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Jace still hasn't called.

It's only been fifteen minutes after the top of the hour, but he still hasn't called. The Institute is moving all around him, but Simon can't think anything other than something is very, very wrong. He's tucked into the shadows of some random hallway leading into the main room, and luckily no one has come by him to see just how fucking terrified he is. Anxiously, he pulls out his phone one more time, just to make sure he hadn't missed anything in the past .03 seconds it was in his pocket.

No new messages.

Simon swallows hard out of fear. It's been hours since Jace, Alec, and Izzy left for a mission down on the Lower West Side, and every top of the hour Jace had called him to check in. Every single one. They set up this system when Simon almost went into a panic attack after not knowing how long Jace had been gone for on a regular patrol. Now, Jace calls Simon every hour just to say "Hey. I'm still alive." Simon doesn't think Jace knows how much he looks forward to those calls. Of course, Shadowhunting is a hard job, so he's been late a couple times, maybe two or three minutes after the hour, and Simon is totally okay with that. He gets it, really.

But fifteen minutes is too long. Fifteen minutes is enough for Simon to really know that there is something horribly wrong. Suddenly, a hand claps down on his shoulder and he spins around, dropping his phone at the same time.

"Simon. He's going to be okay." Clary's voice floats down from where she stands above Simon as he grabs his phone roughly, glaring at her as he straightens back up. She looks at him meaningfully, and the hand on his shoulder tightens reassuringly.

"Clary, something's really wrong. There's -" Simon tries, throat tightening uncomfortably as he says the thing that's been plaguing him out loud for the first time. The desperation seeps heavy into his voice, but if Clary hears it, she takes no note of it.

"Simon. Calm down, they've been doing this their whole lives." Clary interrupts, a small laugh punctuating it. Her eyes were mirthful and tone calming, yet did absolutely nothing to dampen the enormous ball of anxiety in Simon's gut. "Jace is fine."

"But he hasn't called yet-" Simon tried again, holding the phone out in front of Clary to emphasize his point.

"Simon, his phone probably died or something. Trust me, you have nothing to worry about." Clary says slowly as her hand comes up to cover Simon's phone and lower it to his side. Her hands gently circle his wrists and she tugs him forward slightly, before wrapping him in a hug. Simon allows himself to breathe out momentarily, just letting himself decompress a little bit before he goes into a full on panic mode. Clary and feel the exhalation on the side of her neck and tightens her arms around Simon in response. Simon can feel hot ears start to form in his eyes before he starts to spiral again.

"Clary, he always calls, even if his phone dies -"

"Simon. Enough." Clary says sharply as she pulls back, holds his shoulders firmly and looks him dead in the eyes. They're serious and dangerously calm, which is a look that Clary only uses when she's really trying to get her point across. "Stop thinking like this. Jace is fine. He's with Alec and Izzy, and those three are probably the best Shadowhunters in the city. Nothing is going to happen to him. I'm sure he'll call you any minute now. He probably just got sidetracked. But you need to stop worrying."

"Clary -" Simon tries again. He knows Clary's intentions are good, but he still can't shake the feeling of absolute dread that's sitting heavy in his gut. His head ducks instinctively as he swallows hard once again, and not a second passes before Clary's hand is on his chin, tilting his head up slowly.

"I said enough, Simon. Come on, let's go get something to eat." She says lightly, some of her usual brightness returning to her eyes and voice. "Let's see if we can't get your mind off of the mission for a couple minutes."

Simon looks at her doubtfully for a long moment before nodding his head slowly. Clary brightens even further. "Awesome! There's this new place down the block that I've been dying to try -"

"I just gotta go get my wallet from Jace's room. Wait for me here?" Simon interrupts before she can start on one of her long winded conversations about different types of cuisines and whatnot. Simon loves Clary to death, but she knows way too much about Mongolian barbecue for her own good. She nods quickly and turns to walk into the main room. As Simon watches her retreating back, he lets out a breath he hadn't noticed he was holding, before quickly gathering himself and walking to Jace's room.

He wasn't gone for more than a minute. Funny how that one minute is enough time to change his entire world.

His wallet is laying on Jace's bedside table, right where he'd left it last night. Behind it was a picture frame; Jace and him at a Halloween party, on a roof somewhere in Manhattan. Simon's posing like Superman, with his fangs out jokingly. Jace is right next to him, arm around Simon's shoulders and plastic vampire teeth in all of their glory. Simon picks up the frame and traces around the picture gently, a tiny smile forming on his lips involuntarily. His thumb swipes over Jace's grin just as his phone buzzes in his pocket.

In an instant, it's in his hands and unlocked, fumbling for the message app and quickly opening the notification that he'd just gotten. A tiny flicker of hope was quickly snuffed out, however, when he saw that it was only Clary.

get out here

His brows drew together in confusion. If Clary was talking about them going for lunch, where were her usual 7 exclamation points? Why hadn't she capitalized get? Clary always uses correct grammar when she's texting, Simon thinks to himself, unless…

In the next moment, both Simon's phone and the picture are hitting the floor next to the table as he speeds out of the room, vamp speed blurring him instantly. Clary only texts like that when it's an emergency, and Simon's brain is barely catching up to the situation before he's out of the room and running towards the Control Center.

He leaves the room so quickly, he doesn't hear the sound of shattering glass echoing through the halls.

Simon bursts into the main room in a breathless rush, barely managing to avoid the stampede of people headed towards the doors. He looks around wildly for Clary, before he spots her bright red hair already in the crowd of people in front of him. An odd feeling rushes through him, and suddenly he wants nothing more than to go back into Jace's room and pretend that this day never happened. But before he can, Clary spots him and waves him over with a grim look on her face.

Slowly, he approaches the crowd, sticking near the fringes as he tries to maneuver his way to Clary with assorted "excuse me, sorry, thanks, excuse me, so sorry" as he pushes past person after person. He's almost made it to her; maybe only a couple feet away before he sees something in the periphery of his vision that makes his blood run cold and head whip to the left.

In the middle of the semicircle are Alec and Izzy, who's hanging off of her older brother looking barely conscious as blood steadily drips down her forehead. Alec isn't in much better shape, seeming to limp on his left leg as he tries to pass Izzy off to two other Shadowhunters to take her to the infirmary. Both of them are absolutely covered in blood, rust red footprints staining their way from the entrance to where they stand now. But that's not what caught Simon's attention, oh no.

Jace isn't there.

His mind blanks out as he pushes towards Alec, ignoring the shouts and gasps of indignation as he carelessly shoves people aside. It seems like ages and seconds at the same time, trying to push past people who won't fucking move, but he finally gets there. There's a rock in his throat and a lead weight in the pit of his stomach, but the words come out as easily as if he were asking for the time.

"Where is he."

It's not a question at this point, and Alec doesn't give a response. Simon feels tears forming as his fists curl in on themselves. There's a whirlwind of anger and fear and terror and rage forming in his brain, but right now he doesn't care because he doesn't know where Jace is. Slowly, he breathes out, trying not to step forward and strangle Alec until he gives him an answer, but as he does, Alec finally looks up from the floor to him.

He doesn't say anything. The look on his face speaks volumes.

Simon steps back as his world crumbles around him. His breath is caught in his throat and his nails are digging into his palms but he can't feel anything other than numb. Jace isn't here. Jace is gone. Jace is hurt and it's all his fucking fault. He can feel his chest starting to heave up and down as he helplessly tries to draw in a breath that he doesn't need. Simon feels like he's drowning. He's dying, he must be, because Jace would never leave him like this, he wouldn't do this to him, and he still doesn't know where he is.

Everything is suddenly painfully clear as the world snaps back into place. Simon hastily wipes the tears from his eyes and shoves past Alec, making a beeline for the door before anyone can stop him. But they try anyway's.

"Simon, what are you doing?" Alec asks quietly, but just loud enough to where Simon hears him and spins around abruptly. Alec's eyes are tired and he's bruised all over, in stark contrast to the fire and venom running hot through Simon's eyes. Slowly, Simon tries to collect himself before he starts to fall apart with the pure fucking rage that's running through him and looks directly at him.

"I'm going after him."

"Simon, you can't. It's a suicide mission -" Alec starts, exhaustion soaking through every word but not even getting to finish a breath before being interrupted by Simon.

"I don't care." The words come out of his mouth cold and brittle like shards of ice. Usually Simon would flinch at the bluntness but this is not usually, and the only thing running through his mind is how to get Jace back. "I need him back. Whether I come back is irrelevant."

"Simon, stop -" And now Izzy is stepping up, hands clutching her side where blood slugs out between her fingers. Yet, she grits her teeth in pain and continues towards him, even going so far to actually extend a blood soaked hand which Simon looks at and backs away from, sudden tears springing up as he imagines Jace's broken body on cold stone floors, eye glazed and unseeing, so much fucking blood. His teeth are grinding together and the bite of his nails against his palms is getting so sharp he thinks he might be breaking the surface.

"I'm not going to fucking stop Izzy. Don't you get it?" Simon replies, deathly quiet as his eyes slowly raise from her extended hand to her eyes. They are filled with pain and exhaustion, whereas Simon is maybe twenty second away from burning down the entire world just to get Jace back. "I'm not fucking stopping until he's back here and safe. And no one can convince me otherwise."

As the words land in front of Izzy in the deathly quiet Institute, Simon twists around and shoves the wide doors open, slamming them shut behind him without hearing the dim cries of his name behind him. He's almost to the edge of the stairs when he hears the doors creak open again and footsteps fly down until they're right behind him. In the last couple seconds, Simon has gone from terrifyingly angry to mind numbingly scared, and as whoever it is runs up behind him, his throat closes up and tears start to run down his face in ugly sobs.

"Simon, turn around, look at me, you're going to hurt yourself." Clary's voice floats through the fog of his mind until it strikes a chord that rings through Simon. Suddenly, he's so fucking tired of being told no, and he's dropping to his knees as his hands come up to rip through his hair and pull, hard enough to where he starts to see white spots in his vision. He's still breathing through clenched teeth but the anger comes back again, and it bubbles up from his gut to his throat and Simon screams, voice rubbing raw and scratched.

It abates after a moment, and Clary takes the opportunity to try and take Simon's hands out of his hair, maybe pull him in for another hug and they can go and try to figure this out together. However, her hand is barely hovering over Simon's shoulder before he whirls around and what she sees is not Simon at all. His eyes are red and bloodshot, hair a complete mess, but the most frightening part of it all is his mouth, curled into a snarl, baring his teeth at her. Terrified, she scrambles backwards, trying desperately to find somewhere to hide. Simon advances on her a bit more, eyes flashing with rage and teeth pointed directly to her.

"Where. Is. He." The sound Simon makes is barely human, barely distinguished enough to where Clary has to strain to figure it out, but it wasn't too hard. Her hands were still shaking behind her as she swallows and lifts up her head to face the - the thing in front of her. She can faintly remember Izzy telling her what they were going after that morning -

"Lower West Side. Rogue warlock -"

Before Clary can finish her thought, Simon blurs into the distance, only the faint smell of iron and saltwater as a testimony that he was actually ever here at all.

--

Simon hates New York because of all the smells. It's nearly impossible to track someone in New York, even as a vampire with super enhanced senses. It's a maze of food and sweat and pollution, one blending into the other so seamlessly its almost impossible to tell one person from the other.

Almost.

However, Simon has spent more nights than he can count wrapped up in Jace, head buried in the crook of his neck, breathing steadily in and out. Simon has had Jace's blood in his mouth, felt him run thick and heavy down his throat, before the blood lands in his stomach and felt warm and ever so right. Simon would know Jace if he was deaf and blind, just from the way his arms wrap around him and hold him tight. Simon knows Jace better than he knows himself, so it's not nearly as hard to follow the faint smell of leather, sweat, and day old cologne that he knows as Jace all the way down to an alley in the Lower West Side. Just like Clary'd said, as he gets closer, he can smell the burnt energy that he's come to realize as magic, intermingled with the heavy smell of iron and blood. Simon puts it out of his mind before he reaches the alley, remembering just how bad Izzy was bleeding, and knowing that it was probably just hers. The world slows down around him as he reaches the entrance, Jace's scent twisting with the magic and blood to shoot a dull ache right into Simon's gut. Because the blood doesn't smell like Izzy.

It smells like Jace.

And when Simon finally steps into the alley, the world tilts around him again.

The alley is soaked in blood, sticky underneath Simon's feet as he walks deeper in. The walls are smeared, arrows are littered on the ground in the corner, each one broken and burnt as it hit whatever force field the warlock was using to protect them self. There's shatters of a knife sitting in a pool of blood in roughly the same area, and Simon nearly falls to his knees and retches at the sight.

Because it's Jace's knife.

The hilt isn't broken like the blade, and that's how he knows. Because Simon has seen Jace clean that knife over and over again, ever so carefully. He knows it's Jace's because of the wrapped leather of the bottom of the hilt, exactly like one of Jace's favorite leather jackets that got ripped up in another battle. He knows it's Jace's knife because he gave Jace that knife.

Simon hits the wall roughly with his side, chest heaving up and down as he tries to catch unnecessary breaths, the acidic bite of bile climbing up his throat slowly, slowly, slowly. He can't take his eyes off of the knife, and the blood, and he barely swallows it down before he heaves at the sight. Simon can't - he - Jace isn't - fuck.

Simon's eyes start to well up with tears again, but he doesn't notice this time. Simon is angry and vengeful and determined to cut down every single person in his way to get to Jace. These are not tears of sorrow. These are tears that could burn the world to ashes if he needed them too. Simon still can't take his eyes off of the knife, can't rip his thoughts away from all of the horrible scenarios that Jace could be in -.

Suddenly, his mind blanks out, and the only thing left is a burning rage driving him to Jace.

He wipes his eyes roughly before walking forward slowly and picking up; the knife, wiping the blood off and turning it in his hands gently, before slipping it back into his pocket. His eyes are wild yet calm with a dry anger, as they slowly look around the blood soaked alley to see if there's anything else he missed. Finding nothing, Simon raised his nose to the sky, trying to catch a faint whiff of where Jace might be -

There.

Without even a glance back at the shattered blade in the corner, Simon is speeding off in the direction of Jace's smell, thick with blood and sweat but just enough of him underlying it. The world blurs around Simon as he runs, passing street sign after street sign, the pounding feet under him mirroring the thought pounding through his head at the same time.

--

Simon comes to a stop outside of an old warehouse, the windows shattered and graffiti covering most of the exterior. He knows he should probably circle the building, check for security or other demons that he might come across, and he even starts to, before his ears catch a faint scream of pain and his blood runs cold.

He knows he's in the right place now.

Without even a second thought, Simon is vaulting through a broken window, landing hard on the dusty ground inside. Immediately, his head swings around, trying to distinguish Jace through the cloying smell of blood and sweat and pigeon shit. Carefully, he advances towards a stairwell in the back corner of the warehouse, treading quietly just in case something decides to pop out at him and catch him unawares. However, stealth goes right out the door again as he hears another agonized scream above him and his mind blanks out for the third time that day.

Without even realizing it, Simon is rushing up the stairs and searching all of the floors before he finds them at the very top. Simon stops cold when he gets there, barely composed enough to not immediately run over and rip the warlocks fucking throat out. The warlock is looking straight at him, eyes burning cold and malicious as he stands above Jace in a chair with a knife at his throat.

Simon dimly hears something growl, barely human, and it takes him a long moment before he realizes that it was him. Because Jace - Jace isn't fucking moving. His hair is matted and stained a dull red, head tilted back to expose his neck, completely covered in blood. It travels all the way down his torso, shirt soaked through with blood, and extends down his arms, freed of the leather jacket and now covered in bright, angry burn marks that Simon can only assume is from the warlock. His eyes are unfocused as they stare directly at the ceiling, unseeing and glossy eyed. The warlock snarls as Simon steps closer, hands just itching to tear him limb from fucking limb.

"One more step, and I slit his throat." The voice is low and gravelly, matching the matted hair and ripped shirt almost perfectly. Simon raises his hands in acquiescence, and feels his heart lurch and his teeth grind together as the warlock pushes the blade towards Jace's neck even more. Simon can hear a sharp gasp of pain from Jace, who slowly raises his head and tries to focus.

"S - Simon?" His voice is broken, and Simon's heart breaks in response.

"And you, if you say another word I'll break your fucking arm." The warlock turns to Jace, eyes bright with fury. Simon's barely holding it together, every single cell in his body screaming at him to run at the warlock who threatened his everything and hurt him so badly the atoms won't even have a chance to react. However, he waits, because he knows that one wrong movement could send the warlock's hand flying across Jace's neck.

"Just let him go. Please." Simon says lowly, hoping that the warlock can feel exactly how serious he is. If the warlock does, he doesn't let on, lips just pulling back in a snarl as he raises the knife to point at Simon instead.

"And why should I do that, vampire?" He says wickedly, eyes flashing with wild anticipation and malice. "He was the one who ruined all of my fun, why shouldn't I ruin his?"

"I'm giving you one more chance. Let. Him. Go." Simon growls under his breath, eyes still fixed on Jace, hands still raised warily.

"Hmm. I think - no." The warlock cackles, and the knife returns to Jace's neck. Jace flinches at the cold bite of steel against him, and Simon practically flies apart there and then. But not yet.

"Your mistake." he says simply. His fangs push out against his lips, and he even feels them twist up in a wicked smile. Funny. He's never been so excited about killing someone before.

Simon doesn't remember what he did, he swears on his mother's life. What he does remember is brief flashes of bright, bright red, a long, drawn out scream cut short with a deathly gurgle, and the cloyingly sweet taste of warlock blood rushing down his throat.

When he finally comes to, he's breathing heavy again. Around him is covered in blood, and the body of the warlock is laid out in front of him, eyes glassy and throat neatly bitten out, a widening pool of blood around his head. There's bite marks all up and down his jaw and neck (what's left of it, anyway), and the front of Simon's shirt is drenched in sweat mixed with blood. There's a sickening smile on his faces that's quickly wiped off when he hears a small, pained noise to his left. He whirls around and his stomach drops all the way to the center of the Earth.

Jace has slumped forward, hair hanging limply in front of his face, and now Simon can see the zip ties around his wrists and the angry, red marks they've left. He kneels down beside him, shaking hands brushing blood stained hair away from his face gingerly, muttering quiet words as he works to get Jace free.

"Hey, hey, I'm here, it's me, Jace, it's Simon, I've got you." Simon can't seem to get his hands to stop shaking, and when he fails a fourth time at trying to get the zip tie free, he grits his teeth and pulls, snapping it like a birds neck. As soon as his hands are free, Jace falls forward with a grunt, and Simon rushes to catch him. Jace's head is buried in Simon's neck, Simon's hands holding Jace's shoulders and he stands up and tries to bring Jace with him. He stops abruptly when Jace cries out in pain, and before Simon can stop to think he's already bending down and catching Jace under the knee, pulling him up to rest bridal-style in his arms. Jace's eyes are still glassy, but they open slightly and focus on Simon. His hand comes up, covered in blood, to gently trace the curve of Simon's jaw with his thumb.

"You - you came af - after me." Jace's voice is weak and small and barely there, but Simon can hear it, he can hear him and he nearly cries in relief.

"Yes, yes, it's me Jace, of course I came after you." Simon chokes out before pressing a hard kiss to Jace's lips. It's really nothing more than just pressing together, but to Simon it means the world. "Fuck, you scared me Jace. I love you so fucking much, you hear that?"

Jace smiles sleepily as his eyes slide shut from the blood loss, and Simon smiles weakly back, even though he can't see him. Jace turns into Simon's chest, nuzzling at his collarbones, making Simon fall in love with him all over again.

"Love you too, Si." Jace is muffles by Simon's shirt, and even though they're both covered in blood, Simon can't help but feel like he's coming home.