Happy Birthday!

Author's Note: My take on the "remember when we were 20 and you had just broken up with your girlfriend and you drunkenly made me promise to marry you if you were single at 30? well happy birthday, jackass, here's a decoder ring I just pulled out of a cereal box. Marry me." trope.

A placeholder/pinch hit for the Jalec Gift Exchange 2018 for nashcreates, I hope you like this!


Not being particularly fond of the taste of alcohol, Alec rarely drank, and on the few occasions that he did he, he hardly got more than slightly tipsy.

"Someone has to make sure your drunk asses get home safe," was his usual excuse, but Jace and Izzy knew it had mostly to do with Alec's intense dislike of losing control. They also knew better than to point this out, instead opting to gratefully accepting his services as designated driver.

Still, after his first boyfriend had introduced him to some concoctions that effectively hid the taste of liquor, there had been a few memorable occasions when Alec had allowed himself to let go, albeit only in the company of people he trusted. Which was why most of these times Jace had been there - including the time that Alec's relationship with aforementioned first boyfriend had imploded.

Needless to say, that was one night when Jace was the one making sure Alec got home safe, for which Alec thanked him the moment his head stopped pounding. "Please tell me I didn't make a fool of myself?"

"You don't remember?" Jace's efforts to keep a straight face failed, and he cracked up even more when Alec winced at the sound of his giggling. Patting his arm, Jace soothed, "You were the most dignified drunk the Hunter's Moon has ever seen."

Alec gave him an unimpressed look of utter disbelief, but years of being the recipient of similar glares had inured Jace to them, especially with Alec still looking exactly as if he'd just rolled out of bed hungover. Grinning, Jace held out a giant mug filled to the brink with coffee, laughing when Alec made grabby hands and held it to his face as if it was pure ambrosia. Alec glared over the rim, but after draining half of it, he put the mug down and pulled Jace into a hug. It wasn't the best smelling hug of Jace's life, but it was an Alec hug, and Jace automatically relaxed into it, whispering reassuringly, "Like I told you last night, you'll be okay."

Alec didn't need to remember what exactly had transpired to believe Jace's assurance without hesitation. And that was all they said about that night.


They'd been in their early 20s then, and Alec did indeed turn out to be okay. By the time his 30th birthday rolled around, he felt as if his life was right on track - he liked his small circle friends, his relationship with his parents was better than it had ever been, and he'd just made Sergeant. The only thing missing was a significant other, at least according to the majority of people around him. Alec had dated a few guys, but none of these relationships had ever felt right, and Alec had never considered himself one of those people who needed to be part of a couple to feel complete.

Among those closest to him, he'd always thought that Jace was the one who understood this best. After all, with the notable exception of Clary, Jace had been pretty much perpetually single, too, albeit with a string of flings under his belt, while Alec had never seen the appeal of sex for the sake of sex. This came in quite handy, too, on these occasions when a Plus One was required, and they had stopped correcting people who wrongly assumed their were together a long time ago.

It was also Jace who decided to throw Alec a massive birthday party, although Izzy enthusiastically jumped on the bandwagon. Because his birthday happened to be on a Sunday, they rented out the entire Hunter's Moon on the Saturday, got Simon's band to play and invited everyone Alec knew. It was rare that his co-workers, his family and his friends mingled (with the exception of Jace, who belonged in all three categories at once). However, in spite of Alec's early misgivings, the evening turned out to be a lot of fun.

The numerous toasts left him feeling pleasantly relaxed, and he accepted some of Maia's colorful concoctions that tasted almost good. After three of them, Alec went so far as to allow Izzy to pull him onto the improvised dance floor, where they were greeted by cheers. Jace, as usual rather more inebriated than Alec, even threw his arms around Alec's neck, breath hot against his skin as he yelled over the music, "Oooh, Alec, show me your moves!"

"In your dreams, Herondale!" Alec shot back, but didn't shake Jace off. He'd been in love with Jace for so long, he'd long since gotten used to his best friend's casual invasion of his personal space. Still, that didn't mean it was easy for him to remain impassive when Jace then proceeded to grind against him. Normally he would have extricated himself with some excuse, but as it was, the alcohol was making him feel warm and possibly slightly reckless, so instead Alec ground back, smirking when Jace's eyes widened in surprise.

However, Jace had never been one to back down from a challenge, so he quickly recovered. His hands had never left Alec's neck, and now he trailed them over his shoulders and down his back, settling against his hips, just above his ass. Grinning widely, Jace pulled Alec against himself in one decisive motion, and while Alec was dimly aware that most people he knew were around them, he couldn't find it in himself to care. Instead he laughed, feeling giddy, and rested his arms on Jace's shoulders as they continued to move together.

Alec wasn't the best dancer, but Jace more than made up for it, and Alec lost himself in the rhythm and the sensation of Jace's hard body pressed against his. And when the music changed to something slower, neither one of them moved away. Without thinking, Alec pulled Jace into an embrace, and Jace came easily, his head nestled against Alec's shoulder as they swayed slowly. It never failed to touch Alec how complete Jace's trust in him was, considering his less than ideal childhood, and he closed his eyes and firmly ignored Izzy's penetrating stare.

His sister was the only person who knew how deep Alec's feelings for his best friend ran, but tonight Alec wasn't in the mood to be careful. Instead he allowed himself to enjoy the fact that Jace remained more or less permanently attached to him for the rest of the night, on the dance floor and off. He only disappeared once, shortly before midnight, but not before planting a wet kiss on Alec's cheek and exclaiming happily, "Almost time!"

When he returned, his eyes were dancing in a way that would have made Alec very, very suspicious on any other day. As it was, however, he felt too buzzed to worry about whatever scheme Jace was hatching. Especially since right then the clock struck midnight, officially ringing in Alec's 30th birthday, and the whole place erupted into cheers, followed by a rather off-key, but heartfelt rendition of "Happy Birthday."

Afterwards Alec was showered in hugs and presents, all of which made him squirm and blush, never being one for the spotlight. He rather preferred to leave that to Jace, who remained conspicuously in the background while Alec tried to accept everyone's attentions with as much grace as he could muster. They meant well, after all, and it was nice to have so many people who apparently cared for him, Alec supposed.

Even Simon, who was a sentimental drunk and rather loudly proclaimed his hopes to soon call Alec "brother," making Izzy blush and Clary elbow him in an unsubtle attempt to get him to shut up. Before Izzy's possibly-maybe-soon-to-be-fiancé could embarrass himself further, Jace finally decided to join the action. With a wide grin that even a tipsy Alec knew spelled trouble, he inserted himself between Alec and Simon, waving his hands to get everyone to shut up.

"Wait, wait, what travesty is this?" he finally proclaimed, ignoring with practiced ease that Alec was shooting him daggers. "The younger sibling getting married before the oldest? We can't have that!"

"I… what?" Alec interrupted his best friend, feeling completely at a loss. He could tell that Jace was up to something but had no idea what it might be. He was clutching something in one hand, and before he could move away, Alec made a decisive grab for it. Holding Jace off with one hand, Alec stared at the object in the other in abject confusion. "Jace, what. The. Hell."

Using his distraction, Jace quickly snatched it back. "Aww, spoilsport. I was going to do it properly and everything."

"Do what properly?" Alec asked, staring his best friend down, surprised to see a flash of embarrassment that was covered so quickly, no one except for Alec probably noticed. "What even is that thing? It looks like..."

"...something out of a cereal box?" Jace completed, having regained his composure and smirking up at Alec cockily. "Your insight is uncanny, Mr. Lightwood. This is, in fact, a decoder ring. Remember when we had this detective phase in fourth grade? We had one just like this, and I managed to track it down on eBay, just for you."

Crossing his arms, Alec tried not to feel touched by Jace having obviously gone to quite a bit of trouble for… whatever this was. Which he still hadn't explained. "As much as I appreciate the nostalgic gesture, I still don't understand why you're holding a fucking decoder ring-" Language, someone interrupted, but Alec barely heard them, too distracted by Jace's next actions," - and now you're getting down on one knee. Jace, Jace!"

Fighting a sudden surge of panic, Alec tried to get Jace back to his feet, but Jace swatted him away. Recognizing the determined glint in his best friend's eyes, Alec subsided, knowing there wouldn't be any peace until Jace had gotten whatever this was out of his system. Sighing, he shook his head, which Jace took as the signal to press on, his voice taking on a pompous, rehearsed tone, "Alec Lightwood. You have been my best friend forever, and we've been through so much together. And almost ten years ago, on a very depressed and very drunk night, nursing a broken heart, you made me promise that you wouldn't be single when you turned 30."

At some point during the speech, Alec's heart had started to hammer, memories he'd repressed starting to flood back in. Had he really done that? Yes, he had, his head on Jace's shoulder, his heart on his sleeve, and of course Jace hadn't forgotten. From the glint in Jace's eyes, he could tell that his best friend knew exactly what was going through his head right now. Alec fought the urge to hide his face in his hands, suddenly all too aware of the audience surrounding them, their expressions ranging from confusion (his co-workers) to utter glee (most of his friends and especially his traitorous sister).

"So. Alec. My bestie. My ride-or-die." Obviously Jace wasn't done yet, so Alec swallowed and steeled himself for the unavoidable. "Will you take this incredibly awesome decoder ring and marry me?"

They were staring at each other unblinkingly, a clear challenge in Jace's eyes, and Alec knew he was just waiting for Alec to fold. Well, that wasn't going to happen. Years of one-upmanship had Alec square his shoulders before clasping his hands in front of his chest and declaring with exaggerated emotion, "Yes! Of course I will." Jace's facade flickered, so Alec doubled down, although it came out more sincerely than he'd intended, "I mean, you obviously need someone to look after your dumb ass, and that's always been my job anyway."

With that, he grabbed the ring from Jace's still-outstretched hand and jammed it on his left pinky, wincing when it jammed, because it was obviously meant for much smaller fingers. Around them people were murmuring, there was even some cheering, as part of their audience apparently decided that this was the kind of proposal Jace and Alec would actually go for. Not that Alec was paying them much heed, his attention still fixed on Jace, who was staring back at him, speechless for a change.

However, the next moment he narrowed his eyes, and Alec realized with a sinking feeling in his stomach that this wasn't over yet. Scrambling to his feet, Jace grabbed his hand, squeezing it so tightly that Alec had to hide a wince, and replied sweetly, "Well, good thing then that you like my ass. And now it'll be yours - forever."

Alec was unable to suppress a blush, but he managed to hold Jace's gaze, using their locked hands to pull him closer until he could wrap his free arm around him, bringing their bodies together. As he lowered his head, Alec saw with satisfaction that Jace's eyes widened, his tongue flicking out nervously. In the background he heard a voice that could only belong to Izzy say, "Well, fucking finally."

Finally? Pulse racing, Alec still expected Jace to cave, right until their lips met.

A shock ran through Alec, and he could feel Jace stiffen against him, his mouth unyielding. Alec was about to move away, laugh it off and pretend it wouldn't be even harder to continue being just friends. Before he could, however, Jace's lips softened, his arms coming up to wrap around Alec's neck as if it was the most natural thing in the world, and then they were actually kissing.

A proper kiss, too, one that left Alec breathless, his tongue sliding against Jace's, his body aware of every inch of Jace pressed against him, down to the bulge he felt growing against his thigh. Blood rushing downwards, heat curled in his stomach, and Alec could easily have continued kissing Jace forever. And from the fervor with which Jace was responding, it seemed he shared Alec's enthusiasm, the thought alone enough to make Alec feel light-headed with the possibility that this might actually be real.

Was it, though? Tearing himself away, Alec stared down at his best friend, taking in how positively, breathtakingly wrecked he looked. He also made no move to step away, a myriad of emotions flickering over his expressive face, and Alec's heart felt as if it would burst with emotion. He'd never wanted anything in his life as much as he wanted Jace, which wasn't new - but for the first time he allowed himself to hope that maybe, possibly, Jace might want him back.

Ignoring the catcalls from the peanut gallery, Alec swallowed and forced himself to ask hoarsely, "Is it?"

"Is what?" Jace replied, voice equally low. His hands had found Alec's collar, sliding under it almost absentmindedly, his palms hot against Alec's skin.

It was rather distracting, and Alec had to clear his throat. "Is your ass mine? For… forever?"

His voice broke at the last word, but any embarrassment he might have felt evaporated immediately, because Jace was raising himself to his tiptoes until they were eye-to-eye. He was smiling, warm and intimate, as if they were all alone in the world. But then Jace had always been better at rolling with the punches than Alec.

"Yes," he whispered, the single word sending shivers down Alec's spine. "I guess I am. Maybe I always have been."

Jace kissed him like a promise, like an oath, and Alec knew he wanted to keep kissing him for the rest of their lives. Still, he broke away, grinning when Jace tried to chase after his lips, and rested their foreheads together. "Well, you've always been slow on the uptake, Herondale. You better get me a real ring, though."

"You've got yourself a deal, Lightwood." This time the cheering around them was deafening, and after a heartbeat of staring at each other, Jace and Alec broke into laughter. Breathless, Alec tightened his hold and swung Jace around, both of them giddy with happiness.

It was definitely the best birthday of Alec's life.

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