A Sacred Band

Author's Note: Originally, parabatai are part of a chariot-driving team (charioteer and fighter), nothing necessarily homosexual as far as I know, but in Ancient Greece there were many examples of homosexuality among soldiers actually being encouraged, the most famous the Sacred Band of Thebes. But it was also common in Sparta, where older men often took younger ones under their wing and taught them, well, everything. 🙂

So what if the Clave had a similar view? That idea simply wouldn't go away. I don't want to denigrate non-romantic love, but we get that beautifully on the show (seriously, Jace in Parabatai Lost almost killed me!), and fanfic is where we get to play around, after all.

***

Parabatai is a pair of Nephilim warriors who fight together as lifelong partners, bound together by oath, regardless of their gender. Their bond is not reflected only in their closeness and willingness to lay down their lives for one another, but also in oath—one sworn in front of the Council.
Not all Shadowhunters are required to have parabatai; it is actually less common to have them.

~ Shadowhunter wikia

***

Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3

***

Chapter 1

But a battalion joined together by erotic love cannot be destroyed or broken: its members stand firm beside one another in times of danger [...]. It is therefore natural that Thebes’ band was called "sacred," just as Plato too referred to the lover as a "divinely-inspired friend." [...] The Thebans’ practice of intimacy with lovers, to speak more generally, did not have its origin, as the poets say, in the passion of Laius. Rather the practice grew out of deliberate policies which the lawgivers adopted [...].

~ Plutarch, Pelopidas 18-19, on the Sacred Band of Thebes (an elite military unit organised in 378 BC); source: Homosexuality in Greece and Rome

***

Alec Lightwood never understood why his father Robert refused to talk about his parabatai, Michael Wayland. Alec was fascinated by such stories, not just because parabatai were the elite warriors among the Shadowhunters, but because even as a child the idea of sharing such a deep bond with someone held endless appeal. He loved his younger siblings, yet his parents’ expectations rested heavy on him, setting him apart from both Isabelle and little Max. So when he was introduced to 10-year-old Jace Wayland, Alec couldn’t help but be intrigued, wondering whether the two of them might repeat what their fathers had done.

He didn’t dare say anything, however, struck with shyness in the face of Jace’s easy self-confidence. Still, when Jace began seeking him out for training, Alec felt inordinately pleased and flattered to be thus singled out by the other boy, who was younger but already the best fighter in their age group. This turned into genuine warmth once Alec realized that, under his brash exterior, Jace opened up like a flower in the sun when treated with kindness. Alec himself had never really had a friend either, but he’d always had Izzy’s and Max’s unconditional love and, when it counted, the support of his parents, as well as the respect of the other Nephilim children, especially after he broke that bully Preston’s nose.

Although Jace never complained about the way Michael Wayland had raised him, Alec saw that he’d never had any of that. Noticing the happiness, quickly suppressed as it normally was, on Jace’s face whenever Alec or another member of the Lightwood family complimented him or just touched him in passing, made something deep inside of Alec ache with the desire to be the reason for Jace’s rare genuine smiles.

***

He was 14 when his feelings for Jace developed a new dimension, his mind stirring up enticing images of touching and kissing that left his body hard and wanting. By then they were pretty much inseparable, but since between the two of them Jace was the bold one, and he’d never so much as hinted that he might experience the same changes, Alec did his best not to rock the boat, unwilling to risk a friendship that had become the bedrock of his life. It renewed his old fascination with the parabatai bond, however, and sometimes he snuck into the archives and read about the epic deeds of these warrior pairs, always picturing Jace and himself in the starring roles.

Without fail his imagination had them fighting side by side, triumphing over their foes and then celebrating by making love, although Alec admittedly only had vague ideas how that might work. He did know, though, that it would be wonderful and that everyone would look at them with admiration, whispering that they were the best, like the parabatai of old, lovers who fought side by side until the end. At this point his daydreams normally stopped, because even in a fantasy Alec couldn’t bear the thought of Jace dying. Because that was how the parabatai legends and stories usually ended, in a blaze of glory, with neither warrior willing to leave the other.

This, after all, was the reason parabatai were encouraged to share a lovers’ bond in addition to everything else, knowing that they would give everything for one another. There had been platonic parabatai in history who’d been just as heroic, but the Clave seemed to think that lovers had fewer outside ties to distract them, and Alec for one couldn’t imagine anything else. He knew his dreams would probably never become reality, but this didn’t stop him from sneaking off to read about Jonathan Shadowhunter and David the Silent, Silas Pangborn and Eloisa Ravenscar, Jem Carstairs and Will Herondale and all the others. Which was why Robert Lightwood found him in the archive one afternoon, while Jace was busy training with Hodge.

“Alec?” At the sound of his father’s voice Alec jumped and instinctively tried to hide what he’d been reading. Naturally, this only peaked Robert’s curiosity, and he leaned over Alec’s shoulder. “What are you reading? Nothing you shouldn’t, I hope…”

His voice trailed off as he took in the nature of Alec’s reading material, and something like grief passed over his features, almost too quickly for Alec to notice. Knowing the blush he could feel heating up his cheeks was needless and therefore all the more telling, Alec tried to reply matter-of-factly, “No, of course not. Just… just some history books.”

“Parabatai history. Is that what you want, son?” There was a wealth of understanding in his father’s eyes, and Alec had to avert his eyes, feeling exposed.

“They’re the best Shadowhunters, aren’t they? And you always tell me I should be the best.” His bluster sounded feeble even to his own ears, but a part of him still hoped his father would let it lie.

Of course he didn’t, instead resting a hand on Alec’s stiffening shoulder. Sadness colored Robert’s kind voice when he said, “You’re already the best, you and Jace. You don’t need to be parabatai. That bond is… not always as glorious as the stories make it sound.”

This made Alec look up sharply. “Is that why you never talk about Jace’s dad? I thought it was because he’s dead and you’re alive.”

“No, our bond was already broken, even before his death.” Robert’s reply came after a pause, and the pain on his face made Alec uncomfortable. His father, the strong co-leader of the New York Institute, shouldn’t look like this, so vulnerable and open. Yet Alec couldn’t bring himself to stop him, he was too interested in hearing a story he’d always wondered about. Therefore, after another pause, Robert continued quietly, picking up steam as he went along, “It’s one of the great shames of my life that I failed my parabatai, that he died without me even noticing. We’d started out normal enough, best friends who became parabatai, but looking back I should never have agreed. I wanted it because I wanted to be better, the best - I would probably have said yes to anyone who asked me.”

Alec stared, confounded by this admission. He couldn’t begin to imagine wanting anyone except Jace for his parabatai. Robert nodded, obviously recognizing what went through his son’s mind. “Yes, I wanted the glory of being parabatai, not him in particular. That was my mistake, of course, and we both paid for it - he more than I. Because when he came to me after the ceremony, telling me that he loved me as more than a friend, a brother, I refused him. That’s not unheard of, but I was young, stupid and… unkind in my rejection.” Robert swallowed, visibly shaken, and Alec wished he knew what to do. “It was the first crack in our bond, and we soon went our separate ways, getting married and mostly ignoring the fact that we’d once sworn an oath to one another.”

Alec got the feeling that there was a lot not being said, but he was too stunned by his father’s revelations to push. He could see the parallels his father was drawing to him and Jace all too clearly. Except… “I won’t ask Jace to be my parabatai. And he’d never say yes anyway, unless he really wanted to.” Unlike you, he left unspoken.

Robert was still looking at him with those sad, understanding eyes, but he nodded, “You’re right. Jace is ambitious, but he’d never hurt you. Not knowingly.”

Alec stiffened, instinctively wanting to come to Jace’s defense. Then he deflated, all too aware of what his father was implying. Like Michael Wayland, Alec would want everything from his parabatai, and, like Robert, Jace, well, wouldn’t. Even if Alec didn’t say anything, or if Jace was kinder in his rejection, the issue would still be there, festering and ultimately driving a wedge between them. Although he’d never seriously believed Jace would be his parabatai, Alec’s eyes still stung with the realization. When his father reached out to lay a comforting hand on his shoulder, he pulled away, afraid he’d actually start to cry, which would be stupid and ridiculous in addition to embarrassing.

“Thanks for telling me, dad. And don’t worry, I’m alright,” he said stiffly and forced himself to walk away slowly. He’d been dreaming, and now it was time to wake up. Growing up really sucked sometimes.

***

It was a couple of years later, and Alec had well and truly resigned himself to being Jace’s best friend, his almost-brother and comrade-in-arms. Most days he even managed to be glad for it, unable to imagine a life without Jace by his side. They were both training hard, even sent out on easy missions sometimes, and nothing made Alec’s heart sing more than the grin Jace gave him after ducking out of the way of Alec’s arrow and then promptly swinging his seraph blade in a smooth circle to finish off whatever foe they were facing, simulated or real.

Until one day a stupid group of Iblis demons cornered them and one of them managed to drift around them to reform behind Alec, striking him just as Jace screamed his name in warning. The pain was excruciating, despite Jace, having quickly dispatched the demon, activating Alec’s iratze almost immediately. Robert, who’d been supervising them on this mission but had been occupied around the corner with Isabelle and Raj, appeared the next moment, and the rest of the Iblis horde dispersed. Through a haze Alec heard Izzy’s worried voice calling his name and felt his father lift him up easily, his strength doubtlessly rune-powered, but most of his focus remained on Jace, who was hovering next to him, clinging to his hand and begging frantically, “Alec, please, keep your eyes open, you... you gotta stay with me!”

Alec tried his best to obey, keeping his gaze fixed on Jace’s scared face, but although his father did his best to keep him stable, the jostling of being carried proved too much, and darkness claimed him before they reached the Institute. The last thing he remembered was the sight of Jace, normally the image of cool, with tears streaming down his face.

The tears had dried by the time Alec opened his eyes again an indefinite time later, but Jace was perched on the side of his bed, still clutching his hand, red-rimmed eyes fixed on Alec with something like desperation. When he noticed that Alec had regained consciousness, a huge smile broke out over his face, warming Alec all the way through and making him forget all about the dull ache in side. Jace opened his mouth as if to say something, but right then Izzy burst into the room, exclaiming happily, “You’re awake! Oh, Alec, that was so close…”

“You won’t get rid of me that easily.” Alec smiled at his little sister, but his eyes slid over to Jace, very aware that he had made no move to relinquish his hold on Alec’s hand. Giving him a smile as well, Alec tightened his grip in what he hoped was a reassuring, entirely platonic way, and was rewarded with a watery grin and a responding squeeze from Jace.

Izzy was talking about the demons, how she’d killed two when they’d heard Jace scream and had found him clutching Alec, blade in one hand to hold off the remaining Iblis demons, his stele against Alec’s healing rune in the other. She finished with a flourish, “If he hadn’t done that, father says you might have had permanent damage!”

“Anyone would have done the same,” Jace said with uncharacteristic modesty, avoiding Alec’s eyes and staring at their clasped hands instead. Swallowing hard, Alec fought back a blush, unable to stop his heart from skipping a beat, warmth pooling in the pit of his stomach. Jace might not mean it the way Alec wanted him to, but it was more than enough for now, to know the fierceness of Jace’s love for him. It must have shown on his face, because when Jace’s gaze met his it softened to an impossible degree, and a flush colored his cheeks, making him look much younger, before he blurted out, “Will you be my parabatai, Alec?”

Over the rush of blood in his ears, Alec heard Izzy squeal in excitement, but all he could see was Jace, who was once again staring at their hands but not letting go. Unable to stifle his disbelief, Alec asked, “But… why?”

Jace’s eyes shot upwards, and he gave Alec a sharp look, snapping, “Because then you would have known there was a demon behind you the moment I saw it. Because your iratze would have been more effective if your parabatai had drawn it. Because we’re just better together. Because, damn it, I want you by my side - forever!”

“I think that’s my cue to leave,” Izzy said somewhere in the background, but neither boy reacted. Jace was breathing hard, a mix of anger and embarrassment visible in every line of his stiffly-held body, and Alec... Alec was trying hard to wrap his head around what he’d just heard.

Jace made to pull his hand away, but Alec gripped it as tightly as he could and said shakily, “It’s the same for me, all of it. But Jace, if… if we were to be parabatai, you must know that I’d… I’d want everything.” He lowered his voice, a part of him unable to believe that he was about to lay it all on the table. “It’s why I haven’t asked you. Because I know… I know you don’t feel that way about me.”

Letting go of Jace’s fingers, it was his turn to look away, face flaming. After today he didn’t believe that his admission would ruin what he and Jace shared, but he was also not looking forward to having the one thing he wanted the most, Jace as his parabatai, taken away again. Therefore it came as something close to a shock when Jace cupped his face in both hands and forced him to look at him. Jace’s mismatched eyes were serious, but Alec could have sworn there was a small smile playing at the corners of his mouth - the mouth he now pressed quickly against Alec’s surprised “Oh!”

It only lasted a second, then Jace was sitting back up, hands falling down to twist nervously in his lap. He had to clear his throat in order to speak, words tumbling out in a rush, “How can you know when I don’t? I mean, just now, that wasn’t bad, was it?”

Unable to help himself, Alec laughed helplessly. “No, it wasn’t bad at all. Short, but not bad.”

Now Jace glared at him, a much more familiar sight, and Alec barely had time to brace himself before being pushed backwards, his breath leaving him with a pained gasp as his half-healed injury made itself known again. Immediately annoyance turned to concern, and Jace’s hands were much gentler when he patted Alec down, as if trying to soothe his wound. “Shit, I’m sorry, Alec!”

“It’s fine, I won’t break.” Grabbing Jace’s hands and keeping them still against his chest, Alec laughed again, but softer than before, and Jace smiled back ruefully. Thinking for a second, he seemed to come to a decision, because he nodded to himself and suddenly climbed onto Alec’s bed, straddling him.

Alec stared up at him, wide-eyed, which earned him a trademark Jace smirk, something that always spelled trouble. This time it was trouble in the form of Jace’s lips against Alec’s, capturing them in a decidedly not-short kiss, his tongue unhesitatingly slipping into the heat of Alec’s mouth when he huffed a breath of surprise. Alec’s hands slid down Jace’s back as if they had a will of their own, grabbing his butt, and Jace actually groaned into their kiss. Pride and pleasure at being the cause of such sounds shot through Alec, and he squeezed slightly, experimenting. His reward was a rocking of Jace’s hips, which brought direct proof just how much Alec was enjoying this. Alec stilled for a moment, afraid this would put Jace off, but instead he got another growl and the sensation of Jace’s clever fingers sliding into his hair and gripping tightly, sending sparks all the way to Alec’s groin.

After what might have been an hour or just a few minutes, Jace suddenly stopped moving and broke their kiss, staring down at Alec with a seriousness that was only slightly tempered by his swollen lips and flushed cheeks. He seemed to like what he saw, because he was smirking confidently when he asked, “So, I guess that means you agree to be my parabatai?”

Feeling as if he would float away if Jace wasn’t anchoring him, Alec grinned back and replied, heart in his throat despite his deliberately light tone, “I guess so. I might need some more convincing, though…”

Jace laughed, eyes sparkling in a way Alec had never seen before, and proceeded to do just that.

***

Chapter 2

And so, when a person meets the half that is his very own, whatever his orientation, whether it's to young men or not, then something wonderful happens: the two are struck from their senses by love, by a sense of belonging to one another, and by desire, and they don't want to be separated from one another, not even for a moment.

- Plato, Symposium

***

“Boys! Are you decent? Mom and dad are here…” Izzy’s voice on the other side of the door, accompanied by a loud knock, interrupted what had turned into a rather heated make-out session in spite of Alec’s still-twinging injury. It was easy to forget the pain when he had a lapful of Jace, who was trying his best to unbutton Alec’s shirt while continuing to kiss him eagerly, hungrily, as if he’d been waiting for this as long as Alec had.

Now, however, they both jumped apart - Jace physically scrambling off the bed and Alec drawing back and pulling a blanket over himself. He took a few calming breaths and cleared his throat to call out, “Come in!”

He was grateful that Izzy hadn’t just burst in the way she usually did. His little sister was growing up, and he gave her a warm smile when she entered the room ahead of their parents. She glanced between him and Jace, grinning at what she saw, and Alec blushed, aware that there was no hiding what they’d been up to. His eyes flickered over to Jace, whose flushed cheeks, kiss-swollen lips and overall dishevelled state was doubtlessly mirrored by his own appearance. For a moment, embarrassment flooded Alec, as if they’d been caught doing something wrong, but Jace reached out to grip his hand and immediately all worry fled, replaced once more by disbelieving joy. They were going to be parabatai, their souls linked forever, their hearts beating as one and everything else the stories told!

Unable to suppress a smile, he squeezed Jace’s hand and faced his parents. What he found there relieved the last of his worries: Robert’s eyes were warm, if a bit concerned, and Maryse looked… prouder than Alec could remember ever seeing her before. He swallowed and asked, just to say something, “So Izzy told you?”

“I asked Alec to be my parabatai, and he accepted,” Jace burst out simultaneously, and they exchanged a grin, still holding onto one another tightly.

Maryse nodded and actually smiled. “Yes, we heard. And we couldn’t be prouder. The two of you have always been a good team, but this will make sure you’ll go down in history as being amongst our best and bravest. You’re real Lightwoods!” Behind her back, Izzy was rolling her eyes, as always not very impressed with talk about upholding the Lightwood family name, but Maryse continued obliviously, “I will inform the Clave, and the two of you can immediately start preparing for the oath. There will be some tests of your skills as well as interviews with Clave representatives regarding the… state of your relationship.”

Her eyes rested on their hands, and although Alec knew that this would work in their favor, he still felt mortified at the thought that not only his family but every last Shadowhunter would be taking an interest in his and Jace’s love life. Even the thought of having a love life, especially one with Jace, made Alec blush furiously and wish for a hole in the ground to swallow him. As long as Jace came along, of course. He risked another peek at his soon-to-be parabatai, who was doing his best defiant “I’m Jace Wayland and nothing can embarrass me” impression, and forced himself to respond calmly, “Yes, mother. We’ll be prepared.”

“After Alec has recovered - or did you forget that he almost died today?” Jace inserted, sounding so fiercely protective Alec couldn’t hold back a pleased smile, although he knew his mother wouldn’t like the insolence, even from Jace, her particular favorite.

However, it seemed that nothing could dampen her mood, because her only response was a distracted, “Yes, of course. Tell me if we need to call a Silent Brother, although your father said it probably wouldn’t be necessary.”

She was obviously already planning out how she was going to tell the Clave that both her son and adoptive son would join the elite of the Shadowhunter world, and all three teens exchanged amused glances. Even Robert was hiding a smile, Alec could tell, although he still hadn’t said anything. He stayed behind when Maryse swept out with a pat to Alec’s shoulder that jostled his wound and made him wince, then sat down in a chair by the bed and motioned for Jace to do the same. Although he rationally knew there was nothing to worry about, Alec was still grateful when Jace chose to sit on the bed, his hip warm against Alec’s thigh and his fingers still laced through Alec’s.

“Isabelle, dear, would you give us a minute?” Robert asked, and Izzy pouted but complied, which left Alec trying his best to appear calm under his father’s scrutiny. Not that he sounded anything but supportive when he spoke, “Congratulations to you both. Alec, I know what this means to you, and Jace, you’ve been a part of this family for a while, and I’m happy you have found something even deeper than family with my son.” His gaze, which was resting on Jace, sharpened, although his voice remained calm. “I just want to make sure you know what you’re signing up for.”

“I kind of figured it means that I’ll get to be with Alec forever, kicking demon ass,” Jace replied with his usual nonchalance, but Alec could tell he was nervous under his flippant demeanor, his palm going a bit sweaty in Alec’s grip. “Also, doing other stuff that I really don’t think is anyone’s business, no matter what the Clave and their precious legends say.”

Alec’s ears burned, and he did his best to stare a hole the blanket. This was so not a conversation he wanted to have with his father, but there didn’t seem to be a way around it. At least he wasn’t in it alone this time, and the thought gave him the courage to say, “I remember what you told me about you and Michael Wayland, and it’s different now. Yes, Jace asked, and I wanted him to, so much, but I wouldn’t have said yes if it had been like that.”

That got Jace’s attention. Alec knew Jace and his dad had had a complicated relationship, that Michael had been nothing like Robert, making Jace rather reluctant to talk about him. Still, he had to be curious - Alec knew, he would be in Jace’s place. But Jace kept his voice carefully neutral, asking calmly, “My father? You talked about you being parabatai?”

Robert nodded, leaning over to rest one hand on Alec’s knee, one on Jace’s forearm, and repeated some of what he’d told Alec all those years ago, “Your father and I should never have become parabatai. Not because he wanted more than I could offer, but because I was too immature to deal with it. It drove a wedge between us, and I was afraid something similar might happen to you two. I didn’t think it was worth the risk, not when it could hurt you both.” He gave them both a sad half-smile, full of memories, but then rallied and continued warmly, “I see that I was wrong, though, that you love Alec just as much as he loves you, Jace, and I’m so happy for you both.”

Hearing his father use the word love made something inside of Alec open like a flower, and without thinking he turned to Jace, only to find him looking at him with eyes brimming with emotion. Heedless of their audience their mouths found each other for a sweet moment, before they rested their foreheads against one another, both of them smiling widely while Jace half-whispered, “I do, Alec, so much. I’m just sorry I was too chicken to let it show, to make you think that you were alone in this.”

“It’s alright. We’ll have the rest of our lives together.” Alec’s hands came up to twist in Jace’s shirt, pulling him into another kiss. When they came up for air Robert had disappeared, which embarrassed Alec but made Jace grin wickedly and claim his mouth yet again, licking his way inside and making Alec soon forget all about the intimate display his father had just witnessed.

***

Only two days later Alec felt well enough to start training again, and Maryse didn’t waste any time putting him and Jace through even more rigorous exercises and simulations in preparation for the parabatai ceremony. Unsurprisingly Jace took to it like a duck to water, always one to thrive when giving a chance to prove himself, and Alec had to admit, he, too, got a rush from the ease with which they worked together.

It was as if they’d already reached a new level, a new awareness of where the other was. If this was what having a parabatai would be like, Alec couldn’t wait. The part where Jace was all worked up after training and pushed Alec against the nearest flat surface was pretty good, too. They hadn’t done much more than make out, tongues dancing, bodies rubbing against one another, and already Alec could barely remember a time when he hadn’t known what Jace’s skin tasted like or what he sounded like when he was about to come in his pants.

It was addictive, this new dimension to their relationship, and Alec savored every moment, a part of him still not quite convinced that this was real, that his dreams of having a full parabatai relationship with Jace were about to come true. Having had years of practise hiding his feelings, he figured there was no reason that Jace should know about his doubts. However, ever since the day he’d gotten injured, Jace had taken to watching him with a new intensity, one that sent delightful shivers down Alec’s back.

So when, about two weeks after the accident, Jace interrupted yet another kissing session in his room to put two feet between them, panting “Tell me what’s wrong!”, Alec was not entirely surprised. Still, the temptation to either lie or attempt to distract Jace with something more… pleasurable than talking was great. But reluctantly Alec admitted to himself that they couldn’t be parabatai, linked for the rest of their lives, if he wasn’t honest.

With a sigh he re-buttoned his shirt and tried to find the right words. Izzy was always telling him that words weren’t his strong suit, yet these were important if they wanted to avoid the mistakes of their fathers. He knew he sounded flustered when he finally said, “Nothing’s wrong, Jace. Not really.” A snort of disbelief escaped Jace, but Alec silenced him with a look. “I guess I’m just having trouble believing that life can actually be this… perfect. For years I wanted this, wanted you, and thought I could never have you, not as parabatai and certainly not like… this.”

Blushing hotly, he put a hand against Jace’s chest, avoiding his eyes. The next moment his back hit the wall, Jace practically flinging himself at him, wrapping both arms around his neck and pulling his face closer to stare into his eyes with a most un-Jace-like seriousness. His voice was low and full of intent as he swore, “Oh Angel, I don’t know what I did to deserve you, Alec Lightwood! But you need to know that I’m in, all in.”

Alec’s heart skipped a beat, happiness beginning to race through him. Words failed him, so he leaned in for a kiss that was achingly slow and sweet. Jace opened to him like a flower to the sun, their bodies melting against each other until Alec feared the wall was the only thing holding them upright. When Jace broke away, he tried to chase after him, but Jace stopped him with a finger to his lips and words that had Alec blink back actual tears: “In case you need to hear the actual words - I’m in love with you, Alec. And I want you more than I’ve ever wanted anything.”

The last was said with a saucy grin and a slight thrust of Jace’s hips that left no doubt as to his meaning. Alec groaned, feeling overwhelmed by love and lust simultaneously, leaving no room for word or thought. So he did the next-best thing, he wrapped his arms around Jace and physically lifted him. Jace huffed a laugh, surprised but definitely pleased, and allowed himself to be deposited on his bed. His legs fell open, and Alec crawled between them, covering Jace’s body with his own and fusing their mouths together. This time there was nothing sweet in the kiss, Alec’s tongue thrusting into Jace’s mouth as he let his need to have Jace in every way possible wash over him.

Jace’s strong legs were wrapped around Alec’s hips as they rocked against each other, both already achingly hard. It would have been easy to get lost in the push-pull of their bodies, but Jace slid his hands down Alec’s back and under his shirt, bunching the fabric and growling, breath hot against Alec’s neck, “Up, need to get this off!”

Albeit reluctant to separate, Alec complied and sat up, pulling his shirt over his head and throwing it to the ground. Jace was watching him with hooded eyes, not making any move to follow suite, so Alec did it for him, almost tearing Jace’s t-shirt in his haste. He’d seen Jace shirtless more often than he could count, but it was different now, and Alec simply had to reach down and slide questing hands all over that pale skin. When he skimmed Jace’s nipples, the other boy hissed, skin puckering, and impulsively Alec leaned down and pressed a kiss over Jace’s heart.

Jace’s breath stuttered, and Alec smirked and caught a peaked nipple between his teeth, teasing gently. He was using both hands to hold Jace’s squirming form still and almost drunk on the effect he had, or at least what he imagined being drunk felt like. Jace’s fingers dug into Alec’s scalp, sending sharp spikes of pleasure through him, and suddenly Alec was on his back, Jace having used his legs to flip them over. He crowed triumphantly, mismatched eyes sparkling, a flush going all the way to his chest, and generally looked so beautiful Alec’s breath stocked.

Jace seemed to read him, because his smile faded, replaced by a look of such promise Alec simply had to pull him down into a dirty kiss, catching his lower lip with his teeth. Simultaneously Alec thrust upwards, causing their cocks to slide against one another through their pants, and both of them groaned, the air between them almost crackling with need.

They both fumbled with buttons and zippers while attempting to keep kissing, which ended with Jace getting an elbow into his stomach. He cursed, and Alec froze, apologizing frantically, but Jace just laughed breathlessly as he managed to kick off shoes and socks and wriggle out of his jeans. Huffing a laugh in response Alec pushed him aside so he could remove his footwear as well. He hesitated a second, then, seeing the open hunger with which Jace was regarding him, quickly hooked his fingers into his boxers and pulled them down along with his pants.

“Oh Angel, Alec…” Jace’s eyes widened, his tongue darting out to wet his lips as Alec’s erection sprang free, a hard line against his stomach. Alec almost regretted his own courage, but then Jace took a deep breath and took off his own underwear. A demon could have entered the room right then and Alec wouldn’t have noticed, too entranced by the sight of Jace’s hard cock jutting out from its nest of golden curls. He had snuck glances before when they were changing, but it had been nothing like this. Jace’s dick was a bit shorter than Alec’s own, but thicker, skin pinkish where Alec’s was brownish-red, and a drop of clear fluid was pearling at the head.

Without even thinking about it, Alec reached out and touched a gentle finger to the crown, catching the drop and bringing it up to his lips. It didn’t taste any different from his own, but Jace’s entire body jerked, and when Alec looked up, he seemed so awestruck that Alec couldn’t bring himself to feel embarrassed. Instead he deliberately sucked his finger into his mouth, and Jace moaned his name, a deep, throaty sound Alec immediately wanted to hear again.

“Let me…” Speaking softly, he reached out and, after taking a steadying breath, wrapped his hand around Jace’s cock. It was velvety and hot, not so different to touching himself - except in all the ways that mattered, and in utter fascination Alec watched his own fist jerking his soon-to-be parabatai’s hard flesh. Jace’s entire body was tensed like a bow before being fired, his hands clutching the bed sheet, his eyes also fixed on the only point of contact between their bodies.

Then something seemed to snap in Jace, because he growled and pushed Alec onto his back again, forcing him to let go and making their cocks slide against each other. Alec gasped and pushed back, the pleasure to exquisite he feared he’d come on the spot. Jace kissed him, deep and hungry, one hand buried in Alec’s hair while the other wormed its way between their bodies to grip both their erections. Wrapping one leg around Jace for better leverage, Alec’s hands wandered down his back and found his butt, squeezing it tightly, which made Jace curse and speed up his movements.

The handjob was a bit dry, but there was no world in which Alec wanted to interrupt long enough to get something slick, and Jace obviously felt the same, because soon they were both leaking enough to remedy the issue. Breaking their kiss, Jace buried his face against Alec’s neck and sucked and licked, right where his Deflect rune ended, no doubt leaving bruises. It was the thought of that, of walking around wearing marks left by Jace for everyone to see, that pushed Alec over the edge, his entire body arching up against Jace.

Jace stopped moving immediately, and the intensity with which he scrutinized him, eyes dark, would have embarrassed Alec if he hadn’t been too busy feeling as if his every bone had turned to liquid fire. When the aftershocks had faded, Jace leaned down and pressed a kiss to Alec’s lips that had nothing of the earlier urgency. Separating after what felt like too short a time, he smiled down at Alec teasingly, yet his voice was almost reverent when he said, “I always thought you were handsome, but I didn’t know you were beautiful, Alexander Gideon Lightwood…”

“Do you always talk nonsense in bed?” Alec reflexively deflected, but uncharacteristically Jace just shook his head and kissed him again, full of a tenderness that made Alec feel as if his heart was about to explode. Overwhelmed, he wrapped both arms around Jace and tried to let his touch do his talking for him. Between them, Jace was still rock-hard and sliding easily against the mess on Alec’s stomach.

Coming to a decision, Alec repeated Jace’s earlier manoeuvre and flipped them over, swallowing Jace’s surprised “Oomph!” before sitting up and scooting downwards on the bed. Jace stared at him in shock and moved as if to pull Alec back up, despite his erection twitching when Alec’s breath hit it. “You don’t have to…”

“I want to.” It made Alec flush with pleasure, to be the cause of such a reaction, and he determinedly pushed down the last remnants of hesitation. He’d already tasted Jace before, both his skin and his come, and it wasn’t all that different from tracing his tongue over the slit at the head of Jace’s cock, except that this made Jace swear. Quickly Alec licked a line along the throbbing vein at the underside and then wrapped his lips around as much of it as he could, using his hands to cover the rest and keep Jace in place.

“Shit, Alec, so good, please…” A steady stream of words escaped Jace, sounding close to delirious, and when Alec glanced upwards he saw that Jace was staring down at him almost blindly, his fingers twisting the sheets as if he had to restrain himself, his entire body trembling. Alec slid a hand under Jace’s thigh and lifted it over his shoulder, giving him better access to cradle his balls while continuing to lick and suck in a way he imagined he himself would enjoy. He was getting hard again as well, hips seeking friction against the mattress.

Renewed lust made him feel less self-conscious, and with hardly any hesitation he slid his fingers past Jace’s balls to the soft skin behind them. The moment he reached Jace’s butt, slipping between his cheeks, Jace’s hips bucked so hard Alec gagged. He had to move off for a moment, and Jace apologized, sounding mortified, but it hadn’t dimmed Alec’s ardor in the least.

“Shut up, it’s fine,” he cut Jace off shortly and used the pause to suck on his index finger, wetting it thoroughly. Noticing that Jace was staring, he managed not to blush and said, “Told you I’ve wanted this for a while - I’ve done my… research.”

This made Jace grin suggestively, “Is that what they’re calling it these days?”

“I can stop. “ Sitting up halfway, Alec pretended to be offended and was rewarded by Jace tackling him to the bed.

“Don’t you dare!” For a moment they rolled around on the bed, wrestling like they’d been doing for years, except this time they were naked, hard cocks seeking friction even as they laughed and tried to pin one another. It ended with Jace on top a squirming Alec, suddenly tensing and thrusting hard against Alec’s butt, once, twice, and then Alec could feel stickiness against his skin. After it had stopped, Jace collapsed against his back, boneless and panting.

His breath was hot against Alec’s back, arms wrapped around his middle, and Alec had rarely felt so safe - or so turned on. It was the perfect position for Jace to take Alec’s erection in hand and jerk him off with quick, sure movements. After only a few minutes Alec stiffened and arched back, catching Jace’s lips in a bruising kiss, and then he was coming a second time, hot spurts over Jace’s fist.

Afterwards they lay curled around each other, so close that Alec could have sworn he felt Jace’s heart rate slowly come down along with his own. It made him wonder out loud, “Do you think we’ll be able to feel each other’s heartbeats once we’re parabatai?”

“I hope so. I hope we’ll be able to feel many things,” Jace quipped, rolling his hips in illustration, but the kiss he pressed to Alec’s neck was gentle and his voice was sleepy. A moment later Alec could feel his breathing evening out, Jace falling asleep in an instant, despite normally being something of an insomniac. Alec smiled and closed his eyes as well. He couldn’t wait for the ceremony and all that came after.

***

Once they’d passed the last simulation Maryse set the date of the parabatai ceremony. When the Clave representative arrived on the day before, Alec was shocked to hear that they were summoned to see the Inquisitor herself. He knew from his reading that there were only a few parabatai pairs currently alive, and he’d never actually witnessed a parabatai ceremony himself, but he still wouldn’t have expected Imogen Herondale herself to make the trip from Idris.

Shooting a glance at Jace while they waited for their audience, he was unsurprised to see him appear completely unfazed. Catching his eye, Jace grinned and teased, “Nervous, Alec?”

“Not everyone can have an ego the size of yours, Jace,” he replied, shaking his head in exasperation. Rationally he knew Jace didn’t mean anything by it, that it was a reflex he’d developed as a result of some of Michael Wayland’s more… creative educational methods, but sometimes his unshakeable confidence made Alec want to throttle his friend. Before he could apologize, however, cool fingers interlocked with his. Alec looked at Jace in surprise and was met by a half-smile that told him no words were necessary. Immediately most of the tension left Alec, and he smiled back gratefully. Jace just shrugged, but his hand was warm in Alec’s, and he didn’t let go when Maryse called for them to enter her office.

Imogen Herondale was a stern-looking woman; however, when her eyes fell on the two boys and immediately came to rest on their hands, she gave them what Alec thought was the first smile he’d ever seen on her. It still did not exactly engender warm and fuzzy feelings, but it made him relax even further and gave him the confidence to step away from Jace in order to greet her properly.

Propriety observed, Inquisitor Herondale sat back and regarded the two boys, who luckily both had long practise in not fidgeting under adult regard, thanks to Maryse Lightwood. Finally, she nodded, mostly to herself, and stated rather than asked, “So you consider yourselves ready to become parabatai. And your mother tells me that there is no danger of a repeat of your fathers’ lamentable situation.” Alec shot his mother, who was standing off to the side, a quick glance, and found her standing ramrod straight, pride visible in every line of her body. Then he quickly refocused on Imogen Herondale, who had continued speaking seriously, but with something that was almost warmth coloring her voice. “There are not many living parabatai - for good reason, for it’s a bond that not everyone is cut out for. You will live and fight alongside each other, for each other, and, if your bond is as strong as your mother assures me, you will die with each other, unable to withstand the severing of the bond, even if one of you should survive the fight that cost the other his life.”

A shiver ran down Alec’s spine at her words, the certainty with which the Inquisitor spoke of their death in battle ringing in his head like a bell. But the truth of it did not rouse fear, instead a wave of emotion rose inside him, fiercer than anything he could ever remember feeling, making his fingers itch with the wish to reach out and touch Jace. The desire grew impossible to contain when he heard Jace speak, voice rough but as sure as Herondale’s had been, “Good. We might not be parabatai yet, but I already know that I won’t want to go on living without Alec.”

Unable to help himself, Alec reached across the small distance separating them, only to meet Jace’s hand halfway there. Their fingers tangled, Jace’s palm dry and warm, and sparks seemed to flow through Alec’s arm from the point of contact, making his entire body tingle. Clearing his throat, he managed to state firmly, “The same is true for me. Jace is the other half of my soul, becoming parabatai will only make it official.”

“That is as it should be,” the Clave representative replied formally, satisfaction radiating from her. “The Clave hereby sanctions the parabatai bond between Alexander Gideon Lightwood and Jonathan Christopher Wayland.”

***

Chapter 3

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.

~ Aristotle

As much as Alec would have liked to spend the night curled around Jace, some archaic tradition demanded that they didn’t see each other again before the ceremony. Izzy thought it was pretty hilarious, comparing it to a Mundane wedding tradition and offering to help him find “something blue, at the very least - you’d look great in cobalt blue, big bro!”

“So that makes me the bride in this scenario?” Alec snorted, his mood too elated to let his little sister bother him. “If anything, Jace is the one who cares about his appearance and stuff. Also, he’s shorter.”

“You will never let him live down the fact that you’re finally taller than him, won’t you?” Izzy giggled, but then turned serious, adding, “I really am happy for you, Alec. You’ve been in love with Jace forever, that much was obvious, but I honestly wasn’t sure how he felt, so I didn’t want to push the issue.”

Impulsively Alec drew her into a tight hug, pressing a kiss into her raven hair. “Thank you, Izzy. I mean it - you might be a pain in my ass a lot of the time, but I love you.”

She returned his embrace just as fervently, and when she stepped away he could have sworn there were tears glistening in her big, expressive eyes. She blinked them away quickly, however, and smirked at him wickedly. “Well, since I’m so awesome, how about you promise I never ever have to witness you and Jace making out again!”

Alec blushed at the memory of the training room incident of two days before, when they’d gotten a bit carried away after a wrestling match and Izzy had walked in on Alec pinning Jace to the floor. She’d been lucky they’d still been wearing all their clothes. Licking his lips, he grinned unrepentantly, “Sorry, Iz, but I’m afraid you’re not that amazing.”

Izzy laughed and threw her hands in the air before bidding him a good night. Alec looked after her, still smiling, only to almost jump out of his skin when Jace popped out from their shared bathroom. “Jesus, Jace - how long have you been standing there, waiting for Izzy to leave? You know we’re not supposed to see each other before the ceremony.”

His soon-to-be parabatai grinned, undaunted as always, and stalked across the room to crowd Alec against the wall. His breath was hot on Alec’s face as he explained in a low voice, “Just wanted to say goodnight.”

Then he proceeded to kiss Alec long and hard, and as always Alec melted against him, deepening the kiss without stopping to think. Jace’s hands trailed down his torso but remained above the belt, and Alec couldn’t stop a needy sigh from escaping when Jace pulled back. The smirk on his face was playful, but his eyes were hot, and Alec could feel Jace’s arousal press against his own, which made him feel a bit better.

Quirking his lips in a rueful smile, Jace didn’t resume their making out. Instead he rested his forehead against Alec’s and said hoarsely, “That maybe wasn’t my best idea. Because now all I want to do is throw you onto the bed and make you come, but Maryse said she’d stop by - I think she suspected I might sneak off to see you.”

“Well, she wasn’t wrong, was she?” Alec pointed out with a laugh, pushing Jace gently until he sighed and took a step back. Thinking became easier once they were no longer touching, but he still had to fight the urge to ignore the rules and take Jace up on his enticing offer. So he just shrugged and tried to sound calmer than he felt, stating quietly, “And after tomorrow nothing can separate us ever again.”

A smile golden like the sun lit up Jace’s face, making Alec’s breath catch. “Yes, you’ll be stuck with me forever, Alec Lightwood!” Still smiling, Jace added more pensively, “Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask, do you know where you want to put your parabatai rune?”

“Of course!” Alec burst out immediately, blushing a little at the vehemence of his reply. “I mean, I’ve been dreaming of this pretty much forever.”

“Yeah?” Jace was watching him with such fondness, it made Alec’s heart ache a little. Impulsively, he took Jace’s hand and wordlessly placed it low on his left side. Looking down, Jace curled his fingers slightly, sending shivers over Alec’s skin. His voice was rough with emotion when he asked, “Here?”

Alec nodded, exhaling shakily. “I want to be able to see it, touch it, and it’s on the left, where my heart is.”

“Definitely on the left,” Jace stated firmly, smiling wide and warm, and then his lips were back on Alec’s, rules forgotten. At least until Maryse came knocking and chased Jace back to his room, but not before smiling at them both indulgently. Alec spent most of the night staring at the ceiling, happier than he could ever remember being.

***

The feeling stayed with him as he got ready the next morning, but as the time for the ceremony approached, nerves started to get the better of him. A part of him still couldn’t quite believe that this was actually happening, and he wished he could bury himself in Jace until his heart stopped racing.

Instead he rubbed his clammy hands, set his shoulders and entered the chamber where the entire Institute as well as several visitors from Idris were waiting. The moment he stepped through the door, however, his world narrowed down to Jace, who was standing in the center, waiting with a smile that was meant for Alec and Alec alone. As their eyes met, all traces of nervousness evaporated, and Alec took his spot confidently.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw that it was his mother who lit the rings of cold, blue fire around them both, and he held back a smile, figuring that this was probably one of the highlights of Maryse Lightwood’s life. But for not one second did Alec look away from Jace, even separated by two flickering walls of flame. Dimly he heard the Inquisitor’s voice, calling them by their names, and with a deep breath, Alec stepped through the ring surrounding him even as Jace did the same.

Their hands met, they clasped each other’s arms, and with a whoosh a new ring of fire sprang to life, surrounding them, cutting them off from the spectators. Not that Alec was paying any attention to anyone except Jace, who met his gaze unflinchingly, a smile playing at the corners of his mouth as they began to speak the oath Alec had waited his whole life to say.

Entreat me not to leave thee,
Or return from following after thee.
For whither thou goest, I will go,
And where thou lodgest, I will lodge.
Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.
Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried.
The Angel do so to me, and more also,
If aught but death part thee and me.

Halfway through, Alec’s voice broke, but Jace squeezed his arm in support, smiling encouragingly, and they got to the end without further delay.

Alec felt so full with emotion, his hand shook when he let go of Jace in order to take out his stele. Jace on the other hand appeared calm and collected, lifting his shirt to present his flank to Alec. Closing his eyes for a moment, Alec took another fortifying breath, and when he drew the parabatai mark, his hand was steady.

Lowering his stele, he bared his side to Jace, who surprised him by kneeling down. Their eyes met, and Alec almost forgot to breathe again, because he’d never seen Jace look so open and vulnerable before. It made him grateful for the still-burning circle of fire surrounding them, giving them a modicum of privacy, and he instinctively reached out to lay a hand against Jace’s cheek.

Eyes sliding shut, Jace pushed into his touch imperceptibly, and his fingers twitched against Alec’s skin, making him jump at the spark of electricity that seemed to flow from them. Drawing a surprised breath, Jace’s stele slid lower, and for a second they both froze. Then Alec shook himself, pulling his pants down a little, and with a wry grin Jace set to work, his stele not faltering until he’d finished the rune.

The moment he was done, their new marks began glowing, and they both gasped even as the fire around them died abruptly. Their hands met, and without hesitation Alec pulled his parabatai to his feet and into a tight embrace. Jace’s arms came up, and he hid his face against Alec’s neck, while Alec buried his nose in Jace’s hair and breathed him deeply. They clung to one another like a lifeline, lost in the quick galloping rhythm as their heartbeats found each other.

In the background, Imogen Herondale announced ceremonially, “Thus we have all witnessed the oath sworn by Alexander Gideon Lightwood and Jonathan Christopher Wayland. May the Angel protect them, and may they prove themselves to be worthy warriors of the Clave.” She paused, then added just as formally, “There will be a re-evaluation of their bond when they turn 18. But unless they prove themselves incompatible at that time, the parabatai bond is inviolable until death tears it asunder, taking precedence over any other bond, familial or matrimonial.”

That was it, the ceremony was over, and before Alec had time to let the thought settle in, their family was around them, pulling them apart for hugs and congratulations. Exchanging a wry glance, they let go of each other, but even as he took little Max in his arms, Alec was aware of the steady thrum of their bond, a new awareness of Jace’s presence that made it hard to concentrate on anything else. Resting a hand on the brand new mark on his skin, he figured it would get easier in time. Right now, though, it took all his focus to be polite and thank all their well-wishers, including the Inquisitor, and Alec found himself counting the minutes until they could get away.

He needed his parabatai, away from all these people, and with a new, soul-deep certainty Alec knew that Jace felt the same.

***

They finally got away when Robert, with a wink and nod at his son, cornered the Inquisitor to “talk some Clave business while you’re here” and herded her away. Once she was gone, people began to disperse, and Jace immediately took advantage, grabbing Alec by the hand. They managed to keep a respectable pace until they’d rounded a corner, after which they discarded all notions of propriety and made a mad dash through the Institute until they reached Alec’s room.

They arrived there breathless with giddy laughter. Alec half-expected Jace to pounce him the moment the door closed, but instead he found himself in another tight embrace, Jace squeezing him so hard he wheezed in protest, “Breathe, I need to breathe!”

“Oops, sorry, didn’t mean to… HEY!” The moment Jace loosened his grip a little, Alec laughed and retaliated, hugging Jace tight enough to physically lift his feet off the floor. Jace snorted with laughter and clung to Alec’s neck, happy enough to allow the indignity. Alec felt light-headed, as if his blood had been replaced with bubbles and he’d float away if he didn’t have Jace to anchor him.

“Can you feel it?” he asked in wonderment, laughter dying away. He deposited Jace back on his feet and met his eyes, seeing his own amazement mirrored in them.

Jace nodded slowly, lifting one hand to his chest, and half-whispered, “You’re here, I can actually feel you. Alec…” He fell silent, and Alec had to swallow a sudden lump in his throat. Words failed him, so instead he nodded back and leaned in to express the wealth of feelings welling up in him in an impossibly sweet kiss. A small sound escaped Jace, and then he was clinging to Alec as if his life depended on it, lips and tongues sliding against one another in a slow dance.

Alec clung back just as hard, drowning in a flood of JaceJaceJace, the familiar sun-heat of him amplified to the nth degree by the bond he could feel stretch between them, the warm flame of Jace’s soul pulsing inside him as if it had always been there. Rationally he knew that all parabatai felt this, or something very like it, yet every fibre of his being insisted that they were the first, that no one could possibly have felt even an inkling of the awe and love that was filling every corner of himself.

It roused his body, too, and he could feel himself begin to harden. Groaning into their kiss, Alec began walking Jace backwards towards his bed. Jace’s own erection pushed against his thigh, and they stumbled, Alec only just catching them. Still unwilling to stop kissing for even a moment, he slid his hands under Jace’s butt and scooped him up. Jace laughed into his mouth, startled, but immediately got with the program, using his arms around Alec’s neck in order to elevate himself enough to wrap his legs around Alec’s hips.

He was heavy, not that much smaller than Alec and all compact muscle, but Alec barely felt it, distracted by the delicious pressure on his dick and the flexing of Jace’s butt under his hands. He growled and quickly crossed the room, tumbling them down onto the bed without breaking the kiss for more than a panting breath.

Deposited on his back, Jace canted his hips, bringing their cocks together through the fabric of their pants, making them both moan. Clever hands wormed their way underneath Alec’s shirt, pushed and pulled until he had to relinquish Jace’s lips long enough to throw it to the ground. Jace used the moment to tear off his own shirt, and Alec froze, eyes fixing on the fresh rune marking Jace’s fair skin. His rune.

Impulsively, he leaned down to trace his tongue over it, halfway expecting it to burn under his touch, but of course he could feel no difference. Still, Jace hissed and arched into Alec’s caress, fingers digging deeply into his shoulders. “Alec… Please! Need you...”

The tone of his voice alone was almost too much for Alec to handle, teetering on the brink as he already was, and he tried to distract himself by licking and kissing his way up Jace’s torso, pausing only to trace each mark. It didn’t help much, the constant stream of moans and half-swallowed words that escaped Jace making Alec’s cock twitch and leak. When he finally reached Jace’s neck and looked up to meet eyes that were dark with need, pupils blown, Alec had to sit up abruptly, ignoring Jace’s protesting whine. He slid a hand into his pants, wrapped it around the base of his erection and squeezed firmly.

“Oh, Angel, Alec...” Panting but having regained some control, Alec opened his eyes again, just in time to hear Jace curse and see his entire body stiffen and buck as he came untouched. Awestruck, Alec watched his parabatai fall apart, a hot flush coloring his skin all the way down his chest. Jace wouldn’t meet Alec’s eyes, embarrassment creeping in while his body relaxed, but Alec would have none of it.

Leaning down he kissed Jace deeply, stopping only to say hoarsely, “That was the hottest thing I’ve ever seen. Except it would have been better if you’d been naked…”

Jace laughed, breathless and relieved, kissing Alec again before replying, “Well, we can remedy that. You, too, though.”

Nodding, Alec sat back up and took off his pants and briefs while Jace did the same, a sigh of relief escaping him when his cock finally sprang free. He might have stopped his orgasm earlier, but seeing Jace had brought him close again, and it left no room for self-consciousness. Especially not with Jace looking at him full of hunger before yanking him down and mashing their mouths together greedily.

Alec’s dick slid against the flat plane of Jace’s stomach, sticky with cum, and Alec had to bury his face against Jace’s neck to take a few steadying breaths. Jace held him close, and his breath was hot against Jace’s ear as he said in a low, heavy voice, “Want you to fuck me, Alec.”

Again Alec only just managed to hold onto the frayed edges of his self-control, pushing himself up on his elbows to regard Jace seriously, asking, “You sure?”

Jace’s face was shining with sweat and elation, his normally so carefully styled hair mussed, and he nodded back just as seriously before breaking into an infectious grin, exclaiming, “Hell yes! Stop dithering and get to it, Alec Lightwood!”

Laughing, Alec obeyed and fumbled for the lube he kept in his nightstand. When Jace made to take it from him, he waved him away, admitting with a blush, “If you do it, Jace, there’s no way I’ll last.”

Jace smirked, smug and proud, and crossed his hands behind his head, presenting himself to Alec’s heated gaze with feet braced against the mattress and cock already half-hard again. Alec slicked up a finger and grabbed a pillow, stuffing it under Jace’s ass before carefully probing his hole. Jace hissed when he breached him but relaxed with a conscious effort, and Alec slowly pushed further in, adding more lube until he could move around easily. Experimentally he crooked his finger, searching until Jace cursed, dick twitching, then withdrew with a triumphant grin, ignoring Jace’s protests.

“Patience. If I can wait, so can you!” he admonished, leaning down for a kiss but pulling away again before they got lost in each other once more. More lube, then a second finger, which went in more easily. Still, Alec made sure to take his time, enjoying the way Jace began to squirm and demand more, before finally relenting and adding a third digit. Jace was so hot and tight around his fingers, Alec could hardly believe his cock would soon be in that place, and he kissed Jace long and hard, trying to keep his mind off the enticing image.

Finally, Jace pushed him off and insisted firmly, “C’mon, that’s enough. Just go slow, and it’ll be fine.”

Reaching the end of his tether, Alec could only nod and pour so much lube over himself, the bed turned into even more of a mess. Still, it did the trick, and he managed to push the head of his cock inside Jace almost without problem.

They both froze for a moment, staring at each other, then Jace let out a huff and rocked his hips forward, laughing when Alec swore as his cock slid in a bit further. Another pause, Alec counting backwards from 100 in hopes to delay the inevitable. He’d only reached 82 when Jace asked impatiently, “Seriously, are you waiting for an engraved invitation? Fuck me already!”

“Oh, the famous Wayland charm, however can I resist?” Alec managed to respond, albeit in a strangled voice, holding himself completely still above Jace.

Jace grinned, unrepentant, and pulled him down for a demanding kiss before stating teasingly, “Aww, you love me, don’t even pretend otherwise!”

“Yes, yes I do. I love you.” Suddenly serious, Alec punctuated his words with a thrust of his hips, burying himself to the hilt in Jace’s body, making them both gasp. The sensation of being connected like this was everything Alec had dreamed of and more, and he stared at Jace in awe, whispering, “Parabatai...”

“Parabatai…” Jace echoed, looking up at him with the same expression of wonder, and Alec would have sworn he could feel their bond tighten. Their lips found one another, and they drank each other, deep and slow, until Alec’s arms started to tremble from holding himself still. Jace fell back onto the mattress, his face transforming into an unselfconscious smile of such pure happiness Alec almost leaned down to kiss him again. A sudden squeeze around his cock made him change his mind, however, whitehot pleasure shooting through him.

Instead he sat up, one steadying hand against Jace’s hip, the other using his muscular thigh for leverage, and pulled almost all the way out before pushing back in. Jace bucked, fingers scrabbling for purchase against the headboard, once again reduced to babbling, a litany of “Alec… please… oh, Angel… more… so fucking good!”

Alec was quieter, only the occasional moan escaping him, but Jace didn’t seem to mind, pushing back against every thrust of Alec’s hips, setting a rhythm that made Alec feel as if he was about to lose his mind. Pleasure coiled inside him, tighter and tighter, his world narrowing down to the place where his body was joined with Jace’s, until no amount of counting helped anymore and he tumbled over the edge with a hoarse cry of “Jace!”

He’d never come this hard, spilling in seemingly never-ending spurts, until his arms actually gave way, and he collapsed onto Jace’s chest. His parabatai grunted but didn’t push him off, instead enveloping him in a tight embrace, and Alec buried his face against Jace’s neck, wincing when his softening cock slipped out of Jace’s body.

“Wish you could stay in me,” Jace whispered into his hair, sounding not teasing but almost wistful, and Alec managed to lift his head enough to meet eyes that were brimming with emotion. It made him feel wonderful, cherished, and he pressed his lips against Jace’s smile, licked along the seam until Jace opened up to him, letting his tongue mimic what their bodies had been doing just a few minutes ago.

“Me too…” Alec replied softly, realizing that he was resting a hand on Jace’s parabatai rune. He traced it gently with a finger, and Jace quivered under the light touch. Breaking the strangely solemn mood, Alec grinned and added, “But first, it’s your turn!”

With that he slipped his hand between their bodies, where he could feel Jace’s unabated arousal poking into his stomach, and Jace’s eyes slid shut with a groan when Alec’s thumb flicked over the sensitive head of his cock. He was already quite wet, sweat and pre-cum easing the way, but Alec made to reach for the lube anyway. However, he couldn’t find it, apparently it had fallen to the floor at some point, forgotten. Alec didn’t let that throw him, though, just smirked at Jace, who was watching him with dark eyes, biting his lip in a way that made Alec want to kiss him senseless.

Instead he wriggled out of the hold Jace still had him in and scooted down the bed, just enough so he could wrap his lips around his erection. He didn’t hesitate, didn’t go slow, just took in as much as he could and was rewarded with Jace cursing, bucking violently into his mouth. Holding him down with an arm across his stomach, Alec just smiled around the hard flesh in his mouth and continued sucking him ruthlessly. His free hand was playing with Jace’s balls, then sliding behind them until he could slip a finger back inside his still-open hole.

It went in easily, lube and what Alec realized was his own cum allowing him to fingerfuck Jace nice and deep. When he added a second finger and found Jace’s prostate with every thrust, Jace went wild, and Alec needed to focus to keep using his mouth and fingers simultaneously, pushing down his own renewed arousal. He didn’t want to miss any second of this, of Jace literally screaming his name, hands gripping Alec’s hair tightly. The pain was surprisingly tinged with pleasure, and Alec took Jace down his throat, so deep he couldn’t even taste Jace when he came, could only feel him pulse as he emptied himself.

Alec swallowed quickly, managing to catch every drop before slowly letting Jace’s cock slip from his lips. He was surprised by the pounding of his heart, a strangely foreign sensation he couldn’t place for a second, until his eyes snapped upwards, across Jace’s heaving chest to his glazed stare. Not looking away, Alec moved up the bed, stretching out next to Jace, and pressed his palm over Jace’s left pectoral. Jace’s heart was beating quickly under his touch, in the exact same rhythm as his own. He’d known it would, but still, it took his breath away.

“Jace…” - “Parabatai…”

The spoke simultaneously and started laughing, lightening the mood. Alec couldn’t believe how amazing it felt to hear Jace call him parabatai, and he leaned in, only to be met halfway by Jace, who pulled him flush against himself. They both ignored the mess they’d made of the bed and themselves, in favor of long, happy kisses interrupted by smiles and nuzzling of noses. Then Jace abruptly rolled them over, startling a laugh out of Alec as he pulled him upright and straddled him. Alec wrapped his arms around Jace’s middle and the continued their languid making-out, all urgency gone. For the time being, that was.

“I’m gross,” Jace finally announced, not sounding put upon in the least, and scrambled off the bed. Alec made a protesting noise, but Jace was already holding out a hand and asking cheekily, “Join me in the shower? And afterwards I suggest we move to my bed, which is nice and clean.”

Grinning widely, Alec took the offered hand, only to be yanked forward, into another kiss. Their teeth clicked against each other and Jace actually giggled, but to Alec it was still perfect. His parabatai was naked and warm against him, in a way he never would have thought possible only a few months ago but couldn’t imagine doing without. They stumble-marched their way to the bathroom, laughing and kissing all the way. And inside Alec, there was a light that was undeniably Jace, burning brightly right in the center of his being.

They were silver and gold, inextricably entwined, forever, and Alec couldn’t wait for the rest of their lives to start.

***

End Note: As much as I love the (sappy) smut, I really enjoyed writing the parabatai ceremony. 🙂
Also, this probably isn't the end of this 'verse - let me know if you have specific scenes you'd like to see me tackle, like the parabatai tracking scene I've already done.

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