Alone on Thanksgiving? Mad at your dad?

Author's Note: This was supposed to be one of my 300 word drabble AUs, instead this happened... Jalec version of this Craigslist ad. 🙂

***

Chapter 1

It was Izzy's idea, naturally.

"You should hire this guy!" she exclaimed, shoving her screen at Alec when he made no move to take it.

Knowing that resistance was futile when his sister got this glint in her eyes, Alec sighed and read what proved to be a decidedly weird Craigslist ad by a 23-year-old musician hiring himself out as the date from hell for family functions. Rolling his eyes, Alec gave Izzy her phone back. "I'm not hiring a hooker - sex worker, or whatever they're called these days."

"Did you even read the ad? He's not offering sex, and he doesn't want money. He's just going to pretend to be your boyfriend to torment annoying parents, in exchange for a meal." Alec shook his head, completely dumb-founded, and Izzy explained very slowly, as if he was being deliberately obtuse, "Alec, you've been trying to come out to mom and dad forever, and if you don't bring someone next week, they'll try and set you up with Lydia again."

Izzy was right, but Alec still didn't get it. "But why bring this guy, who says he'll do everything to turn the evening into a disaster?"

Izzy threw her hands in the air. "Because then they'll be so happy when you turn up with a nice date the next time that they won't care that it's a guy!" Softening her tone, she added, "Maybe it'll give you the incentive to finally accept one of Magnus' invitations. And even if it you don't date Magnus, at least you'll finally be out of the closet."

Later, Alec wasn't exactly sure why he decided to go along with Izzy's crazy scheme, except that she was right. He was a grown-ass man of 25 who risked his life on a daily basis as a cop, and he'd been feeling trapped, sick and tired of hiding a big part of himself from his parents. Still, when he walked into the Starbucks where they'd agreed to meet before heading to the Lightwood Thanksgiving dinner, he heartily regretted his uncharacteristic impulsiveness and was this close to turning on his heel. However, before he could, one of the most attractive men he'd ever seen stopped him.

"Alec?" he asked, looking at Alec intently, and for a moment Alec was struck dumb, staring into uniquely two-toned eyes, mouth suddenly dry as sandpaper.

He had to swallow and lick his lips before he managed to reply, "Yes, I'm Alec Lightwood. And you're Jace?"

"Jace Herondale." Jace smirked, and Alec fought not to blush. "And I must say, this is going to be my easiest assignment yet."

"A...assignment?" Alec asked, and added in a more even tone, "I had been wondering why you're doing this. It's a somewhat unusual hobby."

"I know the ad said I'm a musician, and that's true enough," Jace explained, leaning rather attractively against the wall. Alec mentally shook himself. It wouldn't do to be distracted. "But it doesn't exactly pay the bills - yet - so I write for an online magazine on the side. These fake dates are research for a piece I'm working on."

"Well, I reckon an evening with the Lightwoods should provide you with plenty of fodder." Alec chuckled, realizing with a start that he was beginning to look forward to spending more time with Jace. Even if the date was fake.

Jace grinned, pushing himself off the wall and stopping right in Alec's space. It felt surprisingly natural, as did the hand on his arm. "In that case, maybe we should start practicing now. When do we have to be there?"

"At seven." Alec covered Jace's hand with his own and looked into smiling mismatched eyes, which darkened when he replied in a voice half an octave lower than his normal register, "So there's enough time for a cup of coffee and some... practice."

They ordered and found a table, already chatting as if they'd known each other forever. Alec had never felt so comfortable so quickly with anyone, and by the time they had to leave he'd almost forgotten the reason for their meeting or why Jace made a point of casually touching him, making Alec's skin tingle. He wasn't sure if Jace felt it, too, or if he was just an excellent actor, but Alec grew more and more certain with every minute in Jace's company that he wanted more than a fake date with him.

Still, his parents were waiting, so he finally got up with a sigh. Without thinking about it, he offered Jace a hand, which he took without hesitation, an almost shy smile on his lips. Then he seemed to catch himself and asked in a forcedly business-like manner, "So, how do you want me to play it? I'm very good at inappropriate humor, pretending to be much drunker than I actually am, starting physical altercations over imagined slights and oversharing about our supposed sex life."

Alec recognized most items from Jace's ad, yet he couldn't help but blush at the mention of sex with Jace, his mind conjuring up all too tempting images. Jace's tight black jeans and the grey t-shirt he wore under his leather jacket left no doubt that the musician was in excellent shape, and Alec had noticed a couple of tattoos peeking out from under his clothes. He had never had much of a sex drive, preferring his own hand rather than hooking up with someone he didn't care about, but now Alec wanted nothing more than to uncover and explore Jace's body. Then Jace coughed, lips twitching with amusement, as if he knew what Alec had been thinking, and Alec shook himself, mortified.

"Umm, I... I don't know." He paused, trying to find the courage to explain that he didn't want his parents to hate Jace. He glanced down at their still-clasped hands, then back up, cheeks heating up when he met Jace's gaze, which seemed to mirror his own inner conflict. Chest tight with emotion, Alec half-whispered, "I can't breathe."

"It's alright, Alec." Jace licked his lips nervously, and Alec felt something inside of him snap. Surging forward, he smashed their mouths together, and after stiffening in surprise for a second, Jace responded, and they melted into a kiss that made Alec feel as if he was on fire. They were in public, but he didn't care, all he wanted was to keep tasting Jace, their mouths sliding against one another as if they'd been made for it. In the end they had to pause to catch their breath, but instead of the half-expected awkwardness Alec felt giddy, and from the wide grin on Jace's face he appeared to share his joy.

Resting their foreheads together, Alec took a steadying breath. "Would you mind terribly being my date for Thanksgiving and not doing any of the things from your ad?"

Instead of an answer, Jace raised himself to his toes, twisting his fingers in Alec's collar, and hauled him in for another kiss. Wrapping his arms around Jace, Alec made a mental note to buy Izzy the best Christmas present ever.

***

Chapter 2

By the time they reached their destination, the euphoria Alec had been swept up in had ebbed away almost entirely, replaced by dread as he realized that this was it; he was going to come out to his parents. He only noticed he was holding onto Jace like a lifeline, squeezing his hand so hard it had to hurt, when he was roused from the whirlwind of his thoughts by a soft voice asking, "Are you sure about this, Alec?"

Alec stopped on the sidewalk in front of his childhood home, considering, and realized that the answer was easy. "Yes. I've been hiding a part of myself, and it's time to stop. I always told myself that it wasn't all that important, because I didn't have anyone, but it still felt like lying to them." He gave a rueful laugh, looking down at Jace's hand in his. "Hell, I'd never even walked hand-in-hand with anyone who wasn't related to me before."

"Well, you can't say that anymore." Jace chuckled, eyes warm, and Alec simply had to lean in for a kiss, surprised by the strength he drew from such a small gesture. When they separated, Jace's face was full of pleasure, as if he was surprised, too. "And just for the record, this, this instant... connection or whatever it'll turn out to be, it's a first for me, too." He smirked, and Alec couldn't help but grin back. "But I'm going with it, because I think you might just be worth it, Alec Lightwood."

"So're you, Jace Herondale," Alec responded immediately, all doubts gone. However, when the door opened to the sight of a dumbfounded Robert Lightwood, staring at his son holding another man's hand, he had to work hard to hold on to that certainty. Reluctantly letting go of Jace, Alec stepped up to meet his father head-on, greeting him stiffly, "Hello, dad."

"Son," Robert offered just as awkwardly. "I see you've brought… a friend."

Beside Alec, he could hear Jace stifle a snort, and Alec felt his lips twitch involuntarily, giving him the strength to reply firmly, "Well, you and mom always said I could bring a date. So this is me, bringing a date." Meeting his father's eyes, he read surprise but also a reluctant respect in them. It made him wonder how much he had suspected, but that was a topic of another time. Gesturing to Jace, he introduced, "Dad, this is Jace Herondale. Jace, Robert Lightwood."

"Mr. Lightwood, it's nice to meet you." Jace held out his hand, a charming smile on his lips.

Alec was relieved to note that his father shook it after only a second's hesitation. "Jace, please call me Robert. And I apologize for my initial... surprise."

With a pointed look at Alec he invited them in, and Alec took a steadying breath. One parent down, one to go. To his surprise a hand came to rest on his back, steadying his nerves immediately, and he shot Jace a grateful look. Robert used the moment to hurry into the kitchen, doubtlessly to give Maryse a heads-up, and Alec quickly followed him, not wanting to stave off the inevitable.

"Mom," he said, interrupting his father's urgent whispering. He flinched a little at the look in his mother's eyes, but forced himself to keep control, the way she'd taught him. "Is dinner ready? I've been telling Jace about your turkey stuffing. Jace, this is my mother, Maryse Lightwood."

"A pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Lightwood," Jace said easily, as if the whole situation was not incredibly awkward. "It's very kind of you to welcome me into your home."

"Well, we always tell our children to bring... people that are important to them," Maryse replied, glancing at Alec meaningfully. "Until now Alec has never taken advantage of the invitation. But don't you have family that will miss you for the holidays, Mr. Herondale?"

"I've never really had a proper family Thanksgiving, only my grandmother, who lives abroad. So you see, Alec's invitation really means a lot." Jace seemed entirely unperturbed, but he had told Alec about losing his parents and being raised in the foster system before being claimed by his only living relative a couple of years ago. Alec pressed his shoulder against Jace's in a gesture of silent support, which garnered him a quick, grateful look, before Jace added, "And please, call me Jace."

With a certain surprise Alec noticed that his mother's polite smile was beginning to reach her eyes, as she replied in an almost cordial tone, "In that case, call me Maryse. Why don't you join my husband in the living room while Alec helps me set the table. Have you met Isabelle and Max? I sent them to the corner store for some wine, they should be back any moment."

"He hasn't met them yet," Alec interjected, giving Jace a questioning glance with a nod towards the living room. Are you going to be okay alone in there? Jace nodded back with a smile that Alec knew was meant only for him, warming him all the way through, before excusing himself.

Once he was gone, Alec began gathering plates and glasses, aware of his mother's penetrating gaze as she readied the meal in her usual efficient manner. No one did reproachful silence better than Maryse Lightwood. Forcing himself to stay relaxed, he broke the silence, "I didn't know how to tell you. I'm sorry." He paused and added in a small voice, "If it helps any, there was never anyone before, and Jace and I are… fairly new."

Understatement of the year, he thought, holding his breath as he waited for his mother's reaction. Finally, with a sharp exhale, she nodded. "I don't appreciate the way you sprung this on us, Alec. But your father had his suspicions, and I guess I should have taken them seriously."

Well, that answered Alec's question in regards to his dad, and when he carried the heavy tray into the dining room, he could see Robert and Jace making small-talk in the living room. As he walked back, Jace caught his eye, winking, and Alec blushed and smiled back helplessly. The whole situation felt surreal - even more so, when Izzy and Max returned, bringing with them a noise and laughter.

Alec wondered whether he should tell his sister of the latest developments, but there was no chance to catch her alone while five Lightwoods were catching up and getting everything ready for dinner. Jace's presence only exacerbated the intensity of it all, and for a moment Alec worried that it would be too much for him, especially when Max asked point blank, "So you're Alec's boyfriend?"

Blushing, Alec laid a restraining hand on his little brother's shoulder, but Jace took it in stride, giving him a look that danced with amusement. "We haven't really put a name to it, but yeah, I guess you could say that."

"But you can't just go around asking people these sorts of questions," Alec admonished, aware that the impact was severely diminished by the goofy grin on his face. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed Izzy regarding him with barely hidden confusion, an expression that only deepened as dinner went on.

Jace was seated between Alec and Maryse, and he soon had everyone thoroughly charmed - most of all of course Alec, who spent the meal in something of a happy daze. The longer the evening went on, the harder it was for Alec to believe that they hadn't actually met two months ago in a coffeeshop, the way they'd agreed on earlier.

"I took one look at him, and I simply had to try my luck," Jace explained at Izzy's prodding, and Alec found it easy to ignore his sister's raised eyebrow when Jace covered his hand on top of the table, thigh pressing against Alec's underneath. "He seemed so surprised to be hit on, it was adorable."

Alec glanced at his parents, but they appeared completely at ease by now. Turning his palm up and tangling their fingers together, he teased, "Well, I was on duty at the time..."

Jace raised an eyebrow, grinning because Alec had just made up this detail, but played along. "What can I say, I'm a sucker for a man in uniform."

His voice lowered, and below the table he hooked an ankle around Alec's, making him shiver and get lost in the clear light of Jace's eyes for a moment. He licked his suddenly dry lips, and noticed Jace tracking the movement before giving a little shake and turning back to Izzy, who'd been watching the exchange like hawk. If she'd been hoping that this would be the start of some inappropriate behavior from Jace, she was due for some disappointment, because if anything the rest of the meal passed even more convivially.

When they'd all eaten their fill - and more than that in Max's case, who'd insisted on a second helping of dessert - Jace insisted on helping with clearing the table. Finally, Maryse put her foot down when it came to cleaning up. "Alec, why don't you show your guest the rest of the house. Robert, Izzy and Max can help here."
Finding themselves practically shooed out of the kitchen, they made their way upstairs, Jace following Alec closely, making him acutely aware of his presence even before Jace hooked two fingers into a belt loop. When Alec glanced over his shoulder, he found Jace grinning at him playfully while tugging gently, and it was all Alec could do not to push Jace against the wall right there.

Instead he grabbed him by the hand and pulled him into his old room, closing the door firmly behind them. He tried to catch Jace in a kiss, but he twisted out of his embrace with a laugh, dancing away, out of Alec's reach, gesturing around the room grandiosely. "So this is where Alec Lightwood grew up? Did his homework? Made out with cute boys from the football team?"

"I played soccer, but not so much with the making out… I was kind of a late bloomer." Laughing ruefully, Alec looked around his childhood bedroom with its narrow twin bed, the sports posters on the wall and the shelves that still held some of his books. He'd spent a lot of time reading instead of going out on the weekend. "Also, in the closet."

"Really…" Jace smirked, stepping closer until the backs of Alec's legs hit the mattress and he sat down abruptly. Huffing a laugh, Jace straddled him immediately, and Alec's hands came to rest on his waist automatically, looking up into blue-and-brown eyes. Jace bit his lower lip, his voice dropping to a raspy whisper, "But you're not in the closet now. So how about we give these walls something to talk about?"

Alec barely managed a nod before surging upwards and claiming Jace's mouth, which immediately opened to allow their tongues to tangle. It really felt like being a teenager again, all urgency and wandering hands, the skin of Jace's back hot under Alec's palms, Jace's fingers messing up his hair. They rocked together, and Alec could feel Jace through their jeans, making him groan and move his mouth lower, to suck a bruise into Jace's neck.

Of course that was when the door flew open and Izzy burst in. "Alec, I think you owe me an explana…" She trailed off, stopping in her tracks and slamming the door shut - unfortunately with her still in the room. "What the hell is going on?! This was supposed to be the date from hell, not seven minutes in heaven"

Alec sighed, caught between exasperation and mortification, while Jace hid his face against Alec's neck, his body shaking with suppressed laughter. An involuntary chuckle escaped Alec, and he tightened his hold on Jace, loving how natural he felt in his arms. Already he was pretty certain that this would last much longer than seven minutes.

***

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