Jalec || Shadowhunters || Jalec || The Mundie Experience II || Jalec || Shadowhunters || Jalec
Title: The Mundie Experience II – The Cop in the Coffeeshop
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, deruned AU, fluff, hurt/comfort, family feels, future fic, f/f, m/f
Main Pairing: Alec/Jace
Side Pairings: Clary/Maia, Simon/Isabelle, Luke/Jocelyn
Shadowhunters Characters: Jonathan Christopher 'Jace' Wayland, Alexander Gideon 'Alec' Lightwood, Isabelle Sophia 'Izzy' Lightwood, Lydia Branwell, Simon Lewis, Clarissa Adele 'Clary' Fray, Maia Roberts, Bartholomew 'Bat' Velasquez, Gretel Monroe, Luke Garroway, Jocelyn Fray
Own Characters: Lucina 'Lucy' Garroway, Matthew 'Mattie' Garroway, Sophia Elaine 'Sophie' Lewis, Gideon Levi Lewis, Natanael Lucian 'Nate' Garroway
Summary: Years after show-canon, Alec and Jace are living a normal, mundane life together. Their relationship had been discovered by the Clave and they ended up being deruned. Thankfully, they had a loving family to take them in and help them get settled.
The Mundie Experience II
The Cop in the Coffeeshop
Jace smiled softly as he tucked a strand of golden-blonde hair behind his ear and looked around the coffee-shop. It was bustling with life, at it usually was that early in the morning. Students coming in to get a coffee fix before classes, adults getting breakfast before work. Jace loved the morning rush, so much so that he preferred to take that on himself. Also, because his favorite customer was there.
"Good morning, Detective Garroway", greeted Jace with a playful smile. "Your usual?"
Without even expecting an answer, Jace turned around and prepared said usual. A man of routine was easy to read and even easier to serve. That was what the morning rush most lived off. The regulars with their usual orders. Jace smiled to himself, humming softly.
"You're in a good mood today, Mister Garroway."
"How could I not be, Detective Garroway?", grinned Jace as he finished up the coffees.
He smiled as he handed the coffees over and their hands brushed, their matching wedding-bands shining as the morning sun hit them through the window. The smile Alec offered him was heart-warming as he took the coffees from Jace. Alec was unshaven, a bit scruff around the edges. Jace secretly really loved that. Especially when they'd kiss or do other things.
"Did Maia come to pick up the kids?", asked Jace with a frown.
Alec rolled his eyes and smiled fondly. "Yes, like every morning. I love how you still fuss, even though we have a perfect system down that is reliable."
Wiggling his nose, Jace stuck his tongue out at his husband, even though he knew Alec was right. Both Alec and Jace had to leave the house really early and since Maia worked at a bar, she had the mornings off and usually picked up Alec and Jace's kids to drop them off at school with her own son. It worked smoothly and if something came up, their family always knew how to work around it somehow. Because that was what family was for. Relying on each other, helping each other.
Jace's smile turned a little bitter as he took a couple doughnuts. "Doughnuts for dad."
"You know Jocelyn's not a fan of Luke eating so much unhealthy food", argued Alec.
"But Luke is", grinned Jace. "And what mom doesn't know, well..."
Alec snorted and shook his head. "Thanks, babe. I'll see you tonight."
"Be safe. Don't let the bad guys get away", called Jace after him with a smile.
Even though he was no longer a Shadowhunter, Alec still wanted to do good. To hunt the monsters of this world. Maybe not the literal ones, but the very human ones. The faint smile on Jace's lips turned sad as he thought of all the things they had lost in the past ten years...
Jace, Alec and Izzy graduated high school. Normal, mundie high school. With Gretel, Maia, Clary and Simon. It was good. It was normal. Jace loved it, loved getting to be with Alec, truly with him. They got to hold hands at school, sneak around and make out behind the gym.
All of that started to crumble when Clary turned eighteen.
They had been at Pandemonium together, celebrating Clary's birthday and dancing. Until they noticed a group of demons. They were forced to go after them, because it was what Shadowhunters did. Only, they didn't expect for Clary to follow them, ever-curious.
That was how three years worth of lies came to unravel.
Maia and Gretel were werewolves, part of the New York pack. So were Luke and Alaric.
And Jocelyn was... Jocelyn was Jocelyn Fairchild. Clary was Clarissa Fairchild. Clarissa Morgenstern. The daughter of Valentine Morgenstern.
That was a hard truth to swallow for them. But it was the truth Luke shared with them, after Jocelyn disappeared. No, not disappeared. Was abducted by Valentine's men. The Circle.
Something Luke had been a member of too. And so had Robert and Maryse Lightwood.
They came clear, about being Shadowhunters. They offered help and shelter. It came as a shock, but it shocked Clary even more than them. She must have felt like her life was breaking apart around her. Everything she had believed to be true, to be facts, just came apart by the seams.
Lydia Branwell came to join the Institute, to take over for Robert and Maryse. Which was rather understandable, if Jace looked back at it now. Leaving two former Circle members in charge of the Institute in the very city where Valentine was residing? Did not seem safe. Though, then again, for Jace it seemed rather dubious to put two former Circle members in charge to begin with.
"Hey, kiddo. How are you holding up?"
Jace stiffened and turned to look up at Luke. He was sitting next to where they kept the still comatose Jocelyn Garroway. Fairchild. Morgenstern. Jace's... mother. It had knocked the air out of him to learn that Valentine Morgenstern had posed as Michael Wayland, that Jace was Jonathan Christopher Morgenstern, the supposedly dead brother of Clary. He was Jocelyn's son, Clary's brother, Luke's stepson. That reveal had shaken Jace's world, left his head spinning.
"I don't... I don't know", whispered Jace, turning to look at the unconscious Jocelyn. "She's... my mother. All my life, I believed my mother died during my birth. I believed Michael Wayland was my father. Now... Now I'm a... a Morgenstern...?"
Luke stepped up to him and gently caressed Jocelyn's cheek before kneeling down in front of Jace. "Listen up, kiddo. You are not a Morgenstern. Just because Valentine's blood runs through your veins does not define who you are. You are as much a Fairchild as you are a Morgenstern and I know Jocelyn is proud of you. Remember all the baseball games we came to cheer you on? She was always proud of you, even when you were just one of Clary's friends."
Jace looked only mildly doubtful. Though he knew that to be true. Over the past three years of having been friends with Clary and Simon, they had grown very close. Jace, Isabelle and Alec were frequent guest at the Garroway-home. Jocelyn, Luke, Alaric, Dot and Elaine cheered Jace and the baseball-team on just as much as Izzy and the science-team. They were as proud of the Lightwoods and Jace as they were of their own kid and her friends.
"I know it's a lot to take in, kiddo", started Luke, resting a heavy hand on Jace's shoulder. "But you know you can always come talk to me, right? We're family now."
Family. Something in Jace's heart had clenched at that word. At the way Luke said it. So sincere.
"Now, I think your parabatai is really worried about you. Maybe you should go and check in with him before he walks a hole into the floor?", suggested Luke with a kind smile.
"He's just nervous about delivering the Mortal Cup to the Clave", sighed Jace and shook his head. "Wants to accompany Lydia personally when she leaves later to bring the cup to Idris."
Luke tilted his head with a pitying expression on his face. "Jace. You and me both know that it's not all the Mortal Cup. You're his..." Luke paused and looked around briefly, considering his words and the location. "You're his parabatai and your world was just turned upside down. He worries about you, Jace. More so than the Mortal Cup or the Shadow World."
Jace blushed and ducked his head. Luke knew. Knew that Jace and Alec were more than just parabatai, had been more than just parabatai for the past three years now. He also knew that it was against the Law and that the consequences if the wrong people hard of the nature of their relationship. Sighing softly, Jace got up and stretched out.
"I'll just be glad when the Mortal Cup is back with the Clave, this whole thing is sorted out and we can all just... move on", grunted Jace, before he turned to look at Jocelyn softly.
"We'll figure out how to wake your mom up too", assured Luke, looking at Jocelyn just as pained.
They figured out how to wake up Jocelyn, but only after everything erupted in total chaos.
The Mortal Cup never made it to Idris. Hodge stole it. Hodge betrayed them to Valentine. Jace wasn't even there when they managed to wake up Jocelyn, because he had traded his own safety and life for those of his boyfriend and friends. He went willingly with Valentine so Valentine would not harm the others. The look Alec gave him had been heartbreaking – but Jace would always pick Alec's safety over his own. Besides, Alec was the smarter one. He'd find a way to save Jace.
And he did. Of course he did. If there was one thing Jace knew to rely on, it was Alec. Alec would always come for him, would always stand by him. The moment he collapsed into Alec's arms at the loft, Magnus Bane's loft, Jace felt like coming home. He had narrowly escaped Valentine's ship and found refuge at the Hunter's Moon, where a more than worried Maia immediately called Alec to let him know and then helped Jace to the loft, where Alec had asked the High Warlock of Brooklyn to help out and use his magic to amplify the parabatai-tracking.
"They can't take you away from me again", whispered Alec, voice rasp.
He was clinging onto Jace, afraid to lose him. Jace buried his face in his boyfriend's neck. He had to go. The Clave had send out a DoA on him. He had promised Isabelle, on the way here, that he would go willingly, as long as he could see Alec first.
That was the moment Jace's life truly fell apart. The moment he was arrested for treason, after he had been abducted and tortured by his father. He was held captive in the City of Bones, interrogated with the Soul Sword. He could not lie. Could not lie when Aldertree asked him about the nature of his relationship with Alec, because Alec had nearly died to try and find him and it had made Aldertree suspicious. And just like that, the last semblance of normality was stripped away from Jace, ripped from him. Just like that, everything Jace and Alec had done in the name of the Clave mattered nothing just because they loved each other. Just like that, they were deruned.
"Hey. Hey, no moving", whispered Clary gently as she pressed a cold cloth onto Jace's forehead.
"Wha... What happened...?", groaned Jace as he slowly came to it.
"Well, five days ago, you were abducted by your dad. Who is a murderous psychopath. And who clearly tortured you. Seriously, you still look like a mess. And then you got thrown into jail for getting abducted, because that somehow makes sense. They, apparently, tortured you some more, because you look even worse than you did at Bane's loft. And somehow they found out that you and Alec are dating, which, super not fans of. So they deruned you. Which was really not good for you considering your overall state. Isabelle, Clary and Lydia got you and Alec out and to Luke's-"
"Simon. Slow down. You're overwhelming him", interrupted Clary gently.
She reached out and rested a hand on Simon's arm, looking at him pointedly. Simon laughed sheepishly and ruffled his own hair before turning toward Jace.
"Sorry, just... you know. One of my best friends nearly died like trice this week. I am allowed to be on edge there, yes? Yes", nodded Simon with a glare, slapping Jace on the shoulder. "That's enough nearly dying for the next time, dude. You're gonna give me a heart-attack at one point. I'm only a mundie, I can't take that kind of stress, you know?"
Only a mundie. Jace frowned as he lifted his arms, looking at them, bare of runes.
"Guess I'm only a mundie too now", whispered Jace hoarsely. "W... Where's Alec?"
"He's downstairs with mom and dad", replied Clary, eyebrows knitted. "He woke up before you."
Mom and dad. Jace was going to need some more time getting used to the fact that they were his mom and stepfather now too. Jace frowned confused, feeling oddly shallow and empty. He closed his eyes, trying to concentrate on Alec. But he couldn't feel him. For a moment, he panicked and grasped his parabatai-rune. Only to remember that... he didn't have the rune anymore. His eyes snapped open and he turned to stare at his hip-bone, pushing his shirt up. There was a scar. It was the only rune that had scarred over, not having just vanished like the others. When he lifted his gaze, both Simon and Clary looked at him pained and guilty.
They knew Jace had lost everything in the past week. His identity, his name, now even his runes, job and home. But most importantly, the parabatai-bond. Even though Simon and Clary had only known about parabatai and Shadowhunters for a short time, Jace, Izzy and Alec had done their best to explain runes and the parabatai-bond to their friends. While not being able to fully grasp it, Simon and Clary still understood that it was the deepest form of love, that Alec and Jace literally shared a soul – soulmates, was what Clary had called it with a squeak. Soulmates.
Well... not anymore. Where the bond had once been buzzing, it was now empty, broken.
"I—I need to see Alec", whispered Jace and struggled to get out of the bed.
Every muscle in his body ached. Having been tortured and deruned, his body was protesting against the movement. He noted that the worst of his injuries had been healed – maybe they had the sense to use healing runes on him before deruning him so he would survive...?
"Woah, bro, steady", huffed Simon and wrapped an arm around his waist. "I'll help you."
"Thanks, Si", sighed Jace and leaned heavily against his friend.
But when they were downstairs, Jace motioned for Simon to pause, because he could hear voices from the living room, could see Jocelyn pacing in front of the couch, looking troubled.
"You're welcome to stay here, Alec. Both of you, not just Jace", assured Luke gently.
"Oh, of course!", exclaimed Jocelyn ."Though I'm sure your parents will be around soon-"
"They won't", cut Alec in, his voice unusually cold.
That was what had made Jace stop. Because he was not used to Alec's voice being this cold, especially not about his own family. He had always sought their validation, just like Jace and Izzy. Always working hard to be the perfect golden boy, the heir to make them proud.
"Alec", sighed Jocelyn as she stopped pacing. "Maryse may not be the warmest woman, but-"
"Maryse will not come. And even if, I don't want to see her", stated Alec calmly, voice if possible even colder. "Neither of them spoke up for Jace and me. They just hung their heads low and accepted that we were deruned and banished."
"It's hard speaking up against the Clave-", offered Luke gently, trying to sooth Alec. "I'm sure-"
"She told me to cut my losses", spat Alec, voice vicious and dark, causing the living room to fall silent. "While Jace was out there, being tortured by Valentine, instead of helping with the search, Maryse pulled me aside and told me to cut my losses. About my own parabatai. And even worse than that, the boy she took in ten years ago, the boy she should care for like a son! No, the moment he became a 'disgrace', the moment the Clave turned on him, she was ready to drop him like hot coal. Abandoning him. Telling me to abandon him. I've... I've always defended them. I've always comforted Izzy when Maryse mistreated her, told her that Maryse just expects a lot from her but that she still loves us. But... But now I'm not so sure anymore. After all, Jace always seemed like her favorite. But... only while Jace was useful for the Lightwood name. The moment he's not anymore, she is ready to abandon him. To tell me to abandon him. No. No, they will not come."
"I'm sorry, son", sighed Luke and pulled Alec into a half-hug.
Luke might be the closest to understanding. Luke used to have a parabatai too. Jace tried not to think what it must be like to be betrayed by your parabatai, literally fed to the dogs.
"She wouldn't", whispered Simon wide-eyed. "I mean, I barely met her, but she's like your mom, right? She... She wouldn't just abandon you and tell Alec to abandon you too, right?"
Jace sighed and leaned heavily against Simon. "The family name means everything. I wasn't the kid of Robert's parabatai anymore. I'm now the kid of the greatest terrorist of the Shadow World..."
Simon made a miserable noise. A very mundane noise. Of course he did. Ever since his father had died, Luke Garroway had been a dad to him and there was just no way Simon could ever do anything to make Luke abandon him. Shadowhunters were just different. No, that wasn't right. Luke used to be a Shadowhunter too. Maybe it was just Robert and Maryse. They had always left for long, long stretches of time. They had been former Circle members and never told them.
"You two coming in or do you really think you're whispering low enough so my werewolf-hearing can't pick it up, kids?", called Luke from inside, sounding mildly amused.
Simon and Jace stumbled into the living room, both looking mildly embarrassed at having been caught eavesdropping. Alec instantly got up from the couch and walked over to Jace, wrapping his arms around the blonde and pulling him as close as physically possible. Without meaning to, Jace started sobbing. The horrors of the past week came crashing down on him and he clung tightly onto his parabatai as he started crying, mourning all the things he had lost and endured.
"It's going to be fine", whispered Alec into Jace's ear, caressing him soothingly. "It's going to be..."
"H... How?", hiccuped Jace. "Y... You lost everything because of me? Your family. Your name. Your home. Your runes. All your life, you worked to become head of the Institute one day and now-"
"I'd give it all and more with a heartbeat if the other option was to lose you", interrupted Alec firmly, bringing enough distance between them to cup Jace's face. "I love you, parabatai. With all of my heart. I will always choose you, over everything else. I'd rather live in the mundane world with you than in the Shadow World without you, Jace. Don't be sorry on my behalf."
Slowly, he leaned in and gently kissed Jace. When they broke apart, Jace saw Luke and Jocelyn over Alec's shoulder. His and Jocelyn's eyes met, for the very first time. Halting, Jace gripped Alec's arm even harder. Alec leaned in to press a gentle kiss to Jace's temple.
"Simon, I think Clary just called for you", stated Alec calmly.
"What? No. I didn't hear-", started Simon confused, before Alec glared rather pointedly at him. "O—Oh. Yeah. Totally. Totally heard that. Am going upstairs to check on her right now."
Alec rolled his eyes fondly at Simon in that exasperated 'you can be glad you date my sister' way. Jace smiled, wrapping one arm around Alec's neck, fully leaning into him and essentially making Alec drag him over to the couch to sit with his parents. What a weird thought.
"Hello. I'm... Jocelyn", whispered Jocelyn with a nearly pained look. "I..."
"You're my mother", nodded Jace, grasping Alec's hand and squeezing it tightly.
"I... am", nodded Jocelyn, leaning in and reaching out, but then pausing.
After a moment of hesitation, she reached out after all and cupped Jace's cheek, looking at him closely. Jace remained tense, holding his breath as he waited to be... accessed. The next moment, she pulled him into a tight hug and Jace found himself relaxing.
"You'll stay with us", whispered Jocelyn gently. "If... you want, only. Of course."
"I... I...", started Jace, not knowing what to say. "Thank you."
Valentine stole the Soul Sword. A demon got into the Institute and went on a murder spree. And then Aldertree got Isabelle addicted to yin fen. The head of the Institute got a Shadowhunter addicted to yin fen. It was repulsing. It made Jace furious. It also made him kind of glad that he and Alec were no longer involved with the Shadow World.
The two of them, all the while, had started trying to get used to their life in the mundie world. Jace got himself a job at Java Jones, for distraction. He didn't last long staying at the Garroway-home, cooped up and healing. It was just too much, being alone with his own thoughts. Maia had suggested he should try focusing on something else, get busy.
"How are you feeling, honey?", asked Jocelyn gently as she sat down next to Isabelle.
She had been living with the Garroways since Alec learned about her addiction. Alec and Jace were sharing what used to be Jocelyn's art-studio and now housed at least a fold-out couch. Isabelle was crashing in Clary's room, with the Garroways keeping a close eye on her to help her through the worst. Who had also helped her a lot was Elaine, actually. Isabelle had been downright terrified that Simon's mom would never want her to see Simon again because Simon deserved better than that mess. Instead, Elaine had pulled her into a reassuring hug and taken her along to a meeting.
"Like I got dragged through a sewer", muttered Isabelle and sighed, leaning against Jocelyn. "Thank you, for letting me stay here. You don't... you didn't have to."
Jocelyn made a chiding noise and brushed Isabelle's hair out of her face. "Nonsense, sweetie. You have been one of Clary's best friends for three years now. I have cheered you on through cheerleading tournaments. I took pictures of you and Simon when you went to senior prom on a double-date with Clary and Maia. I'll not let you suffer through this alone."
"And tonight, we're having a girls-night while the boys are out", declared Clary with a bright smile.
Following her was a smiling Maia. The couple cuddled up next to Isabelle on the other side. Clary stole a gentle kiss from Maia, curling up on Maia's lap. Isabelle smiled faintly. The ache was particularly strong today and Clary and Jocelyn had noticed, through the tremors. So they had decided to have a girls night, to help distract Isabelle from the craving and keep her from going out and doing something potentially stupid. Luke had taken Simon, Jace and Alec out to the Hunter's Moon for a night of drinking. With everything going on, Luke and Jocelyn had agreed to split up the kids and make sure they remembered they still were kids. Especially since Alec and Isabelle's little brother had received his first rune the other day – for Isabelle, being there and enduring their mother's judgmental, cold ways, and for Alec and Jace, not being there because they were no longer welcomed at the Institute, it was hard on them.
"Now, we are having a Sandra Bullock night", declared Jocelyn with a smile. "The perfect balance between comedy, action and overall joy."
"Sounds perfect to me", grinned Isabelle faintly, leaning against Clary.
She wasn't paying a lot of attention to the movies, just munching popcorn distractedly, enjoying the running commentary from Maia, Clary and Jocelyn. It felt safe, warm and like home.
Jace tilted his head as he finally got to take his break for the day. Hanging his apron, he approached his friends in a corner of Java Jones. Simon and Alec sat on one side of the booth, Gretel, Maia and Bat on the other. Bat Velasquez, the newest addition to their little group. A newbie wolf who had been turned by Russel and found by Maia and Gretel.
"Hey, guys", sighed Jace and collapsed next to Alec, leaning against his boyfriend.
Alec wrapped an arm around him and kissed his temple. It made Jace smile a little. After years of being careful, now they could actually be themselves, be openly affectionate whenever and wherever they wanted. Maia huffed and rolled her eyes at him, making him stick his tongue out. They both knew that if Clary was here, Maia would have the redhead half on her lap by now.
"This is kinda weird", mused Bat, looking at Alec and Jace. "I mean, here I am, a mundie dragged into the Shadow World. And you two... dragged into the mundie world instead."
"...Yeah", sighed Alec, tilting his head back.
"And all three of you will adjust", grunted Gretel with firm but gentle eyes.
She stretched out her legs under the table and pressed one against Jace's, comfortingly so. He lifted his gaze to look at her, smiling weakly. The two of them had grown closer since the Morning Star. Both had been held captive and when Valentine tried to make Jace murder his friend, the two of them escaped together and made it to the Hunter's Moon. Before that, they had more been in the same group of friends – both being closer to Maia and Clary than to each other.
"How does the honest life treat you though, Jace?", asked Simon with a teasing grin. "Having to work for your money and all. Wait. Alec doesn't have a job, does that make Jace your sugar-daddy, Alec? Ouch! Note to self: Just because he's not a Shadowhunter anymore, Alec's still strong."
Alec smirked at that and Jace huffed. "I'm doing fine. Working here... it helps me not go crazy? Just having the thoughts in my head be my only company... This is a distraction."
"So, Alec alone isn't distraction enough?", asked Maia, both eyebrows raised.
Alec rolled his eyes at that, fingers drawing circles where once Jace's parabatai-rune had sat. The contact was soothing and made Jace smile faintly. It was hard on them both and it would not be fair of Jace to demand Alec's undivided attention to lift him up. Alec was dealing with his own fair share of pain. The loss of the bond, but also the loss of his family, the abandonment. They had lost home, family and purpose all at once and on top of that, there was a void where once had been the comforting and familiar buzz of their bond. It was a lot to adjust to. They just had to find a rhythm for it, had to find a way to deal with it, individually and together.
"To the new head of the Institute!", declared Isabelle with a bright smile.
They were at the Hunter's Moon together, all of them. Jocelyn and Luke, Isabelle and Simon, Clary and Maia, Alec and Jace, Bat – and Lydia Branwell, the new head of the Institute. While having only been a stand-in envoy before, after the stunt Aldertree had pulled, the Clave had sent Lydia back and established her as the permanent head of the Institute. A change everyone present approved of, because Lydia was hard-working, trustworthy and she didn't try to chip Shadowhunters. The last stunt the Inquisitor had pulled before putting Lydia in charge and leaving for Idris.
All because Kaelie Whitewillow had gone crazy and murdered Shadowhunters, framing other Downworlders. The Inquisitor felt cornered, threatened, and issued for all Downworlders to be chipped. Luke and Maia had come home, with a dour mood and an angry pack. Moments like those and Jace was kind of glad that the business of the Shadowhunters no longer directly affected him. That he was no longer involved with this mess, first hand.
"I think the Institute will be in good hands with you, Miss Branwell", stated Luke.
"Thank you. I... really hope so", sighed Lydia, looking downright shy.
Her first order of business had been to remove all implanted chips. She smiled faintly at him. It felt odd for Jace, like looking in from the outside. Lydia, Isabelle and Clary were now the new trio around the New York Institute, while Jace was selling overpriced coffee or playing gigs with Simon at the Hunter's Moon. The band had kind of fallen apart. The guys had left the state for college after graduation and things with Maureen had kind of fallen apart after the Shadow World hijacked their lives. It was safer like that for Maureen.
"You okay, Jace?", asked Maia, nudging him slightly.
"I should ask you that", grunted Jace, deliberately looking at her neck.
Self-consciously, Maia rubbed the place the transplant had been in. "I'm fine. But you've been... spacing out a lot. And you keep touching your hip every time you do."
Jace blinked and looked down, noticing that his hand was indeed on his parabatai-rune. The place his parabatai-rune had been in. Gritting his teeth, Jace emptied his beer.
"...And you've been drinking a lot", tagged Maia on very softly so no one else could hear.
"It's been... a rough couple weeks", muttered Jace with a sardonic smile, tilting his head. "What? You gonna rattle me out to mom and dad?"
Maia sighed, her eyes conveying exactly what she was thinking. "Jace... I'm your friend. And I worry about you, you know. You've been through hell and back. And now, suddenly, the parents of your friend are your parents, while the people who were supposed to be like parents to you just abandoned you. Not even gonna get into the details of your birth father. I just... Everyone can break, under too much pressure."
Sighing deeply, Jace leaned back and let his eyes wander. Clary was engaged in a conversation with Alec and Lydia, while Simon and Isabelle were busy making out. Luke and Jocelyn were talking in hushed voices and with serious expressions on their faces, most likely about what had transpired between the Institute and the pack. Luke was the Alpha, he'd have to take responsibility. Jocelyn was not a wolf, but she was his wife, his mate. She was deeply involved in pack-business too. Especially now, since Alaric... had died during the war, leaving Luke without his second-in-command and also without his partner at the precinct.
"What do you suggest I do?", whispered Jace lowly.
"Izzy is getting mundie help, maybe you should too. See a professional to talk to", replied Maia.
"Sure. And tell them all about how my father attempted genocide on the Downworld and experimented on me with demon-blood. I don't think Alec will find the straight-jacket sexy on me", snorted Jace and shook his head.
"Ha, ha, ha", drawled Maia unimpressed. "Idiot. You don't have to say it all so... literal. Phrase it in a mundane way. You were abducted by your father after a bad... divorce between your father and recently learned who your mother and sister are. You were abused by him, but then lost contact. Now he came back into your life by abducting and torturing you. Your foster parents abandoned you when you came out to them as gay and now you're living with your mom and sister."
Jace stared at her, both eyebrows raised. He knew he was not going to get out of this and maybe she had a point. Jace barely did anything anymore. He went to work, went to gigs, but it had all already become a routine. He was going through the motions. Maybe he should give it a try; Isabelle was doing really great and the mundie meetings were helping her. Maybe a mundie doctor could help him. His eyes found Alec. If not for himself, then for Alec. Alec had lost so much, Jace wanted to be there for him. This could be their chance to be together, openly together. He shouldn't waste it.
Alec smiled softly as he woke up. The pull-out couch was not the most luxurious thing in the world and while Jocelyn had cleaned out most of her art-stuff, it was still not exactly a proper bedroom. But Alec could sleep in a stable on hay if it meant waking up next to Jace every morning.
Slowly, Alec leaned down to kiss Jace's neck and down his torso. Jace grumbled softly in his sleep, but turned toward the touch on instinct, making Alec grin. His lips trailed down further until he pressed a gentle kiss against the parabatai-rune. Well. The tattoo there.
It had been Clary's idea, especially after her own runeing ceremony. Because the symbols alone already held meaning. And both Alec and Jace clearly missed their bond, but also the physical reminder that they belonged together. So Alec and Jace had gone and gotten mundie tattoos, matching ones of the parabatai-rune, exactly where their runes had once been.
It was by far not a replacement and Alec still yearned for the bond, but it helped a little.
Over the past months, Alec had gotten better about the missing bond though. During the first two weeks, Alec and Jace could not be separated at all. They needed to always have the other in sight, because with the bond severed, it felt like the other was dead and that thought was unbearable. They needed the visual confirmation that their parabatai and lover was not dead. It gradually got better, that they could be apart for small amounts of time. They still had to text each other multiple times a day, but Jace could go to work and Alec didn't have to linger around Java Jones like a stalker all day because he couldn't stand the thought of Jace not being close.
Perhaps it had also brought them a little bit of closure and helped them ease up when Clary, Lydia and Isabelle reported back that Valentine had been brought to justice. He had finally been transferred to Idris, after long and useless interrogations, and now he had been executed. Clary, Lydia and Isabelle had all attended, in Idris. Alec wished he and Jace could have gone too, but it was maybe even better that they had not been allowed, because Alec wasn't sure how well Jace would have taken it. A part of Jace would always think of Valentine as his father, would always associate the tiny scrapes of love he had gotten as something genuine, despite the fact that mostly, Jace had come to accept that he had been abused and that what Valentine had taught him was not love. The doctor Jace was seeing had helped a lot with that.
Jace had become more at ease with himself and he was even embracing the mundie life more. The doctor had helped Jace see this as a second chance. He finally got to meet his mother and sister, he needed to stay optimistic about it, see the good this mess had brought him.
Jace was even embracing his mundie job. Alec smiled softly at that, wrapping his arms around Jace and burying his face in Jace's stomach. He wasn't just making coffees anymore, he had taken to baking. Brownies, cakes, pies, cupcakes, muffins. Alec and the Garroways were his test-subjects before he'd suggest anything to the boss though and every time someone genuinely enjoyed one of his creations, Jace would smile so brightly and genuinely proud.
"Why are you awa—ake?", groaned Jace and yawned widely. "Why am I awake?"
"Because you have to get to work, babe", chuckled Alec and kissed him. "Up you go."
Jace grumbled as he sat up and left their bedroom to get ready for the day. Sighing, Alec made his way to the kitchen, where Jocelyn and Luke were already sitting at the breakfast table.
"Morning, Alec", greeted Luke, handing him half the newspaper.
"Good morning, sweetie", smiled Jocelyn, getting a mug out for Alec.
"Thanks. Morning", yawned Alec. "Jace is in the bathroom."
"That boy takes longer in the bathroom than Clary and Jocelyn combined", grunted Luke.
"...What is that supposed to mean?", asked Jocelyn, lifting the pan with the sizzling breakfast up a bit. "And be careful with your answer; I am the woman handling your bacon here."
"Just that the apple doesn't seem to fall far from the tree", chuckled Luke.
Alec heaved a sigh and sank down on his chair, prompting Jocelyn and Luke to exchange a look. When Jocelyn returned to making breakfast, Luke folded his newspaper.
"What's on your mind, Alec?", asked Luke in that soothing, kind voice of his.
"I feel so... useless", sighed Alec. "Seeing Clary get ready every day to leave for the Institute, having Jace go to his... job... I was always busy. I always worked the hardest. I never took a day off. Duty always came first. Now... it's... it's been weeks since we moved in with you. Months already."
"And you're growing restless", nodded Luke. "Well, not to make it sound like you kids aren't welcomed here, but have you thought about getting a job? You two could save up, get your own place. And having a job will return a sense of purpose to your life again."
"But what?", sighed Alec frustrated. "All I've ever known is monster hunting. Investigating, following orders, keeping people safe... Being a Shadowhunter is all I know."
"Ah, yes", nodded Luke, shifting a little and tapping his fingers against his badge. "If only there were a mundie job equivalent to that. Now wouldn't that be amazing?"
Alec paused and stared at the badge for a long moment. "Is... that why you became a cop?"
"Yes", confirmed Luke. "I missed it too. Being a Shadowhunter. And while it's not the same, it's the closest you'll get. Enforcing the law, helping and protecting the innocent. You're a good kid, Alec. One with a strong moral compass. I think the academy would do you good."
Frowning thoughtfully, Alec sipped his coffee. A cop. Maybe that could work out.
"Jace, babe, we... need to talk."
Jace swallowed the bite of bagel and slowly turned toward his boyfriend. Putting the other bagels he had brought for his family down on the counter. Alec looked serious as he sat on the couch.
"What did I do?", asked Jace with a frown, approaching Alec.
The archer smiled softly and wrapped his arms around Jace's waist to pull him down onto his lap. Frowning curiously, Jace placed his knees on either side of Alec's lap and got comfortable.
"Nothing, my love", assured Alec gently, kissing Jace. "I know I've been... distant lately. Both of us have been. I just... I didn't know how to deal with everything and... and... a part of me, a part that I hate, was envious of how well you seemed to handle it. You just... accepted working at Java Jones and adjusted to it, you adjusted to Jocelyn and Luke..."
"Guess I have more... experience adapting to having my life be ripped away from under my feet than you do, Alec", sighed Jace, cupping Alec's cheek. "It's okay, you know. That you needed some time to sort your thoughts out yourself. So... what's the verdict?"
"I need a job", stated Alec seriously. "I need... I need the routine in my life too. I need the responsibility, the feeling of being useful. And you and I really need to move out of your mom's art-studio. As much as I appreciate that they took us in, it's been over two months now."
"Yeah", nodded Jace slowly. "So... you got anything specific in mind?"
"I... Luke offered to help me get into the... police academy", whispered Alec. "It's dangerous, being a cop, but... not more dangerous than being a Shadowhunter was. There are enough parallels that... it might help me feel... normal again. Or as close to normal as I'll ever get."
"Okay", nodded Jace surprised. "That... actually sounds great. Heh. I can really picture you as a cop. Oh. You'd look so hot in the uniform, babe."
Groaning softly, Jace leaned down to kiss Alec, making the archer smile.
"Kiddo, Jocelyn and I, we wanted to talk to you."
Luke stood in the doorway of the art-studio, looking at Jace, who was brooding over the newspaper, looking for apartments. Alec was attending police academy and then they would have two stable incomes. They would be able to afford something. Even if it was just one room and nothing else, it'd be theirs and only theirs and that would be amazing. Blinking, he looked up.
"What is it, d... Luke?", asked Jace slowly.
There was a faint smile on Luke's lips. "Come on. I made hot chocolate."
Humming intrigued, Jace got up and followed Luke to the living room, where a slightly nervous Jocelyn was sitting. She smiled and tucked her hair behind her ear. Both Jace and Luke sat down with her and each took a cup of chocolate, sitting in silence for a long moment.
"You want to move out", noted Luke slowly.
"Well, the couch isn't... a permanent solution", chuckled Jace. "Once Alec has a stable income, we'll start saving, get our own place. Yeah. Part of the mundie experience, huh?"
Chuckling, Luke nodded. "Yeah. It really is. Just... You need to know that we didn't take you in out of pity or that you have to hurry and leave on our account. And that you will... always be welcomed here. To crash, or just to come and... talk, you know that, right?"
"I... uhm...", mumbled Jace a bit flushed, ducking his head. "...Thank you."
"You're Jocelyn's son. Clary's brother. You're family, kid", stated Luke. "I'm not your father, but... with the track-record of fatherly figures you had in your life, I hope you know that you're a son to me and that I will always be there for you too, okay?"
"That... Thank you", nodded Jace, unclenching his jaw.
"There's something we meant to talk to you about, but... first, it felt too soon and then it became this awkward time, you know? Is it too late nor, or still too soon?", started Jocelyn. "I just... When me and Dot came to Java Jones last week and your colleague called for you, called you Wayland... You're not a Wayland. You never were a Wayland. You're a Fairchild."
Jace's breath hitched a little when Jocelyn took a wooden box with the letters JC on it and opened it to take out a ring on a silver chain. The family ring of the Fairchilds. He bit his lower lip hard.
"You're my firstborn, Jace. And... And if you move out, I want you to have it. I want you to know where you come from, where you really came from. Where you belong", continued Jocelyn.
Holding his breath, Jace allowed Jocelyn to put the chain around his neck. The ring felt inexplicably heavy, but in a good way. In a grounding way. He wasn't a Wayland. Had never really been a Lightwood. Was definitely not a Morgenstern. He was a... Fairchild. That's who he was. Reaching up, he wrapped his fingers around the ring and looked up at Jocelyn with teary eyes.
"We actually talked about this and... only if you want to, we thought that you could... change your name. Jace Garroway. Because you belong to this family", tagged Luke on.
"A... Are you sure?", asked Jace surprised, looking from Jocelyn to Luke and back.
"Only if that is what you want too, Jace", nodded Jocelyn. "I spent the past eighteen years thinking you are... dead. I want you to be a part of this family. You're my son."
Without thinking much on it, Jace surged forward and hugged her, answering brokenly. "Yes."
"We're proud of you, kid", stated Luke with a smile, resting a heavy hand on Alec's shoulder.
Alec felt his heart stutter in a strange way at the gentle smile from the man who had taken them in when Alec's own parents had turned their backs. His praise had come to mean a lot to Alec, but before Alec had a chance to reply anything, he was tackled in hugs. Firstly, of course, Jace, wrapping his limbs around his boyfriend and kissing him deeply. Then came Isabelle and Lydia from either side, sandwiching Alec. Over the past months of knowing Lydia, she had become more than just a good friend to Alec. A... best friend. Alec had never had such a thing, not beyond Jace. Clary, Simon, Maia, Bat and Gretel were close to follow, cheering him on loudly too.
"I can't believe you made everyone come to my graduation", groaned Alec.
"Why not? We were here for your high school graduation to cheer you on, we would certainly not miss your graduation from police academy, Officer Lightwood", smiled Jocelyn teasingly.
Alec blushed and ducked his head, while his friends started laughing.
"This is going to be it, huh? Casa de Garroway-Lightwood. Garrowood? Lightway?"
"Simon? Shut up and carry the box to the bedroom", sighed Alec, not unkindly so.
Simon grinned broadly and saluted before carrying the box to the bedroom. The apartment wasn't big. They barely had space for the couch in the living room. There was a small kitchen, a bathroom with a shower but no bathtub. Bat, Jace and Luke were groaning as they were carrying the couch up the flights of stairs. As soon as it stood in the living room did Jace collapse on the couch, groaning. Alec couldn't help but sit down next to his boyfriend, pulling him close and kissing him.
"Our own place", whispered Jace in awe, resting his head against Alec's shoulder.
Jocelyn and Luke had pitched in, because Jace and Alec deserved better than the tiniest apartment possible. Alec couldn't express just how grateful he was for everything Luke and Jocelyn had done for them in the past four months. Wrapping his arms around Jace, he pulled the blonde close enough so he could rest his chin on top of his head, Jace humming contently.
"Boys, no slacking off. There is still a lot of furniture to build", grunted Luke amused.
"Not now, I have a boyfriend to hug right now, dad", groaned Jace, before pausing.
There was a long moment in which Jace and Luke just looked at each other. Then, they both smiled and returned to their tasks. Alec hid his own smile in Jace's hair, resting a hand in Jace's neck.
"Once you got some paint on the walls and the furniture up, this place will look great", declared Jocelyn with a smile, carrying two large buckets of paint.
"Good thing you have two talented artists in your family who are glad to help out!", declared Clary.
"You're the best, sis", grinned Jace, ducking his head a little.
"Hey!", exclaimed Isabelle with mock hurt on her face. "I still consider myself your sister, you know, despite everything that happened, so I take personal offense to that."
"I mean. I never said that you can't compete for it", grinned Jace fondly.
Huffing, Isabelle straightened her back. "Si! Help me put together the furniture in the bedroom. There is a competition I have to win and as my boyfriend, you are obligated to help me!"
"Oh, it is on, Lightwood", declared Clary, locking eyes with Isabelle.
Simon in the bedroom made a miserable sound. "Don't put me between my two favorite girls."
Alec couldn't help but smile as he watched them. Their... family. He hugged Jace some closer.
Alec was laying sprawled out on the couch. Some show was blaring on the TV, Alec had no idea what, because he hadn't paid any attention to it. He just needed the noise. Jace was at the Hunter's Moon with Simon, the two still occasionally got gigs there and still made music together. Usually, Alec would have swung by, watched his boyfriend in amazement before heading home with Jace. But today had been exhausting and all Alec wanted was to lay on the couch and not move.
"Hey", whispered Jace gently, kissing Alec's neck.
Startled, Alec looked up. He had not even noticed the door opening. Jace smiled gently at him upside down before climbing over the backrest of the couch, easily slipping into Alec's lap. Contently sighing, Alec leaned back again. Nothing was more soothing than having Jace with him.
"How was work, darling?", asked Jace teasingly.
"Kicked some criminal butt", sighed Alec, yawning widely. "Also, and I'm not supposed to tell you this, but your dad made sergeant. We're invited to dinner this weekend, because he wants to tell everyone. So, uh, act surprised, okay?"
Laughing, Jace leaned up to kiss Alec properly. "Babe? I was... thinking, you know."
"Thinking?", asked Alec curiously, snuggling up to the blonde. "What about?"
"I was thinking... maybe... my own place. I mean. Coffee place", elaborated Jace. "Rent a food truck. Make my own business. Like... Java Jace, you know?"
Alec laughed softly at that, looking at his boyfriend, who looked untypically unsure. "That's a nice idea. You and your charms already managed to get your regulars that would definitely follow you anywhere for their fix of muffins and coffee."
"Yeah?", asked Jace, borderline shy.
"Definitely", assured Alec, leaning in to press a kiss to the corner of Jace's mouth. "You can do it. And it'd be totally amazing. But... do you think you can do it alone?"
"Uh, I actually talked to Gretel. Spit-balling the idea, you know", shrugged Jace, cheeks flushed. "She'd... back me up. Work for me. And... yeah... I think with the... support I can do it. I just... I mean, you made detective last month. And I... the more pay..."
"Jace", interrupted Alec gently and sat up, despite of how tired he was. "I will always support you. If this is what you want, I will fully support you in it. You supported me through all it took to making detective. Long hours, coming home late and tired, missing date-nights, being distracted because I had a case on my mind. I am not telling you that I'd rather save the money to go on a long vacation with you, if it can go into your dream."
"Alec...", whispered Jace gently, smiling softly at him.
"You and me, parabatai", stated Alec firmly, grasping Jace's hands. "We're in this together. Handling the mundie life. Making the best out of this life, for the both of us."
"Marry me", stated Jace, staring at Alec in awe.
For a long moment of silence did the two of them just stare at each other, Alec's eyes wide in surprise. "W—What... Jace. I think it's late. We should go to bed."
"No, don't try to save this like it was a slip. I mean, it kind of was. I never imagined asking you like this. But... I still mean it", argued Jace firmly, squaring his shoulders.
"Y... You do?", asked Alec unsure, eyebrows knitted.
Jace's eyes were steeled with determination. "I love you, Alec. I have loved you for years. We've been dating for four years now. We lost everything together and like you just said, we're in this together. We are building this life for us together. And while... while getting married was never an option for us, while we had to hide our love for years... We're mundanes now. We haven't had to hide our love for over a year now. We live together, have a shared bank-account, go to family dinner with my parents and sister. I am in this for life, for our life. Let's get married, because we can."
The smile slowly spreading over Alec's face was blindingly beautiful before Alec leaned in and kissed Jace deeply, pushing him back against the couch until the archer was essentially laying on top of him. Smiling into the kiss, Jace wrapped his arms around Alec's neck.
Jace and Alec had to split their friends up somehow, for the bachelor-parties.
Alec got Isabelle, Lydia, Bat and Aline, while Jace got Simon, Maia, Clary and Gretel.
And while Alec's bachelor-party was a calmer affair, Jace got himself dragged to a strip-club. Somehow, he had assumed he'd get to avoid that what with his party consisting of one straight guy and two lesbians, but he had forgotten that just because he was getting married to a man didn't mean they had to drag him to a strip-club according to it. Instead, they wanted to show him what he was 'giving up for good'. There were a couple good-natured jibes from Maia about how he could give that up. Amusingly, the defense mainly came from Simon about how hot Alec was. Honestly, that guy wasn't a hundred percent straight either, he just didn't know it yet.
Jace was very hungover when he woke up on his parents' couch the day after the bachelor-party. After all the grooms were not supposed to see each other on their big day. Jace thought it was stupid and he hated being apart from his fiance. Yawning, Jace lifted his hand to look at the ring.
It was stupid too. Stupid little silver ring with a white stone set in the center and one ruby on either side of the white stone. It was beautiful and a total waste of money, but Alec had insisted on doing it right, doing it the way they should as mundanes. Going down on a knee and having a ring.
"You look so in love when you're thinking of Alec", teased Luke fondly.
Jace's cheeks heated up as he looked at him. "Hey, dad. Uhm... I mean..."
"You don't need to defend yourself, kiddo", chuckled Luke, resting a hand on Jace's shoulder. "You're supposed to look in love when thinking of the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Now, you going to join us for breakfast? I made my famous hangover cure."
Groaning pleased, Jace got up and followed Luke to the kitchen, where Jocelyn was waiting. Clary was apparently still sleeping out her hangover. She really couldn't handle her alcohol.
"Good morning, sweetie", greeted Jocelyn with a smile.
"Morning, mom", replied Jace and kissed her cheek.
"Nervous about the big day?", wanted Jocelyn to know.
"Not really", hummed Jace. "Drumming with excitement? I mean. I love Alec. I know I want to spend the rest of my life with him. I tied my soul to him before. This...? Yeah."
"Your mom and I, we have a wedding-gift for you", said Luke.
"Gifts only after the I Dos", grinned Jace a bit confused.
"This one... should be given before the ceremony", chuckled Luke. "Here."
Frowning, Jace accepted the black box and opened it. His eyes widened as he stared from Luke to Jocelyn, both of them smiling at him. He could feel tears prickling in his eyes.
"It's... perfect. Thank you", whispered Jace, swallowing his tears.
"You're being super fidgety, Garroway", grinned Simon teasingly.
Jace glared pointedly. "I can still change my mind and pick a different best man."
Simon made a betrayed sound at that and stopped straightening Jace's bow-tie. "You wouldn't!"
Cracking a smile, Jace pulled Simon into a hug. "Obviously not. You're my... best non-Alec friend."
At that, Simon had to laugh, hugging Jace back. It was the big hour. He was going to marry the love of his life and he couldn't be more nervous, honestly. Licking his lips, Jace took a deep breath.
"It's stupid, being nervous", muttered Jace frustrated. "I have no reason to."
"I think it's more like... excitement that feels like being nervous?", offered Simon with a grin. "You and Alec, you're a meant-to-be happily-ever-after couple. And you're excited because this is the start of the happily ever after. Now come, we wouldn't want you to be late to your own wedding."
"True", grinned Jace, taking a last deep, calming breath. "Time to face the music."
"See you at the other end of the aisle", grinned Simon, patting his back.
With that, Simon ran off, leaving Jace alone with Luke. It was not usual, normally it was the bride being brought down the aisle by her father, but considering Jace and Luke were bonding these days and it was really important for them, it meant the world for Jace.
"You still look nervous", teased Luke with a fond smile.
Jace grumbled and glared up at his stepfather, making Luke laugh a little, though Jace's grumbling stopped when he saw Alec on the other end of the aisle. Staring slack-jawed, Jace let himself be dragged along until he stood in front of his insanely handsome fiance, in his white tux.
"You look so handsome. How am I this lucky?", whispered Jace in awe.
"You just stole my lines", grinned Alec, reaching out to cup Jace's face. "You're gorgeous."
Smiling, Jace leaned into Alec's hand. They were wearing matching white tuxes and they both did look incredibly handsome in them. Luke chuckled, clapping Jace on the shoulder. Jace had to admit, he got a little lost in Alec's eyes, not even listening to their officiator, at least not until Simon cleared his throat in an obnoxious way, nudging Jace.
"Dude. Dude, it's time for the vows", hissed Simon.
Startled, Jace, looked up, watching the amusement in Alec's eyes. Honestly, considering they had been dating for four years now, it was getting ridiculous that Alec still got all pleased and fond every time Jace spaced out because he was so in love with Alec. Clearing his throat, Jace stepped up some and took one of the rings and one of the bracelets. Alec's eyes were soft as he stared at the two silver bracelets, matching the rings. The Wedded Union rune was engraved on the bracelet. Just because Alec and Jace were no longer Shadowhunters didn't mean that they had an easy time abandoning their traditions. They weren't runes to be burned onto their skin, but still.
"Entreat me not to leave thee, or return from following after thee", started Jace, looking deeply into Alec's eyes. "For whither thou goest, I will go, and where thou lodgest, I will lodge."
Alec smiled gently at Jace as he took the other ring to slowly slip it onto Jace's finger. "Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried. The Angel do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me."
"You may now kiss."
Alec cupped Jace's cheek, tiling his head and sealing his lips. They closed their eyes, enjoying the kiss even as everyone cheered and clapped for them. They were married. Officially married.
"Hello, Mister Garroway", whispered Jace with a smile.
"Hello, husband mine", chuckled Alec, wrapping his arms around Jace's waist. "My love."
Closing his eyes, Jace inhaled deeply, enjoying the feeling of those words. The weight of the ring and bracelet, officially binding them together in marriage. His husband. He smiled brightly.
The chain around Jace's neck rattled as he turned around toward his husband with a thoughtful look. There were three rings on the chain by now; the Fairchild family ring, his engagement ring and his wedding ring. With his job, it didn't do to wear a ring.
"Ba—abe", drawled Jace slowly.
Alec was in the kitchen, making dinner. The apartment was still small, but sometimes that came in handy. Jace could watch his husband cook without having to get off the couch.
"What, love?", asked Alec loudly.
"I... I know we've been saving up to get a bigger apartment...", drawled Jace.
"We have", agreed Alec confused. "What is it you're getting at?"
Getting up from the couch, Jace approached Alec and wrapped his arms around his husband's waist, burying his face between Alec's shoulder-blades, making the archer chuckle fondly.
"What if... we stay in this place longer...? It's not that bad, right?", asked Jace. "And it's ours. Was our first own space. It wouldn't be... horrible to stay here longer?"
"What are you trying to say?", asked Alec. "Hey. Talk to me, parabatai."
"I just... I feel selfish asking this of you, because the apartment is ours, but...", sighed Jace. "Java Jones is for sale. Well, rent. The owner retired and... the food-truck has been going so well that I had to expand to two more. I was... When I walked past Java Jones the other day, all I could think was... this could be mine... Java Jace. As a proper café. Where people can come in and sit, students and kids doing homework, families coming in for an early breakfast..."
"That sounds good", smiled Alec gently.
"...Really?", asked Jace hopefully. "I'd... I'd have to take a bank-loan and we couldn't get a bigger apartment for now and I'd be... busy... very busy for a while, while adjusting to it."
"That's okay, my love", assured Alec with a smile, tilting his head. "I will support you. Always."
The smile on Jace's lips was small and warm and so loving.
Alec didn't even look up from his desk when his sister sauntered in. He was used to unplanned visits from her. The Institute and the LAPD were working closely together by now, thanks to the new captain. Captain Luke Garroway. He assigned the Downworld related cases to his Downworlder detectives, who could then easily work together with the Institute. Instead of like before, when Luke had to somehow try and hide from Ollie. Well, as short as that had lasted. Alec scolded at the memory of the annoying mundie who had meddled and pushed and pushed until she, of course, got dragged right into the middle of danger, which was literally where she had been pushing herself to. The audacity of her wife blaming Luke for that had made Alec very angry – he had grown protective of his father-in-law very early on, even before Jace and Alec had been married, because Luke and Jocelyn had done so much for him and Jace. He shook his head at the memory. Ollie had left town well over a year ago and by now, Luke was captain. And Alec had a far more competent partner than that. He lifted his gaze to look at Bat Velasquez sitting next to him, grinning.
"Yo, Iz", greeted Bat, waving at Isabelle.
"Hey, Bat", grinned Isabelle back as she sauntered over to them.
Alec pursed his lips as Isabelle sat down on his desk. "What can I do for you, Missus Lewis?"
"Why, Detective Garroway, can't I just come to chat?", asked Isabelle.
The siblings exchanged a soft smile at that. For Alec, it had been oddly liberating, getting married to Jace last year and taking his last-name. For Izzy, a few months ago, it had been an act of defiance. A giant fuck you to their parents for abandoning Alec and Jace. Besides, Elaine, Rebecca and Helen embraced Izzy and gladly welcomed her into the Lewis-family.
"I have some news that I wanted to tell everyone at the next Garroway-Lewis family dinner, but... I can't wait until then. I need to tell my big brother right now. In person", stated Isabelle.
"You're getting a divorce, because you discovered you were a lesbian all along and that you will be marrying Lydia, because she's amazing and I approve of her?", guessed Alec.
"...That was way too unprompted and way too specific", grunted Bat disturbed.
"What can I say, I have my daydreams about a perfect life too. Some of them involve not being called brother by Simon Lewis", shrugged Alec unapologetically.
"Well, I hope that attitude will change when he's the father of your niece or nephew."
It took a full minute for Alec to realize what was happening. His eyes widened and his attention snapped to her stomach. She smiled and rested a hand on top of it. Bat squealed, jumped over the table and tackled Isabelle in a tight hug.
"Y... You're... pregnant?", asked Alec stunned, unable to move.
"It... wasn't entirely planned. But... I mean... Simon and I, we've been married for five months now. We've been dating for five years now. It may have not been planned, but... yeah. You're gonna be an uncle", grinned Isabelle, tucking her hair behind her ear.
"How did Simon take the news?", asked Bat, still hugging her. "I bet he was over the moon."
"He was so adorable", laughed Isabelle delighted. "He immediately started talking to my stomach about how he was going to teach them how to play the guitar and buy adorable superhero onesies."
"This child will need some good influence from Jace and me", snorted Alec fondly.
"Hey", chided Isabelle with a glare. "I will have you know that my husband is wonderful."
Alec's face softened as he looked at his sister. "He is. I might give him a hard time occasionally, but... he adores you, he makes you happy, Iz. He's loyal and kind. He's... good."
"Oh, I should have recorded this as blackmail material", grunted Bat teasingly.
Alec huffed and rolled his eyes at his partner, but Bat just grinned.
Alec's heart fluttered as he entered the apartment to the sounds of laughter and children's voices.
When renting the former Java Jones, they had also acquired the apartment above the coffee-shop. It was larger than their old apartment had been, with an extra room that worked as an office-space for Alec, a bigger kitchen. And it had the additional bonus of literally only being a staircase away from Jace's place of work. They loved the place, really.
"Babe? I'm home", called Alec out.
Instead of Jace, he had two other voices answer rather enthusiastically. "UNCLE ALEC!"
The next moment, his niece and nephew collided with him. He smiled gently as he wrapped his arms around them. Sophia Elaine Lewis was five years old by now, her little brother Gideon Levi Lewis was three. When Alec looked at them, he saw a lot of himself and Izzy in them. Which was only befitting, considering their names. Izzy wanted to name her son after Alec, but not overly obviously – really, if she had just named him Alexander, he would have rolled his eyes at her. So instead, she gave him Alec's middle-name. Both Sophia and Gideon had dark hair and brown eyes, though their characters were rather different. Sophia was a fierce, diligent fighter, eagerly anticipating her first rune and preparing for the parabatai ceremony already – she and her best friend knew they wanted to be parabatai, even though Isabelle told both girls that they should slow down a little and that they didn't understand the full extend of it. Sophia? Didn't really care. Gideon however was more shy and rather spend his time listening to stories.
"Hey, kids. Have you been tormenting uncle Jace?", asked Alec teasingly.
"Giddy made him tell the story of how you all met dad!", exclaimed Sophia.
"It's a nice story", argued Gideon with a pout.
"It is", agreed Alec with a small smile, lifting Gideon up into his arms.
Sophia ran ahead back to where Jace was sitting on the couch with three glasses of milk and his famous three-kinds-of-chocolate chip cookies. Jace smiled when Sophia sat down next to him and cuddled up before stealing one of the cookies. With Gideon on his lap did Alec sit down on Jace's other side and then he leaned in to kiss his husband's cheek.
"Hey, babe", whispered Alec gently. "How's your day?"
"My day is always good when I have our favorite munchkins over", grinned Jace.
Alec's heart fluttered as he looked at his husband. Jace with children was his weakness at this point. Between their nieces and nephew, not just Gideon and Sophia, but also little Natanael Lucian Garroway, son of Clary and Maia with some sperm-donation from Simon, there seemed to always be at least one child around. And Jace was so soft and caring and gentle with them.
"A—And they fell asleep again", sighed Jace fondly, an hour later.
Alec grinned, running his fingers through Gideon's hair, the little boy curled up against his chest. Sophia was sleeping with her head resting on Jace's thigh. Alec had braided her hair, something she always demanded when Alec was close-by.
"Do you... ever regret when we have to return them?", asked Alec carefully.
"I mean. I love my nieces and nephew. But usually, our sisters want them back", chuckled Jace.
"No, I mean, not...", sighed Alec. "Not them, specifically, but... I mean..."
Tilting his head, Jace grinned a little. "Are you not so subtly asking me if I want children?"
Alec froze up and stared a bit like a deer caught in the headlights. "I... maybe? I just... Soph is five now and it was fine at first. I didn't envy Izzy and Simon for having to change diapers and all. But when Gideon and Natanael came... and... I just... We're doing good, financially. We have a network of family support who would help us out with kids. And..."
"You've been thinking about this a lot, mh?", asked Jace gently, leaning in to kiss him. "I... I think we could. Slowly. You know, informing ourselves about... adoption. Maybe start off as... foster parents? I don't know. Just... take it slow. See where it goes?"
"Yeah. Yeah, that sounds good", nodded Alec and relaxed some.
Jace took a deep breath, a smile on his face as he looked around his coffee-shop. It's been three years now since he and Alec had first talked about adoption. Only months later, their back then foster daughter Lucy moved in with them. Jace's smile softened as he turned to look at their daughter. They had officially adopted her two years ago.
"Dad? Can I have another muffin?", asked Lucy when she noticed she was being watched.
Another upside of owning a coffee-shop. When the kids got out of school, they could sit at their table – yes, of course was there a special Garroway-table only and always reserved for family – and do their homework under the watchful eyes of Jace.
"One muffin for my cupcake, coming up", grinned Jace.
He placed the nicest muffin from the display on a plate and walked out from behind the counter. Putting the plate down right in front of Lucy, he leaned down to press a kiss to the top of her head. She grinned pleased and took a large bite from her muffin. Her golden-blonde hair was in a French braid, Alec always did Lucy's hair before school in the morning.
"Uncle Jace, can I have a brownie?", asked Natanael with pleading eyes.
It was amazing how much that boy looked like Clary. A freckled little redhead with mischief and defiance in his eyes. Jace knew exactly if he would say no to the brownie, Natanael Lucian would just sneak past him and steal one. The boy really was a lot like Clary; he got what he wanted.
"Lush, you're not supposed to eat so much sugar", sighed Jace but got the brownie.
"I kno—ow", hummed Lush, a grin on his freckled face. "Thanks, uncle Jace."
Jace and Alec had a great deal going with Maia and Clary. Maia and Clary brought all their kids to school in the morning, while Jace picked them up and babysat Lush until one of his moms would get off from work and could pick the boy up from the coffee-shop. Many at their elementary school thought that the three Garroway kids were siblings with a complicated situation of having two moms and two dads due to divorce. Which had been rather awkward when one of Lush's teachers called Jace in, assuming Lush to be Jace and Maia's son due to the picking up and bringing to school schedule they had established. The teacher had been plenty flustered and apologized profoundly and Maia and Jace still had a lot of fun with it.
"If you want to leave for today, I can take over", stated Gretel.
Gretel had started out helping Jace all those years ago, when it had still been a food-truck. By now, she was the manager of the shop, they still had the food-trucks – three by now, all over town. Java Jace was a brand by now and Jace was immensely proud of it.
"If you don't mind", nodded Jace eagerly.
Gretel smiled knowingly. "Matt's not been with you for long. I know you hate being apart."
"You're the best", grinned Jace and hung his apron.
Matthew was five years old and scared and scarred. He had been taken from his drunk, abusive mother a year ago and he had been with Jace, Alec and Lucy for half a year. While Jace and Alec had gladly adopted Lucy, they didn't stop fostering. And their social worker had soon figured out that Jace and Alec were good at dealing with abused children. Jace could relate and Alec knew all too well how to handle an abused child; he had handled Jace too all those years, after all.
Over the past three years, four foster children had stayed with Alec and Jace. Two of them had been returned to family, extended family that had been tracked down. With one kid, it hadn't worked out because he had gotten homophobia beaten so hard into himself that he kept verbally attacking Alec and Jace, which had heavily affected Lucy too – and in the end, they had to prioritize Lucy's health and well-being and happiness, to the kid was placed in another foster family. With the other two, Alec and Jace still had contact, calling and texting regularly, getting updated on how the kids were doing. Matthew was their latest foster child and he was settling in well. He had no biological family left and Alec and Jace had been talking about adoption for a few weeks now, but the boy was still deeply hurt and suffering from his past and they didn't want to push.
"Kids! Pack up! We're going to grandma and grandpa's!", declared Jace.
"Ye—es!", exclaimed Lucy excitedly.
Lucy adored grandpa Luke. He was her absolute hero. Grinning, Jace took one of the kids' hands in his own and led them out of the coffee-shop to make their way to Luke and Jocelyn's house. Ten years ago, he never would have thought he'd ever be here. Have a family. Luke and Jocelyn, his parents, Clary, his sister, Maia, his sister-in-law, Natanael Lucian, his nephew, then Isabelle, who was no longer his foster sister but rather his sister-in-law through Alec, Simon and their children Sophia and Gideon, and Max, who they finally had regular contact with again ever since he moved back to New York a few years ago when he became off-age (he had been forced to move to Los Angeles with Robert and Maryse when the two got punished for their deeds as Circle members). He had a large, loving family, he was happy. He was so happy. He had never thought he'd ever be this happy, feel this normal – and feel this loved.
With the broadest grin on his lips did Jace knock on the door, having Jocelyn open moments later, with a smile on her face. "Son. What brings you here? I thought Alec would pick Mattie up when he got off work? Oh, my other two favorite grandchildren."
"You can't call every grandchild favorite. Then you don't have a favorite", huffed Lush.
Jocelyn looked at him confused. "But, how could I have a favorite? You're all so precious!"
She grinned as she picked Lush up and kissed his cheek. The two redheads walked ahead and Lucy and Jace followed them inside. Matt was sitting on the floor, with crayons.
"He—ey, kiddo. How do you feel?", asked Jace gently and sat down next to him.
"Hello", piped the boy up. "Will you play piano for me, please?"
Jace grinned a little. It always soothed Matt when Jace played the piano. He would do so to help the boy back to sleep after a nightmare, so Matt had come to associate the soft piano music with calmness. Getting up, Jace took a seat at the piano, while the other two kids came to sit with Matt. Jocelyn handed out paper to all of her grandchildren so they could draw. After that, she stepped up to Jace and sat down next to him, kissing his cheek.
"How are you holding up, sweetie?", asked Jocelyn concerned. "Every time you take on a new foster child, I know there is always that... I know what you and Alec are doing is good. But I also know it always hurts you when they end up being returned to their families."
"Not Mattie. He doesn't... He doesn't have a family", whispered Jace and shook his head while playing. "He... Alec and I, we want to adopt him, mom."
"Oh", grunted Jocelyn surprised and turned to look at Matt and Lucy.
The two were working on a drawing together. Over the past months, Lucy had gotten very protective of Matt. They were good siblings. They both felt safe with Alec and Jace.
"You look tired, kiddo", commented Luke as he drove them home.
Alec grunted and rubbed his face. "Matt's been having a lot of nightmares lately. Keeping us awake at night. I'll be fine, Luke. I just need... sleep."
Luke chuckled in understanding as he parked the car. Both of them got out and stretched before heading inside. The Lion King was on and Jocelyn and Jace sat on the couch, with three children sitting between them. Lucy yelped and jumped up to run right up to Luke and hug him.
"Grandpa! Hello!", exclaimed Lucy.
Luke laughed as he caught the little blonde and lifted her up into his arms, making Alec huff. "Every time grandpa is close-by, somehow we dads get super uninteresting, don't we?"
"Chopped liver", agreed Jace as he got up to steal a kiss from his husband.
"I'm happy you're here, Alec", piped Matt up shyly, running up to them.
Alec's heart melted just a little bit as he picked the little boy up into his arms. "Yeah? I'm happy to be here too, munchkin. You been good to grandma and Jace?"
"Oh, Mattie is always a sweetheart!", assured Jocelyn with a smile. "Now, are you boys staying for dinner with us? Or will you be leaving right away?"
"I gotta admit, I'm beat", sighed Alec. "I'd like to just... go home and head to bed. We could get pizza on the way home, how's that sound, kids?"
"Lush, you're staying the night. Your moms are going to pick you up in the morning", stated Jace as he got the jackets for his family, hugging his dad on the way out.
Alec smiled softly as he watched his family get into their car. Retrospectively speaking, he was glad that Jace had come here with the car, because walking back home seemed far too long and exhausting right now. Jace leaned over to kiss Alec's cheek as the blonde started the car.
"How was your day, kids?", asked Alec as he leaned back with a smile.
He heaved a content sigh as he listened to the animated chatter of his daughter and son. It was like soothing music to him, really. This was the future he had always dreamed of, in the deepest, darkest, most well-hidden part of his mind. Being with Jace, having a normal life with Jace. He had always considered those thoughts traitorous – he was betraying the Law, he should not love another man much less and especially not his parabatai, and he should be proud to be a Shadowhunter, bear the burden with confidence and not dream of a simple, easy life. Not that the life he had chosen was simple or easy. Being a cop was hard, he had a lot of gruesome cases and the frustration of not being able to use magic and runes to solve them, as well as the utter disgust at what kind of things mundanes were capable of – not demons, soulless and from hell, but simple mundanes – it became too much at times. And other times, he felt a longing, a craving, when working with the Institute. When seeing Isabelle and Clary, who usually were assigned to work with Bat and Alec on the Downworlder cases. Seeing them bear their runes, talk about Idris.
At his lowest points, he even found himself missing his parents. Maryse, the rare times she had words of warmth and pride for them. Robert, who had always been kind, loving and supportive. He usually forced himself out of those deceitful thoughts, remembering his mother's face as she had told him ten years ago to cut his parabatai out of his life, or he would remember their deafening silence when the Clave ordered for Alec and Jace to be deruned.
And then he would think of Luke and Jocelyn, of how they had opened their home and hearts to Jace and Alec. He'd turned around in bed to face his husband, still sleeping and with his golden-blonde hair messy. He'd go and make breakfast for the kids and help them get ready. He'd hand them over to Maia, kiss Jace goodbye and leave to work. To a workplace where he was a respected detective, gunning to become a sergeant soon. And then? Then Alec couldn't possibly regret anything, any decision he had made in the past ten years. And he would trade this life they had made for themselves for absolutely nothing in the entire world.
With a smile did he kiss the corner of Jace's mouth. Not his parabatai, no but his husband.
~*~ The End ~*~