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A Shadowhunters Guide to Mundane Monsters

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1. Bigfoot isn't real.

"I've been reading recently," Jace says.

Isabelle pauses mid-stride and raises one perfect eyebrow in disbelief. Alec snorts and turns it into a contemplating noise so smoothly, Jace can't help but be impressed.

"I read," Jace tells them. "I'm reading right now."

"Reading what?" Isabelle asks.

"Your book club isn't real," Alec says.

That is why Jace prefers Isabelle's company in matters like these. Jace can already see the look on Alec's face when he works out the reason why Jace is reading this particular mundane book. Still, it's not like he wouldn't tell Alec at some point.

"I'm reading a book on mundane monsters," Jace says, striding along the Institute hallways.

He nods at Raj by the elevators. Raj gives him a blank unfriendly look and turns pointedly away. Which is fair, given that Jace has never liked Raj and Raj has never liked him. Differences of opinions, that's all.

"Leave Raj alone," Isabelle says, keeping up easily with Jace. "And tell me about your book. Who gave it to you?"

Alec is already ahead of them, leading the way into his office. He stops for a second to open his office door, hand paused halfway. His voice is perfectly bland when he says, "Lewis."

At the end of the day, it's Jace's silence that gives him away.

-

Here's the thing: Jace has wanted to find anything to distract him from Valentine, the cup, the angel, and Clary. He just wants to stop going over the things in his head, how the only father he ever had was a monster, how Clary finally came to her senses and decided to break things off with Jace, how there was a wish for an angel to bring him back. His brain is so loud sometimes, it feels like one, long, drawn out scream.

And then, Simon catches him at Hunter's Moon, takes one look at him, and says, "I have a book for you."

The book is bound in black leather, worn down in places, but clearly marked with the $34.99 sticker on the inside cover. It's title, Monsters of America, is carved into the leather cover in neat script.

Jace opens the first page to a picture of a large, hairy man. "Why?" He asks, looking up at Simon.

"That book got me through the hardest part of my life."

"Your breakup with Clary?"

Simon is quiet for a long time, but Jace recognizes this type of silence. It's the quiet of hard memories and broken families.

"I know it's a little...different," Simon says, finally. "But it got me through the death of my dad."

He says nothing more.

"Thank you," Jace tells him, and this time, he means it.

-

"That was Bigfoot," Jace says.

Alec, who is covered in demon ichor, very pointedly doesn't answer.

"Alec, man, come on, I gave you the book to read. Don't tell me you haven't read it."

"I'm not going to read it," Alec says.

Jace would push it, but when they get to the Institute, Isabelle is already waiting for them by the computer screens, blurry shots of the alley on screen. Jace admires the shaky shots and the way someone could almost see a six-foot tall shadow right by the very edges.

"Wow," Jace says. "That's Bigfoot all right."

 

 

2. A wendigo is not to be confused with a werewolf.

This is all very clearly Simon's fault, and he has apologized to Luke profusely.

But if Simon is being honest, seeing Jace frozen in the middle of a crowded Times Square street, looking wide-eyed into the depths of 45th street, and whispering "wendigo", has about made his entire life. First, because Clary refuses to read the book, and has left Simon with approximately zero people who want to discuss cryptozoology. Second, because Jace is obviously so deep into the rabbit hole that only Simon can save him. And third, because Jace running down 45th street, after a wendigo that turns out to be a werewolf, is much preferable to Jace drowning himself in alcohol at Hunter's Moon.

"You handcuffed one of my wolves to a lightpost," Luke says, unimpressed.

By this time, Jace has already let said wolf go and Simon has apologized enough for both of them. The guy wasn't even mad, and he'd given Simon his phone number, winked, and walked away into the night. Simon was still a little breathless about it all.

"It was a mistake," Jace tells Luke.

"Yeah," Simon agrees. "We thought he was a wendigo."

Understanding flashes across Luke's face. "Ah," he says. "Monsters in America?"

Simon nods.

Luke glances at Jace, just a quick look that Simon could believe meant nothing if he didn't know Luke so well. Whatever he sees on Jace's face must be enough, because he comes over to pat Simon on the shoulder before he goes.

"Take care of yourselves," Luke says. "And do your research before you go handcuffing anymore werewolves."

Simon holds back his curiosity long enough for Luke to get to his police car. "Wait," Simon calls. "What was his name?"

Luke does a very poor job of hiding his smile. "His name is Jake, he's visiting from Philadelphia, and he's single."

"Oh," Simon says, curling his hand around his phone.

"Oh," Luke answers, grinning.

 

 

3. Anything that isn't in the book, is an alien.

Here's the thing about the book: it will consume you if you let it.

-

"I think I just saw an alien," Jace tells Isabelle.

They're both covered in dirt, in the middle of central park. It's so dark out Jace can barely make out Isabelle a few feet in front of him trying to yank her shoes out of the mud. They're covered in bits of demons and questionable goo from being thrown into the lake.

"I take it mundane monster hunting with Simon is going well," Isabelle says. "How did his date with Jake the Philadelphian werewolf go?"

"I don't care," Jace says, which he knows is giving away too much, too soon.

"I know you don't," Isabelle says. "I'm coming over. Don't stab me."

"It was one time," Jace says, but he stays still as Isabelle comes closer.

She looks terrible, but in the good way, dirt across her face mingling with demon blood, her whip in her hand, hair wild.

"Be careful, Izzy," Jace tells her. "If someone sees you, you could be the next Bigfoot."

Isabelle frowns and turns it into a smile, and it takes Jace a second to realize that he's smiling too.

"You should call him," Isabelle says. "You did just see an alien."

Jace shakes his head. "He's probably on another date with Jake from Philadelphia."

Isabelle shrugs. She coils her whip around her arm and wipes her seraph blade on her jeans.

"Jake from Philadelphia leaves next week," Isabelle says. "And besides, Simon makes you happy."

-

Here's the thing about spending time with Simon: Jace can't stop thinking about him.

-

"So," Jace says, easily, smoothly. "How was your date with Jake?"

Simon, who is busy adjusting his binoculars, goes bright red and says nothing. They're in Central Park again, along 5th Avenue and 110th Street. The sun has already set, and the light from the streetlamps is making the lake water look orangey black.

"So, is this where you and Isabelle saw the alien?" Simon asks.

Jace stares, and the longer he looks the brighter Simon's cheeks get. Almost like he's embarrassed.

"Was your date that bad?" Jace asks, nodding when Simon points towards the trees across the lake. "Yeah, right around there. Isabelle was on the other side, and I saw it to the left. But about your date?"

Simon sighs. "If you must know, I spent half my date talking about aliens and you."

"Oh, good." Jace says, pleased. "But it was a little more to the right."

 

 

4. Ghouls moan.

Simon's problem is that he wants to put his hands all over Jace and also kind of shake him at the same time. But not in a bad way, more like, Simon wishes there was a way he could shake the sadness out of Jace. And also kiss him. All of this always involves kissing of some kind.

-

Jace is fumbling the buttons on Simon's shirt, which is so unfair. He wants in, his hands want to be on skin. He's burning with it, his mouth against Simon's neck, Simon's short gasps against his ear.

"Why is your room so far?" Simon asks.

"Sh," Jace says. "Sh."

He means that all of this is almost too much, that it has been so long since Jace let himself just have things he wanted. He wants to tell Simon that there's nothing better than Simon's hands in Jace's hair, or his quiet breaths, or the way his hands can't seem to find their favorite place on Jace.

"We're in a hallway," Simon whispers.

"I know," Jace says. "I know."

"Yeah," comes Isabelle's amused voice from somewhere behind Jace. "The rest of us know, too."

Simon laughs it off, but Jace counts to ten, turns around, glares at as many people as he can, and then drags Simon down the hallway and into the first bedroom he finds. He'll work out who it belongs to later.

Much later.

 

 

5. Chupacabra literally means goat sucker.

"You smell like shadowhunter," Raphael says, when Simon makes his way to Hotel DuMort.

Simon is there for purely diplomatic reasons, and also because he heard that Raphael's friend, Rosa, once saw the chupacabra with her own two eyes. Simon may be a, kind of, college educated young man, but he knows better than to pass up an opportunity like this.

"I heard about Rosa," Simon says, aiming for nonchalant and missing.

Raphael raises an eyebrow.

"Listen," Simon says. "Enough games. I know you know about the chupacabra, and I already know what you're going to say. You're going to tell me that I'm naive, that monsters don't exist. I get it. I know. Rational Simon knows this Simon needs to calm down, and probably have a therapy session or two. But this Simon also murdered Rational Simon, so do us both of a favor and tell me what you know."

Raphael blinks, once. "You talk too much," he says.

Simon opens his mouth to argue, thinks better of it, and stays quiet. Raphael smirks.

"Two things," Raphael says. "One, the chupacabra is real. And two, you can tell Jace Wayland he can come in."