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Step Onto My Balcony

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You had to deal every day with people who were foolish and lazy and untruthful and downright unpleasant, and you could certainly end up thinking that the world would be considerably improved if you gave them a slap. - Terry Pratchett

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“Didn’t anyone warn you that there was a storm in New York, buddy?”

Okay, so maybe Magnus was wearing a barely buttoned burgundy shirt with no jacket and a pair of beige chinos tightened by a leather belt that screamed summer. When he had left London in the morning, it had been surprisingly warm for a late September day and he hated sweating while traveling so he had dressed in consequence. He hadn’t thought of checking the weather in New York before takeoff. He was thus well underdressed for the temperature, as his taxi driver had not-so-subtly put out. He didn’t care, though.

Looking by the car’s window as they drove through the city, all he could be concerned about was how much he had missed New York. He hadn’t known how much until he had landed, put a foot on the ground and realized that, finally, he was home.

It had been five years since the last time he had seen New York and it felt like returning to an old friend, familiar and welcoming.

“Where are you from?” the driver asked when he didn’t reply to his first question.

“Here,” Magnus replied. “But I’ve been away for a while.”

“Oh, there’s no place like home,” the man chimed in with a genuine grin. “Where were you?”

“Asia, Europe, Africa, Peru… Here and there,” he said, shrugging. “Bit of a round-the-world trip, I guess.”

The man nodded in the rear-view thoughtfully, suddenly interested. Magnus could have talked for hours and hours of all the amazing places he had visited, all the incredible people he had met, all the marvelous food he had tasted. Right now though, he just wanted to go home, have a shower and reunite with his made-up family. He wondered if it would still feel like home after so long.

It was weird, five years later, to realize that Luke’s apartment still felt like home as much as if he had been gone for barely a week. The first thing that hit him as he opened the door was the smell of old books all around, familiar and welcomed. Then, it was Clary’s voice resonating all the way to his ears from the living room. He smiled to himself, depositing his luggage on the floor as quietly as he could and he moved swiftly, almost on his tiptoes, to surprise them. He stopped when he heard his name being mentioned, frowning.

“What if he changed his mind?” Clary was asking loudly and there was a true apprehension in her voice that made Magnus frown. “What if he’s not coming home?”

It was Luke who spoke, his gentle, caring tone cutting across the room like a stroke. “Of course he’s coming home, Clary.”

“Clary, Magnus is an idiot but he’s an honorable one. If he said he’s coming home, of course he’s going to be there,” said a voice Magnus could identify as Raphael.

“I know, I know but he should have called already, Raphael!” Clary protested. “He was supposed to call as soon as he landed!”

“I swear to God, Clary, if you don’t stop fidgeting around, I’m going to tape you to the wall,” another voice growled, vaguely annoyed, and this time, Magnus distinctly distinguished Simon’s accent.

He stepped forward, ready to surprise them but none of them noticed him standing in the threshold, so he just stood there with a smirk, waiting for one of them to notice him. They didn’t. It was all very entertaining.

Luke and Jocelyn were sitting on the couch, their bodies held close together, while Clary was pacing back and forth, biting on her nails. Next to her, Simon was looking at her with despair in his eyes, like he didn’t know what to do to calm her anymore. Beside him, sporting pretty much the same expression, stood Raphael, his hair pushed back on his head, his black eyes flashing with worry, affection and irritation because it wouldn’t have been Raphael if he didn’t look at least a little bit annoyed to be here.

 “I just wish he was punctual,” Clary sighed.

“Punctual was never Magnus’s forte,” Jocelyn chimed in with a smile and there was a lot going on in that simple grin, a tenderness that he had only ever seen on her face when she talked about Clary or Simon. It filled his heart with much welcomed warmth.

“Oh, but I have so many other magnificent qualities to compensate,” he finally said with an amused voice.

Their five heads snapped toward him from the threshold.

Magnus had always liked making an entrance and it was not going to change anytime soon. Raphael and Ragnor usually just rolled their eyes at him so it was nice to have a more receptive audience. The silence didn’t last long, but it was enough for him to appreciate his novelty effect before Clary threw herself into his arms.

“Magnus!’ she shrieked after the moment of bewilderment had passed.

She ran across the room to meet him and launched herself at him, squeezing him tightly into her arms like she was afraid he would disappear if she didn’t. Magnus caught her easily, sliding his arms around her waist with a happy laugh. He hadn’t seen her in two years, where she had come to see him in Paris with Simon, and he had missed her badly.

He hadn’t realized how quickly time had passed. When he had left New York, Clary had been eighteen, she had barely graduated. Now, she was about to graduate again but from art school this time. It seemed like a blink of an eye and yet, he had actually felt these five years past, he thought as he detached himself from Clary to embrace Jocelyn and Luke who had made their ways to him as well. They were beaming at him and he found himself grinning right back happily, his heart warming up at the sight of his loved ones. When he was released from Luke’s bone-crushing hug, he scanned the room, his eyes finding Simon who was standing a few feet away from him.

“Sherwin!” he exclaimed cheerfully. “Good to see you again.”

Simon rolled his eyes and snorted, coming over to hug him as well.

“You go away for five years and you can’t even remember my name?” he snickered, gently patting the warlock’s back. “Good to see I was missed, Magnus.”

“Yes, yes, of course I missed you, Sherwin.”

The tone was nonchalant but it was contradicted by the joyful smile illuminating both of their faces. Magnus turned to the last person in the room. Raphael stepped forward to shake his hand, always the coldest of them all and Magnus scoffed at him, grabbing the outstretched hand to pull him forward and into a hug.

“What’s the point of being having a cell phone if you don’t call to get a lift from the airport?” Raphael smirked.

“And missing the occasion of making such an entrance?” Magnus retorted wittily. “Where would be the fun in that?”

Raphael rolled his eyes at him. “Didn’t anyone warn you that it’s cold in New York? What are you even wearing?”

“Shush, Raphael,” Magnus dismissed his remark with an exaggerated wave. “It was warm in London when I left. Now, I love you all but I really need a shower, then we can catch up.”

“You know the house,” Luke replied kindly, a small paternal smile playing on his lips.

Magnus nodded and left for the bathroom. He did know the house. He had been raised in that apartment.

Luke and his father had been friends for years from the first day they had been roommates in college to the day his father had died many years ago. Luke had been his godfather and the closest thing to family he had had. So, when his father had passed away from cancer, his mother having abandoned both of them when he was born, Luke had adopted Magnus and he had been taken care of him ever since. Magnus was a grown-up man now but Luke still looked at him like the orphan child he had taken in. Magnus often wondered if it was painful for him to see so much of his father in him. He looked a lot like his father but it wasn’t the physical similarities that were the most striking. He knew how much like his father he was in his character, in his eccentricities, in his caring heart. Even though his memories of him were blurred because he had been so young when he had passed away, Magnus remembered enough about his father to be aware of all of that.

Luke had married Jocelyn, his long lost childhood love, when Magnus had been nine. With her had come Clary, who had only been four at the time, and with Clary had come Simon, the boy from kindergarten that she had basically decided to adopt. It made a weird family, but Magnus wouldn’t have had it any other way.

He showered and changed his clothes, grumpily putting away his summer outfit to find a warmer one before going back to the living room. It opened on the kitchen, where Jocelyn and Luke were moving swiftly, cutting vegetables and stirring a spoon in a sauce pan with an easy rhythm that showed how accustomed they were in working together. Clary was sitting on the couch with Simon, showing him a picture on her phone that Magnus had sent her two days ago. It was Saint Katharine Docks, showered in the first lights of morning. Raphael was sitting in front of the cooking couple, sneakily stealing food when they were not looking.

“So,” Magnus exclaimed, rubbing his hands together, looking at Jocelyn and Luke, “where is that apartment of mine exactly?”

When he had announced them that, finally, after five years, he was coming back home, Luke had been overjoyed but it was nothing compared to Jocelyn and Clary who had started making plans of all the things they would do in the apartment to make him feel welcomed again. They had been slightly disappointed when he had told them that he would need his own apartment, because he was twenty-eight and he needed his independence but they had understood. So Jocelyn and Clary had thrown themselves in finding him the perfect place, refusing to tell him anything about it, demanding that he would just trust them. He had just sent them the money and they had taken care of everything. Of course he did trust them, he knew he would love the place just because they had chosen it for him so it had to be perfect. However, he was still excited about discovering the place.

Clary laughed happily, shaking her head at him like he was a bad joke, and stepped forward, hooking her arm with his.

“I missed you,” she said, her eyes shining with happiness.

“I missed you too, biscuit.”

Missing New York was nothing next to what missing them had been like.

.

Alexander Lightwood sometimes wished he could switch his siblings for more supportive and more honest ones. When he had bought his apartment in Brooklyn, finally moving out of their parents’ house, they had helpfully offered to help him move his things. He should have known what it meant.

What it meant was that they were both either brooding at him for moving out in the first place or not helping at all with the boxes. Isabelle had been sitting on the couch in his living room since Jace and he had brought it up the stairs, staring at her nails in a nonchalant way and making snarky comments at her brothers. Jace had helped with the boxes, at least, but he had been frowning from the moment they had left their parents’ house and he still was, his disheveled blond hair barely hiding the thunderous look in his golden eyes.

“Why do you have to own so many books?” Jace growled, falling in the couch next to Isabelle, his hair stuck to his forehead with sweat.

“We’re not done,” Alec informed him but he took the opportunity to gulp an almost entire bottle of water.

He was sweating himself and his dark hair was a mess, sticking in every way imaginable.

“I’m taking five, boss,” Jace grunted back.

Alec rolled his eyes, grumbled something that sounded a lot like “lazy assholes” and went back to the elevator. His car was parked in the street, the trunk open to facilitate the trips up and down his apartment, just next to the moving van he had borrowed from his parents for the day. He grabbed a box and turned back to the building. Jace and Isabelle had not moved and he dropped it on the floor, turning to face them, an exasperated frown on his face.

“Okay, guys, if you’re not going to help, please start cooking or something. I’m starving and it’s almost lunch.”

“I’ve already ordered pizza,” Isabelle retorted with a smirk.

“Smart idea. We wouldn’t want to be exposed to your cooking skills again,” Jace snorted.

He was slouched on the couch, his legs stretched out in front of him and resting on his brand new coffee table. Alec glared at him but Jace didn’t seem very impressed.

“Fine,” he sighed finally, rising from the couch. “I’ll come with you.”

“That’s why you came with me in the first place,” Alec growled back, stepping out of the apartment again, his brother on his heels.

“No, I came because you said you would buy us a beer afterwards,” Jace replied, his voice heavy with sarcasm. “And by a beer, I mean ten.”

“When we’re done,” Alec said, rolling his eyes in exasperation. “Stop moaning.”

“Says the biggest moaner in history,” Jace sneakered, ruffling his brother’s already messy hair.

Alec protested, whacking his hand away reflexively.

“I hate you,” he sighed, stepping out of the elevator again.

“No you don’t,” Jace exclaimed cheerfully.

.

Magnus felt much better after a good night sleep, the time difference between London and New York had come crashing down the night before while he was counting one of his many adventures in Peru to his family, his eyes almost dropping with sleep. Even the storm had not been able to wake him up.

He had found his childhood room just like he had left it, the walls filled with pictures and maps of the world. He had smiled when he had seen the places that he had meticulously encircled with a red pen when he must have been seventeen. He had visited all of these places now and the mere thought had filled in with a deep sense of content and accomplishment.

The next morning, Clary had awakened him around half past ten, claiming that the jet lag would be even worse if he slept too much. He had grumpily obliged, getting out of bed with as much grace as his drowsy limbs would allow.

The plan for the day was to have lunch with Jocelyn and Luke who both had to leave after for different appointments and Clary would take him to his apartment. So after lunch, they both left and decided with walking because the storm was already gone and a shy sun was shimming over New York.

The streets were as calm as technically possible in a city like New York, always in movement. Magnus slid his arms over Clary’s shoulders as they walked, listening carefully as Clary was updating him on all the things he had missed in five years. They had emailed each other every week so he already knew basically everything but it was ten times better to hear it out loud, to be able to see her green eyes shine with excitement or fierceness depending on the stories.

“Here we are!” she exclaimed cheerfully as they stopped in front of a new building in the heart of Brooklyn.

Simon and Raphael were already waiting there, obviously arguing if their postures were any indication. Simon was making big gestures with his arms, his glasses falling lower on his nose, and Raphael looked like he would have preferred to be anywhere but there. Magnus suspected that much was true.

“Lovebirds,” he chimed in when they stopped in front of them, “enough with the PDA.”

Raphael rolled his eyes at him and threw him a shining item that he gracefully caught mid-flight. It was a set of keys. Magnus grinned happily at him and stepped inside, calling for the elevator. They all squeezed in and he watched as Clary pressed the fifth button, excitement growing in his stomach. In all honesty, he had been worried at first when Jocelyn and her daughter had claimed that they would take care of finding him a new place to live in New York, but now he was just fidgeting with anticipation.  He knew they wouldn’t disappoint.

The elevator stopped with a soft ding and the doors opened to a small corridor that held four doors. One of the doors was already open.

“It’s a new building,” Clary enlightened him lightly. “They barely finished building it a month ago so people are still moving in.”

Magnus nodded as they walked down the corridor. She turned to face a door, pointing at it with a big smile and he was about to slide his key in the lock when loud voices erupted on their right. Their small group spun around in a perfectly synchronized swift movement.

“I can’t believe you ate all the pizza!”

It was a woman’s voice and she seemed really angry. Magnus was about to turn around when she came out of the unlocked door. She had long ink-black hair that circled a pale but gorgeous face. Her dark brown eyes shone with a fierce spark and she stood tall on her feet, her chin up in both anger and pride. She was wearing a short and tight blue dress, accessorize with a pair of black tights and very high heels. Magnus approved instantly.

“I was starving,” protested another voice, a man this time, coming closer from the corridor.

Magnus was vaguely aware that they were all staring at the argument, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. It was very entertaining.

“Alec is going to kill you,” the woman replied with an almost spiteful laugh. “You better order another one right now.”

He heard the man sigh from inside the apartment and he stepped forward, coming out to face her.

“I’ll go get another one,” he grumbled crankily.

Magnus wondered if everyone in this building sported the same good looks. If so, he approved one hundred percents.

He was tall as well, taller than the woman, and sported fine, golden blond hair that was messily arranged. His eyes were probably light brown but from the small distance and under the dim light, they appeared to be gold. His right arm was covered with a big, black tattoo and Magnus only realized now that the woman he was arguing with was displaying the exact same one on her own arm.

As soon as he was out in the corridor, Magnus felt Clary tense from where she was still tugged under his arm. He frowned, looking down to glance at her but she wasn’t looking back at him, completely focused on the fighting couple.

Everything that occurred next happened so quickly that Magnus lost all sense of understanding.

The fighting couple, probably noticing the staring, turned toward them and the blond man’s mouth fell open, his eyes widening in obvious shock.

“Clary?” he exclaimed.

Magnus frowned in surprise just as the elevator doors opened with a ding, a tall dark-haired incredibly handsome man stepping out of it, holding what looked like a very heavy box. The blond guy stepped forward and frowned when his golden eyes settled on Magnus’s arm still firmly set over Clary’s shoulders.

“Who’s that?” he asked in an astonished voice. There was an obvious underlined jealousy in his tone and something like hurt too that forced Magnus to focus back on him, only to realize the blond was pointing at him with a long finger.

Clary didn’t answer. Instead, she stepped forward and slapped the guy so hard that his face went spinning on the side.

“Wow!” Simon exclaimed behind Magnus’s back.

Even Raphael actually looked surprised. The blond turned his head back toward Clary, wide-eyed and visibly shocked. So was Magnus, to be fair. The woman he had been fighting with seconds ago moved to join them, her whole posture showing she would fight them if she had to.

The man who had just come out of the elevator stepped forward, dropping his box on the floor. He put a gentle hand on the blond stranger’s shoulder.

“Jace, I’m not even done moving in yet, how did you manage to piss off my neighbors already?” he growled with a deep, raspy voice that sent nasty thoughts to Magnus’s mind.

In spite of the obvious intensity of the situation, his entire attention was suddenly grasped on the breathtaking stranger. It wasn’t so much the thin, wiry build, even though it was a very nice bonus, but more the stunning blue eyes and jet-black hair that peaked Magnus’s interest. The combination had always been his biggest weakness. He was wearing a black tank top that was doing wonders for his shoulders and biceps and Magnus found himself staring. His right arm sported the exact replica of the other two strangers’ tattoo. He wondered what that was about.

He turned to face them, an apologetic spark in his startling eyes and Magnus would have given him anything he would have asked.

“I’m sorry about him,” he stated calmly.

“You’re my brother, you’re supposed to support me when I get slapped, not throw me under the bus!” the so-called Jace blurted out indignantly.

“I don’t know what you did but I’m sure you deserved it,” the handsome stranger replied, his voice heavy with sarcasm.

“He did,” Clary confirmed, an untamed fury dancing in her eyes.

Jace was about to argue when the woman he had been fighting with over pizza stepped forward, holding a hand up to shut him up. She turned her dark fierce eyes on Clary and Magnus stood taller on his feet, hovering above her protectively. She didn’t seem impressed.

“I like you,” she finally stated with a smirk. “I’m Isabelle Lightwood, but you can call me Izzy.”

She was holding out her hand and Magnus had to chuckle because this whole situation was kind of hilarious.

“Clary,” the redhead replied, shaking the outstretched hand.

“Do you live here?’ Isabelle inquired, sending a kind smile to the rest of their group.

Clary shook his head no, twisting her body to point at Magnus.

“No, my brother is moving in today,” she declared, insisting on the word as she glared at Jace whose mouth fell open in surprise.

“Your brother?” he blurted out. “B-But you look nothing like each other.”

Magnus chuckled, rolling his eyes. He didn’t know what the story was there but Clary had to do something about her taste in guys.

“Yeah, because you and your brother look exactly the same,” he chimed in with a mocking smirk, pointing between the two of them.

“I’m adopted,” Jace countered lamely.

His cheek had started to turn a vicious shade of red.

“Well, so am I,” Magnus retorted with a smile. “So many things in common already,” he added sarcastically.

There was a short silence as the three of them seemed to scan him with preying eyes but Magnus did not deflate for a second, staring right back.

“I like you too,” Isabelle finally beamed happily.

“Well, thank you sweetheart. The feeling is mutual.”

It was. Magnus had always liked people with fire and she was a dragon.

She smiled again, before turning her head to Blue Eyes. “Where are your manners? Introduce yourself to your neighbor!” she chastised him.

“Sorry,” the poor man stuttered, gazing straight at Magnus. “H-Hi. Uhm. I’m Alec. Alec Lightwood.”

It was a nice name, Magnus pondered to himself, to fit a very nice face.

“Magnus Bane,” he breathed out, unable to hold the flirtatious tone back, shaking the outstretched hand.

“Magnus, no”, Clary reprimanded him lowly, for his ears only.

It occurred to him that he was probably staring by now and that a handshake wasn’t supposed to last that long but he really couldn’t care when Alec was staring right back with these amazing eyes of his.

He rolled his eyes at his sister’s comment, pulling away from his neighbor reluctantly. Alec nodded at the rest of the group.

“Yeah, it’s very nice to meet you all. So, are we going to stay in the corridor all day?” Raphael grunted crankily, always a ray of sunshine. “Because I’d rather spend eternity eating shards of broken glass.”

Magnus rolled his eyes, shifting swiftly to finally turn the key in the door.

“There you go, sunshine.”

Raphael glared at him, before stepping inside, Simon on his heels. “Don’t call me that.”

Magnus snorted and turned to face the Lightwoods. “He loves me,” he informed them with an amused smile. “See you later,” he added and winked at Alec, smirking softly when a delicious blush plastered his pale skin.

“But –“ Jace’s voice chimed in but Magnus was already closing the door behind Clary and him.

Once inside, he took a minute to look around. He was in on a small hallway where already stood a wooden coat rack where Raphael and Simon had discarded their jackets. The wall was open on an ample living room. The boys were already slouched on the two leather couches that laid in the middle of the room. One of them was facing the range of windows, bathing the room in light, while the other one was turned toward the flat TV hung on the red-brick wall. It was already switched on a basketball game and neither Raphael nor Simon paid any attention to them, focused on the screen. The coffee table between them appeared to be mahogany and Magnus almost chastised Simon for putting his feet on it but he knew he would probably be doing the same soon enough.

He couldn’t really focus on them anyway because his attention had been caught by the view that the French doors along the wall disclosed. He opened them immediately, stepping on the balcony and Clary followed him with a soft smile, obviously happy to see him wander around the apartment she had carefully chosen for him.

Magnus had always loved New York. It was the city he had grown up in and there was something appealing about that but it wasn’t only that. It was the way it seemed to be always in movement, always changing, a marvelous blend of modern and ancient that created the unique atmosphere that Magnus hadn’t found in any of the numerous cities he had visited. New York was inimitable and, in his eyes, matchless. So it was a wonder, to him, to live in a place that had such a view.

The balcony was facing the East River. In the distance, he could see the architectural marvel that was New York, the perfect mixture of historic monuments, glorious skyscrapers and dazzling buildings. It was breathtaking and he found himself, not for the first time, overjoyed that he had finally decided to come home. He didn’t think he would ever want to leave again if that was what he would come home to.

“So, what do you think?” Clary asked eagerly, a stunning grin illuminating her face.

Magnus turned to her only to find out he had been rendered speechless. He smiled the most genuine, caring and happy smile he could and slid his arms around her shoulders, dropping a kiss at the top of her head.

“It’s perfect,” he mumbled against her hair.

The rest of the loft was as wonderful as the main room. The modern kitchen was separated from the living room by a long bar and two cast-iron pillars that created a beautiful balance between practicality and style and Magnus loved it. Next to the kitchen, a long corridor led to the three bedrooms and one big bathroom.

His bedroom was the biggest one, obviously, and was bathed in light by a roof-window and another one on the wall next to the door that led to another smaller bathroom. He almost lost his mind when he opened the door next to the king-size bed to find a dressing room, already filled with the clothes he had had to leave behind when he had gone away five years ago. Clary laughed loudly at his excitement, rolling her eyes fondly.

“I knew it would be your favorite thing,” she mocked kindly.

“Oh God,” he exclaimed, wiggling his fingers enthusiastically. “I am going to organize everything by colors, it’s going to look so great!”

She giggled and it took her at least five long minutes to convince him to leave the dressing room. All in all, the apartment was indeed perfect and he had never been so grateful in his whole life.

When they got back to the living room, he slouched down on the couch next to Simon, a happy grin permanently fixed on his lips.

“So, do you like it?” Simon asked casually. “Please say yes. I didn’t spend weeks helping with decorations and painting and electric cables for you not to like it. If you don’t like it, I’m sending you back to Iceland.”

“Reykjavik is actually very nice at this time of the year,” Magnus retorted with a smirk. “But don’t you worry, Samuel, I love it.”

Simon snorted, rolling his eyes. “After all the trouble I went through for your sake, you could at least stop pretending not to know my name for a day.”

“Deal. I’ll let you know when I’ve chosen that day. Maybe Christmas? It could be your present,” Magnus quipped back, winking.

“You’re an idiot,” Simon countered but there was a small smile playing on his lips.

Clary came to sit next to Raphael, who was too engrossed on the game to pay attention to any of them. She had a soda can in her hand and Magnus wondered where it came from, before he realized that Jocelyn must have filled his fridge and all of his cupboards with food and drinks because that was the kind of things she did even though he was twenty-eight and very capable of doing his own grocery shopping.

He leaned forward to take a sip out of her drink before holding it back to her.

“So, what’s the deal with you and that Jace kid?” he inquired matter-of-factly, falling back on the couch.

“Yeah,” Simon chimed in. “I’ve never seen him before. What did he do to you?”

“It’s more what he didn’t do,” Clary replied and there was bitterness in her usually kind voice. “Remember that party Eric threw a month ago when his parents went away for the weekend?”

Simon nodded positively. Magnus was left with nothing to do but shrug. He knew that Eric was Simon’s best friend and band mate and that he usually dragged them to weird concerts or chaotic parties. He didn’t remember Clary mentioning one of them recently, though.

“Well, I met Jace that night and…”

She cut herself off, her pale skin flushing a light shade of pink.

“We kind of hooked up,” she admitted, before taking in Magnus’s smirk, hastily correcting herself. “We didn’t sleep together! We just made out and we talked… a lot and it was really nice and we really got along so I gave him my number and obviously, he never called me back. Hence the slap.”

“Which was quite impressive, dare I say,” Magnus snickered. “Did you take boxing lessons while I was away?”

“No, but I guess I had good motivations,” Clary rebutted with a smirk of her own.

“Serves him well,” Simon intervened.

.

“I can’t believe she slapped me!” Jace shouted when they were finally done bringing all the boxes up, standing in front of his siblings who were sprawled on the couch, exhausted.

“Look me in the eyes and tell me you didn’t deserve it,” Alec growled doubtfully.

“I didn’t!” Jace argued. “I tried to call and text her and she never answered!”

“Maybe you did something to piss her off at that party then,” Isabelle put in, raising a suspicious eyebrow.

“What? Come on, have a little faith in me!” he implored, his voice high with irritation. “I did nothing wrong! We made out, I spent all night with her and I called her a taxi when she told me she had to go. I even paid for it! I was the perfect gentleman!”

“Well, you must have done something wrong!” Alec replied. “I’m sure she doesn’t go around slapping people who have done nothing to her.”

“Maybe she does,” Isabelle smirked. “Maybe she’s a serial slapper.”

“A serial slapper?” Jace echoed, complete astonishment on his handsome features. “Izzy, that’s not even a thing!”

“Well, it could become one. Clary could be a pioneer. I’m sure a lot of men deserve free slaps. Maybe you didn’t do anything to her but I’m also sure you should have been slapped a few times in your life and it didn’t happen. So, basically, it’s just karma.”

“Isabelle, I don’t even know what you’re talking about,” Jace growled, dropping his head in his hands.

“I do,” Alec chimed in. “It actually makes sense.”

Jace glared at them, his expression a mixture of betrayal, astonishment and helplessness. He narrowed his golden eyes at them, before showing them both his middle fingers and spinning around, grabbing his phone.

“I’m ordering pizza. And I’m asking for extra anchovies just because I know you both don’t like it.”

Alec rolled his eyes. “Very mature, Jace.”

“Fuck off.”

.