The question shook Jace to his core. He should’ve expected something like this, considering the Seelie Queen’s reputation. Clary looked between Simon and Jace, looking as confused as ever, and terrified. Jace wanted to reassure her. He wanted to tell her it was okay. The feelings he had for her before still hadn’t completely left. Jace wanted her safe.
“Clary, come on!” Simon shouted, and Jace’s attention was drawn to him again. Predictable, really, “Just kiss me so we can get out of here.”
Clary’s face set in determination, and she strode towards Simon. The Seelie Queen met Jace’s eye, and smiled. He knew what she was doing. This wasn’t about Clary at all.
She was just the daughter of Valentine, someone the Seelie’s are willing to side with if it means they survive. Jace was a Herondale, be it newly discovered. He was a representation of everything the Downworld hated.
He felt the vines tightening around him, and a thorn stabbed into his neck. If only he had his Seraph blade. He would cut everyone down. Jace closed his eyes. He had to think like Alec. What would a good leader do?
“What?” Clary looked down at Simon’s binding vines, then at Jace’s, “Why didn’t it work? What is this?”
“I don’t-” Simon looked at Clary, his heart visibly breaking. Jace wanted to do nothing but comfort the boy, but he couldn’t. Not like this.
“This is ridiculous,” Jace said through gritted teeth, “You can’t keep us prisoners here. We came on a peaceful mission.”
“I can do whatever I please,” The Seelie Queen joint her hands together in front of her, ethereal and deadly, “Your friend here drank from the table.”
“Simon, you idiot,” Jace choked as the vines wrapped further around his neck.
“It’s not my fault,” Simon shouted, “It’s not like I know how things work down here!”
“Which is why I said you shouldn’t come!”
They fell silent when the Seelie Queen held her hand up. She tilted her head, and Jace’s vines snaked down his body and back into the ground.
He didn’t have a choice.
He looked at Clary, who was frowning, tears welling up in the corners of her eyes, then Simon, who was staring at him with wide eyes.
“What’s going on?” Clary clenched her fists, “Why are you doing this?!”
“Jace,” The Seelie Queen ignored Clary’s pleas, and Jace held her gaze.
“You’ll let us go,” He said, and the Seelie Queen nodded.
“Jace?” Simon whispered in confusion as Jace stood in front of him. He could bear to look behind him. The look on Clary’s face would be somewhere between enraged and heartbroken.
“If you ever mention this again,” Jace said, “I’ll break you.”
Jace thought of all the times he pushed Simon, moving him further away so he didn’t pull him closer. The phone call when he and Clary were kidnapped, the heavy feeling in his gut when he was taken by the vampires, the urge to laugh whenever the boy made one of his stupid jokes. Every touch, every word, every day, Jace was falling further and he couldn’t do anything about it.
He had been hoping to keep it inside. Hide his jealousy about Simon and Clary’s relationship by focusing on Clary. He didn’t want to have this. He didn’t want to have to explain to everyone why he felt this way and deal with everything Alec had to go through.
But he couldn’t help it.
Everyone about Simon was the opposite of Jace. He was kind where Jace was cruel, he was gentle where Jace was rough, he was understanding where Jace was unforgiving. All those times he nearly slipped and said how he was feeling, the pretty face comment, the flirting lessons at the bar.
Jace knew he shouldn’t have let himself have the little things. He should have kept his distance. Then the Seelie Queen never would have known and they could have walked out of here with no problem. But even then, Jace would have drunk from the table. They would be trapped anyway.
He leaned in, and closed his eyes.
It was easy to get lost in the kiss, not think about the context, and instead about Simon.
Everything was about him. Jace’s smiles, his hope, his survival. It had all turned into a feat for Simon. It wasn’t right, it wasn’t nice, but it is what is is.
Jace was in love with Simon. And the Seelie Queen was using it against him, to ruin everything.
Just as Jace began to feel like Simon was returning the kiss, he pulled away, ashamed.
“Let’s go,” He said gruffly, knowing that Simon was being freed from his bounds as he spoke.
The Seelie Queen smirked at him as he passed her, and he bowed, trying not to snarl.
“Thank you for your hospitality, Your Majesty.”
“You are welcome, Jace Herondale.”
Simon paced. He opened his mouth, the closed it. He paced again.
“I don’t get it,” Clary shook her head, leant with her arms crossed against the wall of the warehouse, “The kiss was about me, not Jace.”
“The Seelie Queen tricked us all,” Simon was faced away from her, and touched his lips, “But I don’t get it either.”
“So Jace wants to kiss you? You’re the kiss he desires the most?”
“Apparently,” Simon would be lying if he said his head didn’t inflate a bit at the thought. Jace, the Jace, wanted to kiss Simon! This Simon!
“I don’t get it.”
“You’ve said that,” Simon said, pacing again.
“I know, but I don’t,” Clary huffed, “How would neither of us know?”
“I don’t know.”
“Things are going to be awkward now.”
“Mhm,” Simon wasn’t really listening anymore, lost in thought
“I really thought our kiss was going to work, but I guess if it was about Jace-”
“Are you listening?”
“Sorry,” Simon’s head shot up, and he was met with a glare, “I just- I was thinking.”
About Jace’s lips, about his tongue, his hands, his hair, his eyes. He couldn’t stop thinking.
He had always known that Jace was gorgeous. He just never knew that he found Jace alluring. But ever since that kiss, Simon couldn’t stop thinking about all the things he hadn’t noticed before.
Jace’s smile, his laugh, his smirk when he’s said something he thinks is funny. What he says never really is funny, but Simon thinks it is. Jace making a joke is a rare moment. Simon would laugh even if it was at his expense.
“You’re thinking about him.”
“Simon,” Clary stood up, and walked over to him, resting her hand on his arm, “I understand, I was there too. You have feelings for him?”
“No!” Simon shouted, “No, I don’t. I just- it was just weird.”
“Listen,” Clary sighed, “I like you, and I like what we have, but if it isn’t what you really want, you need to tell me.”
“There’s nothing to tell-”
“I know that look,” Clary smiled, “It’s the look you used to give me.”
“Used to? What are you-”
“Go see him,” Clary stroked down his arm, then stepped away, “I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t truly want to be with me.”
Simon gaped. How had she read that so fast? She had gone from being confused about everything to knowing exactly what Simon was thinking and feeling. Then again, they had known each other for so long that Simon was sure he would’ve been able to do the same thing if it was the other way around.
“You don’t have to do this, you know.”
“I know,” Clary sighed, putting her hands in her back pockets and looking at the ground, “But your happiness means everything to me, even if it doesn’t revolve around me.”
“I love you Clary Frey,” Simon kissed her on the forehead, and she laughed.
“I know. Now go get your man, okay?”
Simon didn’t reply, he just ran out of the door and towards the institute. Thank god for his powers because pre-vampire Simon would NOT have enough stamina to run multiple miles without stopping.
Jace clicked blankly on the screen, not really seeing what was in front of him. Alec was looking at him with his usual frown, and opened his mouth to say something.
“Don’t,” Jace held up a finger, “I’m not in the mood.”
“What bit you in the ass?” Alec grumbled, “You’re usually chattier after a mission.”
“Wasn’t it you that told me to be more professional?”
“Yeah,” Alec shrugged, “But I didn’t think you’d listen.”
“Well, I did.”
“I’ll figure it out.”
“Sure,” Just as Alec was about to walk away, the doors to the institute flew open. Simon was at the door, looking around until he met Jace’s eyes. Jace’s first thought was ‘oh god, he’s come to shout at me’, but Simon didn’t shout unless someone he cared about was threatened. Or if his masculinity was.
“Simon?” Alec frowned, “What’s he doing here.”
“Jace,” Simon marched towards them, his face stern, and Jace kept his face carefully blank.
“You,” Simon prodded his chest, “Are an asshole.”
“Intellectual contribution to a conversation that doesn’t exist,” Jace tried to ignore the tingle Simon’s touch was sending through his body, “Thanks.”
“I don’t know what’s going on here,” Alec waved a hand, “But I want no part of it.”
With that, he walked away, and Jace was alone with Simon in the main room. Everyone else was either out on missions or sleeping at this point, so all Jace could see what Simon, Simon, Simon.
“Clary just broke up with me.”
“Fuck,” Jace muttered, “I’m so sorry, Simon. I didn’t mean to-”
“Let me finish,” Simon crossed his arms, and Jace remained silent, “You can’t just kiss me and leave, then act like nothing happened. I know you said you’d break me, but I don’t care. She broke up with me because she wanted me to have the chance to be with you.”
Jace didn’t know what to say. This was everything he wanted, but he wasn’t expecting it. Jace never got what he wanted. All he got was sex and kills. They were the only garuntees.
“Well?” Simon blinked at him, “Are you gonna say anything?”
“I don’t-” Jace shook his head- “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know what?”
“If this is really happening,” He didn’t mean to say it, but it came out anyway. Simon blinked again. Jace stared at his eyelashes.
“That’s what I thought,” Simon pursed his lips, “When you kissed me.”
“Really,” Simon started to smile, “I’d really like to repeat that, if you’re up for it.”
“Yeah- yeah I’m- I’m up for that- if you- if you want.”
“God, I’m going to enjoy making you nervous,” Simon’s grin was the last thing Jace saw before he closed his eyes, engulfed by the feeling of Simon’s lips on his own.
Maybe it didn’t happen in the best way, but it happened. Jace sent a mental thank you to the Seelie Queen.