It started when Tessa Gray found a copy of the 27th Edition of the Shadowhunter’s Codex on her table, bookmark in the middle, but towards the end.
Out of curiosity, she opened it.
“At heart, though, the Nephilim’s and the Downworlders’ aims have aligned. We have all wanted peace. Everyone has, at root, wanted peace. Until the Circle.
“Hodge Starkweather, the only son of a long-standing Nephilim family, and his followers disrupted the Accords.”
Tessa read, eyes barely registering what was before her: A Codex from a world where Hodge Starkweather had led the Circle, and Valentine Morgenstern had defeated him.
As it turned out, 57 copies of The Shadowhunter’s Codex from Timeline 2, as it was dubbed, had mysteriously appeared around the world at various Institutes and in the possession of several Downworlders.
In the days and weeks following, more Codexes and other history books from other timelines found their way into the timeline Tessa knew.
In researching what was causing the arrival of these histories, Tessa and Jem found themselves in New York.
Tessa had wanted to go to New York with Jem, show him what left of what she remembered, and discover all that was new, but after Jocelyn’s wedding, they’d, unfortunately, had gotten caught up in so much else that they hadn’t had the time to just relax.
Of course, Tessa mused, was there ever a time where she truly got to do what she wanted?
Tessa pulls her jacket close to her as she walks briskly towards the New York Institute, trying in vain to keep out the November chill.
The Council knew they’d be needing a lot of help to solve what was going on, considering no one had any ideas or leads, so Alec and Magnus had packed up and moved to the Institute to make room for the investigation, for the time being.
Though, with the amount of information they’d found so far, Tessa is pretty sure “for the time being” could turn out to be a very long time indeed.
Tessa walks into the Institute, sighing to herself as she takes off her jacket. She’d gone on a walk to clear her mind. It seems like despite collecting the books and studying the circumstances of their appearances for nearly a month now, they were no closer to discovering what was happening.
Of course, that didn’t mean they didn’t have theories, but it didn’t help there wasn’t much to go on, just categorizing timelines and occurrences.
Well, that, and fighting demons.
A trill by her feet shakes Tessa from her thoughts.
Church looks up at her, eyes wide.
“Well, you seem in a good mood,” she murmurs to the cat. “Are you in a good enough mood to take me to Jem?”
“No need. I’m right here.”
Tessa doesn’t even bother trying to stop the smile forming on her face as she looks up at him. “One might argue that Church did help me find you, but you just happened to be in the room already.”
Jem smiles. “I do think that is the argument that the cat would make.”
Tessa reaches out to take Jem’s hand, and they begin the upwards trek to the office. “Anything new while I was out?”
Jem shakes his head. “Clary and Simon left to answer a call about some Ravener demons, but other than that, there’s been not much.”
Tessa sighs. “So then I’m assuming Jace and Isabelle are in sour moods?”
Jem shrugs. “Maybe. But they ordered food, so once it arrives, I’m sure it will lift their spirits.”
“I think it will lift everyone’s spirits,” Tessa agrees.
They enter the office and are greeted by stacks and stacks of papers. At the center, Magnus and Alec sit in front of each other, studying paperwork intensely. Off to the side, Jace and Isabelle are throwing pencils into a jar and bickering. Only Magnus looks up at Tessa and Jem, briefly, before returning to whatever he is reading.
Tessa sits next to him. “Anything?”
He shakes his head. “I have no clue what we’re looking at here. It could be anything.”
“Like a demon curse,” Alec murmurs.
Magnus gives him a pointed stare.
“It is,” Alec continues, sighing, “the prevailing theory, despite how much we might not like it.”
Jem frowns. “A curse? On the whole planet? There are very few demons who would have that kind of power.”
Magnus scowls into his reading. “Thank you for reminding us, James.”
The room falls silent as Jem crosses his arms, pencils hitting glass being the only sound.
Tessa looks between everyone, trying to figure out what to say to break the tension. Luckily, the doorbell rings downstairs.
“Takeout,” Isabelle says. “I’ll get it.”
Tessa sighs, thankful for a chance to leave. “I’ll go get the children.”
“I think most of them are in Dru’s room, watching a movie, though Julian and Emma are still out, Mina is already in bed, and Kit and Ty might be training,” Jem says, smiling at her.
Tessa kisses the top of his head as she leaves.
Dru’s room is, unsurprisingly, a mess. Candy and chip wrappers are piled on the floor, and five glassy pairs of eyes stare at a projection on the wall playing Frozen.
“Well, I hope you all still have an appetite after all that snacking,” Tessa says.
No one acknowledges her.
Sighing, she grabs the remote and pauses the movie.
“Why would we need to have an appetite?” Ty asks as the others blink their way back to the present.
“Dinner is here.”
“Ugh, fucking finally,” Kit replies.
“Kit! Watch your language in front of the children,” Tessa scolds.
“But Papa says fuck all the time,” Rafe murmurs.
“See!” Kit exclaims.
Tessa makes a face. “Well, that doesn’t mean you should be using it,” she replies.
Kit grumbles, standing up. “Are Julian and Emma back yet?”
Tessa shakes her head.
“They texted,” Dru replies, checking her phone as she stands.
“When?” Ty asks.
Dru shrugs. “‘Bout half an hour ago, looks like. Said they’d be back soon.”
“Well, that’s good news,” Tessa says as she begins herding them out of the room. “By the way, Kit, Ty, you’re helping Dru clean the room after dinner.”
The three of them all stare at Tessa, looking ready to complain.
“No, don’t start,” she says. “You helped make the mess, you have to help clean.”
Dru smirks a little. “At least I don’t have to do it on my own.”
“Shut the fuck up,” Ty grumbles.
“Language,” she replies mockingly.
Tessa chuckles a little under her breath, as they walk into the dining room.
True to their text to Drusilla, Emma and Julian are back, as are Simon and Clary. The younger pair laugh amongst themselves, while Simon helps Isabelle set up everything on the table.
“God, I didn’t realize I was so hungry,” Dru murmurs.
“Well, it is like almost 9 pm,” Kit replies.
Tessa lifts her eyebrows. She hadn’t realized it was so late.
Everyone seats themselves around the table, dispersing the food and talking amongst themselves.
Tessa was right - the food did lift everyone’s moods.
“I think,” she says, “this might be the sign that we should take a break for the night.”
“Hm, maybe,” Magnus says. “That does sound like a good idea, I’ll give you that.”
Alec chuckles next to him. “Sounds like a lot more than a good idea. Sounds like a great idea.”
Tessa smiles as she leans against Jem next to her.
“I think,” Jem says, smiling, “it sounds like an excellent idea.”