Simon yawns, leaning against the row of washing machines in his campus's laundryroom. He checks his watch again— 3:37 A.M—which means only a singular fucking minute has passed since the last tim he looked.
Though he's yawing— he can't sleep. Ever. He doesn't know if it's because of the stress he's having, if it's because he just recently turned twenty–one and his elderly bones are aching or if it's the coffee he sometimes drinks even though he finds it completely and utterly disgusting. ‘It boosts my hipster cred,’ he tells Clary.
He doesn't even attempt to fall asleep anymore.
So, there he is, in his Captain America t–shirt that doesn't nearly cover enough underwear and why isn't he wearing pants? He doesn't even know himself. He forgot.
He thinks he's straight up losing his mind.
He checks his watch again. Two minutes this time.
He contemplates setting the machine on fire just for entertainment purposes when a guy walks in. Even Simon, who's unnecessarily observant, doesn't recognise him.
The guy, who must have come from some kind of obscene dress–up party, is dressed in leather pants and a matching black leather jacket. A large belt hangs loosely around his hips and it could potentially carry enormous weapons but the most important of all— the guy is covered in blood.
The blood is all over his face, is sticking to the golden locks of his hair and even drips off him as he walks.
He's holding a large, black garbage bag that he could potentially be carrying a child in considering how big and full it is and Simon wonders if the receptionist is blind. How did Dracula get in when Simon's not granted access wearing slippers? Slippers.
The dude looks at Simon with wide, quilty eyes and Simon looks back at him with the same expression. Both of them wanted to avoid awkward encounters in the laundromat at fucking four in the morning—but both for different reasons, of course.
Simon awkwardly, and not so subtly as he thinks, tries to pull down his shirt to cover his underwear while the guy opens the washing machine next to Simon's—leaving a blood stain on the top—and dumps even more blood covered clothes into the machine. Simon doesn't even care at this point, though, his heart attack has slightly lessened because thank goodness the guy didn't come to murder me but actually has to do laundry.
The guy takes off his jacket, tosses it on the wooden bench against the wall (again leaving a huge bloodstain), and continues taking off his blood covered clothes until he, too, is left in a t–shirt and his underwear. The lack of clothes reveal an insane amount of insane looking tattooes and Simon guesses the guy must be part of a gang. Simon's lifeline is shrinking with each second.
The blonde seems to feel no sense of embarrassment while Simon thinks he might faint.
It's silent for a while, the only sound being the clothes getting thrown into the machine when the guy breaks the silence. “You got detergent?” Simon looks up from the spot on the wall he'd been continuously staring at to avoid eye–contact and gives the bloke an odd look.
“. . . You think I came to do laundry without detergent?” Simon doesn't mean to sound like a smart–ass, but it unfortunately comes annoyingly natural to him and he fears that it might just potentially cost him his life.
“No,” the guy says dryly, “I know that you brought it. I was just asking nicely.”
“Nicely. Right,” Simon says, shoving the bottle of Purex towards the stranger because fuck has he seen movies. Never make physical contact with a murderer. Or a sketchy bloke like this one.
Sketchy Bloke™ cocks an eyebrow and dumps a shit load of Purex into the washing machine and Simon wants to pull a Mom on this man but he really shouldn't. So, he stays quiet and quietly sacrifices his Purex for a lost cause. Does this guy really think those blood stains are coming out?
When Simon's Purex is safely put back into his backpack, the damn thing feels five times less heavy. This night is already costing him way more than he wants it to.
“Did you lose your pants?” the guy asks and Simon doesn't understand. He's seen millions of movies and the sketchy guy never makes conversation. It's usually characters like him, ‘the funny ones’, who try to divert the awkward situation into a semi–civil one but no, not this time, it seems.
Simon scratches the stubble that's been there for God knows how long. "Uh. No. Forgot them, I guess.”
The blonde snorts, “Well, that's not very smart, is it?”
“You forgot to bring detergent to a laundryroom,” Simon argues, offended.
“I wasn't planning on doing laundry.”
“Ah, right, I see. Your bloody clothes have just been rotting in the corner of your room for days but today, when a rat or two slipped out from underneath the pile, you thought, at the crack of satan's ass, ‘hmm, now may be a good time to clean this mess'.” Simon's kind of embarrassingly panting after that and he thinks he should probably run for it or have 911 at ready but then the guy starts laughing. Like, proper laughing.
“Well, actually, you're not that far off."
"That's," Simon shakes his head, "disgusting."
The blonde chuckles, "Yeah."
"Yeah," Simon says, his hands entwined over his crotch.
Silence falls over them again as both boys wait for their clothes. They're both leaning against the machines, literal inches away from touching, but neither say anything until Simon speaks up.
Simon knows that if this guy hurts him, he doesn't have any kind of information or identification. Sure, the guy is the most handsome man on the face of the earth and the tattooes are a good lead— but he doesn't go to school here and Simon doesn't know his name.
Simon doesn't want to risk revealing his own identity, though, so he thinks he's come up with a good enough cover story to go by.
"I haven't seen you around campus, so . . . I'm Steve." Simon doesn't extend his hand for a shake or anything, still too frightened to touch him, but it's inviting enough for the bloke to introduce himself, too.
"Steve, huh? Like . . ," the boy points at Simon's shirt.
"Y–Yeah," Simon mumbles, "coincidence."
"My name is Jace and no, I don't go here. A friend of mine does. That's how I got in."
"You stole his identity? Do you even look at all alike or was the receptionist like ‘blonde and bloody? must be you, come in’?”
The blonde laughs again and Simon surprisingly, and weirdly, finds himself laughing as well.
The laughing doesn't last long as Simon nearly jumps out of his own skin when his machine starts to beep! He hurriedly opens the device and looks down approvingly. He crouches down to fetch the Forever21 plastic bag Clary gave him to use from his backpack and starts filling it up with his clean clothes.
"Steve, huh?" Jace asks, his eyes are closed but he's smiling smugly. "Or do you wear your brother's underwear? That's even more disgusting than the rats, Simon."
Simon looks baffled. He searches for any kind of leak in his story when— oh. His name is on his underwear. For fuck's sake.
Jace shrugs, "You didn't look like a Steve to me, anyway."
"That makes me feel so much better," Simon mutters bitterly, pushing his clothes down the bag.
"Well, even though this was delightful, I must go now." He swings his backpack on his back, tightens the grip on the plastic bag and speed–walks as far away from the blonde as possible.
"I hope I'll see you around, Simon."