When Simon first wakes up, everything is dark and his head aches. He blinks his eyes open blearily, and becomes slowly aware of the burning pain across most of his left side. He whimpers, because not only does he feel like he’s about to die, the room he’s in is furnished in ornate, old-looking decorations and is completely unfamiliar. Black spots dance across his vision, and shit, he must be even more hurt than he’d originally thought. He can feel the panic rising, his mind working overtime to try and figure out what’s going on, but his body is clearly too fatigued to handle this because he can feel himself slipping back into unconsciousness. He vaguely hears voices shouting and feet pounding furiously across a floor, getting closer and closer to the room he’s in.
The last thing he hears before he blacks out is a voice he doesn’t recognize, yet instinctively trusts, broken with fear and just a sliver of hope, saying frantically, “Dios, Simon’s awake! He woke up!”
The next time he wakes up he lies very still, because his head still feels like Thor’s hammer is pounding away at it, and the ache down the left side of his body hasn’t disappeared. Dimly, he registers that voices around him are talking.
“ – how can that be possible, he was supposed to meet me for a mission – “ That voice he knows, and internally he sighs in relief because if Clary is here, then he’s safe. There’s a hand absently rubbing tiny circles on his shoulder, though, and the hand isn’t nearly small enough to be Clary’s.
“He’s not yours to command as you please.” A lightly accented voice says coldly, coming from near Simon’s head. It’s the voice he heard scream the last time he woke up, and he feels oddly comforted to hear it again, though a little affronted that this person that he clearly cares about is getting angry at Clary.
“Well he isn’t yours either.” Clary snaps. Simon cheers silently for her. You tell ‘em, he thinks smugly, I belong to no man!
“Fascinating as this is,” another voice drawls, “I don’t actually see how this is helping him, unless you plan to argue over him until he goes into an early grave to escape the nagging from both of you.” There’s a sort of shocked silence after this statement.
“Magnus,” a deep voice says finally, “I think you should get some rest.” He hears a sigh.
“Maybe you’re right.” The other man – Magnus – says. “But I can’t until he wakes up. I don’t know the extent of the damage.”
“I’m up.” Simon tries to say, and sit up, except his tongue feels like cotton in his mouth and all he manages to do is weakly flop in bed and mumble something along the lines of Imahhh. The hand at his shoulder immediately disappears, and instead hands come to his shoulders and help prop him up against his pillows. He blearily blinks open his eyes and comes face to face with an attractive Latino man, who is staring at him with obvious concern in his eyes. He’s weirdly pale, and his lips are full and inviting, and Simon probably shouldn’t be thinking about getting laid while he is, possibly, dying.
Clary is sitting by his other side, smiling worriedly at him. At the foot of his bed is an Asian man dressed like he’s ready to go out to a gay nightclub – which Simon thinks is a bit dressed up for Simon’s possible deathbed – and there’s a taller man with strange tattoos who has his hand on the Asian man’s back. There a blonde leaning against one wall with a murderous gaze directed straight at Simon – which, rude – and a gorgeous brunette sitting next to the Latino man, looking worried and also looking like she could possibly murder him with her heels. Or something.
“How are you feeling?” Clary asks worriedly. Simon tries to speak, but his mouth is dry and sandpapery.
“Water.” He manages to croak out. The Asian man rolls his eyes.
“That’s not going to taste so good.” He says pointedly, which what?
“Er…Simon, you trust me, right?” Clary asks nervously. Simon nods feebly. “Okay, I’m going to give you something to drink. It’ll replenish your strength. You have to drink it.” She adds sternly, and then reaches to a table behind her and gives Simon a glass of something that’s thick and weirdly crimson.
Simon looks incredulously at it. Clary wants him to drink this, which, frankly, looks like blood?
“Just drink it.” The Latino man says sharply, his eyebrows slanting down dangerously. Simon doesn’t necessarily think trusting this man is the best idea, but then he remembers the same voice yelling with hope like he couldn’t believe Simon wasn’t dead, like he was glad for Simon’s general existence, and he decides that yeah, he can probably drink this and trust that it won’t kill him.
Surprisingly, the thick liquid tastes good, fulfilling and rich. He finishes the whole glass and sits up, feeling considerably refreshed.
“Damn.” He says. “That’s some miracle cure, Clary. What happened to me?”
“Simon…”Clary trails off, looking unsure. “Where do I even begin?”
“Begin with this.” The Latino man says suddenly, and the look he gives Simon is dark and heavy, loaded with intention. “You have lost a large part of your memory, Simon.”
“Oh.” Simon says faintly, his head reeling. “How much?”
“The past few months.” The dark-haired girl says. “Do you remember any of us?”
“No.” Simon says, then adds, looking mostly at the Latino man, “I’m sorry.” The Latino man looks startled, then hurt, and then a cool mask of indifference slips over his face.
“Well,” Clary says, shifting uncomfortably, “this isn’t going to be easier to explain the second time around –“
The aggressive looking blonde boy cuts in.
“You’re a vampire.” He says.
Simon stares at himself in the mirror. The story Clary and all the others told – about meeting the Lightwoods, about Magnus, about Raphael, his vampire leader –
Fuck, he wouldn’t believe it if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s currently staring at his fangs. If it wasn’t for the fact that he can hear a dull cacophony of sounds that he shouldn’t have been able to – the jumbled mix of heartbeats and footsteps and traffic from outside the hotel –
“At least I can see myself in the mirror.” He mumbles, a bit hysterically.
“You said that last time too, idiota.” A voice sounds from behind him, and he turns to see Raphael leaning on the doorframe, smirking. “Do you want me to get some garlic for you, and you can taste-test it?” Simon narrows his eyes.
“Nice try.” He says. “But I distinctly remember Clary mentioning something about not being able to eat food anymore.”
“Clary isn’t a vampire.” Raphael says mysteriously, and beckons Simon to follow. They make their way to a large kitchen, where Raphael opens a fridge and pulls out a Tupperware box of spaghetti.
“What is it?” Raphael snaps when he sees Simon gawking.
“It’s just – “ Simon stops. “Tupperware.” He gestures helplessly and the incongruous picture Raphael paints, with his immaculate suit jacket and the lavish furnishings surrounding him contrasting absurdly with the clearly cheap Tupperware Raphael is holding in his hands. It looks like the generic knock-offs that dollar stores sell.
“I didn’t buy them.” Raphael snaps, and oh, for some reason he’s so angry for something as simple as Tupperware. “You did.”
“Oh.” Simon says faintly. “I must have thought it was really funny.”
“You did.” Raphael says brusquely, dumping the spaghetti in a bowl and placing it in a microwave. “It wasn’t.”
“But you kept the Tupperware.” Simon feels the need to point out. Raphael turns and arches one elegant eyebrow.
“Who am I to deny you your pickings of trash?” he asks, rudely, and Simon should be offended but it’s hard to because there’s a strange light in Raphael’s eyes and though Raphael looks like he’s ready to kill Simon the moment he gets the chance, Simon gets the feeling that he’s being teased.
The microwave beeps before Simon can do anything more than splutter uselessly, trying to come up with a response, and Raphael produces a fork out of nowhere and sticks it into the bowl.
“Here.” He says, handing the bowl to Simon. “It’s infused with blood. The sauce has blood, and the pasta was handmade with blood. It’s not as filling as blood, and you might throw some of it up sooner or later, but it’ll satisfy the craving for mundane food.” Simon takes the proffered bowl and forks a bite into his mouth, hesitant. There’s a faint sawdust undertone that he’s not sure pasta is really supposed to have, but –
“Woah.” Simon yelps. “It tastes like actual spaghetti. Blood spaghetti, Jesus.”
“Don’t talk with your mouth full.” Raphael reprimands him primly. Simon rolls his eyes.
“So,” he says, shoveling more food into his mouth, “we can say things like Jesus?”
“For God’s sake,” Raphael sighs, “not this again.”
Magnus tells him that his injuries came from being thrown into partial sunlight by the leader of a rouge vampire clan from Florida. Simon gapes at him while Magnus waves a hand over his body and continues to take the pain away from the burns.
“Why was I near a rouge vampire clan? Surely that made up title of advisor or whatever doesn’t require me to go chasing after wild monsters who could kill me?” Simon says incredulously, and Raphael rolls his eyes, looking extremely put out.
“Eso es lo que yo dije, pero acaso me escuchaste? No, por supuesto no.” He mutters under his breath seemingly to himself, and Simon frowns.
“Entiendo bastante español para saber que me estas criticando.” Simon mutters back, affronted. He took a class at the community center in Spanish when he was bored, once, because it was that or pottery and Simon wasn’t about to sit and wrestle with a pottery wheel for an hour every week. He knows enough formal, stilted Spanish to understand what Raphael is saying, at least, but this seems to come as some sort of shock to the older vampire.
“You know how to speak Spanish?” Raphael hisses, which, Simon has come to learn, is the equivalent for Raphael of flat out shrieking.
“Yes?” Simon says hesitantly. “Though I’m gathering now that the me before memory loss didn’t tell you this?”
“Certainly not, fledgling.” Raphael says, and he seems to have gone paler than before. “This is very important information. Excuse me for a moment.” He glides smoothly out of the room, and Magnus watches with a raised eyebrow.
“Well, Solomon, you’re quite the tone of surprise, aren’t you?” he says. Simon flails impressively.
“Simon.” He stresses. “Why can’t you get it right? I’m starting to honestly doubt my own name!”
“Maybe that spell the vampires hit you with caused more than just memory loss, Salmonella.” Magnus muses. “Maybe it hit you with stupidity too.”
“Salmonella?” Simon cries, horrified. Alec is sniggering from behind Magnus, and Simon points accusingly at him.
“I knew I didn’t like you!” he says indignantly, and Alec laughs even harder.
It’s mostly funny that Simon lost his memory. Clearly, he trusts the vampires and is okay to live at the hotel, because his room is full of his stuff from home and looks comfortable and lived in. Clary comes and goes, and despite their endless bickering with him Jace and Alec seem to tolerate Simon and consider him a friend. Isabelle is by almost as often as Clary, and regales Simon with endless tales of their apparent exploits together, and he’s even seen Luke and Jocelyn, who he remembers. Honestly, the hardest part isn’t even finding out that practically everyone in his life isn’t mundane.
The hardest part is looking at these people and realizing he doesn’t remember their shared memories. He doesn’t remember becoming a vampire because of Clary’s involvement. He doesn’t remember Isabelle’s throaty laugh or Magnus crashing Alec’s wedding and Alec reacting almost as dramatically by kissing Magnus in the middle of his own wedding. Simon wishes he remembered learning the false information that Jace and Clary were siblings, because honestly that was probably hilarious, but he doesn’t. He has to relearn all the vampire’s names and pretend not to see the flash of hurt in Lily’s eyes when she confesses that she didn’t think he’d really forgotten all of them.
And he especially doesn’t remember Raphael, Raphael who always moves as if to touch Simon but stops, who bites out witty insults that are softened only by the fondness in his eyes, who is always there when Simon needs something yet stands a foot away, lost in memories that Simon can’t find, no matter how hard anyone tries.
About two weeks after he wakes up he still hasn’t regained his memories, but he has abruptly realized that he misses playing the guitar. He’s about to go out and buy one when he sees the sheet music lying in one of his drawers, and makes the conclusion that his guitar must be around here somewhere as well. He can’t find it though, and after a frustrating hour of searching he finally seeks out Raphael.
“What is it, baby?” Raphael asks, not pausing from where he’s flicking idly through a sheaf of papers. Simon flushes, still unused to the pet name that the vampires use for him. From everyone else, it sounds like it’s meant to sound – a nickname poking gentle fun at his status as the youngest – but from Raphael it sounds almost obscene, rolling off his tongue with far more of a possessive tone than the other vampires. Or maybe Simon’s just projecting.
“Have you seen my guitar?” Simon demands. “It’s gotta be around here somewhere, because my sheet music is here, but I can’t find it anywhere and unless I take it out to regularly fight monsters with or something – “
“Stop talking.” Raphael says, shaking his head. “I can’t believe a hit to your head didn’t cure this terrible habit of rambling.”
“Hey, my rambling is part of my charm.” Simon insists. Raphael snorts, but doesn’t say anything, so Simon is going to count that as Raphael technically agreeing that Simon is charming.
“I do know where your guitar is.” Raphael admits. “Come with me.” He gets up and stretches. Simon tries so hard not to look at the sliver of tanned skin that peeks out when Raphael’s shirt rides up, but he’s no saint – literally, now that he’s a vampire – and he can’t help it when his mouth waters and he thinks of licking across Raphael’s skin.
Shut up, he tells himself, this is not the time.
Raphael leads him to one of the upper floors of the hotel, down what looks like a fairly abandoned corridor, to a large room with warm yellow lights that contains nothing but a baby grand piano and a guitar on a stand against the wall.
“My guitar!” Simon cries, and runs to grab the instrument. “Oh, my precious, never fear, you are reunited with me once again.” He croons, slinging the strap over his shoulders and lovingly stroking the sides of it.
“Do you need a moment with your guitar?” Raphael asks snidely, rolling his eyes. He’s standing near the doors, with his arms crossed, looking impatient and put out. Simon pauses from where he’s adjusting his guitar.
“Who plays the piano?” he asks, jerking his head to the sleek looking baby grand. There’s no dust on it, so someone clearly comes in to play it, often.
“I do.” Raphael admits, after s long moment of silence. “You – you used to come in here and listen. I think you thought you were being extremely clever, and that I didn’t notice you because you stopped your unnecessary breathing, but I did.” Raphael shakes his head as if to say see, you were always an idiot, even with your memories. Simon’s breath catches in his throat (even though he doesn’t need to breathe) because Raphael is looking at the piano with such longing for something that used to happen and now doesn’t.
“Maybe now you could play, and I could listen without pretending to not be here? Just a thought.” Simon says, shrugging his shoulders when Raphael slides back into a resting bitch face.
“I’m a very busy man.” Raphael sniffs self-righteously. “I will play later, and you will use your enhanced hearing to listen for it, and then find me. It will be a test, fledgling.”
“Hm.” Simon says, grumpily. “You’re setting me up to fail.” Raphael smirks at him, infuriatingly attractive, and walks away.
Another development that Simon didn’t really see coming is that he, Alec, and Jace apparently meet for coffee once every two weeks.
“You guys know I can’t drink coffee, right?” Simon asks. “Like, I appreciate the fact that you’re all trying to pretend to like me, but like, couldn’t we meet somewhere that, I dunno, isn’t Starbucks?”
“We do like you.” Jace says, sounding bored.
“Yeah.” Alec smiles slightly. “We meet once in a while to knock Jace’s ego back into shape.”
“Hey.” Jace says, startled. He sits up, frowning. “I thought these meetings were to knock Simon down a few pegs.”
“I cannot believe you.” Simon says, shaking his head. “You don’t even have the decency to lie about it.”
“Whatever.” Jace says dismissively. “Do you have your blood flask?”
“Raphael wouldn’t let me leave without it.” Simon grumbles. He’d been about to walk out the door when Raphael had thrown the little metal flask at him. Simon maintains that while he did catch it and while as a vampire he has super healing powers or whatever, the intent of the gesture was still rude. Jace reaches a hand out for it and pours some into the coffee in front of Simon.
“There.” Jace says. “All the great effects of caffeine, with the added benefits of blood.” Simon takes a sip, and makes an appreciative sound. The coffee has the same faint sawdust undertone that all the blood-infused food in the kitchen has, but it is real, blessed caffeine.
“I don’t even know if caffeine has the same effect on me anymore.” Simon says happily. “I don’t even care. I can’t believe we don’t have a coffeemaker at the hotel if I can do this with coffee.”
“You and Raphael were fighting about that before…you know.” Alec offers, shifting uncomfortably in his seat.
“Do we – why do we fight so much?” Simon asks hesitantly. It’s the one thing he can’t figure out. He and Raphael have some sort of strange tension between them, and Simon knows that he likes Raphael – can feel it in his bones that he is almost in love with Raphael – but they fight like its second nature to them. And sure, maybe it could be some version of flirting, but all their fights have a slightly bitter edge to them.
“You two have always been like that. Ever since Raphael basically kidnapped you, and then you became a vampire which he feels partially responsible for, and then he took care of you, and then you betrayed him, and then you saved his life – honestly, you two are exhausting to keep up with.” Alec says dismissively. “It puts everyone else’s relationship problems into perspective, and that’s saying something because Jace and Clary were practically committing incest.” Jace splutters and makes an outraged noise.
“You, a gay man, were going to get married to a woman, and then your very gay boyfriend crashed your political wedding.” Jace stresses, making little angry hand gestures. He looks ridiculous. Simon rolls his eyes, because he’ll never understand what Clary sees in Jace.
“I betrayed him?” Simon asks, a low curl of guilt unwinding somewhere in his stomach. “Nobody told me this story.”
“You need to ask him about that.” Alec says with a sort of finality. “That’s between you and Raphael.”
Simon knocks on the door to Raphael’s bedroom with no hesitation. The door opens, and Raphael peers up at Simon through tired eyes, and suddenly Simon wishes he had hesitated. Raphael’s wearing silky pajama bottoms that look like they cost a fortune, and a soft cotton T-shirt that contrasts sharply with the extravagance of the pajama bottoms. The T-shirt is grey and has “THIS GAMER ALREADY HAS A PLAYER 2” emblazoned across it in bold black letters.
Simon’s heart sinks and his breath catches. He distinctly remembers buying that shirt at the mall as a joke, way before this vampire thing started, and stowing it in the back of his closet and forgetting about it. Raphael is wearing his shirt and Simon wants to bury his face in the junction between Raphael’s neck and shoulder and never let go.
“What is it?” Raphael asks, and his voice is softer than usual, maybe because Simon has a stricken look on his face he can’t wipe off. Simon blinks heavily and looks away from the shirt, dragging his eyes to Raphael’s face, his eyes tired but kind and his hair sleep-mussed. “Are you alright, fledgling?”
“Alec told me that I betrayed you.” The words fall out of Simon’s mouth before he’s even aware of what he wants to say, and once he starts he can’t stop all the horrible thoughts he’s had from tumbling out. “I don’t understand, why would I do that? Didn’t you hate me? Do you still hate me? I hate me now. Why do I still live here? Why do the vampires still like me? Should I leave? Are you only letting me stay because I don’t have my memories and I can’t remember?” Simon’s voice cracks on the last question, and he scrubs a hand across his face, trying desperately not to lose it in front of Raphael. Raphael, whose mouth is open and face looks shocked. He brings his hand halfway to Simon and then seems to change his mind and lets his hands fall to cross across his chest instead.
“Simon.” He says softly, his voice thick and his Spanish accent stronger than usual. “Slow down. You’re here because we all want you to be. You’re here because this is your home.”
“But I don’t seem to have been a good houseguest.” Simon blurts out, which is a poor way of phrasing the deep-seated fear hammering in his chest that he has actually been the world’s biggest asshole.
“You are.” Raphael says, looking intently at Simon. “You have to believe me when I say that you are. Trust me, baby. A lot has changed since then, and I don’t think Alec knows the full story. He is not a vampire.”
“What’s the full story?” Simon asks, his voice small. Raphael sighs and rubs a hand across the back of his neck, uncharacteristically awkward.
“After you let Camille go, you came back.” Raphael admits. “We were all furious, but we realized that we could have probably handled you better. You have to understand, not many of us have such close bonds with the Shadowhunters. You and Clary are…odd, for our kind. We didn’t expect your loyalty to her. But we worked on it, and you have proven yourself over and over again to be just as loyal to us. It took you a while to get there, but you are, Simon. You’re one of us.”
Simon swallows and nods. “Okay.” He says. “God, okay. Okay.”
Raphael looks at him carefully. “Get some sleep.” He says. “We’re going to talk to some older vampires tomorrow, and I desperately need my advisor there with me.”
“That is absolutely a made up title.” Simon responds automatically, if a little hysterically, because he’s still emotionally overwrought. But he can feel a smile tugging at the corner of his lips, and Raphael looks satisfied and nods at him.
Fuck, Simon thinks, I am so gone on this guy.
He talks to Clary about it, because what else is he supposed to do?
“Ooooh.” She says, excited. “I’m so happy you decided to come to about this, because frankly I was a little offended when you picked Izzy last time to confess all this – “
“What?” Simon asks, horrified. Clary blinks.
“Oops.” She says, and seems a lot less concerned than she should be, Simon feels.
“I already talked to Izzy about this?” Simon says, amazed. “I can’t believe I get to go through this twice.”
“Only a week before the whole memory thing.” Clary says, waving a hand at Simon. “How is the memory thing going by the way? Is Magnus any closer to tracking down a cure?” Simon shrugs.
“A little.” Simon replies. “He says that either something should happen to break it, suddenly – like a trigger – and he can fix my memories that way, or he summons a demon.” Clary stares at Simon, like she’s not sure she heard correctly.
“Summon a demon?” she asks flatly.
“Yeah, I’m not joking.” He responds despondently. “So I’m hoping that trigger happens quickly.”
“Hm.” She says. “Have you tried talking to Raphael? That would probably be the best trigger.”
“Uh. No.” Simon responds. “I’m not even sure what’s going on between us, Clary. Whatever it was, clearly Raphael doesn’t feel as strongly as I do.”
“Simon.” Clary whines. “You’re not that stupid. Come on, Raphael looks at you like you’re his sun.”
“We’re vampires, that’s stupid.” Simon responds automatically. “You think he looks at me like I’m something that would burn him on sight?” Clary heaves a great sigh.
“He looks at you like it doesn’t matter that he’s practically immortal, or that he’s a creature of the night.” She explains slowly, like Simon is a child. “To him, you’re the brightest thing in the world.”
“That’s – strangely poetic.” Simon says quietly. Clary rolls her eyes.
“Just go to him.” She says. “Everything is easier when you have someone by your side.” She touches the bracelet that Jace recently bought her, and Simon thinks back to the T-shirt Raphael was in. His heart clenches.
He goes to Magnus next, because he wants to do this properly. He figures that even if Raphael doesn’t like him as much as Simon loves him, he can at least persuade Raphael to give him like one date or something before Raphael kills him out of sheer annoyance.
“What does Raphael like?” he says as soon as Magnus opens the door. From behind Magnus, he sees Alec stick his head out of the kitchen.
“Oh, it’s just you.” Alec waves dismissively, and then wanders off. Simon sniffs haughtily.
“You know, Shalom, we’ve already had this conversation.” Magnus says, leaning against the doorframe and crossing his arms. Simon throws his hands up.
“Shalom? Honestly? I don’t even – never mind. What do you mean, we’ve already had this conversation before?” he asks, frazzled.
“I mean that a few days before you went and – very heroically, but very idiotically, might I add – threw yourself in the way of rouge vampires who were looking for Raphael,” Simon blanches, because he didn’t know that was what had happened, “you came over to ask me this. I’m going to repeat my answer, so listen carefully, Slytherin – “ Simon groans in abject horror,” – Raphael likes very few things in life, but some things that do immediately come to mind are his suit jackets, his piano, you, and Pablo Neruda.” Magnus says. “Does that answer your question?” Simon gapes.
“Me?” he asks, his voice going higher than he’d like. Magnus rolls his eyes.
“You said that last time too. Honestly, Simba, you’re so predictable.”
So Simon goes back to his room at the hotel and thinks. He’s filled with a weird, jittery sort of adrenaline that thrums through his veins and makes him feel hot and then cold. He paces his room, trying to figure out what he’s going to do. He takes the sheet music out of the drawer, vaguely thinking that he might try playing something on the guitar for Raphael, and a piece of paper slips out from the bottom of the pile that doesn’t look like sheet music. He picks it up, and his breath catches in his throat because –
The date across the top is a day before his memory loss. The handwriting is his, recognizable anywhere. The name scrawled across the top is Raphael’s, and the name signed at the bottom is Simon’s.
Raphael, it reads, I don’t know how to put my feelings into words. Or, I’m afraid that if I try, it will come out horribly wrong. This is the best I can think of:
No te quiero sino porque te quiero
y de quererte a no quererte llego
y de esperarte cuando no te espero
pasa mi corazón del frío al fuego.
Te quiero sólo porque a ti te quiero,
te odio sin fin, y odiándote te ruego,
y la medida de mi amor viajero
es no verte y amarte como un ciego.
Tal vez consumirá la luz de Enero,
su rayo cruel, mi corazón entero,
robándome la llave del sosiego.
En esta historia sólo yo me muero
y moriré de amor porque te quiero,
porque te quiero, amor, a sangre y fuego.
I hope Neruda’s words make you understand how desperately in love with you I am. Te amo, te amo, tú no entiendes cuanto que te amo.
And suddenly Simon gasps and gasps and feel something liquid and hot running through his body, his legs giving out underneath him as he collapses and his left side aches with a phantom pain, and he screams as his eyes burn and bloody tears streak down his face as he spasms and remembers –
It comes rushing back in bits and pieces – following Clary, Raphael holding a knife to his throat, waking up with dirt in his fingernails and an unfamiliar thirst in his mouth, Jace and Clary casting longing looks at each other, Magnus looking shell-shocked as Alex kisses him full on the mouth in front of everyone that matters, Raphael’s eyes, furious and heartbroken as Simon leaves him behind bars of sunlight –
He remembers coming back, groveling, Raphael with an anguished look on his face, the rest of the clan crowding in to hug him when he throws himself in front of an attack on Lily, hauling Raphael home when he was ripped to pieces by a chance encounter with Camille and trailed ribbons of blood all the way back to the hotel, and then hunting Camille down with the rest of the vampires with a grim vengeance singing through his veins as he glances at Raphael, still looking weak but determined to fight.
Fuck, and he remembers now, nights spent creeping in to see Raphael’s fingers flying over the piano keys, bullying Raphael into buying and outfitting the kitchen with all sorts of equipment that Raphael pretended to hate but kept smiling at when he thought Simon wasn’t looking, giving Raphael that stupid shirt on a whim as a joke, and Raphael actually wearing it, Raphael muttering things in Spanish and Simon not having the heart to tell him that yes, he understood Spanish, and yes he understood that Raphael keeps calling him beautiful and keeps talking about his eyes and calls him darling in Spanish–
And his dead heart catching at that, and his decision to – to do something, because he was so painfully in love with Raphael and he wanted Raphael to know how much he was adored, and writing out Neruda’s poem with shaky hands, and hearing of the rouge clan out for Raphael’s blood through a panicked phone call from Clary, and sneaking away from the hotel with just a note left on Raphael’s bedside table saying I can’t let them get you. I can’t lose you –
Simon’s vision dances blurrily, and he can hear Raphael’s panicked voice shouting at him as he finally loses consciousness.
He comes to in a painfully familiar situation – everyone hovering tensely around him, with only Alec and Jace looking bored.
“I’m starting to think Alec and Jace like me on my deathbed” he mumbles feebly, and it’s almost comical how the conversation stops and everyone’s heads simultaneously whip to the bed.
“You’re annoying.” Jace says with no real heat, moving forward. “How you feeling, mundie?” the blonde asks, and Simon glares, shoving himself up into a sitting position.
“Undead.” He deadpans, and Jace smirks at that. Simon glances next to him, at Raphael, who looks beautiful and oh, Simon is so glad he remembers how he fell in love with this older man, and how he fell in love all over again a second time. At the moment Raphael looks terrible, though, his hair messy and unkempt and his eyes bloodshot.
“You look dead.” Simon says, surprised. “And that’s something considering you’re a vampire.”
“Cállate.” Raphael bites out. “You weren’t awake for the past few hours, where you thrashed around and screamed incessantly and I thought you were going to die –“ He cuts himself off and glares at Simon with a ferocity that’s bordering on emotional breakdown.
“Do you remember everything? Something must have been your trigger – “ Magnus begins, but abruptly stops when Raphael bites his lips, turns on his heel , and leaves the room. With a sinking feeling, Simon recalls the paper with the Neruda poem on it he’d been holding when he’d collapsed.
“Fuck.” Simon says. “Okay, I’m going after him.” Magnus looks alarmed.
“Do you remember?” he cries.
“Yeah, yeah, thanks Magnus.” Simon says absently. “I remember everything, thank you very much, thanks all for worrying, I have bigger problems to take care of.” As he speeds out of the room, he hears Jace say “Where the hell is he going?” and Clary chirp back “To save Raphael! The start of a truly epic love story.”
“Jesus Christ.” Jace groans.
Simon finds Raphael exactly where he thought he would be, in the room upstairs with the piano and the guitar. Raphael’s shoulders are shaking, with one of his hands loosely clutching a piece of paper and another hand over his mouth.
“Raphael.” Simon says quietly, and Raphael whirls around, stalking towards Simon with a furious look on his face.
“Do you have any idea what I’ve been through?” Raphael screams. “You left in the middle of the night with nothing but a note and when they brought you back, half of your body was burned! And then you remembered nothing! All I had to go on was ‘I can’t lose you’. Quién hace eso? And you wander around for weeks with no memory; doing all the things you did before, except this time you! Don’t remember me!” Raphael backs Simon further and further, waving the paper with the poem in Simon’s face. “And you think then is a good time for me to find out you love me? You lay there on the floor, dying, with fucking Neruda clutched in your hand – I cannot believe your nerve, you would have left me living forever in the misery of your death!” Raphael is shaking, his nails digging into Simon’s shoulders and drawing blood where he’s slammed Simon against the wall. “I hate you, I absolutely loathe you, Dios, you – you infuriating man – “ And Raphael looks so lost for a second, lost and miserable, that Simon surges forward and kisses him.
Raphael makes a muffled noise and loops his hands around Simon’s neck, pulling him as close as physically possible as he attacks Simon’s mouth with his. They press together, their tongues entwining and mapping out each other’s mouths. Simon bites down on Raphael’s bottom lip gently, and Raphael groans, a sound that goes straight to Simon’s cock. Simon’s been dreaming of Raphael’s plush lips since he first saw them, and they’re as soft as he imagined and he can’t resist biting down again and again. Raphael pulls away with a gasp, but Simon doesn’t let go, tightening his grip on Raphael’s hip to leave painful bruises and lowering his head to kiss his way down Raphael’s neck instead.
“Fuck, you have a thing for biting, baby.” Raphael bites out, fingers sliding down to grip Simon’s biceps. Simon pauses in his task of attempting to leave a hickey on Raphael’s quick-healing skin long enough to mumble “Knew you were saying it differently”.
“What?” Raphael asks, amused, but Simon doesn’t deign to answer and instead kisses his way up the column of Raphael’s pale neck and bites down on his earlobe.
“Ah!” Raphael shouts, his hips jerking forward of their own accord. Simon moans, low and throaty, as a pleasant frisson of want runs up his spine at the friction. He pulls Raphael closer and snakes a hand down to rub over the bulge in Raphael’s pants.
“Tell me you want this.” Simon pleads. “I don’t know how you feel – “
“Te amo, idiota.” Raphael hisses out as “You wrote out fucking Neruda for me – “ His sentence cuts off into a string of curse words as Simon flips them to press Raphael into the wall and slots his thigh neatly in between Raphael’s legs. Raphael grinds down, seemingly unable to help himself, and dives back in for a messy kiss. Simon cock aches from being trapped in the confines of his jeans, and he reluctantly tears himself away.
“Bed.” He growls out, barely recognizing the husky tone his voice had taken. “I don’t want to try to play guitar in here and be able to think of nothing but sex with you.” Raphael smirks at that and takes his hand.
“Think you can keep up with me, querido?” Raphael asks, and Simon raises a pointed eyebrow at him because Raphael’s cheeks are flushed, his lips are swollen, and his hand is still clutching the now crumpled love letter Simon wrote.
“You’re hardly in a position to act composed.” Simon says, and tugs Raphael forward as they run through the halls towards Raphael’s room, laughing. Raphael barely gets the door open before Simon slams it closed and pushed Raphael against it once more, dropping to his knees with a dangerous glint.
“Simon.” Raphael says, impossibly breathless, and his hand comes down to tangle in Simon’s hair. Simon undoes the zipper of Raphael’s pants and yanks them down along with Raphael’s boxers.
“Someday I’m gonna take my time undressing you,” Simon promises, “and I’m really sorry that today’s not that day, but I really want your cock in my mouth.” He licks a stripe on the underside of Raphael’s cock, and Raphael shouts, his grip in Simon’s hair tightening painfully and his other hand clenching the Neruda poem even tighter. Simon should probably tell him to let go of the paper, but he’s impossibly touched that Raphael’s clutching it like some sort of lifeline so he doesn’t say anything and instead swallows Raphael down, his hand coming up to play with Raphael’s balls.
Simon is no expert at blowjobs, and it’s been a long time since he gave one, but he tries to make up for it with enthusiasm, sloppily mouthing at the flushed head of Raphael’s cock and licking up the precome that’s steadily leaking. There’s spit all over his cheeks, and his jaw aches as he bobs up and down, but it’s all so worth it for the way Raphael sounds, all bitten off groans and moans, switching from broken Spanish to equally broken English.
“Stop, stop,” Raphael finally gasps out, “I want to come with you in me.” Simon pulls off with a pop and swears.
“Fuck, you want me to top?” he asks, standing up and framing Raphael’s face with his hands. “We’re honestly made for each other.” Raphael rolls his eyes.
“You’re a disgusting sap.” Raphael says mildly, but he punctuates this with a sweet kiss, a press of lips that’s soft and gentle.
Simon manhandles Raphael into bed (as Raphael finally lets go of the Neruda poem, placing it on his desk), stripping them of their clothes as they go, and pops open the cap on the bottle of lube that Raphael hands him. Raphael settles back into his pillow, watching from behind half-lidded eyes as Simon slowly rubs circles around the tight pucker of skin.
“You’ll tell me if anything hurts.” Simon instructs, and Raphael lifts his eyebrows but nods.
“I’m the leader of a vampire clan.” Raphael says, smirking. “I think I can take it.”
“Shut up, you smug bastard.” Simon grumbles, but he leans forward for a kiss as he pushes one finger in. Raphael clenches around him, and Simon whispers “Relax” against Raphael’s lips as he slowly works the finger in. Raphael is so fucking hot and tight around him, and Simon’s neglected cock twitches against Raphael’s thighs. Raphael moans in his throat as the kiss falters, mouthing messily at Simon’s lips as Simon fucks Raphael with one finger.
“Go faster, please – “ Raphael says, and how can Simon resist him? He pushes a second finger in and Raphael keens, throwing his head back and gripping the headboard of the bed with one arm. The muscles in his arm clench and flex as Simon slowly pumps his fingers in and out of Raphael, watching the way Raphael’s mouth falls open on a soundless scream.
“How long has it been, since…?” Simon trails off, as Raphael open his eyes and looks at Simon with blown pupils.
“A long time.” He manages to get out. “It’s been a very long time since I felt an interest in anyone, querido – ah, nghhh – “ Raphael’s composure slips and he grinds down against Simon’s fingers, and Simon adds another, ducking down to lick lightly over one of Raphael’s nipples.
“Fuck me, I swear, Simon, I’ll stake you myself if you don’t – Dios – if you don’t fuck me now.” Raphael threatens, crying out now and then as Simon hits the bundle of nerves he’s been searching for.
“Okay.” Simon agrees hurriedly, mostly because he doesn’t think he can wait any longer. He sits back, debates about asking for a condom, realizes that vampires can’t really get STDs, and pushes into Raphael in one smooth move.
Which was a mistake, he realizes, because Raphael’s ass is tight around him, Raphael clenching down, and a long groan is punched out of Simon as he falls forward and braces himself on his forearms, panting harshly into Raphael’s neck.
“Okay?” Raphael asks, amused, bringing a hand up to stroke through Simon’s hair.
“Just – give me – a minute – “ Simon manages to get out through gritted teeth as he tries to stave off an imminent orgasm. He’s imagined fucking Raphael for so long, and in the moment it’s even better than he thought it could be – Raphael gazing up at him with a smirk playing around his kiss-swollen lips and adoration clear in his gaze, the tanned lines of his abdomen pressing against Simon, his feet digging into Simon’s thighs. Everything is hot and unbearably infused with love, and Simon feels an absurd urge welling up in him to recite poetry.
“What are you thinking about? Oh- “ Raphael says as Simon thrusts shallowly. Simon presses his forehead against Raphael’s, just breathing out against his lips, as he begins to move, fucking in and out of Raphael slowly.
“Neruda.” Simon manages to get out as he chases the slow furl of pleasure that’s building up. Raphael chokes out a laugh.
“Neruda?” he asks, even as he mewls and arches his back as Simon moves faster, hitting a spot that has Raphael clutching at Simon’s shoulders. “Ah - moriré de amor porque te quiero – “ And Simon grins, recognizing the second to last line of the poem he copied out.
“Porque – fuck - porque te quiero, amor, a sangre y fuego.” Simon finishes for him, moaning as he fucks Raphael frenziedly, pumping his hips in and out. Raphael is biting his lips, his fangs out, blood welling up, and Simon can’t stop himself from leaning down and licking the drop of crimson.
“Especially sangre.” Raphael mumbles nonsensically, before snaking a hand down to his cock, angry and red and leaking. Simon doesn’t think he’s ever seen anything hotter, Raphael’s moans of Simon’s name echoing through the room. Simon reaches down and covers Raphael’s hand with his own, and together they bring Raphael to the edge.
“Come on – Raphael – God – come – “ And Raphael’s eyes snap open, his mouth opens and he cries out “Simon” in a wrecked voice, and he’s shaking hard, coming into his and Simon’s hands, his body arching off the bed and straining. Raphael collapses in a boneless heap, still trembling, and Simon whines as he chases his own orgasm, fucking Raphael through the aftershocks of his.
“Baby.” Raphael whispers, smirking – that insufferable smirk that Raphael never wipes off his face, fuck – that’s what sends Simon off the edge, and he shouts as he comes, hard, face buried in Raphael’s neck as Raphael slowly sucks a hickey just under Simon’s ear.
“You definitely broke me.” Simon mumbles as he pulls out and rolls over, blearily searching Raphael’s bedside table for something to clean them up with. Raphael huffs out a laugh.
“I told you to keep up with me, querido.” The older vampire says.
“Smug bastard.” Simon replies with no real heat, yawning. He can’t find anything, so he leans over and picks up the shirt he was wearing from the floor and uses it to wipe them both off, despite Raphael’s protests.
“I’ll do laundry, or I’ll buy myself a new one.” Simon says, rolling his eyes. “Don’t be so picky.”
“That is disgusting.” Raphael says, eyeing the shirt that Simon’s tossed back onto the floor with something akin to hatred on his face.
“We’ll buy tissues or something for next time.” Simon says, waving a hand dismissively. “Move over.” Raphael turns onto his side and Simon slings an arm around Raphael’s waist. He leans down to press a soft kiss to Raphael’s shoulder, and Raphael sighs.
“Simon,” he says quietly, “don’t scare me like that again.”
“Yeah I can’t make any promises.” Simon says, truthfully. “But I can promise to fall in love with you over and over again, no matter what, so, compromise?” Raphael snorts and doesn’t say anything, but he laces his fingers with Simon’s and squeezes, so Simon takes that as a yes and drops off to a peaceful slumber.
“Pablo Neruda was your trigger?” Magnus asks gleefully the next day when they all gather at his apartment. “Sirloin, you impossible sap!” Simon shakes his head mournfully at Clary and Izzy’s bemused look.
“I’m just glad it’s not Salmonella.” He responds despondently. Jace sniggers.
“I think I’ll call you Salmonella from now on.” He says, grinning meanly, and Clary elbows him.
“Not if you want to get laid, you won’t.” she whispers softly to him, but Simon and Raphael hear anyway and Simon groans while Raphael pinches the bridge of his nose.
“Simon and I are very grateful for everyone’s help.” Raphael says firmly, his hand on Simon’s knee. Simon still gets a giddy sensation when he looks at it, Raphael’s casual affection.
“I’m sure you’re grateful.” Izzy leers, and it shouldn’t even be possible to make such an innocent statement sound so lascivious, but Izzy manages to do so, and Simon flushes as he remembers that they weren’t particularly quiet the night before and apparently, everyone else had heard before they headed back to the Institute.
In particular, though, the vampires still heard them, and Simon got a lot of high-fives the next morning (night) when he went to get blood from the kitchen, as everybody congratulated him for “finally tapping that.” Simon had escaped back to Raphael’s room, mortified, and buried his face in the pillows as Raphael’s shoulders shook with his laughter.
“Well.” Alec says softly, “I’m glad it was Neruda. There are worse things, you know, to start something with.” He glances at Magnus, who shakes his head and smiles.
“I guess there are.” Magnus says leaning over to press a kiss to Alec’s cheek, and Simon rolls his eyes.
“Very touching.” Raphael says blandly. “Alright, this is over. The rouge vampires will be taken care of. Simon, let’s go.”
“Sir yes sir.” Simon mumbles, unable to help himself, and Raphael turns to glare at him while Clary covers her mouth and tries to stop the giggles she’s clearly hiding as Simon lazily salutes Raphael.
Some things never change.
Then again, Simon thinks, as they’re back at the hotel and poring over a map of possible threats with the rest of the clan, some things do. Underneath the table, Raphael very carefully hooks his ankle around Simon’s, and Simon chances a glance at Raphael, who glances back for just a second, his eyes softening and the corners of his mouth turning up just a little.
Some things do change. Por amor.