Beautiful Intimacy

Author's Note: Just a bit of PWP, really.

***

Clary had always been observant. It went with being an artist, she reckoned. The world was full of beautiful things, and she wanted to capture them whenever she could. If not on paper then at least to memory. Still, she'd never thought of herself as a voyeur - and yet, when she heard a tell-tale gasp through a half-open door, she found herself being drawn towards it, forgetting all about the hot chocolate she'd been in search of.

Ever since Jonathan she hadn't been sleeping well, especially after she and Jace had admitted to themselves that their relationship, while still close, had been irrevocably changed by everything that had happened, leaving her to fend with her nightmares on her own. Now, however, terror was the last thing on her mind, as she peeked carefully into the dark room with its Head of the Institute sign. Its occupants hadn't bothered turning on a light, but a street lamp outside cast some light through the stained-glass windows of the office, illuminating the black silhouettes of two figures. Without stopping to think about it, Clary quietly took out her stele and activated her night sight rune, remembering with a bittersweet pang how Jace had drawn it on her what felt like eons ago but had only been about a year, and suddenly shadow sprang into clear relief.

She hadn't consciously been thinking of who was meeting so clandestinely but realized that a part of her must have recognized the voice that had attracted her attention in the first place, because she wasn't surprised at all when her eyes managed to make out the familiar form of Jace. She was, however, more than a little surprised to see that he was being pushed against the desk by none other than his parabatai.

Alec's back was to her, his dark head pressed against Jace's exposed neck, one arm wrapped around Jace, holding him securely in place, the other hand hidden between their bodies. Clary didn't need to see to know what he was doing - it was clear from the way Jace gasped and writhed, head thrown back in complete abandon, fingers tangling in Alec's hair. His eyes were screwed shut, and occasionally his tongue would dart out to wet his lips and he'd dig his teeth into his lower lip, as if to stop himself from making too much noise.

He was only half-succeeding, and finally Alec moved his mouth away from his parabatai's neck in order to swallow the sounds he was making in a kiss that might have started as a practical measure but almost immediately turned into something more. They kissed each other as if they needed it, as if they could only get enough air when they were sharing breath, and Clary's stomach did a funny little flip at the sight.

Even when her and Jace had been at their most intimate, it had never been like that with them. However, she realized with a start that she had seen Alec like this before - only not with Magnus, although she had been there for that first kiss at Alec's ill-fated wedding and for many after as their relationship progressed, only to finally fall apart at some point during Clary's absence. No, what sprang to mind was the first time she'd witnessed parabatai tracking, the way they'd been lost to everything around them.

Oddly intimate, indeed, and she'd recognized the same intimacy on several other occasions, expressed in lingering embraces and meaningful glances meant for no one else, smiles that excluded the rest of the world. They just hadn't been kissing then - although somehow Clary doubted that this was the first time, not when they seemed to know each other's bodies by heart, Alec's hand still busy making Jace tremble against him.

Clary could see the way Jace's hold on Alec tightened, and it seemed to be a signal, because Alec stopped his ministrations and pulled away, albeit only a few inches. They rested their foreheads together for a moment, catching their breath, before he sank to his knees. The sound of his voice, low and intimate in the dark room made Clary shiver. "Let me take care of you."

"Alec..." Jace breathed his parabatai's name, and it was prayer and benediction at once, even before Alec's head began moving up and down rhythmically, holding him in place with one hand pushing up Jace's shirt, the other gripping his ass. Fingers carding through Alec's hair, Jace's entire focus was on him, but he'd only have to look up to catch Clary staring. She knew she should leave, should have left much earlier, but there was something mesmerizingly beautiful about the way the two men made love, and she couldn't seem to tear herself away.

The sounds of Alec's mouth on Jace became almost inaudible as Jace's breathing became more unsteady, turned into small gasps that he uselessly attempted to stifle with a hand. Finally, Clary saw him stiffen, but Alec didn't move away - on the contrary, he pressed even closer, nose against the hard planes of Jace's abs, and Clary could hear him swallow quickly. Only when Jace grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him into a deep, thorough kiss, did he release him and get to his feet.

"What do you want me to do for you?" Jace finally asked hoarsely, hopping fully onto the desk. He wrapped his legs around Alec's slim hips and slid his hands under Alec's shirt and up his back, as if he couldn't stand for them to be apart, and their mouths found each other again.

Alec began to rock slightly against Jace, and Clary could easily imagine the hard line of his cock, seeking friction, even before he half-growled, "Like this, just… like this."

He buried his face in the juncture of Jace's neck and shoulder, and once again Jace cradled his head, held him securely in the circle of his arms and legs as his movements became more erratic. It was almost unbearably sensual and unbelievably tender, the way he held his parabatai against his body, murmuring soft words Clary couldn't make out into his ear. Something deep inside Clary tightened - not with arousal, although the scene in front of her was hot, but with desire for a connection like the one Jace and Alec shared, had always shared, long before it had become physical.

She stared, unblinking, as Alec fell apart, not a trace of his usual composure left as he let himself go in the arms of his parabatai. It was beautiful, and maybe she whispered the word into the night, because Jace's eyes flew open and found hers.

Stiffening, Clary flushed with mortification but remained rooted to the spot, unsure what to do. However, Jace stayed silent, didn't stop embracing Alec, who remained oblivious, lost in the aftershocks of his orgasm, and despite the night sight rune she couldn't read his face. After an endless moment, Jace cocked his head, nodding slightly, and although she wasn't entirely sure what the gentle, almost pitying look in his eyes meant, Clary felt as if she'd been absolved. Exhaling in relief, she began to back away quietly.

When she looked at Jace again, his attention had already shifted back to the man in his arms. Their lips met, and Jace laughed softly as he let his parabatai push him back onto the desk, as if he'd already forgotten Clary had ever been there.

Silently, Clary closed the door and runed it shut. Putting her stele away, she fingered the ever-present pencil in her pocket. Her heart felt unaccountably heavy, but her fingers were itching to commit the beauty she'd witnessed to paper. Art had always been Clary's coping mechanism.

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