Me: Thank you to Monkeyjen and Jling for taking the time to review! It means so much to me that you are interested in this story!
I hope you enjoy this chapter as well!
Disclaimer: I own nothing but what is clear that I do
Chapter 2: No Body, No Crime
''Ghosts?'' Magnus repeated. ''You sure he wasn't making a joke?''
''Nope,'' Alec responded. Magnus watched him slouch on the couch, seemingly exhausted after dealing with the Morgenstern all day. ''He says Jace saw a ghost-like creature, most likely a ghoul. Now, why a soul sucking, grave robbing creature might be making noises in the Institute graveyard and not actually stealing anything, I don't know. Our little demon expert had nothing to offer on that front.''
Magnus sat next to him on the couch. ''No guesses, nothing?''
''Well, as he doesn't know the full story, none from him,'' Alec said. ''But Clary, Jace and I- well, it might have something to do with the murder.''
The murder. Magnus hated calling it that, though it was accurate. He would like to at least refer to it as the murder of Name, but as even the victim's name was uncertain, they couldn't. ''Clary didn't tell Jonathan?''
''No. You think we should?''
''If we want his help, then yes.''
''Help with what?'' Alec gave a sigh of frustration. ''We have nothing to connect the incidents. The murder investigation was a dead end. There's nothing to tell.''
''In my experience, when two dead end incidents occur, they usually connect in some way.''
''In what way? What should we look for?''
''I don't know, Alec. But bringing in a fresh set of eyes- especially one who is familiar with things like 'ghouls'- might help.''
''Jonathan isn't a fresh set of eyes. He's a dangerous set of eyes that it likely to go half-cocked off and get mixed up in something we don't want.''
''I thought you trusted him a little bit?''
'' 'A little bit' being as far as I can spit,'' Alec replied haughtily. ''I have a bad feeling about all this, Magnus. I don't thinking getting the demon boy involved is a good idea.''
''Former demon boy.''
''Former demon boy. For crying out loud what? Is Clary here?''
''You know what they say about red heads,'' Magnus warned. ''What do you think Jonathan's going to do, anyway? He might be of help.''
''Telling him anything is always a risk,'' Alec explained. ''If do we find some definite cause of the murder, and Jonathan helps, explaining it to the Clave always gets convoluted.''
''Explain what to the Clave? This happened in New York; The Institute's jurisdiction.''
''The Clave is always involved, Magnus. And I don't know, I get the sense that…that Jonathan's hiding something.''
''I don't know. But he hasn't been around much and you can never tell…'' He trailed off.
Magnus shook his head. ''C'mon, let's go to bed. There's always tomorrow.''
''Yeah…'' Alec got up slowly. ''Unless Mr. Ghoul comes and visits again.''
''I think Little Max was watching a show called that,'' Magnus mused. They walked down the hall to their bedroom.
The rain made it impossible to see. Icy cold, and even the awning of the ally did little to shelter them. ''Hang on,'' Magnus said, adjusting the person in his arms. Damn his magic. What was going on? Why wasn't it working?
He stumbled, keeping his grip tight on the person whose arm was around his neck. Was the screeching still following them, or was it just continually ringing in his ears? The apartment was up ahead. He just had to get there, get Alec to call for help…
Someone knocked into him, and Magnus nearly let go of the person. Someone was speaking and shaking him, trying to pry the person out of his grip. They knew they hadn't finished the job. He couldn't hear all they said for the ringing in his ears, but he did catch the phrase 'don't make me kill you, too'. Nice murderer, not wanting to work overtime.
Somehow- luck or providence, Magnus wasn't sure which- he got to the apartment. The door bolted behind him and he made it up one flight before collapsing on the stairwell, the wounded person in his arms. There was a metallic taste in his mouth. Blood. And not his.
''Alec!'' He called. His voice was hoarse. He was exhausted. ''Alec!'' In his lap, the person groaned. ''You alright? Hey, stay with me.''
The person shuddered for breath. Were they a person, or were they a creature? Magnus couldn't tell, his magic too dampened. Even their features he couldn't make out for all the scars and blood on their face. Their eyes- bright, crystalized brown- were the only discernible detail.
They licked their lips, trying to speak. ''Tell him-'' they shuddered. ''Tell him….tell him I'm sorry. I- I- I failed.''
''What? Hey!'' Their face went unfocused. ''Hey!'' Magnus looked up the stairs. ''Alec!''
Magnus lay flat on his back, staring up at the ceiling in the dark. Next to him, Alec was sound asleep, hopefully blissfully unaware of the visions that haunted Magnus' dreams.
He was used to dreams and nightmares. He was a warlock who had lived for centuries. He had seen just about any and every horror the world had to offer. But for some reason, the death of that person was constantly in the forefront of his mind, their last words a plea he felt the urge to decipher.
The person who had died that night had been a woman with the name Emani Kadar written on the inside of her jacket. She had been a mundane woman who had died a very non-mundane death; murdered by a wild animal in an alley way of uptown New York City.
At first glance, the wild animal angle made them all think wayward wolf, or creative vampire. But that had been a dead end. Wayward ShadowWorld Creatures did not choose high profile surroundings for hiding. Besides, the amount of magic that surrounded the woman- enough to inhibit Magnus' own magic- made a werewolf or vampire attack unlikely.
A fairy spell was the next guess, but what type of spell? 'I curse you to death by mauling'? Not at all very fairy like. And fairy magic would have little effect on him, a warlock.
They had all even entertained the thought of Emani Kadar's death being some freak mundane accident. Escaped zoo animal? The magic a coincidence? Even if that weren't a stretch, no news reports and no missing person flyers for the woman also excluded that scenario.
That was the most nagging part for Magnus. No one had reported Emani Kadar missing. They could find no trace of where the woman had lived, who her friends were, nothing. Her life seemed to begin and end with being murdered in that ally.
Unless of course, Emani Kadar was not her real name.
That had been the name written on the blood soaked jacket she had been wearing. But a jacket is easily stolen, or bought second hand. Truth be told, neither he nor his family had any idea of the identity of the woman who had been mauled and then bled to death in the stair well. And because of this, they did not know who's connections it was to look for.
They had no idea as to who the woman was, who she was sorry to, or how she had failed. It was beginning to drive Magnus crazy.
Simon threw himself onto his and Izzy's bed, laying on his stomach. Izzy didn't even look up from her magazine. She was used to his tendency to just throw himself around. He swallowed hard, not wanting to fight. ''Hey, Izzy?''
''Hmm?'' She said, not looking up. Well, she didn't seem mad yet.
Simon took a breath. They had been having this on and off again conversation ever since Isabelle realized she was pregnant. They seemed to be walking this line that was common to Shadowhunter Born and Mundane Born couples; a clash of cultures. Simon had no objection to Shadowhunter's traditional and conservative ways of pregnancy and childbirth, save for one detail. If he was going to be a father, a protecter of his child, then he had to act like one. ''Izzy, listen. I get you don't want to know the gender, and that's fine, really. But do you think you could still have an ultrasound?''
Isabelle put her magazine down in surprise. ''What?''
''If we don't learn the gender, will you get the ultrasound?''
''You don't care about the gender?''
''Not really,'' Simon admitted, his voice slightly muffled from the corner of his mouth being in his pillow. ''I mean, boy or girl or whatever, they'll still like video games, right?''
Isabelle stared at him. ''I don't get it. If you don't care about knowing the gender, then why-''
''Mundanes don't just use ultrasounds to find out the gender of a baby,'' Simon finally admitted. He sat up properly on his knees. ''They are also used to make sure that everything…that everything's okay. That the baby is healthy.''
''Simon,'' Isabelle said gently, ''The baby is healthy.''
''I know. By your Shadowhunter, warlock methods, yes, the baby is healthy. But I was born a mundane, Isabelle, so forgive me for not believing wholeheartedly in magic and all that. I just-'' Simon sighed. ''I just really want you to have an ultrasound to make double, triple sure that everything is okay. That there's nothing wrong, or nothing that could go wrong. I mean, it's just extra knowledge, right? What's wrong with that?''
'What are you so afraid of going wrong?''
Simon gaped at her. ''What am I afraid of going wrong? Izzy, watch a news network for crying out loud! When a woman is pregnant, anything can go wrong! Something could happen to the baby! Happen to you! I just- I just want to know-''
''Knowing something is wrong doesn't mean you can fix it,'' Isabelle told him.
''But not all the time. It's a gamble either way.''
Simon sighed in frustration. ''Yeah, I guess it is.''
Isabelle looked at him. She laid her head back against the headboard. ''You really want me to do this?''
He hesitated. ''Please?''
She was quiet for a moment. Simon was afraid she was angry. She groaned. ''Fine.''
He brightened. ''Really?''
''But I gotta say, you mundanes and your science inventions seem to give you more cause to worry than not.''
''You're entitled to your opinion.'' He kissed her cheek.
''We are not finding out the gender,'' She reminded him.
''Of course not.''
''Wait, won't the doctor know?''
''Yeah. But I'll tell him-''
Simon nodded. ''I'll tell her not to say anything to us, make her shred the papers, and will even use a rune to make her forget, if you want.''
''Eh.'' Isabelle waved the matter aside. ''Doctors see how many patients a day. Doubt she'd remember one woman's unborn child's gender from another.''
Simon smiled and kissed her again. ''Thank you.''
''Worrisome man,'' Isabelle grumbled. ''I do all this work of growing a human and you drag me to appointments?''
''I didn't make the system.''
''Yeah…'' She flapped her magazine dramatically and went back to reading.
It was early morning when Magnus found himself in Jonathan Christopher's living room, watching as the former demon perused the case file on Emani Kadar with questionable speed. He arched an eyebrow at Magnus. ''So, this is the 'murder' everyone's been whispering about?''
''Why do you say it like that?''
''Where's the means, motive, and opportunity?'' Jonathan quipped, tossing the papers down on the counter. ''You gotta have a compelling case to be fair, or so I've heard.''
''When you're accusing someone,'' Magnus refuted.
''Ah, but it works both way,'' Jonathan insisted. ''You can't call this a murder unless you know this person was at least a target for someone.''
''I was attacked as I was helping her. You need more proof?''
''You confess to feeling drugged. You can't be trusted.''
''As far as we can tell, this woman doesn't exist. We know nothing about her. How exactly do you want us to find out if she was pissing someone off?''
''You do know a lot about her, my unobserving warlock.'' Jonathan rapped his knuckles on the file. ''You know she was dying, you know she was attacked. The question is, what attacked her?''
''Yes, that is the question. Very good. You understand the concept of murder.''
''Practiced it for years.'' Magnus glared as Jonathan went on, ''Something attacked her. Now, was it the killer or the murder weapon?''
''You make no sense.'' Magnus was wondering if he should regret coming here. ''Are you going to help?''
Jonathan gave a charming, chilling smile. ''How can I say no? You tell Alec I will give this my full attention. And that I am so honored he chose to trust me with this -sparse- yet important information.'' He cocked his head to the side. ''Alec does know you're here, right?''
''No, and you know that. So find something out so he doesn't get annoyed you know.''
''I would think he'd get annoyed with you, going behind his back. That's no way to behave in a marriage, Magnus. Trust is everything.''
''Yes, it is. So be flattered I trusted you.'' Magnus turned to the door, but paused as Jonathan spoke again,
''Here's something I don't understand; why the secrecy? Mundane woman gets murdered in an alley. Isn't that the plot line to all their TV shows?''
Magnus turned to him slowly. ''No one is looking for her,'' he reminded him. ''There was magic on the body.''
Jonathan shrugged. ''So?''
''Jonathan, when I said she doesn't exist, I wasn't being metaphorical. Emani Kadar doesn't exist. So your question about was she murdered? Until we can find someone who knew the damn woman, the answer is no.''
''There's a body,'' Jonathan reminded him. Magnus hesitated, so much so even Jonathan noticed. ''Wait…''
''There was a body,'' Magnus finally corrected. ''But not anymore. It- it vanished.''
And expression of almost being impressed passed across Jonathan's face. '' 'No body, no crime','' he chanted.
''I just don't get why it's important,'' Isabelle complained. ''It's just unnecessary.''
''Simon's worried,'' Clary assured her. ''It's sweet.''
''It's annoying,'' Isabelle insisted. She tossed the shirt she was holding onto the bed. ''As annoying as the fact none of these clothes fit!''
Clary watched as Isabelle kicked the clothes on the floor. They were in her and Simon's room, and Isabelle was tearing apart her closet for the umpteenth time since becoming pregnant. Many of her previously tight fitting clothes no longer fit.
Clary caught a skirt. ''Oh, now you could hold onto this,'' she implored her friend. ''You won't be pregnant forever.''
''It's a relief to hear someone else say it,'' Isabelle huffed. ''It's been too long already.''
''You got a long way to go.''
''Don't remind me.'' Isabelle paused, looking down at her hands on her stomach. ''I'm big. I'm big, really big, and I don't like it.''
''You've barely started showing!''
''My clothes don't fit!'' She kicked the pile on the floor again. ''That's big enough!''
''Okay, you need to stop,'' Clary insisted. ''We can go out, buy more maternity clothes, and boxes so you can put this stuff away until you once again have the waist of a ballerina.''
''Fine.'' Isabelle sighed at her reflection in the closet mirror. '' Hey, did you-'' she faltered.
Clary felt her heart skip. ''What?''
Isabelle shook herself. ''Nothing, I was just…complaining, again. I seem to be an expert all of a sudden.''
''Well, perks of creating life.''
''Yeah.'' There was an awkwardness in the air that hadn't been there previously. ''You serious about going out?''
''If you want to.''
''Just eat, how about. There's nothing in the kitchen.''
''Sure. Let me just get Moriah.''
''Okay, meet you downstairs.''
Clary nodded and left the room.
She went down the hallway and stopped, out of sight of Isabelle's room. She felt this horrible sinking, sad sensation sweep over her. She knew what Isabelle had been about to say. She was going to ask about Clary's pregnancy, remembering just in time that her pregnancy experience had been much different.
Ever since Simon and Isabelle told them they were expecting, Clary had been fighting these feelings of sadness. Every time they were congratulated, every time Maryse asked how Isabelle was doing, every time Simon and Isabelle discussed and fought about the nursery, Clary remembered how much she missed.
There had been no congratulations with Moriah. Moriah had not gotten a nursery. No one had worried for her wellbeing when she was a baby, except Jace, who had been starving to death in the other room. The joy and excitement everyone had for Isabelle's and Simon's child had not been extended to Moriah, all because of those fairies.
Clary shook herself. Stop being selfish, she chided. This was not about her. This was about Simon and Isabelle. About their child. She couldn't wait to meet this child and hold them and love them.
I wish someone had loved my baby.
Clary dug her nails into her palm until it hurt. Then she went to get Moriah.
Somehow Isabelle and Clary leaving to get food had turned into a family event, and now Clary, Jace, Simon, Isabelle, Max, Alec, and Magnus were now situated in the park up the street from Taki's, watching the three children alternate between eating and running to jump off and hang from things.
''Is she going to choke?'' Alec asked in worry as Moriah hung upside drown from a tree not far from their table, munching on a burger.
''Don't choke, honey, okay?'' Jace said disinterestedly, handing her a sleeve of fries. Moriah nodded assent.
''I try to be nice,'' Alec muttered.
''Little Max, don't feed the squirrels,'' Magnus called after his son. ''Rafe, no! Don't help him…''
''I got it,'' Max said with a mouthful of fries. He took his food and went to his nephews.
''Outside dining is full of adventure,'' Simon noted. He turned to Clary. ''We always ate in the sandbox.''
''I always thought sand was as good as a spice as anything,'' Clary remembered fondly.
Isabelle made a face. She dropped her sandwich. ''Yuck. Kay, I'm done.''
The table shaking made them all jump. Jonathan stood in front of them, an empty, yet triumphant smirk on his face. ''Hello, idiots,'' he greeted, his hand still on the table from where he had slammed it down. ''How is the day in Stupidity Land?''
''Jonathan, we talked about how to greet people,'' Clary told him.
''Where the hell did you come from?'' Jace wanted to know.
Jonathan ignored both the statement and the question. ''While you all have sat on your asses, complaining about all the things you don't and can't know, I have done the work.''
''What work?'' Alec asked.
''Now granted it wasn't that hard for me, being of superior intellect than you simpletons, but nevertheless when I hit a wall, I didn't just give up. No, I pushed through, I preserved. A virtue not many possess, I admit.''
''Make him shut up,'' Isabelle said to Clary, ''Or I will.''
''Jonathan, what are you talking about?'' Clary asked.
Jonathan lifted his hand and pushed a file towards them. ''I got information on your 'mysterious' murder. Turns out, not as mysterious as you thought.''
Jace eagerly grabbed the file. ''Who told you about the murder?'' Alec demanded.
''Your husband,'' Jonathan answered. He made himself comfortable on the bench next to Isabelle, helping himself to her unfinished sandwich. ''Yum, sand.''
Isabelle moved away from him.
''Magnus!'' Alec scolded. ''I thought we agreed-''
''We didn't agree on anything,'' Magnus reminded him. ''I'm sorry, but-''
''Oh, don't be sorry,'' Jonathan said. ''You'll be thanking me in a minute.''
''Whoa,'' Said Jace, looking at the file. ''Seriously?''
''Right on time,'' Jonathan said proudly.
''What?'' Clary asked. Jace handed her the file.
''That's what killed her?''
''Yep,'' Jonathan confirmed.
''Okay, this is not the place to be talking about this, right?'' Simon reminded them. ''I mean, people are around.''
''Oh, yeah,'' Jonathan agreed. ''We wouldn't want anyone to know ABOUT THE MURDER!''
''Jonathan!'' Clary yelled.
Jonathan made a mockery motion of listening to their surroundings. Other than a few parents a few feet away, glaring at the sudden noise of the rowdy young adults, no one paid any attention to them. ''This is New York,'' Jonathan reminded them. ''No need to be cautious.''
''A little need,'' Alec scolded. He got up from the bench. ''Let's head back to the Institute.''
''You really want to wait to find out how what's been lurking around the Institute and that woman's death are connect?''
''You have proof they're connected?'' Isabelle asked.
''I have a plausible theory.''
''Not as exciting.''
Jonathan shrugged. ''Whatever.'' He turned a ring on his finger, and within the blink of an eye he was gone.
Clary felt the frustration of her friends. ''I'm sorry,'' Jace whispered to her. ''Was it just me, or was he high?''
Clary shrugged apologetically. They all got to work cleaning up from their meal and gathering the kids.
''Why would they take their kids home first?'' Jonathan asked. ''Do they leave them alone, too? I thought you people frown on that?''
''Maia's sitting with them,'' Clary explained. ''Little Max will be in bed anyway and Rafe will just hang out and watch something. It gives her a break from dealing with her pack duties. Now will you please stop that!''
They were in the library, and Jonathan was twirling two letter openers in his hands, folding them over between his fingers. One false move, and something would get cut, if not a whole finger. He obeyed, and Clary swiped the letter openers away. ''What is wrong with you tonight?''
''Nothing,'' Jonathan responded. ''I find letter openers stupid. Use your fingers, extravagant pricks. And they are always so ornamental. I knife shouldn't be that pretty and used to open up a fucking phone bill.''
Clary stared at her brother. ''What the hell,'' she emphasized, ''is wrong with you?''
''Why do you keep asking me that, sister love?''
''Because you are insane,'' she pointed out. ''And did you just refer to something as pretty?''
''A knife. I like knives.''
''Jace suspects you're high and I'm beginning to think he may be right.''
''Don't do drugs, Clary. Stay in school.'' Clary continued to stare in disbelief at her brother as the library door opened and everyone else walked in. Jonathan turned to look at them. ''Ah, here's the Scooby gang.''
''Let's hurry up,'' Isabelle said. ''Mom and Dad had a meeting with Lily, and they'll be back soon.''
''Hiding what's going on from between yourselves?'' Jonathan tisked in disapproval. ''Runs in the family, hey Alec?''
Alec's glare was like ice. ''You're really pissing me off today, Jonathan.''
''Only today? Goddamn it, just when I thought I understood our relationship.''
''What is going on?'' Simon asked.
''He found something out about the murder,'' Magnus reminded him. ''And you're sure it connects to what Jace thought he saw?''
Jace glared in offense while Jonathan grinned. ''Yep.'' He held up the file. ''Are you ready to be enlightened?''
''Was a millennia ago when you first started this conversation,'' Isabelle groaned.
Jonathan kept grinning. ''I know what killed the victim.''
''You know who killed her?'' Clary asked.
''What killed her, what. The murder weapon, as it were.''
''The thing you've been hearing outside the Institute? I thought it was a ghost. But it's more than that. It's connected to the thing that killed that woman, the same thing. And that thing was a hyena.'' They all stared at him. ''A hyena,'' he repeated. ''Do you not understand the significance of this?''
They all glanced at each other. ''Do we look like we do?'' Magnus asked.
''Hyena,'' Jonathan emphasized. ''Emani Kadar is an Arabic name, and she was killed by a hyena. How do you not understand?''
''Jace, you want explain?'' Clary asked.
''No way. I don't want to be his interpreter,'' Jace refused.
''You read the file and said 'whoa!' .''
''Yeah, cause a hyena in uptown New York is pretty fucking wild.''
''Idiots,'' Jonathan declared again. ''My god, what is it like in your pathetic little empty heads?''
''Will you just explain?'' Alec demanded.
''How sad is it that I have to? You've never read Arabian Nights? Hyena, ghosts-''
''Oh.'' Everyone stared at Magnus as he got the picture. ''Ghosts-''
''Ghouls!'' Jace caught on.
''Time out!'' Isabelle added. ''What the hell are you all-''
''In Arabic mythology, female ghosts can be referred to as ghouls,'' Jace explained. ''Emani Kadar is an Arabic name.''
''In the myths, there are a lot of stories about one particular ghoul, called Mother Ghoul. She would lure victims to their deaths, killing them in the form of a hyena.''
Jonathan began clapping slowly. ''And the dunces get there in the end!''
''So wait,'' Alec said, ''the thing that's been around the Institute you thought was a ghost, and because you think this woman was killed by a hyena, you feel certain of your assertion of ghoul?''
''You felt the need to state it again. Why?''
''Because you came to this decision solely because the name on the jacket is Arabic in origin.''
''Yes. Names are everything, Lightwood.''
''Translated, Emani from Arabic means 'trustworthy'.''
Magnus raised an eyebrow. ''Really?''
''Interesting, right?'' Jonathan commented. ''With her dying breath, Trustworthy apologizes for failing? Guess she wasn't very trustworthy.''
Isabelle narrowed her eyes. ''That has to be coincidence.''
''Undoubtably. And a funny one, don't you think?''
''Jonathan, how did you find out about the hyena?'' Clary demanded.
''You don't trust my work?''
''I don't know; you haven't told me what the work was yet.''
''I read the file, you described the wounds, I went to where the attack happened, an then I went to the zoo and found a lovely but slightly crazy zoologist enthusiast who taught me more about land animals than I cared to know- which reminds me, you can never take your children to that zoo, my name is on a black list or something- and thus the conclusion of hyena was come to.'' He stopped for a moment. ''Come at. No, to. Come to. 'The conclusion was come to.' ''
Simon looked thoughtful. ''How do you know the thing in the graveyard was a ghoul and not just a garden variety ghost?''
''Because ghoul fits better. Any idiot could see that.''
Clary held up a hand. ''If he's right,'' she said to everyone, ''then we at least have a lead, which is a first for this situation.''
''That's a big 'if','' Alec cut in. ''It's all conjecture!''
''What lead?'' Isabelle asked.
''A research lead.'' Jace turned from where he had been by the bookshelves. He tossed a thick volume to his sister. ''All about Ghouls.''
''-Their Care And Keeping And Where To Find Them?'' Simon and Clary asked in unison. Everyone gave them a peculiar look.
''This is all you found out?'' Magnus asked Jonathan.
'' 'All I found out'?'' Jonathan repeated. ''Where is the thanks? The gratitude? The realization that keeping me out of the loop is only hurting you?''
''You found out nothing about Emani Kadar herself?''
''Nope,'' he said cheerfully. ''You can deal with that. I'm done.''
''So much for wanting to be in the loop,'' Jace muttered.
''Can't do everything for you.'' He kissed Clary on the cheek. ''Bye.''
''Bye, and thanks.'' Jonathan exited the library, presumably using his ring to teleport back to his house. Clary frowned at the books Jace was holding. ''Only that many?''
''We're not big on ghouls here,'' Jace explained. Clary wondered if that was a good sign or a bad one. On the one hand, not a lot to learn. On the other, it could mean they were woefully unprepared.
''Were you here all night?''
With his eyes still closed, Jonathan managed a sort of nod. God, his neck hurt. And the hardness of the kitchen cabinets behind him hardly helped. ''More or less.''
''Why?'' Max asked.
''It was close.'' Massaging his neck, he finally managed to open his eyes. He was about to scold Max for turning on the lights, when he realized the accursed brightness was due to the sunlight, and the Lightwood probably couldn't do anything to counter that. ''Why are you here?''
''I wanted to see how you were,'' Max explained. He was studying Jonathan with intensity and- Jonathan assumed- a little revulsion. ''I guess that potion I got didn't help, huh?''
''Define 'help'.'' Reaching for the counter, Jonathan managed to pull himself up. He stumbled, and Max made to help him, but Jonathan caught himself, giving Max a withering glare. ''I got it.''
''You look like death.''
''Oh, if I had a nickel…''
''What do you mean 'define help'? Does that mean it worked?''
Jonathan leaned against the counter. Waves of nausea kept sweeping over him. His face felt flushed. Stupid, human, flesh. ''Well, I could move.''
''Yeah,'' Max sounded doubtful. ''I think Clary noticed that.''
''I know.'' Jonathan brushed hair out of his face. ''Why weren't you in the library?''
''Didn't think I was needed. Had an errand.'' He outstretched a bag he had been carrying. ''You wanted this.''
Jonathan took it warily. ''No one knew you were gone?''
''I'm the king of stealth.''
''No curiosity as to the happenings in the library?''
''Nothing you can't tell me.''
''What if I don't?''
''Then you lose an errand boy.''
Jonathan scoffed. ''That whole murder business,'' he explained, ''I figured out what killed that woman.''
''Neat.'' Max perched himself on the counter top. ''So what next?''
''Ask your siblings.''
''I meant for you. If this doesn't work-''
Jonathan cut him off. ''It will.''
''What, suddenly you're a hopeful person now?''
''Suddenly you aren't?''
Max sighed. ''You have to do something.''
''I am,'' Jonathan responded quickly, shaking the bag he had been handed at Max. Max stopped talking, the effect Jonathan had been wanting. He knew this wasn't the something Max wanted him to do, but what Max wanted him to do was impossible. He couldn't do that. Max might even agree with him if he knew the full implications of his situation.
''I'm leaving,'' Max announced. He hopped off the counter. ''You gonna help further with this murder thing?''
''I'll leave you in suspense,'' Jonathan replied.
''Fine. See ya.''
Max departed, and now that he was alone, Jonathan allowed the pain he was feeling to show on his face. He leaned over the counter, waiting for it to pass.
Let's hope they don't need my help further with this murder thing, he thought bleakly.
Me: Looking back, I'm not even sure how I came to fall down the rabbit hole of research of ghouls and things, but I now I am seriously fighting the urge to order the copies of Arabian Nights in my ThriftBooks cart (one original, and one a modern adaptation!). It's been fun over here.
If you have time, please leave a review and tell me what you think!