Simon had hated his timer for as long as he could remember. As soon as he was old enough to understand what it was and what it meant, he despised it. Mostly, he hated it because it meant that he and Clary were never meant to be. If they were, his timer would have already hit zero and then faded away. But in the days after he and Clary met Jace and the other Shadowhunters, Simon began to wonder if that was what was truly meant to be. But when he realized that Clary's own timer had his zero, he couldn't keep himself from hating Jace, the hatred taking over until he was able to forget about his own timer.

Growing up in a world where everyone had a timer on their hands had always been such a terrible stress to Simon. Their timers were supposed to tell them exactly when they were going to meet their soulmates, but Simon had never really bought into that. He didn't understand how anyone else was supposed to know who his soulmate was when he himself hadn't the faintest idea. But according to his timer he still had a few days until he met whoever it was supposed to be. And yet the only thing Simon kept hoping was that it wasn't someone from the Shadow World. He knew he could handle almost anything else, but the world he'd been thrown into with Clary was already starting to break him, and he didn't know how he might handle that sort of curve ball.

For as long as Raphael could remember, he had never believed that these infernal timers actually worked. As a child, he hadn't understood how his timer could ever possibly keep counting down for almost a century. He'd watched as his siblings' timers had easily hit zero, his own never seeming to move much at all. His timer had been somewhat of a joke to his siblings, they kept telling him that he would die before he ever met his soulmate. They hadn't known how right they would be.

When Raphael had been Turned, he began to understand that he actually might meet his soulmate, at least if there was any truth to the timers. He became increasingly nervous as the timer switched from months to days. He'd lived with the timer for so long that it had just become a part of him, he'd never truly expected to have to face whoever his soulmate might be. Raphael had long ago written himself off as not being able to love anyone, at least not in a romantic way. He thought of Ragnor and Magnus as brothers, but that's where it ended for him.

So as Raphael watched his timer go down to less than two days, he found himself wishing that he could do anything other than watch it hit zero. He didn't want his soulmate, whoever that might be, to realize just how broken he was. Raphael had watched Magnus fall in and out of love, despite the fact that his timer had been ticking down for centuries. If others could love people who supposedly weren't their soulmates, then why would that make Raphael any different? He'd come to the conclusion long ago that he was too far gone, that he was incapable of loving anyone. He just hoped that his soulmate would understand that he was unfixable.

"This is impossible," Raphael said, his voice clearly tinging on panic. "This is not happening. There is no way that you are what was meant to happen at zero." The boy looked up at him from where he was on the floor, clearly as angry about the situation as Raphael was. But Raphael could also see fear in his eyes, and that's what caused him to soften ever so slightly. He knew what it was like to be a mundane thrown into Downworld. "Surely you know what you're doing here," Raphael asked, trying to keep his voice soft.

When they boy, who he later found out was Simon, shook his head in a way that told him his fear was closer to terror, Raphael sat down beside of him, his heart suddenly soft in a way that it had never been. "Who Turned you, Simon? You can trust me, I swear it." Raphael didn't know how to react when Simon admitted that it was Camille who had Turned him. He could so easily see how painful this was for Simon, how truly Simon believed he had been turned into a monster.

Raphael's heart tore at the thought, so he allowed himself to get up from the floor and return with a bottle of blood. Simon looked at it curiously, clearly surprised by Raphael's sudden gentleness. Raphael watched as Simon took the blood, staring at it but not yet finding it in himself to drink it. "Soulmates," Simon said, his voice distant and soft, as though he was analyzing the word. Raphael began to wonder if Simon had ever imagined that his soulmate might be a man, and he was unsure that was something Simon had ever done.

"How old are you?" Simon suddenly asked, his mind obviously racing much faster than Raphael could keep up. He watched Simon's face change, soften in the way that his own heart had when he admitted that he was seventy. Simon finally looked back at him, his face now free of the fear Raphael had seen earlier. "You've waited for that long?" he asked, his voice slightly lighter than it had been. "And you got me. What a disappointment." Raphael could hear the part of Simon that was joking, but he could also hear the part that wasn't.

Without knowing what he was doing, Raphael realized that he was reaching over for Simon's hand, and he had no idea how that happened. When he saw a quick smile flash across Simon's face, Raphael realized that he'd only been trying to lift Simon's spirits. "It could have been a lot worse, Simon," he replied, hearing the happiness in his own voice. "Magnus, for instance, waited for centuries. Or I could have been like my friend, Ragnor. His timer simply faded away far before it hit zero."

Simon's eyes widened when he realized what Raphael was saying. "His soulmate died before they met?" Simon asked, his voice tinged with worry. When Raphael nodded, he felt Simon squeeze his hand as though he was already worried about losing Raphael.

"I never thought I'd live long enough to meet my soulmate," Raphael continued. He could hear how tired his voice was, but he figured that he shouldn't hide anything from Simon if they were supposed to be soulmates. He raised an eyebrow in question when Simon smiled and playfully shoved him with his shoulder.

"Well, sorry to tell you that you aren't exactly alive," Simon said, his voice full of amusement. Raphael couldn't help but laugh, Simon's smile touching him in ways no one's smile ever had. He was surprised when Simon finally lifted the blood to his lips, slowly drinking it as though trying to acquire a taste for it. The entire time, Simon kept a grip on Raphael's hand, and Raphael couldn't find it in himself to let go.

The hardest part of all of it was that Raphael had no idea how to tell Simon to give up hope before he'd even formed it. He was so scared that he would never truly fall in love with Simon, but he was even more scared that Simon would fall in love with him. He had no idea what he would do if that happened, he only knew that he didn't want to break Simon's heart.

"You'll have nightmares," Raphael had told Simon before the headed off to bed. "Turning is very stressful, the nightmares will be quite painful. If you need anything, come find me." Simon had taken much longer to fall asleep that night (or rather, day) than he usually did. He'd expected the nightmares, he'd known that Raphael would not lie to him, but he was not at all prepared for exactly how horrifying they were. When the dreams finally woke him, he felt as though he should have been flushed and sweating, but then he realized that you could only be flushed if you had blood running through your veins.

Simon realized he was shivering, but there was no reason he should have been doing so. Despite himself, he found that he was thinking of Raphael, a deep sort of longing forming in his chest. Simon tired for several minutes to calm himself on his own, not wanting to bother Raphael already. What surprised him the most, however, was when his door opened on its own, revealing Raphael who looked just as anxious as Simon felt.

"Simon?" he asked, his voice only a whisper. "You were calling out," he said as he stepped into the room, as though that explained everything. Simon could only stare at him, unable to find anything of value to say. "Are you okay?" Raphael asked as he moved to take a seat on Simon's bed. Simon tried to nod, but he couldn't seem to move at all, his feelings of being a monster overwhelming him more than they had yet.

Raphael knew that Simon would have nightmares, he just didn't know that they would be this bad. Most fledglings only had mild nightmares, and they generally easily went back to sleep once they were woken by them. Raphael himself was the only vampire he'd ever known to have nightmares so horrifying that he'd actually screamed while having them. But now here Simon was, unable to so much as move or speak after waking up from screaming nightmares.

The most curious thing about it was that Raphael found himself genuinely wanting to take care of Simon, he found himself moving to motion for Simon to lay back down. Raphael sighed as he moved to lie beside of Simon. Raphael had only intended to stay with Simon and slip his hand into Simon's, but he found himself smiling in surprise when Simon grabbed his hand and moved so that their sides were completely touching. "Thank you," was all that Simon was able to say, and Raphael didn't ask for anything more. Instead, Raphael began speaking, not expecting any sort of answer.

"It will get easier, Simon," he said, his voice much more tender than he had expected it to be. "But until it does, I'm going to be here." Simon remained silent, which was exactly what Raphael had expected him to do. "I must admit that I never thought this would be the kind of thing that would happen when my timer hit zero, but I'm not at all disappointed that it did." Simon smiled and moved closer, and Raphael couldn't help but smile as well.

"There's a lot we have to talk about, Simon," he continued, feeling himself become less nervous and more relaxed. "But I can already tell you that I feel you changing me in ways I never thought would be possible. So relax, Simon, I'm going to keep you safe." Raphael couldn't contain his grin when Simon twisted to kiss Raphael's cheek.

When Simon stayed silent for several minutes, Raphael thought that he had fallen asleep once more. But soon, he heard Simon speak up again. "Thank you, Raphael," he said, his voice full of so many emotions that Raphael couldn't hope to distinguish and of them. His only hope was that what he was doing to help Simon was actually helping, but when Simon spoke again, Raphael's hopes turned into much more than that. "I'm very glad my timer hit zero today."

I'm very very sad that I've finished this, but I do have something new that should be very exciting that I may start tonight!

As always, let me know your thoughts on any parts of this! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Also, if you have any ideas that you'd like to see me write, or you have any prompts, just message me! I'd love to hear about those as well!

Thanks for sticking through me with this! I love you all so much! You're the reason I keep writing!