baby makes three
this is based off @softjimon ’s adorable post about jimon doing the fake baby project and taking it super seriously
Jace didn’t even know why he signed up to take a life skills class.
When quickly filling out his course selection at the end of his junior year, only a few hours before the deadline, Jace’s only goal had been to get all of his credits. He’d had a gap to fill, one more class he needed to sign up for, and Magnus had helpfully suggested taking what was called “Life Management and Development” because he’d taken it the year before and it was supposedly a blow-off.
Magnus was mostly right. For most of the year the class consisted of watching Lifetime movies and learning how to hold down a job. Jace used the class to pester Simon into helping him with his stats homework.
Simon, who for some unfathomable reason would stop at nothing to take every advanced class he could, was only in life skills because his mother wanted him to relax in his senior year and try not to stress after a breakdown at the end of his junior year that put him out of commission for a few days.
It was kind of nice, Jace thought, to have a class with Simon. He never got to hang out with Simon without the rest of the group, and through the year Jace learned a lot about him.
And even after all that learning, he was surprised when Simon immediately put his hand on Jace’s wrist the moment Ms. Rollins announced a partner project.
“Really?” Jace asked, eyebrows raised. “You want to pair with me? For a major grade? Even though you can see me filling out my homework that’s due next period as we speak?”
Simon rolled his eyes. “It’s life skills, Jace. It won’t be hard. And I don’t want to be with anyone but you. I don’t even know these other peoples’ names.”
“And you’re hoping you’ll be a good influence on me?” Jace guessed. Simon smirked.
“If only that were possible.”
Admittedly, a fake baby project wasn’t anything that Jace ever imagined himself participating in. And Magnus hadn’t done it last year, so Jace never even considered the horrible possibility.
Apparently Simon didn’t have that problem.
“She’s cute!” Simon exclaimed, sounding pleased as he and Jace both peered into the plastic carrier at their baby. It was scarily realistic, with a little rubbery face and an actual real diaper, which Jace personally felt like was a waste of a diaper that a real baby could use.
“The baby will behave like a real baby.” Rollins said from the head of the class. “It will cry, it will be hungry, it will need to be changed. On the clock, not just when you’re at school. Now I have no way of knowing if one partner is doing all the work, but I’m trusting you and your partner to share the work evenly. Like how a real, successful marriage would operate.”
“Did I propose to you?” Jace whispered to Simon. “Or did you propose to me?”
“You proposed to me.” Simon responded. “I said no the first three times, but I was after your money.”
“Jokes on you.”
“This is a major grade, people!” Rollins announced. “If the baby is neglected, the data gets sent to me. So for the next two weeks, take care of that baby.”
“Well, I think the obvious thing to do is name her Leia.” Simon declared immediately, and Jace honestly wasn’t even surprised. He didn’t care what they called the fake baby, but he felt the need to argue anyways.
“I don’t think she likes it.” Jace said thoughtfully, and they both studied the expressionless face of their baby. Simon leaned in, his head right beside the baby’s face.
“She just told me she loves it.”
“She can’t even talk yet!”
“Yes she can.” Simon grinned. “Our daughter is a genius.”—
The baby wasn’t that bad. Whenever she cried in class, Jace was always shooed into the hall by his teachers and he got to miss a few minutes of boring lessons. And it was stupid, he knew that, but holding the baby and getting her electronic cries to eventually lessen made him feel a dumb sense of pride.
“She cried like, three less times than usual.” Jace told Simon as he passed Leia off during lunch. “I think she’s acclimating.”
“I read about emotional maturity.” Simon answered as he took a bite of salad. “Even a few days can make a huge difference in the ways infants behave.”
“Guys.” Clary pulled their attention from Leia, who was being fed by Jace from the plastic bottle that was always in Simon’s bag. “This is really sweet, the way you guys are getting along and–and raising a child–”
“It’s weird.” Alec deadpanned. “She’s plastic.”
“Hey, it’s a good project.” Simon said defensively, reaching for Leia so he could hold her protectively against his chest. “Good parenting is an important skill to learn.”
“Yeah, Alec.” Jace stuck his tongue out at his brother. “I’m learning valuable skills. When you and Magnus have a kid, you’ll call me and be like ‘Jace, please, we need your expertise because our child hates us and won’t stop crying!’ And I’m just gonna be like, I don’t know guys remember when you made fun of Leia?”
“Boom.” Simon knocked his fist against Jace’s.
“Maybe we should really be questioning why Jace and Simon are suddenly attached at the hip?” Magnus said with a wide smile, eyeing the point of connection where the boys’ knees were touching.
“Children who experience divorce can be severely emotionally stunted.” Simon supplied. “As Leia’s dads, we love her too much to hate each other.”—
“Is this is chi-squared test or a goodness of fit test?” Jace asked, showing Simon his current stats question. Simon didn’t bother to look, too focused on Leia to move his gaze.
“Is it uni-variate or bi-variate?”
Jace looked back down at the paper and groaned. He fell back against Simon’s bed, burying his face in one of Simon’s pillows which smelled exactly like strawberry shampoo and cologne. The signature Simon Lewis scent, which Jace was becoming accustomed to.
“I’m going to fail stats.”
“At least you won’t fail life skills.” Simon said cheerfully. “Rollins said we have the highest grade so far. And only one week left.”
“Is it dumb that I’m going to miss her?” Jace mumbled. “I mean, I paid good money for that onesie. And endured a good two days of mockery from my siblings.”
“I think it’s cute.” Simon said thoughtfully. “You’re a good dad.”
Simon yawned and flopped down to lay beside Jace. He securely placed Leia between them and closed his eyes, unaware of Jace continuing to stare at him. If he was being honest, the end of the project would be difficult because it would mean the end of having a reason to constantly be around Simon.
Not that he didn’t see Simon everyday at lunch and in class and every time the group hung out. But, still. He liked having some alone time with Simon. He liked looking at the soft expression on Simon’s face when he held Leia, or the way his curls fell over his eyes. Or the way his eyelashes fluttered as he fell asleep, which Jace was appreciating for the first time currently.
He stared for awhile until he felt himself dozing off. He was almost entirely out when Leia started crying, the electronic sound of her sobs filling the quiet bedroom. Simon shifted on the bed, his hands shoving Leia gently into Jace’s chest.
“Your turn, J.” He muttered before drifting off again.
Jace sat up and cradled Leia to his chest. He’d never really considered having a traditionally domestic life, with a spouse and a child and all of that. And maybe he was getting ahead of himself, but holding his fake baby and looking at his fake, peacefully sleeping husband, Jace reached the conclusion that maybe this wasn’t so bad.
And maybe he didn’t need a plastic baby to spend time with Simon, to hang out at Simon’s house and take naps beside Simon and call him teasing pet-names.
So when Leia stopped crying, Jace settled back down beside Simon and began to plan a way to ask him out. He was fairly certain that Simon would say yes. How could he say no to his husband?