Catalyst

Author's Note: I can't believe this cliché hasn't been done before (as far as I'm aware), it fits the Shadow world so perfectly! 🙂

My contribution for Jalec Spring Break, day 7: free choice.

***

Later, Alec put the blame squarely on Jace. It was usually true, but this time, it was Alec's arrow that grazed the weird-looking purple flower, causing a shower of golden pollen to erupt from it, coating Jace from head to toe.

They'd been busy fighting a bunch of Ravener demons that had been plaguing a Seelie enclave, which explained the abundant flora surrounding them as well as timely appearance of backup in the form of Meliorn and three other Seelie knights. After dispatching the last demons, Meliorn eyed Jace, who was trying and failing to brush off the glittering mess, and seemed to swallow a laugh before saying, "I wanted to thank you for your intervention, Shadowhunters, but I think I should instead offer you a place to rest for the next few hours."

Alec glared at the Seelie suspiciously and asked, "Why would we need that? We're not injured. Or is that flower poisonous?"

"No, the grá flower won't do you any harm." Meliorn spread his hands placatingly, but amusement was still evident in his voice. "Your parabatai will soon start to feel its effects, however - effects that a lot of people pay us good money for but that are best enjoyed in private."

"Effects?!" Jace's face turned thunderous, and Alec couldn't blame him. Seelie crypticness was infuriating even when they weren't making vague implications about the effects of some magic plant, pleasant or not. Still, they had just helped the Seelies defeat the Raveners, so Alec figured they could trust that Meliorn wanted to dispatch his debt of gratitude, not play games, and could therefore be trusted to give good advice.

Which was how he found himself following Meliorn to a luxurious Seelie tent, supporting a shivering Jace. His parabatai's skin was clammy and sweaty against his arm, because for some reason Jace had seen fit to tear off his sweater, gasping, "Hot, why is it suddenly so hot?"

He was also getting that pollen all over Alec, so Alec wasn't surprised when their guide ushered them both into the tent, saying with not a trace of apology, "I'm afraid you'll be feeling some of the same effects soon enough. Maybe I should have warned you, but I figured you would have wanted to stay with him anyway, and it'll be easier like this."

"Just tell us what to expect, how long it will last and if there's anything we should be aware of, Meliorn," Alec growled, running out of patience with the Seelie. He deposited Jace on a recliner, where he curled up, wrapping his arms around himself as if seeking comfort. Alec was beginning to understand why, a tingling sensation raising goosebumps all over his skin even as he was starting to feel uncomfortably warm. He shifted, tugging at his shirt collar, and glared at Meliorn. "Just tell us and then get out."

"Let's just say that the plant is very sought after as an aphrodisiac," Meliorn finally explained more plainly, unapologetic smirk still fixed on his face. "It will wear off after a certain amount of… activity."

"Activity?!" Alec's glare turned murderous, and the Seelie began to back away, but a sudden moan from Jace distracted Alec enough to allow him to escape unharmed.

Before disappearing gracefully, Meliorn called over his shoulder, "You should know that the grá flower only intensifies what's already there."

Alec barely heard him, his entire focus on his parabatai. Jace had uncurled himself and was draped over the recliner in a rather fetching manner, hands wandering restlessly over his bare torso, smearing it even more with golden pollen, until he was glittering from neck to sharply cut abs. Then his hands drifted even further down, and Alec swallowed, forcing his eyes upwards. However, the sight that awaited him there was no less affecting: Flushed cheeks, white teeth worrying full lips and a pair of eyes that were dark with arousal. They were also fixed on Alec with an intensity that made excitement curl tight and hot deep inside his belly, pushing at his self-control.

"Alec…" Jace's voice was a low growl, and Alec shivered in spite of himself. "Come closer, need to touch you."

He was playing with his nipples, rocking his hips forward provocatively, accentuating the unmistakable line of his erection through the black fabric of his pants, accentuated with flecks of gold where he'd been palming himself, and Alec just about swallowed his tongue. Nevertheless he managed to reply weakly, "Jace, get a hold of yourself! This isn't you, it's the plant."

"Oh, but it is!" Jace grinned, undaunted, and pushed himself to his feet. Alec found himself stumbling backwards, suddenly afraid of what would happen if he let Jace touch him the way he wanted to. Because he did want, with every fibre of his being, and there was a small voice in the back of his head insisting that it had nothing to do with the effects of the pollen. He'd spent the better part of his adolescence fighting that part of him, the part that wanted to lick every delectable inch of Jace Wayland, and now it was offered to him freely, even eagerly.

Alec's self-control was formidable, having been shaped by years of self-denial and dedication to duty, but now it wavered under the heated weight of Jace's hungry gaze as he was stalked around the tent. Streaks of golden pollen accentuated the lines of fight-honed muscles and black runes, the glittering of mismatched eyes, and Alec licked his lips, desperate to touch, to taste. He could barely remember why he was still fighting the inevitable, and when the backs of his legs hit the soft bed in the center of the tent, he found himself flat on his back with Jace straddling him in one smooth motion.

"Jace…" he half-begged, staring up into the familiar face, caught between dread and anticipation. He expected Jace to be rough, urgent, but instead his parabatai leaned down slowly and pressed the curve of his smile against Alec's lips in a sweet, gentle kiss. A desperate-sounding whine escaped Alec's throat, and he was the one who twined his fingers in Jace's hair, pulled him closer and licked his way into the heat of his mouth. Jace opened up to him easily, willingly, and the kiss turned deeper, more intense with every slide of tongue against tongue. Alec was lost, drowning in the taste and feel of Jace pressed against him, and he bucked upwards, moaning from the friction against his hard cock.

Jace was pushing back just as wantonly, hands hot against Alec's skin where they'd wormed their way between their bodies and were tearing at Alec's shirt. They drew apart long enough to throw it to the ground, then Jace was attacking Alec's neck, sucking hard, and Alec's fingers dug into hard biceps, trying to find purchase as pleasure spiraled hot through him. It wasn't quite natural, this quick escalation into desperation, but he couldn't care, not when Jace was eating him alive, all lips and tongue and teeth, and hot breath against his skin, growling, "Need you, Alec!"

"Yes, please, yes," Alec gasped, helpless, and slid his hands down the tense arch of Jace's back to the taut muscles of his butt. Jace laughed, breathless and almost giddy, and Alec followed the waistband of his pants to their front, feeling the hard line of his parabatai's erection before fumbling to open the zipper. Then his hand was inside, and Jace's laugh turned into a loud moan, eyes falling shut and a look of sheer ecstasy on his face when Alec's palm wrapped around hot skin, velvet over steel.

It was the first time Alec had ever touched someone else's cock, and with the last vestiges of clear thought he registered surprise that he didn't feel more scared or nervous. Another thing he had to thank the flower for, he reckoned, long past any qualms he'd had over the situation. Having this kind of effect on Jace was simply too intoxicating, and Alec got lost in the way Jace's hips rocked into his touch, the small sounds that kept escaping him when Alec flicked his thumb over the slick head of his cock, his blunt nails digging sharply into Alec's shoulders.

The speed with which Jace fell apart would probably have embarrassed him under normal circumstances, but as it was, he simply arched up with a hoarse shout of Alec's name and erupted, coating his fist and both their stomachs. He slumped against Alec with a huff of laughter, nuzzling his neck, and if Alec hadn't been so turned on himself, he would have delighted in simply holding his parabatai. As it was, he thrust upwards, seeking friction, and Jace chuckled into his ear, wrapping one hand around Alec's erection and tugging with just the right amount of pressure. Then he stopped, and Alec mewled in protest, which turned into a groan when Jace said in a half-growl that sent shivers down Alec's spine, "Want you to come inside me."

The words alone were almost too much, but somehow Alec managed to pull himself together enough to ask in a strangled voice, "You sure?"

"How many times do I have to tell you that I want this. I want you, Alec Lightwood," Jace laughed, eyes sparkling, and Alec simply had to kiss him again. He felt light-headed, euphoric, the way he imagined being drunk felt like, getting lost in the feel and taste of Jace wrapped around him, his eager tongue, his clever hands. Which were running over his chest, tangling in the coarse hair there, flicking over his nipples in a way that made him gasp into Jace's mouth. His fingers were digging into his parabatai's hips, pulling him closer until his cock slid across the flat planes of his stomach with every rocking of their bodies against each other. It was more than Alec could bear, and he tumbled over the edge with a hoarse shout.

"S..sorry," he mumbled after his world had stopped spinning and he became aware of being cradled against Jace's chest, his parabatai's hands playing lazily with his hair.

"What the hell are you apologizing for?" Jace laughed, impossibly fond. Contentment washing over him, Alec turned his face into Jace's neck, nuzzling him gently as he breathed in sweat and musk and the faint aftertaste of the pollen. His parabatai's arms tightened around him, their bodies fitting together perfectly, and through their bond Alec felt Jace, warm and happy in a way he couldn't remember ever experiencing before. Squeezing his eyes shut, Alec tried to pretend a while longer that these feelings were real, not induced by some stupid Seelie flower. It took him a moment to register Jace's next words: "We'll just have to do the rest another time."

Lifting himself to his elbows, Alec stared down into Jace's face, for the first time taking in that his eyes were completely clear and regarding him calmly. "I… What?! But… the flower?"

"It was grá, wasn't it?" Jace seemed completely unfazed. "I've heard of it - very popular, very expensive, mainly because it doesn't affect your ability to consent. Basically, if you're not already into someone, it won't affect you."

"Meliorn said something similar," Alec remembered, still feeling stunned but slowly beginning to believe that this was actually happening, that he could have what he always dreamed of. "I was… distracted at the time."

Hesitatingly he touched Jace's cheek, flutters of pleasure racing through him. His parabatai grinned and turned into his touch like a cat demanding to be petted. They had a lot of figure out, but for now Jace was in his arms, clear-minded and apparently very willing, and everything else could wait until later.

Despite himself Alec laughed and leaned down for a kiss, slow and languid and somehow tasting like the very first time.

***

End Note: Grá is "love" in Irish Gaelic.

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