Jalec || Shadowhunters || Jalec || The Mundie Experience || Jalec || Shadowhunters || Jalec
Title: The Mundie Experience – Three Shadowhunters in High School
Fandom: Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments
Disclaimer: All rights to the Shadowhunters show reserved to Ed Decter, the books the show is based off and its characters belong to Cassandra Clare. This fanfiction on the other hand is entirely mine. No money is made with this, though reviews are more than welcomed.
Warnings: m/m, high school AU, fluff, hurt/comfort, f/f, m/f
Main Pairing: Alec/Jace
Side Pairings: Maia/Clary, Simon/Isabelle, Luke/Jocelyn, Alaric/Dot
Shadowhunters Characters: Jonathan Christopher 'Jace' Wayland, Alexander Gideon 'Alec' Lightwood, Isabelle Sophia 'Izzy' Lightwood, Simon Lewis, Clarissa Adele 'Clary' Fray, Maia Roberts, Gretel Monroe, Maureen Brown, Eric Hillchurch, Matt Charlton, Kirk Duplesse, Luke Garroway, Jocelyn Fray, Alaric Rodriguez, Dorothea 'Dot' Rollins, Elaine Lewis, Rebecca Lewis
Summary: Years prior to show-canon, Alec, Jace and Isabelle are sent to a mundie high school, undercover. Posing as mundanes and befriending Clary Fray and Simon Lewis reveals feelings – some new, others having been hidden for years. New friendships help them deal with the feelings.
The Mundie Experience
Three Shadowhunters in High School
Alec glared in a constipated way as he stared up at the looming building in front of them. He couldn't believe Hodge had sent them here, for a mission. This was stupid. There were so many Shadowhunters at the New York Institute, couldn't someone else go? No, Hodge thought that Alec, Izzy and Jace would benefit from this. Getting to know those they were protecting.
Hodge's idea of them getting to know mundies was by sending them to a mundie high school. It was an undercover mission, because there had been some odd readings and activities – particularly during the full moon – around this school lately. So Hodge had decided that Alec, Jace and Izzy could go on a mission to investigate and to get a taste of the mundane life.
"This is stupid", growled Alec frustrated, shifting a little.
"Come on. This could be fun! I saw all the movies. We just have to stick to the scripts", declared Isabelle with an excited grin, linking arms with her big brother.
"I'm with Iz on this one", hummed Jace, nudging Alec. "It could be fun. Come on. You need to learn to enjoy yourself, parabatai. See this as a little vacation or something. We've never had a vacation."
Alec huffed at that, glowering a little. Vacation. Yeah, right. This was going to be a disaster.
Isabelle knew exactly how high school worked. She had seen all the mundie movies about it. The cool girls were always very pretty and bitchy and they inexplicably got to walk around in ridiculously short skirts and dance at the sidelines of boys' sports-events. The boys were only cool when they were in a sports-team, which was why Isabelle immediately signed herself up for cheerleading try-outs and Jace for baseball try-outs. They were going to rule this school and thus, they were going to figure out whatever was going on at this place.
Within a few days of being in the school, Isabelle was already curious about some of her classmates. There was a really pretty redhead who sat next to Isabelle in a few classes. She always doodled in her books and she was pretty good. She was nice, had shown Isabelle around. Her name was Clary Fray and she wasn't overly popular, apparently. She had her group of friends though.
Simon Lewis and Maureen Brown. There were others, three other boys, though they mainly hung out with Simon, while the girls stuck together too. It was kind of interesting for Isabelle to watch.
Social interactions in high school. Social interactions between mundanes. At the Institute weren't really others their age – it was just Alec, Izzy, Jace, Raj, Lindsay, Duncan and Aline. There wasn't much of a chance to form social circles, really. Jace only ever hung out with Alec and Isabelle. Izzy was very close to Aline and Lindsay. Raj and Duncan were best friends. But they all inevitably stuck together because they were the kids, the next generation.
Here, at school, there were large classes and then the sub-categories of juniors and seniors and sophomores and freshmen. It was inevitable that there would be smaller groups forming.
Simon interested Izzy. He was the nerd and the nerd was not popular – he wasn't popular either. He was best friends with Clary since kindergarten, according to Clary, and he had Maureen and the three boys who kept flocking around him, but otherwise, most of the school seemed blissfully unaware of his existence. He wasn't a jock, was not in any of the sports-teams. He even wore the glasses and childish shirts like the nerds in the movies who then got bullied and all.
But Simon was also the lead-singer in a band. A band. Bands were cool. Mundie teens loved bands and especially boys in bands – there was the whole boy-band genre, after all. So how was Simon Lewis not the hottest piece on campus...? Isabelle didn't get it. After all, Simon was also cute.
Isabelle had an easy time befriending Clary and Maureen over the first two weeks of their little undercover gig. There were two more girls they were friends with – Maia Roberts and Gretel Monroe, who were in Jace's grade. The two girls were best friends and Maia was Clary's girlfriend. Clary and Maia were super cute together, it was blatantly obvious how smitten Maia was with Clary – but the same went the other way too. Clary often sketched Maia when her thoughts drifted.
The most amusing part about that was to watch Alec observe them. The genuinely wide-eyed expression on his face the first time Clary and Maia had just casually kissed at the lockers. No secretly sneaking away to hide it, just as... casual as any of the straight couples. And no one standing around had anything to say about it. Like they were all used to it, like no one gave a damn.
The sheer bafflement and doubt in Alec's eyes, how he continued to wearily watch the two girls, expecting something. But when Isabelle had introduced her new friends to her brother, Clary had very simply introduced Maia as her girlfriend. Alec was trying to comprehend it, to understand.
Isabelle had high hopes that this little undercover mission would help Alec realize that being gay wasn't that bad. Not as bad as he thought it was. Sure, it wasn't too accepted in the Shadow World, but it still didn't mean the end of the world. Loving Jace wasn't the end of the world. Of course she knew. Izzy wasn't an idiot, she had caught on with her brother's feelings. She just hoped that Alec would finally find a way to embrace who he was instead of denying himself.
Alec hated this whole stint. High school. Homework. Aggressive jocks. People staring at him for being so tall and gloomy. He hated absolutely everything about this, but he hated the baseball team in particular. He glared darkly as he sat on the bleachers, watching Jace train. The uniform they wore for their little game was just ridiculous. Way too tight. How it hugged Jace's ass was unholy.
"Hey. Did you come to support your sister?"
Alec startled and turned some. The people Izzy had been befriending were now sitting down next to him. Clary, her girlfriend Maia, Simon and Maureen. Clary and Maia had their pinkies linked. They were so... open about their affections. It was unreal to Alec. He genuinely didn't understand.
"What?", asked Alec confused, blinking a couple of times.
"Izzy. The cheerleaders?", laughed Clary, pointing over to the girls training on the other half of the baseball field. "Gretel's on the team too. She said Izzy is a really quick study."
"...Yeah", grunted Alec, turning away from them again.
"Really? Looked more like you were watching the baseball team", pointed Maureen out.
Alec gritted his teeth and glared. He hated absolutely everything about this whole, stupid mission. And they still had no leads on why demon-activity around here had increased. Alec just wanted this mission to be done with so they could stop going to school.
Baseball was fascinating. Apparently, Jace was the best pitcher they had in like ten years. Not that he really understood it. He just had to throw a damn ball. It wasn't exactly hard science. But he basically got worshiped within three weeks of being here. Most of the cheerleaders batted their eyelashes at him and he had already hooked up with two of them.
Jace wasn't really one for friendships. He had Alec and Izzy, he didn't need more people. But Izzy, she was their social butterfly – and she got them the in into this school. She befriended Clary and Maia and Simon and his band. They weren't half-bad, really. Jace didn't mind spending the lunch-breaks in the music room with them all, listening to them practice.
Simon and Maureen were the lead-singers, Eric the drummer, Matt at the bass and Kirk at the guitar. Jace kept eyeing the keyboard longingly. They were definitely missing someone on the keyboard. But Jace didn't really... He had never played for anyone but Alec.
"Simon frustrates me", whispered Izzy.
Maia and Clary were too busy making out with each other to mind them and Simon, Maureen, Eric, Matt and Kirk were rehearsing. Alec had left as soon as school was out, saying he would return to the Institute to take care of the reports. Not that there was anything to report.
"Why?", asked Jace softly. "I mean, he's frustrating me too, because half the time I have no idea what he's talking about. And he talks so much."
"No", huffed Isabelle, shoving him. "He's... I've been flirting with him, because he's cute. But he's just given me blank stares most of the time or got all awkward. Well, more awkward anyway."
"Someone able to resist your charms? Impossible", drawled Jace dryly.
Isabelle shoved him again. The two were alike in that. They were essentially irresistible and knew exactly how to charm the pants off of people. And Jace had to admit, he had seen the way Isabelle flirted with Simon. The whole full-attention, bright smiles, silly laughter at the things he said, twirling her hair playfully routine – all of it. Frowning, Jace leaned back some.
"Maybe he's with Maureen", suggested Jace, pointing over at where Simon and Maureen were singing a cheesy love-duet. "She's been staring at him dreamily since we met. She totally has a crush on him, maybe it's not so one-sided after all."
Isabelle paused and gave him a look – the kind he usually earned for keen observations. Which was strange, after all Isabelle knew that Jace wasn't stupid. She shook her head, clearly amused.
"Maybe he's just an idiot", shrugged Jace casually, wrapping an arm around Isabelle's shoulders and pulling his sister close. "If he doesn't see when an amazing girl like you likes him."
Isabelle smiled pleased at that and cuddled up to Jace.
"You got a really nice place", hummed Isabelle as she looked around curiously.
She was pretty convinced by now that whatever was going on at school was linked to her new friends in some way. Not that she could really prove it just yet. So it fit her that she had been invited over to Clary's. A girls night. Isabelle had never had a girls night. It didn't really count when she, Lindsay and Aline would sneak around late, since they all lived together. This was different. This was a sleep-over, like in the movies. Maureen was carrying pillows and blankets over to the living room, with the help of Gretel. Isabelle giggled a little when she saw how Maia crowded Clary against a wall and kissed her. Those two were adorable. Isabelle wished Jace and Alec would get to be that carefree. Well, she'd also wish for Jace to notice. Seriously, Jace had no problems noticing that Maureen had a crush on Simon, but he was completely blind to the way Alec looked at him.
"Ah. Jocelyn, we've been invaded!"
Isabelle startled a little before cursing herself. Normal mundane family. Usually consisted of parents. Parents who weren't gone nearly all the time. Granted, the man who walked into the living room had no real resemblance with Clary, but he looked at her lovingly.
"Hey, Luke", greeted Maia as she slowly stepped away from Clary, both girls flustered.
"Maia. Gretel", replied Luke, nodding briefly. "Lemme guess, Maureen upstairs?"
"Maureen upstairs", confirmed Maureen loudly as she came down with more pillows. "Hey, Luke."
"And you must be the new girl. Isabelle, right?", asked Luke with a friendly smile.
"Yes, sir. Thank you for having me", replied Isabelle with a smile of her own.
"Please, Luke", laughed Luke. "Don't make me feel old."
"Honey, we are old", countered Clary's mom as she followed in after her husband.
The two had been groceries shopping by the look of it. The woman looked a lot like Clary – red-hair, same eyes, same smile. Izzy watched curiously how Clary's parents headed toward the kitchen. Maia came to take one of the bags from Luke and help carry the things.
"Hello, I'm Jocelyn", introduced Clary's mother herself.
"It's a pleasure to meet you", smiled Isabelle.
"You kids can order pizza, if you like", offered Luke.
"Tha—ank you", chorused the girls.
An hour later had Clary, Maia, Maureen, Gretel and Isabelle curled up on the floor in front of the television, watching a movie and eating pizza. Isabelle grinned to herself as Gretel was braiding her hair. French braid. Clary was half asleep with her head in Maia's lap, Maia playing with her hair. Maureen was taking care of the last piece of pizza.
"So... you and the pretty blonde", drawled Maia as the movie ended.
"Pretty blonde?", asked Isabelle confused.
"Wayland", clarified Maia and rolled her eyes. "What's going on with the two of you?"
"What? Nothing", sputtered Isabelle surprised.
"Really? You two seem awfully cozy during band practice", shrugged Maureen.
"Well, he's like a brother to me", muttered Isabelle. "I never saw him like that."
"Oh. Okay. I get that", grinned Maia. "It's the same with Clary and Simon. Well, was for Clary anyway. But Simon used to have a huge crush on her, until I got in the way."
"And now he's with... Maureen?", asked Isabelle carefully, looking at Maureen.
"W—What?", squeaked Maureen, eyes wide. "N—No!"
Isabelle hummed, a little pleased by that. Gretel sighed and shook her head.
"It's like everything is about romance with you people", sighed Gretel.
"Well, that's a fun thing to gossip about", shrugged Maia casually. "What would you talk about?"
"How about... the weird stuff happening at school?", suggested Isabelle carefully.
"What weird stuff?", asked Maureen, genuinely confused.
"Well, the attacks. I heard about them even before I transferred schools", replied Isabelle. "Like, weird, inexplicable noises at night, students and teachers who disappear..."
Maia and Gretel exchanged a look at that and it didn't go unnoticed by Isabelle. Interesting.
"It's nothing. Clary's dad, he's a cop. He already looked into it. It's just pranks. Some dorky idiots who think it's funny to spook others who study late", stated Maia.
"And the disappearances?", asked Isabelle, one eyebrow raised.
"Teachers who moved away without notice. Kids running away from home", shrugged Gretel.
Okay, those two definitely knew something was up. Isabelle frowned curiously.
Alec stared longingly at Jace from his spot in the audience. Jace had officially joined Rock Solid Panda to play the keyboard. And he looked so pretty at the keyboard, grinning in that cocky way, his stone-washed black jeans hugging his legs just the right way as he stood behind the keyboard. Maureen and Simon were doing some kind of cover of some mundie song, while Jace, Eric, Matt and Kirk were playing in the background. Clary next to him giggled and nudged him.
"What?", asked Alec with a frown.
"So, does he know you're head over heels in love with him?", asked Clary.
Alec stiffened and stared wide-eyed, before he turned to glare sharply at her. "I'm not... I'm not in love with Jace. Jace is my... best friend. That's all."
Clary laughed at that, before she saw the look on his face. "Wait. You're... You're seriously not even admitting it when confronted? Wow. Okay. I didn't expect you to be that deep in the closet. I thought you and Jace might just keep your relationship on the down-low."
"There is no relationship", barked Alec tensely.
"You should tell him then", interjected Maia, still looking at the stage and not at Alec. "Because I don't think that boy will catch on on his own if you don't spell it out for him."
Gritting his teeth, Alec suddenly got up and left the gym. Stupid school. Stupid concert. Stupid mundanes. Outside, Alec paced for a long time, trying to calm himself down. Sighing, he slid down the wall and just sat behind the gym. He didn't even startle when someone sat down next to him, so close their arms were pressed against each other. Jace's presence immediately calm him down.
"Were we so bad you had to run off?", asked Jace jokingly.
"You were amazing", muttered Alec softly.
"...Yeah?", asked Jace, sounding nearly bashful.
"You're always amazing and you know that", huffed Alec, nudging Jace. "Your play is perfect."
"So, what did Clary say to make you this angry?", wanted Jace to know, worry in his eyes as Alec turned to look at him. "I could feel the swirl of emotions from you and Izzy said you were talking to Clary before you ran off but she didn't hear what you were talking about."
"Just... she... she annoys me", growled Alec annoyed, fingers clawed into his jeans.
"...It's not because she's gay, right?", asked Jace tentatively.
"W—What?", sputtered Alec stunned, turning to stare at Jace.
"It's just... you've been weird about Clary and Maia ever since we first saw them kiss and you're always watching them with an extra-grumpy look on your face", continued Jace. "You glare at them so darkly all the time and... now you ran out on her talking to you?"
"I...", started Alec, genuinely baffled and lost for words.
"Look", sighed Jace gently and turned to fully look at Alec, resting a hand on Alec's upper arm. "This isn't... This isn't Idris, or the Institute. Mundies are different. I know you think that people liking their own gender is wrong because it's what we get taught, but it's different for mundies. Clary and Maia loving each other is totally okay here. There are just a couple jerks giving them a hard time, but that's the exception and not the rule."
"I...", started Alec again, staring at Jace like he was growing a second head.
"I know, I mean, I was surprised at first too, about how... open they get to be about it", assured Jace with a smile. "But I'm sure you'll get used to it too, Alec. You're not a homophobe. You're a good guy, Alec. You wouldn't hate someone for who they are, that's not who you are."
Alec couldn't believe they were having this conversation. Was Jace seriously being protective of Clary and Maia? For being gay? Thinking that Alec had prejudices against them for it...? Sure, Alec had been glaring at them intensely, but mainly because he had been watching, baffled that what they were doing was okay. Not because he was judging them or disgusted (well, at some instances their PDA went way too far and he in fact was disgusted because there were things about girls that Alec never wanted to see in his entire life). But Jace, giving Alec a talk to about... This was surreal.
"I'm gay", blurted Alec out without even thinking on it.
There was nothing to think about. Even if he wasn't going to admit to his feelings for Jace, but this was probably the perfect opportunity to at least tell part of his truth. Jace was his parabatai, he had to tell him. And when Jace was passionately defending the gays, how could Alec not...?
"...What?", asked Jace slowly, blinking confused.
"I'm... gay. I like... boys. Not girls", muttered Alec, heart beating hard in his throat as he said it aloud for the first time. "That's why I keep staring at them. Because it's so... strange, to see them be so public about something I've had to hide all of my life."
"Oh", grunted Jace, nodding. "Uhm. I... did not expect that. Wow. I... I want to ask why you never told me, but I don't want you to feel guilty for not telling me sooner. Because you gotta do that kinda stuff in your own time, or something."
"Yeah. That", nodded Alec awkwardly.
"Okay", nodded Jace and pulled Alec into a hug. "Thanks for telling me."
"But... why are you... I mean, so accepting of...",started Alec unsure.
"I like guys too. And girls", shrugged Jace when they parted, frowning curiously. "I thought you knew. I mean, I've been sneaking around the Institute and all."
"With... boys?", asked Alec stunned, eyebrows raised.
"Yeah. When Aline's cousin Sebastian was visiting last year", nodded Jace, cheeks flushed. "I mean, we just... fooled around a little, but... yeah. I like boys too."
Alec just nodded and gulped hard. He suddenly remembered finding Sebastian and Jace in the library, giggling when Alec had found them. He had thought they had been up to no good, but apparently, Alec had interrupted them doing something else entirely. The thought somehow tasted even more disgusting than Jace with the girls he brought home.
"What's on your mind, man?", asked Kirk as he flopped down next to Jace.
They were at Simon's. Apparently, Luke who was like a surrogate dad to Simon had isolated the Lewis' garage for band-practice. Eric sat on the other couch, sexting his girlfriend Sheila and not paying attention to them. Matt and Simon were inside getting snacks and more cold drinks.
"Nothing", grunted Jace and shook his head.
"Yeah, super not believable, dude", snorted Eric, not looking up from his phone.
"Wha—at are we talking about, guys?", asked Simon as he and Matt returned.
"Jace being weird", supplied Kirk.
"Did a friend of yours ever keep a... secret from you?", asked Jace with a frown. "Like, a big, personal secret. And they only told you kind of by accident."
"Clary being gay", offered Simon with a shrug and sat down next to Jace.
"Really? She didn't... immediately tell you when she found out?", asked Jace interested.
"It's not really like a thing where you wake up one day and 100% know you're gay", laughed Simon. "It's been like... a process. It took her a while to really process it and even then, she was still... digesting it herself and trying to figure stuff out. I can't hold that against her. She did tell me, after all, so yeah. Not to mention the whole me having a years-long crush on her. Guess that made it even more awkward for her to tell me she's gay."
"Right", grunted Jace and nodded slowly.
"So, who came out to you?", asked Kirk curiously.
"Don't tell me it's Iz. That'd be a waste", grunted Eric, attention back on his phone.
"No. Izzy is straight", huffed Jace. "And what's 'waste' supposed to mean."
"Nothing, nothing", hummed Eric and shook his head. "Just saying she's smoking hot."
"You should have stopped at the first half", pointed Matt out.
Jace shook his head and glared. He just didn't understand why it bothered him so much, that Alec had never opened up about this on his own. Somehow, not being a part of any of Alec's life hurt immensely. Which was stupid, he had never told Alec about his sexuality either. Though then again, Jace liked girls too. The liking boys part always felt more like an addition to him and not like something special. He didn't even know if there was a word for what he was – and he didn't really care about it either. It was just, whatever. He liked girls and he liked boys. Big deal. But to Alec it obviously was a big deal – that much, he had been able to feel through the bond during their conversation already. And Jace had hoped Alec knew he could always come to him with everything important and could always trust him. Maybe that was why it hurt?
"Whatever. Let's make music, guys", grunted Jace.
Izzy frowned curiously as she adjusted her protective glasses, leaning over the microscope. She had to make due with the chem lab for now, but it really was time they got to the bottom of this. The demon-attacks had to have something to do with someone at school and she was so sure her friends were somehow involved. She just didn't understand how.
"What are you doing here?"
Startled, Isabelle looked up to stare at Simon. The boy was staring at her with large eyes, cheeks red as he gaped. Confused, Isabelle looked down herself. Why was he blushing? She was wearing a white lab-coat over her clothes and the stupid protective glasses.
"I'm, uh, working on a project to improve my grades", offered Isabelle after a moment.
"Why? You're like the best in chemistry", grunted Simon confused. "Clary told me. You doodle in chemistry because you're already done with all the things."
"W—What? Hah. No", laughed Isabelle.
"Why do you do that?", asked Simon with an annoyed frown.
"Do what?", asked Isabelle, slowly taking her glasses off.
"Act like some... some Barbie!", huffed Simon, motioning at her. "You're always relying on your-your sex-appeal and being a pretty cheerleader. You always play down your brains, even though you're like super smart. I saw it in math class. You're amazing."
"...Amazing?", echoed Isabelle softly, cheeks heating up.
"Yeah. You're brilliant and cool. Your good looks are just a bonus but you act like they're all there is to you!", exclaimed Simon, seeming frustrated. "I just don't get it."
Without thinking on it, Isabelle dove in and kissed Simon briefly. Both were blushing afterward.
"I... I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that", muttered Isabelle embarrassed. "I'm just... not used to people seeing more in me than my looks, I guess. So I figured I should... play into my strengths."
"Well, people are idiots then", huffed Simon, cheeks dark-red. "You're brilliant."
"But I've been flirting with you for weeks now and you never...", argued Isabelle.
"Because you were like... girly-flirting with me? And at first I didn't get that a pretty girl like you would flirt with me and then I thought it was more like... a spiel or something", shrugged Simon embarrassed. "Because you're not that ditsy pretty cheerleader, so I thought flirting was like just... part of the charade or something...?"
"Well, I mean, it kind of is. But you ignored me and I got more invested and upped my game and... now that you said all those things... I like you, Simon", offered Isabelle after a moment, offering a small smile. "So... would... would you go on a date with me, maybe?"
"I... I, yeah", nodded Simon with a bright grin. "I'd love that."
"Thanks for having us, Mister Garroway", stated Alec, offering his hand.
"Luke, please", chuckled Luke Garroway, shaking the offered hand. "And since you kids are now friends with my kids, you are more than welcome in this house, any time."
"Not to mention, Luke bought so much meat, he'd be able to feed the whole school, so we're glad to have three more mouths to feed", tagged Luke's wife Jocelyn on.
Luke made a protesting sound, making Jocelyn laugh. Temperatures were finally warm enough to actually have a barbecue and apparently, the Garroway-Fray household liked to hold those for Clary's friends. Simon's mother and sister were there too. Alec didn't like this, any of it. Too many mundies. Too much wasted time. But both Izzy and Jace insisted on going, so there was no other choice but to tag along, because Alec would always have their backs.
"Eat some salad too, not just steaks", chided Elaine Lewis as she watched Maia.
"It's not my fault Luke's a genius at the barbecue grill", argued Maia, mouth full.
"With your diet, it's a miracle you can keep that body", muttered Maureen enviously.
"What can I say. I have great metabolism", shrugged Maia casually.
Alec sighed and got up. Honestly, those mundane conversations were giving him a headache. He spotted a Hollywood swing at the other end of the garden so he went to sit there. For a few moments, he was allowed to just sit with his thoughts alone, the loudness of everyone else just a background noise. Then, his parabatai sat down next to him and handed him a plate.
"The food's really good", commented Jace. "At least appreciate that."
"I'm just not one for those... things", muttered Alec but accepted the food.
"Did you ever have a boyfriend?", blurted Jace out next.
"...What?", grunted Alec surprised, staring at Jace.
Jace's cheeks were red as he shook his head. "Sorry. I just... I've been thinking about it for days. Since you told me. Like, did you ever have a boyfriend but never told us? Or just... sneaking around, like me and Sebastian did? Did you sneak around with Sebastian?"
"No. I didn't and I... I never had a... boyfriend before", whispered Alec flustered.
"Okay", nodded Jace slowly. "And... is there like... a boy you... like?"
"Where's all this coming from?", grunted Alec a bit disturbed.
"I just...", started Jace and sighed, sacking in on himself some. "It's selfish, I guess. I just... I hate not being a part of your life and I've been thinking about this a lot. That you never felt comfortable enough to tell me. And wondering what else that entailed, what else you weren't comfortable enough to tell me. If there's a person who's important to you that I have no idea about. You're my parabatai, Alec. You're the most important person in my life, I don't want to miss anything out from your life, Alec. So, I've been... wondering about that, I guess."
Alec's heart was jumping wildly as he looked at his parabatai. Jace looked so genuinely upset. Like not being able to support Alec in every aspect of his life was the worst thing for the blonde. In that moment, Alec fell even deeper in love with Jace. There was no going back for him anymore.
Jace heaved a deep sigh as he let the hot water wash over him. He was in the locker room, after baseball training. He was the last one, because he had been practicing the longest. Even his catcher had ditched him an hour ago. It wasn't his fault that he was a perfectionist.
It was stupid. He had been thinking about Alec way too much lately. Ever since Alec told him about being gay. Well, Jace had always been thinking a lot about his parabatai. But lately, he had been thinking about Alec differently. It was probably just high school getting to him. This whole... atmosphere. And seeing Clary and Maia all the time. Knowing Alec was into boys had somehow changed something. But Jace didn't quite know what it was.
Freshly showered and changed, he went outside where Maia was already waiting on him, looking unimpressed. The two were meeting for burgers. She had become kind of... Jace's best friend around here. Nowhere near Alec, obviously, but Jace really enjoyed spending time with her.
"So, what did you want to talk about, Wayland?", asked Maia curiously.
"How did you and Clary get together?", wanted Jace to know. "I mean, how did you know she liked girls? Or that she liked... you specifically? The two of you were friends before, right?"
"We were", shrugged Maia. "Met through Luke. We became friends quickly. Me and Clary, me and Simon. For a while, I just watched Simon and Clary, thought they were one of those meant-to-be kinda childhood sweethearts. But Clary was totally oblivious to Simon's feelings."
"Why's that funny?", asked Jace confused when Maia laughed.
"Because it was super obvious", replied Maia with a shrug. "Simon would always stare at her with those large, hopeful eyes. He was always at her beck and call. Running after her like a love-sick puppy. Never leaving her side. But I guess Clary was blinded by years of friendship. When you... see someone in a specific light, it can get hard to see when things change."
Jace nodded and frowned curiously. "And... how did you know? That you liked... Clary?"
"I don't know", hummed Maia thoughtfully. "I... She was this radiant redhead with the bright smiles and I... slowly started falling for her. The way she smiled and laughed, seeing her draw, talking to her. And one night, I was just... we were having a really good time and I kissed her, without thinking about it. The whole thing had felt like a date, because it was just the two of us. Turns out... it kind of was. Because she had a crush on me too. And that's how we got together, I guess."
"Mhmh...", grunted Jace, nodding slowly.
The two of them sat down in the diner and grabbed the menus to check what they wanted to eat. For a while, it was quiet between the two of them. Jace started tapping in an uneven rhythm with his fingers. It was still a little strange for him to do something with someone not Alec or Izzy.
"What about you?", asked Maia casually after they ordered.
"Huh?", grunted Jace confused, looking at her.
"Are you the Simon, the Clary, or the Maia?", wanted Maia to know in amusement.
"Depends on who you put in the other roles?", inquired Jace, even more confused.
"Are you the one who spent years and years pining without being noticed, or the one... someone else was pining over for years and years. Or are you the one who just acts and takes what he wants?", offered Maia with a half-shrug.
"I don't do pining", scoffed Jace with a cocky grin. "And I'm pretty sure I already gave everyone who was pining the time of day. I'm very generous that way."
"So you and Alec already had sex?", asked Maia surprised.
"...What?", asked Jace flatly.
"The way you look at him", shrugged Maia casually, eyeing Jace. "Whenever he's in the room, you make sure to be as close as possible. You also have a lot of physical contact. You... don't do that, with anyone else. Heck, I've seen you freeze up when one of the guys would give you a friendly nudge without a warning. He's the only one you allow to touch you. And when something happens, he's the first one you look at, to see his reaction or approval or whatever."
"I... I'm not...", started Jace confused.
"I saw you making out with the quarterback behind the bleachers last week and I was surprised by that", stated Maia, leaning forward. "I really thought you and Alec were just keeping your relationship on the dl. So, either it's a very open relationship..."
"There is no relationship. I don't see Alec like that – and he doesn't see me like that either!"
"Su—ure", drawled Maia in utter disbelief. "You're not into all that tall, dark and handsome thing he got going on. The cute, little smiles he only has to offer to you. The brown puppy-dog eyes."
Opening his mouth, Jace got interrupted by the waitress bringing them their milkshakes and burgers. Glowering, Jace instead decided to take a large gulp from his milkshake. He knew Alec was handsome – he kept telling Alec that there was no reason for him to be so shy! ...Well, retrospectively seen, Alec had been so 'shy' because he didn't like girls and thus had no desires of hitting on them. Still. Jace knew his parabatai was attractive and nice and good. Frowning confused, Jace slid down further in his seat. Alec was attractive. Generally speaking. Not to Jace though. Right? Jace had never seen him that way before. But... looking back at it, Jace had kind of a track-record with the tall, lanky guys with a certain bashful charm. He had a track-record with Alecs. Just not with Alec. But he didn't like Alec like that. He...
Sure, he loved Alec more than anyone else. But that was because they were parabatai. No. Not true. He had always loved Alec more than anyone else, that was why they had become parabatai. Why Jace had chosen Alec, because he knew – thought – that loving Alec above all else meant they were meant to be parabatai. They were meant to share a soul, be closer to each other than anyone else.
He could never imagine a life without Alec, a life where Alec wasn't the first and last person he saw in the day. The one he went to talk to about everything important in his life. The one he wanted at his side whenever something important happened. It was why Jace had chosen Alec as his parabatai.
But... was that what romantic love felt like? Frowning unsure, Jace turned toward Maia. Was that what she had been talking about? Why she thought Jace was in love with Alec...?
"What... What does it feel like, to love?", asked Jace unsure.
"What kind of question is that?", grunted Maia confused.
Jace shrugged, wrapping his arms around himself. "My father was... strict. He taught me that love destroys. He never... loved me. He taught me love makes you weak. When I met Alec... He was the one to teach me... He taught me that love is strength."
"Okay", nodded Maia, eyes more gentle as she started to understand. "So, your dad abused you and you don't really know how to... deal with love."
"Something like that", grunted Jace, not looking at Maia.
"Clary's the one I call or text as soon as something exciting happens. When I'm very happy, or very sad", started Maia slowly. "When I feel shitty, I seek her out because she makes me feel safe and good. When I'm bored, I seek her out just because her company makes me... happy. She'll always be there for me, support me. And I do the same for her."
Jace's frown deepened as he looked at her. But those were things Jace and Alec did too. Those were parabatai-things. Or at least, he had always seen them that way. Mundies did that too? Those things weren't parabatai-things. They were... lover-things?
"I think you should talk to Alec", pointed Maia out, not unkindly.
That thought was utterly mortifying, but it also sounded kind of right.
"Well, that was utterly unspectacular", huffed Isabelle.
"Mh. But we fulfilled our mission", shrugged Alec unimpressed.
They had solved the case after all. Only took them five weeks of undercover work. Apparently, one of the students at the school was a young warlock and she had been bullied by some of the jocks, so she took to demon-summoning for vengeance. Alec, Jace and Izzy had handed her over to the Clave and Hodge went to inform the High Warlock of Brooklyn of what had happened via fire message.
"I... don't want to stop going to school", admitted Isabelle softly. "The science fair is soon and... and I spent so much time on my project. And the cheerleading team would be lost without me."
"Yeah, the baseball team would lose without their star pitcher too", agreed Jace thoughtfully.
"And there's the dance!", continued Isabelle. "Simon already asked me if I want to go with him."
Alec made a face. That stupid dance. The girls had been talking about it for days now.
"I think... I think we should stay in high school", offered Jace, startling Alec. "It's good? I mean. We gotta learn about mundies. And the whole school education thing ain't that bad either. It's better than being home-schooled by Hodge on every subject."
Alec eyed his parabatai doubtfully. Jace wanted to go to school...? Urgh. Now Jace was using the irresistible puppy-eyes on him. The knitted eyebrows and prominent lower-lip and large, large eyes. Alec would never be able to deny that look anything. All he wanted to do when Jace was looking at him like that was pull Jace into his arms, hug him tightly and promise him the world.
"...I'll talk to Hodge about it", sighed Alec in defeat.
Isabelle yelped and high-fived Jace. Heaving a breath, Alec went to talk to Hodge.
"What is going on with you, Jace?"
It wasn't hard to find Jace. They had their little hide-out on the roof. Jace had rearranged the flowers up here, making a little garden for them. When one of them was upset, the other would always find him up here. Something had been going on with Jace for days now. It hadn't gone away when they had captured the culprit. It was time to confront Jace.
"I think... I like this whole... mundie life thing", shrugged Jace, legs drawn up to his chest.
"Okay. But... something's changed", pointed Alec out, one hand pressed against his parabatai-rune. "You're... Something is on your mind and I can feel it. It's something big, but I can't figure out what. You know you can always talk to me, right, parabatai?"
"Like you were talking to me about being gay?", huffed Jace before pausing. "I'm sorry. That was... uncalled for. I just... I'm... dealing with some... stuff."
"Stuff like being...", started Alec, unable to finish the sentence, but clearly confused. "But you said you've known you like... both... for a while. What is it, Jace? I know... I kept it from you when I was... struggling. And if you're struggling with something, I don't want for you to have to deal with it on your own. I want to be there for you, Jace."
"Go to the dance with me", said Jace, looking up at him.
"...What, you can't find a date? That's what's been bothering you?", laughed Alec confused.
"I found a date. I just don't know if he'll say yes", stated Jace, looking Alec dead in the eyes.
"So, ask him", shrugged Alec, confusion growing as he sat down opposite Jace. "Is he... into guys?"
"Yeah", nodded Jace, offering Alec a wry smile.
"Then there's no way he could resist your charm", chuckled Alec teasingly.
"Well, it's more complicated than that", huffed Jace a little frustrated.
"Why?", asked Alec gently.
"Because... Because I think I might... love him. But I don't know. I don't really... understand my feelings for him yet", sighed Jace. "And I don't know how he feels."
"Oh...", grunted Alec, feeling his heart clench at the thought of Jace loving someone else.
"Maia said I should just tell him and Simon said I should just ask him to the ball", stated Jace.
"So. Then... listen to them", shrugged Alec, trying to ignore the aching in his heart.
"Well. I just... asked him and he deflected, so I don't know. Maybe it'd be better to just... forget it", muttered Jace with a half-shrug, running his fingers through his hair.
"W—What?", asked Alec surprised, eyes wide.
Jace's cheeks flushed a pretty pink as he locked eyes with Alec. "I... think I might be in love with you. I think I might have been in love with you for a... while. I always thought that was just, just how you feel for your parabatai. But Maia... when she speaks of Clary, of how she feels about Clary and what makes their relationship... special... it's... it's the exact same way I feel about you. So I've been thinking that... that maybe I might be... in love with you. But I don't know. And I know it breaks the... the law. And I know how important the law is to you and I... I would never want to put you into such a position. I don't... I just want to know... what I feel. I want to go on a date with you, I want to do something mundane with you."
"...Jace, you...", whispered Alec urgently. "You can't be in love with me."
"I know. The law", grunted Jace frustrated. "But... everything Maia said... I want you to be the first and last person I see every day. I want you to be the first I tell about anything exciting that might happen, I want to see your face when something funny happens because I like seeing you smile. I want to make you smile. I come to you when I'm... upset or sad. I want you to come to me when you're upset or sad. I know our hugs last a long time and I know it's not that normal for two teenage boys to sneak into each other's beds, because one of them keeps having nightmares. I... I wanna do what Clary and Maia get to do. I want to hold hands with you and... and... kiss you."
Alec stared at Jace, completely overwhelmed. What Jace said, it was so much more than just misguided confusion or anything. It was so... genuine and pure. It was exactly how Alec had felt for so long. All he could do was stare at Jace's lips. Tempting and alluring and inviting. Reaching out, Alec carefully grasped Jace by the neck and pulled him in slowly, until their lips touched. It was just the briefest touch, chaste and soft, but it sparked something in them both. Their parabatai-runes seemed to burn, surging with the love they felt for each other.
The kiss deepened, without either of them actually intending to, and by the time they parted, Jace was actually sitting on Alec's lap, fingers tangled in Alec's hair and arms around Alec's neck, while Alec's arms were around Jace's waist, holding the blonde close. There was a blush on Jace's cheeks, his lips swollen and dark, eyes hooded as he looked at Alec.
"Okay, yeah, I am definitely in love with you", whispered Jace softly. "Kissing someone has... has never felt like this. So... So intimate. Kissing was always just, I don't know. Hot and stuff, sure, but this... this was... I... Can we do it again?"
Eyes widening, Alec stared at Jace. He never thought he'd ever get to kiss Jace, much less have Jace ask for more kissing. Nodding slowly, Alec leaned in, to kiss Jace again. This kiss was slower, even more sensual. Sighing contently, Alec held his parabatai close.
"Fuck the law", whispered Alec.
"Really? From you?", laughed Jace, resting his forehead against Alec.
"Now that I know what it feels like to kiss you? To hold you like this? Yes", grunted Alec. "Yes. All I care about is... is you. Even if we'll have to keep it a secret and sneak around."
"We... won't have to at school", whispered Jace hopefully.
"You... You were serious? About the dance?", asked Alec surprised.
"Well. Yeah", shrugged Jace. "No one at school knows us. Everyone thinks we're just mundies. No one from the Institute will ever know what we do there. I just... This could be ours. Our... escape. Our chance to be... boyfriends...?"
"I...", started Alec slowly. "I think I'd... like that."
Jace smiled softly and stole another kiss.
"You're looking dapper", observed Maia with a teasing grin.
She was wearing a well-cut suit herself, the green shirt matching Clary's green dress. They were definitely a beautiful pair. Clary was giggling as she talked to Isabelle and Simon. Erik, Matt and Kirk were on the dance floor with their respective girlfriends, while Gretel and Maureen had decided they didn't need no men for this and were dancing with each other.
"Thanks. Though, I look good in everything I wear", declared Jace with a cocky grin.
Alec would have scoffed, but he was too busy staring at just how pretty Jace looked in his suit. The archer blushed when Jace casually linked hands with Alec. They could do this. Here. At this school. It was their safe space. Not the Institute, or any Shadowhunters anywhere in sight. Still, Alec always tensed at first. Alec and Jace had been going out for two weeks now and while they didn't kiss in public, or made their affections too obvious, they also didn't hide it. And their friends knew. All of them had been incredibly happy for them, especially Izzy and Maia.
"How about a photo for Hodge?", suggested Izzy excitedly.
"That's not a good idea", argued Alec tensely, looking at Jace.
"Why not?", asked Clary with a bright smile and went to sit on Alec's other side.
Maia smirked as she grabbed Jace's arm from the other side. Isabelle made a delighted sound as she and Simon joined them for a group-picture, making it look like Izzy and Simon, Clary and Alec, Jace and Maia were there together on the dance. While their mundie friends didn't know the extend of things, Izzy, Alec and Jace had painted a picture of them coming from a highly homophobic and old-fashioned background. Alec appreciated this. Now he had a picture of the first official, proper date with Jace, both of them pressed against each other due to space limit. And he knew how it really was. But this was a picture that was safe to show their parents or Hodge. Not that Alec suspected their parents would actually show interest in their school activities.
"So... can I have a dance with my boyfriend?", asked Jace hopefully, licking his lips.
Alec gulped and nodded nervously. This was so... public and there. But having Jace at his side, it felt less scary. He even smiled shyly as Jace wrapped his arms around Alec's neck. It wasn't really dancing. Just swaying with the music. But it was absolutely perfect. Jace in his arms, wearing a suit, smiling softly up at him, their friends around them also having fun. It was perfect. It was the life Alec always had dreamed about somewhere in the back of his mind but never dared to voice.
Isabelle grinned as she finished up the last salads together with Elaine, Luke and Maia. Apparently, the 4th of July was kind of a big deal to mundies to celebrate and when Izzy had just stared blankly at Simon as he gushed about the Garroway-Lewis Barbecue Extravaganza, Simon had decided that Izzy, Alec and Jace simply had to spend Independence Day with them.
"I can't believe you guys aren't celebrating Independence Day", grunted Rebecca in disbelief.
"Well, we're from Europe and the American Independence Day isn't really that much of a big deal over there", drawled Jace, putting on his very convincing British accent.
And technically, it wasn't untrue. Idris laid in Europe. They just happened to live in the New York Institute now. But mundie, and American, customs weren't of that much interest for them. Isabelle just smiled apologetically at Rebecca and handed her the salad she had just finished.
"Alec and I spent most of our time in Switzerland and France", offered Isabelle. "We only just moved to New York. Hence our transfer to your school."
"Makes sense, I guess", hummed Rebecca with a shrug. "Still, you've been missing out. Luke's barbecue is the best, but for Independence Day, he steps up his game."
"All that praise, you're just hoping for the best cut of meat", laughed Luke.
Rebecca grinned unapologetic and went to continue setting the table. Maia and Clary were already at it. They soon had it all set up perfectly and Luke employed Alec's help at the grill. It was nice, Alec wasn't really used to these kind of things. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves – food and conversation. It felt like... family. Alec saw more and more why Izzy and Jace were so fond of the mundane world. It was nice, so... well, mundane. Sure, they had gone back to patrolling and going on their missions, but they now spent their time off with their mundane friends and they got to go to high school. Hodge even planned on signing the other teens up for school too, coming next school year, since this 'trial run' with Izzy, Alec and Jace had been such a success.
"Food really was amazing", praised Jace as he leaned back and groaned. "I don't think I'll ever be able to eat again, Luke. And there's still leftovers."
"Yeah, you're gonna wanna snack later", grinned Simon. "The night's still young and fireworks don't start before it grows dark, so... we're not done eating yet."
"There's also desserts", offered Isabelle, glaring when everyone looked at her with mortified expressions. "Dot made it and brought it. I swear, I give everyone food-poisoning once."
"It was bad. Jocelyn told me about it", laughed Dot. "Better not let you in the kitchen."
Dot was Jocelyn's best friend and her business partner, or so Alec had learned over the past months. She was also dating Luke's partner Alaric – the two cops also being best friends. It was strange, for the longest time, he had thought him and Jace would one day be like Luke and Alaric. Partners in work, best friends and with a little luck their future spouses would also be best friends. He turned to glance down at their hands, linked beneath the table. No, that wasn't what they were. Jace and Alec were together and there was nothing anyone would be able to do about it. Not even the Clave. Even if they would derune Alec and Jace, after the past months, Alec had learned to appreciate the mundane world and he knew they would be able to make due somehow.
Alec smiled faintly as he looked around this mismatched mundie family. Jocelyn, Luke, Alaric and Dot had curled together on the deckchairs, paired up and laughing with each other. Elaine was talking animatedly with Izzy and Simon, while Rebecca sat with Clary and Maia. Jace was...
"Come", whispered Jace as he grabbed Alec's hand and tugged.
Alec allowed it and moments later, he found himself on the Hollywood swing at the far end of the garden. He smiled as Jace sat down next to him and curled up against him. The blonde rested his head on Alec's chest, legs thrown over Alec's lap as he cuddled up to his boyfriend.
"I love you", whispered Alec, pressing a kiss to the top of Jace's head.
"I love you too", chuckled Jace curiously. "But where did that come from?"
"I just...", started Alec and shrugged before motioning at their hosts. "We could do this. Living a mundie life. Even if... if the Clave ever found out about us breaking the law. The mundie life isn't... it's not that bad, or primitive. It has a lot of... upsides. I'm sure we could make it work."
"We could", agreed Jace gently, kissing Alec softly. "But for now, we don't need to think about it. You and I... We can make this work. We're Shadowhunters, we're parabatai. The mission comes first. But... if it ever came to it... I'm pretty sure you'd make a good cop."
"Me? A cop?", laughed Alec. "And what would you do as a mundie?"
"I dunno. Maybe a musician? Who knows, maybe Rock Solid Panda takes off big?", offered Jace with a playful smile. "I'd be a famous rock-star."
"You totally would", chuckled Alec fondly, pulling Jace closer.
But before they could elaborate on their little what if did the fireworks start. Both Jace and Alec startled at the sudden sounds and colors, but quickly got used to it and admired the lights. Alec smiled at how beautiful they were and how beautiful they danced over Jace's face and hair, Jace watching in awe. Yes, the mundie world really did have some truly beautiful things.
~*~ The End ~*~