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The Way You Wing It While You're Figuring It Out (Jace/Alec)

Title: The Way You Wing It While You're Figuring It Out
Fandom: Shadowhunters
Pairings: Jace/Alec
Rating: T
Summary: "As he edged towards the end of the alley, Jace almost laughed at himself. If someone had told him a year ago that he'd be selling sex on the streets of New York because his father had thrown him out for being afraid of monsters that followed him everywhere, he'd tell them to get a grip."
Author's Notes: This was written by a prompt on tumblr and I was going for both a full AU and a sex scene, and this is where it got me instead.
Also posted on AO3.

Even if Jace had expected it to start raining, that didn't make the fact that it had actually started any easier to take. He'd been freezing as it were and now he could feel the rain soak through the sleeves of his jacket and into his shirt. He huffed and pressed himself closer to the brick wall behind him, trying to get as far away from the increasingly heavy rainfall as possible.

It wasn't just the rain that he was hiding from, though, and Jace realised that it was getting darker by the minute. If he didn't want to get in trouble, he'd have to get out of here soon.

He didn't know how the monsters always managed to find him, really. He was fully aware that some of his clients were not human, but he didn't know what to describe them as. Just yesterday, there'd been a man whose skin glowed in a faint lilac with antlers coming out of his wild dark hair and the week before Jace had gone home with a woman with real, actual wings that felt like a butterfly's under his touch. They were always surprised that he could see them as easily as he did and Jace could almost understand why - it always felt as if he was looking at them through a thin layer of dust. It seemed to amuse them and Jace always tried not to look too irritated about that - the client was always right, after all.

But the mildly altered humans weren't the worst thing: they tended to have the strangest requests and paid him in gold (not that he was complaining, really, but who did that?), but at least they weren't dangerous. Things could be much, much worse.

As he edged towards the end of the alley, Jace almost laughed at himself. If someone had told him a year ago that he'd be selling sex on the streets of New York because his father had thrown him out for being afraid of monsters that followed him everywhere, he'd tell them to get a grip. Now, things had changed; everywhere he went, he could feel their eyes, their presence and sometimes even their touch. No one else seemed to be aware of them and that was exactly what his father had been fed up with - he'd grown tired of picking Jace up from police stations and hospitals because he insisted that he'd been attacked by creatures from another world. Actually, that wasn't quite right: he'd grown tired of that ages ago. It was the accident with the guy with the tattoos.

It had happened several months ago, when Jace had met another one of those... things, and this time, it'd been accompanied by someone - a heavily armed someone who looked as eager to get rid of it as Jace himself was. After the fight had ended and the monster had disappeared into thin air, the guy who'd been fighting it had been just as surprised that Jace could see him as most of his clients were now. He'd accepted Jace's gratitude, though; had then proceeded to pull out a pen-like device from his pocket and drawn an eye on Jace’s hand because it would “help him see”. Jace hadn’t had time to ask what that meant and how he could get rid of it, because it was just then that he had realised that it had all happened right outside his front door and just like that, his father had added imaginary friends to the already growing pile of Jace's wrongdoings.

"I can't do this anymore, Jace," he'd say that night, his hands hiding his face. "Your parents-" he cut himself off, just like he did every time when said parents were mentioned. "Maybe they would have known how to handle this, but I don't. I really don't."

So he'd moved out. Away from the only home and the only father he'd ever known and back onto the streets of New York, where he'd supposedly originated from. The first few weeks had been hell and then Jace had managed to find his way around things. He suspected that his first clients - the stranger, otherworldly ones - had spread the word about a boy who saw what other people couldn't and that had brought more of them to him, but it paid well and he'd given up looking for answers a while ago.

Jace's world was full of unanswered questions; that much was true. But there was at least one thing that he could know for sure - the monsters were never far behind. There was something in him that drew them to him and even now, he could feel someone's heavy, determined steps on the wet pavement behind him. They sounded too human to be one of those things, but whatever it was, it was looking for him. The street was a dead end one. There was no one, nothing else here and it would be better for him to look like he knew what he was doing.

Jace swirled on his heels.

"Can I help you?" he asked, bracing himself for the worst and almost losing his breath in relief at the sight of someone who looked ridiculously human.

Maybe that was it - he just looked human, because whatever that dust-like trick was, that guy was laying it on thick. Jace had to blink a few times to see through it and even then, he only barely caught sight of the marks that ran down every bit of skin that was left uncovered. It wasn't much - he was dressed almost entirely in leather and seemed comfortable enough in the rain with just a few raindrops clinging to his unruly hair.

Even before he looked up, Jace knew that it wasn't the same man as last time, but it didn't matter: he was like him. And in that case, he had answers to questions Jace didn't quite know how to ask. Instead, he just raised an eyebrow, still waiting for the guy to speak.

"Hello," he said instead of an answer and mustered something that was probably supposed to be a friendly smile but looked more like it’d been plastered onto his face. “Hi, I was wondering if you– I could– Listen, this is– You look cold.”

Even if this wasn’t the strangest thing that had happened to Jace this week – he couldn’t forget the girl with the wings so easily – it was pretty close to the top of the list. “I am,” he said, a little mystified. “Did you want something?”

“Yes, obviously. I’m here, right?” His voice was much more certain than his face and Jace had to fight a smile. By now it was clear that he didn’t know what he was doing and that he had an ulterior motive, but Jace wasn’t particularly inclined to protest. There was a lifetime of answers that he needed and if anyone could give them to him, it was the people who also saw the creatures that he did.

“Right,” Jace drawled. “What are you looking for, exactly?”

The man seemed to struggle with the question for a while and then dived right in. “How much to take you home for the night?”

“Three hundred,” Jace replied easily, like he didn’t even have to think about it. He knew that he was being greedy – especially given that from the looks of it, they wouldn’t even do anything – but he’d decided to go for it and it turned out to be the right choice. A few moments later, a few bills were pressed into his hand along with a key. Jace opened his mouth to ask but flinched instead when a distant scream echoed through the alley.

“You know the big red house on the street corner?” Jace nodded. “Go there and wait for me. I have to– handle this, okay? Wait there,” the man repeated, as if he was afraid that Jace would make a run for it.

“Can I at least know your name first?” Jace asked weakly and the guy gave him an oddly charming smile.

“Alec,” he said, and then he was gone.

Jace stuffed the money in his wallet and then hid the wallet itself in his jacket’s inner pocket. Once he found the house, he slipped in – the key gave after a while, as if it hadn’t been used in a long time – and stood gaping in front of the large hallway ahead of him.

That, Jace thought, could almost beat the winged lady from last week.


Once he’d dealt with the demon – and how inconvenient it was, really, that a demon had to show up while he was on a mission completely unrelated to hunting? – Alec used his own duplicate key to get into one of the safe houses his family kept around the city. He hadn’t thought of a better place for the supposed Shadowhunter; he’d probably seen enough unexplained horrors in his life as it were.

“Did you get him?” Isabelle’s voice floated through the phone and Alec nodded before realising that she couldn’t see him.

“I did.” His sister was inordinately excited about this mission even if she hadn’t been included in it and liked it when Alec kept her updated on his research on Jace Wayland – the research that had led him into a darkening alley during what looked like the beginning of the storm of the year. “He’s asleep,” he continued when he entered what had once been the drawing room of the house. “What kind of Shadowhunter falls asleep in an unfamiliar house?”

“Give him a break, Alec,” Izzy said and she sounded more annoyed than anything else now. “He’s probably exhausted and God knows how long it’s been since he’s slept well.” There was a pause. “Are you sure he’s a Shadowhunter, though? Maybe he’s just got the Sight. It happens sometimes.”

“I’m sure,” Alec said, taking another look at the rune on the back of Jace’s palm. “Some incompetent bastard Marked him and then just left him there. Can you imagine?”

“I supervise the cameras most of the time, you know.” There was a dark edge to Isabelle’s voice. “I can imagine a lot of things. Never mind that now. What are you going to do?”

“Wait for him to wake up, I suppose,” Alec shrugged and plopped in a nearby armchair. “And then I’ll try to explain everything to him. ‘Try’ being the operative word. And then I’ll have to bring him back to the Institute. And then... well, we’ll see.”

Alec listened to his sister get even more hyped about their new recruit and allowed himself a smile too as she kept talking about the new blood coming to the Institute. For what was probably the first time, he felt himself sharing some of her enthusiasm.