Take Me to Church

Author's Note: This one's the fault of the Sergei Polunin documentary "Dancer", because I took one look at him and thought Jace. And then I watched some Matthew Bourne, master of the homoerotic ballet. 🙂

***

"I'm done!" Jace exclaimed dramatically, plopping himself down next to Alec, who looked away from the stage, where Simon and Clary were practicing under Magnus' firm tutelage, to shoot his best friend a discerning glance. He didn't need an explanation, being probably the greatest living expert in the many moods of Jace Wayland, "bad boy of dance", as the press liked to call him. Jace was great at putting up a front, the result of having spent most of his life in the spotlight, first as a child prodigy under Valentine Morgenstern's borderline-abusive hand, then, at the tender age of 10, joining the Lightwood Academy of Dance in New York, away from everything and everyone he knew.

That's where he and Alec had met and bonded, much to everyone's surprise - most of all Jace's, who'd never had a real friend before, isolated by his foster father as well as other children's envy. So now Alec knew better than to accept Jace's facetious tone at face value, instead nudging his best friend's tattooed shoulder, even as he replied in a carefully neutral tone, "I always thought you wanted to go out with a bang."

He could feel the weight of Jace's full attention on him, and as always it made something deep inside of him clench, both basking in and dreading being the focus of that laser-sharp presence. When he looked over, he saw that Jace was regarding him with a fond smile, and much to his chagrin Alec felt himself blush. "What?!" he asked gruffly, hating to be put on the defensive so easily.

However, Jace only smiled more widely, which made Alec immediately highly suspicious, even before he found himself being pulled into a one-armed hug. Only long years of practice stopped him from losing his balance, but he had to suppress a full-body shiver when Jace's breath gusted over his skin as he laughed, "You, my friend, are absolutely right. And that's why you'll help me pull off the most sensational farewell performance Youtube has ever seen!"

"Youtube?" Alec asked weakly, pretty sure he didn't want to hear the rest of this but already half-resigned to the fact that he had a long history of going along with Jace's plans. Admittedly, they were usually pretty good, even if they'd ended up in the tabloids on a few occasions. Alec had no illusions - without Jace constantly pushing the envelope of what it meant to be a ballet dancer, his own career wouldn't have been half as interesting, just like his personal life.

Although maybe Alec wouldn't be perpetually single if it wasn't for his gigantic crush on his oblivious, painfully straight best friend. He'd tried getting over Jace for years, but when even the charming Magnus Bane, choreographer extraordinaire and wonderful human being, couldn't make him stop yearning for something more, he'd pretty much given up. Lucky for him that Magnus had accepted their break-up with a wistful smile and a wry "Oh, Alexander, it's not as if I hadn't known what's up with you and Jace for years. I really should have known better… "

Overall, Alec liked his life - he had his dancing, his family, his friends. Even his relationship with Jace was pretty much great, and he had no doubt in his mind that they'd still be friends long after Jace hung up his dancing shoes. Which was something Jace had been talking about for a long time, and Alec didn't blame him in the least, not after everything he'd gone through. Even if it meant that Alec was going to be roped into one last mad scheme.

So he leaned into Jace's hug and let him explain excitedly, "You know that song, 'Take Me to Church'? I want to do a dance to it and put it online. Izzy has already agreed to film it, and Magnus will help with the choreography."

"Alright, sounds good. But how am I involved?" Alec recognized the glint in Jace's mismatched eyes and braced himself.

However, nothing could have prepared him for Jace's proposal: "You are absolutely essential. Because you'll be dancing with me."

"I… What?!" Alec stared, flabbergasted, and tried to wrap his mind around the words that had just left Jace's mouth with such sincerity. It was obvious he wasn't joking, yet Alec couldn't quite understand the reasoning. It was Jace's last dance, the spotlight should be squarely on him. Maybe shared with a female dancer, but with Alec?

He only realized he'd drawn away when Jace grabbed him by the shoulders. He was smirking, but behind it Alec could see he was utterly serious and… kind of nervous. Still, to the untrained ear he sounded almost bored as he explained, "The song's about being gay, Alec. And I couldn't see myself doing it with anybody else."

"Oh… okay. Sure, I'll do it." Alec managed to nod as if he understood, because in the end he'd always say yes to Jace. However, considering all the roles Jace had danced in his career, he hadn't expected him to have a problem portraying any character, straight or gay, but maybe that was one boundary Jace only felt comfortable crossing with someone he trusted. He chuckled, hoping it didn't seem as feeble as it felt. "Anything for you."

"I knew I could count on you!" Jace began to smile, wide and warm, and Alec found himself being pulled back into a tight embrace. Almost against his will, he felt himself relax, burying his face in the crook of Jace's neck, against one of the tattoos that never failed to drive their long-suffering makeup artists up the wall. This was good, he told himself. He'd get to dance with Jace one last time, even if it was bound to result in days of torturous touching him in ways he'd always dreamed of.

He was right, of course, because neither Jace nor Magnus ever did anything by half-measure, and on more than one occasion during rehearsals it took all of Alec's hard-won self-control to remain professional as they contorted their bodies against each other in a complicated, sensual mimicry of love-making. He got to know Jace's body more intimately than he'd ever have imagined, got to revel in the way it fit so perfectly against his own, all hard muscle and sweat-glistening skin.

Both of them danced shirtless and without concealing Jace's tattoos or Alec's scar, exactly the way they would during filming, and it felt like the most raw and honest performance of Alec's life. It was both frustrating and exhilarating, and sometimes he caught himself staring at Jace, suddenly hurting with the knowledge that this wouldn't last, that in a few days they'd be filming and then it would be over. He had no doubt that this would be the dance he'd be remembered for, that they'd be remembered for, and he couldn't help but be glad to think that his name would forever be linked to Jace's in this way.

Then came the day of filming, which they did in an abandoned Gothic church, because Magnus was a lot of things, but subtle wasn't one of them. They started early in the morning and danced until dusk found them completely exhausted, both physically and mentally drained. Izzy was a wizard with the camera, but Alec somehow knew that even without that, they'd accomplished something great that day. Slumping to the ground, he let out a long groan and stretched his abused body, only to startle when Jace unceremoniously draped himself over his back.

"That was fucking amazing!" he exclaimed, hands coming to rest against Alec's neck and rubbing affectionately, causing him to break out in goosebumps as he leaned back into Jace's chest with a sigh. They'd always been physical with each other, Alec would just have to relearn what touching Jace did, and didn't, mean.

"Yeah, it was," he finally managed, hoping Jace couldn't hear the heaviness in his voice. "No one will forget Jace Wayland, that's for sure." Trying a more light-hearted approach, he teased, "Straight actors get Oscars for playing gay all the time, you know."

He couldn't see Jace, but he felt him stiffen and craned his neck in confusion, unsure what he'd said wrong. Jace's eyes were wide, hurt, but before Alec could ask, he seemed to shake himself, a rueful quirk to his mouth and fondness coloring his voice as he mumbled, more to himself than to Alec, "I should have known it wouldn't be that easy." He continued more loudly, "Honestly, Alec, sometimes your obtuseness is infuriating!"

"I'm… sorry?" Alec half-asked, afraid to consider where Jace was going, even as something very much like hope began to unfurl in his stomach.

Jace was still pressed against him, and now he took Alec's face in both his hands, completely serious despite the smile still dancing in his eyes, which were boring into Alec's shocked ones, and stated, "I'd been kind of hoping our dance would do the talking for me, but apparently I have to spell it out for you: I'm not straight. Because I'm pretty sure I'm in love with you, you stupid, beautiful human being."

With that, he closed the few inches still separating them and swallowed Alec's surprise with a kiss so slow and sweet, it made Alec melt against him with helpless abandon. For a long moment, nothing existed except the feeling of Jace's lips against his, and when they separated Alec could do nothing but blink stupidly before managing to say weakly, "Oh. I… I love you, too."

"No shit." Jace laughed, rolling his eyes with a fondness Alec only now realized had always been reserved just for him. Then he was kissed again, this time more deeply, with a spark he recognized all too well from their dance, and when they broke apart, he was gratified to see that Jace looked rather flushed as well. He also appeared unable to stop grinning. "I am glad, though. I would have hated to come out for the entire world to see only to end up alone, pining after you."

"Like me, you mean?" Alec shot back, softening the blow with a kiss that almost put an end to their conversation as their exhausted bodies began showing an interest in the proceedings.

Jace was the one who pulled away, getting to his feet, but only to offer Alec a hand and pull him into another tight embrace, whispering into his ear, "I'm sorry, Alec. I never wanted to hurt you, I honestly didn't realize until I decided to stop dancing. It… kind of made me reevaluate a lot of things."

"It's alright, it's not your fault." Meaning it with all his heart, Alec allowed himself to cling to Jace, letting go of all his old restraint and inhibitions. They stood like that for a small eternity, until a pointedly cleared throat reminded them that they were still on location, wearing their leggings and sweaty after a hard day's work.

Looking up, Alec met Izzy's amused eyes as she said warmly, "As happy as I am for you guys, we have to clear out." She turned to leave, but added over her shoulder, "By the way, even if this was mostly an elaborate ploy to get my brother into bed, Jace, both of you were brilliant today! Almost a pity that it was the last time…"

"Thanks, Iz!" Jace laughed, flipping her off good-naturedly, but there was something contemplative in his gaze as he stared after her.

Nuzzling him gently, Alec cupped his cheeks in his hands and said quietly, "You don't have to quit, you know."

Blue-and-gold eyes stared up at him, and Jace shook his head in disbelief. "How did you… Wait, don't bother. Of course you know, you're Alec." As if that was explanation enough, he threw both arms around Alec's neck and pulled him into a sloppy, enthusiastic kiss. Laughing, Alec responded in kind, feeling giddy with happiness.

Needless to say, the video went viral. And in the years that followed, Jace Wayland danced many more ground-breaking dances, many of them with Alec.

***

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