, a little. I didn't know where to put my nose."

Clary giggled, "Maybe we should try one more time. Now that I know what to expect."

Jace nodded, "Yeah, that would be good." He said as he leaned forward to kiss her again.

This time Clary and Jace didn't fumble as they pressed their lips together firmly and held them for a few seconds before smiling at each other.

"Much better." Clary said with a genuine smile, her emerald eyes dancing in the hanging lights of the tree fort.

Jace nodded and let out a breath he hadn't realized he had been holding. "Yeah, much better."

Just then Maia rushed back in, "Oh, Clary! That was so fun! I kissed a Prince!" she exclaimed.

Clary laughed, "And I kissed a Lord."

"Well, I kissed a Princess." Jace said with a smile.

"And I kissed a… brunette?" Jon said, not wanting to insult Maia since she didn't have a royal title.

Maia and Clary just laughed hysterically and Jace clapped him on the back… "We need to work on your skills with girls, buddy." He said with a smirk as Jon smiled. Truth be told, he was just glad his sister was distracted from her earlier worries, even if it did mean she was laughing at his expense.

Later that night, they were all curled up in their sleeping bags next to each other in the small fort. Jon and Maia were snoring soundly as Jace and Clary lay awake talking.

"Did it really bother you that Simon kissed someone?" Jace asked her suddenly.

Clary let out a deep breath and nodded, "I guess I just always thought he would be my first for all of those things. It just hurt my feelings a little I guess."

Jace nodded, "Just because you are marrying him doesn't mean you have to give him any of your firsts, Princess." Jace said as he looked into her eyes, pausing briefly before adding, "Besides, he gets to be your last kiss… that seems more important anyway."

Clary nodded, "I guess that's a good point. Thanks, Jace… you always know how to make me feel better." She said with a small smile.

They laid next to each other quietly for a couple of minutes before Jace spoke again. "Jon was wrong, I had never kissed anyone before."

Clary's eyes widened in shock, "Really? Why did he think you had?"

Jace nodded, "Aline's cousin had caught her giving Helen Blackthorn a kiss last summer while I was there for a visit, but he didn't know it was Helen, I guess he just saw her kissing someone with blonde hair from a distance. Anyway, Aline freaked and said it was me. She pulled me aside later and asked me to go along with it, and obviously I agreed. You remember how everyone reacted when Magnus was caught kissing a boy. I didn't want Aline and Helen to go through the same thing." He finished with a shrug.

"Wow, so I was your first kiss, too?" Clary said with a smile as Jace nodded and smiled back. "I'm really glad you were my first kiss, Jace."

"Me too, Princess, me too."