Simon tossed incessantly in his sleep, tangled in the silk bed sheets. Tonight's night terror refusing to loosen it's grip on his mind. He probably wouldn't have woken up if not for the fall. He sat up, frantic, on the floor of his room in the DuMort. He gulped down several breaths of air he didn't need and ran a hand through his hair, shuddering as he remembered what happened this time. Well, what happened every time.
"It's only a dream, it's only a dream," Simon repeated, bringing his knees to his chest and hugging tight. The nightmares had only gotten worse after the day he and Clary almost released Camille.
With the bolt cutters clamping down on the chains, Clary was less than seconds away from changing everything. But Simon couldn't do it.
"Clary, stop!" Simon had said, pulling the bolt cutters away. He hung his head in shame. What kind of friend was he to keep Clary's only chance at waking her mother locked away in a casket? And all because he was afraid. He was a coward on top of being a monster.
"I can't, Clary… I - Camille-"
"Hey," Clary said, releasing the bolt cutters and taking Simon by his shoulders, "it's okay. It's okay, Simon. We'll find an other way."
Simon's reaction to Camille's potential release must have looked worse than he thought because he had expected to hear a protest from Clary. Instead what he received was his best friend pulling him into her arms. They stood there for a few moments, in the dingy dungeon, their embrace seemingly communicating what they couldn't with words.
When they came out of the dungeon, they were met by a very pissed off Raphael and an equally angry looking vampire clan behind him. As Simon dared to glance up at him, though, Raphael's anger visibly melted away.
"What did you do?" Raphael's voice was stern, though it was uncertain who his demand was directed towards.
Clary was quick to take the blame. "I convinced Simon to sneak me in and free Camille. But then he stopped me."
It's not like Clary was lying, but there was more to it than that. And very little of it had anything to do with what small amount of loyalty Simon might have felt to Raphael and the other vampires. In fact, that hadn't even crossed his mind. Whether Raphael bought it or not, Simon didn't know, but it didn't matter.
Raphael glared at Clary. "You should leave. If not for Simon our so called alliance would be finished."
Clary simply nodded. She placed a hand on Simon's arm, gripping him slightly.
"I'll be okay," Simon assured her.
Clary gave Simon a brief hug and left the room just as Isabelle had entered. If Isabelle was confused about what she just walked into, which she was, she'd just have to deal with it.
None of the vampires - not even Raphael - had said anything else to Simon. They'd all just gone off to their rooms to sleep for the day. Simon was thankful that was their only reaction.
It surprisingly didn't take long for the clan to forget about Simon's almost betrayal. Maybe they believed he had sided with his own kind instead of choosing the Shadowhunters. He didn't question it - or them.
The Shadowhunters had found Jace and were able to keep him from joining Valentine. And Clary was able to wake Jocelyn, with the help of Magnus. He took them to search Camille's apartment and there they found The Book of the White for the spell they needed.
In the end, everything had worked out in their favor. Except now, Simon had these nightmares to deal with.
He wasn't loud. As a child he had plenty of nightmares and had always been embarrassed if he made even a peep. So even with their advanced hearing, Simon was unsure if the other vampires heard him. Would they have cared, though, if they did hear him? Would any of them check on him?
Simon blinked back the tears in his eyes. He stood up and left his room only to cross the hall to Raphael's as quietly as possible. The door was unexpectedly unlocked so Simon let himself in. He shut the door slowly, making sure to make no noise. Carefully, he took a few steps towards Raphael's bed, stopping three feet or so away from him. Simon didn't know what the hell he was doing. There was no way Raphael would want him in his room, but Simon was lonely and afraid. He hoped Raphael would understand.
Slipping into Raphael's bed was completely out of the question. He'd definitely wake up. And then he would be angry. And then Simon would be absolutely mortified on top of everything else. So Simon decided to curl up on the side of Raphael's bed, on the floor. It wasn't that comfortable, but vampires can't feel heat or cold, so it's not like he needed a blanket or anything. He used an arm as his pillow and closed his eyes. And before long, it felt like there was at least one place in the Hotel DuMort that didn't completely creep him out.
At night, Simon woke up in a bed. His sense of smell alert before anything else. The sheets didn't have that freshly washed smell, but they didn't smell unclean either. And there was a hint of what Simon could only think to describe as fancy soap. There was something else too, something Simon hadn't smelled before, but it wasn't bad, just different and new.
He knew he was still in Raphael's room, in his bed, but when Simon opened his eyes Raphael was not there with him. Simon smiled at himself anyways.
There was a strange moment of eye contact held between Simon and Raphael when Simon entered the kitchen. They didn't say anything to each other, and Raphael handed Simon a glass of warm blood before going off to do whatever it was vampire leaders do. Simon finished the whole thing without protest.
That day, Simon had another nightmare of Camille. It was more or less the same each time. She'd break free from her imprisonment, find Simon, and finish off what she had started. Only this time, it would be for good, and not without making Simon suffer considerably before she finally took his life. Now that Simon knew where Camille was being kept, the threat she was to him just seemed so much more real. And Simon couldn't cope. He didn't know how.
Simon went to Raphael's room again, the door still unlocked. He wasn't too careful to keep quiet this time now that he knew Raphael didn't seem to mind him the previous day. That didn't mean Simon was just going to jump into Raphael's bed, though. Baby steps, Simon told himself as he settled onto the floor again.
It continued that way for a while. Simon had a nightmare, he'd wake up and go to sleep on Raphael's bedroom floor, wake up in Raphael's bed, and Raphael would be waiting for him with a glass of blood in the kitchen. Soon, Simon stopped going to sleep in his room at all and fooled around a bit before he decided enough time had passed to where he'd go to Raphael's room instead. When he started doing that, the nightmares stopped.
They never spoke of it. Raphael wasn't one for words and Simon didn't want to push.
And then there were the lingering glances, the prolonged eye contact, the brushing of a hand here or there. Was Simon reading too much into these instances, or had something actually changed between them? Simon knew, at least, that something had changed within himself. Even before he started spending the days in Raphael's bed, that first time just made him aware of it.
This day Simon didn't wait as long as he had before to go to Raphael's room. He just couldn't wait, nor did he want to. The door was unlocked like always, Simon no longer caring about what noise he made, even feeling comfortable enough to yawn. He's certain Raphael's heard him plenty of times now. The realization caused a wide smile to form on his face. Simon's smile fell, though, and he froze in place when he noticed Raphael was staring up at him.
Raphael huffed out a light laugh and Simon instantly thought it was the best sound he's ever heard. Lifting his arm and the covers, Raphael invited Simon into his bed. Simon didn't give any chance for Raphael to change his mind and crawled right in, snuggling his head up under Raphael's chin. A hand was placed to rest on Simon's cheek and Simon didn't think he'd ever felt more safe in the Hotel DuMort than right then.
"You have nightmares? Of Camille?" Raphael asked softly.
"Yeah…" Simon whispered back. "Not anymore, though."
"Why didn't you say anything?"
"I didn't think anyone would care."
"We're more than a clan, Simon. We are family."
"Yeah, but after what Clary and I did-"
"You're still upset about that?" Raphael interrupted, frowning and shifting Simon's head until their faces were inches apart. "Why would you think anyone is still mad at you for that?"
"C'mon, Rafa. You have to know that I didn't refuse to release Camille because of some bond I have with the clan. I had only been a vampire for less than a week. I've known Clary almost my whole life. In the end, I was just too scared of Camille," Simon explained.
Raphael took a moment before answering. "I know. But Camille hurt you, she killed you. It's understandable to be afraid of her, and this place. It doesn't matter why-"
"Doesn't it, though?" Simon asked.
"Not to me," Raphael said impulsively. "I mean, the clan, all of us." Raphael paused again. "Cariño, I don't think you have anything to apologize for, but I forgive you anyways."
Simon couldn't help smiling again. "You know, I know what that means, right? Cariño?"
"I know," Raphael said, his own smile playing at his lips.
"My Spanish isn't as good as it was when I was a kid, though" Simon commented.
"You could learn," Raphael said.
"You could teach me. And I could teach you Hebrew."
"I could teach you Punjabi."
"What? Why the hell do you know Punjabi?" Simon asked, baffled.
"It's spoken by a hundred thirty million people. I'd like to know what they're saying."
Simon frowned in confusion before his eyes widened comically in sudden realization. "You watched Daredevil!" Simon knew there was a reason what Raphael had said sounded so familiar. He pushed Raphael playfully by his shoulder until he he was on his back, Simon laughing and with his arms on either side of him. "And all this time you've pretended to be nothing more than a grumpy old man who knows nothing about pop culture."
"I do not pretend to not know anything," Raphael said. "Believe it or not being head of a vampire clan doesn't leave much time to watch as many superhero shows as you do."
"Hey, I'm Interim to the Chapter President and I still manage it," Simon sassed. "Bet your favorite's Matt."
"He's a very relatable character," Raphael defended.
"All that Catholic guilt is going to kill you one day."
"But I'm already dead."
"Do you actually know Punjabi?" Simon asked.
Raphael tried not to smile but only managed to keep his expression neutral for about twenty seconds before laughing in Simon's face. "No. I can't believe you fell for that!"
"Who are you and what have you done with Raphael Santiago?" Simon asked in between his own laughter. "Seriously, since when do you make jokes?"
Raphael's laughter died down. "Since now, I suppose." He reached up to push back a loose strand of Simon's hair, trailing his hand down Simon's cheek after he did so. His hand stayed there, thumb moving in soothing circles.
Simon was glad he didn't need to breathe because he's sure he would have stopped by now.
"Deberías besarme. Do you understand that?"
"Yeah…" Simon said, sinking down to his elbows to meet Raphael's lips.
This time, Simon woke up with his face pressed into the back of Raphael's neck. He nosed at the tips of his hair, breathing Raphael's scent in deeply and tickling Raphael awake.
"We don't need to breathe, you know?"
"But you smell so good," Simon said, his arms hugging Raphael tighter to his chest.
Simon was met with more incoherent grumbling before Raphael made an attempt to free himself of Simon's grasp. "Do you want your glass of blood or not?"
"Can't we stay in bed," Simon groaned.
"Dios, you're so whiny when you wake up."
"Fine," Simon huffed, only slightly irritably, and released Raphael.
"I'll be waiting in the kitchen," Raphael said, dropping a kiss to Simon's forehead.
"Yes, dear," Simon replied. His eyes had already closed but he could feel Raphael glaring at him. It made him smile.
Simon drifted in and out of sleep as Raphael moved through the room. He wondered if he could officially move in here now. He had stopped sleeping in his own room for a while now, and after yesterday he didn't see himself spending much time in there anymore. That room never felt like his own space anyway. Not much of the hotel ever did. But maybe it wasn't this room at all. Maybe it was just Raphael that made it easier to stay there.
Maybe home wasn't Hotel DuMort. Maybe home was Raphael.