He headed back toward them with Cristina at his side. The tips of his pointed ears peeked through the loops of his light hair, but he was glamoured so that mundanes wouldn’t see them. Mark was half-faerie, and his Downworlder blood showed itself in the delicacy of his features, the tips of his ears, and the angularity of his eyes and cheekbones.
“So it’s a squid demon?” Emma said, mostly just to have something to say to fill the silence between her and Julian. There were a lot of silences between her and Julian these days. It had only been two weeks since everything had changed, but she felt the difference profoundly, in her bones. She felt his distance, though he had never been anything but scrupulously polite and kind ever since she had told him about her and Mark.
“Apparently,” Julian said. Mark and Cristina had come into earshot; Cristina was finishing her caramel corn and looking sadly into the bag as if hoping more would appear. Emma could relate. Mark, meanwhile, was gazing down at his prize. “It climbs up the side of the pier and snatches people—mostly kids, anyone leaning over the side taking a picture at night. It’s been getting braver, though. Apparently someone spotted it inside the game area near the table hockey—is that a goldfish?”
Mark held up his plastic bag. Inside it, a small orange fish swam around in a circle. “This is the best patrol we’ve ever done,” he said. “I have never been awarded a fish before.”
Emma sighed inwardly. Mark had spent the past few years of his life with the Wild Hunt, the most anarchic and feral of all faeries. They rode across the sky on all manner of enchanted beings—motorcycles, horses, deer, massive snarling dogs—and scavenged battlefields, taking valuables from the bodies of the dead and giving them in tribute to the Faerie Courts.
He was adjusting well to being back among his Shadowhunter family, but there were still times when ordinary life seemed to take him by surprise. He noticed now that everyone was looking at him with raised eyebrows. He looked alarmed and placed a tentative arm around Emma’s shoulders, holding out the bag in the other hand.
“I have won for you a fish, my fair one,” he said, and kissed her on the cheek.
It was a sweet kiss, gentle and soft, and Mark smelled like he always did: like cold outside air and green growing things. And it made absolute sense, Emma thought, for Mark to assume that everyone was startled because they were waiting for him to give her his prize. She was, after all, his girlfriend.
She exchanged a worried glance with Cristina, whose dark eyes had gotten very large. Julian looked as if he were about to throw up blood. It was only a brief look before he schooled his features back into indifference, but Emma drew away from Mark, smiling at him apologetically.
“I couldn’t keep a fish alive,” she said. “I kill plants just by looking at them.”
“I suspect I would have the same problem,” Mark said, eyeing the fish. “It is too bad—I was going to name it Magnus, because it has sparkly scales.”
At that, Cristina giggled. Magnus Bane was the High Warlock of Brooklyn, and he had a penchant for glitter.
“I suppose I had better let him go free,” Mark said. Before anyone could say anything, he made his way to the railing of the pier and emptied the bag, fish and all, into the sea.
“Does anyone want to tell him that goldfish are freshwater fish and can’t survive in the ocean?” said Julian quietly.
“Not really,” said Cristina.
“Did he just kill Magnus?” Emma asked, but before Julian could answer, Mark whirled around.