where the dark has no room to touch

This entry is part 40 of 41 in the series Shadowhunter AUs

Author's Note: Gift exchange fic for the lovely Phoe. I tried my best to fulfill your requests, hun - hope you enjoy this!

(Preferences (prompts, kinks) were: winged Nephilim, if explicit then please top!Alec/bottom!Jace, BDSM if you like (dom!Alec/sub!Jace), hurt/comfort because don't we all deserve some comfort after 3A, ABOverse if that's up your alley (alpha!Alec/omega!Jace))

Title from a gorgeous poem by Abby S.

***

It was almost midnight, and Alec felt Jace’s return shortly before the Institute’s sensors registered two Shadowhunters landing on the roof.

Therefore he was the one to greet Jace and Clary, quickly taking in how tired his parabatai looked, even as he steadied the redhead. Clary seemed worse off, struggling to even fold away her wings, but she was back to herself as far as Alec could tell at a glance. They’d gotten news of Jonathan’s death, and he found himself glad to see Clary apparently in one piece.

Still, his focus quickly shifted back to Jace, automatically cataloguing every scrape and bruise visible on his too-pale skin. The most obvious sign of the ordeals his parabatai had been through recently, however, was the look in his eyes, which spoke of an exhaustion that went far beyond the physical.

Despite wanting nothing more than to embrace his parabatai, Alec decided that would have to wait and quickly relieved him of Clary’s slight weight. Taking out his stele, he used it to make her wings disappear, glad he even remembered the rune. It was so rare that Nephilim were too injured to fold them away themselves, once they’d learned how after the Angel’s gift manifested itself during puberty.

“Thanks, Alec,” the redhead mumbled, leaning against him. Just then Isabelle burst onto the roof, and Alec had to watch her hug Jace tightly, surprising himself by the surge of resentment he felt. However, the next moment his sister was pulling Clary away from him.

“It’s so good to have you back. Now, let’s get you checked over,” Izzy said gently, and Clary almost collapsed against her. Isabelle didn’t stumble, just braced herself and led the redhead inside with a look at Alec that he didn’t even attempt to decipher.

Instead he finally did what he’d been dying to ever since the bond had alerted him of his parabatai’s approach and opened his arms. Jace remained rooted to the spot, however, shoulders hunched over as if he was trying to disappear, eyes flickering uncertainly between Alec’s face and his chest.

It was obvious guilt was eating at Jace, and it made Alec’s stomach hurt to see his normally so proud parabatai looking so small, so defeated, despite having achieved his objective to find and return Clary. Alec was probably the only person on this planet who’d even come close to seeing Jace this vulnerable before, and now he approached Jace slowly, carefully, like he would a wild animal. He didn’t know what to say, so in the end he settled on the one word that came even close to expressing the wealth of emotions he felt. “Parabatai…”

Jace’s eyes had always been his most expressive feature, and now they lit up - not literally, but it was the signal Alec needed to close the remaining distance between them and pull his parabatai into his arms. Jace folded himself into his embrace, arms coming up to cling to Alec as if he was drowning and Alec was the only thing keeping him afloat. Something inside Alec melted, something that had been cold and dark ever since they discovered what Lilith had done to his parabatai, and he buried his face in Jace’s hair and allowed himself to just breathe.

How long they remained like this Alec wasn’t sure, but after a while Jace started to shiver, reminding Alec that he had no idea how long Clary and Jace had been flying in through the cold night after who knew what ordeals. Taking a step back, he began rubbing Jace’s arms in a business-like fashion, quelling the protest he could see form on his parabatai’s lips with his best Head-of-the-Institute glare.

“No, don’t even pretend that you’re okay. Do you think you have any injuries that need to be dealt with in the infirmary?” When Jace shook his head silently, Alec continued quickly, “Alright, so I’ll just look you over while we run you a bath, after which you’ll get a good night’s sleep - even if I have to use a rune to put you under!”

He knew he was fussing, but the fact that Jace wasn’t rebelling told him that this was the right course of action. Not just for Jace; Alec’s every instinct also demanded that he make sure his parabatai was alright. They’d never been separated for this long in all their years as parabatai, and he suspected that Jace shared his need to reaffirm their bond. His assumptions were confirmed when Jace lifted a shaking hand and pressed it against Alec’s chest. “Alright - as long as I can have a look at you, too.”

Alec wanted to reassure him that there was no need, that he was fine, but he knew Jace needed to see for himself, so he simply nodded, managing a smile that felt almost normal on his face. “Sure. We can make it a proper grooming session - Izzy’s been helping me, but you know how cold her hands are.”

They shared a laugh, and Alec felt himself relax a bit further as they made their way inside, although he remained hyper-aware of his parabatai’s proximity. It was probably going to take a while until he could take Jace’s presence for granted again. For the time being he was content to trail after him until they reached Jace’s room. Outside it, Jace hesitated, a terrified look flickering across his face, and it took Alec only a moment to rest a hand on his shoulder and suggest mock-casually, “Why don’t we use my bath - it’s bigger anyway.”

Not every Shadowhunter enjoyed the luxury of their own bath, but rank brought privilege, and both the Herondale heir and the Head of the Institute didn’t need to use the communal facilities, something for which Alec had never been more grateful than now. Jace’s bedroom obviously held bad memories, and Alec made a mental note to offer him another accommodation as soon as possible. Maybe until then they would simply swap rooms, but clean-up came first, then Alec would find a way to casually suggest this. He didn’t want Jace to think that he was being coddled, even if in truth Alec wanted nothing more than to wrap his parabatai in cotton wool so nothing could hurt him ever again.

They made their way to Alec’s room in silence. It wasn’t uncomfortable, although Alec had to hold back a barrage of questions. Instead he focused on the fact that Jace was there, right beside him, their bond stronger than it had been since… since Lake Lyn. At first because of Lilith, then because of the physical separation, and Alec’s fingers twitched with the desire to reach out and touch.

Soon. They had reached their destination, so he told himself to be patient just a bit longer and busied himself by offering Jace a towel and directing him to the bathroom, as if his parabatai didn’t know exactly where everything was. It had been his room, after all, albeit only for a short while, and they’d always had an open door policy for each other. Jace didn’t call him on it, however, just thanked him and started casually shedding his clothes.

It was refreshingly familiar, and Alec caught himself watching his parabatai with a wistful smile. Jace caught his eye and smirked, making Alec blush despite himself. He gestured at the dirty clothes on the floor and admonished with forced nonchalance, “Some things never change. The hamper’s right over there.”

Jace cocked an eyebrow but didn’t call him out on the transparent attempt to cover. After all, Jace was the consummate soldier and as such just as neat as Alec. It was a small gesture, but it warmed Alec from the inside, and he quickly turned away to follow Jace’s example and efficiently strip down to his underwear. This added to the sense of déja-vu, reminding Alec of being a hormonal teenager hopelessly in love with his parabatai and doing his best not to show it.

When he turned back, he found Jace watched him from hooded eyes, gaze roaming across Alec’s skin, doubtlessly to see whether Alec was still bearing marks from his fight with the owl. For which Jace probably still blamed himself, making Alec doubly glad that both his hand and his chest were completely healed. Smiling softly, he offered, “See, I’m alright. The Silent Brothers and Catarina Loss did a great job.”

He’d hoped this would lighten his parabatai’s mood somewhat. Instead, Jace bit his lip and looked to the ground wretchedly. “They wouldn’t have had to if Magnus hadn’t given up his magic. How… how is he?”

Alec wanted to slap himself. Of course Jace would remember the sacrifice Magnus had made for him. Quickly crossing the distance between them, he forced Jace to look at him with a finger under his chin. “Magnus is fine. I’m sorry, I thought you’d been told, but there was so much going on… We got his magic back. It wasn’t easy, but he’s at full strength again - which should be useful when we go after Lilith’s demons. Izzy was even talking about asking Clary whether there would be a way for Shadowhunters and Downworlders to join powers in battle.”

“Oh, that’s… that’s great,” Jace replied with honest relief, but there was a shadow in his eyes that Alec couldn’t quite explain. Was it the mention of Lilith? He didn’t get a chance to probe, however, because Jace stepped away decisively and motioned to the bathroom. “Come on, I was promised a bath and a grooming session.”

His levity was obviously forced, yet Alec decided to let it go. It was late, getting Jace clean and off to bed had priority now. As much as he wished otherwise, Jonathan’s death and Clary and Jace’s return was only the first step. They still had a war to fight, and Alec wanted - no, needed his parabatai by his side. Therefore he mirrored Jace’s smile with a nod and an inviting gesture. “Of course. After you.”

Quickly grabbing his stele as well as a cereal bar from the stash in his nightstand, he followed Jace, who’d started the water running. The room was already starting to warm up, and Alec motioned for Jace to sit on the ledge of the tub. Offering him the snack, he waved his stele and ordered, “Eat while I make sure you really don’t require medical attention. I bet you’ve been using your nourishment rune rather than eating real food.”

Jace made a face but obeyed, which told Alec that he’d been right. In a way he was relieved that apparently some things never changed, that he was still able to read his parabatai. Who also had the bad habit of minimizing his injuries, so Alec checked him thoroughly while Jace munched his snack. Finally, he was satisfied that for once Jace hadn’t exaggerated his state of health and put his stele aside.

“Told you,” Jace grumbled, but Alec paid him no mind.

The tub was almost full now, warm water inviting even to Alec, who’d showered after training that evening. Alec didn’t care that he probably sounded like a nursemaid when he ordered, “C’mon, get in.”

Jace had been eyeing the tub covetously, so Alec wasn’t surprised when he didn’t put up even a token protest. Instead he unceremoniously slipped out of his briefs and into the water. The sound he made was almost pornographic, and Alec snorted in amusement, before busying himself by getting out his grooming kit.

“You have no idea how good this feels,” Jace commented with a laugh, generously lathering himself with Alec’s soap and shampoo. “I haven’t been clean in… well, too long. There was just one time, when Clary and I got a hotel room with a shower.”

For the first time since his return he sounded carefree, and Alec bit back the question prompted by the volunteered information. Why the hell should he care if Jace and Clary had shared said shower? If anything he should hope that they had, that his parabatai and the girl he loved had found some happiness in the middle of all their troubles. He was not going back down that road.

Instead he smiled and brandished the grooming supplies, glad that Jace was too distracted to notice the pause before he answered, “Well, you’re about to get even cleaner. Dry off and sit here, so I can take care of your wings.”

“Yes, please!” The speed with which Jace got out of the tub would have been funny if Alec hadn’t still been caught up in the realization that his old jealousy had apparently decided to make a reappearance. It made it hard to look away from Jace’s naked body, unselfconsciously on display, all muscle and smooth, golden skin, only accentuated by the many runes adorning it.

Digging the nails of his free hand into his palm, Alec used the sharp pain to center himself, tearing his eyes away from the firm globes of Jace’s ass just in time. Wrapping the towel around himself, Jace turned to him and sat down on the low stool that was situated in front of a big mirror for when there was no other option than self-grooming.

It had been too long since he’d shared this ritual with his parabatai, and, swallowing, Alec pushed down the unwelcome thoughts and focused on the task at hand. In the mirror, Jace met his eyes, smiling with anticipation, and it was surprisingly easy to respond in kind, especially when Jace shrugged his shoulders and unfolded his wings.

They appeared between his shoulder blades, two huge wings made of white feathers with golden accents, big enough to touch the floor and so wide they created something like a cocoon around Alec. Their beauty never failed to take his breath away, and as always he didn’t start grooming right away, instead lifting his hand and trailing it softly along the top edge, smiling when a shiver of pure pleasure ran through Jace at the simple caress.

“Angel, I missed this,” he breathed out almost reverentially, and Alec could only agree.

For another minute he allowed himself to enjoy the feeling of feathers between his fingers, so deceptively soft in spite of their flexibility and strength, powerful enough to carry a full-grown man through the sky. Then he stopped, grinning when Jace pouted. “I can pet you more later, you big puppy, right now we need to get these clean.”

“Yeah, I know - we didn’t have the time or tools for it,” Jace assented, spreading his wings out as much as possible in order to give Alec access to their full width. Winking at Alec in the mirror, he added conspiratorially, “Clary really isn’t any good at it anyway. You know you’re my favorite, Alec.”

Again, Alec had to push down a surge of jealousy, feeling unreasonably possessive at the thought of someone else grooming his parabatai, which was stupid, because both him and Jace had groomed and been groomed by Izzy regularly for most of their lives as well as other Shadowhunters at times. It felt different when it was Clary, though, and Alec decidedly didn’t think of the many opportunities when he’d turned down Magnus’s offer to perform this task for him.

“Same here,” he managed to respond, giving Jace a quick smile before taking out the first brush from the grooming kit and beginning to comb out the worst of the dirt and snags. The task kept his hands occupied and forced him to focus on something else than the bliss spreading on Jace’s face. He didn’t even seem to care when the brush caught on something, his wincing barely visible, but Alec nevertheless tried to be as gentle as possible.

Putting aside the brush, he opened the jar of oil and coated his hands with it. This was his favorite part of the process, when he got to touch Jace’s feathers from top to bottom, running his bare hands through them thoroughly. In front of him, Jace let his head fall forward, sparing Alec from seeing his face. The sounds he made were bad enough, rough moans that caused Alec’s blood to rush downwards.

It wasn’t the first occasion this had happened, not by far, yet somehow it was worse this time. Alec blamed it on their separation and on the pull he could feel from the bond, Jace’s pleasure bleeding through. Outside of battle, this was when their connection was the closest, the most open, and it took Alec had to exert quite a bit of willpower to stop his fingers from moving from wings to bare skin.

Instead he wiped his hands off and took up the strigil, used to scrape off the oil and with it the last of the dirt. Using water on wings wasn’t ideal, leaving them soggy for hours unless one blow dried them for ages, so Shadowhunters had returned to ancient Roman customs when it came to grooming. Alec had performed this so often, the motions were instinctual by now, and he lost himself in the rhythm of it, systematically working through Jace’s feathers.

This was the easiest way for Alec to find peace of mind without a bow in his hand, and when he was done, he came out of the semi-trance he’d been in to find Jace watching his reflection with calm, thoughtful eyes. The moment their eyes met, however, Jace shook himself slightly and gave Alec a fond smile. “I forgot how you get when you do this… Seriously, there better never be a demon attack while we’re doing this, because I swear we’d both miss it.”

“At least you admit that you get distracted as well,” Alec shot back, falling into their usual banter. Setting aside the strigil, Alec picked up the fine brush in order to finish the ritual. If Jace’s wings had been beautiful before, now they were radiant, literally gleaming in the light, their golden accents glittering. White wings were rare, but Alec hadn’t been surprised at all when Jace’s had manifested.

Giving the feathers, once more pristine and perfect, one last brush over, Alec smiled with satisfaction at Jace’s reflection. “That’s better.”

“Thank you,” Jace replied sincerely before folding his wings away, leaving Alec feeling suddenly exposed after having been mostly enveloped by the wide spans for the duration of the grooming. Swiveling around on the stool, Jace pointed at him with a challenging grin. “Your turn now.”

“Wha? No, no, that’s not necessary,” Alec stuttered, blind-sided although he’d known this was coming. He also wasn’t quite sure where this instinctive denial came from. As a rule he loved it when Jace groomed his wings, yet right now the thought of it threatened to overwhelm him. It was too much, too intimate, but he could tell from the determined look in Jace’s eyes that he wouldn’t take no for an answer, even as he protested, “You really should get some rest now, we can do mine tomorrow.”

“Nope, we’re doing this now. We had a deal, remember?” Jace said flatly, getting to his feet in order to push Alec onto the seat he’d just vacated. Accepting his fate, Alec let himself be manhandled, telling himself to stop being ridiculous. This was good. This was great, even, this rebuilding of their connection, long overdue and very necessary. Behind him he caught Jace grinning smugly, and with a sigh Alec unfolded his wings.

He should have expected it; however, when Jace lifted a hand and carefully trailed it over his feathers, Alec couldn’t suppress a gasp. In the mirror he could see Jace pause, eyes flicking to Alec before he turned his attention back to the night-black expanse with its reddish-brown highlights. When he pressed his palm between Alec’s shoulder blades, where his wings protruded, Alec shuddered, his eyes sliding shut.

A gust of warm air hit his skin, and he wondered whether Jace had leaned forward, maybe to inspect the spot from up close, but he didn’t dare to look. He was afraid what his parabatai would read in his eyes, so he kept them closed and tried to breathe normally. Another soft exhalation, raising goosebumps all over Alec’s bare skin, then Jace murmured oh-so softly, “Always so sensitive…”

Power surged through him, and Alec’s eyes snapped open, taking in the sight of him sitting in front of the mirror, black wings spread out behind him, surrounding the golden form of his parabatai. Literally golden, because Jace had activated his angelic powers and was glowing - and so was Alec, which explained the strength and healing he could feel flowing through his veins.

“Jace, what are you doing?” He meant the question to come out sternly, instead he sounded breathless, awe-struck, wide eyes wandering between his glowing runes and his parabatai’s golden eyes.

“I just wanted to make sure I didn’t leave any permanent damage,” Jace admitted, biting his lip as the golden light disappeared again. He was blushing, but when he caught Alec’s gaze he held it stubbornly. A wave of affection surged through Alec, and he found himself smiling up at Jace with a fondness that felt dangerous.

Clearing his throat, he said hoarsely, “You didn’t leave any damage - and neither did the owl.”

When Jace didn’t look particularly convinced, Alec shook his head in exasperation and brought in his wings so he could swivel around on the stool and face him directly. He didn’t think Jace would bolt, but to make sure he caught him by the wrist, felt his pulse fluttering against his fingers, confirming the anxiety Alec could sense through their bond. As much as he wished that Jace wouldn’t be wracked with this guilt, he couldn’t help but be relieved to have tangible proof that his parabatai was alive and that their connection had survived, as strong as ever.

“He wasn’t you,” Alec repeated what he’d said so many times before, fixing Jace with a firm gaze, hoping that this time he would believe him. Lifting his free hand, he rested it against Jace’s parabatai rune, which was peeking out from his towel, and added softly, “This is you. I can feel it, and I’m sorry I didn’t recognize the difference before.”

“What?!” Jace scoffed, eyes widening with disbelief. “You tried so many times to get me to admit that something was wrong. If I hadn’t kept lying, maybe we would have found a way to stop it.”

“Maybe,” Alec admitted with a sigh, “but maybe not - we did try, after all, and it took Magnus striking a bargain with his father to do it. There’s really no use in torturing ourselves with what-ifs, Jace. I…” Alec averted his eyes, his voice dropping as he confessed, “I’m just so glad to have you back. Without you… without you I’m nothing.”

“Now that’s bullshit,” Jace replied immediately, voice hoarse and eyes glistening with emotion. “You could never be nothing, Alec Lightwood.”

Heart beating in his throat, Alec shook his head and amended quietly, “Alright, maybe not nothing - but I’m not myself without you. You’re the strongest person I know, Jace, and I was so damn scared you wouldn’t come back this time.”

“So was I, for a while,” Jace admitted in barely more than whisper, and Alec knew they both remembered the weight of a dagger that had seemed all too real despite being unsubstantial. Jace swallowed, leaning down to rest his forehead against Alec’s as he whispered, “I never thanked you for coming for me.”

“You don’t have to thank me.” Alec realized his hand was still pressed against Jace’s bare flank, yet instead of removing it, as he probably should, he found himself rubbing his thumb over the black lines of the parabatai rune. “We’ll always come for each other, you and I - after all, if aught but death...”

Jace’s abs contracted as took a sharp breath, only to release it in a gust of warmth that fanned across Alec’s face before he continued the oath that was so fundamentally a part of who they were: “...part thee and me. Alec...”

He trailed off, one hand coming to rest on Alec’s shoulder with the weight of a decade’s history, and the world narrowed down to the two of them in their little cocoon. They were standing so closely, Alec could barely meet Jace’s eyes, and he would never be able to tell who shifted first, whose lips pressed against the other’s as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

There was no hesitation, just a sigh that could have originated from either one of them, and then Alec’s free hand slid into Jace’s damp hair while Jace’s fingers found the base of his still-extended wings, sending delicate tendrils of pleasure through him. The kiss deepened and their tongues tangled, and joy and contentment surged through their bond as they became more passionately entwined.

Alec was completely lost in the sensation, his right hand moving around Jace’s waist, pulling him closer into the open V of his legs. There was no room for thought, for doubt, just for feeling, so when Jace tore himself away, Alec almost lost his balance, staring up into Jace’s flushed face, his kiss-swollen lips, his eyes boring into Alec’s with wide-eyed shock. He’d done that, made Jace come undone with barely more than a kiss, and the knowledge was so overwhelming, it took Alec a moment to gather his wits enough to ask hoarsely, “What is it? What’s wrong?”

“Wrong?” Jace had to clear his throat, and when he took a step away, Alec felt suddenly cold. Wrapping his hands around himself, he wondered if he’d misread the situation. Did Jace not want this as much as he did? Looking utterly miserable, Jace bit his lip. “Alec… we can’t do this. You know we can’t.”

“The Law?” Alec knew he sounded disbelieving, but it struck him as entirely unlikely that his parabatai of all people would have qualms because of an antiquated piece of legislation from a ruling body they both no longer quite believed in. Except, maybe that wasn’t what Jace had meant at all, and Alec averted his eyes guiltily. “Or... is it Clary? I’m sorry, I didn’t want...”

“Clary?” Jace replied confusedly, as if the thought had never even occurred to him. “Clary and I aren’t together - not anymore. After everything, it just… it didn’t feel right, for either one of us.”

“Then what?” Alec knew he was staring, gobsmacked. He was obviously missing something, because he could have sworn that nothing had ever felt quite as right as kissing Jace, not since the day they bound their souls together. He wanted to touch him, but Jace was was pressed against the sink, as far away from Alec as possible while still being in the same room, and Alec would respect this, even if he didn’t understand. Still, he pleaded softly, “Jace, please…”

Taking a deep breath, Jace squared his shoulders and met Alec’s questioning gaze head-on and explained slowly, as if speaking to someone being extremely obtuse, “Magnus. Alec, we can’t do this to Magnus. Your boyfriend. He… he saved me, he deserves better.”

“Oh, Jace...” Alec couldn’t help it, relief left him in a burst of laughter, which he quelled immediately at the hurt look on Jace’s face. Reaching out he offered his hand to Jace, holding his eyes steadily until he hesitantly took it, although he remained where he was. Alec squeezed it in apology. “I’m sorry, parabatai, I didn’t mean to sound callous. It’s just… Magnus and I broke up, even before we got his magic back. I’ll always be grateful to him for everything, but when Lilith had you, it became pretty obvious to us both where my priorities lay - and it wasn’t with him.”

Hope blossomed on Jace’s face, making Alec’s heart ache with joy, and with a gentle tug he pulled his parabatai back between his legs, smiling when he came easily. Brushing Jace’s hair out of his forehead, Alec bit his lower lip and tilted his head up, his eyes sliding shut when Jace followed his silent invitation. Just before their lips touched, however, Jace paused to smirk playfully at Alec, all shadows gone from his eyes. “What you mean to say is that I’m irresistible?”

Laughing fondly, Alec just shook his head and, in lieu of a reply, pulled his parabatai into a kiss. Their noses bumped, and something suspiciously like a giggle bubbled up in Alec, even as Jace hiccupped a laugh before finally pressing their mouths together again. They fell into an intoxicating back and forth, switching between the lazy slide of lips and deeper, all-encompassing explorations.

Resting both hands on Alec’s shoulders, Jace swiftly moved to straddle him. A guttural groan escaped Alec as his parabatai’s weight settled on his lap, and he fisted one hand in the soft terry cloth of Jace’s towel. The other was still buried in the silky strands of Jace’s hair, and he hungrily swallowed Jace’s moans as they rocked against each other, heat spiraling between them. They were both hardening quickly against each other and had to stop kissing to catch their breath as pleasure threatened to overwhelm them with dizzying speed.

They’d always been dimly aware of each other’s emotions, but never like this, as if every barrier between them was dropping, leaving them wide open to each other, and Alec felt drunk with it. He didn’t need to open his eyes to know that Jace’s face mirrored his own awe. He did it anyway, finding Jace’s blue-and-gold gaze fixed on him, and it was the most beautiful sight he’d ever seen.

Behind him, Alec’s wings involuntarily fluttered a couple of times, moving the warm air around them as he threatened to lose control, but when he moved to shrug them away, Jace stopped him with gentle hands on his back. For the first time, Alec did nothing to hide the pleasure he felt at the sensation of his parabatai’s fingers carding through black feathers. His head fell back in a drawn-out moan, which turned into a sharp gasp when Jace ducked his head to press open-mouthed kisses down the tense line of Alec’s neck, sucking and licking until Alec was quivering with the effort of holding himself together.

Digging his fingers into the small of Jace’s back, he gasped raspily, “Stop, please - don’t want to come yet.”

“Sensitive spot, I see,” Jace murmured with a teasing grin, but he did ease up, and Alec used the opportunity to pull at the towel still wrapped around his parabatai’s lean hips. It fell to the floor, and Jace’s eyes darkened at whatever he could see on Alec’s face - arousal, probably, and something very close to awe, as he let his gaze roam over the golden expanse of Jace’s bare skin. He had lost some weight, the past few months having taken a toll on him, but he was still the most beautiful thing Alec had ever seen - right down to the hard curve of his erection rising from its nest of dark blonde curls. Breaking Alec’s breathless contemplation, Jace nipped gently at his parabatai’s lower lip, but pulled away before he could deepen the kiss. Lifting his weight off Alec’s lap, Jace whispered throatily, “Your turn.”

With that he gracefully slid to his knees, the sight making Alec’s heart skip a beat, even before he tugged at Alec’s black boxers, smirking up at him until Alec got with the program and rose long enough from his seat for his underwear to join Jace’s towel, folding his wings away in the process. He immediately had to sit down again, however, his legs threatening to give out in light of the naked hunger on Jace’s face, as if he wanted to eat Alec alive. Although Alec was almost shaking with desire at the prospect of Jace’s mouth on him, he shook his head and firmly pulled Jace back into his lap.

“Another time…” he promised when Jace pouted, sliding a thumb across Jace’s lips, which parted to suck in the digit, making it almost impossible to continue, “I’ll have you on your knees another time. For now, I want to see your face when I make you fall apart…”

The sound of his own voice, deep and firm, rang foreign in Alec’s ears. He didn’t know where this confidence came from, except maybe from that part of him that was inexorably linked with the man in his arms, the part that always knew what Jace needed, the part that would do anything to give it to him. Which apparently now extended to taking charge in their love-making, if the quickening of Jace’s heartbeat and the thrum of excitement Alec could feel through their bond was anything to go by.

Reaching around his parabatai, Alec fumbled for the grooming kit on the counter behind Jace, unwilling to let go of him and glad when he found what he’d been looking for relatively easily. Offering the bottle of oil to Jace, who was watching him with eyes that were almost all pupil, he asked gently, “Is this okay? Do you want this?”

He was almost sure of Jace’s response, but considering his parabatai’s lack of experience with guys and everything he’d been through recently, Alec needed to be absolutely certain. Still, when Jace nodded with great vehemence, Alec couldn’t quite suppress a fond chuckle. The sound died on his lips, however, when Jace leaned down and whispered huskily, “Yes, Alec, I want you to fuck me - hard. I want to feel you every time I move tomorrow.”

Alec’s balls tightened in response to this blatant invitation, and with a groan he caught Jace in a searing kiss, his free hand finding its way to Jace’s butt, squeezing and kneading at the firm flesh until Jace was grinding hard against him. It was a pale imitation of what was to come, yet to Alec it felt so intense, he had to struggle not to come - a sensation his parabatai shared, if the smears of precum hitting Alec’s stomach with every slide of Jace’s cock were any indication.

Struggling to get a hold of himself, Alec managed to put enough distance between them to fumble the bottle open, almost upending its entire contents over his hand in his haste. Luckily, the ensuing snorts of laughter didn’t break the tension between them in the least, and when Alec pushed Jace to his feet and turned him around, he could feel his parabatai’s excitement at being so manhandled almost as vividly as his own. Pressing a kiss to the top of Jace’s spine, he ordered hoarsely, “Brace yourself, parabatai.”

Jace obeyed immediately, resting his forearms on the countertop in front of him. This brought his butt into perfect position before Alec, and he allowed himself to be sidetracked for a moment, caressing the firm muscles with mouth and hands until Jace was quivering and begging, “Please, Alec, don’t be a fucking tease - haven’t we waited long enough?”

As much as Alec enjoyed having Jace at his mercy, he had to admit he was absolutely right. Alec was so keyed up already, if he spent much more time admiring and caressing the naked body he’d tried so hard not to dream of for so long, he’d probably come before long. Therefore he relented and cut to the chase, teasing apart Jace’s cheeks and inserting a slippery finger between them. He was rewarded with a gasp and a tightening of muscle, so he leaned up and pressed a kiss to Jace’s shoulder, admonishing him gently, “Relax. And let me know if it hurts.”

There was a mirror over the counter, smaller than the one behind him, but large enough for him to see Jace’s face clearly. They both knew that in the past Jace had sometimes used sex, especially rough sex, to numb himself to what was going on in his head. Making sure their eyes met in the reflection, Alec shook his head firmly, warning, “I’m serious, Jace. If I as much as suspect that you’re trying to soldier through or some such nonsense, I’ll stop.”

“I promise,” Jace replied huskily, eyes wide and open. Alec wasn’t sure what made him do it, but before he could second-guess himself, his teeth had already sunk into the flesh of Jace’s shoulder as if for emphasis, and in the mirror Jace bit back a moan, a blush staining his cheeks. Alec’s cock twitched in response, and he thrust a couple of times against Jace’s ass, leaving trails of precum while his tongue soothed the red mark his teeth had left.

Jace rocked backwards, increasing the friction, but Alec caught himself just in time before losing control, putting a bit of distance between their hips. Instead he moved his hand down Jace’s spine and along the cleft of his ass, circling the rim of his hole with one finger before pressing in gently. This time Jace remained relaxed, taking a few deep breaths and widening his stance, making it easy for Alec to properly insert the lube-slick digit.

“You sure you haven’t done this before?” he teased, although what he intended to be an offhand remark came out rather strangled because he couldn’t look away from Jace’s face in the mirror. His parabatai was staring back at him with such open desire, his breath coming in pants as Alec found his sweet spot. The mirror wasn’t big enough for Alec to see it, but he was sure Jace’s cock was hard and leaking even before he slid his free hand around Jace’s middle.

Grasping the twitching length in his fist, he tugged a few times, making Jace gasp, eyes sliding shut. Alec used Jace’s distraction to insert a second finger, keeping up a gentle rhythm that he hoped would keep Jace teetering on the edge without tumbling over it. Jace took him in with an ease that made it hard for Alec to focus, and he took to counting in order to stop himself from just jamming his cock into the slowly-widening opening.

A third finger had Jace keening, pleasure building through their bond, and Alec quickly tightened his grip on his parabatai’s erection, stopping his climax in its tracks, even as he added a third finger, twisting and stretching. Despite the moans still escaping him, Jace managed to glower at him through the mirror and complained, “That was mean.”

“What?” Alec smirked, crooking his fingers so Jace bucked and swore. “I thought you’d want to come with me inside you.”

Jace stuck out his tongue at him, whining, “Yes, but only if it’s gonna happen in this century. Come on, Alec, I’m ready!”

As much as Alec wanted to just do as Jace requested, he insisted on a fourth finger, adding more oil for good measure. He distracted Jace by kissing him firmly, which almost backfired, because Alec was quickly becoming addicted to his parabatai’s mouth. In the end, he managed to tear himself away and sit back down on the stool, pulling Jace with him. Instead of sitting down immediately, however, Jace swiveled Alec around so they could both look into the big mirror when they turned their heads.

“It’s gonna be one hell of a view,” he promised with a wicked smile that sent shivers of raw need through Alec. Quickly he poured the entire rest of the oil over his erection, and Jace teased, “Whatever is Izzy going to think when you have to requisition a new bottle already?”

“Do you really want to talk about Iz right now?” Alec quirked an eyebrow, grinning when Jace shook his head vehemently. “That’s what I thought.”

As natural as their banter came, neither one of them felt like wasting more time, and Jace quickly straddled Alec’s lap, their mouths finding each other for another deep kiss. This one didn’t last very long, though, impatience overcoming them both, and finally Alec grabbed his slick cock and and helped Jace sink down. They both groaned as Jace’s body opened for him, gripping him so tightly Alec had to close his eyes, resting his forehead against the expanse of Jace’s chest.

They went slowly, carefully, Jace unused to the sensation and Alec still terrified of hurting him in any way, but after a small eternity, Jace was seated on Alec’s lap, Alec’s cock fully sheathed inside him. They paused then, and Alec opened his eyes to find Jace staring down at him with a wonder he knew was reflected on his own face, even before he glanced into the mirror.

The sight that met him almost took his breath away, the way their bodies fit together perfectly, as if they’d been made to come together like this. A smile crinkled the corners of Jace’s mouth, warm and happy, and Alec knew his parabatai felt exactly the same. Without needing to speak, both of them unfolded their wings, the expanses of black and white spreading out behind them, complementing each other. Completing each other.

Looking away from their reflection, Alec slid his hands over Jace’s feathers. One found his parabatai rune, the other traveled up into the silky gold of his hair, pressing their foreheads together until they were sharing each other’s breaths. He was beginning to suspect why eros, romantic love, between parabatai was forbidden - the intensity of emotion passing between them was almost overwhelming. Feeling impossibly more naked than before, Alec had to swallow past a sudden lump in his throat as he said with the fierceness of a vow, “I love you. Nothing will ever change that.”

“Same here,” Jace replied immediately in a way that should be flippant but instead felt simply sincere. “You’re mine and I’m yours, and everything else will sort itself out.”

Alec wasn’t even surprised that their thoughts that wandered the same paths, but right then Jace lifted himself slightly, only to sink back down, and pleasure sparked through them both like electricity. The time for words was passed as they gave themselves over to the physical sensations sparked with each upwards thrust of Alec’s hips, Jace grinding down to meet him, their bodies finding a rhythm as easily as breathing.

Alec knew he wouldn’t last long, yet the thought didn’t detract from the sheer joyfulness of their coming together. Ecstasy raced through him, heat coiling in a tight spiral in his belly, only waiting to be released, and he could feel Jace responding in kind. Every now and then he’d glance away from Jace’s flushed face, only to find his shining eyes again in the mirror, drinking in the sight of their coupling with a thirst Alec suspected would never be quenched. Behind them, their wings beat easily, and although Alec had never had sex like this, there was no awkwardness, no fumbling or accidentally hitting each other. Instead they both used them to balance each other as the speed and strength of their movements increased, as if that was what they’d been made for.

When Jace carded his fingers through Alec’s feathers, making him buck and curse, Alec had wrapped one hand around Jace’s erection, using the leftover oil from when he’d prepped him in order to jerk him off purposefully, no longer teasing. They were both approaching their climax now, and Jace was interrupting their kisses with increasingly filthy talk, encouraging Alec, “Do it, fuck me harder, fill me up, want you in me always, Alec, Alec, Alec… Oh, Angel!

He lost coherence, his head falling back, mouth open in a long groan, and Alec stopped his thrusts, intending to focus completely on his parabatai while he came apart. Instead he could feel Jace’s orgasm like a train rumbling towards them with increasing speed, pulling Alec along in its wake, wave after wave of white-hot pleasure hitting them both at the same time. Jace started to come, spurting over Alec’s lax fist and onto both their stomachs and chests, just as Alec’s balls tightened and he emptied himself into his parabatai’s body.

It seemed to go on forever, both of them unable to do anything except cling to each other, still feeling utterly, completely connected. It was awe-inspiring, almost frightening, yet Alec had never been less scared, and they held one another through the aftershocks, their hands wandering aimlessly over hot skin, down backs once more free of wings. When they’d caught their breaths, their mouths found each other in another long kiss, lazy and sated.

“Can I stay here?” Jace finally asked sleepily, his head drooping against Alec’s shoulder as his earlier exhaustion finally caught up with him.

Tenderness sweeping through him, Alec pressed a kiss against his parabatai’s temple and offered without hesitation, “Well, maybe the bed would be more comfortable.”

“Smartass,” Jace teased, but he did get to his feet, offering Alec his hand. Before they could leave the sanctuary of the bathroom, however, Alec stopped him long enough to rinse them both with some warm water. Jace almost nodded off in the process, and by the time they finally reached Alec’s bed, he was mostly dead weight. Alec didn’t mind, however, simply deposited him gently on the mattress and slid in afterwards, not bothering with clothes. Covering them with a blanket, he wrapped his arms around Jace from behind, making himself a barrier between his parabatai and the world, giving in to the urge to protect him even now.

When they woke, it was with Jace draped across Alec’s body, their limbs tangled, and their bond humming with warm contentment. Checking the clock, Alec saw with surprise that it was still early despite everything that had happened the night before. Still, without the need to say it out loud, he knew that Jace didn’t want to stay in bed either. All too soon, reality would have them again, but not yet. This was still their time, and Alec kissed Jace gently before getting up.

The sight of his parabatai, sprawled loose-limbed and naked in his bed made him almost reconsider, but Jace winked, as if he knew exactly what Alec was thinking, and rolled to his feet. Stretching on his tiptoes, he kissed Alec lingeringly, although their combined morning breaths stopped them from getting completely sidetracked. Stepping away with a soft smile that Alec could feel mirrored on his own face, Jace trailed a hand down Alec’s side, resting it against his parabatai rune for a moment before turning away. “I’ll see you up there.”

No further explanation needed, he slipped out of the room, and Alec quickly washed and dressed, unable to stop smiling helplessly. Through their bond, he could feel a similar sense of happiness from his parabatai, and when they met back up on the roof, their eyes locked in a caress that felt almost as substantial as the kiss they couldn’t risk where there were cameras. Still, with a small, defiant shrug, Alec offered Jace his hand, and without hesitation, his parabatai’s fingers found his in an unspoken promise.

There would be no more letting go.

There was darkness still to come, war and blood, and after that a fight for their right to love each other loomed, but for now, with one last squeeze of their linked hands, Alec and Jace stepped off the ledge together, wings extending. The wind caught them, and, with an exultant cry, they hurtled themselves into the morning sky and towards the rising sun, black and white wings beating in perfect unison.

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