1. You know love isn't the answer but you want it anyway.
Sunrises and sunsets, they don't belong to you but that's alright. You're making peace with the loss. Besides, these days you're too distracted by the way your clan leader holds a wine glass. Careful precise movement, the slosh of red liquid as he brings it to his lips.
He could shatter it if he wanted to.
He could shatter you if he wanted to.
You'd put up a fight and say it's not love you're falling in. It's not fine details you're lost in. All it would take was one kiss and every lie you've ever fabricated would shatter in his hands. It would destroy you.
But, what if he's worth the risk? Your childhood is covered in memories of Luke and Jocelyn taking chances you weren't even aware of yet. What if love doesn't have to be seraph blades and all or nothing? What if it can be everything?
No, you wouldn't fight it.
"Simon," he says with no respect for personal space.
Simon, stern when you're staring at his neck instead of his eyes.
Simon, hushed after training when you're more quiet than usual.
The answer will always be Yes. You try explaining it to Clary but she half listens and leaves with an obligatory kiss on the cheek.
You replay his name in your head as another sunrise passes by blackened windows. You know this: love is not the answer but it makes you feel alive and somehow it all goes back to a sarcastic smile and,
"You know this isn't a hotel, right?"
2. You know he can't save you but you sleep on his sofa anyway.
Nightmares, you lie as he opens the door wide and ushers you inside.
"Only for tonight, Simon." He's already fluffing pillows and collecting a sheet as if he were expecting you.
He's shirtless in the lamp light and the bare expanse of tanned muscle is distracting to the point of missing an entire section of conversation. It's probably a lecture about not ruining his sheets like you've ruined his suits in the past. Sheets, blankets, pillows - who cares? You'd sleep on the floor if it meant being around a half naked Raphael who cannot pull off stern when with your eyes on him.
He rolls his eyes and retreats to his bedroom, seemingly flustered. You know this because he's breathing. He doesn't even realize he does it and it only happens when he's around you. Clary says it's sweet that he breathes for you. Isabelle overhears and she takes Clary's hand and you wonder if they're also vital to one another.
So, you're lying on his sofa at one in the afternoon and he's thirteen steps away. Inhale, exhale. He can't sleep either.
You wait for him to walk through his open bedroom door and into the living room to - to save you from nothing or that enormous something that's gradually consuming everything in it's path. Replacing what you thought you knew with unknowns.
He doesn't come.
3. You know he will save you.
"Simon," alarmed tone and his knees hit the ground beside of you. "You need to feed. Why would you leave DuMort for this long? How many times have I told you to carry a pint with you? Dios, you're a danger to others-"
You're weak and starving. Hungrier than you've ever thought possible. You're ignorant and he's risking himself to save you. There's no romance in dying together under a blistering sun. This isn't Romeo and Juliet.
You want him to live.
He checks you over; pulling up your shirt to search for what? Discoloration of the skin? Next is your fangs and muscle reflex. Lastly, he smells you. Nose grazing against your neck and jaw and he rests there for a moment to collect himself. If you weren't ravenous, you'd hold his head there.
After what feels like seconds, he sits up and puts your head in his lap. You could die in his arms.
"Don't fight me on this," he says. He sinks his own fangs into his wrist and you almost drool over the scent of him.
"Drink," he orders, "The sun will rise in twenty minutes. If you're weak, we won't make it to DuMort without you tripping over your own feet."
Blood drips onto your lips and you lick it away without looking away from those dark eyes. He sucks in his bottom lip and everything explodes into craving. You want, you want, you want him.
His blood tastes of bittersweet chocolate with sea salt when you bring his wrist to your parched throat. He hisses and keeps his eyes trained on the jacket you'd discarded when a wave of nausea hit. You would've taken it as a personal slight if it wasn't for the hand resting low on your stomach. Fists that have forgotten there is more to life than war now remember how to hold -- a wine glass, a pillow, a boy with dark rings under his eyes.
You've never drank anything that didn't come prepackaged and labeled but biting him doesn't feel wrong. Taking him into your body is a wet and strangely comforting sensation. You swallow and greedily suck at his vein.
The act itself is intimate, nevermind the close proximity. You understand now, why he never bit you as a mundane.
He breathes, ragged and almost panting, and you know -- he will always save you.
4. You know what he looks like when he cries.
The same shoulders that are always perfectly squared are rounded. His sharp brown eyes soften as he drops his head in his hands and you're crossing the room before you know it. You and common sense are not on the same side.
"I told you, Simon," he hisses, sudden fire in his eyes. "Go visit your shadowhunters. You're dismissed. Leave."
"What's wrong?" You skirt the desk and manage to grab his hand before he draws it back, "Raphael. Tell me. Are you hurt?"
He has always seemed unshakable and sure of himself. You might've taken that strength for granted. But, he is not weak for acting human, you know this too.
"It's nothing that concerns you," he growls.
"If it involves you then yes (and the answer will always be -- ) yes it does."
He glares, dark eyes like daggers. You stare him down until his frown fades and just like that - it's over.
"It's my mama's birthday," he shares, cracking right in front of you.
Oh, it's hard to see him fall apart. He's the wine glass in your hand, careful -- you are so careful with him.
"Hey, why don't you take a night off? I could use a break too. Come on," you whisper. He's too far gone to protest. You lead him to your room, past the threshold and onto the bed. Next, you remove his shoes and line them up next to yours as he shivers.
He is so tragically young when you nudge his head onto your chest, giving him a semblance of privacy and wishing, praying with your unholy tongue, for a heartbeat to comfort him with.
"Speak," he says, quieter than you're used to.
So you do. You tell him about Darkseid and Superman, Steve Rogers and Brooklyn, that time you got framed for throwing spitballs at your own bat mitzvah. You talk about camping with Luke and Clary -- grape bubblegum in her hair and Luke's lame ghost stories.
He falls asleep with his head on your chest and your heart in his hand.
"Happy birthday Mama Santiago," you whisper. Just in case she's listening.
5. You know he'd rather die (again) than willingly attend a party.
Especially if the host is the ever glittering beacon of magic and mayhem, Magnus Bane. Even so, centuries old guilt goes a long way.
He stands out among a sea of flashy dresses and pressed suits as Magnus introduces him to this warlock and that werewolf. In some bizarre warlock-vampire way, Magnus is Raphael's father therefore he reserves the right to show him off to new friends. Along with Alec of course because what is a weird nuclear family without a shadowhunter?
"He cleans up nice," says Clary, sneaking up from behind to peer over your shoulder.
Yes, you think. Raphael's suit has flecks of navy in it that complement his dark eyes and hair in the closest definition of perfection you've ever known. That's including the first time you accidentally caught a glimpse of Clary's chest at the age of fifteen.
Raphael is a sleek wet dream in the suit. You know this because you picked it out. He came out of his room in a red and black number so you, master of worn comic book t-shirts, shook your head no.
That's when he chose the navy suit. You're willing to take the credit.
"Does he? I hadn't noticed. He just, um, looks the same to me. Nice suit though."
"You know you can't lie to me, Simon." Clary says playfully. "I've memorized every face you make and I know what that one means. Have you told him?"
"That's serial killer in a Lifetime movie weird, Clary."
She shoves your shoulder and arches a brow, waiting for an answer.
"What?" Nervous laughing. Raphael and Magnus are having a disagreement by the bowl of punch. "Ther-there's really nothing to tell."
"You're going to end up all alone if you don't learn how to take a chance here and there."
"You have a mean sense of humor."
"I know but I'm serious. He's in love with you."
"How do you know that? Did Magnus mention it or..."
Clark motions in Isabelle's direction with her champagne flute. Isabelle who then throws her a wink. "See how Iz looks at me?"
Okay, it's not actually surprising that they're an item apparently but okay. "Yeah?"
"Now, discreetly check out Raphael."
"Just. Do it."
Raphael has moved past Magnus and he's alone for all of five seconds before there's a stunning faerie sauntering over to flirt. The man is at least 6' with otherworldly blue eyes and lean muscle filling out an expensive suit in the way God intended. He's leaning in to speak more intimately but Raphael couldn't be less invested in the conversation.
He's openly watching you like Isabelle watches Clary.
"Uh huh," she says, "Now do you get it?"
"He's my clan leader, Clary. He's making sure I don't do something stupid and make us look bad."
"Is that why he's leaving his hot faerie guy to make a beeline for you?" Isabelle motions in her direction with a single finger, lust in her eyes. "Simon you know I love you." A kiss to the cheek, "but I really have to go now. Good luck!"
You don't bother with goodbyes.
"Blue is great on you and not red blue. I mean, you look good. Guess I have an eye for fashion after all." He's not laughing. Stupid. Why did you say that? Does any of that incoherent babbling even equate to a real sentence?
His eyes roam over you. It's his suit you're wearing. He's appreciating his own clothes.
You'd chose a navy waistcoat, dark slacks and a jacket that makes you appear muscular. He'd given you free reign of his massive closet and this particular suit was the tenth one you'd tried on for size. You hadn't intended on a matching color scheme or even noticed prior to leaving, but it happened and you know when you stand side by side, you could almost pass as one of those cutesy couples who wear cheesy 'I'm with him' shirts.
Or even the - 'If lost, return to (Raphael Santiago)' 'I'm Raphael' type. Not that there's a difference.
"You should wear my suits more often," he purrs, hand following your arm from bicep to cufflink, "we'll have the next one tailored to fit."
He smiles, always amused at your dismal luck with anyone in a romantic manner ever and you decide to make an ass of yourself because you're Simon freaking awkward Lewis. Your motto may as well be: If it can't get any worse, I'll find a way.
"So...you know that guy? The faerie with the strange blue eyes? Do you like blue eyes? 'Cause I don't have them. Just boring ordinary brown eyes. Like me...just a guy with two first names who lives in a hotel for the dead-"
"Simon. He's an ally from the Nevada sector. Connections are an essential part of downworlder survival."
Do vampire assassins take cash? Who at this party would stake you for two dollars and thirty five cents? Dying would be less pathetic than casually confronting your 'we're dating but he doesn't know it' hangup. Eh, who are you kidding? They'd probably line up to take a swing at you for free.
Shrug, play it cool. "I was just wondering. The only faerie I know is Meliorn and he's sorta scary in a Looks Pretty While Thinking of Killing Me sort of way. I guess they just make me a little..."
"Have you always had a vendetta against blue eyed people?"
"Not until that guy. Shit. I mean...I don't hate them or faeries. Blue eyes are pretty. My great grandpa had blue eyes and my third cousin, twice removed."
"Simon, he's not a threat."
"I never thought he was. Did you think I thought he was?"
Raphael's mouth quirks up in a crooked smile and personal space - per usual - ceases to exist. He's paralyzing and way out of your league but you stand there on your wobbly legs and allow him to put his hands on your cheeks.
At one confusing fork in your past, you might've been repulsed by cold hands and claws but you're not that guy anymore. That Simon Lewis died on a golden couch with blood draining from his neck. You were reborn not as a monster but as a creature as ancient as time itself. A legacy and embodiment of every vampire who came before you. He taught you that.
You owe him your life or what's left of it.
"If I desired someone else," says Raphael, hands gliding down to straighten your wayward lapels, "I wouldn't have told him I was already already involved with another vampire. Simon, blue eyes remind me of the midday sky and I'd rather not be constantly reminded of what I cannot have."
"Glad that's cleared up," hurt in your voice, "I'm gonna go find out where Magnus hides the vodka."
"I prefer brown eyes," he murmurs.
Otis Redding plays in the background. Singing -
I've been loving you
Oh, too long
Please don't make me stop now
Good God almighty, I love you
Raphael takes your hand as Otis repeats rhythmically -
I love you
I love you
In so many different ways
And you're dancing. Slow and sensual to an acoustic version of the song.
Raphael whispers, "You're my type," and months of pining come to a head as people sway to the beat and Otis croons about love.
You could drill him on that declaration 50 questions style or you could shut up and kiss him.
"Hey." You go for it but stop just close enough for your noses to bump. "Can I...can I just...Nevermind, I probably misread that-"
You thought you were prepared for him.
"You didn't," lips hesitantly brush against the corner of your mouth and it's love and it's love and Otis and Clary were right.
You angle your head downward and over before he has the chance to break contact.
His lips are soft and supple when you kiss him, his muscles hard and firm when you take hold of his waist. The kisses are deep and wet and just when you think you might actually meet your maker this time, he proves he can do so much better than that. There's an art to how his tongue rubs against yours, dipping in and out to tease and breathe. You can't get enough of him. He's like a drug and you want-
Otis stops singing and clapping can be heard.
He's still kissing when you break it off to see what the celebration is about.
Warlocks, faeries, vampires and a handful of shadowhunters wear blinding smiles and you realize the dancefloor has cleared out. Everyone except for the two of you. Well, that's one way to come out of the pining closet.
"Magnus," Raphael warns, hand clutching yours.
Magnus winks and steers the party guests back onto the floor. Another song begins but you don't stick around to hear it.
Raphael tastes even more amazing by candlelight.
When you wake up to forehead kisses and sweet words in Spanish, you know love is the only answer that makes sense.
This is what you don't know: how to stop loving him.