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Age Before Beauty

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“Hey there, sweetheart,” a smooth voice says beside Jace, making him turn his head. He smiles at the Seelie. “Can I buy you a drink?”

He looks over at Simon and Raphael. “No thanks,” he says, nodding towards his boyfriends. “I’m with them.”

“Oh, that’s fine,” she says. “I just wanted to tell you no hard feelings. We had some fun but I’m happy that you’re happy.”

He smiles at her. “I appreciate that.”

“So here,” she says, sliding over a shot glass. “To new love.”

Jace shrugs before taking the shot. “Thanks,” he murmurs before picking up the two bloody mary’s and his beer, heading over towards the table where Simon and Raphael are waiting for him. 

“What was that all about?” Simon asks. 

“Why, Simon,” Raphael says, his voice light. “Are you jealous?”

“Absolutely not!” He scoots over, wrapping an arm around Jace’s shoulders. “Why would I be jealous when I know Jace would never do anything. Not when he’s got not one but two sexy boyfriends right here.”

Jace rolls his eyes, leaning over and smacking a kiss against Simon’s cheek. Jace winks at Raphael who snorts but Jace can see the way his lips flick up at the side. 

Jace looks over at the pool table, wondering if it’s worth asking to play a game. Then he sees the way Alec is giving Magnus ‘bedroom’ eyes and decides against it. There’s no way he’s getting in the middle of their foreplay. 

“Do you wanna play a game of darts?”

Simon smiles but Raphael jumps in. “As long as you don’t cheat.”

“Me? Cheat?”

Raphael quirks his brow. “No runes, Shadowhunter.”

“Fine,” he huffs, standing up and pulling Simon with him. He pinches Raphael’s side on their way over to the dartboards, cackling as the vampire lets out a high pitched noise that’s so unlike Raphael. 

It’s in that moment that Jace lets out a happy sigh. He’s just so fucking happy . And he loves them. He loves Raphael and Simon. And knows that they love him right back. As they play, he can’t keep the smile off his face. 

About halfway through their game, Jace starts feeling sorta funny. He leans against the closest table, watching as Raphael lines up for his shot. 

“You okay?” Simon asks, leaning against Jace’s side. 

“Yeah. Just indigestion, I think.”

“I do not miss that,” Simon says. “Or heartburn. Or blushing. I do miss pasta though,” he says with a sigh. 

Jace touches his cheek gently, smiling as Simon nuzzles against his palm. “Your turn,” Raphael says, breaking up their moment. He hands the darts over to Simon, shoving him over towards the board and taking his place at Jace’s side. 

Jace leans over, kissing Raphael’s cheek gently. He still doesn’t understand how he got so lucky. 

“You doing okay?”

Jace looks down at Raphael. “I’m fine. Why?”

“You look-” Raphael pauses, tilting his head. “I don’t know, mi fuego . You just look tired.”

Jace takes stock of his body, frowning when he feels different . He can’t even put it into words, just weaker, tired? “I’m fine,” he says again. 

“You smell different too.”

Jace covers Raphael’s face with his palm. “Keep your nose to yourself.”

Raphael nips at his hand before shoving him towards the board to take his turn. He lines up his shot, staring at the board. His heart speeds up when he has to squint to see the numbers. What the fuck is happening to him?

Jace blinks his eyes a few time, trying to get them to focus. When he lifts his hand to take aim, Jace is surprised to find them shaking slightly. When he stares down at his hand, his stomach sinks because they don’t even look like his . What the actual fuck?!

“Jace,” Alec says, stepping into his space. “Hey. What’s going on?”

Jace shakes his head. “I don’t know.”

Alec’s eyes dart all over his face and Jace watches as they widen. “Holy shit.”

“What? What is it?”

Raphael steps up, holding up his phone which is open to the camera. Jace takes it, looking at his reflection and freezing. “I’m-” he tries to say but chokes on the word. “I’m old .”

~~~

The walk back to the Dumort is spent in silence. Jace is too stuck in his head. His joints ache, his feet hurt, his eyes are shitty. He hates this. Everything about this is awful. 

He looks down at his middle and frowns. “I’m so out of shape,” he whines. He pulls up his shirt. “Where did my abs go?”

Simon stands in front of him, running his hands over his gut. “I think you’re still beautiful, Jace.”

“Oh, shut the fuck up,” Jace says with a grimace. Even his voice is different. “I’m old. And ugly. And balding. And fat. I’m fucking gross.”

“You’re not,” Simon insists. “You’re distinguished. And most importantly, you’re Jace. And I happen to love Jace.”

“If it makes you feel better I find you just as attractive now than I did an hour ago,” Raphael says, his voice sounding almost bored. It makes Jace smile, just barely. 

“You’re as asshole,” Jace murmurs. 

Raphael just shrugs. Jace swallows around the lump in his throat. “I think-” he tries to say but his voice breaks. “I think I’m gonna go back to the Institute for the night.”

“Jace,” Simon says but Jace cuts him off. 

“It’s okay. I just need some space. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

They give him his space and before he knows it, Jace is stepping into the Institute. His feet take him to the only place that he knows without a doubt he’s safe; Alec’s room. 

Pushing through, he faceplants onto Alec’s bed, hugging Alec’s pillow to his chest. It doesn’t take long for Alec to join him, laying with his head by Jace’s feet, just like they used to do when they were kids. 

“You wanna talk about it?”

Jace sighs, wincing as he turns over to his back, his muscles protesting. He stares at the ceiling unseeing, trying to process everything he’s feeling. 

Finally, he clears his throat. “I never thought I’d get old.”

“Explain.”

Jace sighs. “I figured I’d die young in a blaze of glory, Alec. How many old Shadowhunters do you actually know?”

“I-” Alec pauses, trying to compose yourself. “Life has a different meaning when you’re with someone who doesn’t grow old.”

“Yeah,” Jace agrees. “I hate this. I’ve tried ignoring the obvious, push those thoughts away but now? Now I have to think about it.”

“And what are you thinking of?”

“No idea,” Jace admits with a sigh. His left hand reaches down, finding Alec’s. “Do you ever think about it?”

“Of course. I’m sorry I haven’t told you sooner but Magnus found a spell. It just never seemed like the right time.”

Jace takes a moment to process this information. “I’m happy for you,” he finally settles on. 

Alec’s hand squeezes. “Thank you.”

“I’ve dreamed about it before,” Jace whispers, relief flooding his chest as he finally confesses. “Becoming a vampire to be with them forever.”

Alec sucks in a shaky breath. “Why don’t you tell them?”

Jace shakes his head. “Because I’m scared.”

“Of what? They love you, Jace. Maybe even more than I do.”

Jace snorts. “I love being a Shadowhunter, Alec.”

“Then stay a Shadowhunter. No one is asking you to change. We’ll all continue to love you even when you’re old and even grumpier than you are now.”

“Everyone around me is an asshole.”

“You attract them,” Alec deadpans, making Jace smile. 

“I could do that? I could choose to grow old and die. Wouldn’t they hate me for leaving them behind?”

Jace feels Alec shrug. “They have each other, at least.”

Jace slowly sits up and Alec mirrors him. He pulls Alec into a hug, his hand finding the back of Alec’s head. “Thank you.”

“Always.” And in that moment, the word holds a much deeper meaning. 

~~~

Jace takes a deep breath before stepping into the Dumort. He waves at Lily and Stan as he goes. He knocks before walking into Raphael’s room, smiling as he finds his boyfriends snuggled together on the bed. 

“Come here, mi fuego ,” Raphael murmurs around a yawn. His stomach flutters as he quickly strips down to his boxers before crawling into the middle of the bed. Two sets of arms wrap around his softer middle. 

Jace sighs. “I’m sorry for bailing before.”

Simon snuggles against his cheek. “It’s okay. We understand.”

“Do you?”

Raphael nods. “Simon and I have already had this crisis. We’ve had to deal with our immortality.”

Jace sucks in a shaky breath before letting it out slowly. “I’ve been ignoring it.”

“We know,” Simon says with a snort. 

“Stupid forever young boyfriends,” Jace murmurs under his breath, smiling as they both huff. “I’m finally thinking about it.”

Two sets of arms tighten around him, making Jace feel safe and loved. “And?” Simon asks carefully. 

“I-” he tries to speak but nerves steal his voice. 

“Hey,” Raphael says gently. “You don’t have to know right now. You’ve got time to think about it.”

“And as much as we love you, we’d never want you to choose something just for us. Even if you chose to stay as you are, we’ll continue to love you, Jace.”

Jace’s chest feels like it might burst and tears prickle behind his eyes. He swallows them back. “You really mean that?”

“Of course,” Raphael says, gently kissing Jace’s cheek. “Our love is not so conditional.”

Something inside Jace clicks into place. He can’t stand the thought of ever leaving them. “I don’t want to grow old,” he whispers under his breath. 

“Hey,” Simon whispers. “Don’t make any decisions right now. You’re stressed and emotional. Let’s just snuggle and go to bed.”

Jace nods. “Okay.” Then he adds, “I love you both.”

“Love you too,” they say. Before he knows it, Jace is asleep. 

~~~
Jace wakes slowly, his eyes blinking the blurriness of sleep away. He wiggles his way out of bed, heading to the bathroom to relieve his screaming bladder. He’s still half asleep so it takes him a moment to realize what he’s seeing when he looks into the mirror. 

“Yessss,” he cries, touching his face which is smooth again, no wrinkles to be seen. His hair is long and blond instead of white. “Guys!” he yells running into the bedroom. “Look!”

Raphael and Simon blink up at him as he strips out of his shirt. “My six packs are back!”

Simon smirks. “Oh, thank god!”

Raphael snorts. “You’re still just as aesthetically pleasing as yesterday.”

“Fuck,” Jace says with a sigh. “I love you.”

Both Simon and Raphael smile, their expressions fond. “And I meant what I said last night,” he says slowly, getting into bed on his knees. “I wanna stay with you. Forever.”

Raphael lets out a long breath as Simon wiggles in glee. Dorks. “So,” Simon says, a mischievous smile on his face. “Should we celebrate the fact that your balls are no longer down to your knees?”

Dios mío, ” Raphael hisses under his breath and it makes Jace let out a laugh, his chest feeling so fucking free, the weight he’s been holding on his shoulders lifted. 

Simon’s cold hand touches his stomach. “I know I said I loved your old man body but damn, I love your abs.”

“Then show him how much you love them,” Raphael says, touching the back of Simon’s head. 

Yeah, Jace can get used to having this forever.