Four's a crowd but five is a miracle
AN: You’re Alec’s best friend and you get called back to the New York institute to find your friends in ruin.
Characters: Isabelle Lightwood, Alec Lightwood, Jace Lightwood, Clary Fairchild
Pairings: Alec x Jace, Alec x Magnus
Warnings: self-harm (punching walls)
Prompt: “If we cant write Alec as straight, we might as well not write about him at all! Would you rly rather have noone write abt Alec than have us write him with a girl? Bitch he straight as hell, get over it!”
So, yeah, this is a bit of a spite story, but I actually kind of liked writing it. I really really like writing these characters. Also, I’m super not tryna start anything, write about whatever you want, I would just prefer writing Alec as gay myself.
It’s my first Shadowhunters piece, so let me know what you think?
*Set before Lydia but after the memory demon*
The silence seemed to expand between the band of shadowhunters, replacing years of love and laughter with tense looks and irritated snaps. Isabelle Lightwood was at a loss. Everywhere she looked, she saw signs of her brothers decaying, wearing on each other, destroying the bonds that had once kept them so close, and she had no idea what to do.
Sighing, she brushed her fingers over the photo stuck to her mirror.
Your smiling face brought back so many memories, so many good days and sunny afternoons and starlit nights; so many adrenaline filled hunts and heart wrenching injuries, but despite all of that, lots of love. When you had been there, there had always been love.
“Why did you leave Y/N/N?” She asked her photo, “We need you.”
Just then she heard a solid thump, the sound of her brother, Alec slamming his fist into his bedroom wall and, further away, the sound of Jace violently attacking the punching bag.
She sighed again, “Now more than ever.”
Alec fumed, his stomach rolling with a toxic mixture of hatred, anger, rejection, confusion and pain. He knew he was being irrational, he knew that his feelings demanded to be dealt with and he knew, logically, that if he wanted to, he could talk to Izzy, or Jace, hell he could probably even talk to Clary.
He couldn’t do that though. Speaking about his feelings would make them real, once the words had left his lips, he would have to act on them and he wasn’t sure he was ready for that yet.
His fist collided with the wall with a resounding thump. The physical pain was a welcome distraction from the emotional turmoil that stalked his every movement.
The punching had started just over a year earlier, when his thoughts were a constant flood of blonde hair and sculpted cheekbones and multi-coloured eyes. Back then it would happen once or twice a month but, these days; his knuckles were almost always bruised and bloody, not that anyone seemed to notice.
“Alec,” Izzy called from her room, “Alec, please.”
Alec paused, breathing heavily through his nosed and biting down on his back teeth to stop himself from crying out.
“Alec,” Izzy said again, gently, her voice shaking, “talk to me big brother.”
Alec closed his eyes, pressing his sweaty forehead to the cool cement wall. He knew Izzy was hurting, but so was he! Wasn’t he allowed to hurt too?
The boy’s thoughts turned to you. He ached with longing to have you with him again. You would understand; you would know what to do; you would be able to tell him, to help him understand why this was happening to him.
He sighed, closing his eyes. You were gone and, in his world, people didn’t come back.
Alec Lightwood took a deep breath and lined up his fist once more.
His knuckles split again.
“Jace, are you and Alec okay?” Clary asked as she watched Jace train.
He seemed off, less in control than usual, real anger and frustration driving his punches as opposed to obligation.
Jace snorted, but kept his eyes trained on the punching bag, “Fine. Why?”
Clary shrugged, “You just seem…”
“What?” Jace asked angrily, turning to face the girl, “Just seem what Clary?”
“Upset.” She finished quietly, shrinking back into herself.
Jace ran a hand through his long blonde hair, trying to calm himself.
“Alec is my best friend Clary; he’s my parabatai, the closest person in the world to me. Whatever this is, it’ll pass.” He assured her.
He hoped so. By the angel, he hoped so.
Clary tried to gauge the atmosphere between the three shadowhunters as they sat together, discussing what their next step should be. She wasn’t an idiot, she knew something was off. Something was breaking and she had no idea how to fix it. Even worse, she had a sneaking suspicion that she was the one breaking it.
Somewhere on a monitor, a red light began to flash, just a hopeful little light that was almost missed by the people that needed it.
“Hold on,” Alec said, “that’s really weird.”
“What?” Izzy asked.
“Someone’s coming into the institute.” Jace told her, moving to inspect the screen.
“Don’t you guys have wards and stuff to stop that from happening?” Clary asked.
Alec shook his head, “The wards keep out demons, mundanes and downworlders, but this person has angel blood.”
“That’s-that’s a good thing, right?” Clary asked, “It means they’re a shadowhunter.”
“Theoretically, yes.” Izzy replied.
“Realistically, well, Valentine is a shadowhunter too.” Jace finished.
“So what’s our move?” Clary questioned.
Alec shrugged, “Be prepared for anything.”
The next few seconds were tense. No one really knew what to do, so they just…waited. Just when Clary thought that no one was going to arrive, the door blew open and the autumn air carried in someone Clary didn’t recognise.
However, the change in her companions’ mood was immediate. A groan slipped from Alec’s lips and his bow clattered to the floor. The boy flew forward, wrapping the new arrival in the biggest embrace she’d ever seen from the reserved boy. Crisp, clear laughter filled the air and Clary looked to Jace for an explanation.
The blonde boy’s eyes were wide and watering with disbelief. He moved forward as if still dreaming, ignoring the curious red head’s look.
“Jace!” you cheered, “Oh my God, look at you!”
“Isabelle,” Clary whispered, “what’s going on? Who is that?”
Isabelle Lightwood smiled, peace and hope for their family invading her heart again, “It’s Y/N.” she explained, “She came home.”
And, with that, Izzy ran to embrace her long lost sister.
You were home, after what felt like a century, and by the angel it felt good. For so long now you’d felt lost, as though you’d been floating through the ocean without an anchor, just hoping to arrive home somehow.
And now, you were here, surrounded by the three people you loved most in the world, people who you’d missed desperately every single day for more than a year. You’d had nightmares about coming back, only to find that one of them had died or been mortally wounded, or to find them hating you so, to be enveloped in Alec’s arms again exceeded any of your expectation.
“You’re back,” Alec sobbed into your shoulder, “by the angel, it’s really you.”
“It’s me,” you laughed, your own eyes misting up with emotion, “I’m home. I missed you so much.”
Over Alec’s shoulder you spotted him, his uniquely gorgeous eyes boring into yours and your heart jumped again.
“Jace!” You cheered, reaching your hand out to brush his face.
With a graceful movement, he captured it and pressed your palm against his warm lips. He was just so relieved to see you standing there, alive and healthy and, seemingly, happy to be back.
“Alec, I need to breath.” You laughed at the boy.
“No you don’t,” he retorted, “you had more than enough time to breathe while you were gone.”
“Alec.” You started, “Off. Now.”
Alec sighed jokingly, “Fine.”
You took a deep breath, “That’s better. Now get over here Iz.” You smiled, pulling Alec’s sister against you and squeezing you tight.
“You have no idea how much we needed this Y/N.” Isabelle whispered into your ear, “Everything’s gone to hell. Jace and Alec…I think they’re killing each other.”
You raised your eyebrows, your stomach dropping to your feet.
“Don’t you worry,” you assured the younger girl, “I’ll do whatever I can.”
You looked at the boys you thought of as your family, wondering what on earth had happened to them since you’d left and hoping against hope that you weren’t too late.
“So,” you started gently, “What’ve I missed?”
You’d been sitting in Alec’s room, reading quietly and basking in being near each other after so long apart for nearly two hours, trying to find a way to address the thoughts buzzing around in your mind.
Alec shrugged, resting his head on your shoulder to try and avoid your eyes. You knew him better than any other human on earth, better than he knew himself sometimes and, for now, he just wanted to enjoy having you back.
“Come on Al, I know something’s wrong.” You pushed softly, “You can talk to me.”
Alec shook his head, “Not with this.”
You turned to face the boy and, in the process, brushed your best friend’s hands. The boy winced, but instantly tried to hide his pain. You frowned, your heart beating faster as you imagined what could be bugging Alec to the point of him not being able to tell you.
Seeing the look on your face, Alec began to backtrack, “It’s nothing, just stiff from training.” You reached for his hands and he pulled them away, “Really Y/N, it’s nothing.”
You grabbed his hands, gasping when your eyes landed on the purple bruises and crimson scabs adorning his knuckles.
“Alec-“ you started, your voice breaking with emotion.
He pulled his hands out of your grasp, swallowing hard past the lump in his throat.
“What happened?” You asked, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Alec shrugged, feeling the warm saltwater tears building behind his eyes again.
“You weren’t here Y/N. How could I tell you if you weren’t here?”
You nodded, a grim certainty that you would carry this guilt with you for the rest of your life settling onto your soul.
You opened your mouth, uncertain as to whether or not you should say what you were beginning to suspect.
Alec smiled grimly, “Y/N Penhallow, I know that look.” He touched your arm, “What’re you thinking?”
You pressed your lips together, “Is this about Jace? Is this what’s tearing you two apart?”
Alec kept quiet, the confusion and anger rearing it’s head again. He wanted to punch the feeling away, but this was you, this was someone who cared about him. Maybe you would understand.
“I don’t know why he means so much to me.” Alec admitted.
You nodded, pulling your best friend into a tight hug, “There’s no shame in that Alec. There’s absolutely no shame in feeling something for someone.”
“But he’s-“ Alec started.
“Alec.” You said, putting your hands on his shoulders, “There’s nothing wrong with being gay.”
Alec paused. There the word was, hanging in the air for the first time instead of bouncing around in Alec’s head like a killer wasp. Hearing you say it made Alec feel like a little bit of the weight pressing on his chest had alleviated.
“You’re gay.” He reiterated in a last ditch attempt to push the reality away.
You shrugged, smiling sadly at your friend, “Kinda, I prefer the term bisexual, but whatever makes you happy dude.”
Alec laughed weakly; feeling years of fight slowly seep out of his skin. This was what he’d been waiting for, someone to just sit him down and tell him the truth that had been sitting on his lips for his whole life. He had needed to know that it wouldn’t be a surprise, that it wouldn’t change the way these people saw him.
Alec took a deep breath, letting all his anger float away into the afternoon air.
“Y/N?” he said.
“Alec.” You answered.
“I’m gay.” He admitted, laughing as he wiped away his tears.
Alec Lightwood was gay. The crushing weight lifted, not entirely, but enough to make Alec laugh incredulously. He felt almost dizzy with relief as he pressed his lips to your cheek, so grateful to have you back, and to finally be free. Finally, Alec Lightwood could be himself.
“You know what I’m gonna do?” Alec asked you.
“I’m gonna call Magnus Bane.”
Jace swung his seraph blade slowly through the air, practicing his form and trying to control the flood of thoughts that threatened to drown him. Seeing you had made him feel things, things he didn’t know he was capable of anymore, things he hadn’t even realised he’d closed himself off from.
You leant against the doorway, watching Jace and wondering how to approach this discussion. When you’d left, you and Jace had been on uncertain terms but you’d missed him, by the angel you’d missed him.
“Hey there pretty boy,” you called, “are you practicing because you know I’m gonna whoop you or just for fun?”
Jace smiled, “You? Whoop me? Funny Y/N.”
The boy pulled you into a hug, breathing in the raspberry and coconut scent of your hair.
“How’ve you been?” You asked, grateful for the lack of games between you two, “Izzy said you and Alec have been…weird.”
Jace sighed, “Alec’s been weird, I’ve been normal.”
“So abandoning Alec and Izzy to chase after a girl you’ve just met is normal to you? Because that wasn’t how it worked when I was around.”
“Yeah well you haven’t been around for a while, have you?” Jace snapped back.
You sighed, and Jace’s face softened.
“Listen, I’m s-“
“No,” you interrupted, “you’re right. I’m just worried about you, that’s all. You and Alec have always been so…together. I can’t imagine a world where you two aren’t together.”
“Where were you?” Jace asked, “Why did you leave”
You looked down, opening and closing your mouth like a goldfish.
“Please Y/N, I need to know.”
You nodded, “I-uh I went to the Madrid Institute. I worked there for a while.”
“Why?” Jace pressed.
“Because I-“ you started, “I didn’t want things to change! You and I were-well-what you and I were, Alec was all lost and confused, Izzy was acting out.” You paused, “I thought that, if I left, the problems would go away.”
Jace shook his head, “If you didn’t want to be with me then-“
“You know that’s not it Jace. Alec is my best friend, yours too. It would’ve killed him and you know it.”
“I know Y/N, I just-I just really really missed you.”
Slowly, he took your hand and kissed your palm again, his eyes sending butterflies through your stomach.
“I missed you too Jace.” You admitted, cupping his cheek softly.
“Can we, maybe, start again?” he asked.
You nodded, “Maybe.”
Clary was confused. She had heard mentions of you throughout the institute, little bit of memorabilia still littered the training room, the library, the observatory and even Jace’s bedroom but everyone seemed hesitant to talk about you, or why you’d left.
A faint knock sounded on Clary’s door and she called for the knocker to come in, assuming it was either Jace or Izzy.
“Hey Clary.” You said, your voice smooth like melted chocolate to her ears.
“Oh, Y/N, hi.” Clary replied, jumping up to shake your hand.
“I thought I’d introduce myself,” You smiled, “and apologise for all that craziness when I arrived. I haven’t seen my friends in a really, really long time.”
You put the red headed girl at ease almost instantly, and Clary suddenly felt stupid about worrying about you.
“It’s okay, I totally understand.” She assured you, trying to ignore the pounding of her heart against her fragile ribcage.
You were beautiful. Everything about you seemed to add to the light that you omitted, making it almost impossible for Clary to tear her eyes away from your face.
“I also just wanted to make sure that you weren’t blaming yourself for all the tension between Alec and Jace. This storm has been brewing since we were kids, you just happened to be the catalyst for it to begin.”
Clary smiled, relief spreading through her, “Really?”
“Really.” You smiled, “I’m going to train for a bit, do you want to come?”
“Sure!” Clary agreed quickly.
This was it, she realised as you walked together. You were what they needed to fix them.