Once Upon a Honeymoon

This entry is part 27 of 39 in the series Shadowhunter AUs

Author's Note: Just a fluffy pinch hit for the Jalec Secret Santa. Hope you like it, Nanda! 🙂

Inspired by your wish for a friends-to-lovers and fake boyfriend au, as well as this prompt.

***

“I can’t believe you almost got married!” Jace wasn’t surprised at all to find Alec up on the roof of the Lightwood’s apartment building. That’s where both of them came to hide out, so when his oldest friend disappeared in the wake of his disastrous almost-wedding Jace knew exactly where to find him. He was sitting on the ledge, long legs dangling over the street below, and Jace sat down next to him. He pulled him a little further back, just for his peace of mind, and elbowed him gently. “You could have said something before, like when I asked you last night, you know that, right?”

Alec was wearing his wedding suit and a sheepish expression, and he was avoiding Jace’s eyes, preferring to stare at his hands as if he could see the ring that had almost graced his ring finger forever. Finally he replied in a subdued tone, “Yeah, I know. I’m not sure how it all go so out of hand. Lydia deserved better.”

That’s what you’re thinking of - Lydia, not your big coming out? By the way, are you and Magnus a thing now?” Despite his best efforts Jace’s voice betrayed the annoyance that welled up in him whenever he thought of the urbane lawyer who had pursued Alec so single-mindedly from the moment they met. He couldn’t help it, though, as far as he was concerned Alec had been fine, they had been fine until Magnus Bane came into their life.

Jace firmly squashed the small voice in the back of his head that whispered that Alec had in fact been far from fine, hiding a part of himself for fear of what his parents and people in general would say. Alec had always borne the brunt of the expectations that came with being a Lightwood, heir to one of the oldest political families in New York.

Jace suppressed a snort of ill-timed laughter, remembering the look on Maryse and Robert’s faces when their son chose his wedding, a big society event Izzy had carefully planned for her brother in spite of her obvious misgivings, to burst out of the closet in a big show. Alec never did things by half once he’d put his mind to them, and kissing Magnus Bane in front of everyone certainly qualified. This reminded Jace that Alec still hadn’t answered his question, lost in his own head, and he impulsively pulled him into a one-armed embrace. After a second’s hesitation Alec sacked against his side, at least some of that pent-up tension leaving him in a big sigh.

“I.. don’t know. I mean, I barely know him.” Alec’s cheek were burning red, and he wasn’t meeting Jace’s eyes, but at least he was talking, and Jace gave him an encouraging squeeze. “It all just came together... I was standing there at the altar, next to Lydia looking so beautiful and happy in her wedding gown, and when you handed me the ring I knew was that I’d made a horrible mistake. Only I had no idea how to get out of it, and then the church door opened and he came in, like something out of a movie, and suddenly I knew what I had to do. Even if it means that mom and dad will disown me now.”

“Hey, no,” Jace interjected quickly. “They were shocked, yes, but they’re not bigots, they won’t hate you for being gay.”

Alec laughed joylessly. “Oh, no, not the gay thing, it’s the scandal they won’t forgive me for. I embarrassed them in front of all those important people, some of whom doubtlessly took pictures that they will happily leak to the press.”

That was a fair assumption, Jace knew, but nevertheless he replied reassuringly, “It’s just today’s headline, they’ll get excited over something else tomorrow. Just… lie low for a bit, and it’ll pass, you’ll see.” Alec was looking so dejected, Jace desperately cast around for something to lighten his mood. “I know - you should go on your honeymoon! You’ve already booked the cruise, it’d be a pity to let it go to waste.”

“Go on a honeymoon cruise by myself, are you serious?” Alec gave him a pointed look, the one reserved for Jace’s more outlandish plans.

But Jace was getting excited and waved him off airily. “You don’t have to go by yourself. Actually, it’d be better if you take someone, no one will suspect that you were supposed to take another person, and it’d throw off any nosy journalists.” He paused, wondering for the first time since he could remember if he was crossing a line but quickly shrugged it off. This was Alec, whose parents had basically raised him, and Jace only had his best interests at heart, so he added, “It can’t be Magnus, though, he’s too… obvious, especially once the tabloids post those pictures of your kiss.”

Tilting his head, Alec looked at him consideringly, and Jace felt strangely as if he’d been caught doing something illicit, before his friend huffed a small laugh. “Just admit it, Jace - you just want to go on my honeymoon with me.”

***

Which was how Jace ended up on a plane to Florida the next day, a disgruntled Alec in tow. After grabbing some clothes Alec had spent the night at Jace’s, hiding from his family as well as the paparazzi, which turned out to have been a good idea because the cover photo of the local scandal rag was a close-up of Alec kissing the living daylights out of Magnus Bane.

“At least it’s below the fold - and I must say, it looks hot!” Sprawled in his first-class seat Jace couldn’t stop looking at the image, although he knew it was driving Alec crazy. Jace had been there when it happened, but he’d been too shocked to properly appreciate the sight of his best friend hauling Magnus Bane close and planting one on him. The image caught it all - the contrast of Alec in his white wedding jacket, Magnus darker-skinned and dressed in shimmery black, the curl of Alec’s finger in Magnus’ collar, the way his mouth slanted perfectly over the shorter man’s lips, both their eyes closed as if they were alone in the moment. Tilting his head consideringly, Jace wondered out loud, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you kiss anyone, like, ever. But you sure look like you know what you’re doing… Have you been holding out on me?”

The moment the words left his mouth, he cringed, and the look Alec gave him was suitably unimpressed. “Not everyone enjoys casual sex, Jace.” Alec’s eyes slid away from him, face darkening although he kept his voice carefully even. “And I didn’t exactly have a nice boy to bring home to mom and dad.”

“I know, and I’m sorry.” Impulsively, Jace covered Alec’s hand on the armrest between them with his own. “I’ll stop bringing it up. I just feel so horrible because you didn’t feel that you could come to me with this.”

Alec was still staring sightlessly out the window at the sun-drenched clouds below them, and his hand twitched as if he was about to pull away, but Jace didn’t let him, tightening his hold. Finally, Alec sighed and turned his palm up, interlacing their fingers and squeezing lightly. “It wasn’t your fault, Jace. It was just… not something I was comfortable talking about. With anyone. Although Izzy knew.”

Jace felt as if a burden had lifted, and he chuckled, “Well yeah, but she’s Izzy.” Sobering, he squeezed Alec’s hand and added, “No more secrets from now on, though, alright?”

Alec’s face was unreadable, and for a moment Jace wondered what he was thinking, but then he narrowed his eyes and gave him a small smile, nodding. “Alright. But only if you stop mentioning the wedding, the kiss and Magnus.”

They looked at each other, hands still interlocked, and for some reason Jace felt his skin beginning to tingle as he found himself unable to look away from Alec’s eyes, which seemed more green than normal in the sunlight streaming in from the window. Before either one of them found any words to break the strange tension, they were interrupted by the flight attendant, a middle-aged woman with a bright smile. “Would you like some champagne?”

They both jumped, and she apologized, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.” Lowering her voice she added conspiratorially, “My son and his husband are the same. We like to tease that they wouldn’t notice fireworks going off next to them. Are you going on vacation?”

Alec opened his mouth, probably to protest the woman’s assumption, but Jace was faster, giving Alec a sugary smile that made his friend visibly grind his teeth. “Honeymoon, actually.”

The flight attendant almost melted, gushing over them like a well-meaning aunt, and Jace struggled to keep from bursting into laughter, while Alec was glowering at them both, although he did manage a barely polite smile in response to the congratulations. A part of Jace was beginning to feel just a tiny bit guilty, but not enough to relinquish his hold on Alec’s hand, which doubtlessly had been what led the woman to jump to her mistaken conclusion.

The moment she turned away, however, Alec reclaimed his hand decisively, hissing, “What the hell, Jace?”

“Aw, c’mon, I’m just practising,” Jace protested guilelessly, almost reaching out to pat Alec’s cheek but checking himself at the last minute. Alec seemed genuinely upset, which confused Jace, because Alec usually quite enjoyed playing the straight man to Jace’s outrageousness.

Then Alec seemed to catch himself, raising his eyebrow with his familiar expression of fond exasperation. “You were actually serious about pretending to be husbands to throw people off the scent.”

“Well, yeah.” Jace shrugged, donning his best bullshitting smile because suddenly he wasn’t 100% sure of his reasoning anymore. “Two friends on a honeymoon, people would get curious. So consider this my not-wedding present to you.”

“Alright, if you say so…” Alec didn’t look completely convinced, but appeared willing to go along with it for the time being if his half-smirk was any indication. “But you’re the one who gets to sleep on the couch.”

***

They reached the luxury cruise liner that would take them around the Caribbean without further incidents, if you didn’t count the flush of warmth that unaccountably spread through Jace when the stewart addressed him embarrassedly, “Mr. Lightwood, please accept our sincere apologies, we were under the impression that… well, that you were a woman.”

Out of the corner of his eye Jace could see Alec hold back a laugh and a million snarky comebacks sprang to his mind, but the stewart was so apologetic, in the end Jace settled on a polite smile and accepted the man’s assurance that they would of course change all documentation from ‘Mrs.’ to ‘Mr.’ immediately. “Please, believe me when I say that Star Cruises couldn’t be happier you chose us for your honeymoon. Our company follows strict equal rights policies, and no discrimination of any kind will be tolerated.”

The stewart was so busy bending over backwards to make up for an error that he was entirely innocent of, Alec barely managed to usher him out of their room. They’d been upgraded as an apology, and the moment the door closed, Jace began rummaging around the luxurious stateroom like an excited kid, while Alec quickly and efficiently unpacked both their bags. “I’ll put your stuff with mine, so the cleaning staff won’t be suspicious,” he explained, obviously resigned to their subterfuge now. “We’ll have to remember to put the couch back every morning. After all of this, it simply wouldn’t do for them to find out the truth.”

Jace’s laughter brought him into the bathroom, where Jace showed him the discrete gift basket he’d found there. At the sight of various sizes of condoms, flavored lubes, gag handcuffs and even a chic stainless steel vibrator, Alec flushed so bright, it made Jace wonder how far down it went. He immediately checked himself, blaming his reaction squarely on the sex paraphernalia in his hand. Putting the stuff down, he cleared his throat and teased, “Aww, it’s so nice of them to provide us with everything we might need in our wedding night! But seriously, from your reaction one would think you’d never had sex…”

Still blushing, Alec’s eyes darkened in a sudden burst of such pained anger Jace involuntarily took a step back. Was it possible… He asked in a small voice, “Shit, Alec, did I just put my foot in it again? Have you had… I mean, at least with a woman?”

Somewhat placated by Jace’s obvious dismay, Alec avoided his eyes as he bitterly repeated his statement from the other day, “Not everyone is interested in casual sex, Jace.” His voice softened, but Jace could see the way he clenched his fists, nails probably digging painfully into his palms. “I just never… and certainly not a girl. Lydia understood, I think, and she was okay with it, although we would have been expected to have children at some point.”

Oh. For the second time in 24 hours Jace felt as if he didn’t know his best friend at all. What else had Alec felt the need to hide? Impulsively he reached out and pulled Alec into a hug. At first the taller man remained stiff, unresponsive, but then he practically melted against Jace, and they just stood there for a long moment, neither one of them feeling the need to talk or slap each other’s backs in a manly fashion. It felt… good, right, and Jace was almost disappointed when Alec stepped back. Still, he managed a smile and said lightly, “Well, whatever makes you happy. And now, let’s go up, the ship’s about to leave.”

***

The rest of the evening passed in a more relaxed fashion. They watched Miami harbor retreat into the distance from one of the upper decks, followed by an excellent dinner in one of the many restaurants, chatting companionably about the itinerary and the activities they could try. The ship even had an archery range, which made Alec’s eyes shine with excitement and Jace tease him fondly about that time when they were kids, when Alec hadn’t wanted to play anything except Hawkeye and the Avengers for three months straight.

“Well, if I remember correctly you and Izzy had plenty of fun pretending to be Captain America and Black Widow,” Alec responded, grinning widely. “I’ll never forget all the windows you broke trying to get that frisbee to return to you!”

“What do you mean I tried? I succeeded at least half of the time!” Jace pretended to be offended, then added with a smile, “Really, though, with me being Steve, you should have been Bucky, my faithful sidekick.”

“Sidekick?” Alec protested. “I’m not your sidekick, thank you very much! And I’ll take a bow over a sniper rifle any day.”

“See, Bucky always said he wasn’t a sidekick either,” Jace laughed, only to wince when Alec kicked him under the table. He kicked back, and soon they were both laughing hysterically, their surroundings forgotten.

“Childhood sweethearts?” A friendly voice brought them back to earth, and they faced the older couple at the next table. The woman with friendly gray-blue eyes was smiling maternally at them, and Jace remembered with a sudden start that they were supposed to be on their honeymoon.

Schooling his face into what he hoped was a suitably sappy expression and took Alec’s hand. “Yes, we grew up together. Best friends through thick and thin.”

“So when did you fall in love, if you don’t mind my asking?” the woman asked curiously, and Jace and Alec exchanged a quick glance. They really should have made up a suitable backstory, Jace thought, only to be surprised by Alec turning his palm upwards and entangling their fingers.

“Well, for me it was early. I can barely remember a time when I wasn’t in love with him,” Alec declared simply. His hazel eyes rested on Jace with such emotion, Jace wasn’t surprised at all that the couple seemed to melt. Jace himself felt rather warm under the collar, and he had to remind himself that it was just an act.

Clearing his throat, he managed to say, “It took me a bit longer.” Once he’d started, however, the words seemed to tumble out of his mouth easily. “I’d been raised to consider love weakness, you see, so I had problems letting myself see how much Alec really means to me. And then he started seeing someone else, probably tired of waiting for me to get a clue, and I simply knew.”

Pausing, Jace met Alec’s eyes, which were wide with surprise, obviously not having expected Jace to go into quite so much detail. Still, Jace couldn’t stop himself from adding, “I knew I couldn’t lose him, that he means everything to me.. Plus, just look at him!”

His smirk felt strangely forced, which luckily no one else seemed to notice. The couple was practically cooing, and Alec had dropped his gaze to the table, ears red. He’d never been able to take a compliment, something that never failed to boggle Jace’s mind, considering how hot Alec was.

“It’s just so wonderful to see young love,” the smiling woman interrupted the weirdly charged atmosphere. “My husband, Jem, and I also knew each other when we were young, but we took some detours along the way before finding each other again. I’m Tessa, by the way.”

Since Alec appeared lost in thought, Jace made the appropriate small talk responses, trying not to notice that Alec had snatched his hand back. The rest of the dinner most of his attention was taken up listening to the rather fascinating tale of Tessa and Jem’s disrupted courtship and eventual marriage, and Jace found himself feeling almost wistful in light of their obvious love and devotion to one another.

He’d never even considered marriage for himself, unable to see himself sharing his life with anyone in that manner. Shooting Alec a quick glance, he realized that all he knew for certain when he imagined his old age was that Alec, and the rest of the Lightwoods, would still be in his life.

Right then Alec made a small sound, and for a startled second Jace wondered whether he’d read his mind, only to realize that it was a reaction to Jace apparently having absentmindedly agreed for them to accompany Tessa and Jem in the ballroom. Catching Alec’s eye, Jace mouthed, “Sorry.”

Alec shrugged with a quirk of his mouth, letting Jace know that he was forgiven. Still, when they got up, he rested his hand on the small of Jace’s back, using their proximity to whisper, “Dancing, Jace, really? You are aware that they’ll insist we dance together, and neither one of us knows how to follow.”

Looking up at Alec with a laugh, Jace patted his cheek patronisingly. “That’s what you’re worried about? Just… lead and I’ll do the rest.”

“Does that mean you’re the woman in this relationship?” Alec teased, his hand still lying warmly right above the curve of Jace’s butt as they followed their new friends.

Jace elbowed Alec in mock-outrage. “Alec Lightwood, hand in your gay card immediately! We don't conform to heteronormative standards around here.”

“Aww, are you feeling threatened in your masculinity, Mr. Lightwood?” Alec rolled his eyes at him, and they bickered companionably back and forth until they reached the ballroom. It was almost like always, except that Jace kept leaning into Alec, ostensibly so no one could hear, but mostly because he couldn’t help but enjoy Alec’s nearness.

He always had, from the first time he’d let a 12-year-old Alec Lightwood stroke his back when he woke from another nightmare of the man he’d thought was his father dying. Being held by Alec meant comfort, meant home, and Jace didn’t hesitate to follow Tessa and Jem onto the dancefloor, resting one arm on Alec’s shoulder and using his free hand to move Alec’s arm around his waist.

After a moment’s hesitation Alec complied, wrapping Jace in his arms. His face was dark, however, and Jace poked him gently, inquiring, “You okay? We don’t have to do this, we can always tell them we’d rather go back to our cabin.” He waggled his eyebrows exaggeratedly. “They do think we’re on our honeymoon, after all.”

Alec shook his head mutely, and instead of taking Jace up on the offered out, he actually tightened his hold on Jace. Shrugging, Jace went along with it, his head fitting perfectly into the crook of Alec’s neck as they began to sway to the slow song that was playing. He’d never felt this comfortable dancing so intimately with anyone before, and he wondered whether this was what girls felt when he held them, only to discard the idea. It wasn’t the position, it was that it was Alec, who he’d always felt more comfortable with than with anyone, girl or boy. Next to them Jem, dancing with his wife as if they were on their honeymoon as well, was smiling at them fondly, and Jace smiled back before closing his eyes.

When the song transitioned into a faster one, Alec stopped moving, and Jace opened his eyes again reluctantly, feeling as if he waking from a lovely dream. Alec was regarding him with an inscrutable look in his eyes, and under its weight the relaxation Jace had felt disappeared, even before Alec asked in a low, conflicted voice, “Jace, what are we doing?”

“What do you mean?” Jace asked, but Alec tightened his jaw and he knew that he wouldn’t let him dissemble. Sighing, he decided on raw honesty, although it came out sounding almost timid: “Honestly, I don’t know. But it feels right, doesn’t it?”

He looked up at Alec hopefully, unsure what reaction exactly he was hoping for, only knowing that Alec still hadn’t let go of him - and that he didn’t want him to. They were so close together, he could feel Alec taking a steadying breath before replying hoarsely, “It does.” Obviously seeing the relief that flashed through Jace, he shook his head quickly. “But I can’t do this, Jace.”

“Why?” Jace asked, carding his fingers through the hair at the back of Alec’s neck. “You can’t think that it’d ruin our friendship. We’re too strong for that.”

Alec’s eyes were wide, vulnerable, and his body was tense like a bowstring. “Of course we’d always be friends, but I can’t be a notch on your bedpost. I… I couldn’t bear it.”

Oh. Jace realized he was staring, mouth open. Then, without thinking, he pushed himself up and let his lips collide with Alec’s. A huff of surprise escaped the taller man, before he began to respond, kissing Jace with such urgency, Jace’s knees buckled under the onslaught. He clung to Alec and gave back as good as he got, feeling passion surge through him, his skin tingling at every point their bodies touched.

The next moment Alec tore himself away, looking at Jace with such betrayal it felt like an icy shower. “Why -- why would you do that? I told you, I can’t…”

With that he whirled around and disappeared into the crowd, leaving Jace standing there, feeling cold and small and wondering what the hell had just happened. A tap on the shoulder made him flinch, and he barely managed to school his features as he faced Tessa’s worried curiosity.

“Go after him,” she urged him, eyes disconcertingly acute. “He’s like Jem, he has trouble believing that he’s worth it.”

Worth it? Jace shook off his stupor, flashing the well-meaning woman a quick smile before running off. Of course Alec was worth it.

***

Propelled by a sense of urgency, Jace practically raced to their cabin, only to deflate when he found it empty. The ship was huge, he wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to find Alec if he didn’t want to be found. Still, he couldn’t give up, and he followed his gut feeling up to the top deck, figuring it was the next best thing to their rooftop hideout back in Brooklyn.

His instincts were rewarded by the sight of Alec leaning over the railing. For a heart-stopping second Jace was convinced Alec was about to jump, only to realize he was being overly melodramatic. Still, he didn’t want to startle Alec, so he approached him on soft feet, only clearing his throat when he was almost next to him and softly saying is name.

“What do you want, Jace?” Alec asked, sounding tired. Stepping up to the railing, Jace nudged him gently with his shoulder until he turned his head to face him. Above them an almost full moon shone brightly, and thousands of stars glittered, allowing Jace to see the sadness creasing Alec’s handsome features.

“I thought that was rather obvious.” Reaching out, Jace covered Alec’s hand with his own. “I want you.”

“And I told you that I’m not going to be another hook-up. I didn’t even know you weren’t straight,” Alec said, annoyance creeping into his voice. “If you think I want my first time to be your gay experiment, you obviously don’t know me at all.”

Flushing guiltily without quite knowing why, Jace averted his eyes, staring at the vast expanse of the ocean surrounding them, waves cresting white in the ship’s wake. Despite his earlier conviction that he knew what Alec needed to hear, now the words were stuck in Jace’s throat. He was suddenly afraid; afraid that he’d horribly misread the situation, his own feelings, that he’d wake up and feel the way he always did after his hook-ups. He couldn’t bear the thought of hurting Alec like this.

Beside him, Alec obviously took his silence for an answer, stiffening before moving to take his hand away. This stirred Jace into action, and he tightened his grip on Alec’s hand, although he still couldn’t make himself look at him as he half-whispered, “You could never be an experiment, Alec. I… You know better than anyone how fucked up I am.” Taking a deep breath, he forced himself to meet Alec’s eyes and quickly continued, “So, I can’t give you any guarantees, and I will probably mess up horribly at least a few times, but I’d like to give this, us, a chance.”

At some point during his little speech Alec’s face softened into a smile of such tenderness, it made a spot under Jace’s ribcage contract painfully. If this was what love felt like, no wonder his foster-father had warned him about it.

“You love me?” Alec asked, laying two fingers under Jace’s chin and forcing him to meet his awed gaze.

Jace flushed, realizing he must have spoken aloud. Still, there was no use backing away now, so he squared his shoulders and said defiantly, “Yes, of course. I’ve always loved you, I just didn’t know how.”

Alec’s soft laugh felt like a caress, as did the slide of his fingertips along Jace’s jaw, until Alec was cradling Jace’s head with his hand. Then their lips met, Alec’s tongue slipping deeply inside Jace’s mouth as he explored him with great care, as if Jace was made of glass and Alec was afraid to shatter him. Sighing into the kiss, Jace slid his arms around Alec’s back and held him tightly. When they broke apart to draw breath, Jace saw his own happiness reflected on Alec’s face, dispelling the last of his fears.

”I assume this means that you love me, too?” he teased, backing Alec against the railing.

Alec cuffed him gently on the ear with a grin, but his eyes were warm and serious as he replied, “The story I told Tessa and Jem at dinner, about how I fell in love with you? That was completely true.”

“And you know what?” Jace laughed giddily, stretching to catch Alec in another kiss. “So was mine.”

They kissed for another long moment, slow and sweet and without urgency, simply savoring each other because they could. In the end it was Alec who drew away to ask with a smirk, “How about you show me what to do with all those honeymoon supplies in our cabin?”

Heat curled deep in Jace’s stomach, and he licked his lips. “I haven’t exactly done this either. So, how about we find out together?”

“Sounds good.” Alec held his gaze, eyes burning, and Jace shivered in anticipation. This honeymoon was shaping up to be better than he could have imagined.

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