Shadowhunters || Velondanewood || Rocky Road to Recovery || Velondanewood || Shadowhunters
Title: Rocky Road to Recovery – In the Panther's Den
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: polyamory (m/m/m/m), alpha/beta/omega dynamics, wingfic, hurt/comfort, fluff, f/f, m/f
Main Pairing: Magnus/Alec/Bat/Jace
Side Pairings: Lydia/Isabelle, Simon/Maia, Luke/Catarina
Shadowhunters Characters: Jonathan Christopher 'Jace' Herondale, Bartholomew 'Bat' Velasquez, Magnus Bane, Alexander Gideon 'Alec' Lightwood, Isabelle Sophia 'Izzy' Lightwood, Maxwell Joseph 'Max' Lightwood, Lydia Branwell, Clarissa Adele 'Clary' Fray, Simon Lewis, Maia Roberts, Imogen Herondale, Luke Garroway, Catarina Loss, Madzie, Rebecca Lewis
Summary: After the possession, Jace finally goes to the Silent Brothers to be treated, to learn how to deal with everything that had happened. When he comes back, feeling better and stronger, he also feels brave enough to ask Magnus and Alec to join their relationship – he had been in love with the alpha and beta couple for a while and as an omega, he would be a good fit. Only that by the time Jace returns three months later, many things have changed... and they already have an omega.
Rocky Road to Recovery
In the Panther's Den
Jace closed his eyes and took a deep breath as he stepped outside. A faint smile found its way onto his lips as he inhaled the air outside of the City of Bones, for the first time in three months.
Part of him was going to miss Jem. He had grown very close to his great-great-great-grandfather's parabatai. Jem had told him many stories of Will Herondale and of Tessa Gray. And of a younger Magnus Bane, which was actually really funny to Jace and would serve as future blackmail.
Jem had helped Jace a lot – well, him and the other Silent Brothers. Treatment was tiresome, exhausting, sometimes it felt like it would never actually work. Because it took time. And Jace wasn't the most patient person. But so much had happened, so much he had to deal with...
The war with Valentine – being captured and tortured, realizing Valentine was the one who had raised him and had killed his birth-parents, being kicked out of the Institute, nearly losing Alec. Dying. Being possessed by Lilith, being used to kill those innocent mundies, nearly killing his own grandmother, nearly killing Alec, then... Clary's death...
Jace took a slow breath at that, trying to calm himself down. No. Clary wasn't dead. Jem had told him, as soon as a fire-message from Alec reached him about that. Otherwise, Jem had kept Jace completely cut off from what was happening at the New York Institute – to make sure that Jace wouldn't allow himself to be distracted from his own recovery. But the news of Clary being alive? That had been vital in Jace's recovery, because her death had weighed him down a lot, he had blamed himself for it, more so than for the mundanes because he knew her personally, because she mattered to him. Oh, the Silent Brothers had been able to break the potion, the spell that had made Jace forget his love for her, how she had become like a sister to him over the two months they had known each other, how he had come to love her like family when Valentine made them believe to be blood-siblings and how she remained his sister, even after the truth had been revealed.
Two pieces of information had been given to him by Jem over the past three months. The first had been that his grandmother had survived the attack on the Guard – that Alec and the others had returned to her office and been able to save Imogen – and the other had been Clary's survival.
Now, after three months of intense magical treatments and actual therapy, Jace was cleared for duty again and sent back to the New York Institute. Finally.
Jem had offered to send Alec a fire-message so he could pick up his parabatai, but Jace had declined. He wanted to surprise Alec, because there was something else his treatments had helped him with. Accepting himself and what he wanted. What he deserved.
Jace Herondale was an omega. He had been raised to hate himself for it, to see it as his weakness. Valentine had tried to beat and train the omega out of Jace and when Jace was ten and it became apparent that he could not be trained into an alpha, Valentine had faked his death and abandoned the hopeless case, leaving Jace behind and traumatized.
Therapy didn't just deal with the possession and with the mental health issues he had inherited from his mother, they had also paid close attention to Jace's childhood and past trauma. There had been a lot to work through – and they weren't done yet. Jace was supposed to return to the City of Bones once a week for continuing sessions, because he wasn't just magically cured. There was no magical cure for PTSD and for depression and suicidal tendencies, not even in the Shadow World. It was a process, one that Jace was a hundred percent willing to go through with.
Jace Herondale was an omega and that was okay. It was okay to be an omega. It didn't make him weak or useless. It was part of him, part of what made him him. Jem had driven that point home with Clary, because it had been Jace's omega-nature that had made him take the distressed girl without anyone to turn to in and help her. And that had been good.
Being an omega was okay. And wanting mates was too. Loving an alpha and a beta was normal for an omega. Love did not make him weak, wanting an alpha did not make him weak. He didn't just want to turn into some little house-omega who'd tend to the den and needed his alpha to protect him, no, he wanted to be loved, he wanted to love, he wanted them to protect each other.
He had been in love with Alec for longer than he cared to admit, because he had never cared to admit it, not even to himself. But seeing the beta fall in love with Magnus, it had made Jace realize just how much he loved Alec. It only got worse when he started to also fall in love with Magnus.
It was hard not to, really. Magnus loved the one that was most important to Jace – Alec – and he made Alec happy. Magnus helped them, every step of the way. Magnus opened up his home to Jace when Jace had been kicked out of the only home he had ever known. Magnus cared for him, helped him, accepted him, welcomed him. The two had grown close during the month Jace had lived with the warlock, the time where Jace had gotten to truly know Magnus.
But having been raised by Valentine, raised against his own instincts, Jace had been in deep denial of his feelings for Alec for years and he thought that wanting both Magnus and Alec was just too much. Was wrong. The two were a good couple, they did not need him.
Talking about those things had helped. Therapy had helped him slowly, very slowly, to see his own self-worth, or at least... some sort of self-worth. That he was more than just a soldier who ought to die for the cause and had no other purpose in life. That he deserved to be happy.
An omega wanting a beta and an alpha was perfectly normal. Triads were highly respected in the Shadow World, actually. Alpha, beta and omega – all three together, as it ought to be. Though, of course, alpha and omega relationships were the most common, or either of the three with a beta. But to have all three united in a triad was highly sought after.
And Jace remembered the memory demon incident. He wasn't dull. He knew that Alec's love for him hadn't just been the parabatai bond. Somewhere in the back of his mind, Jace might have known for years that Alec had a crush on him, but Jace had been raised to believe that love was a weakness, had been raised to hate his omega-nature, so how could he possibly act on it?
Now things were different. He knew his father had never actually been his father, had been Valentine manipulating him. What Michael Wayland had taught him was not true. Love was not a weakness and being an omega was not something shameful.
So Jace was leaving the City of Bones determined to confront Alec and Magnus. Turning a new leaf, strengthened mentally and emotionally. Maybe, with any luck, Alec still had feelings for him and perhaps, Magnus could find it in himself to give Jace a chance too...?
Perhaps Jace could have a new start, with the two men he loved. And after three months, Jace was so eager to see them again, to hold his parabatai and his warlock again. It was time to go home.
Jace was giddy as he stood in front of the loft. He still had a key, Magnus had never asked for it back. Even when Jace had moved back to the Institute after Magnus and Alec had broken up, feeling too much like an intruder and like Magnus had only taken him in for Alec's sake.
But then Magnus had been so invested in saving Jace, giving up his magic to save Jace from the Owl – and with that, Jace had grown pretty sure that Magnus cared about him.
"Who are you?"
Jace startled and stared wide-eyed at the Latino in front of him. "Who are you?"
"Well, considering you just broke into my home, you should answer first", offered the other.
He was taller than Jace, but he smelt like omega too. Knowing this was a Downworlder – only members of the Shadow World presented as alpha, beta and omega, mundies didn't have that – Jace unglamoured his wings and raised them high in a slightly threatening manner.
All Shadowhunters had wings. They were half-angels after all, through their blood. It was what gave them the edge of advantage in demon-hunting. Jace's wings were large and white, powdered with golden dust like those of a barn-owl. They were beautiful but also intimidating.
The stranger in front of him didn't react as Jace expected though. Normally, Downworlders reacted by growling when a Shadowhunter raised his wings in a threatening manner like that. Instead, he flashed his werewolf-eyes and tilted his head at Jace before grinning and stepping up.
"You're Jace. You're Alec's Jace. You're way prettier in person."
"What...? Who are you?", asked Jace confused as the werewolf was all up in his face.
"Alec! Alec, come!", called the wolf instead, sounding very excited.
"What's wrong, Bat?", called Alec from the bathroom.
Moments later and Alec stepped into the room, in the middle of getting into his shirt. Jace's eyes were drawn to Alec's six-pack and to his parabatai rune. Then the shirt was fully pulled down and Alec froze, because without the shirt over his face, he could see Jace.
"...J... Jace...", whispered Alec, voice breaking.
Jace lowered his wings and then he just lunged forward. Alec caught him immediately and unglamoured his own wings, wrapping them around Jace in a safe, warm cocoon. The snow owl wings were so warm and safe and good and perfect, Jace felt himself melting into the embrace. Alec smelt so good, smelt like home and safety. Jace buried his face in Alec's neck.
"Magnus? Magnus, come look", called the werewolf – Bat – out from somewhere.
He must have left the living room, probably to go and find Magnus. The thought of seeing Magnus again made Jace giddy all over again. Alec was shaking in his arms, grip on Jace tightening even more. Sighing softly, Jace brushed his nose against Alec's neck-rune, inhaling the comforting scent of the beta. That was rather normal, betas had a calming effect on omegas and alphas alike.
"Jace. Jace, I missed you so much, how... how are you here? Why didn't Brother Zachariah write me...? He should have contacted me, I would have picked you up", grunted Alec.
"I wanted to surprise you and I didn't want you to be distracted all day, eagerly awaiting the return of your favorite person", grinned Jace teasingly.
"You have no idea how long I've been looking forward to holding you again", whispered Alec.
"...Me too", whispered Jace back. "I missed you so much, Alec. It's been three months. I..."
"Alexander? There something you want to share?", asked Magnus from outside the wing-cocoon.
"...Another moment...", requested Alec. "Can't let go just yet."
"It's okay, darling", chuckled Magnus softly.
About a minute later, Alec slowly lowered his wings and reluctantly released Jace. Jace stayed close to Alec though, even as he turned around to face Magnus. Magnus' hair was dyed, the tips a dark purple. His make-up was on point and his goatee game was stronger than that of Tony Stark – why did he know those things, what had spending time with Simon done to him, this was all Clary's fault. If possible, Magnus looked even handsomer than before.
"Hello, Jace. It's... good to see you again", smiled Magnus. "How-"
He grunted as Jace collided with him, wrapping his arms around Magnus and hugging him tightly. Magnus laughed startled and gladly returned the hug, pulling Jace closer. Jace sighed happily as he leaned into the alpha. Magnus smelt as safe and wonderful as Alec, with an edge of musk. Nothing was safer than an alpha to an omega, especially an alpha they trusted.
"I missed you", sighed Jace contently, inhaling the alpha's scent deeply.
"I missed you too, sweetheart", assured Magnus, caressing Jace's back soothingly.
"How are you feeling, Jace?", asked Alec, stepping up behind Jace.
"Good. I mean... better", sighed Jace, turning enough so he could hug both Alec and Magnus. "It helped that you guys... found... Clary? Jem told me that Clary is alive and..."
"She is", assured Alec. "She's alive and safe."
"I still have to go to weekly counseling with Jem, but he cleared me for duty", sighed Jace. "I... I worked through some stuff and... I'm better. Yeah. How... How are you? I mean... the... magic..."
Jace took a conscious step back from Magnus at that, still feeling the guilt nagging on him. Magnus had given up his magic for Jace. He startled when Magnus gently cupped his face. His eyes widened when Magnus flashed his warlock-mark at him.
"We got my magic back, sweetheart", smiled Magnus. "It's all good. And it wasn't your fault, it was my choice. A choice I would make again, because it saved you."
"Okay. Okay", nodded Jace slowly, smiling at the warlock.
"So, you guys done hugging the blonde angel? You could, you know, introduce me."
"Right. Sorry, babe", grunted Alec embarrassed and went to kiss Bat.
Something inside of Jace broke as he watched the tender exchange. Magnus laughed and ran his fingers through Bat's hair. They had... found an omega. Magnus and Alec had found someone. That much for Jace's plans of telling Magnus and Alec about his feelings and maybe getting a chance with them. While Jace had been gone, Magnus and Alec had found an omega to complete them...
"Jace, this is Bat Velasquez", started Alec. "He's part of the pack. We met him after Luke lost his position as Alpha – you... missed that too. There is a lot we need to catch you up on. But while the pack was in disarray and trying to figure out who should be Alpha, Maia spent a lot of time coming over and she brought Bat with him and, well, I... befriended Bat. We got closer and... he helped during the mission when we saved Clary. And we... started dating."
"Bat, meet Jace", offered Magnus amused.
"Great to meet you", grinned Bat, offering Jace a hand. "Alec talks about you all the time."
Alec huffed and cuffed Bat with his wing, making the werewolf laugh. Jace folded a little in on himself. This was good, for Magnus and Alec. They deserved to be happy, but...
"How do you feel about a party, sweetheart?", asked Magnus, eyes sparkling. "Everyone missed you so much. And I could put together an impromptu party for you. Unless that's too much."
"No. No, a party sounds good. I did miss everyone", nodded Jace.
He had planned on just going to the loft, being with Magnus and Alec, telling them how he felt and then spending the first day with just them. But having the brightly smiling werewolf there, right between Magnus and Alec... A party sounded really good, people to distract him from this.
"You're alive. You're really alive", whispered Jace, voice shaking a little.
"Yes", assured Clary, hugging Jace tightly. "I'm alive. I'm fine. Are you fine?"
"Yeah. Yeah. I'm fine", nodded Jace, clinging onto Clary.
The two continued hugging as more and more people poured in. Jace found himself being handed around by people, hugged left and right – Izzy, Max, Imogen, even Luke and Simon got a hug in this time, while Lydia and Maia restricted themselves to patting him on the back.
Magnus had organized a buffet and some music and that was it. Mainly, everyone just wanted to know how Jace was doing and telling Jace how they have been doing. Which was... a lot.
Magnus had gotten his magic back and they had saved Clary from Jonathan.
Maia had returned to New York, after Simon called her about Clary's death.
Lydia had returned from Idris to help out after she heard that Clary was dead and Jace was at the City of Bones. She had stayed in contact with Alec after returning to Idris, Jace knew that. He had known that Lydia and Alec had become good friends after the nearly wedding. But now she was back, helping out at the Institute, being Alec's second-in-command and apparently, as of two weeks ago, dating Isabelle. The two women looked at each other with heart-eyes.
Apparently, Isabelle and Maia were now good friends too, having worked together to find Clary.
Then there were Luke and Catarina, who were dating. Something had sparked between them during the Owl investigation when meeting at the hospital and, over the course of the investigation, Luke had kept in touch with Catarina to keep her updated. The two had started dating shortly after the whole Owl issue had been dealt with, because Luke had lost everything; his job and pack and daughter. Catarina had supported him and helped him through it and by the time they had found Clary, Luke and Catarina decided to go out on a date.
Madzie was looking at Clary as a big sister already, having grown attached to Clary and Luke.
Jace had a headache, two hours into the party. All this new information, seeing them all interact in a way he had never seen before. Three months had passed and while Jace had been gone, healing, life continued on out here. Magnus and Alec had a boyfriend, who was apparently close friends with Maia and Simon. Maia and Izzy now had inside-jokes with each other. Lydia and Izzy held hands. Luke and Catarina were dating and acted like a real family with Madzie.
"Are you alright?"
Jace sighed and turned around to face his grandmother. "I'd be better if people stopped asking that."
"I didn't mean it like that", chuckled Imogen and leaned against the rail next to Jace. "This party. Don't think I haven't noticed how the more information was piled on you, the more... upset you seemed. A lot has happened in the time you were gone and it must feel... disconnecting."
"I'll be fine", shrugged Jace and turned around to face the loft, watching Magnus whispering with Bat, one arm wrapped around the wolf's waist. "I just... want everyone to be happy."
"Of course you do, but seeing them find happiness without you...", started Imogen and sighed. "What I'm saying is that it's okay. It's okay to feel left out right now, but you need to know that everyone in there has been incredibly worried about you, believe me. Alexander and I shared our recovery-time and I have to say, I got to know your parabatai rather well."
"I just... have to find... my place with them again", sighed Jace with a frown.
His eyes tracked Bat's movement, as he talked with Maia and Simon, laughing loudly while leaning back against Alec. Alec had one arm around Bat even though he was facing away from Bat and engaged in a conversation with Magnus, Luke and Catarina. He might find his place among his friends again, but the place he had hoped he could find with Alec and Magnus, that was... gone.
Jace was sprawled out on the couch, one hand on his stomach, playing with one of the five kittens laying on top of him. The guests were all leaving one by one – Alec was just in the middle of saying goodbye to Lydia and Isabelle, the last ones still at the loft. Alec sighed a little when he closed the door and leaned against it. Magnus was using his magic to clean up, sitting on the armchair opposite of Jace on the couch. It was nice, that the loft was now quieting down. The party had been long and loud and everyone had been rather focused on Jace, talking to him a lot. Which, Jace had loved the attention but was also strained after the past three months living with the Silent Brothers.
"Well, that was quite the party", commented Bat as he walked into the living room. "Fed the cats. Well. The ones that don't prioritize cuddling with the oversized bird."
Jace glared and pulled his wings up close. Bat unsettled him. Not only did this stranger just appear from nowhere – sure, Jace had heard how Maia and Simon had found the newly turned wolf months ago and how he had become a part of the pack, but to Jace he had just popped up at the loft – no, he was here, in Jace's territory. People often falsely assumed that alphas were more territorial, but it was actually omegas who reacted more unkindly to strangers in their territory. And Jace had lived here long enough to consider this his territory. His home. With his beta and his alpha.
"Jace, stop glaring at Bat?", requested Alec with a confused frown.
Jace paused and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. He couldn't do this. Alec was his parabatai first, Jace's feelings only came second. If Jace antagonized Alec's boyfriend just based on Alec and Magnus loving him, then Jace was only going to hurt himself – by hurting Alec.
"It's alright", chuckled Bat before Jace had the opportunity to say anything.
Frowning, Jace opened his eyes and slowly sat up. Bat was grinning as he sat down next to Jace on the couch, legs crossed beneath himself as he faced Jace. One of the kittens went to sniff Bat.
"I'm a total stranger to you", shrugged Bat. "Alec's your parabatai and both Alec and Magnus are part of your flock. You're protective of them and you're weary of this because... you weren't there the past three months. You didn't get to partake in us becoming friends and falling in love. You're just... presented with the end-result and you see this total stranger, being friends with all of your friends. It doesn't help that we're both omegas. I know you are the pack-Omega – flock, sorry, seriously why does every species have a different term for this..."
"I wasn't-", started Jace to argue disturbed.
"You are", continued Bat smoothly, smiling softly. "You, Alec and Izzy started this flock. Two betas and an omega. You allowed Simon and Clary and Magnus in. You were the one who insisted on helping Clary. Even before this mismatched pack-flock-pride had an Alpha in Magnus, it had an Omega in you. You were the leader way before I even became a werewolf. And over the past months, I learned quite some about being a werewolf and being an omega. So I can't... I can't imagine leaving my pack for months just to return to everything being... different. Me, Maia, Luke, Catarina, Lydia. The number of members of this pack has nearly doubled since you left and now there's a new omega around and it's normal for you to feel... threatened by me."
Bat was right. Jace's flock used to consist of Hodge, Izzy, Alec and Max. Hodge had betrayed them, Max used to be with their parents all the time. Clary, Magnus and Simon had joined their flock, making it more complicated because technically, Downworlders had their own systems. Warlocks and vampires and werewolves had their own concepts of what Shadowhunters called flocks and mixed-racial flocks were... essentially unheard of. Maia and Luke used to be allies of theirs, but after Luke left the pack, Maia – always loyal to Luke and certainly not to Russell – had followed. Bat had gone with them. The three werewolves joined Jace's flock. Lydia returned from Idris for good and Max moved to the New York Institute to live with his siblings, because he didn't want to live with Robert. Things had changed, the very essence of their flock had changed and Jace hadn't been there to see it happen, to actually participate in it, be a part of the change.
"...Yeah", whispered Jace and hung his head, pulling his legs up against his chest. "I just... I feel like I'm the new guy around. The... intruder. Everyone... changed so much. So many things changed while I was gone and everyone is in on it, only I'm not... I wasn't there... and now..."
"And that's okay", assured Bat gently. "I get it. I mean, I do. When I came to New York, it was supposed to be just... a trip. I knew no one in this city when I was turned and Maia and Simon dragged me into it. I didn't... fit in with the pack, I didn't make any friends beyond Maia and Simon, so I was happy to join this pack-flock with Maia and Luke. But this was all... Maia and Luke already knew everyone here – Alec and Magnus and Lydia and Isabelle and Clary, those were all strangers for me and I was the new kid. But everyone was really kind to me and... I know everyone is going to be kind to you and help you get settled back in now. Me included. I don't... I don't want you to see me as a threat, because I don't want to be pack Omega. That's your position and, as tonight has proven, everyone cares about you. No one wants to replace you."
Jace just nodded slowly. He should have known that Alec would pick a good omega; he had picked a good alpha too, after all. Wrapping his arms around his knees, Jace tilted his head and rested his chin on top of his knees, staring at Bat intensely. Bat was pretty, with the warmest, softest eyes Jace had ever seen and dark hair gently falling into his face. He wasn't muscular in the same sense as Alec or Jace, well-trained warriors, but he still looked rather athletic.
"Jace...", started Alec after a long moment, his eyes intense as he looked at Jace. "Magnus, Bat and I talked about this... and... we want you to move back into the loft."
"The loft?", echoed Jace surprised, staring at Alec. "But... But I originally only moved in here because of Aldertree and—don't tell me Aldertree has come back while I was away?!"
"No!", interrupted Alec hastily, living his hands up to sooth Jace. "No. Aldertree is not back. I'm still head of the Institute, that hasn't changed."
"So... why shouldn't I live at the Institute?", asked Jace confused. "I moved out of the loft again when... when you two broke up and the Institute was safe again."
"Well, yes", agreed Magnus slowly. "But I do hope that the loft has become more than just a safe, temporary stay for you. I had... hoped you might... consider it home. And in that case, I wanted to make it clear that you are welcomed back here."
"Mainly, Alec has just missed you a bunch", interjected Bat with a kind smile. "And he moved in with Mag and me a month ago – uhm, yeah, I kind of moved in first, before we got together. Lived in your old room for a while, before upgrading to the master bedroom, if you know what I mean."
Jace nodded briefly, trying to keep from bristling at the idea of the stranger having lived in his room. But it wasn't his room, that was just it. It was Magnus' loft and Magnus could do with his rooms as he pleased. Taking in someone without a place to stay was what Magnus had done for Jace so it should not surprise him that Magnus would do the same for someone else too. It wasn't like Jace was special to Magnus. Not in that way, at least. After all, Bat was the one who got to upgrade from guest room to master bedroom, as he had so nicely put it.
"Bat is right", sighed Alec, rubbing the back of his neck. "I... I missed you. The past three months of you being gone, Jace... It... It was really hard on me. But I moved in with Magnus and Bat. And... And I hate the idea of you being at the Institute, while I'm living here... I... I know it's selfish and I get if you'd rather return to the Institute, it's been months after all, but I... I really want to know you are here, safe, with us. I know the Institute is safe too, but... You're my parabatai, Jace, and..."
"I get it", interrupted Jace, shifting a little. "I... I missed you so much, Alec. I was so relieved when the bond started... feeling normal again, after Magnus broke the possession. Feeling the bond was... sometimes the only thing that kept me from running away and giving up. It was so... so... frustrating that it took so long and I just wanted to give up, but... to feel you and know you're safe and know I couldn't return here unless I'd get better... It kept me going."
Alec and Jace were staring at each other, getting lost in each other's eyes, until Magnus cleared his throat. "So, I take it you will stay with us then?"
"I... If you'll have me, yes", nodded Jace after a long moment.
"Awesome", declared Bat with a broad grin, startling Jace.
"Bartholomew, Alexander, why don't you two finish cleaning up, while I help Jace get settled?"
Jace blinked a couple of times curiously, before he got up and followed Magnus toward his old room. "You know, the loft is not that big. I would have found the way myself."
"Well, I changed up the room a little while Bat lived there and I wanted to know what you want back, or what you'd want... new", offered Magnus with a smile.
"You don't... You don't have to", argued Jace. "I'm grateful that you're taking me in. Again."
"No need for that, sweetheart", assured Magnus, resting a gentle hand on Jace's arm. "You are welcomed here. I meant it when I said that I hoped you think of this place as your home."
"I... do", confirmed Jace with the faintest blush as they entered his old room. "The Institute was the first place that felt safe for me, felt like home to me... but with Aldertree... and... and being kicked out... I... I can't tell you how grateful I am to you for taking me in back then."
"Of course", whispered Magnus gently. "Now. Tell me what you want to change."
Jace looked around slowly. "It's okay, Magnus. You really don't have to change anything."
Magnus have an exasperated sigh at that and waved a hand. The DJ equipment in the corner disappeared, replaced by a piano, the content in the bookshelf changed from comics and graphic novels to the kind of fantasy and steampunk books Jace preferred, the window was replaced by a stained-glass window, now spotting a comfortable looking arm-chair in front of it and next to the book-shelf, the number of candles in the room increased drastically. It was, essentially, perfect.
"I did see your room at the Institute, so I drew inspiration from there", shrugged Magnus casually. "Quite the dramatic flair. Very endearing. Now, how about you get settled in and maybe get some sleep? It's been a long day for you and it's... getting really late."
Jace hummed as he looked at the clock. "You're right. Thanks, again."
"You're welcome, again", chuckled Magnus. "Good night, sweetheart."
Magnus woke up to cold sheets on one side of his bed. He frowned as he slowly opened his eyes to find his werewolf still curled against him from one side, but the other side was empty. Gently, he kissed the top of Bat's head before carefully slipping out from underneath him. Bat grumbled in his sleep and grabbed the now deserted pillow to hug. Magnus smiled gently at how adorable his omega was. Honestly, he felt quite blessed by having found not one but two lovable and beautiful mates. When he had first taken Bat in, it had been out of friendship. He had not expected to grow this fond of the gorgeous werewolf – and yet he had fallen in love once again.
"Alexander", whispered Magnus with a sigh as he found Alec.
The loyal beta was sitting in the doorway to the guest-room. No. Not a guest-room anymore. Jace's room once again. Alec had his legs drawn up, back leaning against one side of the door-frame, head tilted to look into the room and at the sleeping blonde inside the bed. Blinking nearly sluggishly, Alec turned to look at Magnus, seemingly surprised to see the alpha warlock here.
"Have you been sitting here all night?", asked Magnus gently.
"All... Oh", grunted Alec and blinked. "It's already morning? I just... I couldn't sleep so I went out for just a moment and... walked past Jace's bedroom. And he's right here. Finally. And I... somehow couldn't tear my eyes off of him..."
Sighing, Magnus sat down next to Alec and summoned a blanket for them both. Alec snuggled up to him, yawning widely and returning his attention to Jace. It wasn't as though Magnus didn't understand where his beta was coming from. Jace was Alec's parabatai and... Alec had been in love with the omega since they were children. To not be able to see, hold or talk to Jace for months had been downright torturous on Alec. The only thing keeping him from storming to the City of Bones had been the parabatai-bond that assured him Jace was indeed safe and well.
Magnus and Alec got torn out of the moment by thrashing and groaning from inside the bedroom. Alec jumped up instantly, approaching his now whimpering parabatai.
Jace blinked as he looked around. He was at the graveyard. He knew exactly where he was. He had stood here once before, in front of the graves of his parents. But when he turned to look at their graces, the engravings were all wrong. Imogen Herondale. Alexander Gideon Lightwood.
"No. No, no, no, why, no", whispered Jace as he dropped onto his knees.
He reached out, resting one hand on each name. Then, everything changed and suddenly, he held Imogen in his arms, blade in her chest and eyes dulling as she looked at him.
"You killed me, Jace", whispered Imogen in a broken voice. "You killed me."
"No, I didn't mean to, it was the Owl, I didn't-", sputtered Jace helplessly.
But before he could say more, Imogen changed and Jace was holding Alec, the arrow sticking out of the archer's chest. "You killed me, Jace. You killed me."
"I didn't! It wasn't me, I didn't mean to, I-", started Jace desperately.
Jace woke up with a strangled gasp as someone was shaking him. "Jace? Jace, it's okay. You're safe. It's me, you're safe with me, parabatai. You're at the loft. You're fine."
"You're fine", whispered Jace as he looked up at Alec. "You're safe. You're fine."
"No, you are", grunted Alec a little confused. "You had a nightmare."
The next moment, Jace crashed against Alec in a tight hug, clinging onto the archer. "You were dead. And grandma was dead. And I was..."
"I'm alive. I'm fine", assured Alec gently, wrapping his arms tightly around Jace and holding him close. "It was just a bad dream. Imogen is well. She returned to the Institute after the party last night to return to Idris. Remember last night? You talked to her. We're both fine."
"I...", started Jace, fingers clawed into Alec's shoulders. "I... know. I know that. But... just..."
Jace startled a little when someone started running their fingers through his hair. Turning a little, he saw that Magnus was sitting on his other side, caressing Jace's hair with one hand.
"Jem said this might happen", sighed Jace, burying his face in Alec's neck again. "That the past months helped me improve because I was isolated from you all, but seeing your faces again might trigger things for me, things I had gotten over. Guilt... It's different dealing with it somewhere else, but... here... seeing you all again... it feels different..."
"It's okay, sweetheart", assured Magnus gently, resting his hand in Jace's neck. "You're safe, and so is Alexander. It'll take some time for you to adjust, but you will be fine."
"I'm sorry I woke you", sighed Jace, rubbing his face. "Urgh. It's five AM..."
"No problem, Jace", assured Alec, resting his forehead against Jace's. "You're my parabatai. I will always be there for you when you need me. Do you feel... better?"
"I... guess", shrugged Jace with a frown. "You can... go back to bed. I'm sure your omega is already missing you in your bed. I'll be fine."
He knew his scent was evening out again, not so sour and panicky anymore. Hopefully Magnus and Alec would buy it and just leave him again. Getting back to their mate. The omega they chose. Alec frowned, looking ready to argue, but Magnus rested a gentle hand on his shoulder, gaining his attention. With a defeated sigh did Alec get off the bed.
"Good night, Jace. Sleep some more", whispered Alec.
Still looking defeated, Alec allowed himself to be steered toward their bedroom. Quietly and carefully did Alec and Magnus sneak back into their bed, trying not to wake Bat.
"So, how is he?", asked Bat, adjusting to snuggle up against Alec.
"Mh?", grunted Alec, feigning innocence.
"Alec, love, I know you spent the night outside of Jace's room", grunted Bat pointedly, kissing Alec's cheek. "And I am not yet deaf, so I heard the screaming just there. Nightmare? I was thinking about checking in on him, but... not his favorite person, so I figured I better not. Is he alright?"
"Yes, he is fine, serigala", assured Magnus gently. [Indonesian trans: wolf]
"Good... gatito", whispered Bat back with a teasing grin. [Spanish trans: kitten]
"Let's sleep some more", sighed Alec and closed his eyes.
Bat loved his stupid boyfriends. He really, truly loved Magnus and Alec, but he also wasn't blind or stupid. He knew they were both smitten with Jace. Had heard from Simon the blabbermouth about how Alec 'used to' be in love with Jace before getting together with Magnus. Bat knew that wasn't how feelings worked. They didn't just disappear like that – and the bond Jace and Alec shared was too deep to allow for this to be a simple task. Magnus too. Magnus had given up his magic for this omega. There could have been a different way, a less drastic one, but Magnus had been willing to make this grand sacrifice for just anybody. No, Magnus and Alec were very much in love with Jace.
It was rather plain to see, mused Bat as he sat next to Magnus on the couch out on the balcony. The two of them were drinking cocktails, Bat having his feet resting in Magnus' lap. And while Bat was watching Magnus, Magnus was watching Alec and Jace. The parabatai were sparring. Magnus looked completely enthralled and enamored. Tilting his head up, Bat turned to look at the Nephilim too. They were quite the sight. Alec's snow-owl wings and Jace's barn-owl wings, both flying through the sky, landing hits and kicks on each other, but overall looking more like they were dancing. It was absolutely enchanting and the way they moved, how synchronized they were...
"They're beautiful", whispered Bat very softly as he snuggled up more to Magnus.
"Mh...", grunted Magnus in agreement, resting a hand in Bat's neck to play with his hair.
How could Magnus look so in love and no one saw it? Same went for Alec though. How had no one acted on this, before the whole possession and psychiatry stay...? After all, it was abundantly clear that Jace was just as hung up on them. Had been all day yesterday already. He had looked so heartbroken when he had realized that Magnus and Alec were now happily mated to an omega.
The question now was what Bat was going to do with this information and those three idiots...
To decide what to do with the knowledge and the three idiots, Bat needed to first get to know Jace.
He knew there were only two options and the decision clearly depended on how Bat and Jace got along. Because one option was that Bat sat them all straight. Put boundaries up, most likely make Jace move back to the Institute so all three of them could get over their feelings.
The other alternative however was to invite Jace into their relationship. And that was why Bat wanted to get to know Jace. See if there was a chance for Bat to develop feelings for the blonde too. After all, Jace had won the hearts of both the men Bat loved, so he must be special.
"Hey, I made sandwiches for myself, figured you might be hungry too?"
He was careful as he approached Jace, who sat curled together and with his wings raised high as though he was using them as a shield. The blonde had been living with them for a few days now and he still seemed on edge, mainly because of Bat most likely. He was definitely more relaxed than on day one, but he still didn't seem to know where he stood with Bat. Alec was working, being busy as the head of the Institute, Magnus was out on High Warlock business, and Jace had the day off after working a long night-shift patrolling with Izzy and Clary.
"Mh...? Hungry?", grunted Jace confused as he looked up from his book, lowering his wings.
"It's two", noted Bat amused. "You've been reading for the past four hours."
"Oh. I didn't... notice", hummed Jace and blinked slowly. "I really enjoy the book, I... guess..."
"What are you reading?", hummed Bat curiously and sat down next to Jace.
Jace had been outside on the balcony, curled up on the couch and reading for as long as Bat was awake. He hadn't moved once, so when Bat got hungry he figured he'd make something for Jace too. From what he had heard, Jace was good at taking care of others – but not so much himself.
"This one is called... The Golem's Eye", replied Jace slowly. "It's-"
"A very awesome fantasy novel. Yeah. I read the series years ago", interrupted Bat eagerly before pausing. "Wait. You're... literally part of the fantasy world. And you read fantasy books...?"
Jace glared a little but he accepted the sandwich, putting his book down and biting into the thickly filled bacon sandwich. The glare melted and Jace groaned softly, licking his lips greedily.
"I've only ever read books useful for my education, but... when I thought Clary was my sister, I... was trying to find a connection with her and I saw the book on her nightstand one day. She and Simon are into this kind of stuff and I didn't know anything about it, never understood one of those weird references that Simon made and that made Clary laugh. So... I gave it a try. And, I guess, I like it. If you take the inaccuracy of the world out of the equation, it's pretty good."
Bat hummed, a grin on his lips as he got comfortable and ate his own sandwich. "So, how are you adjusting to things again...? I mean. It's been a few days now...?"
"I don't know", sighed Jace, swallowing a large bite of bacon-sandwich. "Alec's gotten incredibly good at being head of the Institute. He's... settled in it now. And Lydia, she's his right-hand-woman now. Their... dynamic is great. They're doing good. But I don't... have a place anymore..."
"You do", argued Bat with a frown. "You're still you and everyone missed you."
"Sure", grunted Jace. "But they moved on. I used to be Alec's right-hand-man. And while I know I'm not that much of a... leader or good at following rules, I still... it was... my thing. And the teams? Izzy and Clary now go on missions with Max. Max is a fully fledged Shadowhunter now. And me coming back just... messes up the dynamic they all found for themselves in the past months."
"You... will find your new spot in this", assured Bat gently, nudging Jace's ankle.
"Have you talked to Bat, explicitly, about this?"
Magnus hummed confused and turned toward Luke. Luke and Catarina were having him over for dinner. It was one of Alec and Bat's date-nights – the triad did this regularly, some one-on-one time. And today, Magnus was enjoying the normal down-to-Earth family life of the Garroway-Loss family. Magnus always appreciated that, being part of the family.
"I have no idea what you are talking about, Lucian", assured Magnus smoothly.
Luke sighed disappointed and lowered a glare at Magnus. "Your feelings for Jace. Now that Jace is back, it's rather clear that you're not over him. Cat told me."
"Catarina!", exclaimed Magnus scandalized.
"What? You expected me to keep secrets from my mate?", asked Catarina unimpressed.
She leaned over to kiss Luke's cheek with a grin before finishing up dinner. Magnus heaved a sigh. Aside from Alec, Cat had been the only one Magnus had told of his feelings for Jace.
"In my defense, I didn't tell you because when I came to realize my feelings for him, you were in the middle of adopting him because we all thought he was Clary's brother", sighed Magnus. "And I found that conversation to be particularly... awkward, so I'd rather avoid it."
"...Understandable", agreed Luke after a slow moment. "Still. If you thought about making Jace your omega before Jace went away, that is one thing. But now you are mated to Bat. And you owe Bat the truth, that you haven't stopped caring about Jace."
"True, but...", sighed Magnus and sat down at the table. "I didn't expect to still love him this much. Seeing him like that... again... I only feel stronger for him, if possible. This is a mess."
"It is", confirmed Catarina amused. "Go and get the girls for dinner?"
Huffing, Magnus got up again and left for Madzie's bedroom. Madzie and Clary were laying on the floor, drawing with crayons. Clary had one wing spread out to cover Madzie in a protective manner, while Madzie was playing with one fire-red, loose feather. It made Magnus smile. Clary had accepted and embraced Madzie as her sister the same way she had embraced Jace as her brother.
"Girls, dinner is ready", announced Magnus.
"Ya—ay", exclaimed Madzie and jumped up.
Clary smiled after Madzie as the youngest ran off. She slowly stood and walked over to Magnus.
"You and Madzie are getting along well, mh?", whispered Magnus fondly.
"I never got to be a big sister before", smiled Clary. "I always... wondered. I wondered what it'd be like, if mom and Luke were married, if we were living as a family. If I had... a sister. I always wanted one, you know. Seeing Rebecca and Simon together always made me want a younger sibling too. Madzie is precious and she... she adores me so much, it's so flattering and cute."
"Well, she never had a big sister before and you do draw beautifully. It's very impressive", chuckled Magnus amused. "She loves having you in her life."
Magnus smiled fondly as he followed Clary to the kitchen. Luke, Catarina and Madzie were already sitting together, talking and laughing. He couldn't express how happy he was for them all to have found this. Clary offered Luke a smile as she sat down between Luke and Madzie. All four of them deserved this. Luke and Clary, after they had lost Jocelyn and after Jocelyn had kept them at arm's length from each other for years, they deserved to be father and daughter, they deserved a second chance at a real family. Madzie had been through so much in her young life already. And Catarina, after all those centuries, she now had this loving family all to herself. They deserved this happiness, they deserved to get everything they could want.
Sometimes, Magnus wished he could as firmly believe that he too deserved everything he wanted...
"You're distracted these days", grunted Lydia as she easily dodged a hit from Alec. "Since Jace got back last week. You're worried about him, aren't you?"
"I know he can handle himself", grumbled Alec, flying higher.
"Of course you do", chuckled Lydia, spreading her wings even more. "You know he can handle himself, but you still worry. He's been gone for months and part of you is afraid that things will get bad and he will leave again..."
Alec sighed at that. "Yeah. I just... I worry for him to find his place here too, you know. Every time someone brings something up that happened in the past three months... Jace just stares blankly and people have to explain it to him and he just feels... more left out. I don't want him to feel left out."
"Of course you don't. He's your parabatai", sighed Lydia gently before kicking Alec hard. "It's a hard transition for him and for those around him. But if there's one thing I've learned about Jace Herondale since I first met him, it's that he's adaptable. So my father is Valentine? So I now have a fiery redhead as my sister? So I have demon-blood? So Valentine and Clary aren't related to me? So I'm a Herondale now? So I have angel-blood, actually? So what."
Alec smiled slightly at that. "Yeah... he really is adaptable..."
"And he will adapt once more", confirmed Lydia with a smile.
"He—ey. Can you two come down? Dinner is ready?", called Isabelle from the floor.
"...Did you cook?", called Alec back.
Isabelle glared and her wings twitched. "Do not make me come up there-"
"Clary and Jace cooked", offered Max with a grin. "Come on, guys."
Immediately, Lydia and Alec landed next to the other two Lightwoods. Isabelle glared pointedly at her girlfriend and her older brother, but she knew very well where their weariness came from.
Bat grinned as he rolled the dices. They were having regular game nights at Maia and Simon's apartment – the two had moved in together while searching for Clary.
"Oh come on, no single person is that lucky!", groaned Rebecca and threw a pillow at him.
Bat laughed and dodged the older Lewis-sibling. He really liked Rebecca. Telling her the truth had done Simon some good. Especially after Clary disappeared. Rebecca had supported him, had helped Simon through it. She had been tentative and in awe as Simon had introduced her to the rest of the Shadow World and now, game night with Rebecca, Simon, Maia and Bat was a regular thing.
"Bat has more luck than humanly possible", agreed Maia with a deadpan. "Maybe we should uninvite him from our game night. Ask Elaine to join instead."
"He—ey", whined Bat with a pout.
"No, this is sibling-bonding time, not for mom", huffed Simon.
"But mom says if you ditch family dinner for weird pack-business or Shadowhunter missions again, you are in deep trouble", warned Rebecca with a smirk.
Simon and Maia both made a face, making Bat laugh softly. Simon and Maia had been his first friends in the Shadow World, in New York, and he was happy that they had not just such a loving and stable relationship, but that Simon's family had also accepted Maia into their family – and embraced the weird supernatural. Bat? He still had to talk to his parents about it. He was delaying that conversation for as long as possible, but he wished for the same kind of acceptance.
"So, how's living with Jace going?", asked Maia curiously, both eyebrows raised. "It's been a month now. Has he driven you insane already?"
Bat laughed at that and shook his head. "We've been getting along great, actually. After a... rough start at first. Omega-cuddles helped. Jace and Clary used to, and before Clary... he never... that's tough. But now, with the three of us, we've been growing closer. He's been opening up to me. I think he came to... adjust to me being at the loft, being in the lives of Magnus and Alec. That I'm an important part in their life, so... since they are important to him, he came to accept me."
"Well, you are his parabatai's mate", mused Simon thoughtfully.
He leaned back on the couch and Maia leaned against him, resting a hand on his thigh. "So, he's not been giving you a hard time? About invading his territory and all? Know you were worried about that. That he'd think you were trying to become the pack-Omega."
"Yes. I thought... but I guess I was wrong", shrugged Bat with a frown. "I mean, he was definitely worried about that at first, but... he's been accepting me better than I expected... And... I've... I've grown really fond of him... He's... He's been through a lot and he can use someone on his side. I've been spending a lot of time with him, bonding with him. He's... important to me."
"That's good though, right?", asked Rebecca curiously. "I mean, that's how your whole... pack-flock-thing works, right? You trust each other and care about each other."
"True...", nodded Bat slowly, carefully.
And it was true. Only, the extend to which Bat had come to care for the other omega, that was something else entirely. Something he had thought of as a possibility, but he hadn't really expected it. To fall for the gorgeous blonde with the mismatched eyes and golden-white wings.
Bat yawned as he sprawled out on the couch. It was five in the morning and he was dead tired. He loved his job at Pandemonium, being a DJ was a lot of fun. But it did leave him rather dead on his feet once he did return home. Stretching out, he yawned again. Granted, with Magnus, Alec and Jace's work, they were often out all night too to save the world – investigating often worked better in the cover of the dark instead of the bright daylight.
"Hello, serigala", whispered Magnus gently as he emerged from the bedroom. "Tired?"
"Mh...", grumbled Bat, not feeling talkative.
Magnus smiled and started running his fingers through Bat's hair in a soothing manner. Having his alpha close always had a soothing effect on Bat. The wolf returned his mate's smile and slowly melted under the touch. Slowly, Magnus rounded the couch and sat down next to him.
"You're up early", hummed Bat as he adjusted to cuddle fully up to Magnus.
"Mh, with all three of you out, I couldn't... sleep", admitted Magnus. "So I made myself some tea and decided to get some work done and instead, catch up on sleep once you return."
"Think our birdies are alright?", asked Bat with a frown.
There had been some loud noise today, demons, big attacks. All hands on deck for the Institute. Alec and Jace had pulled a double-shift. It did upset and worry Bat a lot, not knowing if they were alright. Magnus sighed and leaned in to kiss Bat's temple.
"You know them, they're very... stubborn", offered Magnus. "But... our birdies?"
"Well yeah. They both live here, so they're our birdies", grinned Bat and looked up.
Magnus heaved a sigh at that, playing with Bat's hair. "Only one of them is ours."
"...But both of them could be", whispered Bat, turning to look at Magnus hopefully.
Magnus bit his lips. They had talked about this – Luke had set Magnus right, he and Alec did owe Bat the truth. And they had shared their truth. That both Alec and Magnus were in love with Jace – Bat had taken it much better than anticipated. He had assured them, gently, that he knew, saw it, and that he would like to get to know Jace before he could actually say anything about it.
"Wait", grunted Magnus with a frown. "Does that... Are you serious?"
"I've been... thinking about it a lot. Thinking about him a lot", shrugged Bat with a slight blush. "He is... gorgeous. And sweet and funny. I care about him. A lot. I want to... protect him. He is... mine. Mine to protect. Part of my pack. I want him to be fully mine though. And yours. And Alec's."
Magnus stared surprised, blinking a couple of times, before he laughed and leaned in to capture his wolf's lips in a gentle, sweet kiss. He should have known this would happen. They were mates, mated for life. They were meant to be together, they were compatible. Of course would Bat find it in his heart to love the one both Magnus and Alec already loved too.
"Ew. Alec, tell your mates to take it to the bedroom when they wanna make out. Gross."
"Shut up, Jace", huffed Alec and cuffed Jace with his wing before walking over to the couch.
With a heavy, content sigh did Alec collapse against his mates. Bat and Magnus parted, so they could kiss their beta hello. Happily, Alec melted between them, leaning his head against Magnus' shoulder and pulling Bat close up against his other side. All three of them looked so content.
It broke Jace's heart just a tiny bit. They were so content. So perfect together. Magnus was such a strong but gentle alpha, Alec the perfect, understanding beta, Bat such a kind and caring omega. They really were the perfect match... and Jace was just standing on the outside, looking in, not fitting in, not belonging. It ached. It hurt even more than it had in the beginning, because then he had just been bitter about Bat taking away his alpha and beta. Now... he couldn't even be bitter anymore, because he saw how good Bat was with them, how happy they were. That they, in fact, didn't need him. That he had been naive to think he stood a chance.
"I'm... heading to bed. Night, guys", whispered Jace and left the living room.
It was late when Jace got home. He disliked working on Alec's date-nights, because then Alec wasn't there. Yes, Jace was glad that Alec had Lydia to share his responsibilities with. But it still sucked not to work with his parabatai. It was already bad enough that Alec barely ever went out on a mission with him anymore, but at least in between, he would get to see his parabatai.
It put Jace on edge, not getting to see his parabatai – his beta – all day long. At least today. On some days, when he was already tense and on edge because of something else. Jace glared to himself.
Kicking off his shoes, Jace made his way deeper into the loft. He could hear the shower running. Sighing deeply, Jace let his feet lead him, before he collapsed face-first on the bed. Closing his eyes and sighing more contently, he snuggled up to the soft, warm thing in the bed. The one that smelt like safety. Nuzzling into it, he curled together and used his wings to shield himself and the warm, soft, safe thing that fit so perfectly beneath him as a pillow. The safe thing started moving and Jace growled softly, wrapping his arms and legs around it to keep it.
"...Hello, Jace", greeted Bat softly. "You... okay?"
Blinking confused, Jace looked up at his safe, soft thing. The safe, soft thing turned out to be Bat. And Jace was essentially curled together around him, hogging the wolf who had been an actual wolf moments ago. Jace was too stunned to move, he just stared dumbly at Bat from beneath his lashes.
"Jace? Are you... Are you alright?", asked Alec concerned from outside.
Very slowly did Jace lower his wings, allowing Alec and Magnus – both essentially naked, sans the towels around their waists – to look at the two omegas. Jace wanted to get up and move away, but his instincts were too overwhelming, so instead he dove right back in, hiding his face in Bat's neck. The wolf hummed softly and started caressing Jace's neck in a soothing manner.
"You're close to your heat, mh?", whispered Bat gently, sniffing Jace's hair. "You smell very sweet."
"Mh...", grumbled Jace in reply, nuzzling closer to the soft, safe, warm, sweet wolf.
"If you had said something, I would have cut your shift in half today, Jace", sighed Alec.
Jace growled and threw a pillow at Alec, baring his fangs. "I told you I don't need extra treatment because I'm an omega! I am not useless."
"Jace", sighed Alec exhausted and sat down next to Jace. "You know I don't think you're useless. It's standard procedure. Omegas get half-shifts during the days leading up to their heat, just like alphas during the days leading up to their rut. How are you feeling?"
"...Tired", mumbled Jace, slowly folding his wings together. "Really tired..."
He huffed when his clothes suddenly changed. Blinking slowly, he looked down himself and noticed that instead of his tight jeans and shirt, he was now wearing one of Magnus' fancy, intensely comfortable and soft silken pajamas. They were definitely Magnus' pajamas, because they smelt like the alpha. Jace heaved a very content sigh as he sniffed the collar.
"Have you eaten today?", asked Magnus softly. "Probably not."
The warlock summoned a tray of food, making Jace sit up and sniff the air, licking his lips. Bat blinked a couple of times, staring amused at the other omega, who at this point was essentially sitting on Bat's lap and seemed completely unbothered by that. A pleased and sly grin slipped onto his lips as he looked at Alec, the beta looking downright envious. Sticking his tongue out to tease Alec, Bat wrapped his arms around Jace's waist, pulling the blonde up against his chest. Jace made a content little sound and leaned further back against the other omega. Pleased, Bat rested his chin on Jace's shoulder. Jace smelt like honey, milk and strawberries, but the sweetness was spiked, due to Jace's approaching heat. Apparently, he was not the only one who got hungry because of that – on the tray Magnus had summoned was a large bowl of strawberries. Magnus smiled and walked around the bed to sit down on Bat's other side, that way the two omegas were safely tucked between Magnus and Alec, alpha and beta making them feel perfectly safe.
"So... what brings you to our bed, angelito?", asked Bat gently. [Spanish trans: little angel]
"...I don't know", mumbled Jace as he started eating the scrambled eggs Magnus had summoned for him. "I just let my feet carry me here... I guess... You feel safe."
"Safe?", echoed Bat, blinking slowly and nuzzling the other omega's neck.
"...Safe", repeated Jace, cheeks flushed. "Warm. Comfortable. Better than... being alone."
"You're more than welcome to stay", assured Magnus gently, resting a hand on Jace's arm.
Jace hummed contently and reached his wings out, wrapping one around Magnus and one around Alec, pulling them closer. It was instincts, really. He needed to keep what was his close and safe. Make sure the sources of comfort would stay with him.
"Jace, you...", started Alec, unsure what to say, or if he should say something.
He looked over at Magnus, a little helpless. Magnus offered an encouraging smile. Jace just continued eating, knowing that Alec would say what he had to say in time. Alec leaned in some, reaching out with his own wing to brush against Jace's shoulder.
"I... love you...", whispered Alec gently, staring at Jace's face in awe. "I love you so much."
"I love you too, parabatai", shrugged Jace with a small smile.
"No. No, I'm in love with you", sighed Alec, eyebrows knitted. "We... all are. Magnus and I, we... would have... if things hadn't gone the way they had, after we took out Valentine, Magnus and I wanted to court you. But then the possession and you leaving for the City of Bones..."
"B—But... Bat...", started Jace confused, putting the tray down and turning enough to look at the werewolf he was currently using as a seat. "You found an omega. A good omega. You're a triad. You're happily mated. You don't... need me..."
"Well, I'd strongly disagree to that", chimed Magnus. "I think we do need you. While we love Bat and he made the loft warmer and more like home, it's only gotten truly perfect after you moved back in with us. Now it's... truly home again. And even if an alpha doesn't need two omegas, I sure want two omegas. Two beautiful omegas."
"Mhmh, ye—es", hummed Bat in agreement, leaning in to rub his nose against Jace's neck. "I want a beautiful omega too. I already have that handsome beta and that gorgeous alpha, so I also want a beautiful omega. You and I, we... work well together. I like you. I want you."
Jace just stared, slightly wide-eyed, from Bat to Alec and then to Magnus. "But... really?"
"It depends on how you feel about us", offered Magnus, voice soft.
"I... wanted...", started Jace slowly, tilting his head. "When I came back from the City of Bones, I wanted to ask you two for... courting. But then I met Bat and I thought there was... no need for me. That the two of you were perfectly happy even without me. And I... wanted to resent Bat for taking my alpha and my beta from me, but... it's... impossible to resent the stupid wolf. He's too lovable."
Bat grinned mischievously as he leaned in to steal a kiss from Jace. The blonde omega blushed and blinked. When he turned a little, he saw that Magnus and Alec looked greedy and jealous. Carefully, Jace leaned in to kiss first Alec and then Magnus, surprised so see them both look pleased after.
"So, that means you're ours now", grinned Bat pleased, pulling Jace close.
With the smallest smile did Jace snuggle up to Bat, Alec and Magnus before falling asleep.
It was family dinner time for the Lightwoods. Clary, Isabelle and Max were over, Jace and Alec had cooked together. Izzy had also brought her mate along. Tonight was the night they were going to tell their siblings about Jace joining the triad. And Jace was so nervous about the judgment.
Lydia kept glancing at Alec suspiciously. She could sense that something was up; they had been in tune long enough that she could read him well. Dinner was pleasant, it was mainly Isabelle and Clary talking though. Neither of the boys did. Jace was talking excitedly with Max at the sidelines, still being the little boy's hero. But Magnus, Alec and Bat stayed mainly quiet.
"What's on your mind, Jace?", asked Clary softly as she sat down with Max and Jace.
The two boys were playing with the kittens on the floor, Jace using one of his loose feathers as a lure for them. Max was sitting close, leaning against Jace to soak up his scent. Now that Jace was back, was back to being pack-Omega, each pack-member came to Jace, seeking his scent. Jace was the one responsible for marking their pack-members. One of Jace's wings was protectively wrapped around Max, the other reached out to curl around Clary's shoulders once she sat down.
"Mh? Nothing", hummed Jace innocently, resting his chin on top of Max's head.
"Hey!", complained the youngest Lightwood, nudging Jace with his wing.
"No complains", grinned Jace. "I'm scent-marking you."
"You're using me as a head-rest", huffed Max with a glare.
"Hey, there aren't many people where I can do this", countered Jace and stuck his tongue out.
His eyes found his... boyfriends. Magnus and Bat were cleaning up the kitchen since Alec and Jace had cooked. Alec was sitting inside, drinking wine and talking to Izzy and Lydia.
"I missed you, Jace", sighed Max, tilting his head back against Jace's chest. "I always... I always thought once I'd become an active Shadowhunter, I'd... go on missions with you."
"Well, now we can", grinned Jace. "And you're good. You're really good. I'm proud of you."
Max preened at that, smiling brightly. Jace would never be like his father. Valentine. He was always going to praise Max for his hard work, make him feel validated. He was never going to break their youngest flock-member, the way Valentine had tried to break him.
"Guys? Can you come inside?", asked Bat, sticking his head out.
Jace, Clary and Max got up and followed Bat inside to where Magnus, Isabelle, Lydia and Alec were already sitting. While Bat joined Magnus and Alec, Clary went to sit next to Lydia and Max slid in between Isabelle and Alec. Jace shuffled nervously, knowing what was going to happen.
"Jace?", asked Alec gently, raising his eyes to stare at Jace concerned.
Nodding briefly, Jace straightened up. "So. Things... happened. And... I wanted to tell you. We'll tell the rest of the flock later on, but... but for now... just our siblings."
"Whatever it is, you know we got your back, right?", whispered Clary gently, looking at her brother.
"Yes. I... know. Yes", nodded Jace and took a deep breath. "I'm... dating Mag, Alec and Bat now."
"Finally", breathed Isabelle out, sighing relieved. "After all those years?"
"After all those years", confirmed Alec with the smallest smile.
The siblings reached out their wings to brush against each other. Max stared from Alec over to Jace, before grinning. All he wanted was for both his brothers to be happy. Lydia smiled pleased. She had known about Alec's feelings for a while now. It was good to see him get who he loved.
"That's... wow", whispered Clary surprised, looking from one to the other. "I... I'm happy for you."
"Thanks", smiled Jace weakly, feeling all his tension drain from him.
"Alec. Hand me the Jace", ordered Bat pleased. "Now that they know."
Alec chuckled and reached one wing out, using it to pull Jace toward them and onto Bat's lap, half on Magnus' lap too. Bat looked very pleased as he pulled Jace closer, nuzzling the blonde. Jace smiled and relaxed against his boyfriends, nuzzling back into the other omega.
"So, that was the huge news that had you all nervous?", asked Clary amused.
"Well. Yeah", huffed Jace flustered.
"Wonderful. Now, more wine for anyone?", asked Lydia fondly.
Several new glasses appeared and filled themselves with wine at the wave of a hand from Magnus. The warlock smiled pleased as everybody settled into a more comfortable atmosphere.
Date-nights were something they had to readjust now that they were four. Some nights, they would split up into two pairs, other nights it would be all four of them. They'd switch around all through the night in those cases. Tonight had been one such night. They had gone to Greece, ate together, feeding each other. It had been wonderful. Now they were taking a walk along the beach, barefoot to feel the hot sand beneath their toes. Alec had one wing wrapped around Magnus, while Jace had one wing wrapped around Bat, their respective other wing touching gently.
"This was nice", whispered Jace with a small smile, leaning against his parabatai.
"Yes, it was", agreed Magnus. "Now, we have the whole week to ourselves, right?"
"Lydia says she got it and when she says she got it, she got it", confirmed Alec.
"Wonderful", sighed Bat pleased. "I got my boyfriends all to myself."
"So greedy", huffed Jace teasingly, nudging the other omega.
"You bet that gorgeous ass of yours", smirked Bat, winking at Jace.
Jace yelped a little as Bat just pinched his ass. "Hey! No touching the goods."
"Why? Mine", huffed Bat, leaning in to nip Jace's earlobe.
"He's touchy. You could have really warned me about that", huffed Jace flustered.
"Why? Seeing you flustered is quite the good look on you", purred Magnus.
"Yeah, and you're pretty handsy yourself, Jace", grunted Alec pointedly.
Jace grinned broadly at that, reaching a hand into Alec's back-pocket. "Guilty as charged, I guess."
"How did I end up with three horny bastards", muttered Alec beneath his breath.
"You're just lucky, I suppose", hummed Magnus thoughtfully and with a smirk.
Alec sighed exhausted as he got home after a very long weekend reporting back to the Clave in Idris. All he wanted was to collapse on their bed and sleep for maybe three days straight. Clave meetings were always exhausting. He paused when he reached their bedroom, a small smile finding its way onto his face. Magnus was laying on the bed, holding one of his magic books, reading. Both their omegas had their heads resting on Magnus' lap. Jace was curled together and Bat was spooning him from behind, nose buried in golden-blonde hair as both omegas were apparently already asleep.
"Alexander. You're finally home again", smiled Magnus pleased, putting his book down.
"Sh. Don't wake them", grumbled Alec, slowly shedding his clothes on his way.
"Mh... Alec...", mumbled Jace sleepily, blinking his eyes open. "Ba—at. Alec."
Bat yawned at that, also sitting up. "Hey. Don't try to steal my Jace."
"What a warm welcoming", drawled Alec dryly as he collapsed on the bed.
Bat grinned and came to snuggle up to Alec, pulling Jace along with him so Jace was stuck between Alec and Bat. Magnus smiled pleased as he cuddled up to Alec from the other side, kissing the beta's cheek. Now that was the best. Coming home to his alpha and his omegas, getting buried in a pile of comfort and love. With a pleased smile on his face did Alec relax into the comfort of their bed, Jace nuzzling his stomach, Bat's face buried in his neck, Magnus kissing his temple. Perfect.
Magnus smiled pleased, eyes closed as he leaned back on the couch and inhaled deeply. It had been a long and exhausting day. Being back to being High Warlock had been very satisfying and he had been pleased to be back where he belonged, but at times, it was just tiresome. Coming home to his mates taking care of him was amazing. Bat had welcomed him with a kiss and a cocktail, the scent of dinner flooding out of the kitchen. Two more kisses from his Shadowhunters and then he had been ordered to the couch until dinner would be ready. The best part was when Jace joined him. What Magnus absolutely loved was being serenaded by his blonde. It was something Jace had started doing a few weeks into his relationship with them. And all three of them loved it. Not just because Jace playing the piano was amazing, but also because the blonde angel looked absolutely mesmerizing while playing. So at ease and gorgeous.
"Dinner's ready, love", whispered Alec gently, handing Magnus a plate.
"We eating in the living room today?", asked Magnus curiously.
"Yes, alpha", hummed Bat, snuggling up to him from one side. "We're eating and watching some stupid movie? We know that helps you unwind."
Magnus smiled softly at their thoughtfulness. For too long, he hadn't thought he'd ever find the perfect omega. Now he had two perfect omegas and the perfect beta. Alec sat down on Magnus' other side and pulled Jace onto his lap. Jace leaned against Alec's chest and grabbed one of the plates. He started eating and also feeding Alec. Magnus smiled, wrapping one arm around Bat and playing with the werewolf's hair. This was the perfect way to end the day.
"I love you, darlings", smiled Magnus pleased.
"Yeah, we know that", grinned Bat, pecking his cheek. "We love you too, gatito."
Bat growled when the omega in his arms tried to escape him. Wrapping his arms tighter around his mate, he buried his face in the soft, golden-white wings, inhaling the sweet, soothing scent of his omega deeply. Jace huffed, trying to wiggle out again, before Bat growled again, biting his neck just where Bat had left his mate-mark months ago. It made Jace whine and go slack in his arms.
"Bat? Can you... hand over Jace?", asked Alec. "We gotta get to the Institute."
The growl from Bat turned louder. "Mine. You take away my beta. But not my omega."
"...I'm not taking your beta or your omega. We gotta work", snorted Alec fondly.
"Bartholomew's heat is coming up. I think... we have to find a way to excuse Jace from work today", mused Magnus with a smile as he leaned against Alec. "There is no way Bat is going to let go of Jace today. You know how omegas are when they fixate on something during their heat."
"Mine", growled Bat again, nibbling Jace's neck. "Soft and sweet and yummy omega..."
Jace turned around to face Bat, grinning at the other omega. Bat watched him wearily, thinking his omega was trying to leave. Instead, Jace cuddled up to Bat, bumping his head up against Bat's chin.
"Well, I have a couple of appointments today so I will leave my two precious omegas for now. Jace, check in if something happens", ordered Magnus.
"Will do, alpha", hummed Jace with a grin. "And Alec, I am so sorry I'll be missing work..."
"I remember times when Jace lived for missions", muttered Alec amused and shook his head before he walked up to the bed to kiss both Jace and Bat softly. "Be good, loves."
"As long as you leave me my omega", hummed Bat contently, nosing Jace's hair. "Precious babe."
"You know, when I got together with a triad, I did not expect the omega to be the most possessive and clingy", huffed Jace amused, wrapping his wings around Bat.
"Well, our wolf knows what he wants", grinned Magnus amused.
Bat smiled very pleased by that, hugging the soft and sweet omega closer to him. During his heat, he didn't like having Jace around at all – a rival, during that, someone who could hog his alpha's attention, so Alec and Jace usually stayed out. But prior to his heat? All Bat wanted was his omega, helping him build a nest and being all soft and comfy and there.
Some days were harder than others. Some days were heavy and dark and all Jace wanted to do was hide under his blanket. He used to push through that, ignore it, keep going. Like his father had taught him to. But Jem had taught him that it was okay to have down days. It was also important for him to acknowledge the bad days and not push his limits.
The first time it had happened after his return from the City of Bones, he had thought he would be a burden to his roommates. Now, he knew that he could find strength in his mates. They were more than willing to adapt and help him through it. Usually, Alec would take the day off, leave Lydia in charge, and stay at Jace's side all day long. Because his parabatai was more important.
"Jace. Come on, time to get to work", grunted Alec as he came out of the bathroom.
He was fully dressed, his three mates were still laying in bed, curled together. Magnus' day always started later, the perks of being the High Warlock and his own boss, while Bat worked late at night as a DJ. Jace sighed in a drawn-out way, curling against Magnus and hiding his face in the warlock's neck. The warlock, half-awake thanks to the loud beta standing in the middle of the room, wrapped an arm around Jace's shoulders, playing with the golden-blonde hair.
"Jace", sighed Alec. "Honestly, getting together with Bat and Magnus has not done you any good. You've always fought against getting up, but those two late risers..."
"It's a dark day...", mumbled Jace lowly, nuzzling into Magnus.
Even late riser Magnus woke up at that, leaning down to kiss the top of Jace's head. They all knew what dark days meant and they had worked into a routine for those times. Bat slowly stirred too.
"I'm calling Lydia. And then I'm calling Jem", offered Alec.
Sighing in a drawn-out way, Jace hid more in Magnus' arms, pulling a wing up and covering Magnus with it like a blanket, marking his alpha as his. Making sure Magnus would stay with him. His alpha made him feel safe, so did his omega behind him. And after his phone-calls, Alec returned to join them in bed. For the next four hours, they just napped, all his mates curled around him.
"Hey, love", whispered Alec. "Sit up. Let me groom you, mh?"
Jace sighed. That sounded like effort. He didn't like that. Magnus sat up and manhandled Jace into his lap. Closing his eyes, Jace leaned into Magnus' chest and lifted his wings up. Alec started carefully and slowly preening Jace's one wing, while Bat sat up next to Alec and took care of Jace's other wing. Both Magnus and Bat had learned how to groom a Shadowhunter's wings, regularly taking care of Alec and Jace. Sometimes, both the Nephilim enjoyed leaning against each other with closed eyes and allowed their mates to take care of them. Very relaxing.
"You okay?", whispered Magnus, caressing Jace's thigh.
"Mh...", mumbled Jace with a frown. "I feel... loved?"
"We'll take it", chuckled Magnus and kissed Jace's temple.
They might not be able to magically cure Jace and fix every problem, but they could make him feel loved and they could be there for him. They did their best to make sure Jace knew it was okay to feel down and that he could lean onto them then. Later on, he was going to see Jem, which also always helped. It was hard and some days it was so frustrating because he thought he could never truly get better and like he was going to be a burden to his mates.
But he wasn't. They loved him, supported him, helped him. And slowly, he was getting better.
~*~ The End ~*~