Magnus’ loft is cast in dim half-light when Simon slips through the front door. The opulently heavy curtains framing the windows of the living room are drawn; the lights of the city are only allowed to sneak in through a small gap where the French doors out to the balcony are.
It takes Simon a moment to adjust to the gloom, and he’s just toeing out of his shoes when he spots a figure lying on the couch and nearly trips over his own foot in shock. His hand flies out and slams against the wall in an attempt to steady himself and he’s pretty sure that his heart is tripping along at an unhealthily quick pace for a being who’s technically dead.
The noise stirs Magnus, who pokes his head around the patio doors to see the source of the commotion.
“Ah, Simon,” he says pleasantly. “It’s good to see you — I wasn’t sure what time you’d be back tonight.”
Magnus disappears back out onto the balcony. Simon eyes Alec lying on the couch as he skirts past, then gingerly pulls back one of the curtains and taps on the glass. Magnus, who’s sitting on the same chair Simon had found him in when they were dealing with Camille, looks up.
“Can I —?” Simon says, nodding at the sky. It’s not long before dawn, and Magnus’ brow furrows for just a moment before he nods and snaps his fingers. A haze of blue settles over the loft and then vanishes.
“I’ve warded the loft against the sunlight,” Magnus explains as Simon steps onto the balcony. “You can come outside anytime you need to.”
Simon glances over the city, a strange mixture of emotions swirling in his chest.
“Thank you,” he gets out, throat unexpectedly tight. When he looks over, Magnus is watching him with a knowing, but soft, smile.
When Magnus doesn’t speak, only sips his whiskey, Simon nods back into the loft. “What’s up with Alec?” he asks.
Magnus huffs a soft laugh. “You mean, why is he sleeping on my couch?” Simon nods. “It was late by the time we’d finished talking. I think tonight was particularly hard on him,” Magnus says eventually.
Simon nods, wringing his hands in his lap. “I don’t think it was easy for anyone,” he says, with a sad smile.
“How are Clary and Luke doing?” Magnus asks.
“Not great,” Simon says honestly. “I haven’t seen Clary — I rang her earlier, after the funeral. She couldn’t stop crying.”
Magnus sighs and shakes his head, frowning down into his drink.
“I haven’t seen Luke, either. I stopped by the Jade Wolf and the police station, but no one’s seen him. He’s not picking up his phone.”
“People process grief in different ways,” Magnus says. “Luke has lost the love of his life, and he only just got her back. Perhaps he needs some space.”
Simon nods, still twisting his fingers around each other. “You don’t think he’ll do anything stupid, do you?”
Magnus raises an eyebrow as he takes a sip of his drink. “As stupid as trying to raise Jocelyn from the dead with dark magic?” Simon can’t help feeling a little abashed and rolls his eyes. “No, I don’t. Werewolves can be particularly vulnerable to transformation when their emotions are high. I suspect he’s just trying to stay afloat, at the moment.”
After a pause, Magnus clears his throat. “How about you, Simon? I know Jocelyn was like a second mother to you.”
Simon blinks out at the city. The sound of life floats up towards them, the hustle and bustle of people going about their business unrelenting.
“I actually spent the night at the cemetery,” Simon admits. “I sat by my dad’s grave and just…got lost in thought, I guess. I didn’t realise how late it had gotten and then I came back here.” A realisation hits Simon. “How come you’re still awake?”
Magnus glances back into the living room, a shadow passing over his face. “It seems getting lost in our thoughts is something we have in common,” he says. His eyes drop to the drink in front of him and he swirls the glass, ice cubes clinking against the side. “As is losing people we love.”
Simon swallows. Magnus looks so young most of the time that it’s easy to forget he’s literally centuries old. Simon’s life must seem like the blink of an eye in comparison, and what does Simon know about loss?
He supposes, looking at the tiredness etched on Magnus’ face, that he’ll learn.
Magnus shakes himself and drains his drink, then snaps his fingers to banish the glass. He stands and brushes down his pants.
“Well, as you reminded me,” he starts, “it’s late. I should check on Alec and then get to bed myself. Goodnight, Simon.”
“Night, Magnus,” Simon says. He watches Magnus pad inside and then turns to face the city, watching the dawn for the first time in weeks and basking in the warm glow of the early morning sun.
It starts with the coffee machine.
Simon comes in from the balcony, skin tingling pleasantly from the gentle heat of the sun, and spots Alec standing in the kitchen, fiddling with the buttons on the coffee maker.
He clears his throat. “Morning.”
Alec turns to him, looks him up and down once, and turns back to the machine. He’s dressed in a loose pair of sweatpants and a plain T-shirt that’s a little badly fitting around the shoulders, and the left side of his hair is sticking up from where he’s been lying on the couch.
Alec’s still squinting at the coffee machine as Simon moves past him, so Simon resigns himself to the fact that they’re never going to be anything close to resembling friends and heads on off to bed.
“Hey,” Alec calls quietly. “You’ve been living here a couple of weeks. Do you know how to use this thing?”
Simon turns back to Alec on a yawn he can’t hide and bumbles to the machine. He presses a couple of buttons and the machine starts gurgling. Alec raises his eyebrows and hums in what Simon takes to mean thanks.
Once he’s opened almost every cupboard in the kitchen, Alec finally finds the mugs, and he leaves two on the side before getting out cream and sugar. Simon watches him flit around before deciding he should probably feed before he goes to sleep — his mom always told him never to go to bed on an empty stomach.
He crosses to the fridge and pulls a packet of O neg out the door, then leaves it on the side to warm to room temperature before he takes it to his room to drink — much more pleasant than fridge-cold.
Since he has a few minutes to kill while the blood warms, he decides to strike up a conversation with Alec.
“You scared the crap outta me when I got back yesterday,” he offers. “I wasn’t expecting to see you, but Magnus mentioned you two were up most of the night.”
He’s so tired that the double meaning of the words only hits him once they’ve left his mouth. Simon glances over at Alec in horror and finds himself on the receiving end of an impressive eye roll. “I don’t mean —”
“Stop talking,” Alec says, screwing his eyes shut.
“Yep,” Simon says immediately. “Sorry.”
To his eternal surprise, the corners of Alec’s mouth curve up and he laughs slightly. He looks over at Simon.
“Did Magnus say anything else?” he asks, swapping one now-full mug for the other empty one in the space in the machine.
“Just that you were pretty cut up over everything with Jocelyn,” Simon answers. At Alec’s raised eyebrow, Simon tips his head in acquiescence. “Not that he said it like that.”
Alec sobers. “How’s Clary doing?” he asks, voice a little strained.
Simon licks his lips. A look at how Alec’s shoulders have slumped and brow is creased tells Simon to hold back on all the painful details.
“She’ll get there,” he says. “She’s a fighter.”
Alec nods and drops his gaze to the cup of coffee in front of him as he lethargically stirs in sugar.
“I —” Alec clears his throat. “I know you were close to Jocelyn.” He raises his eyes to meet Simon, something haunted in his expression. “I’m sorry for taking her away from you.”
Simon opens his mouth to deny Alec’s assertion and realises there’s no way he can refute it without lying. Alec obviously knows this, too — it’s clear from the determined set of his jaw.
A conversation with Clary from weeks ago comes back to Simon — Clary’s indignant tone, the way her ginger curls had bounced as she shook her head. “This place is messed up, Si,” she’d said to him. “You know what Alec told me today? ‘If I screw up, I expect to be punished’. What the hell?”
Simon regards Alec. It’s clear from his face what he’s expecting Simon to say.
“It’s not your fault,” he says gently. “You didn’t ask to be possessed. This was Valentine.”
Alec shakes his head with a click of his teeth. “Whoever’s fault it was, I’m still sorry,” he says.
“Thanks,” says Simon. Alec nods once and fills the other cup with cream and sugar.
For something to talk about, Simon adds, “You told Magnus about Iris Rouse?”
Alec shrugs, stirring the drinks. “He’s the High Warlock of Brooklyn — he needs to know what’s going on with the warlocks in the city.”
“What did he say?” Simon asks. When Alec squints at him, Simon elaborates, “he warned Clary against going to see her.”
Alec curls his lip and turns back to the coffee. “He wasn’t too impressed.”
Simon can’t help but laugh at Alec’s tone and even the glare Alec sends him doesn’t stop him.
“Sorry,” he says, several minutes later, when he’s calmed down enough to speak. “I think I’m sleep deprived.”
Alec sends him a look that clearly says that’s not all he thinks Simon is, and Simon just smiles.
“See you later, Alec,” he says, and the last thing he hears as he slips into bed is Alec knocking on Magnus’ bedroom door.
Simon and Magnus are eating dinner — well, Magnus is eating a Thai curry and Simon is slurping up a tomato passata/blood blend he’s been experimenting with — when the buzzer for the loft goes.
Magnus waves his hand and lets whoever it is up, then gathers the assorted papers on the table into a bundle and sends them to the study with a snap.
“We can debate the merits of ground marigold over fresh later,” he says to Simon, before standing up to get the door.
There’s a brief murmur of conversation and then Magnus returns a moment later with Alec trailing behind him.
“Lewis,” Alec says, expressing exactly zero glee at the sight of Simon.
Simon rolls his eyes. “Lightwood,” he replies, deliberately in the same monotone, and Magnus snorts a laugh.
“Have you eaten?” Magnus asks Alec, hovering by the stove.
It’s almost comical the way Alec’s face lights up when Magnus addresses him, but, as it is, Simon just finds it adorable. He decides not to share this tidbit with Alec himself.
“Yeah, I ate at the Institute.” Alec gestures at the table. “Can I —?”
Magnus nods and returns to his own food. Simon watches the two of them like he’s at a tennis match, trying to drink his blood as inconspicuously as possible.
“So, is this a social call?” Magnus asks, taking a sip of wine as he regards Alec.
Alec half-winces. “Sort of.” He stretches his hand out over the table, fingers briefly brushing Magnus’, then seems to remember Simon’s still with them and retracts his fingers into a fist. “I remembered what you said the other day. But I have news.”
Magnus smiles at him, a private, soft smile that Simon feels a little awkward being privy to. He knows Magnus and Alec went on their first date two days ago, and that, since then, they’ve been spending a lot more time together.
Simon suspects that the round-world trips Magnus has been taking Alec on have less to do with Magnus wanting to be a courteous room mate and more to do with impressing Alec, but while Simon appreciates the two of them giving him space, it’s been a little lonely in the loft the past two nights.
It’s given him a chance to repair bridges with Maureen, and he and Clary and Luke had their first family dinner without Jocelyn the previous night, but he’s got so used to Magnus’ company it feels a little odd being in the loft without him.
What’s weirder is that Magnus trusts him to be there — not that Simon would ever willingly betray Magnus’ trust or generosity, but they’ve not known each other all that long and in that time Simon has ascertained that Magnus is quite a closed individual.
Alec glances to the side. “Actually, it’s probably a good thing you’re here, too,” he says, addressing Simon, who nearly chokes on his blood in shock.
Magnus raises an eyebrow.
“Aldertree’s been removed as Head of the Institute,” Alec says, after a little pause for effect. Simon didn’t have him down as the dramatic type, but then he remembers the wedding.
Simon can’t say he’s anything more than relieved that Aldertree’s gone. He’d been smooth and charming, sure, but there was something dangerous underneath the silk in his tone. Simon had seen the last vestiges of whatever Aldertree inflicted on Raphael, and even if he’s not exactly on speaking terms with the Clan leader right now, the injustice of it boils his blood.
“How come?” Simon asks.
Alec’s expression turns dark. “He tried to get Izzy hooked on Yin Fen,” he says. At Simon’s blank look, he goes on, “it’s a drug made from vampire venom — she knows more about it than I do. She’s the best forensic pathologist in the whole of New York, so she recognised it right away and reported him.”
Magnus hums. “I’m sure one of their envoys being in possession of a controlled substance like Yin Fen isn’t something the Clave wanted,” he says.
Alec nods. “There was a short investigation and he’s just been sent back to Idris, awaiting reprimand.” He shrugs, but he can’t seem to fight the smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. “Since Lydia’s still healing after the attack, I’m Acting Head of the Institute again.”
Magnus smiles at him, reaches out to curl their fingers together. “The circumstances are less than ideal, but congratulations.”
Alec grins at him, and the mood is so high that Simon, of course, goes and ruins it rather spectacularly.
“I mean, that was a major dick move to Izzy, for sure,” he starts, “but wasn’t what he did to Raphael bad enough for him to get his position revoked? Why did it only happen when he did something against a Shadowhunter?”
Alec’s smile falters and Magnus’ face goes carefully blank.
“Raphael Santiago?” Alec asks, frowning, and Simon nods. “What did Aldertree do to Raphael?”
“You guys are practically running SHIELD and you don’t even have cameras in your offices?” Simon asks, incredulous. Alec stares at him.
Magnus holds up a hand up in Simon’s direction.
“Aldertree wanted information about Camille’s vampire dens,” Magnus says to Alec. “He tortured Raphael to find out what he knew.”
Alec blinks once at Magnus, then looks at Simon, then back to Magnus.
“What?” he says. When neither of them reply, Alec shakes his head. “Why didn’t you report it?”
“Alec,” Magnus says, “it was the word of a Downworlder against that of a Shadowhunter. Who do you think the Clave were going to believe?”
“The word of the Head of the New York Clan and the High Warlock of Brooklyn,” Alec protests.
“Your faith in the Clave is admirable,” Magnus says, “if misplaced.”
Alec shakes his head again. “Torturing Downworlders is against the Accords,” Alec says. “Aldertree deserves to be punished for what he did — the Clave would see that.”
Magnus and Simon share a glance.
“Regardless,” Magnus says, “please keep this to yourself until Raphael decides what he wants to do.”
Alec holds Magnus’ gaze for a long moment before nodding curtly. He glances at Simon, then back to Magnus.
“If he wants someone to take his statement,” Alec says slowly, “I can do it. I’ll vouch for him. I can’t change that it happened, but since I’m Acting Head now, my word will have some weight.”
Magnus’ face is unreadable and he doesn’t look at Alec, instead blinking at his wine glass. His fingers circle around the base, rings glinting in the light.
“What Aldertree did shouldn’t go unpunished,” Alec adds. “Raphael has my support.”
Magnus lifts his eyes to meet Alec. “Thank you, Alexander,” Magnus says.
Alec smiles slightly, not taking his eyes off Magnus, and Simon can’t help but feel like he’s intruding on a private moment. He pushes his chair back to stand so he can leave, but it ends up scraping along the floor.
Magnus, amused, and Alec, annoyed, turn to look at him.
Simon pulls a face. “Sorry, I’m gonna —” he waves the packet of blood “— put this away.”
He notices, too late, that a droplet of leftover blood is rolling down the side of the packet. Almost in slow motion, it spills on Magnus’ sixth century Persian carpet, a splayed spot of burgundy against the ochre background.
Simon looks up at Magnus, apology on the tip of his tongue. Magnus appears irritated for all of a second before it smooths away.
“Learning how to get blood out of everything is one of the most important lessons for being a vampire,” Magnus says. “We’ll fix it tomorrow.”
Simon nods, recognising the clear dismissal in Magnus’ tone. He hurries to the kitchen to dispose of the blood packet, Magnus and Alec striking up a low conversation in his absence. He brushes past them with a short goodnight, pulls out his phone and dials Clary’s number.
From the telltale sound of a portal, Simon assumes Magnus and Alec are coming back from another of their round the world trips — they’d been to Pompeii, last he’d heard, and they’d even thought to bring him back some herb-infused blood from a clan of vampires in Naples. He suspects it was more Magnus’ idea than Alec’s, but the thought still counted.
There’s laughter from the other room and a low murmur of talking, and then a brief silence. Simon wonders if Magnus and Alec have left and pushes down on the door handle, glasses and mugs gathered under his free arm, and then he hears a moan and realises that they’re definitely still around.
Simon jumps back from the door and, in his haste, drops the glassware he’s holding. It crashes to the ground and he winces, fervently hoping that Magnus and Alec are so caught up in each other that they won’t have noticed.
“Simon?” Magnus calls, a second later. “Are you still alive?”
Simon face palms. “Still alive,” he confirms. “Just pretend I’m not here.”
He sets about picking up the broken glass, wishing the ground would swallow him up, and he’s narrowly avoiding slicing his hand open on a shard when there’s a knock at the door.
“Yeah,” he says, not looking up.
The door opens to reveal Alec, who looks down at him with a raised eyebrow.
“Magnus wants me to tell you that you don’t have to hide in here,” he says.
Simon blinks at the broken glass. “I was just on my way to bed, anyway,” he says.
Alec narrows one eye. “It’s nine pm.”
Simon opens his mouth and closes it.
“I don’t care what you do,” Alec says, “but we were going to watch a movie. There’s a ton of room in the lounge.” Alec’s tone turns wry. “You can watch it with us, if it’s not going to disturb your beauty sleep.”
Simon rolls his eyes, but he can’t help feeling warm inside at the invitation. “You sure you guys want me there?” he asks.
Alec fixes him with a look. “I’ve been instructed to get you to watch the damn movie by whatever means necessary.”
Simon huffs a laugh and then shakes his head. “Thanks, but I’m good,” he says. “You two should spend some time together.”
“Your loss,” Alec says. He pulls the door ajar, but not before saying, “I’m sure Magnus mentioned something about vamp-friendly popcorn.”
Simon is up in a flash and peeps around the door. Alec is standing in the hallway, arms crossed, an amused expression on his face.
“Are you messing with me?” asks Simon. “You better not be messing with me. I could take you now — super speed, and everything.”
Alec gives him a weird look. “See for yourself,” he says, nodding towards the lounge, still eyeing Simon with some degree of disdain.
Magnus is standing at his drinks table when Simon enters the living room. He spins with grace Simon could never accomplish.
“Here,” he says, handing Simon a glass with a cocktail umbrella sticking out the top of it. “Virgin, of course — I don’t condone anything illegal.”
Alec snorts as he heads past the two of them and Magnus shoots him a fondly irritated glare.
“Is it — you know?” Simon asks, peering at the drink. It’s a lot redder than he’s expecting and Magnus is giving him a what do you take me for kind of look, so Simon takes a sip. It’s fruity and refreshing, different from the blood he’s used to.
“Thanks,” he says, and Magnus nods at him, stirring his own martini.
“Does this mean I’m gonna be underage forever?” Simon asks. “Do I need to get a better fake ID?”
Magnus laughs and settles on the couch. “In three years time, I promise I will make you alcoholic cocktails.”
Alec returns from the kitchen with two bowls heaped with popcorn as Simon curls up in the teal armchair opposite Magnus.
“You think I’m still gonna be here in three years?” Simon asks, only half joking.
Alec shakes his head in alarm at Simon as he deposits one of the popcorn bowls beside the armchair, but Magnus simply tilts his head and lifts his glass to Simon in a gentle toast.
“My door is open for as long as you need it, Simon,” Magnus says. Alec hands the second bowl to Magnus and then settles beside him on the couch.
“What movie are we watching?” Simon asks, throwing back a handful of popcorn.
Magnus and Alec share a glance.
“One you’ve seen already,” is all Magnus says, and then he waves his hand to dim the lights, though it’s not so dark that Simon can’t see the way Alec slips his hand into Magnus’ or how Magnus slides an arm around Alec’s waist to cuddle him closer.
Simon can’t help laughing when the movie starts, and he glances over to find both Alec and Magnus grinning at him.
“You know what this means, right?” Simon asks excitedly. “We have inside jokes now.”
Alec groans loudly and Magnus laughs, and the three of them settle down to watch The Graduate.
Two mornings later, Simon is stumbling in from a night at The Hunter’s Moon with Maia when he bumps into a half naked Alec in the hallway.
His first thought is holy crap I’m not straight and his second is whether or not he needs to leave the loft again.
Alec stares at him with wide eyes and Simon stares right back. They stand there awkwardly for twenty excruciating seconds before Simon’s brain decides a good thing to say would be:
“So, virgin energy no more?”
Unfortunately, the ground does not open beneath Simon, allowing him to sink into it and never return. Alec, for his part, looks like he wishes he’d never been born.
“By the angel,” he mutters, closing his eyes. “Why did Magnus let the vampire in?”
Cursing the day Jace Whatever-His-Name-Is was born, Simon speeds back to the loft with knot in his stomach. Part of him wants to call Maia and apologise — again — but he also knows he has a tendency to talk too much when he’s nervous and that ringing to her tonight will only end badly.
He doesn’t really think about it until he reaches the front door, screeching to a halt just in time to rest his ear against the wood and check if he can hear any unclothed men wandering around the apartment.
It sounds like the coast is clear, so Simon opens the door. Alec is lying on the couch, lit in flashes of blue and white by the muted TV, and Magnus is curled against Alec, sleeping soundly. Alec looks up as Simon closes the door and raises a finger to his lips.
Simon takes off his shoes and pads over to couch. He’s not really in the mood to speak to Alec right now — he knows how much Jace and Alec have each other’s backs, so he can’t imagine Alec taking kindly to Simon saying what he wants to about Jace right now — but he needs to get it off his chest.
He’d call Clary, but it’s just gone midnight, and Luke has better things to do — like being pack leader and holding down his job — than listen to Simon whine about his love life.
Once upon a time, he’d have called Becca, even though she would have ribbed him about it for a week and threatened to tell their mom about his new boyfriend or girlfriend. His chest tightens at the thought. He’d take that now, in a heartbeat.
“You okay, Lewis?” Alec asks. He’s still running his fingers softly through Magnus’ hair, but his attention is now on Simon instead of the TV.
Simon raises an eyebrow. “You care?”
Alec rolls his eyes. “This is boring,” he says, with a nod at the TV, “and you look like you have drama to share.”
“I just took some dumb advice from someone,” Simon says glumly, plopping his chin into his palm.
Alec snorts. “Was it Jace?”
Simon winces. “How did you know?” he asks.
“Lucky guess,” says Alec. He taps the phone on the arm of the couch. “And he told me he’d seen you at ‘book club’ earlier.”
Simon hums despondently. “I know he’s, like, your bro or whatever, but he has no idea about anything. Ever.”
Instead of chewing him out like Simon expects, Alec just laughs quietly. Magnus stirs and then snuggles against Alec’s chest again and Alec gazes down at him fondly.
“Tell me something I don’t know,” Alec says. “What happened?”
“He told me to act like a jackass to impress Maia, only it turns out she actually likes me for me, not some tough guy act, and now she’s not talking to me.”
“Be honest with her,” Alec says. “Even if it’s hard, you can make it work. You have more in common than you think.”
“That’s…true, actually,” Simon acknowledges. He takes in the way Alec is looking at Magnus and smiles. Even if Alec is reassuring himself more than Simon, the advice is still surprisingly insightful.
“Or you could talk to Izzy about it,” Alec adds, glancing up at Simon. “She knows way more about relationships than I do and she actually enjoys talking about it.”
“She’s back from the Citadel?” Simon asks. He knows Clary and Izzy went to visit the Iron Sisters together and that Izzy had stayed with them for a few days while Clary returned home, but he hadn’t realised she was back in New York.
“Yeah,” Alec says, smiling. “It’s good to have her home, even though I think she wanted to stay.”
“You think she wants to be an Iron Sister?” Simon asks, lifting his eyebrows.
Alec shrugs, then shakes his head. “She always used to, when she was little. Then she learned you have to swear off boys,” he says, laughing softly. “Although —” his eyes light up as he smiles “— right now, I’m not sure if that’s really an issue.”
Simon smiles. He wasn’t sure if he was the only one who’d noticed the growing closeness between Clary and Izzy, but clearly other people were picking up on it, too.
“It’s good to see Clary smile again,” Simon says.
Alec nods. “Luke stopped by the loft for dinner the other day,” he says, turning a little more serious. “They’re — they both seem to be healing.”
“It never really goes away,” Simon says. “I still think of things I want to tell my dad all the time. But it gets easier, as time goes on.”
Alec’s expression softens a little. “I didn’t know,” he says lowly. “I’m sorry.”
Simon nods. “Thanks,” he says. Then he sighs. “Kinda feels like I’ve gone through it all again now, you know? Mom and my sister Becca and my bubbe Helen. I’ve been cut off from them completely.”
Alec’s watching him carefully, and his face is neutral but his eyes are sad. He looks down at Magnus and strokes his cheek tenderly.
“I don’t know what that’s like,” he admits, “but I used to — sometimes when I was younger I’d think about coming out and it’d just be, like, this. Choking fear of losing everyone I loved — my whole family. Jace. Max. Izzy.” He lifts his eyes to meet Simon’s gaze. “Magnus hasn’t told me much, but I know Raphael was Turned from a Mundane family. He might be able to help.”
Simon swallows around the lump in his throat and tries to wipe his eyes surreptitiously on his sleeve.
“Yeah, I might — I might talk to him,” he says. He clears his throat. “Thanks, Alec.”
Feeling like curling up in bed and drowning in his duvet, Simon gets up and grabs a packet of blood before heading to his room. He just hears Alec’s, “Night, Simon,” before he closes the bedroom door.
Things change, just a little, after that.
By this point, Alec doesn’t need Simon’s help to work the coffee machine, and it’s kind of touching to watch him scurry around Magnus’ kitchen like he fits. More than that, it’s rather romantic to Simon’s tired eyes, and he slurps up the last of his evening meal with a lovelorn sigh.
“Aren’t you a little young to be so world-weary?” Magnus asks Simon amusedly as he bustles into the kitchen. He’s half dressed, wearing a pair of dark pants and a shirt that looks like it’s been sprinkled with real stars, but his hair is still loose and his eyes are unglamoured. “Morning, love,” he adds, kissing Alec’s cheek.
“I think I’m going to die alone,” Simon complains dramatically.
Alec snorts as he hands Magnus his coffee.
“What about Maia?”
Simon perks up. “Last time we saw each other she called me an idiot and whooped my ass at Final Fantasy,” he says.
“True love,” Magnus mutters, and Alec laughs into his coffee cup. Magnus heads back through to his bedroom. “Simon!” he calls, backing out and poking his head around the doorframe, “are we still sparring when you’ve slept?”
Simon nods and Magnus smiles, disappearing into his bedroom. Simon scrapes back his chair and is about to say goodnight to Alec when he notices Alec’s expression.
“How come you get to spar with my boyfriend?” Alec asks, more than a little put out.
Simon holds out his hands and spins where he stands. “How could he resist all this?” he asks.
“Very easily,” Alec says, unimpressed, and Simon ducks off to bed, laughing, before Alec throws anything at him.
“What’s this one?” Simon asks, holding up a bottle labelled Double Wing Mayflies (rare) and peering at it. Magnus slaps his hand away.
“Don’t touch,” he says, scribbling a note down on his checklist.
Simon clicks his tongue and points to another bottle. “This one?”
“Star anise,” Magnus says distractedly.
“Oh,” Simon says, a little disappointed. “I thought it was something cool.”
Magnus huffs. “If you have better things to be doing with your day, don’t let me stop you, Simon,” he says a little irritably, waving the checklist in his hand.
“No, no,” Simon says guiltily. “I just didn’t realise how much of being Albus Dumbledore involved paperwork.”
Magnus shoots him a glare. “I’m not deigning to respond to that name. Stock checking is a highly important element of being the borough’s go-to healer — what good is it if a new Alpha crashes into my loft and I don’t have the right ingredients to heal him, hm?”
Simon is a little abashed and dutifully hands Magnus the next jar as the front door opens.
“Hey,” Alec says, when he joins them in the kitchen. He gives Magnus a quick kiss and greets Simon with a nod and a smile. “Do you have a minute? I’ve got a favour to ask you.”
Magnus cocks his head. “What kind of favour?”
And then a grinning Alec asks, “How would you feel about throwing a party?”, which is how Simon ends up being tasked with replenishing Magnus’ entire stock of potions ingredients before nightfall.
The party is a massive success.
Even though it’s for Max, making the guest of honour a Shadowhunter, Alec had insisted that he and Magnus were throwing the party together — and, as such, any friends Magnus wanted to invite automatically got an invite.
Other than when he’s at The Hunter’s Moon, Simon doesn’t think he’s seen so many Downworlders in one place. He gives Dot — who’s been recovering from Valentine’s ordeal with Magnus’ potions since she portalled Clary, Jace, Gretel and herself off Valentine’s ship of horror — a long hug when he sees her, and she introduces him to a couple of Warlocks she’s friends with. Raphael lingers with some of the vampires Simon got to know in his brief stint at the Du Mort. Luke is there with Alaric, and Maia, of course, is bartending. Who else would Magnus have chosen?
Simon spends more time than is probably cordial lingering at the bar, watching Maia and trying to memorise how she makes the drinks. She teases that she’s going to test him later, in exchange for him quizzing her on her latest marine bio topic.
He can’t help pushing up on the surface of the bar to give her a quick kiss on the cheek, and he swears she’s blushing as he turns away. She definitely doesn’t hide her smile.
Simon gets pulled into the crowd of people, talking and dancing the night away. He finally meets Catarina, after hearing so many stories about her from Magnus, and her eyes shine brightly as Simon tells her how grateful he is to Magnus for taking him in.
Luke has just been cajoled into joining the throng of dancing, and Simon’s too busy watching the scene happily that he steps backwards, straight into Alec.
“Sorry,” he says immediately, expecting Alec to glare at him, but he finds instead that Alec is smiling. A lot.
And he’s carrying a child.
“It’s fine,” Alec says. He turns slightly so that the child on his hip can see Simon. She’s wearing a sparkly party dress with a silver bow and a matching neckerchief, and her dark brown eyes regard Simon seriously.
“Madzie, this is Simon,” Alec says, his voice warm and sweet. “He’s Magnus’ friend.”
Madzie blinks at him. Magnus has mentioned her a few times — as soon as he’d found out about the operation Iris Rouse was running, he’d sent her to the Clave. The various warlock children they’d found had been rehomed around the city, and he’d been visiting Madzie to help her with her magic when he had time.
Alec smiles down at Madzie. She looks at Alec, then wriggles a little and whispers something in his ear. His eyebrows go up and he huffs a small laugh.
“Yeah,” he says, as she burrows her head against Alec’s shoulder. “He’s my friend, too.”
Simon’s own eyebrows climb and he stares at Alec. “I am?”
Alec shrugs, and he can’t seem to stop smiling. Simon wonders if Magnus should throw parties more often — or perhaps Alec should just drink Sangria on a daily basis.
“When you’re not being annoying,” Alec says.
“So, like, one percent of the time,” Simon says, with a self-deprecating eye roll. Alec grins at him.
Alec grins at him.
“You said it, not me,” he says, and then he’s walking past Alec towards the party goers. Simon hears him call his younger brother’s name, and he stands in the hall, shaking his head.
“Hey,” Clary says, coming up behind him and linking their arms together. “Was that Alec I saw talking to you just now?”
Simon frowns. “Yeah,” he says. “I think we’re BFFs now.”
Clary laughs and tugs Simon back towards the party. “Fine,” she says, “but we’ll have to come to some kind of arrangement. Fray and Lewis forever, yeah?”
Simon looks out at everyone. Across the room, he catches Maia’s eye, and she rolls her eyes at him even though she’s smiling. Alec has found Magnus, who’s standing close to him, talking to Madzie. Luke is chatting with Catarina and waves Simon over when he sees him.
“Yeah,” Simon agrees, putting an arm around Clary’s shoulders. “I think I like it here.”