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The air was musty and the walls damp as Mikaia walked down the somewhat lighted halls of the Institute. She saw a lighted doorway as she walked by, glancing in only to see Alec fixing his seraph blade. She smiled slightly and kept on walking. The next room she passed, she wished she could have avoided, as she smelled Isabelle’s terrible cooking skills lingering in the hallway. She held her breath as she passed, giving Isabelle a small wave as she did. The sound of a heated argument echoed throughout the rest of the halls as she turned the corner to see Simon and Clary going at it. Clary was trying to persuade Simon—once again—that he needed to go home and that she’d be fine here at the Institute. Typical, stubborn mundane she told herself as she walked by, not acknowledging either one of them. It still surprised her, a little, as to why the Shadowhunters still let him in since all he ever did was cause trouble. Of course, it’s only because Jace has a too-soft spot for his younger sister. Mikaia rolled her eyes, shaking my head of the thoughts as she saw Church creep his fat blue body around the corner, scaring her half to death. He let out a long, low meow as he hopped onto the cushioned stool to the left of the large wooden doors. She ran her hand through his fur as she pushed the door open slightly.
She glanced around the room and found Jace in his usual spot, nowadays. Sitting on the red couch in front of the fire, with the single shard he kept—from the battle at Renwick’s not too long ago—in his hand. He stared intently at the too green grasses and crystal blue skies of Idris, their homeland. Mikaia walked over and sat down next to him, placing a comforting hand on his back and resting her head on his shoulder. She could feel every muscle in his back tense and then relax again before she began to run her hand back and forth, trying to comfort him. She watched as his rune-covered hand crept over to rest on her lap; she took her free hand and placed it on top of his.
“We’ll figure this out…somehow.” She whispered softly to him. He set the shard of the Portal—that Valentine had used to escape—aside and turned to her fully. His golden eyes bore into her, possibly seeing into her very soul as his rough, Marked hand caressed her cheek before making its way to her long, dark brown hair. He pressed his forehead against hers, his hot breath crashing with hers.
They stayed like that for what seemed like hours, but were only a matter of minutes before she broke away, turning her face in the opposite direction and becoming red and hot with embarrassment.
“Sorry.” She said suddenly. His weight suddenly disappeared from the other side of the couch, causing her spirits to dampen. Within a matter of seconds, however, she felt his hot, dry lips crash onto her, pulling away just as quick.
“Now we’re even.” He chuckled, smiling as he offered his hand. She returned the smile and took hold of his outstretched hand, letting him lead her up to Hodge’s greenhouse, just above the library. Leaving the shard of Idris—the worry of where Valentine could be—sitting on the couch with only the reflection of the flickering flames to keep it company.
He led her to the back, where he had a small picnic basket along with a red and white checkered blanket set up. She looked over at him with suspicion, “What’s all this for?” She asked, taking a seat on the ground across from him.
He gave her a quick smile, “I wanted to thank you for keeping this Institute sane.” He said, opening the basket and reaching in to pull out a container of food.
“I really don’t know what you mean.” She said, leaning back on her hands and tipping her head back to look up at the night sky beyond the glass windows of the green house. He shook his head as he popped the lid open on the container and took out the two medium sized pieces of bread. He pulled out another box containing cheese and turkey. He placed a slice of muenster cheese in between two thinly sliced pieces of turkey and handed it to her. He noticed that she hadn’t been paying any attention to him and he smiled, she could be so carefree sometimes it made him jealous.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” She asked, still looking at the sky.
“Yeah…you are.” He replied simply.
Her face turned towards his quickly, “What?” She asked, thinking she’d heard him wrong.
“I simply agreed with you. Here’s your sandwich, made by yours truly.” He smiled, offering her the food.
She took the sandwich, her fingers brushing his hand ever so lightly, “Thanks, didn’t know you could cook.” She teased as she took a small bite.
“I can cook almost as well as Isabelle, but I can make a mean turkey sandwich.” He laughed, leaning back on his elbows.
“So…what was this about me keeping the Institute sane?” She asked, swallowing her bite.
“Well, before you got here, this place was a mad house.” He said, making a sandwich for himself.
“Before I got here?”
“Yeah, hard to believe…isn’t it.”
She nodded, “Kind of.”
He laughed, “Like I was saying…ever since you got here, its gotten…well…at least I know that I’ve changed, a lot.”
“Well, I never used to smile the way I do around you…not even with Clary. You just…” he sighed, “I don’t even think that there are words to describe how wonderful you are.”
Mikaia could feel the blush rising into her cheeks, “I couldn’t have made that much of a difference.” She said, turning away to try and hide her embarrassment.
Jace crawled over to her and placed both his hands on her cheeks, forcing her to face him, “But you did…and for that, I’m eternally grateful.” He said as he leaned forward to place a kiss on her lips. She was surprise at how much emotion he had put into the kiss. There was happiness, sadness, joy, anger, passion…love. She dropped her half-eaten sandwich on the blanket and sat up a little straighter, pushing herself into the kiss. She let her fingers become entangled in his golden-auburn hair as his arm snaked around her waist, pulling her closer. His other hand began to caress her cheek as their lips moved in sync with one another. After a few short minutes, they pulled away from each other, but kept their foreheads together, each one trying to catch their breath.
“Marry me…” Jace said, between ragged breaths.
She pulled away, “What?” She asked.
“I know you heard me.” Jace smiled as he reached back into the picnic basket.
He kept his gaze on her as his hand rummaged through the contents of the basket until his fingers wrapped around a small, round, square box. He pulled his hand back out and showed it to her. Mikaia felt her breathing spike as she stared at the little black box he now held in his hand. He opened the box as if it were made of stardust; inside, beneath the cover of white silk and slipped between the little slit on the bottom, she saw the ring. It was simple, but elegant with the silver band wrapped around a small crystal blue diamond.
“Jace…I don’t…why?” She asked, not knowing what to say.
“I love you.”
She paused, collecting her thoughts and feelings. “But…now?”
“Why not?” He asked.
“Because we are in the middle of a war, Jace…be reasonable.”
“I am being reasonable, Mikaia.” He took hold of her hands, “I realize that we’re in the middle of a war, but that’s all the more reason for my proposal. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, whether the rest of my life means until tomorrow or sixty years from now.” He said, pulling her close.
She wrapped her arms around him, “Jace…It would be wrong.”
He held her at arm’s length, “Care to elaborate on that?” He asked.
“Clary still loves you and you love her. I see the way you two look at each other when you think no one is looking.” She said, looking away.
“Clary has Simon and I have you.” He told her.
She shook her head, “That’s what you want to think. You feel guilty about loving her and you’re forcing yourself to love me so you can try and stop loving Clary.”
“But I do love you, I really do.”
“Really...then why did you make me a picnic lunch and bring me up the greenhouse like you did for Clary’s birthday?” She asked.
“That’s what I thought. Jace…I can’t keep doing this…I love you, really truly love you. I tell myself everyday that you’ll stop loving her in that way and love me instead, but I just don’t see that happening.” She stood up and turned to the door. She glanced back at him and sighed, “Ask me again when you really mean it.” She said, walking down the stairs and back through the library.
She kept her walk brisk on her way back to her room, passing all her friends once more. The burning behind her eyes wouldn’t go away the faster she walked. She finally reached her room and shut the door behind her, leaning against it and sliding to the floor. She placed her head in her knees and just let the tears come.