Pyrrhic Victory

Author's Note: Just a snippet set in my circle!verse.

***

They hit Chernobyl hard, finding the still-sleeping Jocelyn Fairchild, freeing the imprisoned Downworlders and capturing many Circle members, including Maryse and Robert Lightwood.

However, in the end Jace was left looking on helplessly while Valentine got away, without any of the answers he'd hoped for. Instead the man he'd called father had laughed in his face, taunting, "I always knew you weren't good enough! Your defection only proved it. But if you come with me now, I will tell you all you want to know. Or you can kill me and prove yourself the warrior I raised you to be."

All his life Jace had been taught that love was weakness, and a part of him wondered whether it was his relationship with Alec, with Izzy, that made it impossible for him to kill Valentine Morgenstern when it came down to it. So he stood there, feeling cold and small, until two strong arms wrapped around him from behind. You're not weak, my parabatai. Valentine has been trying to make you into a cold-blooded killer all your life, and the fact that you're not makes you the strongest person I know.

With a sob, Jace turned and collapsed against Alec, his entire body shaking. Hiding his face in the crook of Alec's neck, Jace clung to him fiercely, letting him hold him up, which Alec did easily. If it hadn't been for you, and for Izzy, I think he would have succeeded. You're what kept me... human.

Alec's love was like a warm blanket surrounding him, and Jace lifted his face, his mouth blindly seeking Alec's, needing to be as close as possible. They kissed slowly, affirmingly, lips and tongues sliding against each other until Izzy's voice interrupted them. She managed to somehow sound both apologetic and impatient as she told them, "They've portaled Jocelyn back to the Institute, but there's talk of taking our parents and the other Circle members to the City of Bones. We should go, make sure the Clave keep their word."

She turned to leave, but Jace felt strangely reluctant to leave the place that had been their home for so long. Alec's fingers tightened around his, reminding him where his true home was. Jace took a deep breath and followed his parabatai without another backwards glance.

***

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