Thanks for the Memories

Author's Note: I'm making my way through ALL the tropes! This is my amnesia fic. 🙂 Title courtesy of Fall Out Boy.

***

He woke up in a strange room, finding a tall, dark-haired guy sprawled in a chair next to the bed, half-asleep at an uncomfortable-looking angle. The smile that spread on his face felt like muscle memory, as did the teasing tone in his voice when he asked, “Wouldn’t you be more comfortable in the bed instead of next to it?”

He patted the mattress invitingly, grinning as the guy, who seemed to be about his age, blinked at him sleepily from pretty hazel eyes. Then he appeared to process the words that had woken him, and an endearing flush colored his cheeks. “I… umm… what?!” Gathering himself, although he was still blushing, he added more coherently, “Jace, we’re not a couple.”

The name felt familiar, like an old, comfortable sweater, and he, Jace nodded, easily accepting it as his. He vaguely wondered why the realization that he hadn’t known his own name didn’t bother him more, but the answer was right there in front of him, in the form of tall-dark-and-handsome, who was regarding him with a slightly worried frown on his face. Following an impulse, Jace reached out and laid a hand on the arm closest to the bed, smiling cheekily in an attempt to erase those lines. “Are you sure? Because all evidence points to the contrary, as far as I’m concerned.”

“Evidence?” His strategy had worked, curiosity replacing concern.

“Well, there’s obviously something wrong with me, because I can’t remember a thing. However, I’m not in hospital, so it can’t be anything new.” This got him another frown, this one sadder and all the confirmation he needed. “And yet, here you are, sleeping on a damn chair because you don’t want me to wake up alone. I mean, you could be family, but I hope in that case my first impulse at seeing you wouldn’t be to want you in my bed.” He grinned, enjoying the return of the blush, then added more seriously, “I might not know much, but for some reason I trust you, completely.” Prodding the other man teasingly with his index finger, he finished his monologue with a flourish, “So how about you tell me your name, so I can stop calling you tall-dark-and-handsome in my head…”

Tall-dark-and-handsome’s lips twitched, and Jace found himself wondering what a real smile would look like. It’d be lethal, he was sure, but his wandering thoughts were reined in sharply when he finally answered, “Alec. I’m Alec. And you trust me because we’re… closer than family, than blood.” This made Jace perk up, but tall-dark-and-Alec cut him off before he could say anything, obviously reading his mind. “Not lovers either. Many would say our bond is even closer. We’re parabatai.”

In explanation he lifted his black sweater, baring a stretch of muscled stomach, a trail of dark hair disappearing into his equally black jeans, and at any other time Jace would have very much appreciated the view. As it was, however, his eyes were drawn to the black lines of what didn’t quite look like a tattoo but which Jace felt with utmost certainty was just as permanent as one. He’d of course noticed the markings on Alec’s neck and forearms before, but this one felt… different. Significant.

Without thinking about it, Jace lifted his own shirt and saw similar marks scattered on his skin - and the twin to Alec’s in the same spot. He followed its lines with a finger, then looked up to meet Alec’s eyes, finding them dark and filled with a warmth that made him shiver pleasantly. Clearing his throat he inquired, “So we got these together? What are they?”

“Yes, when we were teenagers - you were 15 and I was 16. They’re runes, and we put them on each other as part of a ritual that bound our souls together.” Once again he forestalled Jace’s interruption, “You said you trust me. Just… hear me out?”

“Okay.” Jace nodded easily, realizing he would believe whatever Alec told him - because if there were such things as soul bonds and magic runes, this would be the person he bound himself to.

Still, hearing that they were some sort of part-angel demon hunters was a lot to swallow. It helped that Alec seemed to know exactly how to break the news. It sounded… almost rehearsed, and after hearing him out, Jace came to a conclusion that left his voice shaky as he asked, “This isn’t the first time you’ve told me all of this, is it?”

The stricken look on Alec’s face told him that he’d hit on the truth, but the other man was kind enough not to sugarcoat things, replying sadly, “No, it’s not. You got caught between two feuding warlocks, and when you woke up, you were like this, without any memories.” He paused, eyes glistening. “That was 11 days ago. You just… forget, every time you fall asleep.”

Jace bit back a gasp, the enormity of the situation almost overwhelming, and for a moment he couldn’t bear to look at the sadness in Alec’s eyes, his heart contracting painfully. It was accompanied by a strange echoing sensation, and Jace realized with a start that the feeling was coming from Alec. Was that another… parabatai thing? It pulled him out of the hole of despair he’d been threatening to slide into, and he managed to tease weakly, “And I bet you’ve been camped out in that chair ever since, babysitting my amnesiac ass.”

“I can’t believe you’ve forgotten me but you remember the word ‘amnesiac’.” Alec’s chuckle was a bit wobbly, but his smile was real, and Jace clung to it like a lifeline. Just then his stomach grumbled, and some of the tension evaporated in slightly hysterical chuckles from both of them. Once they had recovered, Alec stood up and suggested, “Do you want to go grab some food? Only if you’re up to facing a bunch of people you don’t know giving you worried looks and asking how you’re doing, though. If not, I can just bring you something from the kitchen.”

“A whole bunch of worried people, huh? I’m not surprised, I suspect I’m a very popular guy.” Jace smirked, gesturing exaggeratedly over his body, just for the pleasure of seeing Alec smile again. He obviously needed it, if the dark circles around his eyes were anything to go by, probably the result of spending - how long? - eleven days looking after someone who didn’t remember him or their relationship. Something inside Jace melted a little, and he suspected his face betrayed the rush of warmth he felt looking at Alec. He covered by stating firmly, “I’ll come along if you promise that you’ll eat something, too.”

Alec agreed willingly enough, and Jace go up to follow him out the room, absentmindedly registering that, whatever was wrong with his mind, his body seemed in good shape. As was Alec’s, he couldn’t help but notice once again, his eyes traveling down the taller man’s broad back and lingering over the way his jeans were perfectly hugging a rather grabbable butt. Shaking his head ruefully, Jace redirected his attention to the unfamiliar corridors of what appeared to be a grand old building - the Institute, Alec had called it.

Yeah, no matter what his parabatai said, Jace wasn’t sure he bought his assurance that their relationship was strictly platonic. The more time he spent with Alec, the less Jace could imagine that there was any version of him who didn’t want to be near this man in every way possible. However, he was distracted from his musings when they were approached by two young women.

Both were strikingly beautiful, although for some reason Jace got only family vibes from the dark-haired one, unlike the redhead, who Jace almost automatically gave an appreciative once-over that made her blush quite prettily. Out of the corner of his eyes he noticed Alec rolling his eyes, but his tone was even when he said, “Jace, these are Clary and our sister Isabelle.”

At this, the girls’ faces fell, having obviously hoped for Jace to have recovered his memories. Still, Isabelle managed a warm smile. “It’s nice to see you, Jace. Hopefully Alec’s been filling you in.”

“Oh yes, Alec’s been taking very good care of me,” Jace replied, grinning up at Alec. “Apparently that’s part of this whole parabatai deal - I gotta say, I’m a fan.”

“All part of the service.” Alec’s voice was dry, but his lips twitched, visibly trying to hide a pleased smile, and once again Jace felt warmth spread through him. Leading them towards what appeared to be a mess hall, hand resting lightly against the small of Jace’s back, he leaned down to explain in a whisper, “You were raised with Izzy and me, and you used to date Clary.”

“Used to, huh?” Jace asked absently, distracted by Alec’s proximity. There was no time for an extended explanation in any case, and the four of them sat down to lunch. Conversation flowed easily as the girls filled them in on their latest efforts to track down a cure for Jace’s condition. Every now and then other Shadowhunters stopped by their table to inquire after Jace, but he was grateful when Alec fended them off, unsure how to deal with people who so clearly knew more about himself than he did.

Clary was the one he was most uncomfortable with, however, because she quite obviously still had feelings for him while he had no idea what kind of couple they’d been or why they’d broken up. He certainly didn’t share any of the easy familiarity with her that he did with Alec - nor did he feel the same type of deep-seated attraction, although she was definitely very attractive. She also seemed as uncertain how to behave as Jace did, which he found endearing, right until she made Alec squirm by stating innocently, “We’ve been to see Magnus again about the spell, and he’s still asking after you, Alec. I’m sure if the two of you would just talk about everything…”

“Thanks, Clary,” Alec cut her off, visibly uncomfortable, “but there’s nothing left to be said. And I’m needed here.”

There was tension in every line of his body, and Jace impulsively reached out and patted him on the back. He had no idea who this Magnus was, and he really didn’t want Alec to leave him, but he felt it necessary to say quietly, “If you need to go, I understand. You can’t put your entire life on hold for me.”

“Wouldn’t be the first time.” Isabelle’s reaction was met with a glare and a hiss of “Izzy!” from her older brother, both of which she shrugged off with an unrepentant smile.

Alec turned to Jace, eyes unreadable as he said matter-of-factly, “I’m exactly where I need to be. You’d do the same for me - Angel, you have done the same for me.”

“I… thanks, Alec,” Jace managed, caught by Alec’s gaze and overwhelmed by this show of devotion.

He only realized his hand was still resting on Alec’s shoulder when Izzy broke the tension with a laugh that spoke of deep fondness and shared history. “Just accept it, Jace. The two of you have saved each other’s lives too many times to count. Consider it another parabatai perk.”

They finished their dinner without further mention of Magnus or of Jace’s condition, and after the girls left to hunt down another lead, Alec asked whether Jace wanted to train or go for a walk. There was no way Jace was missing the chance to see what kind of training demon hunters did, and Alec chuckled, because apparently Jace always said that. It made Jace wonder how similar their days had been, and whether he always had to suppress the urge to stare hungrily at Alec while he changed into exercise gear.

Jace himself was already wearing tracksuit pants and a t-shirt, so he fixed his eyes onto the floor and tried to forget the sight of pale, rune-covered skin with wiry dark hair, stretched over an expanse of strong muscle. At least Alec had been wearing boxers, while Jace discovered that he himself apparently liked to go commando when he had to reach down and adjust himself surreptitiously.

In the training room, Alec tossed a staff at him without even glancing in his direction, and much to his own surprise Jace caught it easily, twirling it around without stopping to think. Smiling over his shoulder, Alec explained simply, “Muscle memory.”

Picking up a staff of his own, he joined Jace on the floor, and soon they were engaged in a heated battle, staffs a flurry of motion. It felt strange, to be able to fight so well, his body seemingly able to predict Alec’s every move, but also exhilarating. He’d been a fish out of water ever since waking up, and finally something made sense, and Jace lost himself in the rhythm. Sparring with Alec was almost like a dance, something they did together rather than against each other.

The bout ended in a stalemate, Jace’s staff at Alec’s throat, Alec’s pressing into Jace’s side, and for a moment they faced off, both breathing hard, standing so close Jace could feel the heat rising from Alec’s sweat-flushed body. It took all his self-control not to close the few inches separating their faces - instead he grinned, lighthearted and giddy, before twisting away, kicking Alec’s legs out from under him.

Alec went down with a surprised grunt but managed to catch himself with unexpected grace from someone his size, and the next moment Jace was swept off his feet and joined his parabatai on the floor. The staffs clattered to the ground, forgotten, as they began to grapple, both of them panting from the effort and from barely suppressed laughter.

Once again they were evenly matched, but when Alec twisted around so he was pressing Jace into the ground from behind, Jace’s thoughts stuttered, his entire focus suddenly derailed by the sensation of Alec’s body covering his, his hips pushing against Jace’s butt in a way that was way too suggestive for Jace’s peace of mind. Alec’s hands, large and capable, were wrapped around his wrists, but even without this Jace found himself completely immobilized. He’d been aware of an undercurrent of arousal ever since they started this - now it burst into the foreground, making him feel as if a flame had been lit.

Squeezing his eyes shut, he barely managed to suppress a groan, but he knew there was no way Alec had missed the fact that he’d frozen, and for an endless moment they remained like this, locked together. Then Alec scrambled away, but not before Jace had felt the tell-tale line of a hardening cock against his ass.

Biting his lip, Jace slowly turned around, ordering his own unruly dick to behave, which proved difficult when he came face to face with Alec, who looked irresistibly hot. His hair was sticking up in all directions, and Jace couldn’t help but wonder how far down his chest the blush coloring his cheeks went. Something of his hunger must have shown on his face, because Alec looked away, visibly conflicted, and Jace automatically apologized, “Sorry. I… I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”

“It’s alright.” Still not looking at him, Alec hoisted himself to his feet, tension in every line of his body. “Let’s just get changed, there’s some Institute business I have to attend to.”

“Alec…” Impulsively Jace stopped him from fleeing the room with a hand on his arm, only to drop it dejectedly when Alec flinched away. Jace almost let it go, but there was something inside him, something he was pretty sure originated in the bond he could feel connecting him with Alec, that made him square his jaw and ask quietly, “I know you said we’re not like that, but Alec, I’m not imagining this, aren’t I? This cannot possibly be the first time we had a… a moment.”

A deep sigh escaped his parabatai, and he appeared to desperately wish himself somewhere else. When he finally met Jace’s gaze, he looked tired - and very, very sad. “No, it’s not. It’s been happening almost every day since the incident, actually. But I can’t do this, Jace. It’s not even that it’s forbidden by the Law, but because this is something you’d never do if you had your memories, if you were yourself.”

“I am myself,” Jace protested, his heart aching with the desire to wipe that pained look off his parabatai’s face.

Alec just shook his head sadly. “Then why has nothing like this ever happened before? No, Jace, I’m sorry, but I can’t risk it.” He managed a pained smile. “Besides, you’ll have forgotten all about this tomorrow.”

“We’ve had this conversation before, huh?” Jace inquired wryly, trying to imagine what it must be like for Alec, to reject something he’d obviously wanted for a long time over and over again. He honestly had no idea why his normal self wouldn’t feel what he himself felt so clearly - he should feel even more strongly, because there was so much history between them that Jace couldn’t remember.

Sighing, Alec began gathering the discarded staffs and putting them away. “Like I said, almost every day. One would think I’d get better at avoiding it.”

“So we’ve never…” Jace knew he shouldn’t pry, that it was hurting Alec, but he couldn’t help himself, he needed to know.

The way Alec froze gave him his answer even before his parabatai replied curtly, almost angrily, “The first time you kissed me, I kissed you back.” His voice softened. “And when you forgot about it, I knew I couldn’t do it again. Not if…” He trailed off, hazel eyes stormy, and Jace had to fight the urge to pull him into a hug. Instead Alec squared his shoulders and met Jace’s eyes head-on. “Jace, you have no idea what you’ve been through in the past year. And if I let this happen, I don’t think I could be there for you the way you deserve, as your parabatai. It would hurt too much.”

Tilting his head, Jace considered Alec’s hunched over form, making him seem smaller than a man of his stature had any right to. Even with no memories to draw on, he’d learned enough about Alec to realize what this speech cost him, and his stomach churned as he fought his impulse to comfort him with kisses and caresses, consequences be damned. Instead he stayed where he was and finally nodded, agreeing quietly, “Alright, yeah. But for the record, I’ve only known you for a few hours and I’m pretty sure I’m in love with you. Just… keep that in mind when all this is over.”

For second Alec looked stricken, but he quickly covered it up with an impassive shrug, turning away to close the weapons cabinet. Jace didn’t call him on it, just followed him back to his room, where Alec showed him everything he needed to take a shower before excusing himself. “When you’re done, you can find me in my office.”

Another surge of tenderness flooded Jace as he watched Alec practically flee the room. He obviously needed time to gather his thoughts, yet he was still willing to spend the rest of the day with the source of his discomfort. Thoughtfully, Jace undressed and got into the shower. His arousal had disappeared during his little heart-to-heart with Alec, but now he allowed himself to remember the exhilarating sparring session, the feeling of a hard body pressed against his, and began to quickly and methodically stroke himself off. Apparently muscle memory extended to this as well, because it wasn’t long before he came, gasping Alec’s name.

Turning off the water, he dried himself off and left the bathroom, not bothering to cover himself, only to stop short when he came face to face with Alec. His eyes widened as he took in Jace’s nakedness, his already flushed cheeks heating up further, and Jace hastily wrapped his towel around his hips. Wrenching his gaze away, Alec stuttered, “S… sorry. Didn’t mean… I remembered that you wouldn’t know where my office is. But you can just ask anyone, really. I’m… I’m leaving. Sorry again.”

Jace was pretty sure that Alec wasn’t usually the babbling type, but here he was, completely flustered - and apparently unable to stop himself from stealing glances. How long had he been waiting for Jace to come out of the shower? Had he heard him? Jace snuck a peek of his own, and as suspected there was a tell-tale tent in Alec’s pants. It was too much, and without thinking Jace crossed the distance between them and stopped Alec with a hand around his wrist. “Don’t be. And you can stay, if you want.”

“Jace…” Alec groaned, eyes darting between the door and Jace, traveling down his bare chest to where that strange rune lay that connected them in ways Jace didn’t understand. There was so much longing in his gaze, Jace felt it like a physical touch, making him shiver. Electricity charged the air between them, and he knew without a doubt that this time Alec wouldn’t say no, irregardless of the consequences.

It was this knowledge more than anything that made Jace take a step back, hand dropping to his side. Recognizing the gesture for the out it was, disappointment flashed in Alec’s eyes, but it was quickly replaced by a rueful quirk of his lips. Jace’s answering smile felt similarly loaded, but he managed to keep his voice even as he suggested, “Why don’t you go ahead while I get dressed. I’ll find your office, don’t worry.”

They shared another long glance full of unspoken words, then Alec nodded and turned on his heel. With a heavy sigh Jace sat down on the bed, dropping his head into his hands as he took a few steadying breaths. He didn’t have any memories to go on, but his gut told him that he really wasn’t much good at dealing with complicated emotions. Shaking his head exasperatedly, he pushed everything aside and got dressed.

When he found his way to Alec’s office, he had his game face on - and so had Alec, who looked up from a tablet with a carefully neutral expression. Leaning against the doorframe, Jace grinned, and some of the tension fled Alec’s body as he tapped the plaque next to door. “Head of the Institute! You didn’t tell me you’re the boss around here.”

“It’s mostly administration,” Alec protested, but there was pride hidden in the corners of his mouth, and Jace dug his fingers into his palms to stop himself from reaching out. Instead he stepped fully into the room when Alec gestured towards a comfy chair in the corner. “You can read for a bit, if you like, I’ve got to go over the shift plans.”

“Need any help?” Jace inquired, hovering near Alec’s desk, and was rewarded with a smile, genuine and warm, and an appreciative nod.

“Sure. Thank you.” Smiling back, Jace pulled up a chair and sat down next to Alec, who showed him the duty roster. They settled down to work companionably - and if Jace sat a bit closer than was strictly necessary, neither one of them mentioned it. After a while, Alec nudged Jace, smirking playfully. “Usually you try everything to get out of paperwork. Maybe this amnesia thing isn’t all bad.”

“Take advantage while it lasts then.” Jace laughed, leaning even closer, figuring a bit of paperwork was a cheap price to pay for the solid warmth of Alec next to him. They continued working in this fashion and only moved apart slightly at a knock on the door.

Isabelle and Clary didn’t wait for Alec to respond before entering, and from the wide smiles on their faces it was obvious they had good news. Indeed, Clary triumphantly announced, “We found a solution!”

“Well, Magnus did, but we helped,” Isabelle amended, offering her hand for Clary to high-five, eyes full of fondness. It made Jace wonder about what kind of friendship the two shared, but he was quickly distracted by the realization that, if their assertions were true, he’d soon have his memories back.

The girls clearly expected him to be full of joyful anticipation, and of course he was looking forward to remembering everything, yet a part of him couldn’t help but feel a slight sense of dread. However, he managed a convincing enough grin, all too aware of Alec’s stiff posture by his side. It helped knowing that he wasn’t the only one feeling a bit conflicted at the prospect of reverting to his old self. Would he even remember this day, the moments he’d shared with Alec? Would this other version of himself even want to remember them? After all, he had apparently never given any indication of sharing the feelings for his parabatai Jace had so quickly developed.

Shaking off the troubling thoughts, Jace focused on the present, since there was nothing to be done, and followed Alec and the girls. They stepped through a swirling portal, leaving Jace dizzy and disoriented when he found himself in a lavishly decorated living room. A man in matching colorful clothes and jewelry was awaiting them, and Jace didn’t need to feel Alec stiffen beside him to know that this warlock was Magnus Bane. Alec’s ex.

Jace obviously didn’t know the story there, but Magnus gave him a carefully neutral look from dark eyes that were much older than his face, and Jace he began to have a sneaking suspicion. It couldn’t be easy to be with someone who was sharing their soul with another person. Alec had revealed enough of the deep-seated emotions that bound them together, platonic or not, it made Jace wonder about his own breakup with Clary.

Well, he would know soon enough, because Magnus was directing him to stand in the middle of the room while everyone stood in a circle around him and linked hands. The warlock was all polite professionalism, but Jace noted that he did make sure Alec wasn’t standing next to him, putting Clary and Isabelle between them. His parabatai was equally formal, eyes shuttered, the easy camaraderie they’d shared gone.

Jace suddenly couldn’t stand the thought of ending this experience like this, not when there was a good chance he would be a very different person once he’d regained his memories. Shooting Magnus an apologetic glance, he interrupted the preparations, “Sorry, but could Alec and I get a moment?”

“Can’t we keep him? I like him, he’s much more polite,” Magnus quipped, before nodding towards the next room. “Just don’t take too long, time is money and so on…”

At the mention of money Alec flinched slightly, and Jace wondered whether this was the first time he’d used the warlock’s services since the breakup. He didn’t dwell on it, however, instead he led them both to what turned out to be the dining room. Closing the door firmly behind Alec, he took a steadying breath and faced his parabatai, who was regarding him confusedly.

“I just…” he began, trying to find the right words. “Since apparently it’s likely that I’ll forget everything, I was wondering…”

Frustrated with his inability to express himself, he ran his hands through his hair. This wasn’t working, so with another deep breath Jace stepped up to Alec, taking his hand between both of his. Alec twitched but remained still, and Jace looked him seriously into the eyes. “I understand why you didn’t want complications, I really do, but Alec, you have the memories of these 11 days, of that… that kiss. And I know it’s probably not fair to you, but please, let me have that, too? At least for the next few minutes.”

Realizing that he was babbling, Jace cut himself off. His heart was beating fast, and he wasn’t sure if that was him or Alec, who was staring down at him with dark eyes. Jace waited with bated breath, not once looking away, and his heart fell when Alec removed his hand from Jace’s grip, although he did so gently.

The next moment, however, he was hauled flush against Alec’s body, and then they were kissing, kissing as if Alec was drowning and Jace was oxygen. Jace’s brain stuttered, overwhelmed, but his body didn’t waste any time to respond, throwing his arms around Alec’s neck and pushing himself against him. With a groan, Alec’s mouth opened to him, their tongues meeting, sliding against each other hungrily, and while Jace didn’t have anything to compare this to, he was pretty sure this was exceptional as far as kisses went. His world consisted of Alec’s mouth, of the feeling of his arms around him and the heat spreading through his body, his parabatai rune pulsing in time with their heartbeats, and Jace never wanted it to end.

However, it had to end, and slowly their kisses became less intense, more of a slow tasting of one another, until Alec pulled away, even if he did so rather reluctantly. Breathing heavily, they rested their foreheads together, still wrapped in each other’s arms, and Jace tried to think of what to say. In the end, all he managed was a smile, decidedly wobbly around the edges, and a quiet “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” A rueful laugh escaped Alec, his eyes glistening treacherously, but Jace held himself back from reaching out again, knowing instinctively that his parabatai was desperately clinging to his dignity. Instead he offered Alec his hand, and after a moment’s hesitation Alec gripped it, tight enough to hurt. Jace didn’t mind, squeezing back just as hard, before letting go with a grateful quirk of his lip.

They didn’t touch when they joined the others, but Jace suspected it was rather obvious what had transpired. Magnus gave them a nod, tired and a bit sad, while Clary bit her lip and stared at the floor. Stepping back into the circle, Jace looked around himself at these virtual strangers, at Alec, who was regarding him with soft eyes, and tried to be happy that they’d be getting their friend back.

“Thanks for this,” he finally said. “I know you all went to a lot of trouble.”

Everyone nodded, but it was Isabelle who replied firmly, “You’re worth it, Jace. And you can thank us when all this is over.”

Then Magnus proceeded with the ritual, and Jace closed his eyes, letting the waves of magic wash over him. At first it just felt warm, but the sensation increased in intensity until Jace’s head felt as if it was on fire. Suppressing a cry, his eyes flew open and he locked them on Alec, using him as his anchor until the pain became too much and he collapsed.

When he woke up, it was in his own room, and Alec was half-asleep in a chair next to the bed. Jace hefted himself onto his elbows, the movement rousing his parabatai. Finding Jace awake Alec’s brows drew together in a worried frown. “Jace?”

A smile settled on Jace’s face, warm and bright, and Alec’s gave him a puzzled look. Smirking, Jace gestured between them. “I’m having a serious case of déja-vu right now.”

“You… you remember?” Alec seemed unsure how to feel about this relevation.

Still smiling, Jace slid out of the bed. Leaning down, he tipped Alec’s chin up with two fingers, and Alec’s eyes widened as he said softly, “Everything.”

Alec’s lips parted in a surprised oh, which Jace swallowed gently with his mouth. Alec remained frozen against him, however, so Jace pulled back, trying not to let his disappointment show. Forcing a smile, he sat back down, only now realizing how wobbly he still felt, and apologized, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable…”

“Uh,” Alec cleared his throat, shaking off his paralysis with a shuddering breath. He remained tense, though, and was having trouble meeting Jace’s eyes. “No, I… What do you mean with everything?”

Jace shrugged. “Everything from that last day. The other ten days are gone, I’m afraid.” Trying to levity, he added, “I do hope at some point you actually slept, because I hate to tell you, but you look dreadful.”

It was a lie, of course, because there were basically no circumstances under which Jace didn’t find his parabatai handsome, but the weak quip did fulfill its purpose, making Alec roll his eyes. “Thanks so much. I could say the same, except you’ve actually been asleep for 12 full hours. Magic hangover, Magnus said.”

They both winced a little at the mention of Alec’s ex-boyfriend, and Jace wondered how he could have been so blind to what had been going on in his parabatai’s life. Admittedly, he hadn’t been in the best shape after Lilith and then distracted by getting Clary back, although that hadn’t exactly worked out as he had imagined. Shaking himself out of his thoughts, Jace offered Alec a small smile. “Well, I’m all better now. And I really am sorry for kissing you, I shouldn’t have presumed.”

“Why did you?” The anger in Alec’s voice took Jace by surprise. “You certainly never before showed any sign of… of…”

“...wanting you?” Jace completed, and Alec nodded, looking defeatedly at the floor. Jace had to dig his nails into his palms to stop himself from reaching out again. Instead he sighed and settled for telling the truth - the whole truth, not the version he’d been telling himself before the last day had made that pretty much impossible. “Alec, I’ve always wanted you. But you… you deserve so much better. I always knew that, even before I realized that you… were in love with me, too.”

Shocked, Alec’s eyes flew up to find Jace’s, and he forced himself to meet them, despite the blush he could feel crawl into his cheeks. “But… Clary?”

“I really thought I loved her, or maybe that I could make myself love her,” Jace replied candidly. “Alec, being your parabatai was all I ever dreamed of being, I never dared to imagine anything else... And then, right when we were at odds in ways I never wanted us to be, you met Magnus. You had a chance for something real, with someone who deserved you, and I was happy for you. And Clary is… Clary.”

They shared a wry smile at this, remembering how the arrival of Clary had turned their lives upside down. Then Alec sobered, shaking his head in denial. “You didn’t think you deserved me.” Throwing up his hands in frustration, Alec was out of his chair and loomed right in Jace’s space. Stepping between his legs, he tapped his chest with an accusing finger. “Seriously, Jace, of all the stupid things…”

And for the second time in 24 hours Jace found himself being kissed by his parabatai. It was just as overwhelming now as it had been the first time - maybe even more so, because now Jace remembered, and their shared history burned between them, fueling every touch, every stroke of their tongues. Groaning, Jace carded his fingers through Alec’s hair as he lay down on the bed, pulling his parabatai with him.

Alec came easily, arms bracketing Jace’s head, long body slotted between Jace’s open legs, both of them hissing when their quickly hardening cocks came into contact. Still kissing, they began rocking against each other, pleasure passing back and forth through their bond, intensifying everything, until Jace could almost taste Alec’s arousal.

“Please...” he groaned, his hands sliding under his parabatai’s sweater, impatiently pulling at it until Alec sat up abruptly and tore it off, dropping it carelessly to the ground. Jace was too distracted by the sight of all that revealed skin to follow Alec’s example. His parabatai sat back on his haunches, crossing his arms over his chest and fixing him with a mock frown. Grinning, Jace teased, “What, you’re hot!”

Despite his attempt to keep scowling, Alec blushed, a smile lifting the corners of his mouth. “Do you want to get naked or should I leave?”

Despite knowing full well that he was being played, Jace didn’t hesitate to do as ordered, wriggling out of his clothes, leaving him completely nude. He could feel Alec’s eyes on him, although his paratabai simultaneously managed to take off his jeans and boxers as well. Then they were both naked, pausing to stare at each other in a way they had never before dared to do so openly.

Suddenly Jace felt uncharacteristically hesitant, but then, none of his previous partners had mattered this much, and he could see similar thoughts in Alec’s eyes. Scooting closer until their knees touched, Jace cupped his parabatai’s face in his hands and asked seriously, “Are you sure, Alec? We can still back away from this.”

“I’ve never been surer of anything,” Alec replied instantly, not hesitating for even a moment. Covering Jace’s hands with his own, he added with a half-smile, “And we’re already breaking the Law, just by feeling the way we do.”

Raw emotion threatening to choke him, Jace managed a strangled laugh. “So you figure that we can just as well have sex? I love you, Alec Lightwood, I really do!”

“That’s good, because I really love you, too,” Alec responded warmly, leaning in to kiss Jace lightly on the lips. Before Jace could react, he moved on to Jace’s neck, licking and sucking. Pleasure sparked through Jace, and from one moment to the next his body came back alive. Biting back a moan as Alec caught his earlobe with teasing teeth, he let his hands wander over Alec’s skin, relishing the sensation of shifting muscles.

Needing to be closer, Jace moved to straddle Alec, both of them hissing when their cocks slid against each other. Alec stopped mauling Jace’s neck, instead he caught him in another deep, hungry kiss, and time ceased to matter as they began to rock against each other. Jace managed to gather enough of his wits to slide a hand between their bodies, wrapping it tightly around their erections. The pleasure shooting through him was so intense, he felt dizzy with it, and from the way Alec’s fingers dug into his ass, his parabatai felt the same.

Tearing his lips away from Alec’s, Jace had to take a panting breath, before he could form words again. “I want you inside me.”

Eyes widening, Alec stared at him in shock. “Are… are you sure?”

“Yes. I’ve waited for so long, I don’t want to go another day without knowing what it feels like,” Jace stated firmly, tamping down on the tiny flicker of nervousness in the pit of his stomach. Licking his lips, he met Alec’s eyes with a challenging stare. “Do you need an engraved invitation?”

Alec’s mouth twitched in an involuntary grin before he shook his head decisively, and the next moment Jace found himself on his back again. His laugh turned into more of a gasp as the wind was knocked out of him. Grinning widely now, Alec slipped a hand between their bodies to wrap long fingers around Jace’s cock. Laugh turning into moan, Jace arched off the bed, legs opening wider to give Alec better access. He would have been unable to say for how long Alec jerked him off, seemingly knowing instinctively how to coax the sweetest pleasure out of Jace’s body. Only when Jace could feel his climax approaching inexorably did Alec stop, kissing away Jace’s wordless noise of protest before sitting back a little.

“Please tell me that you’ve got lube or lotion in your nightstand.” Alec’s voice was hoarse, as if he was the one teetering on the brink of orgasm, and Jace would have felt guilty for neglecting him, if he’d had any brain capacity left. As it was, he just about managed to nod, feeling weak with pleasure, taken apart, although they’d barely done more than make out.

He was too strung out to feel even the tiniest remnant of nervousness when Alec lifted one of his legs and pressed a first slick digit inside him. Jace had experimented with penetration before, but never with the intent to go all the way, yet now he could barely wait, rocking against Alec’s finger. Steadying him with his other hand, his parabatai shook his head fondly, but there was heat flickering in his eyes, and Jace could feel Alec’s cock, slick with precum, against his thigh.

“Just… do it,” Jace demanded, reaching up to pull Alec into a hungry kiss, making his parabatai groan and falter in his stretching motion, two fingers now buried inside Jace. He quickly resumed his attentions, however, adding a third digit, which hit a spot that made Jace see stars. Fixing Alec with a stare that he hoped conveyed how serious he was, he gasped, “C’mon, I can take it!”

Luckily for Jace’s sanity this seemed to convince his parabatai, who carefully withdrew his hand, leaving Jace feeling strangely empty. Not for long, however, because Alec positioned himself between his legs, resting one of Jace’s legs on his shoulder, and Jace took a steadying breath as he felt the blunt head of Alec’s cock slide between his slick butt cheeks. After claiming one more kiss, Alec poured some more lube over his erection, and then he was pushing inside, carefully but without hesitation.

As their bodies were slowly joined, Jace was staring up into his parabatai’s face, and not once did they break eye contact, not until Alec was fully sheathed inside Jace. It was a stretch, but the slight burn dissipated quickly and Jace paid it no heed, completely caught into the moment. For all his previous impatience, he hadn’t known what it’d be like to actually fuck Alec or be fucked by him, whether it could possibly live up to years of longing and secret dreams. Now that the moment was here, though, all he could think was how right it felt, to be joined like this.

Something of his emotions had to be showing on his face, because Alec swallowed, eyes shining, and he half-whispered in an awed, choked-up voice, “Jace…”

All Jace could do was nod around a sudden lump in his throat, reaching up to press his right palm against Alec’s chest, above his rapidly beating heart, which matched Jace’s own. Between them, their bond lay wide open, their connection so strong, Jace could feel Alec’s love pouring through it, and he let himself fall into it, hoping that Alec could sense him in return. From the awed look on his parabatai’s face, he suspected he could. Suddenly it felt like too much, and Jace had to close his eyes, settling on pushing himself forward and up, against the hard lines of Alec’s body, tense with coiled strength.

“Come on, I’m ready,” Jace urged him on, and, with a growl that seemed to be ripped from his throat, Alec complied, fucking into Jace hard and fast while Jace wrapped one hand around his own cock. They quickly found a rhythm that sent waves of pleasure through them both, Jace rising up to meet Alec’s every thrust, his free hand gripping him firmly by the shoulder. Every stroke of Alec’s cock sparked whitehot fire through Jace’s body, and he could tell from the trembling in Alec’s strong frame that his parabatai wasn’t far behind. Forcing himself to keep his eyes open and fixed on the tantalizing sight of Alec in the throes of passion, Jace wrapped both legs around slim hips and clenched his inner muscles, making Alec’s movements stutter as he ordered, “Now, Alec, fuck - now…”

“Jace…” Alec groaned, staring down at him, pupils blown, sweat-matted hair sticking to his forehead, and Jace had never seen anything hotter. His climax crashed over him like a tidal wave, spurting over his fist and coating both their stomachs, and he almost missed the moment when Alec followed him over the edge. Bodies trembling with wave after wave of ecstasy, they clung to each other, and Jace could have sworn he could feel Alec’s orgasm crest through him.

Finally, Alec collapsed half on top of him, resting his head against Jace’s shoulder, and his softening cock slid out of Jace’s body, making him wince. He didn’t want to be separated from his parabatai, but for now he settled for a tight embrace, wrapping both arms around Alec and burying his face in messy black hair. Exhaustion began to spread through his body, making him feel heavy and lazy, but before he dozed off, Jace asked softly, “Is it always going to be like this?”

Alec lifted his head, eyes hazy with contentment, an affectionate smile lighting up his features. “I don’t know - I guess we’ll have to find out.”

He swallowed Jace’s chuckle with a kiss so slow and sweet, Jace melted into it, feeling loved and safe in his parabatai’s arms. For the first time in forever, Jace was completely at peace. This. This was what he’d been missing.

When the lazy tangle of lips and tongues petered off naturally, Jace found himself smiling almost giddily, causing Alec to lift an inquisitive eyebrow. Curling himself around his parabatai, Jace simply shook his head. “Just… thank you.”

“Whatever for?” Alec frowned at him, confused.

Jace couldn’t help himself, he pressed a kiss to his forehead. “For being everything I’ve ever needed. Up to and including the perfect nursemaid for amorous amnesiacs.”

Since they were still wrapped up in each other, Jace could see Alec blush at the compliment, before he caught himself enough to roll his eyes, the gesture so familiar, it felt like a caress. “Well, since you’ve got your memories back, don’t think I’ll continue being at your beck and call.”

“You keep telling yourself that - I know your secret, Alec Lightwood.” Jace laughed softly, eyelids heavy. “You love me.”

“That I do...” He could feel Alec’s fond chuckle rumbling through his chest. He let the sound carry him off to sleep, secure in the knowledge that the next day would bring the chance to make more memories. All of them happy.

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