It is a sunny autumn afternoon, the air is brisk and the colours of leafs are vibrant, and Jace strolls a narrow alley with Simon.
He cannot remember the last time he would have felt this content or peaceful.
There is something unexplainable about Simon and the way he always brings the best out of Jace. He changes his pace in the best possible way and manages to make him happy. It is the only way Jace can describe it.
Earlier, Simon had called him and asked if he had ever been to some hole-in-a-wall art gallery in Brooklyn, and obviously, Jace was not one of those people who were even aware of the place’s existence.
As soon as he told this to Simon, he had announced that he needed to cancel all of his plans because that was their destination during the afternoon.
If anyone else had suggested spending an entire afternoon in a stuffy basement looking at confusing contemporary art, he might have declined, but because it was Simon’s idea, he agreed.
The biggest reason why he agreed was that he loves spending time with Simon. He makes any place bearable and sometimes Jace finds himself being interested in the things Simon tells him just because he manages to make them seem interesting and exciting.
Besides, it is exactly the type of thing they do together. Ever since Simon found out he had never been to the museum of natural history, he has been dragging him around New York, showing him his favourite places whenever Jace has time.
He has taken him to countless restaurants and bookshops, a bunch of museums and musicals, and various art galleries and parks.
Jace cherishes all of their visits. Simon is always excited and keen to show every single place he can come up with and he tells stories about the places and explains their significance to him. His enthusiasm is almost contagious.
Jace really loves hearing Simon’s stories because they are so him, and sometimes Jace lies about not being somewhere before just because he wants to rediscover the place with Simon.
Simon chooses the kind of places Jace might like too, and he really manages to make any place feel special. Hell, he makes Jace feel special too, and he is eternally grateful that Simon deemed him to be worth of showing all these places to and share his memories with him.
Being friends with Simon is one of the best things that has ever happened to him. All would be perfect if he was not undeniably in love with Simon.
He does not know or remember when he fell in love with him. He only knows when he realised it. It had been an early morning after a long night of patrolling and he had stopped by Simon’s boathouse merely because he did not want to go back to the institute instantly. He had accidently crashed Simon’s guitar practice and instead of kicking Jace out, he had played for him.
It was the first time the thought of ‘I love you’ crossed Jace’s mind with such conviction and clarity that Jace instantly knew there was no going back.
It has been three months since that morning, and Jace has not told about his sudden realisation to another living soul. He suspects Alec might know through their bond, but he has not said anything because he probably also senses that the last thing Jace wants to talk about is his unrequited love for Simon.
He knows it is unrequited, even though he has not said anything about it. He knows it because Simon is Simon, and he can do better than him, and he cannot imagine what Simon would see in him.
He remains quiet because he cannot risk losing him as a friend. He does not want to ruin the thing they have because they are getting along so well and his feelings are not worth of risking their entire friendship.
Fortunately, he is the master of hiding his true feelings somewhere deep, which makes him the reigning champion of pretending that he is not in love with Simon Lewis.
He would be lying if he said that the pretending is not painful. It tears him apart at the times. Pining after him is like having a paper cut on his finger. Sometimes, the pain it causes is easy to forget, but at the times, it hurts more than it should.
However, he knows that he will eventually get over him, even though he is not actively trying to get over him.
“Are you even listening to me?”
Simon’s voice startles him from his thoughts and he flashes his brightest grin. “Of course.”
“What was I talking about?” Simon asks as he glances at him doubtfully, but Jace can see he is fighting against a smile.
“Something about a trash can and breaking your arm,” Jace answers immediately, even though he might have not focused all of his attention to listening to his anecdote.
“That’s all you got from my story?” Simon accuses but he breaks into a tiny grin as he shakes his head. “It’s your loss. It was a master piece of storytelling,” he deadpans.
“It was literally a story about you breaking your arm when you were eight years old,” Jace remarks and huffs out of amusement.
“In other words, it was an exhilarating thriller,” Simon concludes with a short burst of laughter. “Luckily for you, I didn’t invite you along because of your superior listening skills.”
“Why did you ask me then?” Jace asks with genuine curiosity.
He thinks Clary would be a better choice when it comes to visiting art galleries. She has a whole another level of appreciation for art than Jace does, but he is still glad Simon chose him.
“It wasn’t because of your pretty face either,” Simon tells with a mischievous grin, and Jace knows it is intended as a joke but it does unfair things to his heart.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, have you considered the possibility that some of us are immune to your charms?” Simon asks with another wave of laughter.
“It’s a possibility,” Jace answers with a nonchalant shrug. He hates how weak his voice suddenly sounds, but fortunately, Simon does not seem to notice.
Simon’s whole demeanour shifts quickly. He pushes his hands into the pockets of his jeans and stares at the dirty pavement as if it had the answers to all unanswered questions in the universe. He attempts to kick an empty coffee cup but his foot misses it.
He sighs deeply and quickly looks at him with a grin, but his nervousness shines through it.
“We are friends, right?”
He speaks quickly, and at first Jace is uncertain if he heard him right. The unexpected question throws him off a little and he remains baffled and quiet as he tries to think what prompted Simon to ask it, and then he realises he needs to answer something.
“I spent three hours in a basement that called itself an art gallery listening to you rant about paintings that only had triangles on them, and I actually enjoyed it,” Jace tells truthfully. “I guess that alone answers your question.”
Simon rolls his eyes fondly and tiny, but genuinely happy, smile forms on his lips, and Jace could not be happier.
He still seems anxious and he twists the sleeve of his jacket, and it seems as if he is building up the nerve to ask something else.
“So, we’re friends, and you have rescued me from actual death and from few kidnappings and we’ve been through some other stuff, too. So because we’re friends, in a hypothetical situation where I’d need help, you would help me because that’s what friends do, right-“
“Simon,” Jace says gently, interrupting his nervous ramble. “What do you need?”
He would rob the moon from the sky if he asked for it, but he leaves that unsaid.
“I need you to pretend to be my boyfriend,” he says it quietly and tentatively. He ends up grimacing after saying it and Jace thinks it is due to the sheer horror on his own face.
Simon drops his gaze back to the pavement and breathes deeply. Somehow, Jace’s first thought after the initial shock and doubt is that this is not easy for either one of them.
He is proud of himself for not stuttering it and while it is not the most intelligent thing to say, at least it makes sense.
He cannot help but stare at Simon perplexedly as his heart pounds in his chest. He wants to be certain he heard him wrong.
Simon stops walking and looks at him properly and with such intensity, that Jace cannot look away even if he wanted to.
“You need to be my fake boyfriend,” he repeats with more conviction without grimacing as if any of it even remotely resembles a good idea.
There are many things Jace wishes he does not hear ever in his life and while those words have not been on that list before today, they definitely belong to there now.
He has been aware for some time that Simon has the ability to make him feel a variety of things he does not understand or want to feel, but the emotional turmoil his request causes is on new levels.
On the other hand, it almost sounds like everything he has wanted for the past three months and a part of him desperately wants to agree, because he knows he does not have a real chance with him, but he knows perfectly well that his heart is going to break if he does say yes.
“I almost don’t even want to ask what you have done to get yourself into a situation where that’s required,” Jace replies wryly as he is unable to give any proper answer.
Simon mock punches him in the arm. “Why your first assumption is that this is somehow my fault?”
“Because I know you,” Jace replies with a half-grin, which earns him a fond but annoyed eye rolling from Simon.
“Then choose the option where you don’t ask,” he tells matter-of-factly.
“What did you do?” Jace asks amusedly as he crosses his arms, and even though he frantically tries to come up with ways to refuse, he is still genuinely curious.
Simon groans and buries his face into his hand for a moment. “Technically, it isn’t my fault. It’s only like a little bit my fault but I cannot be fully blamed for this mess. Do you remember the plan I had for telling my mom that I’m a vampire?”
Jace merely nods as a response.
“Yeah, it didn’t go like I planned,” Simon confirms, looking downright miserable. “It’s pretty difficult to tell someone you’re a vampire when they aren’t even aware about the existence of shadow world, so I might have trusted a little too much on the power of allegories. My mom misunderstood the whole thing and thought I was coming out and I panicked and I came out instead.”
“How did she take that?” Jace asks as soon as Simon stops his rapid ramble.
“Really well, actually,” Simon tells with a chuckle. “She was almost overenthusiastically supportive. I’m afraid she will get a pride flag to our yard’s flagpole,” he says with a mixture of mild horror and amusement.
“Congrats, buddy,” Jace replies sincerely.
Simon has had enough bad things happening in his life recently, and Jace is genuinely happy that he does not have to deal with unaccepting and bad parenting on the top of that.
“Yeah, it was nice,” he replies distraughtly, “but the problem is that she thought I was coming out because I wanted her to meet my significant other, so she invited me and my significant other to a dinner on Friday and I couldn’t say no because I’ve broke her heart already so many times by missing the dinner.”
“So you lied,” Jace concludes.
Simon glares at him and then ruffles his own hair with an agonized expression. “Yeah I did, and I know it’s wrong but I didn’t know what else to do.”
“I kinda get why you did it,” Jace replies and he is almost a little surprised by the honesty in his own voice.
He still looks cheerless, but he nods and remains silent. They stare at each other without saying a word, and Jace is thankful for it because his thoughts are racing and spiralling.
“I know it’s a big favour to ask, but you’re the only one I can even imagine asking, and you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to or feel uncomfortable. I don’t wanna force you into doing anything,” Simon continues in his rambling mode, and suddenly Jace realises there is only one outcome for this conversation.
“First of all, I wanna say this is a bad idea. Like a catastrophically terrible idea. One of the worst we have ever had,” Jace starts. He feels it in his bones, his every instinct is telling him this will not end well.
He could easily list all the things that can go wrong, and he knows that he is putting his own heart on the line.
Simon’s face falls as he speaks, and Jace swears he likes to make his own life more difficult than necessary, but then again, he has never liked the easy choices.
“But when would I have ever said no to a bad idea?” Jace says with a smirk, even though a part of him is screaming not to do it, but he decides to ignore it.
Simon stares at him wordlessly for a moment. His eyes are wide as plates and he looks baffled as if he had not expected him to agree.
“Seriously? You’re gonna do it?” He eventually manages to say with a faint smile.
Jace does not want to explain why he agrees. He is not completely sure, either. He just knows he cannot just stand by and watch Simon be upset and in distress when he could help him.
He is far more important than his own feelings.
“Against my better judgement, yes.”
Few days later, Jace has not regretted his decision. That is until he receives text messages from Simon.
[Simon 2.06 pm]
Come to Hunter’s moon unless you’re stopping an apocalypse or something like that. Then deal with that first and then come.
[Simon 2.07 pm]
Although, I doubt the end of the world would happen on a Wednesday afternoon.
[Jace 2.08 pm ]
Is there a socially acceptable time for the end of the world??
[Simon 2.08 pm]
Monday seems more suitable. Definitely Monday.
[Jace 2.09 pm]
In the weirdest way, that makes sense.
I’m on my way.
Jace finds Simon in one of the corner booths of relatively uncrowded Hunter’s moon. He has spread a pile of papers to the table. He keeps writing something on the corner of one of the papers.
“Here I am,” he says as a greeting as he slides next to him in the booth.
He looks up from the paper, and grins so brightly that Jace is sure he lights up the dimly lit bar. He never thought someone could be so happy just to see him.
“Is this an emergency call or did you just get an urge to look at my beautiful face?” Jace jokes as he turns his head to read one of the papers in front of him. It has approximately twenty questions about favourite colours and the profound meaning of them. He decides it might be better not to ask.
“I certainly didn’t invite you here to stroke your already enormous ego,” Simon says without looking up from the paper, and then he starts going through the papers, obviously trying to find something.
He pulls a sheet of paper between other papers, and he looks almost grave as he hands the paper to Jace. “We have to prepare for Friday,” he says it seriously as if it would be an official mission briefing. “We have to agree on all the small details.”
Jace chuckles as he reads the questions. There are at least fifty meticulous questions and the topics range from favourite foods to deepest fears.
“This is ridiculous,” Jace exclaims and gestures towards the list. “Is it a cross examination or a dinner with your mom?”
“Those things can be horrifyingly similar,” Simon deadpans, “she can literally smell lies.”
Jace is almost tempted to ask why they are even trying it in the first place if they are doomed to fail, but there is something complex about Simon’s expression that tells him this is not the best time to make unnecessary jokes.
“Fine, let’s do this,” Jace agrees with a huff.
“I guess it’s easiest to stay as close to the truth as possible,” Simon says and taps his fingers against the table. “We just leave all the shadow world stuff out of it.”
Jace resists the urge to roll his eyes because that is easier said than done. Everything significant and defining about their relationship somehow relates to the shadow world.
“So we met through Clary,” Jace decides.
“Yes, we’ll skip the part where I thought you were her drug dealer and that we met on some graveyard,” Simon says and his mouth is curling up into a fond smile.
“You’re awfully determined to take all the romance out of it,” Jace deadpans as he pulls his stele out of his jacket’s pocket and starts to fidget with it.
“The beginning of a great love story,” Simon agrees with a laugh, and Jace tries to ignore the stinging and burning feeling in his chest. “It took us some time to become friends but then at some point we fell for each other as if it was the easiest thing we have ever done,” Simon continues casually as he writes it down, and Jace guesses they are truly sticking close to the truth.
“Do you want to explain these questions now?” Jace asks, directing the conversation into another direction, as he waves the piece of paper.
“It’s a list of all the little things we should know about each other because she might ask it,” Simon explains as if it would be the most obvious reason.
“You really think your mom is gonna ask me how long you can hold your breath for or which Hogwarts house you would belong to?” Jace asks with suspicion.
“She might,” he offers hopelessly, “besides if you don’t know my Hogwarts house my mom will never believe you’re my boyfriend.”
“That’s a surprisingly valid point,” Jace agrees. “Where did you get these questions?”
Simon sighs deeply and looks sullen. He points at Jace with his finger. “You have no idea how many women’s magazine articles I have read about basic stuff you should know about your significant other to complete this list of questions, so I appreciate my effort and read it.”
Jace hums as a response as he starts properly reading the questions and five minutes later, he looks up from the paper at Simon, who is now fidgeting with his stele.
“I know this stuff about you already,” he says as he could not find one question that would have been difficult to answer.
For some reason, he knows which childhood memories Simon always brings up, he knows what his pet peeves and allergies are and he even knows what are his favourite song lyrics and why.
“Uh, me too,” Simon admits almost sheepishly and puts Jace’s stele down to the table.
“So we can do this,” Jace says, trying to distract his own mind from the implications of knowing all these little details about each other.
“Yeah,” Simon agrees, but he sounds as if he is trying to convince himself instead, “it cannot be that hard to pretend we’re in love.”
For once, Jace agrees completely.
On Friday, Jace is even more convinced the whole thing will be a disaster.
He wants to run away to Canada, change his name and hide in the wilderness for the rest of his life. He knows it is the sensible solution to this mess, yet he finds himself on the steps of Lewis’ house, holding a bouquet of daisies.
He knows he should not do it because it is an atrocious plan, but he rings the doorbell anyway.
He is more nervous than while facing a greater demon, and he knows he is more anxious than he logically should be. He is grateful when Simon opens the door.
He smiles, and it is the kind of smile that gives Jace’s heart trouble to function properly.
He seems blithe and he is visibly more relaxed than during their last meeting in Hunter’s moon, and he looks great.
He is wearing similar clothes as always, a band t-shirt and a pair of jeans, and Jace always thinks he looks great, but there is still something different about him today.
“I almost doubted if you were coming at all. Rebecca already started doubting if I made you up,” Simon tells him with a brilliant smile as he leans on the doorframe.
“You don’t trust me, this relationship is doomed,” Jace deadpans, as he pretends to be hurt by Simon’s accusation, but his face breaks into a joyous grin as well.
“But look I was wrong, you’re here, you look great and you even brought flowers,” Simon says as he steps away from the doorframe to allow Jace to come in.
“Yeah, you once mentioned your mom likes them,” Jace mumbles as he steps in and he tries his best not to blush.
The dinner is a little awkward at first. Elaine adores the flowers and thanks him at least ten times and keeps asking about his ‘tattoos’ and wonders out loud how rare name Jace has.
The food is amazing, and Jace loves to see how much Elaine and Rebecca love Simon, and how much he loves them back. The atmosphere is nice and loving, and he feels welcomed and there are no awkward silences, but the conversation flows on.
Rebecca is definitely on a mission to embarrass Simon by telling stories about their childhood. She has already told about the time Simon got his leg stuck into a sewer, how he kept eating sand as a toddler and which words he pronounced wrong when he was young.
Simon holds his hand in his hand under the table for the entirety of dinner. Jace is not sure whether it is because he wants to offer him moral support or if he believes that his mother has a x-ray vision.
It is nice though, and Jace is not complaining. It is comforting and his hand is surprisingly warm and it sounds like an enormous cliché, but Jace is convinced their hands fit together.
The questions about them start during the dessert.
“So how did you meet?” Elaine asks as she hands plates full of chocolate cake to everyone.
“Clary introduced us,” Jace replies without missing a beat.
“Oh,” she sounds genuinely surprised. “How do you know Clary?”
Jace tries his best to come up with an explanation that would describe his and Clary’s relationship without making it sound too weird, but honestly, it is an impossible mission.
“She’s a family friend,” Jace eventually says and smiles politely, and Simon makes a chocking noise as if he would try to suppress a laugh. Jace glares at him and kicks his shin.
“That’s nice,” Elaine comments.
“How long you have been together?” Rebecca asks and there is certain doubtfulness in the way she looks at them, and Jace is starting to realise what Simon meant by his family and cross-examination being similar.
It is the one detail they had not thought about, but Jace tries to follow the truth as closely as he can with their entirely fake and pretended relationship.
“Three months,” he answers with a beatific smile, “best three months of my life.”
Simon looks at him strangely but then nods with a glowing smile. “Mine too.”
Rebecca stares at Simon, and she looks quizzical. “Why didn’t you tell us earlier?”
Simon opens his mouth, but Jace is faster at improvising the answers. “That might be my fault, I’m afraid. I wanted to keep low profile with our relationship, because I really wanted to make this work without other people’s expectations.”
“Yeah, that’s right,” Simon agrees, even though Jace knows he is looking at him strangely again.
“That sounds wise,” Elaine says with a warm smile, “and you do look happy now.”
“We are,” Simon answers and looks at him as if he would be the eighth wonder of the world and kisses the back of his hand, and Jace’s heart flutters.
“Where did you go as your first date?” Elaine asks, sounding genuinely curious, as she continues to eat the cake.
Jace’s mind blanks and he keeps eating his cake, letting Simon to deal with the question.
“Natural history museum,” Simon replies immediately, and Jace cannot help but smile delightedly. “It sounds kinda lame, but it was the first place we visited as friends, and it had significance to us.”
“It wasn’t lame,” Jace blurts out, but he means it whole heartedly. Any of the afternoons he has spent with Simon are nowhere near lame.
“It sounds rather cute, actually,” Rebecca remarks as she finishes her cake.
“So when did you two realise you were more than friends?” Elaine asks as she starts to gather the dishes away.
Jace feels Simon tense up next to him, but he almost immediately relaxes again. “I realised it when Jace almost chocked on a tangerine.”
Jace’s heart skips a beat or few, and he stares at Simon, perplexedly. The tangerine incident did happen few months ago, while Jace was at the boathouse and for unbeknownst reason to him he almost met his death by a fruit. As soon as the immediate danger was over, Simon had laughed so hard he cried.
Jace convinces himself Simon is just following his ‘stay-close-to-the-truth’ principle with his example but there is a part of him that wants to believe that Simon truly meant it. Yet, he knows that Simon is not actually in love with him.
“You truly are a romantic,” Rebecca says with a burst of laugh and Elaine chuckles as well.
“I realised when I crashed his place one morning after a night shift, and he was practicing some song, and instead of kicking me out, he played it for me,” Jace tells softly, and it feels good to tell the truth.
He could name a thousand other instances, too, but he decides he likes this one the best.
He feels the weight of Simon’s gaze on him and he knows that Simon remembers that one particular morning, too. He hopes he thinks he is lying for the sake of pretending, but secretly he hopes Simon could see through him and realise he is telling the truth.
Rest of the dinner goes well, and Jace thinks they are quite convincing at being a couple. Simon has perfected the way he looks at him as if it would be the centre of the universe, and for a one blissful moment, Jace forgets that they are pretending.
Elaine brings out the childhood photo album, Simon looks so agonized and Jace fears Simon might die again out of pure embarrassment.
Both, Elaine and Rebecca, tell on several occasions how adorable they are together. Apparently, they are visibly in love. Every time, Jace feels as if someone had stabbed him with his own seraph blade.
He ends up spending three hours at their house before he gets a text message from Alec asking him to come back to the Institute because of a mission.
Simon insists walking with him along their driveway, but before he leaves, Elaine hugs him and tells how happy she is that Simon has found someone like him. Jace numbly replies he is the lucky one.
As soon as Simon closes the door behind them, he starts his ramble. “I’m so sorry about the photo album and the totally inappropriate comments they made about your hotness,” he says with a groan and looks as if he is truly suffering.
“Great taste apparently runs in the family,” Jace jokes with a shit-eating grin as he jogs down the few stairs.
Simon groans again in anguish, but he follows him.
“Your mom and sister are spying us from the window,” Jace whispers as he takes Simon’s hand into his own again.
He can clearly see the silhouettes of Elaine and Rebecca in the window, trying to peer from between of the curtains, and apparently, Simon spots them as well.
“They are the worst,” Simon mutters under his breath.
He is aware they have hold hands for the better half of three hours, but he already missed the sensation of Simon’s hand against his.
The driveway is short and they reach the gate way sooner than Jace would like. They stop at the gate, but for his surprise, Simon does not let go of his hand.
“Seriously, thank you for doing this,” Simon tells softly, squeezing his hand.
His smile is almost beatific and radiant, it creates crinkles around his eyes, and his whole face lights up, and Jace is so in love that it hurts him.
If Jace did not know any better, he would say Simon’s smile resembles enamoured, but he does know better.
“It wasn’t exactly awful,” Jace replies with a shrug, and he is telling the truth. Not pretending to hide his true feelings, even for a one night, had been better than he could have ever imagined.
He feels almost crestfallen to go back to the pretending and constant lying to himself and others.
“I’m glad you think so,” Simon tells him so quietly it is almost a whisper in the cold night. He cautiously steps closer to him and with anyone else, Jace would consider it as a serious violation of personal space, but with Simon, he does not mind.
They are both grinning widely and there is warmth in Simon’s brown eyes, the time seems to stop under the bright stars, and the nearby lamppost illuminates everything in a light that seems golden.
The whole moment seems serene and unreal and they just keep staring at each other in a silence that seems deafening. Simon’s gaze keeps darting to his lips and lingers there, and Jace has difficult time to convince himself he is only imagining it.
He does not know what takes over him, but he kisses Simon. He lets go of his hand and cups his face with his hands, and crashes their lips together.
For a moment, the only thought he has is Simon. Every single of his senses are full of him and only him, and all he can feel is the warmth of his lips on his own. Suddenly, the night is no longer a cold one as Jace is certain every single cell of his body is on fire.
It is an incredibly tender and sweet kiss, Simon slowly kisses him back, and it feels as if it lasts forever, and everything seems perfect until Jace’s brain catches up with his own actions.
He is kissing Simon, and suddenly his brain goes into a full panic mode, because kissing Simon is the last thing he should do. It is the one thing he should never do.
He hastily pulls away, breaking the kiss. Both of them are breathing heavily the cold air and Jace stares at him with a stunned and alarmed expression and wonders if he has the right to feel shocked and confused when he is the one who initiated it.
Simon’s expression is unreadable, and Jace is sure his brain has followed the plan to escape to the wilderness of Canada because every time he opens his mouth, no words come out.
“I-I- need to go,” he finally manages to breath out, and he runs away.
Simon does not follow him.
It is Sunday, and Jace has 53 missed calls and 46 unread text messages from Simon.
He knows avoiding him in unhealthy and unfair, because none of this is Simon’s fault. He did nothing wrong. It is Jace who messed everything up in the worst way possible.
He has wallowed in self-pity and misery for almost two days and he knows he should get a grip and just face him, but he is not ready.
He is not strong enough to confront him or the inevitable rejection. He does not want to hear what he has to say because he wants to shield himself from the pain a little longer.
He does not even want to think the possibility that he might have ruined everything between them. Yet, he cannot stop thinking about it or the kiss and it causes him excruciating pain. It is an arduous task not to think about Simon.
The kiss is playing in a loop in his head, and Jace just wants it to stop.
Alec and Izzy march into his room on a Sunday afternoon and stage an intervention for him. They even have a small sheet that says ‘intervention’ in red and Jace asks where they got it, but Izzy refuses to tell. Instead, she just tells they are doing the intervention out of love and because they think that spending an entire weekend by cleaning the seraph blades in the weapon’s room is not healthy.
Alec keeps nodding beside of his sister and adds that he would like if Simon did not call to him again to ask if Alec can feel through their parabatai bond whether Jace has fallen into a ditch and died or not.
Izzy just repeats that he and Simon are both idiots and apparently, Clary agrees with her.
Jace knows he cannot avoid Simon for the rest of his life even if it does seem the most tempting option, so he accepts his defeat and picks up his phone.
His phone almost jams up when he tries to open his messages, but he manages to read the latest messages Simon has sent to him.
[Simon 1.37 am]
I have a gig tomorrow night in Hunter’s moon, come there if you want to talk
[Simon 2.04 am]
I really hope you come, even if you don’t want to talk
[Simon 4.55 am]
I miss you
The messages make him feel slightly better, because after all, Simon is his friend, and maybe it would require a little more than a kiss to make him hate and abandon him.
Jace rehearses an apology in his head as he walks into the Hunter’s moon in the middle of Simon’s gig and even though the bar is dimly lit, Simon instantly notices him.
He is on stage with his guitar and when he looks up, Jace is convinced he looks straight at him and the corner of his mouth twitches up, and he keeps playing.
That alone is enough reason for Jace to stay at the bar. He walks up to the bar counter and sits down at one of the stools and keeps glancing at Simon over his shoulder while brooding.
His singing sounds beautiful and the crowd seems to be mesmerized.
“What do you want?” Maia asks, as she dries couple of shot glasses with a towel.
“Something strong,” Jace says bleakly as he stares at the surface of the bar counter.
Maia rolls her eyes exasperatedly and gives him a beer. “You’re an idiot,” she says it almost gently, “he is also an idiot,” she continues gesturing towards Simon. “You’re both idiots and sometimes I don’t know which one of you is a bigger idiot, but it’s probably you.”
“You sure know how to give a pep talk,” Jace tells her wryly and takes a long sip from his beer.
“It’s one of my various talents,” Maia answers matter-of-factly.
The crowd starts applauding loudly as Simon finishes his last song, and Maia claps as well, even though he is looking at Jace firmly.
“Just don’t break his heart, Herondale,” Maia advices him over the loud clapping, and Jace offers her a weak smile.
Simon almost trips down on his own feet as he rushes down from the stage and grabs Jace by the arm.
“Maia, we’re gonna steal your back alley for a moment,” Simon announces, and Maia nods at him. Jace has no time to protest before Simon drags him through the back door, and he only lets go of him when they are at the alley.
Jace stares at a filthy dumpster and takes a deep breath before he turns around and faces Simon. “I’m so sorry,” Jace starts immediately, unable to bottle it inside of him any longer, “I don’t know what I was thinking when I kissed you and I’m so sorry if this ruins-“
“Jace,” Simon interrupts him and he sounds a little exhausted and doleful. “There’s no need to apologize I wanted you to kiss me.”
Jace is sure the world stops for a second, and all he can hear is his heartbeat. “What?”
Simon sighs and rubs his own neck. “I wasn’t lying about the tangerine incident,” he eventually says, and his eyes dart around the small alley and he ends up staring at a milk cartoon that lies forgotten next to the dumpster.
It takes Jace an embarrassingly long time to realise what Simon implies, and when he does, he is speechless and overjoyed.
He thinks this must be a dream and this is not really happening, but he also knows he could not dream the disgusting smell of rotten tomatoes so vividly, and he figures this is reality.
“Oh,” Jace manages to breathe out, and Simon lets out a joyless laugh. “You mean-?” Jace tries to ask, but he is unable to say the word love. It feels as if it would burn his throat.
“Helplessly,” Simon answers, dodging the word as well and he sounds despondent. “I do understand if you don’t want anything more. Nothing has to change between us,” he rambles on, but his voice slightly breaks and he cannot hide the sorrow from his voice.
“What?” Jace repeats again, overwhelmed and confused by Simon’s words. He had braced himself for the rejection, but Simon makes it sound as if Jace is the one rejecting him.
“I don’t know,” Simon shrugs, “you looked like kissing me was the biggest mistake of your life and then you ran away and didn’t talk to me for almost two days.” He looks chagrined and it breaks his heart a little.
He still refuses to look at Jace, and his voice is quiet, and Jace realises Simon really expects him to reject him.
Jace steps closer to him, but the space between them still feels huge. “Only because I thought I had ruined everything between us,” he explains softly, “and I wasn’t lying during that dinner, either. I meant what I said about that morning.”
He feels light and numb, and even slightly dizzy to finally to admit it, but the ecstatic smile that spreads across Simon’s face makes it all worth it.
“You remember that song I played for you that morning?” Simon asks almost timidly, and seemingly unable to stop smiling, “I wrote that about you.”
“Really?” Jace asks, flabbergasted, and he cannot hide his awe.
Simon slowly nods and reaches to hold his hand. He intertwines their fingers gently, and he glances at their hands, but Jace cannot tear his eyes away from Simon.
Jace hums. “I guess it’s only appropriate I realised I love you while you played it,” he almost blurts it out, but he does not regret saying it, it is almost effortless to admit it now.
Simon’s smile widens, the lights from the neon signs around them illuminate his face, and Jace thinks he is the most beautiful person he has ever seen.
They are painstakingly close, and it feels as if the air is buzzing. Jace is convinced his heart might burst out of delirious happiness at any given moment.
Jace pulls Simon closer by the collar of his jacket and kisses him again eagerly, and Simon ends up pushing him against the brick wall.
Their second kiss is different from their first one. It is more enthusiastic, but it is still gentle and full of affection. Jace strokes Simon’s back with his hand, and Simon has both of his hands in Jace’s hair. It is dazzling and Jace makes a small but happy sound in the back of his throat, and Simon pulls away and grins.
“I think this alley might be my favourite of all the places we have visited together,” Jace jokes as he tries to catch his breath.
“I’ll try to find some more smelly alleys that are filled with garbage and waste for us to visit,” Simon chuckles and presses kisses to his jawline.
“I think it might have more to do with you than the recycling bins,” Jace admits with a smirk, and his gaze lingers in Simon’s eyes.
“Whoever said romance is dead was a liar,” Simon deadpans, but he is spectacularly failing with trying not to smile. He gently pushes a strand of Jace’s hair away from his face.
“Shut up and kiss me,” Jace tells while laughing blissfully, and Simon kisses him.
In retrospect, Jace thinks agreeing to be Simon’s fake date was the best thing he has ever done.