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Chapter Text

Nights With You

 

Alec can't remember the last time he stayed out all night for something other than patrol. His ears still ring from the volume of the music right next to the speakers, but Magnus insisted they had to stand in the front - hiding in the back simply wasn’t an option.

Buzzing with the haze of alcohol mixed with the lingering energy from the show sleep is out of the question. They walk the city streets because those never sleep, either; they’re in good company.

It's nearly 4 am when they realize they're starving.

“Breakfast?” Magnus suggests, nodding to place across the street boasting an ‘Open 24/7’ sign in the window.

“...does it really count as breakfast if we haven’t gone to bed yet? It feels more like the middle of the night than morning.” Alec points out, but he’s already eagerly starting across the street.

“The impending sunrise begs to differ,” Magnus points out. They enter and seat themselves, as the sign by the door instructs, sliding himself into a booth by the window.

“Fair enough. Breakfast, then.” Alec settles into the easiest sense of general happiness he remembers feeling in ages as he slides in across from his boyfriend, feet accidentally bumping (and then legs intentioning lingering) against Magnus’ under the table, ordering a coffee to fight off the sleepless hours he feels finally catching up with him.

He never wants this night to end.

Chapter Text

Something Pretty

No one’s seen Clary for hours when Isabelle finally takes a deep breath and gives two short, tentative knocks on the door.

Silence.

“Clary? It’s me,” she ventures, and this time is met with the sound of shuffling and a soft “come in” muffled by the doorway.

The scene isn’t unfamiliar - the frustrated artist, covered in more paint than her canvas is, turns to face Izzy as she steps inside and closes the door behind her.

“Heard the mission didn’t go so well.” Isabelle states simply, aiming to give Clary a chance to vent at something that isn’t inanimate.

Clary opens her mouth to do just that but gets distracted by the flash of color at Izzy’s side. “What’s that?” she asks instead.

“They’re for you.” Isabelle brings her hands up to offer over a small cluster of sunset orange colored California Poppies. Hodge always kept some growing in the greenhouse for sleeping cocktails, but besides calming insomnia they were simply gorgeous.  “I thought you could use something pretty to cheer you up… they reminded me of your hair the moment I saw them.” The last bit slips out with an almost apprehensive smile. 

“Thank you.” Clary raises them up to her nose, breathing in the scent and exhaling a deep sigh that seems to rid her body of all previous tension. She smiles, and practically beams back at her in return. “ They're perfect.”

Clary considers the flowers in her hands before picking one off by the stem, crossing the short space between them to tuck it into Izzy's dark waves of hair. “How would you feel about letting me draw you?”

“Draw me?” Isabelle parrots back, surprised by the question. “Why?”

“Because you're right…” She gives Isabelle a look that manages to be equal parts nervous and daring (and entirely endearing in the process), the hint of a smirk tugging at the corners of her lips as she takes a chance. “I could use something pretty to cheer me up.”

Chapter Text

Keep Your Cool

 

“It’s so hot I think I might melt into my towel. How are you not dying?” Simon asks, rolling from his stomach to his back for roughly the dozenth time that hour as if that might help the burning sensation that consumes every inch of his body.

“Please just go into the water, Simon,” Maia says in a tone that clearly implies this isn’t the first time she’s uttering these words, barely looking up from the book in her hands.

“Absolutely not. What kind of boyfriend would I be if I left you out here to bake while I found blissful relief in the relaxing, cool ocean waves.” Simon flips back onto his stomach.

Maia laughs at that, placing a bookmark between the pages, closing the book and setting it down on her lap. “It’s fine. I don’t mind, really. I’m the one who brought you here after all.”

“I just don’t get how you can love the beach so much but be afraid of the ocean ,” he pauses. “Not that I’m judging you or anything. I have plenty of fears of my own. Some of them are totally ridiculous. At least the ocean could actually be full of sharks or something worth being afraid of…. I’m not helping, am I?”  He’s rambling now, backtracking and stumbling over his phrasing, and Maia only laughs more. It’s difficult to tell if the red on his face is sunburn or a fierce blush. Probably both. “I think my point was that I just don’t willingly bring myself to hang out next to them for entire days for fun.” Simon finishes lamely, mumbling his words as he shifts once more onto his back and closes his eyes against the blinding sun.

He doesn’t know how many minutes pass by before he notices that it’s much too quiet - normally Maia makes little noises as she reads, huffs of disbelief or hums of agreement, or just the soft sound of the pages turning between her fingers. There’s none of that now. Before he can open his eyes to investigate he hears her voice above him give a single word of warning - “Incoming!” - which he doesn’t have time to process before he’s hit with the shock of cold water splashing across his bare stomach, moving up his chest and ending with the last of it dumped resolutely over his head.

Simon sits up with a jolt, sputtering the stray water from his gaping mouth, sopping wet hair dripping into his face as he stares in shock at Maia who hovers over him with a now-empty bucket.

“Better?” She smirks, clearly pleased with herself.

“Where did you even get that ?”

“I bribed those kids with $5,” she says, nodding towards a pair of young boys laughing at Simon from their sandcastle. They are clearly getting their money’s worth of entertainment on the loan.

“Then for another $5 I’m sure they won’t mind waiting until I’m done to get it back,” Simon counters, and before Maia realizes what’s happening he grabs the bucket from her and sprints towards the shoreline.

She knows there’s no hiding now, thinking ahead just far enough to move her book to the far side of the towel before bracing herself for Simon’s return and inevitable payback.

Watching her boyfriend’s dopey grin with a fondness she never expected to feel again, Maia thinks this is a feeling she could definitely get used to.

Chapter Text

Always Room for You

 

It’s still dark when Maia’s alarm sounds, waking not only herself but the two girls on either side of her in the king-sized bed. Clary mumbles something incoherent as Maia rolls out from under her arm. “Sorry,” she mutters quietly. 

“You could stop being sorry and come back to bed” Izzy’s voice practically purrs, as her hand reaches out to grab hold of Maia’s when she tries to stand up, rolling her eyes even though neither of them can see it.

“You know I’d love to stay,” Maia admits, and she means it. Working the opening shift the past two weeks made her miss one too many chances to stay for Clary’s pancakes, though sometimes Izzy stopped by the Hunter’s Moon with some for her on the way into the Institute.

“I’m glad you feel that way, because we have a proposition for you,” Izzy declares, reaching over into the drawer of the bedside table to pull out a small box she proceeds to hand over to Maia. Suddenly Clary is a lot more alert than before, sitting herself upright to watch the werewolf’s reaction carefully.  

Maia sits back down on the edge of the bed, still wearing one of Clary’s long t-shirts from the night before, opening the box with hands that shakes slightly despite her best efforts to steady both it as well as her breathing. Inside is a key with a word written on it - ‘HOME’. She can’t believe how lucky she is, expression full of love with just a hint of disbelief in her hesitation.

“Are you sure?” She asks, looking up from the silver metal to glance between Izzy and Clary. The sun is just starting to rise, the first rays shining in through the curtains so that she can see both of their eager smiles. Maia’s hesitation turns to hope in an instant.

“Absolutely.” “Positive.” They both say at once, attention shifting to glance at one another before dissolving into a momentary fit of giggles. They fall silent again and Isabelle grows a bit more serious, shifting herself to sit next to Maia. “But only if you want to, of course. It’s fine if you don’t.”

“We’ll totally understand,” Clary agrees with a nod, crawling over the center of the mattress to throw her legs over the edge of the bed and sit on Maia’s other side.  “We just thought, well,” Clary shrugs. “With how well things are going lately, why not? You’re over all the time anyway, and you already have a toothbrush in the bathroom. Might as well make it official.”

“I do hate that I always have to leave so early,” Maia admits.

“And we hate that you have to leave at all,” Clary chimes in.

Izzy nods in wholehearted agreement before leaning her head down to rest on Maia’s shoulder.  “So don’t.”

Maia’s heart swells, and honestly, she doesn’t know why she hasn’t said yes yet. “Okay. I’ll bring some stuff over after work?”

“We already cleared out the drawers,” Izzy informs her confidently, giving Maia a quick kiss on the cheek before standing up with a stretch.

When Maia turns her head to look over at Clary the redhead wastes no time leaning in for a kiss of her own, pulling back after a few seconds with a gentle tug of teeth against Maia’s lower lip, smiling contently as she flops herself back onto the bed. “But good luck getting any closet space from Iz.”  

Chapter Text

what defines us

 

“What is this?” Raphael asks, his head resting in Ragnor’s lap while the warlock absently plays with locks of his hair in his right hand, the left holding a very old tome of potion instructions. The question breaks nearly an hour of them sitting in silence simply enjoying the other’s company, finding comfort in their presence after a long week. “Us?”

“Besides the closest thing to perfection I’ve found in centuries?” Ragnor answers Raphael’s question with another question, something he knows the other hates, lips twitching up despite his attempt to hold a steady, deadpan expression.

Raphael swipes a hand up toward Ragnor’s face to hit him but he leans back out of the lazy path of the vampire’s arm. “I’m being serious,” Raphael protests.

“As am I,” Ragnor says, tone almost too casual for the confession, and if Raphael had a normal heartbeat he knows it would be stuttering in his chest right now just the same.

“I know you’re young,” Ragnor continues, closing the book carefully and setting it down on the arm of the sofa to devote his full attention to the the nearly-80-year-old vampire bristling indignantly at the implication of being ‘young’. “But things can simply be without giving them a label. They’re just words,” the warlock shrugs.

Raphael frowns, clearly not satisfied with the dismissal. “Yes, yes. But... “ his brows furrow in mild agitation. He can never bring himself to feel properly annoyed or upset in Ragnor’s presence. “Whatever this is, then, I just want to be clear that if it isn’t enough for you, I understand. I wouldn’t want you to feel any obligation to--” Raphael starts, his accent coming through thicker the longer he goes on, not quite rambling but as close to it as he’s gotten in decades.

“Dearest,” Ragnor cuts him off. Raphael doesn’t have to come out and say it, because Ragnor knows. It’s been obvious in the way Raphael has -rather frustratingly - held himself at a slight distance from him the past few days; he’s giving Ragnor permission to leave ‘this’ if the lack of a physical relationship isn’t enough for him, a gesture as endearing as it is unnecessary. “Are you happy?”

“Yes. The happiest I can remember.” Despite his best attempts to control the reaction Raphael’s expression practically beams up at Ragnor, radiating a warmth that rivals that of a sun he hasn’t seen in years.

“As am I. And that happiness is the only thing I care to let define us.”

Raphael opens his mouth again but stops, considering the sentiment, and allows it to fall shut again in silent acceptance.

“I’ll make dinner,” he says instead, shifting to roll off of the sofa. He’s nearly to the door when Ragnor’s voice sounds behind him.

“I love you.”

It’s rare the other doubts it, but it never hurts to hear.

Yo también te amo.”

Chapter Text

Starry Eyed Surprise

 

After a particularly grueling few days of pulling double shifts at the Institute, Alec agrees to allow Underhill drag him out to the Hunter’s Moon for what ends up being a much needed night of relaxation. They share a few drinks and a friendly game of pool when Underhill’s phone vibrates and his lips turn down into a frown, his usually soft features taking on a more severe look in an instant.

“What is it?” Alec prompts. “Everything alright?” He knows it could be nothing, but with their line of work he also knows every face-dropping message could be Something with a capital ‘S’.

“It’s fine,” Underhill says instinctively, but he can’t shake the look on his face and he knows Alec notices it. Alec notices everything . “Well, it could be better. My boyfriend was supposed to fly into town next weekend for my-” he cuts himself off mid-sentence, thinking better of whatever words he meant to say originally. “-for a visit.”

“Frederick, right?”

Underhill gives a small smile. “Yeah, but if you ever call him that to his face he’ll probably deck you,” he laughs, but Alec hears the hint of sadness in the sound. “Freddie was supposed to come to New York but he just got stuck on that Council assignment to Idris for two weeks and has to cancel.”

Alec gets the sense that it’s more than just a missed weekend getaway, but whatever Underhill isn’t telling him Alec doesn’t pry. “I’m sorry,” he offers instead. “I’m especially sorry for your boyfriend because that’s probably the worst assignment of the year. I got stuck going last year; they make it out to be some sort of honor but you’re pretty much the Council’s glorified errand boy the entire time.” He shudders at the memory. “I’d rather be assigned to ichor clean-up.”

“That bad, eh?” Underhill sighs. “Oh well. I guess it isn’t the end of the world.”

It doesn’t come back up again, though it does put a slight damper on the mood even when he beats Alec at pool before they go their separate ways.

---

About a week later Alec sits at his desk, waiting impatiently until he hears the knock at his door.

“Come in,” he calls, already knowing who’s on the other side.

“You wanted to see me, Sir?” The question comes from Underhill who hesitates half-inside the doorway.

“I did,” Alec says, and though he’s trying to play it cool he can’t hide the eager smile that tugs up at the corners of his lips. “Though admittedly not as much as he does.”

Underhill’s gaze was so naturally drawn to the desk on the right side of the room where he knew Alec would be sat that he hadn’t bothered to look elsewhere - not until Alec nods across the office and his eyes come to rest on Frederick Strongheart waiting there with a small cluster of sunflowers in his hands.  

“Freddie?!” Underhill’s confusion only lasts a second before he’s across the room, practically throwing himself into his boyfriend’s arms and  nearly crushing the sunflowers in the process. “You’re supposed to be in Alicante!”

“Surprise!” Freddie exclaims, the word dissolving into an amused chuckle at his boyfriend’s confused enthusiasm. “Also do you know how difficult it is to find sunflowers right now? Careful!” The two share a kiss, quick but full of longing from so much time spent apart, before Underhill takes the flowers from Freddie’s hand into his own, his expression one of pure adoration.  

Between the sprint across the room and the way Underhill loses that straight-backed, walls-up ‘strictly business’ guarded attitude he normally has around the Institute, Alec thinks that it’s refreshing to see him this way, and it’s nice to know he has someone in his life to bring out this side of him. Alec doesn’t mind being entirely ignored, except he feels a bit guilty for still being there once he realizes that Underhill has tears in his eyes. He clears his throat awkwardly. “I can, uh, give you guys some time,” he says, turning to leave. “You’ll have plenty of it,” he adds, the words directed at Underhill. “Strongheart is stationed here for the next two weeks.”

“What?” Underhill looks incredulously between Alec and Freddie. “Are you serious?”

Alec smiles and gives a small shrug. “Happy birthday.”

“How did you know? I made it a point not to say anything to anyone this year.”

“I knew something was up after last week. One of the perks of being Head of the Institute,” Alec points out. “Your birthday is in your file.”

“That sounds like an abuse of power, Lightwood,” Underhill points out, but he doesn't sound mad about it. Quite the opposite.

“Maybe,” Alec admits. “But so was every string I had to pull to take Strongheart’s spot in Alicante for the next two weeks - which I convinced the Council I was very eager to do now that I have a ‘newfound appreciation as Head of the Institute for their delicate diplomacy’ .” Alec rolls his eyes. “He’ll be staying here to fill in for Jace while Jace fills in as Head. I assured them that simply no one else would do, and Frederi-- Freddie was gracious enough to agree to the temporary transfer.” He gives Freddie a wink. It may be a bit contrived but Alec is rather proud of what he managed to pull together in such a short amount of time. “Sorry I couldn’t get you the weeks entirely off. It was too last-minute for all of that, but Jace and Izzy should be able to keep your work at a minimum until I get back so you’ll have plenty of time to spend outside the Institute.”

Sorry ?! You’re SORRY?! ” Underhill echoes in disbelief. “Alec, this is-” he breaks off, so overcome with emotion at not only Alec’s efforts but just the simple presence of his boyfriend next to him, that he loses his careful awareness of only calling Alec ‘Sir’ while at work. “I don’t even know what to say. This might be the best gift anyone’s ever given me.”

From beside him Freddie smirks, slipping an arm around Underhill’s waist, fingers sliding through his belt loop to pull him in closer. “That’s just because you haven’t gotten mine yet.” The suggestive tone (and not-so-subtle smirk which accompanies his words) leaves a flush on Underhill’s cheeks.

Alec turns back toward his desk in a failed attempt to hide his laughter, clearing his throat. “Alright you two, save it for after work. In fact, why don’t you just take the rest of the day off? I’ll let Jace know on my way out.”

“Thank you, Sir,” Underhill says, finally regaining some of his composure. Still, he’s leaning into the words, clearly eager to take Alec up on them. He’s practically bouncing in place and Alec can’t remember seeing him so happy , and it’s enough to justify the two weeks of constant annoyance he knows he’s about to endure.   

“Yeah, thanks, Mr. Lightwood. It’s a shame I won’t get the chance to actually work with you while I’m here. I’ve heard nothing but good things, though I may have more than a little personal bias now.” Freddie’s excitement matches Underhill's, and Alec’s heart warms at the way he sneaks glances at him every few seconds when he thinks he isn’t looking, his smile growing more and more each time. It’s how Alec still feels when he looks at Magnus, even to this day, and he hopes they never lose that feeling either.

“Just keep Jace from burning down my Institute while I’m gone and we’ll call it even.”

Chapter Text

Displays of Affection

 

The hall is beautiful. It’s as small as the happy couple could manage to keep things, what with the grooms being the recently reinstated High Warlock of Brooklyn and the Head of the New York Institute, and Catarina watches from her requested seat in the far back corner of the room, the chair beside her empty until the very last second.

The face of the man who sits down beside her isn’t a face that anyone here will recognize, not even Magnus for the time being. But as he drops his glamor just for her, Catarina smiles. “You made it,” she whispers in a quiet breath, surprised but elated. “I wasn’t sure you were going to risk it.”

Ragnor spares a nervous glance around them, but with all eyes on the men in the front of the room no one is looking back here at him. “I couldn’t allow you to go stag for our best friend’s wedding, could I?” He winks, and she eases her posture back, leaning to the left so that their arms touch. A moment later her head rests on his shoulder comfortably. 

They see each other often enough but always in secret, always in hiding. There’s a certain satisfaction in having the world see that she isn’t constantly alone despite what appearances may suggest and what she can openly admit to.   

“Does he know you’re here?” Catarina asks after a moment of allowing herself to selfishly enjoy having him here with her , even if he is mostly here for Magnus.

“No. He’d worry if he did, you know him. He deserves to enjoy this moment untroubled.” Ragnor sighs, feeling surprisingly content as he looks around the room at all of the eager, grinning faces. “I’ll talk to him after. It’ll be nice to see him one last time before he never speaks to me again.”

Cat lifts her head up at that. “What did you do?”

“As a wedding gift, I may have signed him up for a scheduled delivery of cabbage once a day for the foreseeable future.”

“Ra-” Catarina starts, about to reprimand him quite vocally, before she remembers and silences the name on her lips. “I’d say I can’t believe you, but that would be a lie.”

“He knows how much I hate that nickname, Cat. He thought I was dying and his last words to me were going to be ‘my little dear cabbage’. Honestly, that warrants far worse, but I’m being kind given the circumstances.”

Catarina shakes her head slowly, not wanting to encourage him (he’s bad enough without it) but unable to hide her own amusement as she pictures Magnus’ reaction once he realizes the scope of what Ragnor planned. “I hope Alec likes eating slaw...” Catarina has time to whisper with a reluctant twitch of a smile before a deep voice echoes in the hall and the room falls into silence. Ragnor’s hand finds her own and gives a gentle squeeze as the ceremony begins.

Chapter Text

Dog Days Are Over

 

Bat is still recovering from his last sneezing fit when, red nosed and eyes watering, he gives Maia another brief look of panic before launching into another line of violent noises. She holds the puppy in her arms, clutching it tight to her chest despite it’s best attempts to wiggle free and run back over to Bat.

“I’m so, so sorry,” she apologizes for what has to be nearing the 20th time. She’s standing on the complete opposite side of the room from him.

“It’s fine,” he says, sniffling. “You didn’t know.”

“I just assumed… I never really stopped to consider a werewolf being allergic to dogs.” Maia frowns. “How on earth do you-”

“It sucks ,” he says plaintively. “I pretty much feel sick the entire night on TOP of transforming. The first time I turned I thought I might die. I have to take a terrifying amount of allergy meds beforehand.”

Maia bites down on her lower lip. It isn’t funny… at least, it shouldn’t be funny. But the idea of her boyfriend secretly taking a pack of Benadryl before the full moon catches her by surprise and brings a snort along with it.

“Oh sure, laugh at my pain,” Bat huffs. “And you wonder why I never tell anyone?”

“I’m sorry,” Maia says, face scrunching up apologetically.

And how could anyone be mad at that face?

“Don’t tell anyone else, alright? Luke knows, but the rest of the guys would never let me hear the end of it.” Bat lowers his voice as he says it, almost as if he’s afraid one of them may be listening in on his apartment just to find that out.

“Only if you promise to let me know if you have any other allergies - no matter how potentially embarrassing - so I don’t accidentally almost kill you again.”

Bat considers this for a moment. “Well,” he starts slowly, smirking. “I do believe I’m allergic to you. Every time I see you I get warm all over, I feel a little faint, it’s hard to breathe, a--” but just then he’s overcome by another fit of sneezes, burying his head into the crook of his elbow.

Maia rolls her eyes. “You’re an idiot.” She smiles, heading towards the door. “And I love you. I’ll grab some Benadryl on my way home.”  

Chapter Text

Counting Stars

 

It’s ridiculous. Both of them know it, and yet neither one can bring themselves to stop caring about those goddamn stickers. Every week Mrs. Herondale gives two pop quizzes in AP History and the highest score gets a star sticker on a posterboard in the front of the room. The person with the most stars at the end of the semester gets 4 free tickets to the local movie theater.  It’s nothing extravagant, so at first no one cares... that is, until about halfway through the semester when three or four students have one, maybe two stickers if they’re lucky, and the remainder are split evenly between Isabelle Lightwood and Raphael Santiago.

Though they never hang out beyond the walls of the high school, within them they share nearly every class that year. They pair up without a second thought in labs and group projects because it's a guaranteed A, and even organize AP study groups for Calculus and Biology together. In every other class they’re friends, working together on anything they can; but when it comes to history they're now sworn enemies. All over some star stickers on a chart.

The class takes bets each quiz on who will come out on top this time. Raphael throws balled up wads of paper at the back of Izzy’s head to distract her when she's breezing through one too fast. Izzy’s friend Clary will begin to chew gum VERY LOUDLY right behind Raphael when he gets that confident smirk partway through one he’s finishing too easily. It’s a playful rivalry that borders on flirtatious, and they’re the only ones who don’t see it.

By the last quiz of the semester they’re tied. It’s just a pair of movie tickets, they know, but now it’s a matter of pride. No one else is working on their own quiz because the entire class is turned to watch Isabelle and Raphael, pencils circling A’s and D’s, erasers wiping out one word for a better option. They steal glances at one another but no one interferes, not this time.

When they’re done - Isabelle finishing a fraction of a second before Raphael - they push their chairs back and walk their quizzes up to Mrs. Herondale. “May the best student win,” Isabelle offers.

“Don’t worry, I will,” Raphael replies, garnering an ‘Ooooohhhhh’ from the students close enough to hear the clever retort.

Raphael huffs out a laugh, but it’s short lived as Mrs. Herondale takes her red pen to the pages in front of her. A few minutes later she turns them both over and slides them across the desk.

 

Isabelle: 99%
Raphael: 98%

 

“No!” Raphael exclaims, throwing his hands into the air in exaggerated defeat.

A small cheer from those betting on Isabelle erupts from the class as she turns to face them with a dramatic bow. “Thank you, thank you.”

She takes the tickets from Mrs. Herondale and holds them high above her head in victory.

It’s difficult to focus the rest of the class after that much excitement (not that it was a lot, but it is more excitement than most AP History classes see, to be fair). When the final bell rings Isabelle hangs back a second, catching Raphael by the arm as he turns to leave.

“Hey,” she starts, and Raphael is surprised to see her hesitate.  He doesn’t think he’s ever seen her with an expression outside of the unwavering confidence she wears so often during their classes together.  

“Hey. What’s up?”  

“I was thinking” she says, pulling the movie tickets out of her pocket for effect, holding them in front of her. “I seem to have an abundance of movie tickets on my hands all of a sudden, and I was wondering if you’d like to help me put them to good use?”

He pauses, looking surprised. “Isabelle Lightwood,” he begins slowly. “Are you asking me out?”

“Well, the year’s almost done and I can’t exactly organize study groups over the summer to see you more often, so...yes.”

Raphael laughs. “I’ll pick you at 7?”

“It’s a date.”

On their way out the door Isabelle pauses by the chart, taking the winning star off of her name and opening her planner to mark their movie date with it.

By the end of the summer she has 41 stars - not that she’s counting or anything.

Chapter Text

Holiday from Real

 

“Pack a suitcase,” Alec says. It’s 7 am and he just got back from an overnight patrol, and Magnus is just now sipping his first cup of coffee, still in his robe.  

“...I’m sorry, what?” Magnus questions, sure he misheard his boyfriend.

“You heard me,” Alec says, walking past him into the bedroom. He grabs a duffle bag out of the closet and tosses a few pairs of jeans, two shirts, and two sweaters into it. “We’re taking a holiday. It's officially Magnus Bane Needs To Get Out Of The City Day.”

Magnus laughs a little, but the small smile fades quickly. Since he lost his magic, including his ability to portal, they hadn’t properly traveled in ages. It didn’t take long for him to feel too guilty accepting Cat's offers to create portals for him, acting as his personal transport service every time he wanted to go to Korea for lunch or India for a bit of shopping through an antique street market. The most ‘away’ he’s been in weeks is the other side of the city, but they both know he’s in a rut - he hasn’t left the Loft in three days.

“Alec, I appreciate the gesture, but Cat’s busy and I’d rather not--”

“Nope,” Alec looks far too pleased with himself. “I know you swore we wouldn’t do that any more. Don’t worry, I have all the travel arranged.”

Now Magnus is intrigued. “Travel?”

“Yes, travel. I know you’re a couple centuries old and all but I didn’t think you were hard of hearing. If I have to repeat everything I say all morning we’re going to miss the train.”

Now Magnus really does laugh. It takes a little coaxing but soon they both have a bag in hand as they grab a taxi to the train station. “Are you going to tell me where we’re going?” Magnus asks along the way.

“You’ll see.” Alec is practically bouncing in his excitement over whatever all this is, and Magnus can’t help but latch on to it, drinking it in like a breath of fresh air. The platform above the train Alec finally stops in front of says ‘NYC to Niagara Falls’.

Magnus looks pleasantly surprised. “You know, I’ve never been there. I always meant to, but I’d continually pass it over for somewhere farther away or more exotic, and--” he trails off. His expression softens with realization. “--and you know this because you asked me the other week if there was anywhere in the world I hadn’t visited. I thought you were just being snarky.”   

Alec shakes his head, smiling. “Not snarky - sneaky ,” Alec clarifies. “ And I’ve never been, either, so it’ll be something new for both of us.” The amount of thought Alec clearly put into choosing the location makes all of this that much more meaningful. He didn’t just point to a map and go ‘here’; he went out of his way to find a place Magnus has no memories of or connections to. Nothing to remind him of Before. Once more Alec is looking out for him in subtle ways, noticeable in the details of little things, subconscious decisions he probably isn’t even aware of.

Magnus knows he’s never been more enamored.

“I know it’s a 9 hour train ride, but it’s bound to be beautiful during the fall.” Alec continues, pausing to look at Magnus with hope sparkling in his hazel eyes… just behind the quick flash of worry that Magnus won’t like it.  “So? What do you think?”

Magnus puts his bag down on the ground so that he can grab both of Alec's hands in his.  “I think it's perfect, Alexander. Thank you.” When Alec falls asleep an hour into the trip, lulled to sleep by the gentle sway of the train traveling along the tracks, Magnus decides not to wake him. The scenery will still be there on the way back from what is already shaping up to be his new favorite holiday.

Chapter Text

Tell Me It's Okay (to be happy now)



“I’m taking a vacation,” Jace tells Alec.

You? I haven’t seen you take a day off in years.” To say Alec is caught by surprise is generous - he looks more like Jace just grew a second head.

“Yeah, well, I’m taking one now. Three, actually.” He hands over several papers for a temporary request of leave.

“You gonna tell me what it’s for?” Alec questions, reading them over with a glance.

“...no.”

Alec raises an eyebrow but doesn’t pry. “Alright, fair enough. See you Monday, then.”

 

---

 

Jace is on a bus to New Jersey the next morning, a book in hand to pass the time. He has a few things shoved unceremoniously into a black backpack, a change of clothes, a tooth brush, the basic necessities.

He gets off the bus at an unfamiliar stop in a city he’s never been to before, checking the address he has written on a torn corner of paper. A cab ride, a few questions, and a second cab ride later, Jace finds himself at a small coffee shop in the middle of a college campus. 

He spots who he’s looking for immediately - it’s hard to miss her, the way positive energy just seems to radiate off of her no matter where she is or what she’s doing. The sound of her melodic laugh reaches his ears above the din of the chatting patrons and he sees the apron folded on the table while she relaxes on her break. For a long while he lingers by the door, not sure if just seeing her here, happy and okay, is enough. Her hair is notably longer than the last time he saw it, but it’s nice. It suits her.  She has her back to him, talking to blond girl with icy silver-blue eyes.

He decides he has to at least try and talk with her before he goes. Jace makes eye contact with the other girl who takes obvious note of his beeline for their table. “Well hello there, handsome,” the blonde girl greets, giving him a wink as she leans forward across the table. The dark-haired girl turns to see who her friend is suddenly looking at--  

--and Maia Roberts comes face-to-face with Jace Wayland for the first time in six months.

“Hey, Maia.” He says, and Maia can immediately tell that he’s more unsure of himself than she ever remembers seeing him before.

“What are you doing here?” She asks, but it isn’t what she wants to say. There’s an unspoken question behind her words: how did you find me?

“For the coffee, obviously. Heard this is the best brew in the state,” he says, giving a charming smile to the pair of girls.

The blonde giggles. Maia rolls her eyes but remains otherwise silent. 

“No one’s heard from you in… a while” he continues at length, glancing at the blonde girl like he isn’t sure what he can and can’t say with her there.  “We were worried.” The girl seems to get the hint and looks to Maia, only leaving when Maia nods and says she’ll catch up with her after her shift.

Jace slides into the now-empty seat across from her.

“We?” Maia asks. “I don’t see anyone else here.”

“I”m not the only one who wants to make sure you’re okay.”

Maia considers this. She cut off most communication with everyone back in New York while she got used to things here, no distractions. Everyone else, even Simon after a while, gave up after enough unanswered calls and texts.

“Maybe not,” she concedes. “But you’re the only one who’s here .”

Jace smiles, softer and more genuine this time. “Yeah, well. You and I were always more alike than either of us probably wants to admit. I know when it’s a matter of needing space, and when it’s a matter of pushing people away.” He looks around. “But you seem good here. Really good, and not just fake-good.”

“I am,” she says quickly. “It’s not that I don’t miss you guys, but--”

“I get it.” Jace chimes in, not needing an explanation. She doesn’t owe him one. “I’m glad that you’re happy here, Maia. I really am. You deserve that.” He doesn’t miss the relief that floods her features, like she was just as worried that he’d hate her for being happy as he’d been that she wasn’t happy here. 

Maia catches the time on the clock and frowns, looking down at her apron and then back up at him. “I’ve got another hour of work and then a lecture, but… we could grab dinner when I’m done? If you want. Catch up and all.”

“I’d like that.”  Part of him hoped he might convince her to come back with him, but if that isn’t going to happen then he’s just as satisfied to make the most whatever time she’s willing to spare for a few days.

 

--

 

When Jace walks into the Institute Monday morning Alec’s already in the operations room.

“Welcome back. How’s Maia?”

“She’s really good, actually. College life really suits he--” he cuts off, confused. “How did you know? I didn’t tell anyone where I was going.”

“...Jace, you used Institute resources to track down her location. Did you really think I couldn’t pull back deleted logs?” Alec doesn’t point out that he had Underhill do it for him because he technically didn’t have the slightest  idea how to do that on the computer, but that’s besides the point.

Jace looks embarrassed to be caught like this but Alec only laughs, clapping Jace solidly on the back on his way out of the ops room.

“Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone you have a heart beneath that deep, brooding facade.”

Chapter Text

 All I Can Think About

 

Math class is always tedious for Isabelle. She’s good at it, the way she’s naturally good at science as well, and she doesn’t have to give her full attention to the teacher at the front of the room to know she’ll ace the next exam.

Class is extra torturous when her girlfriend is in the seat in front of her, close enough to touch and yet entirely off limits. Occasionally she’ll reach out and trace patterns on Maia’s back with her long painted nails until Maia scoots her chair forward before she’s noticed and yelled at.

Today she opts for texting.

I: Hey beautiful <3  

Maia’s phone buzzes lightly in her pocket. Subtly she pulls it out, checks the message, and twists around in her seat to give Isabelle a ‘ really?!’ look. Isabelle only inclines her head down toward the phone expectantly.

Maia sighs.

M: Pay attention.

I: Whyyyyy. You know I can just explain this to you later, and much easier.

M: Izzy, please. School’s almost over, then we have the whole afternoon to ourselves.

I: ...you mean entirely by ourselves? ;) :p


Isabelle can imagine the color tingeing high on Maia’s cheeks - more difficult to notice against her darker skin but Izzy’s seen it enough now to know the subtle difference in shades - though all she can see is the back of her head.


M: For two whole hours ;) And if you don’t stop texting me, you’re going to spend the whole time re-teaching me these formulas.
Sexy .


Izzy snorts involuntarily. Shit. This earns her the attention of the teacher who takes her phone away immediately for having it out during class with the assurance she can collect it at the end of the day.

But Isabelle isn’t done with that conversation, and she throws several small balls of paper at Maia’s back to get her attention. Maia ignores her with impressive resolve, pen scratching along the paper to follow the lesson. Isabelle stops for about three whole minutes, giving Maia a false sense of security until a folded up piece of paper is poked into her back once, twice, three times, four times… all the way up to 9 times before Maia turns to take it with what is technically a glare, though it holds no actual heat or anger but rather a mild exasperation at her persistent girlfriend.


I have a few ideas for what we could do with those two hours that are
much more interesting than numbers. And it isn’t fair that you get to concentrate because I’m sat behind you, while I’m stuck here constantly plagued by your beauty in front of me. And while the back of your head is lovely - and your hair is particularly on point today, by the way - I wish I could flip you around right now and--


“Miss Roberts? If that note is so important that you have to ignore my lesson to read it, perhaps you would like to share it with the class?”

It isn’t a request. Maia does turn to look at Izzy now, mortified, and Izzy does her best to appear calm though she can’t deny this is bad. She knows she’s going to be in deep trouble now - not with the teacher, she doesn’t care about that - but with her girlfriend, which is so much worse .

The teacher makes her way down the row of desks towards Maia’s seat when, in a moment of inspired brilliance and temporary insanity Isabelle will never forget for as long as she lives, Maia takes the paper, crumples it into a ball, and shoves it into her mouth. Izzy stares, wide-eyed and mouth gaping incredulously.

“What note?” Maia mumbles with words muffled by the paper, allowing her teeth and saliva to damage it beyond readability. The class erupts into laughter around her, Isabelle included, and she wonders if Maia wouldn’t have actually consumed the paper entirely if she hadn’t been ordered to go spit it out and stay after class for detention.

“So much for those two hours,” Maia grumbles upon her return back to her desk.

“Don’t worry,” Izzy smirks. “My parents are out of town all weekend, I think I can make it up to you.”

Chapter Text

I Wanna Be Known (By You) 

 

Simon never hides the fact that his dream is to be a musician. He also doesn’t hide the importance music has in his life, putting every spare cent he has into his instruments or gigs or rare records from that little hole-in-the-wall shop in the city, but music is the last thing on his mind as Raphael grabs him by the hand and drags him into Manhattan.

“Where are you taking me?” Simon asks, the slightest edge to his voice.

“It’s a surprise,” Raphael says for the dozenth time. “I’m starting to think you don’t trust me, Simon.”

“Of course I trust you!” Simon says defensively. “You know, most of the time. When you aren’t kidnapping me from my apartment in the middle of the night and being all secretive.

“It’s 8:00. That’s hardly the middle of the night, and you agreed to come with me, I didn’t force you here. You’re free to leave at any time, you know.” Raphael pauses, giving him a chance to take him up on the offer, but Simon only shakes his head and continues forward. He takes note of vaguely familiar places until he pieces together where they are.

Simon’s anxiousness does a full 180 into pure giddiness as the Gramercy Theater comes into sight. It’s one of his favorite music venues - it isn’t huge, but it isn’t stifling inside, either, and they always manage to book the most amazing shows. He sees the name on the marquee and stops dead.

“No way,” he breathes out. “ Twenty One Pilots?! This show’s been sold out for months!”

Raphael tries to appear nonchalant, but the satisfied smile on his face gives away the fact that he knows just how impressive this feat is. “That isn’t even the best part,” he says, and then pauses. “I hope,” he adds, biting on his lower lip.

Simon’s excitement fades slightly at Raphael’s sudden hesitation. “...there’s more?” Simon shakes his head. “This is already way too much, you don’t have to--”

“Just shut up and look over there,” Raphael orders, and Simon’s eyes follow to where he points at one of the posters on the wall.

Tickets still available for Parachute, with hometown opener Simon Lewis

“That has to be a… I can’t… Raphael what is this? ” Simon is in too much disbelief for the panic at just what those words mean to set in. “I couldn’t possibly…”

“You don’t have to if you don’t want to. There’s another week left to back out so they have time to book another act.” That option alone seems to calm Simon down from his initial freak out. “But you can do this,” Raphael insists, an uncharacteristically soft smile gracing his features as he reaches his arms out to rest a hand on each of Simon’s shoulders. It’s one Simon never saw before they started dating, one he dares to imagine is saved only for him. “The songs you’ve been writing lately are sensational. You deserve to play at more than coffee shop open mic nights.”  

“I wish I had as much faith in me as you do,” Simon mutters, fingers fidgeting with the bottom of his t-shirt. “You really think people will like me?”

“How can they not?”

Simon looks back up to the marquee imagining his name there, and smiles slowly. Being a famous musician is his biggest dream but it isn’t his only dream, he realizes, allowing his heart to fill with the kind words and support Raphael offers. He doesn’t know what he did to deserve it, or when all the pieces of his life finally started falling into place, but he thinks he may be well on his way to having it all.

Chapter Text

Cold Coffee

 

He sees her every day. Sometimes more than once a day. An art student, she often shows up with paint staining her hair, or clothing powdered with smudges of colored chalks and dark charcoals. A few times her hair is twisted back into a bun with a pencil stuck through it for safekeeping, though it’s usually down or in a ponytail.  More often than not there are the hints of dark circles under her eyes, but she even manages to make those look beautiful.

They start by making small talk. There isn’t a lot of time for it - she only gets a black coffee so there’s no milk to froth, no espresso to press. Her order takes seconds but sometimes Jace starts to conveniently run out of her favorite brew and they’ll have to wait a few minutes to make a new pot. She doesn’t seem to mind.

In fact, he’s certain she starts to do the same thing, taking some time to ‘consider’ any new menu options, or need to think about an order for a friend when she clearly came alone. Her name is Clarissa, but she goes by Clary. She and Simon have been friends forever. Her mother is an artist, her dad some sort of tech genius. She likes reading manga and is working on illustrating her own graphic novel in her free time. He falls for her more with every passing day.

One day she shows up with someone new - not the usual small group he sees her with of Simon, Isabelle, Alexander. This new guy is also smudged with paint - the same colors that splatter across her overalls - and they’re holding hands. His heart breaks, and he makes quick work of the coffees, avoiding her gaze. He tries his best to forget about her, which is difficult when he sees her (and her new boyfriend) every day for weeks.  

When he doesn’t see her for a day, and then two, he feels bad realizing it’s a relief... but by the third day he starts to get worried. When Simon comes up to the truck for a coffee Jace decides to take a risk.

“Where’s Clary? I haven’t seen her around in a few days.” He keeps his voice casual. It’s just an observation - he definitely doesn’t care. He’s just curious, that’s all.  

Simon looks uncomfortable for a moment, gaze narrowing off to the left instinctively. That’s when Jace finally takes notice of The Boyfriend - only he isn’t with Clary. He’s with another girl, making out very publicly at a picnic table. What an asshole.

“I’m sure this’ll be the first place I manage to drag her to once I can convince her to leave her room again.” Simon says, attempting to make light of the situation. “She keeps begging me to bring her back cup but I’m trying to starve her out, so to speak, through caffeine deprivation.”

Jace just nods, handing over Simon’s coffee. He has a thought he tries to shake all day, and when he can’t he closes the truck early, two large black coffees in hand as he crosses town to the art school nearby.

This is insane, and part of him knows it. He doesn’t have her number, he doesn’t know what building she takes classes in, or even which dorm is her’s. He asks everyone he passes, describing the fiery redhead painter until he gets pointed in the right direction. It takes him an hour and a half to get a room number. Once he does he stands there, wondering if this isn’t a terrible idea.

He knocks anyway. Nothing. He knocks again.

“Simon, I told you I wasn’t coming to the open mic tonight, just let it--” she starts, swinging the door open and falling silent at the sight of him. “--you’re not Simon.”

“No,” Jace confirms. Her eyes are heavy, the bags beneath them more pronounced. Her face is dry but a little blotchy, like she’d been crying earlier. There’s none of the light that he’s so used to seeing in her expression and that hurts him more than seeing her happy with someone else ever had.

“What are you doing here?” She rubs quickly at her face, knowing it’s mostly useless now that he’s already seen her.

“Simon said he was holding your caffeine hostage.” Jace holds up the cups. “They’ll definitely need to be re-heated, but…” he holds the coffee in the carrier over. “It seemed cruel, even if I do miss seeing you around the truck.”

Clary looks at them, reaching out uncertainty to take it. “Thanks.”

“Do you want to… talk? At all?”

“No.” Her reply is immediate. Of course she doesn’t. Why would she? They’re barely acquaintances, and then he shows up unannounced at her door like a stalker. She’ll probably never come back to the truck now.  

“Right. Of course not. Sorry, I just… nevermind.” He turns, but pauses. If she never speaks to him again he might as well say this one last thing, right? “I hope you feel better soon. You’re amazing, and anyone who doesn’t realize that is an idiot.” He hesitates just a beat before adding, “And if it makes you feel better, I’ve been giving him decaf for weeks, ever since that day he told you to spend less time visiting your parents on the weekends because you weren’t spending enough with him. He’s an asshole and you deserve better.”

Okay Wayland shut up and leave, he tells himself, before you bury yourself in this hole you’re digging . He’s several steps down the hallway when he hears her voice, quiet and hesitant from the doorway.

“Wait, Jace?” He slows and turns back to face her. “I- do you want to grab something at the diner? I haven’t eaten all day, I’m starving.”

“Yeah, I’d like that.”

“Give me a second to change-” Clary says, already vanishing inside the dorm while Jace leans against the wall in the hallway.

She comes back out in an olive green jacket and jeans, hesitating at his side for a moment before they both start off down the hall.

“Why are you doing all this?” She asks after a length of silence. “You barely know me.”

“True,” he has to agree. “But I’d really like to change that, if you’ll let me.”

And for the first time in days, Clary smiles.

Chapter Text

Book of Bad Decisions 

 

When Magnus arrives back at the Loft to the sound of uninhibited laughter, he smiles. The voices are easy to identify before he sees their faces, belonging to Catarina and Alec, and he’s immediately filled with a sense of warmth at the idea of them bonding together over whatever it is they find so amusing. Alec fits so seamlessly into his life and shutting the door behind him to see Alec and Cat leaning into one another on the sofa, hunched over something on the coffee table, he’s thankful to have the people close to him get along so well.

At the sound of the door clicking shut both Alec and Cat turn their heads sharply to where he stands. They look suspiciously guilty, trying to contain another burst of laughter at the sight of him, and now Magnus frowns a bit. Perhaps the two of them are a little too chummy all of a sudden.

“...what are you two looking at?” He asks, not sure he wants the answer to that question. Taking a few steps forward he catches sight of the black, unmarked scrapbook and freezes. “ No .” the word escapes his lips as a flash of betrayal crosses his expression, both of which are aimed pointedly at Cat. “ You didn’t .”

“Oh, she did,” Alec confirms, smirking so deviously that Magnus is already mentally taking back every nice thought he just had. His so-called best friend and boyfriend are the absolute worst and he wishes they never spoke to one another. If they hated one another this wouldn’t be happening.

“I can’t believe you kept this from me. These are amazing .”

Magnus closes his eyes with a groan. “It isn’t my book, so technically I didn’t keep anything from you. But if it were my book I promise it would be locked in an underground vault never to see the light of day again. I tried to burn it a dozen times but Ragnor, curse him, charmed the damned thing to be indestructible and I never figured out a way around it.” Magnus’ fingers flex and he looks like he’s about ready to try again until Catarina shoots him a warning glare.

“Don’t you dare,” she threatens. “Also you should come look, there are a few new additions since the last time you saw it.”

Magnus is positive he would rather set himself on fire, but he goes over anyway, greeted by the familiar site of pictures of himself. Not recent photos, or even good ones, but ones that Ragnor and Catarina found and saved ever since the first photographs existed. Mortifying photographs of Magnus Bane throughout the ages, caught off guard making ridiculous faces, or in embarrassing moments, or simply wearing clothing that never should have seen the light of day. There’s even one, thankfully not on the current page, of him in acid wash jeans . It is the scrapbook equivalent of every photo you immediately untag on Facebook and beg your friends to delete, except instead of being nice and agreeing they save them for all of eternity.

The particular page they’re on is one of Magnus with a mohawk so high hit defies gravity. His dark hair has a neon green streak through it which stands in stark contrast to the black and pink shirt he wears along with baggy, ripped jeans and his favorite silver Doc Martens.

“It was the 80’s!” he defends. “Everyone had Liberty Spikes!”

“My favorite has to be the one of you at the beach in that Victorian swimsuit-”

“Alright, that’s enough of that.” Magnus snaps the book shut firmly with a pout. “Are we going to dinner or not?”

Alec stands from the sofa, walking over to place a kiss on Magnus’ lips. He can feel the muscles around his mouth twitch trying to keep his lips turned down in a frown against their will. Alec laughs.

“Of course we are. That was the second look-through anyway.” Alec turns to Cat suddenly. “You know, I think the Institute archives might have one or two you’d be interested in. If you wanted to swing by I could-”

“Et tu, Alexander?!” Magnus brings a hand up dramatically to his chest.

As the trio heads out Catarina sneaks up beside Alec, a devious glint in her eyes. “Get me those photos and I’ll bring the other two books Magnus doesn’t even know about.”

Chapter Text

All I Do Is Win

 

Simon looks like he might throw up, or faint, or both, as they stand backstage waiting for their turn. It’s only a local battle of the bands at their college but he poured his heart and soul into arranging these songs and what if the crowd hates them? What if they hate him ?

“Relax,” Jace says from beside him, bringing a hand up to Simon’s shoulder to give it a quick squeeze. The casual touch leaves Simon feeling even more weak in the knees though he does his best to hide it. “We practiced these forever - you probably know them better than you can sing the ABC’s right now. It’s going to be fine.”

Simon is surprisingly comforted by that. Jace spent the majority of the last month with him working on their music, so if anyone knows whether or not they’re ready, it’s him. And he’s far too cool to do anything he thinks will embarrass himself so he has to mean it.  It’s going to be fine.

And it is. Simon does a loop beat for the drums and background, strumming his guitar and singing while Jace plays keyboard and sings harmony.

I'll never reveal
All the burden that I face inside every night
I'm a stranger when I wake, wake up in your eyes”

Simon looks over at him each time they sing together, wondering idly if the blonde boy has any idea the words Simon’s singing aren’t just with him, but for him. Jace smiles at him and Simon feels his already nervous heartbeat speed up considerably as he smiles back.

It's a fragile world, fragile world, fragile world
Flying in the air”

They finish, and before the last note can fade away completely the audience is on their feet, a roar of cheers and applause echoing through the room. They won over the crowd at the very least; now it’s just a matter of if they won over the judges or not. Half the town is there, filling the seats of the auditorium and spilling out into standing room in the aisles and along the back wall. Now Simon is left to fidget nervously back and forth, bouncing on the balls of his feet and wringing his hands together. They wait off stage, behind a bit of curtain to the left.

“Simon, chill . We killed it out there, you have nothing to worry about. And even if we didn’t, it’s over, there’s nothing to do now but wait.” The logic is sound and yet Simon cannot simply chill . Not until they announce the winner. He nods anyway.

The host comes back on stage, a card in hand. “The judges have reached a decision. By unanimous vote, the winner is-” he glances down at the name on the paper. “-SIMACE!”

“I told you we’d--OOF!” Jace’s words cut off as Simon excitedly flings himself at him. Simon jumps into the hug, throwing his arms around Jace with an actual leap into the air towards him - feet leaving the ground and everything as his face buries into the side of Jace’s neck in the embrace. It’s full of eagerness and relief, entirely uninhibited.

Simon doesn’t think twice about it in his excitement over the win, not even when Jace has to catch him , arms wrapping tight around Simon’s middle to support the weight flung at him. Jace stumbles backwards slightly from the force but he holds firm, spinning Simon in a little half-circle to carry through the momentum and keep them both upright.

Simon’s laughing, positively beaming at the sound of the applause around them -  until he turns his head to smile at Jace and registers what he just did. He tenses. He’s ready to drop back down, to distance himself and apologize for getting carried away… except Jace’s arms only pull him closer. They don’t let him go, but squeeze him tight in an embrace that manages to be strong and soft all at once; an embrace that’s so undeniably Jace . Where Jace’s reaction was surprised and reflexive at first, Simon feels the shift to where this becomes a very conscious return. He’s shaking again, but not because of the adrenaline of the win or nerves of the performance.   

Simon’s feet lower back to the ground and for a moment neither lets go completely, leaning into one another and taking in the moment.

“Are you two going to join us sometime tonight?” The announcer asks with a glance off-stage in their direction, getting a smattering of laughter from the audience who can’t see them. It pulls Simon and Jace from their trance and they step back with matching sheepish grins.

“Let’s go get that prize,” Jace gives Simon’s hand a little tug towards the stage. Simon follows willingly, but he suddenly can’t care less about the competition -- he’s already won the best prize he can imagine.

Chapter Text

Different Definitions of Fun

 

“ ‘ Let’s go to a haunted house ’ you said. ‘ IT’LL BE FUN ’ you said.”

Alec mutters the words resentfully, muffled slightly by his hand which is pinching his bloody nose.

“Yes, well, I didn’t think you’d assault the performers,” Magnus points out.

Catarina and Underhill stand beside the couple, blocking them from view on the side street they duck off to so that Alec can activate his healing rune.

“I can’t believe you nearly broke that poor guy’s arm.” Underhill looks like he isn’t sure whether to be impressed or horrified. “I take back everything I said earlier, I’m so glad you dragged me along to witness this.”

“I didn’t think you’d get that scared,” Cat admits, stifling a snicker.

Alec looks as if he’s never been more personally offended in his entire life. “Scared?! How many scared people would take on a guy with a chainsaw while unarmed?”

“Not many. And if that’s what happened, we’d all be very proud of you. However,” Magnus corrects. “That was an actor. In a place with people you knew would jump out at you, with a prop .” Alec’s face turns a fierce red, and not from the blood he wipes away from his now-healing face.

“Yeah well, that prop was enough to break my nose,” Alec points out. “And it was a reflex! I couldn’t help it.”

“In hindsight, yes, probably not the best place for someone with deeply ingrained knee-jerk combat reactions,” Cat agrees.

“I dunno, I managed to not attack anyone and I’ve been at it longer than Lightwood.” Underhill chimes in, knowing he’ll get shit from Alec later for siding with Magnus and Cat. It’s entirely worth it.

“Fair point. So we’re all in agreement then: Alec overreacts, is generally terrifying, and should never be exposed to jumpscares ever again?” Magnus summarizes.

“Agreed.”
“Agreed.”

Cat and Underhill both reply immediately.

“Whatever. This was your dumb idea in the first place.” Everyone knows he’s being petty when he starts using words like ‘dumb’ to describe things, but with his already hurt pride they let it slide this time.  

Just then Alec’s phone buzzes in his pocket, moments later followed by Underhill’s. They share a look before opening the alert, both already standing a little more alert.

“Demon sighting a few blocks away from the Institute,” Alec says, looking expectantly over at Magnus. A second later his bow and quiver were in his hands, and there’s a smile back on Alec’s face, the kind he gets from the adrenaline of a hunt.  “Finally, some real fun.”

Magnus shakes his head, giving Alec a quick kiss and a “Be careful” as he and Underhill go.

“I will never understand them,” Cat sighs.

“Shall we give the haunted house another try now that it’s just the two of us?” Magnus proposes.

“First one to scream buys pizza after.” 

“You’re on.”

Chapter Text

The Art of Caring

 

Clary hasn’t slept properly in days. Final projects for all of her classes are due over the course of this week and she’s spending more time in the studio than in her dorm. In fact, she hasn’t seen the outside world besides walking from one to the other and back again in longer than she can remember, and she’s just a little on edge.

Jace knows all of this, so when he pushes her to go home and rest after she makes it very clear she has no intention of doing either, it really shouldn’t be a surprise when it turns into a fight.  He succeeds in getting her out of the studio but only to lock herself in the girl’s bathroom until he’s forced to leave to open the coffee shop.

He feels guilty all day. Closing the shop a little early, Jace takes all the coffee that’s left and pours it into a large carry-out container -  the sort meant for catering events, that fits about 100 ounces - and goes to Clary’s dorm. Her roommate points him to the studio, and when he knocks on the closed door there’s no reply.

Pushing the door open he doesn’t know if he’s more relieved, amused, or worried to see Clary passed out, arms resting on the table, forehead down in the crook of her elbow. Her arm is sitting in a variety of blue paints she must’ve been mixing - they stain her shirt, her face, and even her hair.

“Clary,” he says, voice barely above a whisper. “Hey, wake up.” He doesn’t want to wake her now that she’s finally getting some rest but he also doesn’t want her to miss any deadlines when it’s pretty obvious this was not a planned nap break.

Clary mumbles something sleepily before jolting up with a start as his voice registers. “Jace? What time is it?”

He consults his watch. “8:23.”

“Ugh,” Clary groans, running a hand through her hair before realizing she has paint on both. “Oh my god, this is a mess . I sat down to blend these blues and… I only meant to close my eyes for a second.”

“You’re burning yourself out. Let me take you back to your dorm,” Jace practically begs.

“I wish. I might be able to take a nap or two while the layers dry, but there’s no way I’m getting back to the dorm tonight if I’m finishing this in time to hand in tomorrow morning.”

Jace grabs the box of coffee he sat off to the side of the table before waking her. “In that case, this might help.”

Clary’s eyes light up, her entire body straightening as if re-energized by the mere sight of caffeine.  “You’re an angel.”

“I owed you after this morning.”

“No you didn’t. I should be the one apologizing - I was awful to you. I’m just so stressed I snapped, but I shouldn’t have snapped at you. You’re just trying to help.” She hesitates. “Can I show you what I worked on all day?”

“Of course, I’d love to see it.” She grabs his hand and he doesn’t mind the sticky, half-dried paint that transfers to his palm in the process. In the corner of the room is an easel with the canvas facing away from them. When they round the other side Jace stops short in surprise.

Painted against the white background is a pair of eyes. His eyes. The light icy blue of the right one stands in obvious contrast to the left where the blues blend into a patch of deep red-tinted brown at the bottom. There is a light to the painting; they look so vibrant and real and alive. He always thought they were cool as a casual observation but this is the first time he thought of them as beautiful , and it isn’t lost on him that it’s because he’s seeing them the way Clary sees them. There’s no face behind them, not even a full nose, but he can tell by the way they crinkle at the corners that they’re on a smiling face full of light and warmth.

“After you left all I could think about was how hurt your eyes looked when I walked out… but I couldn’t stand to paint them that way, so I made them happy again.” She looks up at him, looking into those same eyes, watching them crinkle at the corners at her words - just like the painting. She wants to promise she'll never upset him like that again but she knows that's a promise she can't keep, no matter how much she wants to.

“It’s stunning, Clary. I love it.” He pauses just a moment. She should know it, but that wariness in her voice prompts him to say it anyway. Perhaps he doesn’t say it enough.  “I love you.”

She looks relieved, as if afraid their fight that morning may have been enough to change that. “I love you, too.” Looking so much lighter as his arm wraps around her waist Clary leans against his side, forcing herself not to close her eyes when she rests her head against his shoulder. “And I’m glad, because this is getting submitted for my final portfolio. You know, if I ever finish it.” She’s already growing a bit antsy at how long they’re talking, even if it is to clear the air about earlier.

“I’ll leave you to it, then.” Jace says, leaning in for a quick kiss before leaving Clary to the coffee and paints.

He doesn’t stay away for very long, though, coming back 45 minutes later with a bundle of blankets and pillows in his arms.

“What are you doing?” Clary asks, pulling an earbud out of her ear at the sound of the door opening.

“For your naps,” Jace says. “I can’t get you to go to your bed so I brought most of the bed to you. You roommate refused to help me carry a mattress across campus.” He laughs at that, and so does she. He’s already setting them up in a little nest in the corner of the room.

 Art is hard, but loving him comes so easily.

“Promise me you’ll try and get some rest?” 

“I promise.” At least that's one promise she can keep. The rest, she knows with sudden surety, will fall into place along the way. 

Chapter Text

Old Roots, New Trees 

 

The past is a fickle thing. Some memories remain as clear as the moment she lived them, for better or worse, while others are hazy clips of feelings and phrases, blurs of faces and names she can’t quite recall. Maryse Lightwood used to have her past written all over her body, every rune telling a story of the times she called upon it, every scar a badge of pride.

Now that they’re gone she feels like so much of herself was erased along with the black markings that used to cover her skin. She doesn’t know who this new version of herself is - she stares at the blank white pages of her new life in indecision over what to fill these next chapters with. It’s too much pressure, she thinks sometimes, to start over now. She can’t do it, not alone, not like this.

So it’s a good thing she isn’t alone. This has never been more obvious than now, finishing up dinner while Lucian, Isabelle, and Alec set the table and situate themselves around it.

“...so then I go to Maryse,” Luke is saying as she walks over with the pot roast, setting it down in the center of the table. He’s laughing so hard he needs to stop and re-start his sentence. “I ask her, ‘How do you keep sneaking out every night without getting caught?”

“Lucian, no!

“Quiet mom! Don’t you dare ruin this now,” Isabelle says before turning quickly back to Luke. “Go on!”

“And she goes--” Luke starts, but Maryse cuts him off with a devious grin.

“-- are you a Shadowhunter or not? And I knelt down, drune a Soundless Rune on my heels, and walked out of the room without a sound.”

Alec shakes his head as he pours himself a glass of wine. “I can’t believe you were so hard on us growing up when you have so many stories like this . From the sounds of it, you give Izzy a run for her money.”

“Stories like this are precisely why I was hard on you. I knew exactly what you were capable of getting up to if you thought for a second you could get away with it.”

Isabelle and Alec exchange knowing smirks and Maryse shakes her head. “No, don’t tell me. I don’t even want to know.” She says quickly, knowing exactly what that look means.

“You may not want to know, but we certainly do. So, Luke, any more gems to share with us?”

He glances over at Maryse and she realizes with a small swell of appreciation that he’s looking for her permission. She sighs and rolls her eyes, but nods her approval in the end.

“Okay, so, another time…” he starts, spooning a heaping portion of the roast onto his plate as he launches into another tale from their past, and Maryse suddenly realizes that her indecision is over. .

 

This is the life she wants to fill her new pages with. This is her happy ending.

Chapter Text

Welcome to the Family

 

It’s rare that Clary wakes up earlier than she absolutely has to over the summer, but when she jolts awake at 4 am with a sudden idea for a drawing she drags herself into the kitchen with her sketch pad, makes half a pot of coffee for herself, and goes to work.

She hears a door creak open around 5 am, followed by the sound of footsteps… except they’re too heavy to belong to her mother. Looking up from her drawing she sees Luke trying to make his way quietly to the front door, coming from her mother’s room. He freezes when he sees her.

“Clary. I, uh-- what are you doing up?”

“Inspiration strikes when it strikes,” she explains with a shrug. “But I’m not sure I’m the one who needs to explain what they’re doing at this hour.” She raises her eyebrows at him.

“It isn’t what you think,” Luke says immediately. “I wasn’t-- I didn’t-- nothing happened, if that’s what you’re implying. We were just talking and it got late and I must’ve fallen asleep…”

Clary is half tempted to watch him squirm a little more but decides to stop him while he’s ahead.

Relax, Luke. I’m just giving you a hard time. Though, if something did happen, just for the record? I wouldn’t mind at all. In fact, I think that might be really nice.”

“You do?” Luke seems to have regained his composure again, looking at her curiously.

“Yeah. I mean, come on-” Clary motions around the room, watching Luke’s gaze follow her own. There are signs of him everywhere - his own mug in the kitchen for coffee or tea, framed pictures of him with herself and her mom all over the living room, and she even has a bag of spare clothing and toiletries at his place for when she crashes there if she’s out too late and closer to his place than her own. “-we’re already family in all the ways that matter.”

She doesn’t add that she already assumed the two of them were secretly getting together for ages now.

“Thanks, kiddo.” He takes a few more steps towards the doorway.

“You can stay if you want,” she points out. “Unless you’re trying to avoid dealing with my mom  first thing in the morning, which is totally understandable. I’ve dealt with her enough to know she is far from pleasant before 10 am.”

Luke laughs, hesitating with his hand on the doorknob. “Next time,” he promises, slipping out of the front door without realizing the implications of those two little words.

Next time. Clary smiles knowing that even if this is the first time something like this happened  it’s not going to be the last. While she doesn’t particularly want to think about her mom’s love life - because ew - she does want her to be happy. Luke is good for her.

Clary’s just glad they can see it, too. It sure as hell took them long enough.

Chapter Text

Come Alive 

 

The Shadowhunters are gone, portaled back to The Institute, and Magnus remains alone in Ragnor’s cottage for a short while. He knows it’s a risk - that more demons or Circle members could be there any moment - but if his suspicions are correct then whatever protection Ragnor used would likely be tied to the house he knew he wouldn’t step foot outside of until it was safe again.

He paces, back and forth, in front of the body of his dear friend. At first he was very convinced that his gut instinct was correct, but now… now he isn’t so sure. The longer time goes on and nothing he does has any effect, the longer he starts to fear that this is really--

Ragnor’s body lurches upright, air entering his lungs in a deep, desperate gasp. Magnus immediately falls to his knees beside him.

“I knew it!” he says, his attempt at confident triumph betrayed by the relief in his words.

“You did not,” Ragnor challenges without missing a beat. “I saw the tears in your eyes.”

“There was an audience, what was I supposed to do, a jig?” Magnus counters.

“I can’t believe you were going to let the last thing I ever heard be: ‘Be still, my dear little cabbage’. I’m replacing you with Raphael from now on.” Magnus is mostly certain he’s joking about that. Mostly.

“Let’s just get you out of here. I’ve already used my best line today, I don’t think I can come up with something to top it if we stick around long enough for you to die properly.”

---

Magnus enters the cemetery with Cat and Alec on either side of him. It’s nighttime, though the glamour cast across the trio renders them entirely invisible as an added precaution. They walk in silence until they come to stop in front of a grave set far back into the plots.

The name on the headstone - which is large, elaborate, and has small circle-like images which look suspiciously like cabbages etched around the edge like a border -  reads ‘Ragnor Fell - sweet peapod of love’.

“I can’t believe it’s been three years.” Cat looks down at the marker with a frown.

“I miss our dear little cabbage so much,” Magnus says with a sniffle.

“I wish I could’ve met him. I owe him so much more than this posthumous offering,” Alec adds, taking the object from Magnus’ hands and placing it down in front of the headstone. It’s a cactus.

“A prickly plant for my prickly friend,” Magnus gives a heavy sigh. “Much better than any traditional wreath.”

A fourth voice sounds from behind them.

“Must you three idiots do this every year ?”

Ragnor glances down at the cactus with an eye roll so exaggerated it actually strains his muscles.

“I miss him so much sometimes I could swear I hear his voice judging me from The Other Side .” Magnus declares dramatically, pretending to look straight through Ragnor.

“You’re the one who insisted on faking your death. It wouldn’t do for your two best friends not to come and pay their respects.” Cat knows that isn’t his point, but they can’t help but have a little fun with this.

“I’m obviously only here for emotional support… plus I brought the cactus.” Alec says, knowing that of all the centuries of life he lived a Shadowhunter he barely knows is probably last on his list people he wants to see on this particular day, though Magnus insists he has a surprising fondness for him.

“I hate all of you and I’m honestly not sure why I agree to this every year.” Ragnor wonders if he might prefer to cut himself off entirely instead of spending the anniversary of his ‘Death Day’ out, glamoured or otherwise.

“I got us a private room at Blanca for the night,” Magnus offers.

“...I love all of you and this is clearly the highlight of my year,” Ragnor quickly corrects.

“That’s more like it. Let’s go before we’re late and they give the table to someone else.”

Though he plays it off as his usual sarcasm, they can all see how happy Ragnor truly is for the rest of the night. It’s obvious in the way his expression softens over the course of their time together, eyes crinkling in laughter and small smirks tugging up at the corners of his lips. This may, quite honestly, be the highlight of his year; not that he’d ever actually admit it to any of them.

 

But to himself? He can admit he misses this. Seeing how happy Alec makes Magnus gives him a pang of regret over not seeing his friend happy and flourishing again.

 

Perhaps it’s time for a long-overdue resurrection...

Chapter Text

Lost For You 

 

Magnus is drunk when Alec gets home from work. This isn’t the first time and Alec knows by now to approach with caution. The last few were pity-induced, where the wrong word would spell disaster for his boyfriend’s already tumultuous mood. Knowing the signs, Alec looks to see what sort of alcohol is around - it isn’t the potential sadness of whiskey or even a contemplative glass of scotch: it’s something colorful, with splashes of fruit.

Good drunk. The first few times Magnus drank too much since he lost his magic were messy - he didn’t realize how easily he could become properly drunk without magical tolerance and passed straight from tipsy to black-out drunk twice (the first time he swore never again… the second time he really meant it). The next few he simply got sick. More recently he’s starting to realize that he can be a fun level of drunk; Alec is relieved to find he’s at this level, grinning from ear to ear.

“Alec! You’re home!” Magnus moves towards him, nearly spilling his drink over the edge of the rim as he spins to greet him. “I hope you’re hungry, because we’re going out!”

“Out?” They didn’t have plans as far as Alec knew.

“Yes. I got a call confirming a reservation I made months ago and entirely forgot about, what with… everything.” He makes a vague, swirling hand gesture to indicate that they’re both well aware what ‘everything’ is without his elaboration. “Get changed.”

Alec is tempted to argue - he had a long day and was actually looking forward to some time in - but the enthusiastic look on Magnus’ face is too much to fight. He hasn’t seen him this happy since… everything .  Even if it is slightly alcohol-induced.

“Alright. Give me five minutes.” Alec changes quickly, coming out to see Magnus sipping a new drink, blue instead of pink this time.

“Ready? Wonderful.” Magnus is already leading the way out of the Loft, grabbing their coats on the way out and hailing a cab the moment they’re down on the street. They get inside and the driver asks for an address. Magnus looks confused.

“You… do know the address, right?” Alec dares to ask, already knowing the answer.

“It’s in the city.”

Alec laughs, shaking his head. “It’s a big city, Magnus. There are a lot of restaurants in ‘the city’.”

“Yes, well, I didn’t need to know addresses before. I could always just portal , but-”

“-Magnus!” Alec speaks the single word in a whispered warning, looking up at the cab driver with a nervous half-smile.

Magnus rolls his eyes. “Fine. SORRY . Before I could always just--” and instead of saying ‘portal’ again he makes wild circles in the air in front of him with ‘whooshing noises. The cab driver looks like he’s about to kick them out.

“It’s fine, let’s just stay home and I’ll cook.” It’s a nice idea, Alec thinks. One Magnus immediately shoots down.

“Nope. Not happening. We’re going to this dinner, I’ll just give directions! Onward!”

After the cab pulls away Magnus gives a lot of directions like “Straight, straight, keep going straight until SHIT NO LEFT it was that way, go back” and “alright so there’s a statue somewhere down here of balancing elephants … there!” “-Mangus those are rhinoceroses.” This goes on for approximately 25 minutes and Alec is certain they’ve gone in at least 3 circles.

“Magnus, we’re lost.” Alec gives the cab driver an apologetic look. He hates being lost, but even more he hates looking foolish, which is how he’s starting to feel. A small part of him still strives to impress at every moment, even just to the strangers on the streets around him.

“No we’re not! It’s got to be around here somewhere…” Magnus rolls the window down and leans half of his body out of it. “The last time I went there was a duck outside. Once we see the duck we’ll know we’re on the right street!”

Alec sighs. He tries not to let it show but this is starting to get embarassing and he’s edging on frustrated.   “The same duck isn’t going to be there. Get back in the cab, you’re going to fall out.” He pulls Magnus back inside the window.

“Just take us back--” Alec starts to instruct the driver, but Magnus leans forward eagerly.

“No, no, no! We have reservations , Alexander. We are not going back home .”

They’re stopped at a red light when the sound of music drifts through the open window “That’s gorgeous,” Magnus is immediately distracted by the sound, eyeing the musicians in obvious approval. Before Alec realizes what’s happening Magnus is out of the cab and onto the street, heading towards the small group of street performers. Alec scrambles to throw more money than necessary at the cab driver for his troubles, apologizing one last time before following Magnus through a row of parked cars and onto a sidewalk.

When he catches back up with him (he only stopped for a second to give the driver money, how did he slip away so fast?!) Magnus is swaying in front of the performers. That swaying quickly turns into dancing, smooth and easy and carefree as he steps and slides, hands reaching out, beckoning to Alec to join him.

Alec shakes his head ‘no’, hoping it’d be enough to get him to come back to the cab and go home. Instead Magnus immediately turns his attention to a younger girl of about 6 who giggles as she takes his hand, allowing him to swing get gently in a circle, putting her down to let her spin out and dip. Alec immediately softens watching Magnus dance. She laughs the whole time, the small crowd of onlookers clapping as they finish their impromptu performance

Alec takes a deep breath and walks up beside them. “Mind if I cut in?” But instead of grabbing Magnus’ hand he grabs the little girl's, twirling her in a circle in perfect time to the music.

Magnus watches with a shocked fondness. Alec gives the dancing girl one last twirl before turning to his boyfriend. He sees the surprise there and laughs.“What? There were dances in Alicante growing up.” He smirks, holding his hands out for Magnus to grab. “Plus, formal dance training helps with agility and flexibility in battles.”

“Among other places,” Magnus says with a wink, and Alec blushes.

They dance to the music for a short while, taking turns switching lead until the song comes to an end and Magnus pulls Alec in close, lips crashing together.

Alec gets lost in that kiss, just as lost as they are in this city, but maybe that’s one thing he’s wrong about.

Maybe there’s no harm in getting a little lost sometimes.

Chapter Text

Always Be

 

Simon and Clary go to the same coffee shop all of the time. Clary, somehow, is entirely oblivious to the fact that another frequent patron seems to go more to watch her than to actually drink coffee, but Simon notices. He notices because that guy is looking at Clary the way that Simon has to try very hard not to look at her.

This particular morning Simon is early, so he’s waiting in their usual spot for Clary to get there. And as he does he sees a figure approach him - but not the grumpy, pre-coffee redhead he’s expecting. It’s the Staring Guy.

“Can I help you?” Simon asks.

“Yeah,” the guy says, actually sounding a little nervous. “That girl you’re always with -- are you two, you know… dating?”

Simon sighs. “No,” he says.

“Good,” the guy’s response is immediate, and both of them wince. “Sorry, not good , I just mean-”

Simon actually starts to feel bad for the guy now the longer he starts to stumble over his words. If he’s this bad just asking about Clary the poor guy will be a mess actually talking to her.

“It’s fine. I know what you meant,” Simon says, though he looks considerably more miserable than he was a few moments before.

“Is she dating anyone else?”

“No.” Simon hates this. He hates that he can’t just tell Clary he likes her, because he’s so convinced she could never like him back, not like that. He’ll never know without asking, but he’ll never ask, so…

“Alright, thanks.”

The guy slips off to the other side of the room again, just as Clary comes in and makes a beeline for Simon who tries not to look like he just got figuratively punched in the gut.

“Sorry I’m late.” She hooks her messenger bag over the back of the chair, launching into some story about her mother and some plans she had that might get cancelled because of a trip to Luke’s farmhouse, and a few other things about school and her art projects. Simon is listening until he sees the guy from earlier looking their way with two cups of coffee in his hands.

Oh. He’s doing this now . Simon doesn’t think he can sit through that just now and excuses himself, passing the other guy on his way to the bathroom. Simon hesitates, looking down at the cups. Part of him wants to let this attempt crash and burn, but his conscience wins out.

“Hey,” Simon says quietly, stopping him before he can get too far. “What’s in the coffee?”

“Just cream and sugar, why?”

Simon shakes his head. “She drinks her coffee black. Throw in a danish and you’re in. And just… she’s had a rough morning, so be extra patient? When she gets like this sometimes there’s nothing to be done until after she has a coffee or two in her system but I promise she’ll warm up.” He doesn’t realize the smile that took over his annoyed look the longer he spoke of Clary and her morning habits, and just as quickly he’s off again.

Simon’s already wondering if he can sneak out the back without anyone noticing just so he doesn’t have to go through the awkwardness of showing back up to the two of them flirting … But when he comes back from the bathroom the guy isn’t even there and Clary is looking at him weird, almost like she’s never seen him before or something.

“You alright, Fray? What happened?” Simon asks, glancing around. He doesn’t see that guy anywhere though the coffee and danish are on the table, just like Simon suggested.

“Nothing. Nothing, it’s just…” she stares at him again, and Simon can’t help but feel like she’s really looking at him , stranger than usual. “Do you like me?”

Simon scrunches his nose, eyebrows pinching together. Was that guy mean to her after all that?! He’d kill him.  “Of course I do. I wouldn’t have put up with you for this long if I didn’t.”

“No, no. I mean... “ she hesitates, but it dawns on him what she’s hinting at before she can say it out loud and he looks down at the table so fast he nearly gives himself whiplash. It’s all the confirmation she needs. “He was right. Oh my god I’m an idiot.”

Simon wishes he could teleport straight out of this coffee shop. “Who was right?”

“The guy who just came up to me with a coffee and danish and said he felt too guilty taking credit for them when ‘that guy in the glasses who clearly likes me’ told him to.” It’s a lot to take in, even though it isn’t anything new; just newly processed. “Why would you do that?”

Simon shrugs, still unable to meet her eyes. Good thing he knows exactly what they look like, the way the greens around the edges give way to a small ring of hazel brown around the pupil and flecks of gold when the lighting is just right, because he’s positive he’ll never be able to look Clary in the eyes again. He can picture them staring at him now, questioning and intent.

“I just want you to be happy.” He says finally.

“Well, Simon Lewis, news flash: you make me happy,” and she says it with such sudden certainty that he finally looks back up.

“Yeah, but not like that .”

“We wouldn’t know, we never tried.” Their eyes meet, each wanting to make sure the other was there with them on the same page here. That they were really talking about doing this thing, together.  

“Oh.” Simon doesn't think he can manage much more than one syllable at that moment. “Okay. Yeah.” He clears his throat. “So, do you, uh, want to try, then? With me?”

Clary laughs. “Yes, Simon, I’d love to go on a date with you.” She pauses. “But maybe let’s start by not missing class.” She stands to leave, slipping the danish into her bag for later and grabbing the coffee in her right hand. Her left is by her side and she tentatively moves it out a bit, waiting.

Simon takes it in his own, because he can now, and as they leave the coffee shop it feels so natural that it’s like they were always meant to fit together this way. He’s where he’s always been, where he always knew he’d be for the rest of his life, dating or not: right beside Clary.

Chapter Text

The Name of the Game

 

The credits begin to roll on the movie, and Simon reaches over for the remote to hit stop.

“So?” He asks expectantly, looking around the room. He, Clary, and Magnus have all seen Jumanji before, but this was the first time Jace, Isabelle, or Alec had, and reactions need to be properly gauged.

“I liked it,” Isabelle is the first to declare.

Alec scrunches up his face. “Why didn’t the plants all get sucked back in when the animals did? That doesn’t make any sense.”

Magnus rolls his eyes. “ That’s your takeaway?!”

“Yeah, especially when there was that time the crocodile bit someone and they didn’t even flinch,” Jace points out.

“You two are impossible,” Clary says, joining Magnus in the eye-rolling.

“Well, perhaps you can have better reactions, since it’s time for phase two of the night: Jumanji, The Game!” Simon pulls a box out of his bag, holding it dramatically above his head. He’s met with impassive silence.

“Oh, come on, at least pretend to be excited.”

“Why would I want to play a game that’s going to trap me in a jungle forever?” Alec points out. “This doesn’t seem like something to be excited about. Is this another one of those things where Mundanes don’t know where to draw the line with cursed objects?”

“No,” Clary promises. “This is just a really bad board game based off an amazing-for-its-time movie. And it’s short, so our suffering will be over soon.”

“Harsh, Fray.”

To everyone’s surprise, Magnus is eyeing the board game with intense interest. “I’m in.”

“Really?” Alec is just as surprised as everyone else.

“Yeah. I bet this is going to be a lot more entertaining than you think. Let’s play.” Alec can tell that there’s something up, he can hear it in his boyfriend’s voice but he doesn’t say anything. He just keeps an extra-close eye on him as they set the board up, catching the small flares of magic as his hands place the cards down and move over the pieces. No one else seems to notice, and Alec quirks an eyebrow that gets him a wink and a finger placed over his lips.

“I’ll go first,” Simon says, rolling. He lands on a space that calls for a danger card. Placing it into the red decoder he reads aloud-

 

“You better watch

Just where you stand;

The floor is quicker

Than the sand.”

 

And, much to his horror, the hardwood floor beneath him begins to shift. He scrambles back in a crab-walk until he’s pressed firmly against the far wall.

“What the--”

Everyone else has moved away from the spot as well… everyone but Magnus who sits with an amused smile on his face.

“You!” Simon points an accusing finger at the warlock.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Isn’t this the point of the game?” The smirk on his face betrays his feigned innocence, but it’s also reassuring. Surely Magnus wouldn’t actually let any of them be swallowed by quicksand or trapped in a jungle for years… would he?

“So?” Magnus asks, holding his hand out palm-up with the retrieved die, eyes scanning across the Shadowhunters (and Simon, though he already went this round) in challenge. “Who’s next?”

Chapter Text

if there's one fool for you than i am it

 

“I need to raid your closet.”

On the list of things Isabelle expected to hear from her boyfriend that day, this was certainly not one of them.

“Ummmm… okay?” She says slowly, pushing the door open to let an eager Simon into the room. “Dare I ask what you’re raiding my closet for?”

“I need the garter belt you wore last--” Simon stops short halfway into the room. He was so wrapped up in his excitement of knowing exactly where he could find what he needed that he didn’t stop to think about how he would explain it. Or the implications of asking for part of his girlfriend’s underwear, even if it was just the fishnet and garter clips portion. He already had the… more intimate … aspects covered.

“Okay, that sounds weird. This isn’t some weird crossdressing thing, it’s-- well, okay technically that’s exactly what this is. I need this outfit for comic con. It’s last minute but, well, I think you own pretty much everything I need. If I can borrow it.” He pulls up a picture of Frank N Furter from Rocky Horror Picture Show and Izzy’s eyes widen at the mental image of Simon wearing that .

“...and this… isn’t weird?” She repeats, raising an eyebrow.

“What? No. Clary and I used to dress up for conventions all the time! We haven’t in a little while but it’s practically tradition.” Simon seems a lot more hesitant now than he was at the start of this conversation, however. “Why, is this too much? You don’t hate it, do you? I could not do it, or do something different, I’m sure Clary won’t mind--”

Izzy’s quick to shoot those thoughts down. “No, Simon, absolutely not! I’m just surprised, that’s all. But I’m not about to complain about something that gets you in fishnets,” she points out with a wink.

Simon laughs. “I promise they aren’t going to look half as good on me as they do on you.”

“Mmmmmhmmm, well, I’ll just have to be the judge of that,” she says as she goes to her dresser and grabs the fishnets in question. As she hands them over she stops, biting down on her lower lip.

Simon senses her on the verge of saying something, seeing the indecision written all over her face. “What’s up, Iz? I don’t have to use these, it isn’t a big deal. I can just--”

“No, it isn’t that. I just…” she pauses again before continuing. “I was wondering if I could come? I know it’s yours and Clary’s thing, so if don’t want me to intrude that’s fine. I just realized I don’t know a whole lot about what you do for fun, when you aren’t hanging around here with me. And this seems like something you really like. It’d be fun to see it for myself.”

Simon looks so happy he could cry. “Really?! You want to come with!? I mean I’ll run it by Clary but I don’t think she’ll have any problems with it at all. I can show you all the cool cosplays - that’s what I’m doing, like a really accurate costume - and there are all sorts of celebrities, and… YOU COULD DRESS UP TOO. Clary’s doing Columbia but you would make an amazing Magenta!”

Izzy looks a little panicked at how quickly that escalated, but she does her best to take it all in stride, trying  to keep up with the terms she doesn’t understand and references that go over her head. She may fight demons for a living but this? This is far from her comfort zone - not that it matters. Watching Simon’s face light up as he goes into enthusiastic detail, Izzy knows without a doubt that there’s no one else she’d rather put herself out there for.  

Chapter Text

Thinking 'Bout You 

 

“I don’t want to go back,” Simon says, unable to keep the long, drawn-out whining sound from his voice. For good measure he throws in a sigh and a pout.

“But you must.” Meliorn doesn’t look much happier about the fact, though he knows what must be done. He has his duties, and Simon has his obligations, and they cannot hide in this little corner of the Seelie Realm forever. “Your Shadowhunters are waiting for you. Much longer and they’re likely to come storming our Realm to find you...”

Simon groans, the sound muffled as he pulls his shirt on over his head. “I know, I know. I just-” he isn’t sure what he wants to say here. He would almost rather stay and leave everything else behind. He would rather wake up to see Meliorn’s face smiling back at him, lost in tangles of limbs, his hands combing through long locks of blue-dyed hair, always so careful not to undo any of his intricate braiding.

“You don’t have to say anything.” Meliorn knows. He always knows with Simon, because the vampire wears his emotions on his sleeve for the world to see, for better or worse. “I have something that might help.” He walks silently across the floor of his tent to pick up a small box from the table. “Here, put this on.” He pulls out two rings, handing one to Simon. The pattern on the metal is like a leaf.

“It’s too big for-” Simon starts, but as he slips the ring on it shrinks to fit his finger perfectly. “Woah!”

“They’re communication rings. So long as we’re both wearing them we can communicate telepathically with one another.” Meliorn falls silent, and though his lips don't move Simon hears his voice fill his head. “ Like this.”

“Woah,” Simon says. “And it'll work even between Realms?”

“Indeed. Any time you wish to talk, I'll be right here.” The Seelie Knight brings a hand gently to either side of Simon's head, fingertips resting over his temples. He places a soft kids to Simon's forehead over where the Mark lies under the surface.

“I don't know what to say… Thank you.”

“No need to thank me, this is as much for my benefit as it is yours. Just stay safe up there, Simon.”

Simon grins.”You know I will - I'm always protected thanks to you.” Simon’s aware it was Meliorn who convinced the Queen to give him the mark. He spun it as a strategic power play but Simon knows better now. He knows Meliorn just wants to keep him safe when he can't be there himself, and it’s a favor he can’t repay as he’s forced to leave once again.

I love you so much , Simon thinks, forgetting the ring on his finger as he thinks of the Seelie in front of him. He thinks it’s a private thought, one he doesn’t say it for fear of the sentiment not being returned, not the way he wants it to be. Except as soon as he thinks it Simon hears Meliorn answer aloud.

“I love you too, Simon.”

Chapter Text

 The Luckiest

 

Maia doesn’t know what made her agree to this.

The timer counts down on the table, Simon and Jace sitting on the sofa across from them, Alec and Magnus leaning comfortable on one another on the floor, while Clary sits on the loveseat Maia was at before it became her turn a few moments ago. Now she’s shouting out things that are vaguely circle-shaped, but nowhere close to the ‘Brain’ Maia is supposed to be drawing on the paper in front of her.

“The moon! Uh… a cheese wheel? No, of course not. Um....” She tries to think outside of the box. “Slightly squashed globe with those river lines drawn into it?”

Jace laughs. “I don’t think that’d fit on the card, Clare.”

“Shut up, I’m thinking!” She snaps, frustrated though not maliciously. Meanwhile, with every new thing she tries to add, Maia grows more and more hopeless before scrapping what she has currently with a series of violent scribbles and trying again from scratch. She doesn’t get very far before Simon yells “TIME.” and the round ends.

“Sorry,” Maia mutters, glaring at the paper. “I told you I’m not any good at this.”

“What was it?” Magnus asks.

“A brain.” Maia says, not actually comforted by the chorus of ‘ohhhh’s and ‘I totally see it now!’s that come from the others.  

They cycle through the teams again, Alec easily guessing Magnus’ ‘luggage‘ and Simon catching onto Jace’s ‘ski goggles‘ at the very last second. Maia is competitive, though she tries to turn it off for fun things like this with her friends, but it’s obvious she’s moping a bit from her failed attempt. Her frustration is obvious enough that Clary nuzzles her face near the side of her neck, head resting on her shoulder.

“Hey, you’re not mad at me for not getting it, are you?” The redhead whispers into her ear, and Maia sighs.

“No, just frustrated. I know it’s stupid, it’s just a dumb game, I just… don’t like being bad at things.” She turns her head to place a kiss on Clary’s forehead. “But I could never be mad at you, especially not over something like that.”

“Good, because that would’ve ruined the whole night” Clary says, and Maia thinks she actually looks nervous as she stands to take her place at the paper.

Alec starts the timer and everyone watches Clary for a few seconds while she starts to draw. Two girls, one with long hair, the other with an afro -- are those supposed to be them? Standing at the front of a room with a table, and a tall window, and hearts, and Maia is suddenly very aware that the eyes in the room are no longer on Clary or the drawing, but on her, as she sees the arrow drawn to point at the Maia on the paper, a plus sign, a ring, an equal sign, and finally a question mark.

Maia’s eyes are wide, mouth hanging open as Clary turns from the paper and holds out a box, a small, nervous smile on her face. She stares for a little while, which turns into a long while, her brain doing it’s best to shake the shock and catch up with what’s happening.

“...it’d be really great if you would say something here, because I’m starting to worry--” Clary starts, biting down on her lip until Maia crosses the space between them to cut her words off with a kiss.

“Yes,” she says, getting one word out at a time in the brief moments between kisses. “Of. Course. I. Will!” The kisses turn into laughter, then hugs as the others come over to congratulate them.

“You’re lucky I’m better at guessing than I am at drawing,” Maia points out, wiping away a few stray tears of happiness.

Clary beams. “Oh, I’m lucky alright. The luckiest.”

Chapter Text

Time to Realize

 

They’re picking up sandwiches. It’s the same routine Magnus and Alec have after school every Friday for the past two years of college, a sort of celebration of the end of the week. They go to their favorite sandwich shop in town and pick up dinner for themselves, and if the weather is nice they take it down to the park to eat.

They laugh as they talk, sitting so close they almost touch (sometimes they do and neither inches away). On the days they have a lot of catching up to do they stay while the sun sets and they’re staring up at the stars together until one of them admits to having homework to start or a party they agreed to go to (though now they wish they could just stay here), or an early practice or game the next morning (Alec picked up lacrosse Freshman year, Magnus continued soccer from high school), and they both head back to the dorms. Occasionally Magnus comes over to Alec’s room to watch movies, or vice versa, leaving only when absolutely necessary. They grow almost impossibly close over the months of their Freshman and Sophomore years.

“You know,” Simon, Alec’s roommate, says one night after Magnus wanders out around 1 am from an American Horror Story binge session. “Your boyfriend can stay the night if he wants, I’m totally cool with it.”

Alec nearly spits out the water he’s drinking. “My what?!” He clears his throat. “I’m not- we’re not dating. Magnus and I are just friends.”

Simon raises an eyebrow. “Really? Shit, I’m sorry. I just assumed with the way you two are around each other… are you sure you aren’t dating?”

“I’m pretty sure I’d know, Si,” Alec scrunches his face up. “...how long did you think we were dating for?”

“Since the first day you moved in and he helped you unpack, honestly.”

Alec takes a minute to process the fact that Simon thought he and Magnus have been dating for the entirety of their Sophomore year . Longer, technically, if he assumed they were together before he moved in for the year.

“Oh,” Alec says slowly. “Well, we’re not. But uh, thanks for the permission anyway.”

Simon just laughs. “With how often Maia spends the night, I figured it’s only fair.”

Alec laughs at that too, and it isn’t brought up again.

---

Junior year Magnus and Alec are roommates, which cuts down on the ‘leaving at 1 am’ travel times but only encourages more late-night show marathons and trips to the 24 hour diner downtown. It’s become an assumption at this point that if Alec is invited somewhere, so is Magnus, and vice versa. They’re a package deal for all of Junior year and it just sort of happens , with no big deal made about it. In fact, the two of them don’t even notice.

At the end of Junior year Alec finds himself starting in the championship lacrosse game. It’s out of state but Magnus is there. Neither of them missed a single of the other’s games all year despite their hectic school and work schedules. Alec went to every Soccer match that fall to cheer until they were eliminated early on, and Magnus traveled with the fan bus - and this time by plane - to go support Alec and the team with each win moving them forward through the playoffs.

When Alec scores the winning goal in overtime Magnus is the first of the fans to rush the field, wrapping his arms around the padding Alec wears as far as he can manage with no lack of enthusiasm.

“That was amazing!” Magnus exclaims.

“Hey, Lightwood!” Calls a voice from his right, and he looks over to see Coach Garroway getting his attention. “Is your boyfriend coming to the celebration dinner? I’m making a reservation.”

Alec and Magnus both freeze. The adrenaline from the win is replaced with a different, much more terrifying, rush.  

“Oh get off it, just because you didn’t tell us - which is rude by the way - doesn’t me we don’t have eyes , Alec,” Jonathan Morgenstern quips, giving Alec a clap on the back, but he hesitates when he sees the panic in Alec’s eyes. “I’m just kidding, we don’t care that you didn’t say anything-”

“No, it’s not that. We’re just… not.” Fuck . Alec gives Magnus the most apologetic look he can muster.

“Wait. You mean to tell me you two haven’t been dating for any of the last three years? You’re practically married.”

Everything seems to fall into place in that moment. He thought it once before, when Simon said it a year ago, but couldn’t work up the nerve to say anything in case it was one-sided. This could change everything. This could ruin everything. But they’re so good together, aren’t they? Everyone else sees it, why didn’t they? And it isn’t like there’s any avoiding it now.

“Just… tell Coach I’ll catch up in a minute, alright?” Alec waits until Jonathan’s out of earshot before forcing himself to face Magnus again.

“Am I that transparent?” Magnus offers with a small laugh, unable to meet Alec’s gaze.

“I thought - I hoped maybe - but I never said anything in case it was just me.” Alec kicks a bit of dirt with his cleats.

“Same. God, we’re so dense, aren’t we?”

They stand there for a minute, not saying anything, but Alec knows he needs to head back to the locker room. “So… am I saving a spot for my boyfriend at the celebration dinner?”

Magnus winks. “We’ve been dating for 3 years, so I certainly hope you aren’t saving it for anyone else.”

Chapter Text

All That Glitters

 

Magnus always tells Alec that he can use anything in the Loft, frequently extending the offer of bubble baths and lavish, expensive self-care products that Alec can’t even pronounce, let alone use. So when Alec walks in on Magnus soaking in a bath of rich orange and yellow hues, colors swirling along the top of the water with hints of glitter, he’s curious enough to ask and learn that this particular phenomenon is the result of a ‘bath bomb’.

It’s simple enough - take the ball, throw it into the warm bath water, and some sort of coloring and oils and scents will melt into the water. It seems unnecessary but when Magnus emerges later and his skin is impossibly soft and fragrant, Alec can see the appeal.

After a particularly rough day of being out on the field, Alec arrives home tired and achy and in serious need of some time to relax. When Magnus texts to say he’ll be late that night Alec decides to take the quiet free time and fill the bath. Remembering that there were still a few of those bath bombs in the cabinet he takes one out and turns it around in his hand, giving it a tentative sniff. It’s colored with blues and purples and holds the distinct scent of lavender.

He tosses it into the tub and watches as it begins to fizz, the colors spreading across the water from the center out as he slides in and closes his eyes.

He doesn’t think twice about the colorful, glittery water as it drains and he towels off, leaving the bathroom to go get dressed. It is entirely out of his mind as he gets some food and settles into the chair in the living room, grabbing the book he left on the side table the night before to pick up where he left off. He forgets all about the bath until--

“Chairman?! What on earth happened to you?! Did you run away and roll around in a craft store?”  

Alec looks up to see Magnus holding Chairman Meow at arm’s length, but even from across the room he can see what’s wrong - the cat is sparkling .

“...Alexander? Any insight as to why my cat is a slightly damp disco ball?” Alec doesn’t make the connection until he says that Chairman is damp.

Oh no.

“...that, uh, may be my fault.” Alec says, closing the book and walking down the hall. Sure enough one glance into the bathroom is enough to spot the glittery residue left around the tub’s lining. “Sorry. I didn’t think--”
Magnus laughs, putting Chairman down and moving to Alec instead, giving him a kiss and breathing in the lingering  lavender scent. “It’s fine. This isn’t the first time he’s gotten into glitter and I highly doubt it’ll be the last.”

Magnus waves his hand and Alec knows without having to look that both the tub and the cat are free of glitter - he can feel Magnus’ magic in the air, even the more subtle uses.  The warlock pouts at his boyfriend. “I’m more upset you didn’t wait for me for the bath.”

The slightest tinge of blush colors the tips of Alec’s ears. He should be used to this by now but somehow every time Magnus pulls out a line like that it still catches him by surprise. He recovers quickly.

“But I did wait for you for the bed,” his words are far from subtle, a smirk tugging at the corners of his lips as he turns away towards the bedroom with Magnus following close behind.

Chapter Text

Have It All 

 

It’s one of the last days of summer before they’re back at school, and Clary, Maia, and Simon decide to spend it at the local amusement park. They take turns switching off who gets stuck riding alone on the 2-seaters, a system that works out rather well until they reach The Slingshot on Maia and Simon’s turn.

“No way,” Simon says, shaking his head. “You two do it.”

Maia exchanges a look with Clary.

“You know the rules. We’re taking turns, and Mr. Lewis, it is your turn to accompany me,” Maia says, grabbing her boyfriend by the elbow and dragging him towards the Slingshot. Simon digs his heels into the ground.

“Can’t I just pass? I forfeit my turn. I’ll skip the next two rides. I’ll… I’ll do both of your homework the first week of classes!  ”

“I don’t know…” Maia draws out. “What do you think?”

Clary bites down on her lip in exaggerated consideration. “Hmmm. I guess we could be nice this one time.”  She isn’t particularly thrilled about the idea of going on this one either, but Maia is excited and Simon looks fit to faint at the sight of it. “But you owe me.”

Clary and Maia go on the ride together, and Simon video tapes from the ground below, able to hear Clary’s screams the entire time. Maia can see Clary’s still shaking slightly when they make their way over to where Simon waits with their bags, handing them back over.

“You. Owe. Me.” Clary repeats, and Maia laughs.

“Oh come on, it wasn’t that bad!” Maia only receives a pointed glare in return. She feels a little bad for dragging her girlfriend along on the thrill ride even if she did agree.

“How about something calmer next? I think there’s a tunnel of looooove .”

Clary and Simon look eager enough to distance themselves from the slingshot and nod in agreement. They get there and see that, predictably, the boats are being paired off in twos, and the three of them exchange hesitant glances. They didn’t think this through ahead of time.  

Maia knows how lucky she is to have both Clary and Simon. For the most part they do things separately, Simon dating Maia while Maia also dates Clary. But when they occasionally get together as a group for something like this, or grabbing a meal somewhere, the ‘who gets to sit as ‘the couple’’ issue is unavoidable despite the trio’s easy acceptance of their relationships.

“It’s fine, I said I’d skip the next one anyway. I owe you, right?” Simon says with a wink to Clary, but both she and Maia can hear the underlying disappointment in his voice.

“You think you’re getting off that easily? Not a chance. I’m saving that favor for something monumental.” Clary shakes her head. “I can skip this one. I need the break anyway.”

Maia looks from Simon to Clary and motions for both of them to follow her over to the ride’s entrance.

“Three for the next boat,” Maia says with such unwavering confidence that, despite a questioning glance, the operator of the ride simply waves them through and watches to make sure they all fit. It’s a tight squeeze, with Clary and Simon pressed close against either side of Maia, but they make it work.

There’s a chill to the air as the boat enters the dark shade of the tunnel, but Maia doesn’t notice. As Clary and Simon rest their heads on her shoulders Maia feels nothing but warmth and light.

Chapter Text

Don't Speak

 

With Alec and Underhill gone on a call, Magnus and Cat are left by themselves once again. They go back to the haunted house, using a glamour so that they aren’t recognizable as part of the group that just got themselves kicked out (and effectively banned) just a few minutes ago, dropping it only once they’re past the initial workers and inside the haunted house itself.

“Remember,” Cat reaffirms. “First one to scream buys pizza.”

Magnus laughs. “Nevermind the pizza, I just want the perpetual taunting rights. Let’s do this.”

They push open the first door and start to make their way through.

Making it to the part they got kicked out at last time is easy enough, knowing the scares that are coming before they even happen.  The next few rooms are easy enough to stay quiet in - a few surprised gasps of breath and a muttered curse or two from Cat, but no screaming. She looks over at Magnus, surprised at how quiet he’s being. He always is the more competitive of the two, however, and it doesn’t surprise her that he’s taking this bet very seriously.

And then, towards the end, something she thinks very certainly is a statue is not a statue , and as it charges her she lets out a small surprised yell, unable to cut it off in time.

“No!” She turns immediately to face Magnus, mad at herself for screaming first, and sees him go to laugh at the mortified expression on her face - except no sound is coming out of his mouth.

“YOU CHEATED!” Cat prods at his chest with her finger, and Magnus’s soundless laughing stops abruptly the moment he realizes his mistake. “You used a silencing spell on yourself, I cannot believe you!”

Magnus winces as a swirl of blue aimed at his throat undoes the magic. “So I suppose this means pizza’s on me?” He asks once he has his voice back.

“More like pizza and drinks now. There’s a penalty for cheating.”

“Fair enough.” They both know this was never about the pizza anyway. He’s never going to live this down and they both know it, especially because he’s yelled at least three times already and is only bound to get worse before this night is over.

“Let’s just get out of here in one piece first.” Cat’s already heading towards the doorway that leads into the next room.

“Don’t you mean with the actors in one piece?” They both laugh at that, but the quiet, nervous chuckles quickly turn into screams from both of them over whatever frights await in the darkness beyond.