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Their little "gang".

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“Honey, I’m home!”

Simon came barreling into Raphael and Magnus’ apartment. Raphael was in the kitchen the moment Simon opened the door; he rolled his eyes because once again with Simon came Clary, Maia and Lydia.

“Remind me to find a new lock to the door” Magnus said, faking nonchalant.

Raphael rolled his eyes again. Befriending Magnus was a bad idea because with him, came a lot of people hoarding his little space here, using his Netflix account; he didn’t use it but it was part of the principles. This “gang”, as Simon liked to use, made his life exhausting.

“I’m wounded” Simon said, faking a gasp, still standing under the threshold while the girls passed him, walking directly to the sofa. “You really hurt me here.”

Raphael didn’t turn but knowing Magnus, he just waved a hand dismissively. Raphael snorted, making the final touches of his cinnamon rolls; he was grateful that his work was as a baker and he could make his recipes for this forced “gang”. At least, they were honest if they liked it or not.

“How is the most beautiful man in New York doing?” Simon asked.

“Well, he is mostly fine. Doing fine and feeling beautiful. Thank you, Simon” Magnus replied with a cocky grin, from the love seat he was sitting.

“Your ego is way big for you, Magnus” Raphael said dryly.

“My ego is a normal size, thank you.”

Raphael snorted again, drying his hands with a towel.

“I’m sure you are pretty but not as pretty as the baker over there.”

Raphael didn’t look up but that didn’t stop the blush growing on his cheeks. Those blunt comments from Simon were common and still, he wasn’t used to it.

“Smooth, Lewis” Maia barked from the couch.

The door opened again and everyone looked up, including Raphael just to see a tall, brooding guy entering.

“That’s what a call “pretty boy” Magnus hollered from his seat, with a little smile on his face.

“I can smell your thirst from here” Simon commented, from the back of the couch.

“And I can feel your pining over here” Magnus replied, with a brow raised.

Simon opened his mouth to reply but nothing came, so he ended up looking like a fish out of the water.

“That was rude but also true” Alec said, coming to stand besides Simon, clasping a hand on his shoulder.

“Can you tell your boyfriend to be gentler when he is calling out my coward self?”

Both Maia and Clary snorted. “I see four cowards in this house” Lydia said without looking up from her phone.

That earned her eight set of eyes shooting daggers at her, that’s when she looked up, looking innocently “What? I’m speaking the truth.”

“First of all, Magnus is not my boyfriend‒”

“But you wish I was.”

“Second,” Alec continued, ignoring Magnus’ input and looking at Lydia “I’m not a coward” he took a seat next to her.

“Well, I agree with Simon here. I can smell your thirst from here” Maia said, looking at Alec.

Raphael looked at him, as well as everybody, but the blush that was a common thing from their own personal tree didn’t show up. Instead, Alec just shrugged.

“I was told not to tell lies” Alec said simply, leaning against the back of the sofa. Everyone gaped at him but it was Magnus who smirked a little.

Raphael hated it, not that he hated the fact that Magnus was fixed on someone who was better than Camille but the pining fest they had going on. It was annoying.

Just as annoying as his own pining. Raphael suppressed the need to sigh.

Simon shook his head. “Nevertheless, this is not about the cute couple over here but about me who is trying and failing to put an end on his pining.”

“Is this the day already?” Clary asked while her eyes widened comically. “I never thought I would see the day.”

“Har har har. You are so funny, Clary. I’m dying of laughter” Simon glared at her and she just blew him a kiss.

“You people are mess” Raphael said to no one in particular.

“You love us, darling. Especially me” Magnus replied, turning to look at him.

Raphael rolled his eyes and crossed his arms but didn’t deny it because it was true. Deep down, he loved every one of them, especially the dork one who talked too much.

“That won’t happen” Maia said, bringing back the subject “In fact, I’m pretty sure Simon will say something when Alec have the courage to take Magnus on a date.”

Magnus nodded apologetically while Alec shouted a “hey!”

“That was rude but also very true” Lydia said, looking apologetically at Alec but still agreed.

“You want to bet?” Simon asked, challenging Maia.

“I won’t put my romantic life on risk because Tree here doesn’t want to own his shit and end his suffering, watching Magnus from afar” Raphael said over their voices.

Simon gasped loudly and pointed a finger at him, smiling. “So you see a romantic life with me!”

Raphael rolled his eyes while everyone else groaned.

“You know, that would be an interesting bet” Magnus said, thoughtfully.

“Magnus don’t” Raphael warned him, making Magnus raised his hands defensively.

And that was how everybody started saying their opinions, as if it was the best way to start a relationship. He rolled his eyes again, he was expecting Alec to put a stop on that show but it seemed he was going to put a bet too. It was a these times when he was hoping for Luke to show up. Raphael may be the owner of their “meeting point” (thanks to Simon again) but it was Luke who put order when the supposed adults were a mess.

“If you are going to bet on something like this, please don’t include me.”

Maia groaned. “Don’t be such a buzzkill, Raphael. Don’t you want to earn 50 bucks on this? I’m betting for Alec not to last until New Year’s Eve. The thirst can go for so long.”

Alec gaped at her “You traitor. I thought you were on my side.”

“We are on your side, Alec” Lydia started, nodding at him “On the side that you will lose” she grinned, Alec groaned while she high-fived Maia and Clary.

“This is why we can’t have nice things” Simon said, ruefully and shaking his head.

Alec turned around “I’m betting against you.”

Simon gasped again, putting a hand against his chest. “You wounded me, Alec. I thought we had a growing connection, a real friendship.”

“Don’t be so dramatic” Raphael interjected, mildly annoyed.

“Honey, they are betting against me” Simon said, with hurt laced in his voice.

Raphael bit his bottom lip, willing himself not to smile “Don’t call me honey.”

“I thought you liked it” Simon murmured.

“You know damn well Raphael doesn’t like pet names. It’s a pet peeve” Magnus said from his couch, still gracefully seated.

“Again, I need a new lock on that door. Or better yet,” Raphael locked gazes with Magnus “A new roommate.”

This time, it was Magnus’ turn to gasp loudly “I’m deeply wounded.”

Raphael rolled his eyes and shook his head “I don’t have time for this” he looked up to the clock on the wall that said 6:30, meaning he had half an hour to get ready for his shift. He started walking to his room, leaving the “children” to their own devices.

“Raphael! Raphael, wait!”

He turned around just when Simon was stopping in front of him.

“I’m not betting, Simon. That’s childish and useless and what’s the point of it?‒”

“No, I get it” Simon said, cutting Raphael off. “I’m not betting either, you know how they are. But‒” he took a deep breath “there’s some truth in what they said. I like you, really like you and it’s not a secret to you and to anybody. I’m as subtle as Alec with his pining.”

Raphael snorted because that was very accurate. He sighed.

“You know already why I don’t date, even if I may feel the same about you.”

“What? Because of your sexuality? You know I don’t care about that” Raphael raised a brow and crossed his arms. Simon shook his head “I mean, I care. Everything involving you, it matters to me but what I’m trying to say here is that I don’t care about sex. I like you because of who you are, not because of that. I'm proud of you for coming out to us and telling us about such an important thing and I'm glad you trusted us. But, as I said, the sex thing doesn't damper my likes on you.”

And Raphael knew that. After so many times Simon expressed his likes, they had this conversation, but Raphael wasn’t so sure about it, even when Simon had said he didn’t care about a sexless life.

“Simon, I know you and I know you like to get physical‒”

“I have hands” Simon interrupted and immediately, there was a faint blush coloring his cheeks.

As it seemed, the brain to mouth filter wasn’t working today. Even thought, Raphael smiled because after too many years, Simon kept surprising him with his words.

“And he has dildos too!” Clary shouted from the couch.

“Clary!” Simon yelled back at her, embarrassment coloring his cheeks making them redder. “This is a private conversation.”

This time, Raphael laughed, making Simon turned back.

He pursued his lips. “As I was saying,” Simon said, emphasizing the last word “I like you and I don’t care about sex. I want to date you and hold your hand and binge watch Star Wars with you while you say it’s a waste of time but still keep watching because I like them.”

“That sounds very specific. Did you imagine that?”

 “If I say no, would I look less desperate?”

Raphael shook his head and shrugged “I will quote Alec here and say that I was told not to tell lies. I like you too but it’s not like you don’t know that already.”

That wasn’t a novelty either, not when they had this conversation many times without getting to a middle point.

Simon gave him a little smile. “I think it’s time for both of us to reach an impasse here. How about we go a date tonight?”

Raphael sighed and looked up at the clock to return it back at Simon “I can’t. I have work tonight.”

Simon sighed deeply. “Yeah, I know but I don’t lose anything asking” he nodded and turned to leave but before he could take a step, Raphael grabbed his hand.

“I‒” Raphael breathed out and dropped his hand “It’s not a no, I want you to know that but this week it’s a mess and I’m busy but as soon as I have my day off, we’ll get this date.”

“So, raincheck?” Raphael nodded and Simon smiled, big and bright.

While they were in their trance with soft smiles and bright eyes, the others cheered at them, breaking their trance. Simon blushed again; Raphael too but that didn’t stop him to roll his eyes.

Children, I tell you.

Simon turned. “You all want to ruin the moment but jokes on you because I have a yes.”

They all cheered again and while Raphael wanted to feel annoyed, he couldn’t because he was as happy as the seemed. As Simon seemed. After so many years knowing them, it was a wonderful feeling that their “gang” was happy their sad pining was on its way to be over. Way better when Magnus raised both his thumbs and smiled at him‒

Soft lips against his cheeks startled him, making him turned to Simon and looking at him with wide eyes.

“I’ll be waiting for that day off” Simon said, with his little smile still on his face.

He nodded and went to the others leaving Raphael rooted in his place. Faintly, he touched his cheek and smiled. Simon was something else.

He checked again with the clock and this time, he went to his room to get ready, wishing for his day off to come quickly.

With Magnus came a lot of people Raphael was secretly dying to meet, especially the dork one with an obsession with Star Wars.