Clary sits on the floor of her Professional Studio (her room, which is named Jerry, to clarify. She is not rich enough to have a Professional Studio for her side job, and her boss won’t let her use the office for her “hobby”. Locals), finishing up a stitch on a wide tomato colored skirt. It’s the base of a ball gown she’s designed and is making for an upcoming au cosplay.
She hits a button on her camera, rested on a stand above her, to stop recording and reaches for her phone across the carpet. Quickly, she snaps a picture of the finishing stitch and adds it to her pinned thread on her cosplay account, typing a few details and a short “ video process coming soon! ”
Immediately, she gets a reply from someone with a very bloody looking profile picture.
“ so excited for your next cosplay! the design looks exquisite. ”
Clary’s lips quirk up. It’s always nice to have some positivity amongst cut-throat fandom enthusiasts.
(Not that Clary isn’t completely invested in her fandom. She is. She’s just a very fluffy, could-not-hurt-a-living-person fandom enthusiast. Except homophobes. God she hates homophobes.)
She types out a reply and sets her phone down, about to start the next section when she remembers that she can’t . She needs either gold or dark blue-green trim. The thing is, she needs one, not both, and while she’d prefer the bluish one, she can’t find one that matches the exact color she wants (which would be slightly darker than Copics’ B99 marker, thank you very much). And then beyond that, she’s indecisive as fuck.
It’s a ball gown. For Leonhard. Her second favorite character. Her child .
To put it in terms locals could understand, if she messes this up, she will cry tears of blood .
At least the lace sleeves are done. Those were a pain in the ass . Literally, she was sat on her ass for 3 hours getting those to the correct measurement. Now she just has to attach them to the bodice, but she doesn’t want to do that until she has the trim .
Fucking colors. Fucking details.
With a petty huff, she sits up from where she’s flopped into a pancake on the carpeted floor and blows the hair from in front of her face. She lifts the skirt delicately off her lap, a contrast to the angry way she was pounding it with her fist while musing, and walks it over to a tall stool, draping it over the wood.
Nodding at her work, Clary grabs her keys and a coat and marches out the door.
She needs coffee to calm her enraged creative whimsings. Or fuel. She purses her lips. That could work too. Some of her best work has been churned out from pure productive rage. Like that fairy Nora cosplay. Her eyes slip closed in bliss.
God that was a good cosplay.
And a ridiculously good fanfiction writer she loves had retweeted it, so maybe, just maybe , Clary had ascended a little bit.
Spinning her keys around her finger, Clary’s swaying her hips as she enters Java Jace, a song stuck in her head.
Her eyes glaze over the menu, but she’s not really reading it. She can’t remember where that song is from and it’s kind of killing her.
Iced caramel latte is probably too cold for this very strangely chilly summer day, and I’m only wearing a tank top under this coat. Clary starts humming in the middle of her thoughts. Who am I kidding? Definitely getting that latte. Hum dee, da-da dee dumm, ba da dummmmmmmm…
Clary’s brow is furrowed as she gets closer to the counter.
It is when she suddenly bursts into a cough that she remembers.
Right, it’s called Before We Dawn , and it played when Nora and Leonhard kissed for the second time.
Also, Clary is choking.
She did, after all, randomly , burst into a disgusting sounding hack, but she absolutely cannot be blamed for this.
There are multiple reasons she’d argue that the fault should not be put on her.
As an artist, Clary is a strong believer in the importance of colors, within and surrounding the objects they characterize. For example, green liquids are blaring signals that mean “run away as fast as you can”. People drinking green liquids means “nosedive out the nearest window”, because who in the right fucking mind would even touch a liquid that is green, much less let something as precious as their stomach ingest the substance. It is the largest red flag that could ever be waved. In Clary’s dumb mind, it is law .
Clary is about to break a law.
Because the person outside the giant cafe windows currently guzzling a disgusting evergreen smoothie hybrid like it’s their lifeline has the most perfect bone structure she’s ever seen. Also, sweat. Sweaty hair pulled into an ebony ponytail. Clary had sworn off the word “ebony” after her wattpad fic days but Christ that is real life ebony hair and Clary is madly in love. With a person drinking a green liquid.
She disgusts herself more and more each day.
It is with that disgust in mind that she, in a very dignified manner she’ll assure you, is called to attention by a loud clearing of someone’s throat.
Clary steps up to order her latte, distracted only by what looks like a snort that the ebony-haired person lets out at something on their phone, said ponytail swinging limply. Her attention is also attracted to a set of abs below the runner’s sports bra. Christ .
They’re adorable ( and hot), and she turns just in time to see the smallest, pink lipped smile shaping their face.
Something in her little lesbian heart dies .
But she turns back to the counter, makes her order with little other fanfare (except for checking out the cute afro’d person making her drink, who gives her the most stunning, almost appraising , grin with just a hint of something else) and sweeps out of the cafe, intent on deciding which trim to pick out.
She will pick a color if it’s the last thing she does this day.
(She says to herself, pretending her mind isn’t going directly back to the two infinitely attractive people she’d just seen in the cafe.)
Maia rushes to her phone as soon as she goes on break, immediately going to Twitter and signing in to her stan account.
She taps the search button and types “@cosfrays” faster than she’s typed out anything in her life , getting her reward quickly as the quirky redhead profile pops up. Maia clicks on the media part of her profile, scrolling through pictures and letting out a breath of confirmation.
She just met, well, not met, saw , interacted with , Cosfrays , one of the coolest cosplayers in the New Lords fandom.
She just talked to Clary Fairchild .
What the fuck .
Simon walks into the break room before she can go on an internal rant in her head about every single incredible work that Cosfrays has done, which is perfect really because now she can go on an external rant about every single incredible work that Cosfrays has done.
Simon tosses the towel that’s over his shoulder onto a table (which, gross) and slings off his apron. Without preamble, he points his finger at Maia, raising an eyebrow. “You okay? You look like someone just gave you a photo album of 5000 pictures from a single coral reef,” he pauses, grinning and looking off to the side, incredibly smug. “I would know. ‘Cause I did.”
Maia somehow manages to roll her eyes while still under severe starstruck panic, and replies, “I know, you did , and it was wonderful, and you are the greatest best friend but Simon Lewis listen I just met Clary Fairchild .”
Maia saves him the shame of asking “who?” by flinging her phone at his face.
He catches it, miraculously.
Quirking an eyebrow, he scrolls through the photos, eyes widening. “Damn,” he almost whistles. “They’ve got talent.”
“She,” Maia quickly cuts in. “Pronouns in bio.” She snatches her phone back, scrolling down through the months to find a certain picture, letting her mind freak out be heard by Simon. “And I know, right?? She’s freaking incredible . Like,” she finds the picture and shoves it under his nose. “ Look at this.”
It’s a picture from five months ago, of Clary lounging on a beach with a homemade mermaid tail clinging tightly to her hips. She designed a half corset and used makeup and additional scales to make the tale look like it was real, coming out from her waist and under her breasts. Paired with the fins she’d fixed on her arms and sides and the gills she’d drawn onto her neck and chest, she looks ethereal .
This time Simon’s jaw drops, just a little bit, and Maia feels herself grinning in smug satisfaction.
Which doesn’t even make sense, because it’s not like she designed and made the costume.
Maia finds herself whining out, “And she’s dressed as Josette here. Whose every minute of screen time makes me the gayest person I’ve ever been. A mermaid Josette . That’s like, illegal.”
Simon chuckles out of his stupor when Maia pulls back her phone to swoon again over the photo. She’s scrolling through more pictures from the shoot when Simon says easily, hopping onto the table next to her, “Leave it to you to get all hot and bothered by a fish version of your fave.”
Maia chokes on a laugh, making a face. “There was literally no need to phrase it that grossly, but yeah, sure, I’m basically in love with her. Look at this talent ,” she groans, not letting Simon actually see the pictures she’s scrolling through in her intense appreciation.
Simon laughs again and swings his legs. “Wait, so you said you met her?”
Maia finally looks up from her phone, nodding. “Yeah, she was the pretty redhead like an hour ago who ordered an iced caramel latte.”
Simon squints. “You went an entire hour without sprinting to your phone or having a full fan breakdown?”
“ Listen , it took me a good forty minutes to remember where exactly I remembered her face from, and I’ve had Dungeons on my mind! I’m planning on publishing the next chapter this week! It’s been so long since I updated it.”
“Okay, fair,” Simon said, unconvinced. “Did you at least write your number on the cup?”
Maia shrinks. “...No?”
“ Maia! ”
“I am a stupid bisexual writer and I was in the middle of very important stupid bisexual writer thoughts! You can’t blame me for this! When’s the last time you talked to your date from Wednesday?”
“ See? Pansexual disaster! You can’t talk.”
Simon rolls his eyes. “I can actually, because that date was boring as all hell while you are actually interested.”
Maia’s pursing her lips, about to retort when the break room door swings open. Mindy, one of their coworkers is raising an eyebrow in the doorway. “Yo, breaks over, get back here before Jace yells at you.”
“Isn’t Jace on vacation?”
“Yeah, whatever, I just don’t want to be alone out here.”
Simon ruffles their hair on the way out. “D’awww you love us.”
Maia snorts at the interaction.
Skilled cosplayers aside, Maia has a summer job to get back to.
Izzy finishes up her run, takes a quick selfie, and unlocks the door to her and her siblings’ shared apartment. She undoes her ponytail and walks to the kitchen, taking her mug from the cupboard. It’s a black little mug she’s had for years, one that says “#SaveShadowhunters” on it. None of her family knows what it means, but their mom found it in the back of one of the cabinets in their childhood home and it’s been Isabelle’s ever since. She likes it. Something about it says “hope”.
After a few minutes of lazily drinking water while sitting on the kitchen counter, she takes a shower, stepping out of the steamy bathroom later in a fluffy robe to flop on the couch. She grabs her phone, checking a certain tab for the fiftieth time that day only to frown.
Dungeons still hasn’t updated.
And yeah she knows that the author said she wasn’t going to update as frequently after the last three updates came shockingly close together, something about travelling for the summer.
But it’s been a solid two months now.
She keeps that to herself though, knowing writing is out of her field and pestering the author will do no good for anyone. She’d feel awful, honestly. Plus, two months isn’t even close to the longest time she’s waited for a chapter of a fic.
So instead, Izzy gets out her thick sketchbook and sets to work on a hanahaki piece.
And immediately discards that because traditional art has not been working for her lately.
She groans. It’s been forever since she’s done a traditional drawing and stuck with it until completion. She doesn’t know what’s wrong with her.
Art block is an absolute asshole .
She stalks over to her room, lugging her pen tablet and laptop from her desk and into the living room, sinking back into her earlier sprawl.
At least digital art has been alright. This drawing of Nora pulling a fairy version of Leonhard’s guts from her body and eating them has been going splendidly.
She opens up another layer and selects a greenish yellow hue to add a sickly glow to Leon’s wings. Izzy frowns. This brush isn’t suited for fairy wings.
She spends a good twenty minutes trying out different brushes and another three hours on the drawing.
Maybe I can upload this today , she thinks, almost giddily, as the front door swings open. Jace walks in wearing only swim trunks and a towel over his shoulder, dripping wet.
“Izzy?” he calls out, eyes soon landing on the pile of white robed fluff huddled on the couch. “You eaten lunch yet?”
Izzy doesn’t even look up from her tablet, adding a few lines and textures to the blood leaking from Nora’s nails. “Nope, why?”
“It’s 2 in the afternoon.”
“No,” he starts, and Izzy finally looks up, staring at him pointedly. Jace continues, “because I had a feeling you wouldn’t have had yours yet. And I was right.”
Izzy groans. “Look, I’m kind of in the middle of something.”
Jace grins. “Yeah, only you would be holed up in a pile of fluff doing more work on your day off.”
“This isn’t work. I enjoy this.”
“Still working.” Jace peels the tablet from her hands, much to Izzy’s chagrin. “Stop whining and giving me puppy dog eyes, we’re in our twenties.”
“They still work on you and Alec literally all the time,” Izzy says, cutting off her own mewls of disapproval only to sneak some of her usual snark in.
Jace rolls his eyes, neglecting to comment. “C’mon. Get dressed and let’s go get some food.”
It’s only then that Izzy notices his attire. “You went to the beach on a 60 degree day?”
“It’s windy. You’ll catch a cold.”
“I’ll survive. I like the beach. Plus, it wasn’t supposed to be cold.”
“But it is cold, regardless of what it was ‘supposed to be’.” Izzy shakes her head, finally getting up to put some clothes on. “Just don’t end up in my morgue.”
Izzy’s finding an outfit (purple would be a good color for today she thinks) when she hears Jace squawk from the other room. “Jesus, Izzy, what the fuck?”
She snorts as she pulls her head through the collar of a light plum sweater. “Glad you like the drawing Jace. Anything I should add?”
“A trigger warning, maybe?”
She rolls her eyes, strutting overdramatically into the room, Jace having dressed as well. “Please, I have a gore account. I already put trigger warnings on everything. It’s common courtesy.” She does a spin, black skirt fanning out and pumps clicking as she turns. “Now, outfit.”
Jace looks her over. “Classy. Stunning as always.” He tosses her a hairband. “Try half up half down. The loose hair isn’t providing enough contrast.”
Izzy saunters over to the mirror near the front door, tying her hair as recommended. She nods at her reflection. “Thank you, Jace. Genius as usual.”
He claps her on the back, throwing on a simple jacket and unlocking the door.
“In all seriousness though, sorry for scaring you. And genuinely, is there anything I should add to the drawing or change?” Izzy asks nervously as they head out, Jace locking the door behind them.
Jace tucks his hands into his pockets, thinking. They’ve covered a good half block before he speaks again. “Is there any specific direction you want to go with it? Like, is there a story behind it, or can it be ambiguous?”
“It’s more ambiguous.”
Jace grins at that, wolfishly. “Then add more chaos. You have the blue haired one covered in blood messily eating the other dude’s guts while the other guy’s only bleeding from the wound. Cake them both in blood and mud. It’s too tame right now. Tie the drawing together as a whole. It feels unbalanced, like only one is feeling anything. And I get that there’s beauty in unbalance but somehow that doesn’t feel right here.”
Izzy smiles a bit, nodding. “You totally recognize these characters.”
“Well, yeah. You draw them all the time. And they’re always equal. Making them not doesn’t feel correct, at least not here.”
Izzy nods more, smile growing. She turns to look at him. “Yeah, yeah you’re absolutely right.” Her smile turns into a smirk then. “And all from my past drawings, huh? Are you sure you haven’t started watching New Lords? Joined the fandom?”
Jace shoves her. “Fat chance. I’m not joining another fandom, not after accidentally falling into the Rick and Morty fanbase.” He shudders.
Izzy cackles, and they start talking about lunch.