Market Day

Author's Note: This one owes everything to Matt and his dream of being a farmer, with shades of the non-Shadowhunter dimension in 1x10 - " This World Inverted". Also, I know nothing about coffee, being a cocoa and tea person myself.

***

"Do you really think they don't sell organic milk in New York?" Isabelle Lightwood regarded her big brother with a familiar mixture of fondness and exasperation as Magnus Bane walked away from them, carrying two gallons of best Lightwood Organic Milk like every week. "When will you put him out of his misery and ask him out?"

"If he's interested, why hasn't he ever said anything?" Alec responded defensively, embarrassed as always when faced with the prospect of anyone possibly liking him. It wasn't that he thought he was repulsive or anything, but he simply didn't consider himself to be particularly interesting. It seemed to him all he ever thought and talked about was cows, llamas and organic certifications. Ever since little Max got accepted to that fancy school for the gifted in California and their parents moved away, Alec had been making sure the farm that had been in their family's possession for four generations survived in the difficult economic climate, no matter how many people told him that he was too young to shoulder such a burden. So the idea that a sophisticated, urbane lawyer from New York would be interested in him…

Alec became aware that Izzy was rolling her eyes at him and lifted an annoyed eyebrow in question. His sister was the smartest person he knew, but sometimes her meddling got a bit too much. He flinched, more out of habit than real pain, when she elbowed him none too gently, snapping, "Because, dear brother, he's been flirting his heart out, without ever getting any encouragement from you in return. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised, considering the only person outside of our family that you pay any attention to is J..."

"Jace is family!" Alec cut her off more sharply than he would have liked, his eyes inexorably drawn across the market to his childhood friend's coffee cart. As it happened, right then Jace looked up and, catching Alec's eyes, waved happily. Helplessly, Alec smiled and waved back, aware he was only proving Izzy's point. Tilting his head, Jace lifted a cup in a wordless invitation, and Alec nodded, quickly looking around to make sure no customer was approaching. Giving his sister an apologetic shrug and ignoring her exasperation, he then made a beeline over to Java Jace, nodding at the other vendors in passing.

Once there, he was greeted by a heavenly smell when Jace immediately pushed a cup at him. "Taste this! I used Italian espresso beans, but it shouldn't be too bitter because I added…"

Jace talked on excitedly, detailing what exactly had gone into his latest concoction, but Alec tuned in him out in favor of taking a careful sip of his drink. Immediately the rich aroma of coffee hit his taste buds, accompanied by a burst of warm spice that had Alec closing his eyes in bliss. "Holy mother of... Jace!" he half-moaned, taking another sip of the heavenly beverage. "What is that? I feel like I should know…"

"As I was just telling you..." Jace responded, mock-exasperated, eyes dancing with fondness when Alec sighed with contentment and drank some more, basking in the flavor. "I added some cardamom seeds to the beans and brewed everything with a stick of cinnamon."

Alec nodded appreciatively, savoring the spices he now easily recognized and how they perfectly complemented the dark aroma of the coffee. If anyone had told him a year ago that he'd become a coffee addict, he would have scoffed, but then Jace, after years of jobbing as a barista, had opened his own cart and seemingly made it his mission to find the perfect blend for Alec. He also refused to accept any money for the endless cups of coffee, explaining that Alec was serving as his guinea pig: Any drink that got him to make "those sex noises", as Jace called them with a teasing twinkle in his eyes, visibly enjoying Alec's mortification, landed on the menu, either permanently or as daily specials.

"Did I see that lawyer walk away just now?" Jace's voice broke into Alec's blissful reverie, and Alec was grateful that he'd foregone shaving that morning, because hopefully his stubble was helping to hide his blush.

Fighting to keep his voice bland, he replied, "Magnus? Yeah, he came to pick up his milk for this week. He also said he liked Clary's latest dye job - you know, the purple and blue - and might buy some of the wool next week."

Alec squirmed under the weight of Jace's smirk, as always fighting to suppress the wistful voice in his head that wished his best friend's interest in his love life were more… personal. As it was, he almost missed Jace's drawled comment: "You do know that he's lactose-intolerant, right?"

"I… what?!" Alec's head shot up, and he stared at Jace in confusion. That simply didn't make sense, considering Magnus came to the market once a week without fail, always buying two gallons of Alec's best whole milk.

"Magnus, or whatever his name is." Jace was grinning widely now. "He told me when he bought coffee here last time."

Flabbergasted, Alec mentally calculated how many weeks the lawyer had been stopping by, driving the 45 minutes from the city to buy milk he didn't drink. Pleasure spreading warmly through his body, Alec began to smile helplessly.

***

End Note: Seriously, I don't even know… The Jalec simply didn't want to happen. 🙂

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