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Jace has never liked vampires. Ever. Don't like the way they slink around in the shadows like cowards, or how the cloying smell of blood stick to them constantly, or how they always lie and cheat their way into situations for their gain, the selfish bastards that they are.

Yea. Jace really does not like vampires.

At first he thought it was because of his dad, and everything Valentine had told him about the Downworld and how they "need to be eliminated" because they're a "scourge upon the human race." Valentine even made Jace believe it for a little while there, but he'd always known that wasn't really it. See, the thing is that Jace didn't necessarily hate all vampires; just 99.99 percent of them.

Because then there was the issue of Simon.

Jace was quite conflicted about the way he felt about Simon. On one hand, he was a vampire and had everything that came with it in spades: the smell of death, the night walking, the total inability to fend for himself without someone else to save his ass (although that was probably left over from when he was a kidnapping-prone Mundane), but on the other hand...

He really, really liked Simon.

It had taken him a while, at first. When they first met, Simon was just another Mundane sticking his nose into places where it didn't belong, which ultimately ended up with Jace having to deal with the consequences; namely, Clary. He had firmly believed that the sooner Simon was out of his hair, the better, because then maybe he could actually focus on finding the Mortal Cup for more than 5 minutes before having to run off and save him again. But then something had changed.

Even if you held a gun to his head, Jace couldn't tell you when or why he started looking at Simon differently. Maybe it was the way he was so devoted to Clary, even when he must have known that he never stood a chance. Or, maybe it was the way his smile lit up any room he was in, or how he always  seemed to know when Jace needed to be taken down a notch of the arrogance meter, or the way his eyes seemed to sparkle when he laughed -

So. Jace really liked a vampire, and he was not very happy about it. And since Simon and Clary were nearly inseparable, that meant that he had to spend a lot of time with said vampire, as well as the clan leader of Brooklyn. Raphael was a vampire Jace definitely did not like; he spoke too softly, and always with an air that seemed to convey that he knew something you didn't. Needless to say, Jace never really like being around Raphael, even if it meant him staying away from Simon.

Alec had told him that he needed Simon for some reason or another, and of course, Jace was sent to go and get him. He complained under his breath all the way there, but another part of his brain (a very, very small but very loud part) was genuinely excited about seeing him. Jace hadn't seen Simon in almost a week, because he was always off doing one thing or another for Raphael. It was starting to get a little suspicious, how much they hung around each other, but Jace had pushed it out of his mind.

When he reached the boat house, he saw that the door was slightly ajar, meaning that Simon was awake. Jace pointedly ignored how even the thought of Simon made his heart jump, and he slowly pushed his way inside -

Only to stop dead in his tracks.

Simon was there, of course, awake and fidgeting with something in his hands, but Jace couldn't see what because his view was blocked by Raphael. That's not what shocked him, however. What made him stop was they way Raphael had his hand on Simon's cheek. And Simon was smiling . Jace felt his heart drop to the bottom of his stomach, and suddenly all of the little things between Simon and Raphael made all too much sense; the casual brushes of hands against arms, the prolonged hugs, the casual way Simon slung his arm around Raphael all the damn time.

Jace swallowed thickly as he slowly made his way out of the boat house, eyes still locked on the scene before him. Just before he was completely out of sight, Jace saw Simon pull Raphael into a tight hug and it felt like all of the air in the world was being sucked out of his lungs. He didn't know whether either of them had seen him, but right now, he didn't really care. Twisting around on his heel and trying to ignore the leaden sadness in his gut, Jace started home.

Alec could get Simon if he really needed him.

.

The next few day, Jace tried to avoid Simon as well as he could. Usually, it was easy, because he spent all his time in the boat house (and probably with Rapha -), but for some reason, he was hanging around the Institute like a kid bored on summer break.

More specifically, he was hanging around Jace .

Anytime he turned a corner, Simon was there. Talking to Clary and Izzy about something or other, and yet he always stopped and turned to talk to him instead. Jace tried (really, he did) to stop the way his chest filled up every time Simon smiled at him, but he couldn't. However, then he remembered how close he was with Raphael and that usually did the trick. He always ended up mumbling some half formed response of "having to go check with Alec" or even "left something in my room", whatever it too to get him away from that dazzling smile.

The 5th time it happened to him, Jace was about ready to go up to the roof and give the universe a piece of his mind. Simon was alone in the hallway, leaning against the wood paneling and looking at his phone disinterestedly. When he heard Jace, however, his head shot up and broke into a wide smile that left Jace weak in the knees.

"Hey, Jace! Uh, I had something to ask you..." Simon says, hand coming up to rub the back of his neck nervously, but for what Jace had no idea.

"Oh, uh, Simon, now's not really a good time..." Jace trails off, trying to find a semi-decent excuse that he hadn't used last time. Simon's face fell almost imperceptibly, but it was there, and Jace hated it.

"Ah. Sorry, I guess I'll, uh. I'll catch you later then?" Simon finished, eyes darting down to study the floor but not before Jace saw something almost like disappointment in them, which was ridiculous, because Simon had Raphael and why would he be disappointed over Jace?

"Yeah, definitely. Um, later. Say hi to Raphael for me" he said quickly, the words like acid on his tongue before pushing past Simon and rushing down the hall behind him. He ducked into the first open door and sagged against the frame, trying to catch his breath but not from walking down the hall.

Every time that Jace ran into Simon after that, it was always the same: he was alone, he said he had to ask Jace something, Jace would give a half-assed excuse before ducking out. Every time, he thought that he saw Simon get a little bit more frustrated, or even sadder, but he quickly pushed it out of his mind. It was probably just his mind playing tricks on him, trying to get him to think that Simon actually liked him as well. But of course he didn't. Obviously.

.

The next day, Jace walked into the control room only to be greeted by the sick stench of blood radiating from the middle of the room. His face twisted into disgust as he walked forward and tried to get a look at the vampire who was causing it.

Man, the universe really did hate him.

 

He knew it was Raphael even though he couldn't see his face; no other vampire this close to the Institute wore suits like that. Simon stood next to him, shoulders relaxed and hands shoved into his back pockets, forearms stretching over Raphael's arm that's slung around his waist. Jace's throat closes up in an instant, hands balling into fists even though he knows he shouldn't be jealous. Simon is happy with Raphael; that much is obvious. But that sentiment can't stop the thoughts of Jace stalking up to them, pushing Raphael aside and claiming Simon as his from pushing to the front of his mind. That's what he wants to do. So, so desperately wants Simon to be his, and his alone.

But that is not his decision to make.

With all the strength he can muster, Jace tears his eyes away from the two in front of him and steps forward, seeing Izzy over their shoulder. He pointedly ignores both of them as he walks up to Izzy, just glad for some sort of distraction. He's barely drawn a breath to start talking to her before -

"Hey, Jace. Um, can we talk? Alone?" Simon says quietly as he taps his shoulder. Jace turns around slowly, trying to figure out a way to get out of it this time but coming up blank. He ends up just staring at Simon, lips pressed tightly together before replying with a short answer.

"Sure."

Simon's face brightens at the prospect, and flashes a quick smile at Jace before turning away and leading him into one of the many corridors. He follows slowly, anticipation building in the pit of his stomach. He'd tried to avoid this for so long, he doesn't even really have an idea as to what Simon had to ask him. Simon comes to a stop at the end of the hall and faces Jace, eyes glinting in the low light of the Institute. Jace swallows hard again, hand coming up to rub the back of his neck just so it has something to do.

"So, uh. I think you've been avoiding me? And I don't know why, and I just like - wanted to check to see if I had like, said something or done something, because if I did, I'm really sorry, but uh, yeah. Well, that's the first part -" Simon starts, making eye contact with Jace briefly before darting to the other corners of the room, hands twisting each other nervously. Jace felt a small bit of growing fear in his mind, because if he had to tell Simon the truth...

Well, he would ruin everything.

"Oh, uh. No, no, it's nothing about you. Well, it kinda is, but - no, it's not you Simon. I'm just - yeah. It's definitely not you." Jace stammers out, trying to read the confused and crestfallen look on Simon's face as something other than disappointment.

"So, if it's not me, then why? I mean, I thought we were pretty good friends." Simon says back, voice cracking a little bit on the last word.

"Sure, uh. I've just been - I've been pretty busy." Jace said halfheartedly, wincing as it even sounded made up to him, and wondering just how fake Simon thought it was. Jace watched his face tighten in confusion as he opened his mouth to try and continue - before snapping it shut and just letting out a sigh instead. Jace felt a wave of relief wash over him, because he really didn't have any idea what to say if he had asked.

"Oh. Okay. Well, uh, I guess my second question is...Um, shit. This is a lot harder than I expected it to be." Simon let out a forced laugh as he tried to lighten the situation but failing miserably. His eyes continued to dart around the corridor, not ever once landing on Jace. He couldn't help but feel a slight twinge of disappointment at that; he really liked looking at Simon's eyes.

"Ask me what?" Jace bit out, sounding a lot nastier than he had intended to. He regretted it instantly, because it made Simon sigh heavily and shove his hands deep in his pockets, like he was ashamed of what he was about to say.

“Well, ah. I was, um. I was wondering if you - would you like to get dinner with me? Sometime?”

The silence that fell between the two of them was stifling, only punctuated by Jace’s shallow breaths. His mind was rapidly trying to catch up with this turn of events, almost letting him be excited before the reality of the situation hit him fully.

“Is this some kind of joke to you?” he said bitterly, trying to stem the disappointment that rose in his chest. Was Simon serious? Why would he ask him something like that? Especially since not 20 seconds ago, he was clinging to his boyfriend like a lifeline.

“Jace, I don’t - what?”

“Are you serious? You think that you can just pretend to ask me out even though I know you can’t?”

“Jace, what are you talking about -”

“Don’t you think I see the way Raphael practically drapes himself over you? Honestly, even Magnus and Alec aren’t this clingy.” The words drip out of his mouth like acid, burning and cruel. Simon flinched backwards, face contorting into an expression of profound hurt and...confusion.

“Jace -” Simon tries to interrupt, but Jace just keeps talking over him, anger washing over him in waves and waves, flooding out of him. Simon had never been this way, has never laughed in Jace’s face about something he couldn’t have, and the fact that he was stung Jace hard and deep.

“What, Simon? What else do you want from me? Well wishes on your relationship? Dating advice? Why won’t you just leave me alone -”

“JACE.”

His mouth snapped shut, surprised at the force behind Simon’s words. Simon’s eyes burned with  annoyance, and yet underneath it was just the faintest hint of excitement. He was excited about humiliating Jace? God, he’d really have to look at why he’s so helplessly in love with this guy afterwards, Jace thought savagely. Simon stared him down for a bit, throat working as if he was trying to dig the words out of his vocal chords. Jace watched anxiously, just ready for this whole thing to be over so he could go to the training room and whale on a punching bag until he felt better.

“Jace. Raphael and I aren’t dating. We’re not together, never have been.”

Jace felt his heart drop at least 3 stories as Simon finished talking. He couldn’t help his mouth dropping open, because of course they’re dating, obviously .

“But - in the boathouse -” he sputtered, trying desperately to grab at any sort of evidence he had. Simon and Raphael were always together, always touching and hugging and whatever. There’s no other explanation. Obviously.

“Oh, you saw his hand thing.” Simon said shyly, blush staining his cheekbones and he was supposed to be mad at him right now, it is not the time to be thinking about how utterly adorable he looks.

“Well, yea! I’d say that pretty strongly suggests that you are, Simon.” Jace shot back, confused at just exactly what was going on here. Simon - Raphael? They weren’t - really? So, was Simon - did he just try to ask him out ?

“Jace, like a second later he slapped me."

Jace just stared at him dumbly, and watched Simon tried to hide the happiness that flooded into his eyes at watching him. He was still trying to sort out all of the information that he’d just been given, and it was proving to be a little harder than he expected.

“Jace? So? Will you have dinner with me?” Simon asked again, louder this time, but still filled with the same nervous anxiety as the first time.

“So, just to reiterate. You and Raphael - are not a thing.” Jace repeated, squeezing his eyes shut and rubbing his temples, excitement welling up in his chest. He - he actually had a chance. As the realization hit him in the chest, his eyes flew open and landed right on to Simon, standing nervously in front of him.

“Yes. Honestly, I’m shocked that you would even think that. I mean, I definitely do not like Raphael -” Simon started with a forced laugh that became more genuine. His smile grew wider and wider as Jace looked at him for longer and longer, before he was suddenly cut off by Jace grabbing his shoulders and looking at him directly in the eyes.

“So if I kiss you right now, no one would be angry.” he said quietly, throat working as he swallowed nervously at whatever Simon’s response was going to be. However, at that moment, Simon’s brain decided to switch off all rational thought, leaving him only able to nod jerkily. “Oh, thank fucking God.” Jace breathed out right before pressing his lips onto Simon’s

It was like a string had snapped, all of the jealousy Jace had been harboring over the past couple days suddenly evaporating into the air. He could only focus on this, and now, and how Simon felt underneath him, solid and steady. He tilted his head slightly to the right so his nose could brush past Simon’s, making it easier for him to lick his way into Simon’s mouth. Jace waited for the gasp after he swept his tongue over Simon’s bottom lip before crowding him even closer to the wall, just needing more. Simon responded in the same way, hands curling loosely into the front of Jace’s shirt and kissing back with just as much force.

They broke apart slowly, Jace’s chest moving up and down quietly with every breath he took, head never moving more than an inch apart from Simon’s. Their eyes stayed closed even after they pulled away, but only for a second, until Jace opened his again to find Simon staring intently at him, eyes bright. The sight made Jace’s chest tighten up and hands press into Simon’s side a little bit harder.

“So, can I take that as a yes?” Simon said breathlessly, one of his trademark grins stretching wide over his mouth. Jace couldn’t help it as his face did the same thing.

“I don’t know. I think you might have to convince me a little bit more.” Jace murmured into Simon’s ear, teeth grazing his earlobe a tiny bit and relishing in the small noise it pulled from the back of Simon’s throat.

“Oh. Well I think I can do that.” Simon said back, moving one of his hands from the front of Jace’s shirt to the back of his head, where he gently tugged the hair there and pulled Jace back into another kiss.

They did end up going to dinner on Friday. They went to Hunter’s Moon and Maia teased Jace for at least half an hour about how long it took him to realize that every time he looked away from Simon, Simon started to stare at him.