“Feeling left out, blondie?”
Jace turned around and sighed at the sight of Meliorn, the infernal Seelie who liked to bother him as often as possible. He didn’t have anything against them personally, but they tended to see him at his worse and tease him about it whenever they could.
This was one of those times. Jace wasn’t moping, per say, but he wasn’t exactly in a good mood either. He’d just had a tough day and had hoped for a quiet night in with his siblings. He so rarely wanted those, and instead he had been dragged out to the Hunter’s moon for celebratory drinks.
He understood why they were here and had made a point to congratulate Maia on her promotion as soon as he had entered the bar, but it certainly didn’t make him feel any less lonely. He had just wanted to speak to his siblings and bask in their warmth, but now Izzy and Alec were dancing with their significant others, laughing and stumbling around drunkenly.
A small smile made its way onto his face as Jace realised – not for the first time – how happy his siblings looked when they were with the people they loved. Sometimes he envied them, but most of the time he was just delighted they had found the loves of their lives. It was what they deserved.
“I’m never left out, Meliorn,” he sighed, rolling his eyes when the Seelie took a seat uninvited, gesturing for the bartender to bring them something. “Am I not allowed to enjoy a drink at a bar without automatically being depressed?”
“Not when you’re frowning like that, no,” Meliorn shrugged, turning towards the many couples Jace had been observing a few seconds earlier. “But really, do you never feel left out? You’re the only Lightwood who isn’t a member of the community, and you’re also the only one who isn’t dating at the moment. It has to get lonely sometimes, doesn’t it?”
“Being single? Yeah,” Jace admitted, downing his drink and grimacing at the taste. The bartender had clearly listened to his request for something strong. “But the first part? Absolutely not. I may not be a part of the community, but I see how much support my siblings get, and that’s more than enough for me. I’m friends with their partners and their partners’ friends, and I get to punch every asshole who thinks it’s a good idea to mess with my family.”
“Isabelle and Alec are lucky to have you,” Meliorn hummed. The statement wasn’t something Jace had expected to hear from the Seelie, but he was used to being surprised by Meliorn. They tended to say the exact opposite of what he thought they would. It was both frustrating and impressive. “Most people don’t have someone as loyal as you to stand by them through difficult times.”
“I wasn’t just talking about my siblings,” Jace frowned. “But even if I had been, what else was I supposed to do? Reject them? Mock them? Their sexuality and who they love isn’t something they can control, and there’s nothing wrong with Alec preferring guys or Izzy wanting to date two people at once.”
“I wasn’t saying there was,” Meliorn chuckled. “However, there are still plenty of people out there who would think your siblings are worth less than them purely because of who they date. I think they’re incredibly strong for dating the people they love despite it all. However, I think your actions are also admirable in their own way. Shadowhunters aren’t raised to accept difference.”
“No, they’re not,” Jace agreed under his breath.
He chanced another glance at his siblings and their partners. His family. The people he would always protect to the very best of his ability. Even when he hated them, even when they got on his nerves, he would always be by their side.
Even though he didn’t quite understand what Alec saw in Magnus, he would always defend him when the Clave tried to dispute their relationship. The warlock may not be the person Jace thought his brother and parabatai would end up with, but he made Alec smile. That was enough.
And even though he didn’t really understand how Izzy could love two people equally at once, he would never stop punching the idiots who thought they could call her a whore or a cheater just because she didn’t limit herself to society’s meaning of a relationship. He didn’t think he could ever handle two people at once, but she could, and he had never seen her as carefree as when she was with Maia and Simon. That was all that mattered.
“Thankfully, us Lightwood children were never good at listening to our parents’ lessons,” Jace added, smiling fondly at his siblings as they waved at him enthusiastically. He could see their pleading eyes, begging him to dance with them. He shook his head in their direction, ignoring their matching pouts. “I’m certainly not going to judge Alec and Izzy for proving everyone wrong. Shadowhunters clearly aren’t just mindless warriors, not when you see the way those two turned out.”
“And the way you did.”
Jace didn’t say anything to that, not sure whether Meliorn was complimenting him or just stating what was nothing more than a fact to him. Either way, Jace appreciated it. There were times when he wondered if he would ever burn as brightly as his siblings, but then he remembered he was already forging his own path. It was just taking him a bit longer to find the person he would share that path with.
“I’m just glad I can give them even a fraction of the love and support they’ve given me over the years,” Jace murmured. He didn’t know whether Meliorn had heard him or not, but it didn’t really matter. “They deserve to be happy, and I’m not about to let anyone ruin that for them. I know they can fight their own battles, but having a little extra help never hurt anyone.”
“Quite true,” Meliorn said, their lips twitching into a small smile. “For a straight man, you’re not so bad, Herondale.”
Jace snorted. Before his siblings had come out and shown him how big the world truly was, he would have been offended at the comment. As it was, he knew Meliorn hadn’t meant it in a bad way at all. It was a privilege for him not to be thrown in the same bag as the homophobic shadowhunters of the New York Institute and the judgemental werewolves Maia had to live with.
“But I have to ask,” Meliorn continued, glancing at Jace out of the corner of their eye and smirking at him lazily. “Are you sure you’re completely straight?”
“Pretty damn sure, yes,” Jace snorted. It was something he had always known, just as Alec had always known it was gay. It had taken him a while to get there, but he had eventually understood sexuality wasn’t a choice, it was something you were born with. And he had been born very, very straight.
“Alright then,” Meliorn huffed airily. “As a straight man, how attractive do you think I am, on a scale of one to ten?”
Jace choked on his drink, suddenly regretting his decision to order a second one. Really, he needed to start getting used to Meliorn’s strange ways and seemingly random question that never failed to throw him off.
“I’m not going to answer that.”
Five rounds and plenty of distractions later, he did, hoping Meliorn didn’t go around telling people Jace had ranked them a 9.
He really didn’t need to give his family another reason to tease him.