She looked into the face of the Shadowhunter boy glaring at her with dark blue eyes, eyes that were almost the exact shade of blue her Will had, though Will had never looked at her with such disgust.
It hurt more than she could have imagined.
Stephen Herondale faced her now, seraph blade in hand, though he had yet to name it. They stood in her apartment at Los Angeles, near the Institute. She wondered how he’d gotten in.
“Did Valentine send you here?” She asked in a quiet tone.
He did not reply, instead raising his seraph blade, shifting into a fighting stance. Tessa knew it well. She recognised it from her years of experience training and fighting alongside Shadowhunters.
But he did not strike. He stood motionless as a statue, though she could see the tension in the set of his shoulders, the tight grip on his seraph blade.
Tessa had no warlock’s mark. To all appearances, she looked human, even mundane. Her skin had never been able to bear Marks.
And Shadowhunters were meant to protect mundanes. A spark of hope flared in Tessa. Perhaps Stephen was not lost beyond hope. If she could reason with him...
She took a step forward, and Stephen Herondale swept his blade up in a brilliant arc of ice-white as he invoked the name of an angel: “Nakir!”
The seraph blade blazed, bright as a falling star, as he slashed at the air between them.
“Don’t come any closer, demon spawn,” he spat, though Tessa could see the fear in his eyes. He was afraid of her. The thought that someone that shared her blood would ever look at her with fear and loathing made her immeasurably sad.
And now she thought of someone else. It had been so long ago.
Nathaniel Gray, her brother, who was lost to her, caught in a trap of dark magic and hatred and mad dreams of power. He had been blind to the danger he was in, placing his faith in a madman who saw him as a pawn, a thing to be used, and cast aside.
This boy — still a boy, despite his years — was not in a much better position than Nate had been. Tessa had heard of Valentine’s famous charisma, his easy charm. She wondered what Valentine had promised him, what made Stephen so blindly loyal to him. In that moment she hated Valentine Morgenstern, though she had never met him.
Stephen Herondale leapt towards her, startling her into breaking off her line of thought. His seraph blade was aimed to stab into her heart. Tessa raised her hands; there was a flash of white light, and the couch in her living room swung up and smacked into him, knocking him aside. He hit the floor with a thud, and Tessa was alarmed. She did not want to hurt him, how badly had she hurt him —
He aimed a kick at her as she approached him, his boot slamming into her shin. Tessa gave a cry of pain and stumbled back, into a coffee table in her living room, which fell over with a crash. Stephen was on his feet. Snatching up the seraph blade he had dropped when the couch hit him, he hurled it at Tessa —
She thought of Will, of Jem, her Jem, whom she would not be able to meet at Blackfriars Bridge, not if she was killed.
And a pillar of purple fire roared into life between Tessa and Stephen, the seraph blade hit the wall of flame, and was flung back towards the Shadowhunter. Tessa screamed.
But Stephen had dodged the blade, and was now staring at the newcomer at the door. He was clearly a warlock, with his white hair and purple eyes.
Malcolm Fade stepped into the room, purple energy crackling at his fingertips.
“Oh goodness,” he said. “Tessa, did you invite this angry young man here for our weekly game of Scrabble? I don’t think I would want him on my team. He throws more sharp objects around than our dear friend Ragnor Fell.”
Stephen looked confused. He probably did not know what Scrabble was. Maybe he thought it was a ritual to summon a demon.
But Stephen must have realised that, even if Tessa had been holding back in their fight, Malcolm Fade would have no reason to. He raised his hands in a gesture of surrender...
And twisted a ring he was wearing around his right index finger. There was a flash of light — but Shadowhunters could not perform magic! How could he —
But he was gone.
The seraph blade was still on the floor, deactivated. Tessa picked it up, then turned to her friend.
“Thank you, Malcolm.”
Malcolm had been looking at the spot where Stephen had vanished, eyes narrowed. Tessa was surprised. It was unlike Malcolm to look so serious and focused, especially since he was famously absent-minded.
It was a reminder, she supposed, that despite his carefree demeanour and how distracted he always seemed, Malcolm was a very powerful warlock.
“Oh, it’s no problem,” he said easily. He studied her face. “But are you alright, Tessa? What happened?”
She looked at the mess that had become of her living room, and sighed. “Would you be so kind as to help me clear this up? I’ll tell you about it as we go along.”