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Part 5: What If

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“Do you ever wonder what would’ve happened if we never met?” Simon asks one morning while him and Jace are lying in bed, not quite ready to face the day.

“No.” comes Jace’s soft, sleepy response. Simon lightly nods, more to himself than anything, and settles in to fall back asleep.

A few hours later, Jace wakes Simon up by saying, “I thought about it once; what my life would be like without you. It was too bland and boring. Colorless, almost. I grew up like a normal Shadowhunter; I trained, I went on missions, I obeyed the Clave, Valentine didn’t exist. Or if he did, he wasn’t the same person, and I never met Clary. Or maybe she didn’t exist either.I didn't know.” At the idea of a world without Clary, Simon shuddered.

“So I continued my life like an ordinary Shadowhunter. I dated some, boys and girls both, mostly girls and boys only in silence like back alleys behind dingy clubs because Alec, Izzy and I wouldn’t have met Magnus without you. Or maybe we would’ve, but later, after Alec was already married to a woman, so same-gender relationships were still all-but outlawed. And without you, I probably would’ve married some lady Shadowhunter, who wasn’t nearly as amazing as you are, and had a whole gaggle of gorgeous kids with pretentious, angel-themed names. It would be a good life, but not one that belongs to me. And that’s like, the best version of a life without you.” Jace laughed a bit, more of an exaggerated exhale before adding, “So, this life I have now really is the best version possible.”

Simon was quiet for a few minutes which prompted Jace to look up at him from his own position of his face resting on Simon’s chest and ask, “Have you ever thought about it?”

“More than is probably healthy.” Simon states. At Jace’s concerned and slightly scared look he adds, “I’m always worried something’s going to happen to us and my mind wanders to places I wish it wouldn’t.”

Then he continues, “Sometimes I imagine maybe I’d have gone to a good college to study music and maybe the band would’ve been famous, but that’s too hard to imagine, maybe a little too much wishful thinking. More often than not, I grow up like I did, but instead of being introduced into this world,” he pauses, vaguely waving his hand around the room, motioning to the life they have together.

Simon continues with, “I probably would have kept pining after Clary for who knows how long. I’d force myself to date some people, probably only date girls and freak out when I would inevitably realize I like guys and repress all emotions until Clary dragged a confession out of me like she would. I probably would’ve worked in a grocery store or something boring like that my whole life. Or maybe I would’ve gotten lucky and graduated college with a degree in something boring like accounting and I’d live a nice and normal, but really depressing, life as an accountant. I don’t think it would have been a bad life, y’know? Just, not a good one either. I’m glad this is the life we have, even if it’s chaotic and there’s a 100% chance that either one of us could get hurt at literally any time.”

It’s been silent for some time when Jace finally says, “You know, I wish I could stop bad things from happening.” It’s a rare moment of vulnerability from Jace, so Simon is careful not to ruin the moment when he replies with, “Yeah, me too.”