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The Definition of Puppy Love

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Jimon || Shadowhunters || Jimon || The Definition of Puppy Love || Jimon || Shadowhunters || Jimon

Title: The Definition of Puppy Love – A Boy and his Dog

Fandom: Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments

Disclaimer: All rights to the Shadowhunters show reserved to Ed Decter, the books the show is based off and its characters belong to Cassandra Clare. This fanfiction on the other hand is entirely mine. No money is made with this, though reviews are more than welcomed.

Warnings: shounen-ai, magic, hurt/comfort, fluff, intercourse, anal, bondage, shoujo-ai, hetero

Main Pairing: Simon/Jace

Side Pairings: Magnus/Alec, Lydia/Isabelle, Bat/Maia

Shadowhunters Characters: Jonathan Christopher 'Jace' Wayland, Simon Lewis, Maia Roberts, Bartholomew 'Bat' Velasquez, Magnus Bane, Alexander Gideon 'Alec' Lightwood, Isabelle Sophia 'Izzy' Lightwood, Lydia Branwell, Clarissa Adele 'Clary' Fray, Luke Garroway, Elaine Lewis, Rebecca Lewis

Own Characters of the Next Generation: Leah Lewis, Lucian 'Lush' Lewis, Natanael 'Nate' Velasquez

Summary: Jace got hit by a spell and turned into a Golden Retriever. With Magnus and Alec out on a well-deserved vacation, he doesn't know where to turn to and ends up at the boathouse.

The Definition of Puppy Love

A Boy and his Dog

Jace groaned in pain as he carefully made his way through the streets of New York. Every step hurt and he was unsure on his legs, ready to just collapse at any moment.

He had been reckless. He had been stupid. It had been his own fault.

He shouldn't have followed the lead on his own. But what else had he been supposed to do?! Things had been relatively quiet lately, Valentine not making a move and the Circle staying quiet too. So much so that Magnus had taken Alec onto a well-deserved vacation, under the guise of a recon mission – some old friend of Magnus' who might have a lead, in some far-off country with a beach. It was a couple's get-away and every member of their team knew it. Lydia, freshly returned from Idris, took over the Institute in Alec's absence. She was busy. Isabelle, Clary and Sebastian were on a mission of their own. So who should Jace have asked for backup?

Simon hadn't been around the Institute since his breakup with Clary. He needed some distance. Jace understood that. Clary had broken his heart. And why would Simon come along if Jace asked, anyway? The only thing they ever had in common had been Clary. The only reason why Simon tolerated his presence had been the knowledge that Jace was Clary's brother. Then everything got turned upside down. And now Simon probably hated him, because Jace was who Clary wanted the most. Not that Jace had any kind of influence on who had feelings for him.

But why was it him, always? Why were the only people who fell for him the people he felt the closest to, the people he saw as siblings? Why was he forced to break the hearts of those he cared about by rejecting them? Jace just hoped that one day, Clary would find her own Magnus who would make her forget all about ever having feelings for Jace, just like Alec seemingly did.

Which wasn't meant to sound so much like an accusation. Jace was glad Alec had moved on, he truly, really was. Yet he couldn't help but feel a sting at how easy it had been for Alec. Was it really that simple to forget Jace? Well, of course. After all, Jace didn't really get why they would fall in love with him, of all people, anyway. So why shouldn't they forget those insignificant feelings fast.

Jace knew he wasn't worth loving, Valentine had always beaten that lesson into him.

To have Alec confess to him and then fall for Magnus in such a blaze of glory, so fast and intensely, to have Clary kiss him because he was the one she desired the most but still being told by her that it meant absolutely nothing, to have Maia beat him up and still take her pleasure like he was nothing more than a punching bag and sex toy, being assured that it too meant nothing.

Really, Jace had learned his lesson. He truly had. He would never mean something to someone. No one was ever going to look at him the way Alec and Magnus looked at each other.

He wasn't worth loving. Not in a romantic way. Maybe not even in a familial way.

Just because Maryse had apologized, just because Maryse had a sob-story about Robert cheating on her, it did not nullify the intense pain of her rejection. Maryse telling Max often enough that Jace wasn't his real brother, until the youngest Lightwood actually vocalized the sentiment in Jace's presence, like Jace didn't matter at all, had never mattered at all. Jace still doubted if Max saw him as a brother. They had barely talked since the runing ceremony and Jace was so afraid of the rejection. Alec and Clary, two people he viewed as siblings, desiring him in an entirely non-sibling way, had made him question what he was doing wrong. Isabelle not feeling comfortable enough to share with Jace that she had gotten addicted to vampire venom, that he had not noticed that she had gotten addicted, made him question how he had failed in their relationship too.

Robert and Maryse hadn't cared enough to come and visit him, to see how he was doing after he had been abducted and tortured and thrown into prison. Instead, they had talked about turning their backs on him to save their family's name. Jocelyn, in the brief time they had believed to be mother and son, had tried to murder him. Valentine, well, that alone would take six books to tell. Stephen and Céline, his biological parents, Jace would never know how they felt about him. And Imogen, his grandmother, he felt as though all he was was that last reminder of her son. He wasn't his own person, she had never asked him any personal questions, how he was doing, who he was, all she talked about when she saw him was how much he looked like his mother or how much he reminded her of his father, which was a nice sentiment because he was dying to learn more about his biological parents, but he had kind of hoped she would care about him beyond him being a physical reminder of someone she had lost. That she would care about him, as a person. Maybe love him.

Jace whimpered in pain as he gave up his journey for the day and slowly laid down on the ground. Was this it? Was this how the great Jace Herondale was going out? Alone in a back-alley? Pathetic.

But there had been no one he could have taken as backup. And where the normal logical route would have brought him to the loft, for Alec to realize what had happened and Magnus to lift the spell that had hit and injured him, he didn't have that option right now. Magnus and Alec were gone.

Lost and in pain, Jace had tried to make his way to the only other place that would feel safe right now. Not the Institute. The Institute hadn't felt safe since Valentine's repeated attacks on it, since the other Shadowhunters had started whispering about Valentine's son behind his back, since the Shadowhunters he was supposed to trust had locked him away.

"Hey! Hey there, are you alright?", asked a worried, soft voice.

When Jace looked up, he had to smile just a little, because Simon had found him. So he had made it close enough to the docks to be in Simon's vicinity. It was stupid, he knew that. Simon shouldn't make him feel safe. Jace shouldn't seek Simon out when he was alone and scared and in pain. Simon didn't care about him, why should he? But – and so Jace tried to tell himself – Simon was a vampire, he had vampire-strength, so in his moment of weakness and with his parabatai away, it was completely logical to seek out someone who could protect him. Not that Simon had any reason to protect him. And as his surroundings faded away as he blacked out, his last thought was that he was really bad at lying to himself, because he knew that wasn't why he sought Simon out.

/break\

When Jace next came to it, he knew he had died. So it had been the pathetic death in a back-alley at the docks, surrounded by the stench of fish, after all. No going out in a blaze of glory.

"Hey, gorgeous, how are you feeling?", asked Simon as he ran gentle fingers through Jace's hair.

His voice was soft and sweet, the way he used to talk to Clary when they had still been dating. The smile on Simon's face was blindingly bright as the vampire leaned over Jace. So yes, Jace had died. But at least he had somehow managed to get into heaven after all, which was a big surprise.

Jace opened his mouth to tell Simon that he was fine – which was a blatant lie, but when Simon was smiling at him like that, Jace was most definitely not going to upset the vampire. But no word left his mouth. Just a high-pitched and embarrassing whine. Jace's eyes widened in panic.

"Hey, no, stay put. The vet said you need rest", scolded Simon, resting a careful but firm hand against Jace's side to keep him pinned down. "He said you're fine, but you must have collapsed from exhaustion. And he also said you're not chipped. No collar either. But you look well-fed and well-groomed, your fur is all shiny and pretty. So his guess is that you were abandoned by your humans, not long ago. You poor thing must have been wandering the streets relentlessly, looking for your humans, that's why you collapsed, right?"

Okay. Not dead. But something was definitely wrong. He tried talking once more, but all he got out was a yelp. Frustrated, he tried to sit up and look around. He was shocked as he looked down his own body. Because it wasn't his body. It was... a dog's body? Oh no. No, no, no. The damn warlock he had encountered hadn't hit him with a torture spell. He had turned Jace into a dog. That excruciating pain must have been the breaking and reforming of his bones. Just great. Whining embarrassed, Jace curled together tightly. This was so humiliating.

"You alright?", asked Simon concerned, running his hand down Jace's spine. "You're not in pain, are you? Because the doctor said you're not hurt!"

Jace turned to glare at the vampire. What was he supposed to do now?

/break\

Watching what Simon had called the Lord of the Rings trilogy was what Jace had done next, apparently. Because he could barely walk due to the aftermath of changing and Simon was very worried about him and kept patting him in a pleasantly soothing way that made Jace want to not move at all. It was cute. Simon kept giving a running commentary, lamenting about how Alec would probably 'out-archer' Legolas and how Sauron seemed 'so much more pleasant than Valentine'. It was nice and funny; Jace secretly really loved Simon's jokes but he wasn't ready to admit that aloud and he feared that if he did, it might give away his feelings. So being able to just lay there and bask in Simon's adorable nerd-babble was incredibly soothing and amazing.

"Simon, you in there?"

Jace's head snapped up and he growled on instinct. A stranger. Knocking on Simon's door. Interrupting Jace's Simon-time. No. The stranger needed to go away so Jace could enjoy what little time he had as a dog, what little time he had to bask in this feeling, pretending that Simon cared about him, that Simon spoke in that soft, conspiratorial voice to Jace, not to some dog.

"Come in, Bat. You missed the first two movies, but you wanna join in on Return of the King?", called Simon out with a broad grin as he paused the movie and sat up some.

A Latino Jace had never seen before entered the boathouse. Wait. Simon had friends outside of Clary? Jace sat up rigidly, glaring wearily at the stranger as he approached. Simon laughed when Jace growled and ran gentle fingers through Jace's fur to calm him down.

"No growling at my friends", chided Simon lightly. "This is Bat."

Bat grinned amused as he crouched down in front of Jace. "Since when do you have a dog?"

"Since I found him this morning", declared Simon brightly. "He must have been abandoned by his previous owners, so I decided that after what Clary did, I need a new best friend. And dogs are men's best friend, aren't they? And super loyal, which would be such a change."

The wry smile on Bat's lips told Jace that Simon must have shared the details about the breakup with this guy. Jace was still confused where this guy came from and who he was, but he slowly laid back down and rolled a bit onto his side so Simon would give him a belly-rub. Simon instantly obeyed the subtle order, pleasing Jace immensely. Bat laughed as he watched.

"Does your new best friend have a name?", inquired Bat when he sat down on Simon's other side.

"Prince", declared Simon very proudly.

"Prince?", echoed Bat curiously.

"Yeah, it's from this mini-series that my sister and I used to love when we were children. A show about all the fairy tale princesses and characters living in one and the same realm, but all the princesses were married and older by then, ruling their kingdoms, Snow White's grandson is like the main character kind of", elaborated Simon excitedly.

"That is called Once Upon a Time?", offered Bat confused.

"No! Not that. Before that", huffed Simon offended. "...But they are similar. Anyway, so Snow White's grandson gets turned into a Golden Retriever and then escapes to Central Park where he meets the other main characters, who are basically just mundies pulled into that magical world. And they named the dog Prince, before they realize he's actually like Prince Charming."

"...So you're hoping the dog will turn into Prince Charming?", asked Bat suspiciously.

Simon laughed at that and shook his head. "No. Life isn't as easy as the movies. But I think that my Prince here totally looks like a prince too. The name suits you, doesn't it?"

Jace nodded pleased in agreement. Yes, Prince suited him quite well. Bat laughed at him.

"He's cute, I give him that", chuckled Bat and got more comfortable. "So, we're watching Lord of the Rings? I'm totally in for that. Maia is so busy with school work..."

"Ah, say no more. Let's watch movies", offered Simon with a friendly smile.

Jace continued glaring at Bat every now and again, but for the most part he settled comfortably back against Simon's side for the duration of the movie, allowing the vampire to pat him.

/break\

"You are so enamored with that dog, it's ridiculous", commented Maia amused.

As always, Prince growled at her for that. Maia just raised an unimpressed eyebrow.

"Prince is a good boy", defended Simon with a pout, ruffling his puppy's fur in a way that made Prince wag his tail eagerly. "Yes, you are. My good boy." Then Simon looked up to glare at Maia. "It's just... nice, having someone totally devoted to me for a change. And he's so cute."

Maia snorted, but Simon could see the fondness in her eyes. She knew best what he was going through. She had been a wonderful friend ever since the disaster with Clary, even going to see Simon's family with him. She had been so supportive and exactly the friend he had needed. It made him kind of glad that he hadn't ruined their friendship by trying to get together with her before he got together with Clary. He would have only used her as a replacement and they would have never been able to form the kind of friendship they had now if he had used her like that.

Granted, the breakup with Clary had been some weeks ago now, but it still hurt and he still hadn't spoken to her again. He was mainly holed up at the boathouse, helping Maia in her self-given task of easing Bat into being a werewolf. It was kind of fun to help training a young werewolf and Simon had found a good new friend in Bat too, which was a relief.

He still met Isabelle regularly, they had become good friends since he had nudged her into the direction of support groups about her addiction. But she was kind of the only Shadowhunter he still saw. He didn't talk to Clary right now, Alec couldn't stand him, Sebastian was kind of a creep and Jace... Oh, Simon was getting along with Lydia too! Lydia was great and she and Isabelle were just so adorable together that Simon always cooed at them, making Isabelle blush.

Okay, so that might have just been the least subtle change of topic in the history of ever. Heaving a sigh, he flopped down onto his 'bed' and stared at the ceiling. Jace. Jace was probably happily dating Clary by now, not even thinking about the stupid vampire who kept dragging him down.

Simon had been so stupid to even come along to the Seelie Court. Jace had warned him. Jace had told him no. Jace had told him it was dangerous. Simon should have listened to him. How stupid was he? To say that as the vice-president in middle school, he was in any way qualified to deal with the Seelie Queen? Just because he had been torn by his jealousy, panicking that the two people he loved were going on a mission to a romantic fairy realm together. The two people he loved who were no longer siblings. His girlfriend, who had lied about them no longer being related. What other reason would she have to lie to him if not for her still having feelings for Jace?

And how could she not? Damn, Simon might have had a crush on Jace ever since he had first seen the hot badass Shadowhunter clad in black. But Simon had also been upfront about that toward Clary. After Clary and Jace realized they were siblings, when Clary had been so devastated about her own feelings for Jace, Simon had tried to comfort her, had told her about his own feelings for Jace. And then, when she had chosen him – had chosen Simon over Jace – he had felt flattered. She had explained it to her, when they had gotten together, that he loved her, yes, but that he also had feelings for Jace. That it was just who he was, that he could have feelings for more than one person. Just how he had had feelings for Maureen and Clary at the same time. And Clary had been fine with it, she had accepted it because she knew he was also loyal and committed.

He wished she would have been loyal. If she had been upfront about her feelings for Jace, at the very least after she learned that he was not her brother, he would have been open to a poly relationship. He would have been open to sharing Clary for the sake of seeing the two people he loved happy with each other. That she could not return his honesty and trust... it hurt.

And now Clary and Jace were probably disgustingly happy somewhere without Simon.

"Stop thinking about Clary", ordered Maia as she hit him with a pillow.

"Ouch", grunted Simon offended. "Why are you even here? Go and annoy your boyfriend."

He smirked a little as he watched how she got flustered. Things between Maia and Bat were still tentative and new and fragile, but they were there. Simon saw it in every glance between the two, every tender touch, every time they helped each other. They were going to get together and they were going to be good together, Simon knew that. And he was happy for his friends.

"We should go and buy Prince a collar", declared Maia as she got up.

Prince next to Simon sat up and growled at Maia, making Simon laugh. Sure, Simon had only found Prince yesterday, but he was already so attached to the puppy – and the puppy was as attached to him. Prince was incredibly protective of Simon to a degree that was just touching. The Golden Retriever would growl at everyone coming close to Simon – Maia and Bat had already gotten their fair share of fletched teeth from the puppy. The only one Prince sought out and was nice to was Simon, which made the vampire feel so insanely proud.

"Shush, she's right", chided Simon with a grin. "I wouldn't want someone to bring you to a shelter because they think you don't belong to someone. You are now officially going to stay with me. This is now your home and I am now your human. Well, vampire. Whatever. You're my puppy."

Prince whined, utterly confused, tilting his head in that endearing way only a puppy could. Simon cooed at his precious new friend and ruffled his fur in that way Prince didn't quite like to the extend that the puppy would pout at him. Simon loved that puppy-pout, it was so adorable and it reminded Simon so much of Jace that it nearly physically hurt. He was so, so, so stupidly gone on Jace.

"Yeah. Going out sounds like a great plan", decided Simon, trying to shake the dark thoughts.

After all, why should he get the girl, or the boy, for that matter? He was just the nerdy sidekick. There was no Prince Charming waiting for him at the end of the journey. Surrounded by happy couples – Magnus and Alec, Isabelle and Lydia, Maia and Bat, Jace and Clary – he knew that.

/break\

Jace scratched his neck as he frowned into the mirror. He was wearing a collar. Simon had bought him a collar. Simon was planning on keeping him. It was a nice collar. Not heavy or thick. Leather. Jace liked leather. The tag read Simon Lewis' Prince Charming. Simon was an idiot.

"Prince, do you wanna help me train a werewolf?", asked Simon eagerly.

He crouched down in front of Jace, offering Jace one of those bright smiles that always made Jace's heart skip a beat when he caught a glimpse of them. Having it aimed at him was... mind-blowing. Jace didn't think he could handle this once he'd turn back human. Not being the center of Simon's attention anymore, not getting to see those bright smiles anymore. Tilting his head curiously, Jace wagged his tail and obediently followed Simon outside and to an empty warehouse where Bat and Maia were already waiting. Both werewolves regarded Jace suspiciously.

"Why did you bring Prince?", asked Bat confused before he went to ruffle Jace's fur.

Jace had decided that he didn't mind Bat. The new werewolf was kind of alright. And Simon needed a friend, after what had happened with Clary. Maia snorted amused and shook her head at them.

"Well, he needs some exercise too, I figured while you guys train the whole shifting and maneuvering your wolf-body, Bat, you could play with him?", suggested Simon.

Jace whined, deeming this to be a horrible idea. He went to hide behind Simon's legs while Maia demonstrated and explained shifting at will to Bat. Simon kept patting Jace while the wolves were busy. Simon gave really great cuddles. So good that it startled him when a wet nose sniffed him.

Holy shit, werewolves were huge. They were big to a human already, but now that Jace was just a Golden Retriever? They looked even bigger. Bat whined and wagged his tail. No. Jace wasn't a dog, he was so not going to play tag with two werewolves. When Maia challenged him, he could not let it stand and chased after her so that, ten minutes later, he found himself playing with them.

It was actually fun. He was having fun playing with Bat and Maia, until he collapsed from sheer exhaustion at Simon's feet. The vampire laughed and picked him up gently.

"Did the big, bad wolves exhaust Prince Charming?", asked Maia teasingly after turning back.

"This was fun", declared Bat excitedly.

"And I think it was too much for Prince", declared Simon concerned. "I'll bring him to bed."

"Don't forget to tuck him in", called Maia after him with a snicker.

Simon just huffed and continued carrying Jace out of the warehouse. Jace whined pleased as he snuggled up closer to the vampire, nosing his neck. He really liked being carried around by Simon, Simon was so careful as though Jace was something precious and fragile. When they reached the boathouse, Jace was gently being placed on Simon's canoe – honestly, the very least Simon could invest in was an actual bed. The Shadowhunter-turned-dog curled together to face Simon, watching how the vampire shrugged out of all his clothes aside from his boxers, then grabbed a ratty band-shirt before joining Jace in the bed. It had been awkward yesterday and it was still kind of awkward, but it was also too nice to pass up. Being held in Simon's arms, feeling safe and protected and cherished in Simon's arms, sleeping in Simon's arms. Jace hadn't slept that good in months.

"Night, Prince", yawned Simon as he ruffled Jace's fur.

/break\

"Simon!"

Jace jumped a little in surprise at the familiar voice, turning around to face the door with a wagging tail. Simon frowned confused as he caressed Jace's head soothingly. The vampire still looked sleepy as he carefully sat up in their bed. Jace eagerly followed Simon to the door that was being assaulted by a clearly agitated Shadowhunter. Jace's tail wagged even harder.

"Izzy? What's wrong?", wanted Simon to know in concern after opening the door.

"H—Have you seen Jace?", asked Isabelle, sounding at the verge of panic.

"No. Not in like a week, and even then just... uh... in passing at the Institute", replied Simon, frown deepening while Jace hastily walked over to stand next to Simon. "Why do you ask me?"

"Because I've already asked everyone at the Institute and he's been missing for over twenty-four hours now", replied Isabelle, the worry evident in her voice. "Two nights ago, I went on a mission with Clary and Sebastian. I told Jace that. That was the last time we spoke. But I was exhausted when we got home and me and Lyd just went to bed. He didn't show up to the Institute yesterday at all. I asked around, no one had seen him yesterday. We went to the loft, he wasn't home either."

"...Jace is missing?", whispered Simon wide-eyed.

"We don't know where he is, he's not answering his phone. No one heard from him at all yesterday", nodded Isabelle, looking as though she would collapse any second. "W—What if he was taken again, Simon? What if Valentine or Jonathan caught Jace a—and now he's being tortured again? What if we can't find him on time this time and he'll be gone forever? What if-"

"What if you shut up and stop it?", suggested Simon, the gentle voice betraying the words. "We're not gonna find him if you have a panic-attack, Iz. Have you tried tracking him yet?"

"Yes, but we... couldn't. Maybe with Magnus or Alec... But... I—I don't want to call them yet", admitted Isabelle embarrassed. "Lydia is sure he's fine. Maybe Jace just went home with someone and spent the whole day having sex. Which, okay, wouldn't be the first time he did that without calling. But still... h—he got abducted before and I can't shake the worry."

"Wait, what? Sex with someone?", asked Simon stumped. "What about Clary?"

"What does Clary have to do with anything?", asked Isabelle exhausted, running her fingers through her hair. "Look, I just... I need to find my brother. Even if it's in the bed of some random Seelie."

Jace huffed offended. Sure, he deserved that because he was a slut, but did she have to remind Simon that Jace was a slut? Like his chances with the pure, charming, sweet, kind vampire weren't slim enough as it was. Growling softly, he nosed Isabelle's leg, startling her.

"Isn't Jace dating Clary?", clarified Simon very slowly. "Now that I'm out of the way."

Isabelle blinked slowly as she stared down at the dog. "You have a dog. What? No. Clary and Jace aren't dating. She's been avoiding him nearly as much as you are avoiding her, but on one of the rare occasions that Jace managed to corner her, he let her down gently and told her that she could stop avoiding him because while it 'meant nothing' to Clary, it also meant nothing to Jace since he still sees her as his sister and not as a potential love-interest. Which kind of made her feel humiliated, adding to her avoidance of Jace even more. What's the dog doing here?"

"I found him. He's mine now. His name is Prince", explained Simon, looking dazed.

Simon had thought Jace was dating Clary? Ouch. Did Simon really think that badly of him? That Jace would happily take away Simon's girlfriend, not even caring about Simon's feelings? Was he truly that bad of a person that Simon thought so lowly of him?

"You're a cutie", whispered Isabelle with a small smile that still showed her pain as she ruffled the fur on Jace's head. "Simon deserves a good friend, are you a good friend?"

"He's the best", huffed Simon offended. "Now come on. I know at least three larger-sized dogs who might just help us in tracking Jace without warlock or parabatai."

"I don't know if any wolf would be willing to help us when they hear you call them 'larger-sized dogs'", argued Isabelle and raised both of her eyebrows. "But yes. I had kind of hoped for that."

"Did you bring any of his stuff then?", asked Simon as the trio left the boathouse.

Isabelle nodded grimly and adjusted the bag over her shoulder. Jace felt miserable. He was putting his sister though this pain and worry and he hadn't even thought of this. Somehow, he had been drowning so deep in his own misery that he had forgotten about the people who cared about him. That they would in fact be worried for him. That there were people worried for him. Maybe not many, but those who counted and that was all that mattered. They found Luke, Bat and Maia sitting at a table in the Jade Wolf, all three looking up as Simon and Isabelle approached.

"I... have a favor to ask", started Isabelle, trying to sound as calm and collected as possible.

"What is it?", nodded Luke slowly, regarding her.

"It's... Jace. He's been missing for over a day. I'm worried. Lyd and Clary tried to assure me that he's alright, but they haven't known him as long as I have. Sure he does reckless things, but he never goes more than a day without at least texting or calling to let me and Alec know he was safe", explained Isabelle, fidgeting a bit nervously. "Maybe they are right and he's just... partying through the entire day, not noticing how much time even passed. The past months had been hard on him. And if that's the case I will be the first one to kick his ass, but-"

"Isabelle, it's alright", grunted Luke gruffly, patting her on the shoulder as he looked at her gently. "He's your family. You worry. I understand that. And... I do know he has a track-record of being taken from you at this point. We'll help you looking. I know what he means to you."

And was Jace imagining that or did Luke look past Isabelle and at Simon there? Man, being a dog was really messing with Jace's head. Still, he felt oddly warm that the wolves were willing to help him after everything. Why should they, after all?

"Of course we'll help", agreed Maia, resting a reassuring hand on Isabelle's back. "He's a pain in the ass, but he's our pain in the ass. Trying to win the war would only be half as much fun without his pathetic attempts at flirting. Or his charming asshole-attitude."

"Someone needs to fill me in on who Jace is", voices Bat confused. "But sure I'll help."

"This is Isabelle. She's Jace's sister. And Jace is the one Clary kissed at the Seelie Court, in front of an audience", supplied Maia helpfully. "He's also a general pain in the ass."

Jace huffed offended at that and kept close to the people he liked. Namely Simon, Isabelle and Bat. He eyed Luke suspiciously. It was nice of Luke to offer his help, but Jace really didn't get it. Luke was currently not on good terms with the Shadowhunters; not after that disastrous meeting between the leaders where Luke had attempted to assassinate Valentine. So why would he help?

/break\

Simon sighed as he watched Maia and Bat walk off with Prince to the park. He needed to be walked before night-time, despite the horrendously long walk they had just taken. Luke had a heavy hand on Simon's shoulder as he steered the vampire toward the Jade Wolf. He had been the one to ask Maia and Bat to walk Prince. Isabelle had returned to the Institute, being told to try to sleep some before they would try again tomorrow. They hadn't found Jace.

All they had found was Jace's jacket on a homeless guy who had found it behind a dumpster. Which was so not reassuring because Simon knew how much that stupid jacket meant to Jace. Jace had already thrown a bitch-fit when Simon had sold his jacket off on their search for Madzie. That Jace would leave it behind a dumpster inspired horrible horror scenarios in Simon's mind.

"How are you holding up, Simon?", asked Luke gently as they sat down together.

"I'm fine", assured Simon blandly, staring at the table with unfocused eyes.

"Simon", sighed Luke with fond exasperation.

"I'm miserable", huffed Simon frustrated, running both hands over his face and through his hair. "What do you think how I am? H—He's missing and no one knows where he is."

"I know", whispered Luke with gentle eyes. "I remember how I felt when Jocelyn went missing."

"That's not the same", argued Simon flustered. "You two have history."

"You don't need history to love someone", disagreed Luke, one eyebrow raised. "I can see the misery pouring out of you, Simon. I know you love him. Not knowing where he is, if he has been taken by Valentine again... I know it's eating away on you, not being able to help him, to save him."

Simon took a stuttering breath and folded his hands in front of himself, staring at them intensely. Luke knew how Simon felt about Jace. When Luke had offered Simon an open ear after the breakup, Simon had poured his heart out. Feeling guilty that he had feelings for two people, if he even had a right to judge Clary for having feelings for two people. Luke had hugged him and assured him that if he had always been upfront and honest, then he should also be able to expect the same honesty from his partner. Simon knew it was hard for Luke, since Clary was like a daughter to him, so he appreciated it even more that Luke was there for him, supporting him.

"I just... it nearly killed me when he went with Valentine willingly and when I couldn't do anything. Heck, not even Alec or Magnus could do anything and they would have had the power to and I was just so... so useless. I can't be useless again. He's... He's out there, getting tortured or hurt or something and I'm sitting here, doing nothing. He always does everything to protect everyone. I know that. I know he activated the Soul Sword by accident, because he was trying to destroy it at the cost of his own life. He nearly died letting me feed off his blood just so I would survive. He's... He's probably the best person I ever met and he doesn't deserve the things life throws at him... I just... I just want to wrap him up in soft blankets and put him somewhere safe where Valentine can never find him, you know? Just... so no one will hurt him again."

The smile on Luke's lips was both fond and understanding. "Yes, I know what you mean. But in that aspect, Jace is very much like Jocelyn. You won't be able to keep him out of danger, he will always throw himself into the middle of it for the sake of helping those he cares about. All you can do is fight at his side and support him, like I have... tried for Jocelyn."

"I...", started Simon, looking up at Luke with guilt in his eyes. "I should have. Maybe if I had been there, he wouldn't have been alone and he wouldn't have been abducted. Hell, I'm such a bad person. I've been avoiding him because I couldn't bear the thought of seeing him happy with Clary just yet. And they aren't even together! Isabelle told me. Jace let her down, telling her he saw her as a sister and not a love-interest. I... I should have checked in with him. I should have been there for him. It must hurt him too, to have his sister avoiding him... after kissing him."

Simon made a face at the mere thought of Rebecca kissing him. Shuddering, he tried to forget that.

"Don't talk about yourself like that, Simon", sighed Luke. "You're a good boy. And you were hurting, you had every right to take some time to yourself, be selfish and not see them together. You couldn't have known that they weren't actually dating."

Simon nodded, a reluctant motion. Luke was probably right, but he couldn't help feel guilty.

"I just hope he's alright, wherever he is", whispered Simon beneath his breath.

"If I can give you one more piece of advise?", offered Luke gently. "Don't make the same mistake I did. I waited too long. I lost Jocelyn and I will never get her back, I will never get the time back that I wasted. Don't repeat my mistakes. When we find him, tell him how you feel, regardless of how frightening that thought might be. If you don't, you will regret it. In our world, you can lose everything and everyone so fast. You need to hold onto the good in life."

Simon sputtered. He wanted to object, but the pain of losing Jocelyn was shining brightly in Luke's eyes and Simon faltered. Luke was right. In their lives, Simon could lose Jace every day. Like right now where he didn't even know if he'd ever see Jace again. Maybe he should dare and try. Maybe.

/break\

Being walked by Bat and Maia was humiliating. Whining miserably, Jace crawled beneath the sheets and cuddled up to Simon. Today had been utterly exhausting. Following everyone around as they were looking for him was probably the single most frustrating thing he had ever done.

"Hey there, you okay, buddy?", asked Simon concerned when he heard the soft whine. "It was an exhausting day for us all, huh? Poor boy. But you did real well helping, Prince."

Jace snorted. He knew he had literally done nothing to help. All he did was just run alongside of Simon, earning himself a patting every now and again. Like now. Simon ruffled his fur in that calming way that made Jace instantly relax and roll over so he could get a belly-rubbing. He loved belly-rubs. Which was a bit pathetic considering it had only been two days now. He should so not get attached to this life. The life as a dog and the life as someone Simon cherished and loved and paid attention to and cuddled with the moment Jace demanded it.

"And you don't even know who you were looking for, huh?", chuckled Simon absentmindedly as he obediently scratched Jace's belly. "You haven't met Jace yet. You want me to tell you about him?"

Jace whined loudly and shook his head. He so didn't need to hear what Simon thought about him. And honestly, Jace had heard enough earlier. That Simon would think he'd just take Clary and leave, be done with it, be happy about Simon's heartbreak. That just hurt, really.

Simon laughed delighted at the reaction – Jace loved to be the cause of that. "Okay, so Jace. How does one explain Jace to someone who never experienced Jace?"

Snorting in amusement, Jace settled in for story-time. He could listen to Simon all day long, just talking about anything at all. If Simon was going to talk about him, then so be it.

"He has a bit of a name-problem?", offered Simon after a moment. "And I know it's bothering him. Like, when I met him his name was Wayland, you know? But then it was revealed that he's the son of a very, very bad man and that he might be a Morgenstern. Which, believe me, no one wants to be. And that also implied he would be a Fray, or Fairchild, still debating about that difference too. Anyway, then that all was off the table because he was neither of those and... I have honestly no idea by what last name he went during that time? Maybe Lightwood? That's his adopted family, you know. Personally, I think he should have always just gone by Lightwood since his dad was an abusive dick even before anybody knew he was actually a crazy mass-murderer trying to be the Shadow World's version of Hitler. So yeah, Jace should have totally gone by Lightwood after moving in with them because they seem to like... genuinely care about him and he deserves that? But I feel like maybe he didn't because he doesn't allow himself to be happy? Like he thought he deserved to be a Wayland, to carry the constant reminder of the abuse, instead of embracing the new family that cherished him. Right now he's going by Herondale, but I don't really know about that."

Jace whined in soft agreement. He wasn't really sure about Herondale just yet either. But he was definitely flustered about how much thought Simon had put into as simple a thing as what Jace's name was. Most at the Institute still called him Wayland with a sneer when they were annoyed by him, others called him Herondale, but it was always more in mocking.

"And now he also has issues with his first name", sighed Simon frustrated, ruffling the fur on Jace's cheeks for good measure before returning to the belly-rubbing. "Because Valentine, that pompous asshole, didn't even give him his own name. You see, Valentine stole Jace right out of his mother's womb and he didn't bother naming the baby, he just slapped his own son's name on Jace. Only... that his own son was still alive. So he had like Jonathan Christoper 1.0 and Jonathan Christopher 2.0. Honestly, even labs have the decency to like number their lab rats to distinguish? But he just gave them both the same name. Izzy told me about this, about how much this has been weighting Jace down since he found the documents. I just... He doesn't even have his own name, you know? So we call him Jace, because that nickname is his. We're still sorting out the last-name-issue." Simon had a small smile, as though he was hiding a big conspiracy as he leaned in to whisper into Jace's ear. "You wanna hear my opinion on the last-name-issue, Prince?"

Tilting his head curiously, always up for some input on that matter – because at this point, he really was leaning toward becoming a Madonna or Sting and only going by Jace to be done with it all. So if Simon had some kind of solution, then Jace would totally embrace it.

"I think the name that would suit Jace best is...", drawled Simon before leaning in some closer, Jace excitedly straightening and wagged his tail, curious for the answer. "Lewis. I totally think that the perfect last name for Jace would be Lewis. It has a great ring to it, wouldn't you agree? Jace Lewis."

Jace whined in agreement as he stared doe-eyed at Simon. Jace Lewis? Wait, what?

"Argh. I'll never finish if I get that distracted", sighed Simon with a frown. "So yeah... Jace Lewis. Uh, I mean, Jace Herondale. What do you need to know about Jace Herondale?"

Simon paused and stared thoughtfully at Jace while Jace sat stiffly and watched him, bating his breath in anticipation of the answer he was going to get. What did Simon really think of him?

"He's probably the best human I ever met", whispered Simon with a dreamy expression, playing with Jace's floppy ears. "He's a real-life superhero. He's incredibly strong and witty and sarcastic and so, so pretty. Like. Sure, he was infused with extra-angel-blood and maybe that's it, but damn Jace is a literal angel. He looks like an angel! He has this golden-blonde hair and when it's falling into his face, that looks so cute. And he has heterochromia and his eyes are just so... so, so fascinating I could stare into them all day long. And he's so muscular and strong. I kinda wanna lick his abs. Oh, and his lips. When he pouts, they do this thing where they're all plush and pink and hypnotize me into wanting to kiss him silly. And you can't imagine his ass."

Jace just yelped at this point and hid his snout beneath his paws. This was ridiculous. Why would Simon say any of those things about him? Much less all of those things? Sure, he understood the compliments. He knew his ass was a piece of perfection where one could bounce a quarter off. But why would Simon call him good or an angel? That was just silly.

"He's like a male Buffy and Buffy was basically my first fictional character crush because she was this blonde kick-ass, bad-ass demon-slayer. Which literally describes Jace, you know", laughed Simon as he rolled over a little to hug Jace closely and bury his face in Jace's fur. "He'd do anything to help someone. He risked so much helping Clary, even though he didn't know her. He risked so much helping me when I... was abducted by vampires, even though he didn't know me. He was willing to die for the Downworld. I don't think there's anyone as pure and good and wonderful and amazing as Jace. I... used to think there was. I used to think Clary was like that too. But... then she betrayed my trust by kissing Jace and now I don't... know what to think about her."

Simon paused and took a shaky breath, pressing himself even more into the soft fur and flustering Jace. "You see, it's... it's not even that she has feelings for him, right? I knew that going into this relationship. I knew it, but she had promised she was over him when we got together. But she... lied to me. She lied about her feelings for him. She lied about not being siblings. She didn't tell me, you know, when he told her that they weren't related, she kept that from me. I was always upfront with her. She knew about my crush on Jace when we started dating. She... if... if she had told me the truth, I wouldn't have judged her. I think she just... can't deal with having feelings for more than one person, so she acted wrong. And I can't... judge her for being confused by her own feelings, but I do judge her for hurting my feelings – and she knew she would hurt my feelings."

Crush? Did Simon just say crush on Jace? No. What kind of bizarre alternate reality had he entered now? All the things Simon was saying, they were all completely unreal. Not even in Jace's deepest, most secret dreams, the bright places he was fleeing to when he needed comfort, did Simon say such things. Not even in the safe space of Jace's mind would Jace dream of Simon saying such things to him. So how and why would Simon say such things in real life...? No. Not possible.

"Luke told me to go for it, you know?", mused Simon softly, yawning widely. "He told me that he wasted so many years when it came to Jocelyn – which I totally agree with, they should have been married like fifteen years ago. And that I shouldn't make the same mistake as he did. I shouldn't waste my time. I should take a chance, because then I'd at least have tried, you know? And I guess he's right. Even when Jace shoots me down, I'll at least have... closure and be able to move on. I mean, look at me, I haven't even talked to him since the Seelie Court because the thought of him and Clary being happy together broke my heart so I had to avoid them both. So yeah, even if he is so disgusted by the idea of me being in love with him that he never wants to talk to me again... H—Hey, no, stop licking my face, this tickles! Shoo, Prince, down, boy, this—ahahaha..."

Simon was laughing, which was a far better sound than Simon self-loathing. Jace hated listening to Simon talk like that. How could Jace possibly ever hate Simon? And why in the world would Jace hate Simon for loving him? Jace could count the people loving him on one hand. Literally, he only needed one hand to count the Lightwoods. How could Jace be anything but grateful if someone loved him? If Simon loved him? Okay, so he was totally going to need more time to digest that whole idea. He wouldn't believe it if Simon had told him to his face, to be honest. Jace would have scoffed, sneered and run away, thinking the vampire was having a good laugh at his expense. That Simon had found out about Jace's feelings and thought this was funny payback for Clary kissing Jace at the Seelie Court. And that behavior would then have broken Simon's heart, apparently. Because why would Simon lie to his puppy? To Jace, maybe, but not to a mere, harmless puppy.

"You're a... good friend", yawned Simon, kissing the top of Jace's head. "Such a good boy, Prince. You're gonna meet a couple more of my friends tomorrow and you gotta be a good boy then too, you hear me? Izzy is gonna call her brother Alec and him and Magnus will... cut their vacation short to come and help us track Jace down. And you'll... you'll meet... Clary."

Jace groaned at that and buried his face in Simon's neck. Magnus and Alec would fix this mess, Alec was going to be pissed that he had to cut his romantic vacation short for nothing and Jace wouldn't be able to sneak into Simon's bed for cuddles anymore. Well. He probably should talk to Simon about literally everything the vampire had just said.

/break\

"Izzy, what's wrong? You look awful!", exclaimed Alec worried.

He literally hadn't even ended the call yet as he and Magnus stepped through the portal right into the loft. Isabelle had called, sounding frantic, talking about Jace having been missing for nearly three days. The moment those words spilled from Isabelle's lips, Magnus had already opened the portal, because that was just how amazing Alec's boyfriend was. Alec gently pulled his sister into a hug. She looked like she hadn't slept in a week and sacked into his arms.

"We can't track him. We can't find him", sobbed Isabelle. "It's been three days. I'm sorry. I should have called you earlier. I thought we would be able to find him, I wouldn't have to worry you. The last time he got abducted, you nearly killed yourself with worrying too much. Literally."

Alec winced at that and hugged her some tighter. He looked over her shoulder to see who else was in the room. Lydia, Clary, Luke, Maia, some guy Alec had never seen before, Simon and... a dog.

"Oh, aren't you a precious beauty?", cooed Magnus as he knelt down in front of the dog.

"Prince, that's Magnus. Magnus, meet Prince", introduced Simon with a broad grin.

"My, royalty, huh?", chuckled Magnus fondly, ruffling the dog's fur.

"Magnus, we have enough cats. Don't start adopting dogs!", called Alec out in warning.

Magnus' eyes flashed golden at Alec's use of 'we', prompting Alec to blush brightly and avert his eyes to instead look questioningly at his best friend. Lydia looked exhausted and worried too, not to the wrecked extend as Isabelle, but still enough to make Alec feel concerned.

"He can't adopt Prince anyway. Prince is mine", huffed Simon offended.

"Guys, can we please stay serious?", requested Clary, rubbing her forehead.

Alec glared at her and she shrank away. They had gotten over their animosities, but then Clary had to go and ruin it again by – not by kissing Jace, but by avoiding him and treating him like air afterward and actively hurting Jace with that behavior. Alec did not tolerate people hurting his parabatai. Jace had been hurt enough in the past by now.

"Okay, someone has to explain to me what is going on", requested Alec and sighed.

"Jace has been missing for three days and none of us can find him", summed Lydia up gently, squeezing Alec's arm. "We're sorry, we had hoped we wouldn't have to interrupt your vacation – mission, I mean, your very important mission. But it has been three days now."

"We're afraid that Valentine, or Jonathan, might have... taken him", added Luke.

Luke looked at Alec with gentle compassion. Luke knew the pain caused through a parabatai bond, by the pain of their parabatai. Which would have been appreciated, if Alec knew why.

"I'm sorry, what?", asked Alec, completely lost, as he turned to Magnus.

Magnus smiled gently as he wrapped an arm around his boyfriend in support. "Love, your parabatai has been lost for three days. Have... you noticed anything? Through the bond? The last time Valentine took him, your bond was weakened and dampened and you couldn't feel him at all. You... didn't mention anything...?"

"Don't tell me the boyfriend distracted you from your vanished parabatai", grunted Maia.

Alec aimed a glare at her. "There's nothing wrong with Jace."

"How can you say that? We spent the past two days looking for him", argued Simon angrily.

Heaving a frustrated sigh, Alec wanted to disagree to that, just to have Simon's dog suddenly jump him. The Golden Retriever growled and yelped as he nosed at Alec's stomach, pushing his shirt up and licking his stomach until Alec couldn't suppress the laughter.

"Lewis, hold your pet back!", demanded Alec irritated, trying to push the dog off.

Simon squeaked and grabbed Prince to pull him off the Shadowhunter, just to have the dog struggle in his grip, clearly agitated. Alec glared annoyed. He was definitely more of a cat-person than a dog-person. Making a face, Alec tried to wipe off the dog-drool, gently caressing his soaked parabatai-rune. Which brought him back to the topic at hand.

"The bond is as strong as ever", started Alec slowly. "It's not been weakened. And I can assure you that wherever Jace is, he is not being tortured. Seriously."

"Why?", asked Luke concerned but also curiously.

Alec rested a gentle hand against the rune. "Because I... for the past three days, to be exact, have felt nothing but contentment and... joy from him. Happiness, in a way that... that I haven't felt in years from him. Wherever he is, whatever is going on, he's happy."

"I swear, if he's out there someone having a three-days-orgy, I will personally cut his balls off and feed them to him", growled Maia threateningly.

Prince whined and wrestled free from Simon to once more latch onto Alec's stomach, licking... his parabatai-rune. Alec paused and frowned confused, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. There was anxiety and nervousness coming through the bond, despair. Blinking slowly, Alec reached out to grasp the dog's face and push him off, just to pause.

"...Oh, for fuck's sake", groaned Alec.

"What? Did Alec just cuss?", whispered Simon in awe, getting elbowed by Maia.

"Can we please figure out how to find Jace now?", pushed Clary, pacing the room nervously.

"Hey, we will find him", assured Simon softly, looking at his – former? - best friend gently.

She paused in her pacing and there was guilt passing through her eyes as she looked at him. Alec heaved a deep sigh, ruffling the dog's fur as he sat up, the dog happily climbing into his lap.

"Of course will we find him", chided Magnus flippantly. "You do have the greatest warlock alive present. We'll track him and then you all can take turns giving him a piece of your mind."

"Guys", sighed Alec a bit exhausted. "You never lost him, so you don't need to find him."

"What are you talking about, Lightwood?", asked Maia a bit impatiently.

Alec glowered at the werewolf, grabbing the dog by his cheeks and lifting his head so the others could look into the puppy's face. "The dog. It's not a dog. It's Jace."

"...Holy shit, Magnus fucked his brains out", whispered Maia beneath her breath.

"Alec, please, be serious", pleaded Isabelle a bit confused.

"He keeps licking my parabatai-rune. It's a Golden Retriever with heterochromia", sighed Alec with a glare. "This is Jace. Look. Let's try it differently. Jace, if you're you, bark three times."

The Golden Retriever turned to look at Alec and barked exactly three times, tail wagging in excitement as someone finally caught on with him being not actually a dog.

"Now, show me, who are your siblings?", asked Alec.

The dog tilted his head, poking Alec in the stomach with his nose, then walking over to Isabelle to half-way climb her legs before he then very reluctantly walked over to Clary, staring up at her like a sad little puppy, tail-wagging subduing a little as he stared at her tentatively.

"Y—You're... You're telling me Prince has been Jace the whole time?", sputtered Simon.

"Yes. You idiots", sighed Alec and shook his head before looking at Magnus. "Mag?"

"I will take care of our fluffy, floppy-eared cutie here. Oh, Jace, you will never live this one down", declared Magnus in utter delight as he patted his thigh. "Heel, boy."

The dog – Jace – growled at Magnus in frustration but he also ran after the warlock, leaving everyone else in stunned silence in the living room.

/break\

Honestly, Jace had kind of expected everyone else to have cleared out by the time he woke up. He so did not expect them all to still be there. Alec was sitting next to him, gently running his fingers through Jace's hair. With a groan and a wince did Jace roll onto his back and stare at the ceiling before noticing Luke and Clary behind the couch, together with a scowling Maia and a baffled Bat. Isabelle and Lydia were with Magnus in front of the couch.

"I'm sorry I worried you like that, Iz", whispered Jace, voice hoarse.

"Oh by the Angel, I can't believe...", muttered Isabelle as she bent down to hug him tightly.

He groaned at the tight hug, but returned it as best as he could. "I'm really sorry."

"What happened, Jace?", wanted Lydia to know, serious glare on her face.

And oh, she had that scary second-in-command face on. Honestly, between her and Alec, the duo was running a real tight ship at the Institute. Jace attempted to use the puppy-eyes.

"I... It's not really that I went on an unsanctioned mission", drawled Jace cautiously.

"Not really?", asked Alec sharply, glaring down at his parabatai.

"I was on my way home, I swear", huffed Jace embarrassed. "But... But then I saw a warlock. I recognized her from Valentine's ship. I just... I just couldn't not follow her. She was meeting with a Circle member, but when they noticed me, the warlock hit me with a spell."

"And you came to the docks?", asked Luke curiously. "Was it some canine instinct that brought you to the pack, then? Since you were turned into a dog?"

Jace paused for a long moment, blinking slowly. Simon wasn't in the living room. Why wasn't Simon in the living room? Even Bat, who has only known him as a dog and for three days now, was here. Had... Had Simon left? Movement in the corner of his eyes caught his attention and he saw a looming figure in the kitchen, hiding just so out of sight and eavesdropping. Oh. So Simon just didn't want to see him. Okay. Sure. Jace could work with that. He was used being avoided and shunned at this point, really. Under some pain, he sat up. He was also used to pain.

"Simon, stop hiding. It's ridiculous", called Maia out pointedly. "We can see you."

The others in the room snorted a little. Isabelle sat down on Jace's other side, gently squeezing his knee. She had been so worried about him. He totally owed her a new pair of shoes. They could go on a shopping-spree together as soon as Jace was recovered from having every bone in his body broken for the second time in a week and reset into a different being. Simon avoided looking at Jace as he entered the room and reluctantly took a stance next to Magnus.

"Are you alright?", asked Simon softly, finally looking up.

"Sure. Having every bone in my body broken feels alright", drawled Jace and rolled his eyes. "I'm fine. I'm used to pain. Noting an iratze won't make better."

He was wearing comfortable clothes. His stele was with his phone and his jacket with Isabelle, who had taken the items they had recovered from the guy who had found them. Jace had taken some glee in watching Simon trade his own jacket for Jace's – payback for how he had lost his last one. Okay, sure, Jace could do this without his stele. Concentrating hard, he activated his iratze rune, earning him a high-pitched yelp from Simon, a baffled sound from Lydia and a curious hum from Magnus.

"Angel-blood upgrade", muttered Jace beneath his breath and leaned back against the couch.

"Well, why did you come to the pack?", asked Maia. "Did you miss me that much?"

"Institute was too far away. Next safe place was the boathouse", shrugged Jace.

And he deliberately said boathouse, not Jace Wolf. Simon's head snapped up to stare at him.

"You're an idiot, Jace", sighed Alec as he too hugged Jace. "Don't do that again."

"Well, honestly, being a dog wasn't that bad. Definitely beat being a lab rat", snorted Jace.

"So, do you think we can return to our little vacation then?", inquired Magnus pointedly.

Alec frowned concerned as he cupped Jace's face, searching his parabatai's eyes. Jace was touched by the concern, so he smiled and nodded. He would be fine. He didn't need to impose on them.

"Go ahead and enjoy your fun beach-vacation. Try get some work done though", teased Jace.

Sighing, Alec rested his forehead against Jace's for a long moment, conveying all the worry and concern that Alec seemed to constantly feel on Jace's behalf.

"You're going to hand in a report as soon as you feel better", ordered Lydia seriously. "On that warlock and that Circle member. And then I want you to write a five thousand word essay on why we go on mission in teams and not all on our own. Yes, I'm serious."

"But first, get better. I can stay here with you if you want?", offered Isabelle worried.

"No. Go home with the girlfriend. Try to talk her out of giving me homework", pleaded Jace.

Isabelle laughed and Lydia huffed. Jace very carefully sat up to look over at Luke and Clary.

"Thanks... for coming and worrying", stated the blonde slowly.

"Of course. I...", started Clary before ending it abruptly. "I care about you, Jace. I just... I'm sorry I've been avoiding you. If I hadn't, you would have been on the mission with us. I'm sorry."

Shaking his head, Jace laid back down because sitting and moving were maybe a bit too much. "It's not your fault, Clary. And I get it. I'm used to being avoided too, you know."

"I think we should let him rest some", suggested Luke, resting a firm hand on Clary's shoulder.

Everyone in the room agreed and Simon was the first one vanishing at vampire speed, even before Jace could open his mouth to protest. Great. There went his chance at talking to Simon. He was so not in any condition to go after him. And while Jace didn't want for Isabelle to be stuck with him and fuss, or for Alec to cancel his vacation, he was also well-aware that he couldn't move for the next couple hours, not without intense pain. As everyone cleared out of the loft, he settled in for a couple lonely, cold hours on the couch. Without Simon.

/break\

Jace was holding his ribs as he leaned heavily against the door-frame, weakly knocking. Making his way to the boathouse had been so much easier back when he had turned into a dog because he got four paws to support him instead of two wobbly legs. He had to use a stamina rune, but he wasn't quite sure if it had been a good idea because now he was left even more exhausted.

"Wha—Jace", squeaked Simon wide-eyed as he opened the door. "W—What are you doing here?"

Jace just looked at the startled vampire. Every muscle in his body ached after his body had been changed completely. All bones having been broken and reset, the muscles of his legs stretched painfully from the short length of a puppy's legs. Everything hurt, but he was used enough to pain to push his body until it was where he wanted it to be. Namely with Simon. Now that this goal was reached, his body shut down, done for the day. His legs shook and he collapsed forward, but he wasn't too worried. He trusted Simon to catch him. Which the vampire did.

"Jace?", asked Simon frightened, gently cradling Jace closer to his chest.

"M fine", slurred Jace, trying to adjust a little in Simon's grip.

"Jesus Christ, you're such a bad liar", grunted Simon irritated. "Let's get you inside, stupid Shadowhunter who thinks he's fucking invincible like he's Superman..."

Jace yelped roughly as he was just picked up by Simon like he weighted nothing. And oh. Vampire strength. How had he never thought of that before? Images of Simon manhandling him flooded his mind, making him blush furiously as he buried his face in Simon's neck to hide said blush.

"Superman's not invincible", mumbled Jace weakly. "He's allergic to Kryptonite."

Simon paused in his steps and stared down at him. "Did you just... What?"

"I know you think we Shadowhunters are somehow completely uneducated on comics and movies and shows, but we're not totally oblivious to what happens in the mundie world", huffed Jace.

Simon made a slightly high-pitched sound at that before mumbling so lowly Jace only barely caught half the mumbling. "I swear, every time I think he can't become more perfect, he suddenly starts dashing out comic-references. Stupid, stupidly pretty Shadowhunter..."

But before Jace could dwell on that, he was being put down on Simon's bed and gently tucked in. He blinked slowly at that, watching Simon from beneath his lashes. Simon was so weird.

"You ran out", whispered Jace softly. "So I had to follow you. It's your fault."

"Oh, sure, it's my fault. What else is new?", snarked Simon with a glare. "That didn't mean you had to follow me. In fact, it meant the exact opposite. You should have stayed at home."

Jace bit his lips hard to keep from saying something stupid and embarrassing. Like I am home. Because yes, in Simon's bed, surrounded by Simon's scent, with Simon next to him, this definitely felt more like home than the Institute or the loft or any other place. So instead, Jace just snuggled more into Simon's pillow, trying to get a bit more comfortable.

"We need to talk, Si", sighed Jace softly.

"You need to sleep. And get better", declared Simon stubbornly. "No arguments. Sleep. Now."

Jace shuddered a little and he wanted to blame it on the breeze going through the boathouse but he knew that Simon being stubborn and authoritative like that was kind of a turn-on. And he was tired. Yawning widely, Jace snuggled up more into Simon's bed and drifted off to sleep without meaning to. He wanted to talk to Simon, wanted to confront the vampire about their feelings. But his body apparently has had enough. It just shut down, now that he was with Simon, now that he was safe.

/break\

Simon groaned exhausted. It was stupid, probably, but he just sat there next to the bed, watching Jace sleep. Jace was so beautiful when sleeping. All serene and peaceful, soft hair falling into his face and that gave him even more of a cute edge. And considering this might be the last time he got to see Jace like that, because Jace had forced his body all the way here to talk to him and to tell Simon that he was totally grossed out by all the things Simon had told him.

No. Jace wasn't going to be cruel about it. He wouldn't have come here now and allowed himself to fall asleep in Simon's bed like that if he was really disgusted. So maybe Jace was going to let him down easily, perhaps the whole 'It's not you, it's me. I'm super-straight' spiel.

Stupid gorgeous Shadowhunter who had stolen his heart and decided to keep it.

"...Have you been watching me sleep this whole time, creep?"

Simon's eyes widened and he blushed a little as those incredibly beautiful mismatched eyes opened to look at him sleepily. So cute. How was Jace allowed to be this cute? Jace pulled the blanket closer around himself, wearing it more like a cocoon. So very adorable.

"N—No", lied Simon weakly, flushing.

"You're such a bad liar", teased Jace with a grin as he slowly sat up and winced.

"Hey, no, stay put. You need to heal", chided Simon concerned.

"I don't need to heal. There's nothing physically wrong with me. And I feel better", huffed Jace.

Simon wanted to continue arguing Jace and possibly tie him to the bed so the blonde would stay put and actually rest some more. But then Jace sat up straight and stretched and that was when something shimmering caught Simon's full attention. Simon had been too distracted this afternoon when Jace had reached the boathouse and before that, at the loft, Simon had barely looked at Jace. Now he did. And he saw that Jace was still wearing the collar. Alec had haphazardly thrown on a pair of sweat-pants and a shirt but he hadn't bothered taking off Prince's collar, too busy focusing on making sure that his parabatai was alright. And here Jace was, still wearing the collar.

Simon felt like his head would explode every second now, the sheer embarrassment taking him over as only one thought passed his head – Jace was wearing Simon's collar and the collar looked so pretty around the Shadowhunter's neck and since when was that something Simon liked, he had never thought about such a thing before, but it looked so perfect on Jace.

"...Why are you staring at me like that, weird vampire?", asked Jace suspiciously.

"Y—You're still wearing the collar", blurted Simon out because who needed filters.

Jace blinked, very slowly, before reaching up to his collarbone where the golden metal-plate was resting. His hand wandered up some more to trace the leather-collar that laid comfortably enough around his neck that he hadn't even noticed, apparently. The red leather looked so pretty against his skin and Simon knew that image would forever be burned into his mind.

"We need to talk, Simon", sighed Jace as he struggled to sit up straighter.

Simon took a deep breath to steel himself. "Okay. Say it."

"It?", asked Jace a bit thrown, looking adorably confused – like a puppy.

"Yes", grunted Simon and made a bit of a face as he made a leisure hand-movement. "The whole 'It's not you, it's me. I'm sorry, I'm straight. We can be friends'. Which, I don't know, but I guess friends would be an upgrade from whatever you and I had before, right? So, yeah, all good."

"...Shut up, please", grunted Jace and rubbed his face. "How about you let me do the talking since you seem to be failing at it gloriously today?"

"Uhm, okay", nodded Simon unsure, eyeing the blonde in his bed wearily.

"You're so confusing, Lewis", sighed Jace, half-laying at this point, elbow propped up at the side of the canoe and supporting his face as he glared up at the vampire. "One minute, you think so lowly of me that you think I'd ride into the sunset with Clary after breaking your heart and the next moment, you're sprouting nonsense about me being a literal angel."

"It's not nonsense!", interrupted Simon fiercely because he already made a fool of himself so why not go all the way. "You are. I... I meant every word I said, you know. Every single word."

"So you wanna marry me?", snorted Jace and raised both eyebrows in light amusement.

"Well, I mean, I want to date you and work up to that, but I'm also the person who planned his wedding to Clary when he was like eight, so I tend to get ahead of myself", muttered Simon defensively, blushing. "And Jace Lewis does sound great and you can punch me for it, I don't care."

Simon paused surprised when he saw the bright blush on Jace's cheeks. "...Yeah, it does."

"W—What?", sputtered Simon, stumbling backward a little.

Jace rolled his eyes at him, watching him with fond annoyance. "I... like you too, idiot. A lot. But I'm... I'm just not... good with the feelings stuff and I thought you never saw me as more than a rival for Clary's affections anyway and I... Honestly, if you had listened to Luke and talked to me after this whole mess, if I hadn't heard what you said the other night... I would have probably punched you and walked out because I don't understand... why someone would love me."

His voice became so delicate and barely audible that Simon only heard him thanks to the vampire hearing. Simon looked mortified at that. That thought had never even crossed his mind. Sure, he knew the infamous falcon-story. The horrendous lesson that to be loved meant to be destroyed. And yeah, the track-record of people who should love him but didn't show it the way they should – Valentine, Jocelyn for that brief period of time of believing to be his mother, Granny Inquisitor, Clary – how was Jace supposed to believe in romantic love if he doesn't even get the unconditional family love he should get? Without thinking, Simon pulled Jace into a tight, fierce hug.

"I love you", declared Simon firmly. "I love you. I love you so much, it's ridiculous. I... I know you're not perfect and I also know you have issues, but that doesn't make me love you any less and I promise I'll never intentionally hurt you, Jace, because you deserve to experience love that... that means happiness and warmth and not pain and loss and fear."

Jace laid stiff in his arms while Simon talked, but Simon didn't let that stop him. He just continued hugging the blonde, until Jace went slack in his arms and then clung onto Simon himself, face buried in Simon's neck. He was shaking a little as though he was crying, but no sound left his lips.

"I'm a mess", argued Jace softly. "Me loving you will only hurt you. You'll only become a prime target for Valentine. I got... so many issues that my issues got issues. You don't need to deal with all of that. It's already... too much that I burden Alec and Magnus with it."

"You don't burden the people who love you", chided Simon gently as he brought enough distance between them to cup Jace's cheek and make the blonde look at him. "Alec's your brother, he's your parabatai, he loves you so of course will he do everything to help you. And I'm pretty sure Magnus is one signature apart from adopting you at this point. And I... I love you, Jace, I wanna make you feel safe and happy and... and cherished, because you deserve that. Every time I learn some horrendous new detail about your childhood, it makes my stomach churn and it makes me want to just... just keep you far away from Valentine, somewhere where you'd be safe. I know I can't, I know you're a fighter and you'll keep fighting, but that doesn't mean I don't wanna protect you. Even though you do basically all the protecting between the two of us, but I've been training with Luke and Maia, you know? I'll get better. More useful for quests. I even asked... Magnus, to teach me about Downworlder customs so something like at the Seelie Court will never happen again because I nearly got you killed and I couldn't live with that, because I love you."

Simon was only half embarrassed by all the rambling he did there, but the bigger part of him knew it was the right thing to say because Jace looked so small and fragile and doubtful, like he genuinely didn't understand why Simon would bother with him and it hurt so much to see that.

"You're... so tough and strong all the time and you protect everyone and I...", started Simon softly, caressing Jace's cheek with his thumb. "I want to be strong for you, I want to be able to protect you too because you'd throw your own life away to protect others so you need someone to make sure you survive this mess too. I want to be strong for you so you don't have to always be strong. So you can be... not weak, because you're not weak, but... soft? I don't know. Words are hard."

It got him a soft laugh from Jace, a hoarse but genuine sound. "If... you're sure you wanna put up with me and my drama. But you have to tell me when it becomes too much, Si, okay?"

Simon nodded sharply, hand slipping from Jace's cheek to his neck to slowly pull him closer. "Can... Can I kiss you now? Like... Are you and I boyfriends now?"

Jace nodded jerkily and leaned forward. The kiss was soft and gentle and warm and Jace tasted like an echo of the best taste Simon had ever experienced – Jace's pure angel-blood reviving him after nearly dying at Valentine's hands. He groaned into the kiss, hunger taking over as he deepened the kiss. The kiss lost all gentleness, Jace wrapping his arms around Simon's neck, clinging onto him as he willingly opened his mouth for Simon to explore and plunder. Simon was practically devouring Jace's mouth at that point, the kiss turning nearly obscene, Jace whimpering into it – whimpering, Simon had never imagined Jace to whimper and it might just be the hottest sound Simon had ever heard. Sucking on Jace's tongue, Simon ran his hands down Jace's torso to wrap his arms around the blonde's waist. Jace arched into him, leaning closer into Simon until the canoe finally toppled over, but neither of the boys cared. Simon easily held Jace up by his waist, carefully pulling him closer but not putting him on the floor. Jace mewled – and oh wow, okay, now that was the hottest sound Simon had ever heard and how did the blonde even do that, fuck – as he wrapped his legs around Simon's waist, clinging onto him. Simon grunted and slid his hands from Jace's waist down to his thighs, squeezing and holding them tightly, in a bruising manner that made Jace moan.

"Fuck, you need to stop making sounds", groaned Simon as they parted.

He didn't need air, but Jace needed air and he had to force himself to let go of the blonde for long enough so Jace could breath. Oh dear, Jace looked positively wrecked, lips kiss-swollen and glistering with spit, eyes half-lid and pupils blown. Simon felt himself hardening in his pants just looking at the pretty blonde, especially when Jace blushed and ducked his head a little.

"Sorry", muttered Jace embarrassed. "I know I make too much noise."

"Wha...? No", huffed Simon surprised, grip on Jace's thighs tightening. "You make amazing sounds and I wanna like hear them all, all the time, but... if you keep making those sounds right now, I will so pin you down and ravish you right now and I wanna do this properly and woo you with dates before sex. So you totally need to stop being irresistibly tempting, you hear?"

Jace stared doe-eyed at him for another moment before he burst into laughter and buried his face in Simon's chest. "Fuck, you're so ridiculous. Idiot vampire."

"Your idiot vampire", hummed Simon with a broad, happy grin. "...Right?"

"Right", nodded Jace, cheeks darkening again as he looked up at Simon. "So... you plan on carrying me around all day, or will you put me down too?"

"Oh gosh, sorry!", yelped Simon flustered, letting go of Jace as he gently put the blonde down. "Stubborn, independent Shadowhunter and all, probably wants to kick me for manhandling him."

He watched in awe how Jace caught his lower lip between his teeth to chew it slowly. "I... don't mind. Ikindalikeitactually,it'sreallyfuckinghot."

"...Can you repeat that and like breath in between words?", asked Simon stunned.

He watched Jace fidget and wow, he really liked this side of Jace. The one that wasn't cocky like every breath he took was absolute perfection that needed to be bowed to. This slightly insecure one, baring his true feelings to Simon. Trusting Simon enough to bare himself like this. It made Simon's heart swell with pride and the vampire promised to himself that he would always do everything in his powers to make Jace continue trusting him like this.

"I kinda... like it. It's really fucking hot", repeated Jace slower, heart jumping nervously.

"Hey", whispered Simon gently, cupping Jace's cheek again. "You don't need to be... nervous about telling me what you like. If this relationship's supposed to work, then you and I have to be able to trust each other and talk to each other. Be honest with each other. Like... Like Clary wasn't being with me, but also like you just were with me. You gotta tell me what you like and also what you don't like, so... so we both can... enjoy this, right?"

"Right", nodded Jace slowly, looking up at Simon from beneath his long lashes. "Yeah. I... You're right. I'm just... uh... new to this whole... relationship-thing."

"...Don't tell me I'm your first", yelped Simon wide-eyed.

Jace rolled his eyes and punched him lightly on the arm. "I'm not a virgin, Lewis. I just... I'm a one-night-stand kind of guy. I've never had an actual... relationship before."

"Oh", nodded Simon, ruffling his own hair with one hand and laying his other arm around Jace's waist to pull the blonde closer. "Okay. Cool. Yeah. We'll do this together, okay? And for that, we gotta be honest with each other, as a first rule. The rest, we'll figure out together."

"That... sounds good", agreed Jace with a small grin.

"So... you like it when I do this?", asked Simon with a sly, nearly cheeky, grin on his lips.

Jace yelped when Simon bent down just a little to grasp him by the backside of his thighs just below the swell of his ass to lift him up again. Glaring down at the vampire, Jace wrapped his arms around Simon's neck. Simon's grin just turned into a bright smile at that.

"...Yes", huffed Jace and rolled his eyes.

"Great. Because I think I like it too. Still getting used to the vampire-strength thing, but definitely enjoying the perks of it", declared Simon, whirling his blonde around once.

Yelping once more, Jace clung a little tighter onto him. "So, you think your vampire-strength and vampire-speed can get us back to the loft ASAP? Because the nap was nice, but I'm still sore and exhausted from the magic. And I'd like to not sleep in a canoe."

"You gotta hold on tightly though", prompted Simon concerned.

He carefully adjusted Jace some, Jace wrapping his legs around Simon's waist once more as Simon held Jace by one thigh, his other arm around Jace's back to press him close. Simon held him like the most precious thing on the planet – which he was, definitely. Still, Simon was kind of glad when they reached the loft and more importantly Jace's room, so Simon could gently put his Shadowhunter – his Shadowhunter – down onto the bed. Jace groaned relieved and collapsed backward, spreading his arms out. Simon stood next to the bed, watching the blonde fondly.

"Don't be a creep, Lewis", grunted Jace, grabbing for his pillow to throw it at Simon's head.

Simon blinked as he caught the pillow. "Uh. Right. Yeah. I'll... I'll go."

"Don't be awkward, Lewis", sighed Jace, sitting up a little. "I meant, you're not supposed to just stand there and watch me sleep again. Lay down. It's getting pretty late anyway. Bedtime."

"B—Bedtime?", echoed Simon, cheeks flushing.

Jace laid back down, patting the spot next to him. "Yes. I'm tired. Stay with me? Just to sleep."

Simon smiled gently at that and at the slightly flustered look on Jace's face. "Honestly, I think you would have been less embarrassed asking for sex than for cuddles, huh?"

"Sex is simple", mumbled Jace with a pout. "Oh, shut up."

"I think that's cute", grinned Simon as he also climbed onto the bed. "I think you're cute."

Jace glared at him threateningly, but Simon silenced him with a gentle kiss, pulling him close into a hug and holding him tightly until Jace fell asleep in his arms. Smiling down at his boyfriend – his boyfriend, Jace was his boyfriend – Simon kissed Jace's temple.

/break\

"Stay put. No more squirming", warned Simon lowly. "Or do I have to tie you down?"

The whimper spilling from Jace's lips was broken and wrecked and beautiful. Simon's eyes darkened as he looked down at his pretty Shadowhunter. Over the past week, Simon had taken Jace out on three dates. Which was about as long as Jace had lasted before jumping Simon's bones. And wow, had Simon been blown away by having sex with Jace. The fact aside that it had been his first time with a guy, Jace was incredibly handsy and thorough. Honestly, he had barely let Simon do more than 'lay there and look pretty', as Jace had put it.

And while Simon had totally enjoyed it while it had happened, he grew a little suspicious in the aftermath, because Jace had watched him eagerly, hopefully, like he was waiting for a verdict. Simon had asked Jace what was going on and his blonde had flushed a pretty red and admitted, very embarrassed, that while Jace had totally enjoyed their first three dates and was in awe at how much effort Simon had put into it, Jace was kind of lost about those things. He didn't know what he could bring into their relationship. But he knew he was good at sex. Which meant that Simon's boyfriend felt romantically inadequate and was trying to make up for it with sex.

It had been Simon's turn to feel a little lost. What was he supposed to do with that? He hated the idea of Jace feeling inadequate, or like he had to do something to earn his status as Simon's boyfriend. No, no, no. Simon didn't like that at all. So this morning, Simon had gathered all of his courage to give Jace some payback. To show Jace just how much Simon appreciated him.

"I warned you", chided Simon a little amused as he grabbed his scarf off the floor.

With vampire-speed, Simon tied his boyfriend to the headboard. Jace grunted in surprise, blinking.

"S—Simon?", sputtered Jace a little nervously, tugging on the bonds.

"Mh?", drawled Simon, gently running his fingers down Jace's arms. "You're a Shadowhunter. You could break the damn headboard if you wanted. You don't even need that strength to get the scarf off. It's alright, Jace. I just... See it as a symbol. I want you to stay put and let me do, okay?"

Jace frowned as he stared up at the scarf. It was loose enough that Jace could easily free himself. And even if not, Simon knew his boyfriend could easily break the headboard if he truly needed to escape. This was more of a way to test a theory for Simon.

"You wanna please me, right?", whispered Simon, voice low and dark as he nibbled Jace's earlobe.

"Ye—es", nodded Jace, arching into the touch of Simon's hand on his sixpack.

"Good. Then be good and stay put", ordered Simon seriously. "That would please me."

Jace wanted to please Simon, he wanted to make sure that he was doing good in this relationship, that Simon wasn't growing tired or annoyed by him. Simon had run that by Maia and Bat, in desperate need of another opinion on the matter. While Bat had been red-eared, Maia had laughed. She had pushed him into the direction of, ah, praise kinks. That maybe the verbal confirmation that Simon was happy with him, was pleased by him, was thinking that Jace was good, maybe that would help him relax into their relationship. Simon nearly kissed her, but then he left that part to Bat and ran out of the Jade Wolf and back to the loft to take care of his boyfriend.

"You're so gorgeous", whispered Simon as he kissed down Jace's torso. "My gorgeous boyfriend."

"Si—i", whimpered Jace, bucking up. "Lemme do something. Lemme get you off."

"Oh, you are getting me off", huffed Simon in protest, gently pressing down on Jace's stomach to pin him to the bed. "Just kissing you and seeing you all naked, arching your body like that, hearing you whimper so prettily, you have no idea how painfully hard you get me, angel."

Jace's breath stuttered at the nickname. Something Simon had noticed on the second day of dating Jace. When Simon had first called him 'angel', Simon had instantly been ready to take it back, thinking Jace wouldn't like the cheesy nickname. Instead, Simon's vampire-hearing picked up how Jace's breath hitched and he saw the red rise to Jace's cheeks. Jace liked the nickname. A lot.

"I am having such a good time just sitting there, looking at you, angel", assured Simon gently as he trailed gentle kisses down Jace's stomach, one hand wrapped around Jace's dick. "You have no idea how often you're being so cute. Did you know you actually talk along to nearly everything Buffy says? I adore that. I never thought you'd be like a nerd for that. And how you cuddle with the cats is just ridiculously adorable. And how you ran away from the ducks when we were on our picnic on Tuesday. And having you lay beneath me like that, trusting me completely, it's amazing."

Jace looked like he had melted. His eyes were closed in bliss, mouth hanging open.

"Jace, angel? Do you want to be even better for me?", asked Simon softly, instantly getting Jace's full attention, the blonde nodding wildly. "Spread your legs for me, babe."

There was a tiny little sound escaping Jace at the new nickname, but the blonde eagerly complied, spreading his legs as far as possible. Simon marveled at just how far Jace could spread his legs like that. Honestly, his blonde was ridiculously flexible and Simon was itching to try all the possibilities out. For now, he needed to ground Jace, assure him that even if Jace just laid there – as he had made Simon do last time – he was already perfect for Simon. They needed to balance their sex-life out, for that Simon needed to show his blonde that he didn't have to do everything.

"So good", whispered Simon in a praising manner. "So good for me. Always so good for me. Like when you cooked ravioli from scratch for me the other day – mixing blood into the tomato sauce to make it actually work for me, because you're so sweet and considerate and then you blush and glare because you don't want people to know you're sweet and considerate."

Jace tilted his head, trying to bury his flustered face in the pillow. Simon grinned broadly. He felt like this was working. Grabbing the lube from beside them, he poured a generous amount over his fingers before slipping them down to Jace's hole. It twitched at the touch. Simon leaned down to kiss the inside of Jace's thigh as he eased one finger in.

"Still so tight, babe", whispered Simon in awe. "Even though we just had sex last night, you're still so tight for me. I can't wait to be inside of you, you feel so good around me, angel."

All he got was a broken whimper as Simon rubbed Jace's prostate. Giant grin on his lips, Simon added a second finger. He took his sweet time prepping Jace, watching in fascination how Jace occasionally tugged on the scarf as though he wanted to free his hands and touch Simon and jerk himself off, but then the blonde remembered that Simon had told him to be good and stay put and Jace would freeze up and relax in his bonds again. It made Simon's cock twitch eagerly, to see Jace obey to sweetly. Damn, this was way hotter than Simon had pictured it when he had planned it this afternoon. He added a third finger, cautious to not hurt his lover.

"How you feeling, angel?", asked Simon concerned. "You're uncharacteristically quiet."

Jace blinked very slowly, eyes kind of unfocused as he stared at Simon, not answering. Simon frowned, his concern growing. He paused his motion and leaned up to cup Jace's face.

"Hey, Jace", whispered Simon. "Jace, I need you to tell me if you're alright."

Blinking once more, Jace nodded slowly. "Y—Yes. Yeah, I'm... I'm fine. I'm sorry. I don't..."

Simon heaved a relieved sigh and placed a gentle kiss on Jace's lips. "No, no, you don't need to be sorry, you're wonderful. Perfect. I was just worried. Just had to make sure that this isn't too weird for you and that you're so quiet because you're not enjoying it."

"I love it", whispered Jace in slight awe as he stared at Simon with such an open expression, looking utterly confused. "I have no idea what you're doing here, because it's just... just words, but I've never felt that... that... I don't know. I feel kinda floaty. It's really nice. Weird, but nice."

Simon's entire face lit up at that and he stole a slightly deeper kiss from his boyfriend. "Okay. That's perfect. Then just continue doing that. You're so good for me. You think you're ready to take me in? Or do you need another moment to clear your head?"

Jace shook his head hastily. "I'm good. Promise. I need you, Si. Fuck, you got me really needy here, don't leave me hanging any longer, just fuck me already, Lewis."

Snorting slightly, Simon pulled his fingers out. Yeah, that mouthy attitude was what he had been missing. Well, not particularly missing, but the lack of it had gotten Simon worried. After all, with how eager Jace was to please, he had taken the silence as Jace not enjoying it and staying quiet about it to let Simon do. They needed to figure out a kind of system or something so Simon could know things were alright. He was pretty sure that there was a whole lot of research and embarrassing conversations with Maia ahead of him, but if he wanted to make Jace happy – which he really did – then he needed to do this right. For the both of them. Grasping Jace's thighs, Simon slipping his dick into the loose, lubed-up hole. Jace gasped and arched his back off the bed.

"So pretty", whispered Simon with a gentle smile. "You have no idea how incredibly pretty you are when you're impaled on my cock like that, Jace. Fuck, you're so hot like that."

Jace flushed again and closed his eyes, bliss taking him over as Simon started to fuck him slowly. Honestly, Jace really had no idea how happy he made Simon by just being at Simon's side. By picking Simon, by wanting Simon, by smiling so happily at him every time Simon did something nice for him, by doing little things like sneakily stealing blood-bags from the Institute's infirmary, by falling asleep cuddled up to Simon. Literally just existing and breathing.

"Gorgeous, pretty Shadowhunter", whispered Simon, kissing Jace's neck. "My gorgeous, pretty Shadowhunter. So good for me. I want you to come for me, can you do that? Can you be good for me and do that? I'm so close, just seeing you like this. I want for us to come together, babe."

Jace gave a sharp nod and as Simon started jerking him off, Jace came nearly instantly, Simon following close behind. Both of them collapsed on the bed together, breathless. Gently, Simon removed the scarf and gathered Jace up in his arms to pull him close and kiss him.

"So good for me, angel", praised Simon, peppering Jace's face. "You're being so good for me all the time, you're the perfect boyfriend for me, Jace. Please stop doubting that. I'm not going to drop you, babe. I love you. I want to be with you. I know you're still struggling with the romance-stuff, but that's okay because we've only been dating for like a week now, but I know you'll get the hang of it and you'll come up with beautiful dates for us too, you just need some time to adapt. You're a fast learner. You're amazing. I love you, don't think I'll drop you just because I'm currently cooking up all the romance. I have 18 years of rom-com movies in my head to work through, no worries I have enough dates I want to go on with you, enough time for you to get used to it."

"...I love you, Si", whispered Jace in awe as he kissed Simon gently.

"I know, angel", grinned Simon pleased. "Now rest some, okay?"

Humming in agreement, Jace snuggled up to him and was out like a candle within the minute. Simon was in total awe as he watched his Shadowhunter sleep. He really, truly loved his blonde. He could have spent all night just marveling at how peaceful the sleeping blonde was – which, okay, Simon knew it was kinda creepy but he couldn't help it – alas, he was interrupted by the opening of the door at around two in the morning and two people entering the bedroom.

"I just wanna make sure he's fine, Mag", grunted Alec. "After how we left him a week ago..."

The archer was turned toward the door to look at Magnus, but Magnus' eyes were trained on the bed and there was amusement dancing in them. "Oh, he looks very fine to me. More than fine."

Confused, Alec turned toward them too, just to make a very disturbed sound. "Oh by the Angel, what the hell is going on here? What... What did you do to my parabatai, vampire?"

Simon wanted to protest at the tone of voice Alec was using, but then his eyes found Jace. And yeah. There were bruises on Jace's wrists, hips and thighs, because Simon was still struggling with delicate grips and controlling his strength while Jace was very greedy to be marked. Simon had found Jace this morning, pressing his fingers into the bruises on his waist with a nearly gleeful expression on his face. When Simon – in a very high-pitched voice – had asked about it, Jace had explained that he kind of liked this reminder of their night together, the physical evidence that he was Simon's. That had so not helped Simon's flustered state, of course.

"I swear I didn't force him", blurted Simon out, panic in his eyes because Alec was going for his blade already, a fire in the Shadowhunter's eyes. "It was all totally consensual! Please wake up, Jace, I need you to save my life before your brother turns me into cold cuts! C'mon, angel, please?"

"...Shaddap, Si, lemme sleep", groaned Jace sleepily, grabbing a pillow to cover Simon's face and silence him. "You can't fuck my brains out and wake me in the middle of the night. Stupid vampire. I bet Mag would never do that to his Shadowhunter. Learn some manners from him."

Simon mumbled something, muffled by the pillow, before he removed it and glared at the blonde. "Jace, 'Mag and his Shadowhunter' are literally standing at the foot-end of the bed."

Grunting confused, Jace sat up some and stared surprised at the other couple. Alec had by now readied his sword and was pointing it threateningly at Simon, which only confused Jace even more.

"Alec? Stop threatening my boyfriend? It's too late for that shit", grunted Jace. "And the 'protective big brother speech' is supposed to be, ya know, a speech and not actual physical threats."

"H—He... Y—You...", stuttered Alec and looked from one to the other. "Seriously?!"

"Ye—eah. Kinda happened when I got turned into a dog. No, stop turning green Alec, not like that you utter perv, seriously. No, I just... I overheard what Simon was feeling for me when I was a dog and I confronted him about it after I got turned back and now he's kind of my... boyfriend", explained Jace with a shrug while Simon grabbed a blanket to wrap it around his boyfriend's shoulders and cover him up some. "Can I go back to sleep now? Because whatever the fuck it is that Simon did there earlier, it seriously knocked me out."

"TMI", groaned Alec, putting his sword away. "Yeah, go back to sleep, Jace." Jace hummed pleased by that and snuggled back up against Simon, closing his eyes and drifting off within seconds. "And you, Simon, if even one of those bruises on my parabatai happened out of malice and not passion, I will personally severe your limbs one by one. Slowly. Without a knife."

"N—Noted down", nodded Simon wide-eyed, staring pleadingly at Magnus.

"I'm sorry, Simon, but Alexander is quite protective of his parabatai", shrugged Magnus casually before flashing his eyes golden in a nearly menacing way. "So am I at this point, I'm afraid."

"Okay. Sure. Yeah. No hurting Jace. Not that I had plans for that", nodded Simon traumatized.

When the other couple left the bedroom, Simon laid back down stiffly, staring up at the ceiling with wide eyes. He knew that if he were to ever break Jace's heart, he'd be a goner. Good thing he wasn't planning on breaking Jace's heart. Slowly relaxing, he pulled his boyfriend closer and kissed him.

/break\

It happened about two weeks after Magnus' and Alec's return that Jace noticed something was inherently wrong with his boyfriend. Simon kept fidgeting. He'd sometimes just fall silent when Jace entered the room, ominously hanging up his phone or stuttering. Simon was avoiding him in some kind of way. He had also made a habit of practically fleeing after sex. And it hurt.

"What's gotten into you, Prince Charming?"

Jace blinked and looked up, a small half-smile forming on his lips as Bat jumped over the backrest of the bench Jace was sitting on. Somehow, the two of them had become fast friends after Jace got turned back to human and started dating Simon. They would sometimes even go on double-dates, Jace and Simon with Maia and Bat. And Bat was very stubbornly sticking to the stupid dog-name, thinking it to be ridiculously funny that Jace pretty much looked like a real-life Prince Charming anyway. Bat grinned at him as he got comfortable next to Jace.

"No, seriously, what's wrong with you, man?", asked Bat concerned. "You've been kind of... subdued the past couple days? Missions getting to you, or what?"

"It's... Simon", muttered Jace softly, fidgeting with his hands.

"Huh?", grunted Bat confused, bumping shoulders with Jace. "Tell me about it."

"I just... I think he wants to break up with me", whispered Jace, barely audible.

"Du—ude, are you crazy?", asked Bat stunned. "He's like head over heels in love with you."

"I dunno", grunted Jace frustrated, resting his face in his hands. "He's been... avoiding me. Started saying stuff just to pause and never finish the sentences. Like he wants to break up with me but can't find the right words to do it and doesn't want to hurt my feelings. I know I'm a shitty boyfriend. I don't even know how to boyfriend. I probably just suck so hard at it that... he's tired of me."

"Jace, dude, no", grunted Bat and shook his head. "No. Really. That's totally wrong."

"Yeah, right", huffed Jace with a nasty half-smirk. "Look, you don't need to try and cheer me up. I knew from the beginning that this is a stupid idea. He's too good and sweet. I knew me and my drama would just... become too much. Whatever. I'm used to being abandoned, it doesn't matter."

With that, Jace shrugged Bat off and stood to leave the park, no longer in the mood for anything. Bat made an aborted motion as though he wanted to go after him, but in the end he thought better of it. Jace buried his hands deep in his pockets, head hanging low as he made his way back home. What he had said to Bat was true; he had known from the beginning that this wouldn't last. The only people who had always put up with his shit without complaining were Alec, Izzy and Max. And they were his siblings. Simon had no obligation to put up with the nightmares and panic attacks Jace occasionally had – he had attacked the vampire on more than one occasion by now, when a flashback tore him from sleep and left him in too much of a haze to distinguish between Valentine and not-Valentine. For now, Jace seemed to be able to hold Simon with sex, at least. But the vampire left even before dawn at this point. He stayed for a couple hours of cuddling, but didn't even stick around for breakfast anymore. And it hurt. So much.

"Okay, seriously, what is wrong with you?"

Jace stumbled a little as he entered the loft to be faced by an angry Alec and a concerned Magnus. "Nothing. What is it with people asking me that today?! I'm totally fine."

"Oh yes, that sounded convincing", nodded Magnus sarcastically.

"I can feel that you're not fine, you idiot", sighed Alec, rubbing his parabatai-rune before stepping up to Jace and cupping his neck to bring their foreheads against each other. "What is it? Talk to me, parabatai. The last three days, I woke up because of a gut-wrenching pain coming from you."

"It's just... just...", muttered Jace softly, voice rough. "When I wake up, Si is mostly already gone. Sorry I'm projecting my feelings onto you through the bond."

"What do you mean by 'gone'?", asked Magnus gently, resting a calming hand on Jace's shoulder.

"Gone-gone", huffed Jace frustrated. "He just... leaves. Like he was just there for sex. And maybe I've just chased him away so far because I don't know how to be a good boyfriend that all we have at this point is sex and it's fucking frustrating."

He clawed his hands into Alec's shirt, not seeing the murderous glint in the archer's eyes as he wrapped his arms tightly around Jace's waist. Alec searched for Magnus' eyes over his parabatai's shoulder, just to have his boyfriend nod firmly. Magnus' own face was marred with a frown as the warlock opened up a portal. Alec was two seconds from pushing Jace off so he could march through that portal and kick some vampire ass when all of a sudden, Simon stumbled through the portal.

"W—What?", squeaked Simon stunned, staring at the trio.

"...Do you make a habit of just walking through random portals?", inquired Magnus curiously.

"No", exclaimed Simon, trying to straighten himself and taking deep breaths to stop himself from puking. "Bat was in the middle of berating me when the portal opened and he got a creepily gleeful expression on his face and pushed me through, saying something about 'the scary archer roping his cool wizard into fixing this shit'. Whatever that means."

"It means that someone needs to teach Bat that I'm not Harry Potter", drawled Magnus.

"Scary archer", snorted Alec before gently prying Jace off himself to step around his parabatai and stalk up to Simon, back straight to impose his entire height on the vampire. "Let me show you."

"W—What?", squeaked Simon, instinctively backing off.

"I will gut you like a fish and I will tear out your spine and feed it to you", growled Alec so lowly that Simon's vampire-hearing was the only in the room to pick it up. "And before that, I will use you for target-practice if you don't fix my parabatai."

The threat was heated as he glared Simon down. The vampire looked confused but he nodded so hastily, his head nearly fell off with the force. Magnus rested a gentle hand on Alec's arm to gain his attention. Together, the couple left the living room so only Jace and Simon remained.

"Just get it over with", whispered Jace roughly.

"Jace, babe, I have no idea what is going on?", offered Simon confused as he stepped up to his boyfriend. "I have no idea what Bat and Alec are talking about. Or what you're talking about."

"Just break up with me so we can be done with it", growled Jace defensively.

"...What?", grunted Simon stunned, trying to cup Jace's face.

"No", growled Jace and side-stepped him, his eyes blazing with fear and anger at the same time. "I... I know I'm not a good boyfriend like you are, I know me and my issues had to become too much at some point and I always knew all I'd bring into this relationship is sex-"

"Woah, slow down, breath, angel", requested Simon, gently caressing Jace's face. "You bring so much more into this relationship than just sex. What makes you say that?"

"...You've been leaving lately. Before dawn", whispered Jace softly, not looking Simon in the eyes.

"Shit", hissed Simon beneath his breath, eyes widening before he pulled Jace into a very gentle and very loving kiss. "I'm sorry. I'm so, so, so sorry, angel. I... I should have known you'd take that as... as some kind of personal insult. No, no, no. I didn't leave because of you, I swear, Jace, I love you. I left because your parabatai scares the shit out of me."

"What?", grunted Jace surprised, taking a step back.

"He's been nearly constantly threatening me since him and Magnus returned from their vacation", muttered Simon. "Not... verbally – well, once or twice verbally – but with his looks. And deeds. Like... Like three days ago, with the knife?"

"He was cooking?", offered Jace, clearly confused.

"You do not need a 20cm stainless steel butcher knife to make pancakes", hissed Simon wide-eyed. "He started sharpening his arrows at the breakfast table a week ago, Jace! I'm terrified of the guy. So I've been trying to avoid staying for breakfast. I'm sorry. I... I now realize that might have looked like I was just over for sex and then done with it, but I swear that's not it, angel. I swear."

"Okay...", drawled Jace slowly, reluctantly. "Let's assume that's true-"

"It is, my angel, I swear. I love you, babe", interrupted Simon desperately.

"Let's assume that's true", resumed Jace once more. "You were also avoiding me. Suddenly ending phone-calls when I entered the boathouse, falling silent with Maia and Bat when I come close, aborting sentences and lying to me. Even though you're the one who demanded for us to be honest with each other. But you're such a shitty liar, I know you lied to me about where you were last Wednesday. So. What is it? Do you love me and want to be with me, or not?"

Simon groaned in frustration and tilted his head back, eyes closed. "I'm a fucking idiot."

"No one is arguing that", called Alec from the kitchen. "I'm sharpening the kitchen knives."

"...Okay, maybe he's a tiny bit threatening", admitted Jace thoughtfully.

"He's just protective of you, sweetheart, don't mind him", called Magnus out, also from the kitchen.

"That's it", declared Simon with determination. "Take your jacket. I'll tell you the truth. Everything, I promise, and... and then I'll hope you forgive me for lying. I swear I wasn't lying to deceive you. It... It was meant to be a surprise. A good surprise, really. Please? Come and see for yourself?"

Jace looked skeptical, but he went to fetch his jacket. "Okay. Prove it."

"Magnus, do we have a shovel in the house?", asked Alec, purposefully loud. "Just in case."

"Of course we do, darling", confirmed Magnus lightly.

Jace had to grin just a little as he ducked his head and followed his boyfriend outside. Okay, maybe he had been very good at tuning the subtle threats out. Had Alec really been that way the whole time? Wow. Okay, Jace might have avoided Simon's place if he had to put up with those threats from like Maia. Thankfully, she mainly just made fun of them for being a disgustingly cute couple.

"Where are we going, Dracula?", asked Jace curiously, looking around.

"The surprise", replied Simon simply. "I swear, I thought I was being sneaky and that you didn't expect anything at all and that I'd be able to surprise you next week. If... If I had known you were thinking those awful things, I would have never attempted to surprise you, babe."

Jace remained quiet and allowed Simon to lead him to this ominous surprise. He knew New York pretty well and by the time they stopped, he estimated that they were roughly half-way between the Institute and the Jade Wolf. Curiously, he watched Simon fidget with a key, unlocking the door of a nice brownstone building. Simon led him inside, into an apartment that was very bare and also very spacious. It clearly stood empty. Simon opened one of the doors and stepped in, walking over to what looked like the only piece of furniture in the place, and leaned against it.

"So, the apartment is the main surprise. Bat and I, we signed the lease last week. What with him being new to New York and having lived at the Jade Wolf so far, he really needs a place. And I know I need a place. Living in the boathouse isn't a long-term solution and since I got this really gorgeous boyfriend with whom I am rocking the canoe regularly, I need like a bed. So Bat and I, we decided to move in together. And I kind of want you to move in here with us. With me. In the same room. And bed. Because I love falling asleep with you in my arms and waking up with you in my arms and I know you like it too, so you'd be staying a lot anyway and I figured we could just skip that phase and you could right away be here with me and I love you. But I thought maybe taking this step so soon in our relationship would make you panicky, so I got you this to bribe you.", rambled Simon, clearly nervous, as he fisted the white sheet and pulled it off the piece of furniture.

Jace stared a little baffled at the beautiful, old piano. Slowly, he stepped up to run gentle fingers over the dark wood. It was gorgeous. And it looked expensive; old. Jace looked at it in awe.

"Y—You got me a ten thousand dollar piano to make me move in with you?", whispered Jace.

"...It didn't cost me that much. In fact, you'll be paying for it, actually", admitted Simon awkwardly, blushing. "You see, it belonged to my grandfather, but since he passed away, it had been collecting dust at bubbeh's. So... I called her when I signed the lease and asked her if I could maybe have it, because I have this beautiful boyfriend who plays and she agreed under one condition – that we'd have to host next Hanukkah and that you'd have to play for the family. Sorry?"

"...What?", asked Jace slowly, gaping. "Y—You got your grandfather's piano? To make me move in with you? A—And you committed me to... to spending Hanukkah with your... family? Do you... really want me to meet them? And for a big holiday like that. You didn't have to, Si."

"Don't be silly, that's not the problem", huffed Simon with a frown, gently cupping Jace's cheek. "Of course do I want for my family to meet the boy I love." Simon paused and turned to look out the door into the rest of the apartment. "So... this would be the music room. For your piano and my guitar and for making music. Bat and Luke agreed to help me isolate the room so we won't bother Bat and Maia. Come, let me show you the rest of the place! Okay, so, this is the living room, obviously. I love the high windows. Lots of sun. Heh. And the kitchen. Modern and spacious so you can cook as much as you want! And we got two bedrooms and two bathrooms, which means you won't have to share a bathroom with Maia, which was kind of her condition because she is convinced you're the kind of person to take two hours in the bathroom before leaving the house. This one will be Maia and Bat's bedroom – they already got the reinforced door and they want bars for the window, just to be sure since Bat hasn't perfected his control just yet. And... this would be, if you'd agree, our room. Otherwise, it'd just be my room, which would be totally cool too and you can come over however often you want and yeah, that's fine too-"

Jace shut him up by pulling him into a kiss. Their own place. Simon didn't want to break up with him, he wanted to surprise Jace with an apartment. And a freaking piano. Jace deepened the kiss as he clung onto his boyfriend's neck. Simon gladly crowded him against the wall of their bedroom. The thought alone was enough to make Jace moan as he hooked one leg around Simon's waist. Simon gladly reached down to grasp Jace's thigh, squeezing it.

"You're an asshole", hissed Jace when they parted, hitting him really hard on the arm. "I—I know you lied because you wanted to surprise me, but... just don't surprise me, okay? I had so many dark thoughts because I was worried about you. I'd rather just talk about shit than worry. Got that?"

"Y—Yeah. Yeah, you're right. Of course you're right. I love you. I'm sorry", blurted Simon out, peppering Jace's face with soft feather-light kisses. "I should have known that. I know about your insecurities. Ouch. Stop always hitting me when I call them insecurities; you're not invincible. You're entitled to having issues and I, as your boyfriend who knows about them, should have anticipated your reaction and I'm so incredibly sorry about it, Jace. Please forgive me?"

Jace heaved a shaky breath as he wrapped his arms around Simon's neck. "I love you. I got all messed up because you weren't there in the morning, of course do I want to move in together with you so I can have you with me every morning. You're... my one good thing in this whole mess. I forgive you. But I dunno about Alec. If you manage to make me this upset again, he might bury your body in some park and I have a suspicion that Magnus would actually help him there."

"Of course he would", huffed Simon amused. "He's co-captain of the Jace Protection Squad. Don't look at me like that; Alec and Magnus founded it after you were freed from the City of Bones. We got buttons, you know. Clary designed them."

Jace squinted at him suspiciously, trying to detect whether or not Simon was teasing.

/break\

Simon hadn't been teasing about the Jace Protection Squad. There were buttons, they were light-blue, had the phrase Jace Protection Squad going in a circle around a stylized chibi-version of Jace's face. Simon had started wearing his button proudly on his jacket. Now that the cat was out of the bag, the others started wearing theirs too. Alec, Magnus, Clary, Izzy, Max, even Lydia was now wearing one. And when Bat asked about that 'gang' they seemingly were part of and Simon explained... Bat also got a button.

"You're all idiots", complained Jace with a pout as he glared at the button on Maia's tank-top.

Maia smirked broadly. "What? I think it's hilarious."

They were in the middle of moving and all their friends had of course agreed to help them. Maia and Bat were mainly busy with their own room though, Bat in the middle of trying to put their bed together with some help from Luke, while Maia was carrying boxes in.

"Stop pouting and help me paint the bedroom. You're the one who wants it red", ordered Clary.

She poked Jace with a paint-brush, making him grin just a little. He was glad that over the past weeks, they had regained the friendship they had before the kiss. Both, him and Clary, as well as Clary and Simon. She was important to them, Jace couldn't bear the thought of things staying awkward for any of them. Lydia joined the two to help paint the bedroom.

"Isabelle wants to order pizza once we're done painting", offered Lydia.

"Where is Izzy?", asked Jace suspiciously, looking around.

"Helping Alec with the kitchen, I think", mused Lydia while applying paint to the walls.

For a little while, they just painted the walls with casual conversation. Mainly theories about Jonathan's whereabouts and plans. It was good to have this level of normality back with Clary and maybe, Lydia's presence also helped make things easier. Jace and Clary had not yet reached the level of a hundred percent comfort when being on their own.

"Hey, babe. You look really hot half-covered in paint", whispered Simon after about an hour, startling Jace a little as he wrapped his arms around the blonde's waist. "So, we ordered pizza because certain members of this crew are getting vicious when hungry."

"...The wolves?", asked Clary dubiously.

"Magnus", whispered Simon as he shook his head.

"I do not get vicious, Lewis!", barked Magnus from the other room.

Jace and Clary exchanged an amused look before laughing. About ten minutes later, as they were finally done with the room, they headed to the half-finished living room where the others were already gathered on the couches and the floor. Elaine, Luke, Magnus and Alec were sitting on one couch, Lydia sat down between Isabelle and Rebecca on the other couch, having Clary follow her. Maia and Bat sat on the ground between the couches, leaning against the side where Luke was sitting. Jace and Simon easily joined their new roommates on the floor, Simon happily pulling his boyfriend down into his lap, prompting Jace to blush and glare just a little.

"Shut up, you know you like when I manhandle you, angel", whispered Simon teasingly.

Jace huffed and buried his face in Simon's neck, the vampire running gentle, soothing fingers through Jace's hair. There was cooing from the peanut gallery, making Jace turn his head and glare.

"Our sisters are awful people", declared Jace seriously.

Rebecca, Clary and Isabelle were wearing matching grins as they cooed at Jace and Simon. And okay, the bigger part of Jace was insanely grateful that Clary took their relationship so well and that seeing Jace and Simon so happy had helped her accept that things with Simon were truly over and that things with Jace would never happen. It had helped make things with Clary simpler.

And then there was the matter of Rebecca Lewis. Jace had been terrified when Rebecca and Elaine stood in front of their door, ready to help with the move too. Then Simon had introduced him as his boyfriend, all happy smiles. He expected to be judged, maybe threatened the same way Alec kept threatening Simon, probably deemed unworthy of dating Simon. Instead, Elaine had pulled Jace into a bone-crushing hug, told him to call her 'Elaine' and asked how she could help. Rebecca had patted Jace on the back with a wicked grin and told him that on another day, she would have to show him all the embarrassing baby-pictures and tell him all the awkward kid stories of Simon.

They just accepted him like that. Nothing else. Only kindness. Jace didn't quite understand it.

"I think this is a very nice place you got yourselves there", commented Elaine with a smile, eyes lingering on the open door to the music room. "And I see my father's piano found a place too."

"Yes!", exclaimed Simon with a bright smile, still playing with Jace's hair. "Jace plays like an angel, mom. I figured, since bubbeh doesn't use it anyway, it might find more use here."

"I swear, the more I hear about you, Jace, the more I believe that you literally fell from heaven", snorted Rebecca teasingly. "He looks like an angel, he plays like an angel, he sings like an angel. Seriously, you gotta be like half-angel or something."

"Yes", replied Jace evenly with a serious face. "I got angel-blood running through my veins."

He cracked a smile after a moment and everyone in the room started laughing loudly.

/omake\

Jace shifted around a little, lifting his eyes to look at the other waiting people. This had the atmosphere of a doctor's office, only that he wasn't waiting for a check-up but for a deadly diagnose. When an elderly lady who looked a bit like the world's strictest librarian poked her head out of the room and pushed her glasses up, Jace went even more rigid.

"Mister Lewis?", inquired the lady as she looked at the waiting people.

"Yes", nodded Jace and stood, brushing his pants off some.

"I'm sorry. I'm looking for the father of Lucian and Leah Lewis", drawled the lady, raising one judgmental eyebrow as she looked him up and down. "I have met him. You are not him."

Jace offered his usual smooth, charming smile as he thrust a hand out. "You must have met my husband, Simon Lewis. I'm Jace Lewis, their other father. It's such a pleasure to meet you."

She made this face. That face Jace still sometimes received when he went out with his family, when people saw their children had two fathers. Regardless of how progressive laws and the majority of humankind were, there would always be those who couldn't deal. Jace was used to it.

"Your children's behavior is unacceptable. I expect parents to teach their children a minimum of respect toward figures of authority", declared the teacher haughtily.

"Of course. If you'd just give me a moment to talk to them", requested Jace with a smile.

She looked unimpressed as she stepped aside and the Lewis-twins ran out of the classroom. Lucian's hair was as messy and unruly as ever, while Leah's hair was tied to a perfect high ponytail. Leah's mismatched eyes found his instantly, while Lucian looked a bit guilty as he stared at Jace with Clary's soft, bright eyes. Jace gave them a firm glare as he grasped them both by the arms and pulled them along, out of earshot of the other waiting parents and the teacher. Once that was achieved, he crouched down in front of them, both his children fidgeting.

"Both of you, look guilty and like I'm scolding you", ordered Jace softly, face stern.

"...So you're not scolding us?", asked Leah, the picture of a guilty girl filled with regret.

"Whatever it is you said to disrespect that woman, who doesn't even have the basic amount of respect for our family, it was probably something I'd be proud of", said Jace gently.

His face was still a stoic and upset mask as though he was giving the children the preaching of their lives. Leah fidgeted with her hands, head bowed in timid guilt, while Lucian looked as though he was five seconds from bawling his eyes out. Heaven knew Jace loved his brats.

"So that means we won't get punished?", asked Lucian hopefully.

"When we get out of here, we're getting ice-cream", promised Jace softly. "But don't tell grandpa Luke, you know he doesn't like me encouraging such behavior."

"We promise we won't rattle you out to grandpa", chimed both of them obediently.

From some distance, it would look as though they had agreed to behave from now on. Nodding pleased, Jace patted their heads and returned to the teacher, still skeptically looking at him.

"Can I do something else for you, Mister Lewis?", inquired the teacher.

Jace disliked the way disdain dripped from his name. He loved his name, he took pride in wearing his husband's name. This woman had no right to judge either of them. Jace offered her a thin-lipped smile, channeling his inner Simon to suppress the urge to strangle this person.

"Yes", replied Jace, keeping his voice even. "I'm also here to pick up Natanael Velasquez. His mother is working late today and asked me to pick him up along with the twins."

The look on her face turned even more displeased. Jace kind of had the suspicion that she had a problem with working moms too. Or maybe it was the fact that the parents of her three biggest troublemakers were friends. Probably, it was a mix of both those things. She stepped back into the room and moments later, an utterly defeated Natanael exited the classroom, looking like the poster-boy of a guilty sinner, his shoulder-long, untamed black hair falling into his face. He was clearly expecting Maia's unimpressed, stern looking face. But when he saw Jace, his face brightened and he sprinted over to tackle Jace in a hug. Jace chuckled as he returned the hug.

"Uncle Jace! You came to break me out of prison!", exclaimed Natanael. "You're the best!"

The teacher looked appalled and Jace decided it was time to leave and get them all home. He herded the three children out of the school, Leah on one of his sides, Lucian on the other and Natanael walking next to Lucian, eagerly talking to his best friend.

"Are you going to hand me over to the executioner, uncle Jace?", asked Natanael.

"If you keep calling your mom that; then yes", chuckled Jace and shook his head. "No, we're going to get ice-cream for now, Nate. And the three of you will explain to me exactly what happened to get you into detention from which you are only being freed by your parents showing up at the school. And depending on what you guys tell me, I might defend you in front of your parents and grandpa Luke's disappointed and disapproving glares. That sound like a plan?"

Leah, Lucian and Natanael nodded wildly, very eager for that plan. Jace snorted softly. Once they reached the car, he got his phone out to text his husband while the kids were strapping themselves in. Simon was currently on a tour, had been gone for two weeks and would be gone for another two weeks. Jace missed him so much and couldn't wait for Simon to return home.

"Okay, everyone, look like guilty puppies", declared Jace as he turned toward the kids.

All three crowded together and looked the very picture of guilt as Jace took a photo to send to his husband to show off what a good, responsible parent Jace was being in Simon's absence. It didn't take Simon ten seconds to send a text in reply, making Jace laugh softly.

You're taking them out for ice-cream, aren't you? Whatever, I trust you they deserve it.

Jace easily replied. They do. Love you. Can't wait for you to get back home.

Love you too, angel. Thirteen more days. Oh, and I got souvenirs for you and the kids! ;D

"What's papa saying, daddy?", asked Leah loudly.

"That he loves us and misses us and that he got gifts for us", replied Jace with a gentle smile.

The kids cheered and high-fived in the backseat and Jace's face softened as he looked at them through the rear-mirror. He couldn't even grasp just how much he loved his family.

~*~ The End ~*~