Angels Twice Descending (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy #10) by Cassandra Clare, Robin Wasserman

“I think we should have a funeral,” George Lovelace said, voice trembling on the last word. “A proper one.”

Simon Lewis paused in his labors and peered up at his roommate. George was the kind of guy Simon had once loathed on sight, assuming anyone with that bronze glow, those six-pack abs, that maddeningly sexy (at least, according to every girl and more than a few of the guys Simon had checked with) Scottish brogue, must have a brain the size of a rat turd and a personality about as appealing. But George turned Simon’s assumptions on their head on a daily basis. As he was doing right at this moment, wiping away something that looked suspiciously like a tear.

“Are you . . . crying?” Simon asked, incredulous.

“Of course not.” George gave his eyes another furious wipe. “Well, in my defense,” he added, sounding only slightly abashed, “death is a terrible thing.”

“It’s a dead rat,” Simon pointed out. “A dead rat in your shoe, I might add.” Simon and George had discovered that the key to a happy roommate relationship was clear division of labor. So George was in charge of disposing of all creatures—rats, lizards, cockroaches, the occasional odd-shaped mishmash of the three whose ancestor had, presumably, once insulted a warlock—found in the closets or beneath the beds. Simon handled all those that had crawled inside items of clothing and—he shuddered to remember the moment they realized this labor needed assigning—under pillows. “Also, for the record, only one of us has actually been a rat—and you’ll note he’s not the one crying.”

“It could be the last dead rat we ever find!” George sniffled. “Think about it, Si. This could be the last shared dead rat of our entire lives.”

Simon sighed. As Ascension Day approached, the day they would officially stop being students and start being Shadowhunters, George had been mournfully noting every last time they did anything. Now, as the moon rose over their last night at the Academy, he’d apparently lost his mind. A little nostalgia made sense to Simon: That morning, at their last-ever calisthenics session, Delaney Scarsbury had called him a spaghetti-armed, four-eyed, bow-legged demon-snack-in-waiting for the last time, and Simon had almost said thank you. And that night’s final bowl of “meat-flavored” custard had admittedly gotten them all a little choked up.

But losing it over a rat with stiffening limbs and athlete’s foot? That was taking things too far.

Using the torn-off cover from his old demonology textbook, Simon managed to scoop the rat out of the shoe without touching it. He dropped it into one of the plastic bags he’d had Isabelle bring him specifically for this purpose, tied the bag tightly, then—humming taps—dropped it into the trash.

“RIP, Jon Cartwright the Thirty-Fourth,” George said solemnly.

They named all their rats Jon Cartwright—a fact that drove the original Jon Cartwright nuts. Simon smiled at the thought of it, their gallingly cocky classmate’s forehead flush with anger, that vein in his disgustingly muscled neck starting to throb. Maybe George was right.

Maybe, someday, they would even miss the rats.

* * *

Simon had never put much effort into imagining his graduation day, much less the night before. Like prom and homecoming, these seemed like rituals meant for a very different kind of teenager—the school-spirited, letter-jacketed jocks and cheerleaders he knew mostly from bad movies. No keg parties for him, no weepy farewells or ill-advised hookups fueled by nostalgia and cheap beer. Two years ago, if he’d bothered to think about it at all, Simon would have assumed he’d spend that night like he’d spent most of his nights in Brooklyn, hanging with Eric and the guys in Java Jones, guzzling coffee and brainstorming names for the band. (Dead Sneaker Rat, Simon mused out of habit. Or maybe Rodent Funeral.)

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