She's running through the streets, barefooted, clothes shredded. Behind her, there's the sound of people following her—no not people, wolves. She's running, keeps on running, she's running the lungs out of her body. She's chasing.
She can taste him on her tongue, he's running right in front of her, almost close enough to touch. Almost. Every time she rounds a corner, she can see him turning around the next block. An arm, a shoulder, a leg, a foot. A glimpse of dirty blond hair. She's so close. Almost close enough to kill. But the ones behind her are closer.
She can feel their breaths on her neck, can hear their howls on the wind. They're howling for death, for the hunt, for justice, for the joy of chasing down prey. They're howling for her.
She needs to catch him, or they'll catch her.
She needs to kill him.
She rounds another corner, runs a little faster when she sees the shine of his seraph blade. She sprints for it, can almost grab his T-shirt, but he disappears into an alley and when she follows she trips over something lying on the floor. She stumbles for another couple of steps, braces herself against the dirty wall. That's when she sees it. The alley turned into the Institute hall, and all across the floor are the bodies of the fallen Downworlders. She turns one of them around, and Gretel's dead eyes stare back at her.
Behind her the Pack howls. In front of her Jace runs away, disappears into the darkness. She's alone, surrounded by dead bodies. "You should have killed him," the voice of Taito says, his burned face almost unrecognizable while he raises. The others get up too, obviously dead but still making their way towards her.
She falls down on her knees, cradling Gretel's head in her arms.
The wolves descend. The dark room closes down on her. The wolves are here.
Maia wakes up gasping for breath. For a moment, she's all alone in the darkness and she panics. She's left behind again. Then she recognizes the nightlight next to her bed. She's in her room, safe and warm, alone. She starts sobbing, her cheeks already wet with tears.
They're all dead, her pack members, the other Downworlders, everybody. She has no one left. They're all dead, and Maia could have saved them.
She cries until she has no tears left in her, and then gets out of bed. Might as well get ready for work. Get some coffee in her. She hasn't had a full night's sleep ever since the Massacre.
She's three hours into her shift at the Hunters' Moon when Luke arrives. No trace of his injury; he always recovers nicely. No sign on his face of emotions regarding his Parabatai troubling him. He looks the same as when she first met him, not marked by his loss at all.
She used to like Luke, thought he understood her, that he would be there for her. But now she realizes he's not truly one of them. He might be a werewolf, but once a Shadowhunter, always a Shadowhunter.
"Coffee, please," Luke orders with a smile. It grates on her skin, like nails on a chalkboard. She doesn't return it, keeps washing the glasses instead. They both know that Luke isn't here for the coffee. He's here to tell her how to feel. He's here to tell her how to mourn. He's here to tell her not to be angry.
She thought he understood she's always angry.
After finishing her glasses, she makes him his coffee, refrains from spitting in it because he'd know, and moves on to cleaning the counter. It's early in the day yet, not that many customers. Or rather, not that many customers left.
Luke slowly sips his coffee, looking at her work. Probably trying to think of the perfect thing to say to pacify her. She grits her teeth again, fights down the urge to snarl at him. Can't provoke the Alpha.
"Just say what you came here to say, Luke," Maia says, voice clipped. She has no patience for this.
Luke sighs. "There's a Pack gathering tonight. You should come."
Maia bristles, "Is that an order?" All the people she was close with are dead, so she doesn't see the point in mourning together. She doesn't tell Luke that, though. He'd probably try to push some kind of counseling on her. "I have the late shift, need to close up," she says instead.
Luke sighs again. "I understand, kiddo." She wants to slap him for that, slaps the counter with her rag instead. It's not helping.
He doesn't say anything else while he drinks his coffee. Once he's finished with his drink, he puts his hand on her wrist, stopping her in her cleaning. "I know you don't want to hear it right now," Luke starts, "but it's good you didn't kill Clary. You'd be down in the Silent City for murder, all for nothing. You're not a murderer, Maia. That's something to be grateful for, at least."
Maia wants to rip his face off. Yell at him. Slam his face onto the counter. She feels the rag tearing between her fingers, focuses on dropping it in the sink.
She's not grateful she hasn’t killed Clary. The world would probably still have been better off. Clary is obnoxious and selfish and self-important. Bad traits for a Shadowhunter to have. It wouldn't have been a big loss, even if it hadn't fixed anything. Clary hadn't fixed anything either. She wouldn’t feel bad about killing her. She doesn’t feel bad about not killing her. She feels nothing. Nothing but all-consuming rage.
Except maybe, regret for not killing Jace.
She's sorry for that. She's sorry she didn't kill Jace. She wanted to kill him, he wanted to die. She should never have let him go. She had the chance, she hunted him down, she had his blood in her nose, had the taste of it on her tongue.
She should have killed him. She would gladly have spent the rest of her days in the Silent City if it meant all the others would have lived.
So no, she's not fucking grateful. She doesn't think she can ever feel gratefulness, or happiness or any kind of emotion anymore. There's nothing left but anger.
"Sure," she says. "I guess."
Luke nods and pats her arm like he understands what she's really trying to say. Please.
When he leaves, she finally unclenches her hand from the underside of the bar. She left claw marks in the wood, she'll have to ask a Seelie to take care of that at some point. For now, she downs half a bottle of Scotch.
She's counting the register when he enters the bar. It's late, the last clients have just left, a couple of drunk mundanes who didn't know about the Massacre, and had been obnoxiously celebrating the entire evening. She's been on the edge all day, aggression simmering under her skin. But she kept her control.
Her control is slipping rapidly at the sight of him, though. Nobody knows he's here, she could kill him and nobody would know. She grabs the edge of the bar to stop herself.
“Come to kill me too?” Maia asks.
Jace shakes his head, hands in his pockets. He hesitates by a stool, decides not to sit down after all. His hesitation annoys her. Otherwise, he pretty much looks like the first time she saw him, a little worse for wear, lost, and mostly dead in the eyes. Someone should finish the job.
"You're not welcome here," she says through her teeth. She's not snarling. Her nails make new grooves in the wood of the bar.
Jace shrugs in a semblance of his usual cockiness. "I'm not welcome anywhere." He gives her a smirk. Maia wants to grab his stupid hair and smash his face into the bar. And keep smashing it. There's no one else here, there'd be no witnesses. She could go for it. "I came to apologize," he adds, stopping the running mantra in her head of 'kill, kill, kill'.
"Excuse me?" Maia says.
Jace smiles. "Those are my words."
Maia can't believe he's making jokes about this. "You killed all those people, and you think a simple apology will do?"
He hesitates again. "It's a start? I mean, it was an accident, Valentine lied, we all thought Clary was the one who could activate the sword. I was trying to rescue you." He spreads his arms a little while he talks. Doesn't make him look any less guilty.
Maia snorts. She leans forward over the bar, so she's right in his face. She needs him to understand her. "Do you know what happens when a werewolf has an accident? Or when a Vampire accidentally drains someone? They get sent to the Silent City. If you guys don't kill them first while apprehending them. How many warlock kids died, tortured by your Silent Brothers, when their only crime was growing into their magic and not knowing how to deal with it? How many Vampires were forced into the sun? How many Werewolves were starved to death?"
Jace shakes his head, wide-eyed.
"Fuck your accident, Jace, and fuck you."
Jace takes a step back at the vehemence in her voice, then moves forward again, arms spread. "What do you want me to do?"
"You? I don't want you to do anything ever again. You've done enough."
Jace nods slowly. "What do you want to do then?" he asks.
"I want to kill you," Maia says, and she means it.
"I would let you," Jace says. He sounds sincere about it. Like that would absolve him of all his deeds, clean all the blood of his hands.
Maia sees red. "Then let me. You, me, the alley behind the bar. No witnesses. No Luke or Clary to save your ass."
Jace snorts. "I don't need anyone to save me." His heart isn't in it.
To Maia, it looks like Jace has needed saving for a really long time now, but that's not her problem. She waves at the door, grabs her keys to lock the place down and follows him outside.
He doesn't smell like fear, more like anticipation. She can relate to that. The need for violence has been thrumming under her skin for hours, only intensified when he walked in. She's burning with it.
"Bring it," Jace says, but it falls flat, his bravado not fooling her.
"No swords," Maia orders. She could shift and kill him quickly, but she wants to enjoy this. Wants to relish in his blood.
She doesn't wait for him to agree, just moves for him, fists balled to punch him. She puts all her force behind it too. The feeling of his face reeling back under her fist is the most satisfying thing she ever felt. She wants more.
Jace stumbles back but recovers quickly enough to dodge her next punch. He doesn’t reach for his sword. He grabs her upper arm, fingers tightened in her shirt, pushes her off him. They struggle, but she can't get a good grip, and can't get loose either. He slams her back first into the wall. The pain travels from her shoulders, down her back to her tailbone. It’s delicious, even dazes her for a second. It makes her blood sing. This is what she’s wanted for days.
She tries to knee him in the balls, pushes herself of off the wall when he shifts his weight. She screams as she slams Jace into the opposite wall. He groans. That sound travels down her back as well.
She has her forearm on his throat, punches him in the stomach with the other. He grunts, but otherwise it's fairly useless, his abs rock hard. He gets a hand free and pulls her off him by her shirt, tearing it. He’s smiling what’s probably the first genuine smile she’s ever seen on his face, blood in his mouth from a split lip.
"You've got moves," he says between heavy breaths. "But I've got more, little wolf."
Maia snarls and rushes forward. Jace sidesteps her, grabs her arm, and uses her momentum to smack her against the wall again. Her teeth clack, she feels the impact in her toes. He's pressing into her, trying to contain her, his breath hot in her neck. He’s closing her in, but she’s not going to fucking panic. She elbows him in the stomach and the chin, tries to kick against his shins. He keeps pressing closer. Her heart is hammering so hard she can hear it. It beats to the rhythm of Jace's breath.
"Fuck!" she screams, face pressed into the wall. Her hand ends up in his hair, and she grabs it, pulls his head beside her, smashes it against the wall and headbutts him with the back of her head. He staggers back a bit, but he's still holding her arm. So she pushes herself of off the wall again, using her weight to push him against the opposite one. She manages to turn around, tries to kick him in the knee, cripple him, but he's too quick so she only gets him in the thigh.
His arms close around her again. He's stronger than her and better trained, but he's mostly trying to contain her, he's not really out to hurt her. She doesn't want that, wants him to rage against her as much as she wants to rage against him. Wants to taste the violence between them.
So while he's holding her close with arms and legs, catching his breath, she goes for his throat, bites down on the tendon in his neck.
Her human teeth aren't as sharp as her wolf ones, but they do the trick. Jace yells and pushes her of him. "Fuck you!!" Jace wipes his neck, where there's a little smear of blood running down.
Maia licks her lips. She tastes iron and sweat. It's delicious. "Oh, shut up and fight me," she yells back.
Jace curses under his breath, but the smile is gone from his face. She blocks his next punch, has to step back because of the force he hits her with. She blocks another one, but he backhands her with his other hand, so hard she stumbles back. She blinks, there are black spots dancing in her eyes. She doesn't care, she doesn't need to see him to fight him.
She's growling as he comes near again, claws at his face, aiming for his eyes. He slaps her hand away, but she grabs a hold of his hair again and pulls his head down, straight onto her knee. It hurts like crazy, but the pain only fuels her rage. She keeps his head down, kicks her knee into his stomach next. He grunts this time. When she brings down her leg, he catches it and pulls it towards him so she loses her balance. She stumbles backward, pulls him with her and ends on her back on the street, Jace falling on top of her.
They're both gasping for breath, a little dazed by their fall. But Maia is used to pain, breaking bones and bleeding skin part of her daily life. She doesn't think Jace has any runes activated either. So she pulls him beside her by his hair and manages to roll on top of him. She pulls him up by his t-shirt and slams him back on the street.
Jace isn't really fighting back anymore, allows Maia to slam him against the street repeatedly. The fourth time, his t-shirt tears, so she falls back a bit, ends up sitting on his crotch.
His dick is rock hard.
Maia freezes. Their eyes lock and she can't look away. The sound of their harsh breaths is the only thing heard in the quiet alley, their heaving chests the only things moving. His body is hot under her fingers, the night air cool on her skin.
"Fuck me," Jace gasps. Maia slaps him in the face.
They both groan. She's still burning with rage, her skin is on fire, her stomach is churning and she wants. Wants to hurt him, wants to make him bleed, wants to forget about all the dead, she wants, she wants, she wants.
She's straddling him, hands on his heaving chest, knees by his sides. He could throw her off if he really wanted to, but he's hard between her legs and he just begged her to fuck him. She doesn't think he'll throw her off.
"Fine," she grits out, tightening her fingers in his chest. His shirt is torn, but it's not enough, she needs more skin. She needs to feel him vulnerable and breakable below her, needs him to be at her mercy. She wants that.
He's still looking at her, gasping for breath, desperation in his eyes. She likes him better when he's angry. So she slaps him again and then tears his shirt so she can get to his skin. He's pale, doesn't have much hair, but she doesn't care about all that. She ducks down and bites above his nipple until she tastes his blood on her tongue again.
Under her, Jace is trembling, hands scrambling on the hard cement. She bites him again, scratches his side with her nails until his skin is all marked up. She makes her way to his neck, bites down there as well, until she can feel his heart beating in the artery under her mouth. She could so easily kill him like this. She's wet with the rush of it.
"Fuck me," Jace begs again, his voice a whisper in between their ragged breaths. Maia curses, before loosening her pants, balancing herself on his chest, fingers spread out in the blood welling up from where she bit him.
He tries to touch her stomach, but she snarls at him, so he opens his jeans instead. Everything about him is frantic, his movements jerking and uncontrolled. When he finally undoes his pants and shoves them down, the smell of his arousal mixes with that of his blood. It's a heady scent; she wants to roll around in.
Her leggings are only halfway down her thighs, but she's impatient so she grinds down like that. She's wet where she slides over him, but when Jace arches up she slaps him in the face again. His body is hers, he's only alive because she lets him, so his pleasure should be at her leisure as well.
She pushes his head to the side with two fingers, so she can bite at his neck again. Jace groans and his dick twitches. She twists his nipple, moves her other hand down to his dick, where she lets him feel her nails.
"I'm going to fuck you. Touch me and die." She doesn't ask if he understands. They've always understood one another. She still feels him nod under her fingers.
She bears down on him in a quick move, because suddenly she wants too much to wait any longer.
Below her, Jace is wriggling, hands going up as if to touch her, then scrambling back to the gritty cement. She likes him like this, unable to relax, completely at her mercy. Her need is as frantic as his now, so she moves up and down his cock at a steady pace. She doesn't feel the burn in her thighs or the pain of the cold cement on her knees. The only thing she feels is fire and rage and the need to consume him. She keeps her fingers on his cheek, pressing his head down against the street, ducks down again so she can bite. She laves the wound in his neck a little, then bites again lower, in the flesh of his shoulder, until she tastes fresh blood.
Jace's hips are pushing up, matching her pace, and she lets him because it feels so fucking good. She's so close already, it's infuriating. She pushes herself up again, hands on his chest, fingers marking up his skin. He's hot and hard inside her, filling her up, and it's so fucking good, but she needs more. She grinds down, to get him deeper, but it's not enough.
"Harder," she orders him and Jace instantly complies, hips pistoning up now, fucking his dick into her on every one of her downward moves. All his shadowhunter strength, and it's still not fucking enough. His blood on her lips and between her fingers, and it's still not enough. She's feeling only rage again, and she's so close it's making her even angrier.
She turns his face back to her so she can look him in the eyes. He looks as desperate and devastated as she feels, tears in his eyes, mouth open, cheeks flushed. There's blood seeping from his split lip and a bruise forming on his cheek. She wants to mess him up even more, but first, she needs to fucking come.
She grabs his hand, brings it slowly to her throat. His fingers fit around it perfectly, fall over the scars like they are his fingerprints. His touch is searing on her skin and she nearly comes from that alone.
"Choke me," she says. Jace's eyes widen and she can see he's about to object so she slaps him in the face, so hard his other cheek hits the street. He stops fucking her, but his fingers close a little tighter around her throat.
She digs her nails into his chest, braces herself and fucks herself down hard. "Fuck you," she groans out, and twists his nipple, hard. Jace meets her next move with a thrust up again, finds a matching rhythm. It's hard and fast, his breaths loud in the darkness. Her own breaths are getting harder and harder, Jace tightening his grip slowly until she can't properly breathe anymore. She takes a deep and labored breath, twists his nipple again so he really grabs her throat, and fucks him.
She can’t breathe. Her lungs are screaming for air, her skin is still on fire, and Jace keeps fucking up in her. There are black spots dancing in her eyes, so she closes them. She's going to die. She deserves to die. It feels good. It feels so fucking good. She opens her mouth to scream but can't get air. Her fingers scramble in Jace's skin, her nails bloodying him up even more.
It's a rush she's never felt before. She's free.
Her orgasm hits her like a freight train, everything bright white for a second before everything turns black.
She's lying on top of Jace, his chest still heaving. His arms aren't cradling her, he's not holding her, but his hand is on top of her thigh, as if to make sure she's alive.
She pushes herself up slowly, body screaming in protest. She's cold. Jace looks wrecked, tears streaming down his face, neck and chest marked up and bloody. He doesn't look at her.
She doesn't ask if he's okay.
She tries to wipe the come between her legs away, pulls up her pants when that doesn't really help. Her shirt ruined, but her jacket is here somewhere. She staggers a bit, her legs not cooperating, is dizzy when she bends down to pick up her jacket. She's not warmer when she wraps it around herself, her movements slow and jerking.
For a second, at the end of the alley, she hesitates. Almost looks back. Then doesn't.