Author's Note: This is my first go at this type of story. I wasn't entirely sure I could pull it off, but I'm pleased with the way it is turning out. This story begins in Alicante, after the cookie where Jace all but dares Alec to kiss him. I've included the last paragraph of Cassandra's writing as a transition into my own text. All Mortal Instruments characters are owned and copyrighted by Cassandra Clare. No copyright infringement is intended. This will be a story told in multiple chapters, so make sure to add it to your updates list if you enjoy it.

"Most virtue is a demand for greater seduction." ~ Natalie Clifford Barney

Chapter One

An Unexpected Diversion

"I'm not stupid," Jace said. "I know how you think you feel about me. You don't, though. You just like me because I'm safe. There's no risk. And then you never have to try to have a real relationship, because you can use me as an excuse." Jace knew he was being cruel, and barely cared. Hurting people he loved was almost as good as hurting himself
when he was in this kind of mood.

"But I do —"

"You don't," Jace said. "Fine. Go ahead. Kiss me right now."

Alec jerked away from Jace as if he'd been punched, stumbling backwards in his attempt to put distance between them. "This isn't a game, Jace! You can't keep playing everyone around you like stringed instruments." His breath was coming quickly, but his words were low and hard. "What you just did to Clary, okay, I get it. You thought you were acting to protect her. But what the hell is this? Stop taking your frustrations out on me, because honestly, I have more than enough of my own!"

Jace cocked his head to the side and blew his bangs out of his eyes. "I'm not taking anything out on you," he lied. "I'm only doing this for your benefit, the same way you wanting me to stay mutilated from the picture window is supposedly for mine." He lifted his bloody, bandaged hand and waved it around for emphasis. "But, you just proved my point, Alec. You're hiding behind your alleged feelings for me. If you really felt what you claim to, you would have kissed me just now. You wouldn't have been able to not kiss me."

Alec shuffled backwards until his legs banged against an old wooden chair, knocking it off balance. As the chair crashed to the ground the echo of wood on marble filled the room, slowly fading away to leave only the silent sounds of anger behind. The boys stood motionless glaring at one another. Jace allowed the silence to stretch on for a moment to see if someone was going to come and see what all the noise was about, but no one did.

"Have a nice trip?" Jace asked nonchalantly.

Alec left the chair on the floor, and took a step back towards Jace. "You know what?" he asked, gesturing widely with his arms. "You are the last person in the world that I need to be taking romantic advice from. What makes you the expert? The countless interludes with girls that you cared absolutely nothing about? That's not what I'd want to emulate, Jace." Alec took another long sure stride back into the center of the room. "And look at you now. Look at you after you finally feel for someone what you are trying to tell me that I don't feel for you. Look how crazy it's made you. Look at the stupid things you do trying to protect her."

Jace clenched his hands into fists, and then winced from the pain of the forgotten injury. "I—"

"Shut up," Alec interrupted. "I'm not done. You claim to know what I do and do not feel. Well, I know exactly how you feel, Jace. How it is to want so desperately what you can never have. How the knowledge that you can't have it doesn't make the longing any more bearable, how it only makes the pain more acute. I know how it feels to have your insides always cold, always knotted and twisted. It's like a Mark with no purpose, burning and singeing your flesh, leaving it forever blackened, but accomplishing nothing. I know how it feels. It hurts like Hell." Finished with his speech, Alec stood defiantly glaring at the blond, his only movement the exaggerated rise and fall of his chest.

Jace drew his eyebrows together. "Well, that was poetic," he said lightly. "Alright, fine."

"Fine, what?" Alec asked.

"Fine. Maybe you're right. Maybe you are in love with me," Jace shrugged. This conversation had not gone the way he'd intended. He'd riled Alec out of his own need to escape thoughts of Clary, and Alec's monologue had only made it worse. He wanted action, wanted to be out slaying demons. Since that was impossible, he'd settle for whatever fight he could get. "But if that's the case," he continued, "then you're even worse off than I'd thought. I believed you were simply confused about your misplaced affection, but if you really feel that way…" he trailed off, baiting Alec.

"If I really feel that way, what?" Alec's voice was low and shaky.

"If you really feel that way about me, then you're a coward. I told you to kiss me, gave you the chance. But you were too weak to take it."

Jace knew it was the lowest of blows. He hated himself for being cruel to Alec, but he couldn't seem to make himself stop. He'd already crushed himself and Clary today, why stop there? Maybe when he was done here he'd go find Isabelle and see if he couldn't completely shatter her, as well.

It was with relief that Jace noted Alec was storming over to him, his arms coming up, Jace assumed, to punch him in the face. He'd let Alec land that first punch. It was only fair after the way Jace had used him. He stood still and braced for the blow, but was completely unprepared for what actually happened.

Alec's hands were not clenched into fists, and he did not strike Jace with them. Instead, Jace felt the warm pressure of two hands cupping his face. The sensation was bizarre. He'd had girls touch him this way, most notably Clary, but her hands were dainty and small, soft. Alec's hands were masculine; bigger, stronger, the hands of a warrior. Jace's breath hitched as Alec caught and held his gaze steadily. The internal struggle in his head flashed clearly on the sapphire playing fields of his eyes. Then he blinked, and the indecision was gone. Jace had only a moment to register surprise, the same shock he'd felt the night he'd pushed Clary and she'd confessed her feelings to him. He'd never expected her to blurt out the truth, and he'd never expected Alec to actually kiss him. But that shock was washed away by the sudden hot weight of the blue-eyed boy's lips covering his.

Alec's kiss was soft at first, nothing but the slow even pressure of mostly stilled lips; hesitant, but not reluctant. Almost as if he knew this was a one-time shot, and was determined to stretch the experience out, to memorize it exactly. Jace stood very still, not responding, but not pulling away either. After a few prolonged seconds, Alec drew back slightly to search the other boy's eyes. Jace couldn't even begin to guess what he saw in them—his own mind was a whirl of confusing and conflicting emotions—but whatever it was, it seemed to reassure him. Alec slid his hands from Jace's face to his blond locks, playing lightly with the golden curls while never breaking eye contact.

A flicker of heat like blue flames flashed in the dark haired boy's eyes and then Jace felt the dynamic of Alec's touch change again. The hands in his hair were no longer soft. They tangled and pulled in Jace's locks in a way that was both painful and incredibly pleasant. He used the leverage of his strong hands to pull Jace into him, back into the kiss. Though, like Alec, the kiss had changed. The timidity and softness gave way to forcefulness and confidence. When Alec used his lips to demandingly pry Jace's open, to his own detached shock, Jace felt himself responding. Completely of their own volition, his arms snaked around his friend's body and pulled him in even closer, effectively eliminating the space between them. The action sent waves of pain up Jace's arm from his injured hand, but he didn't mind. The intoxicating combination of pain and unexpected pleasure was exhilarating.

Alec sucked his breath in through his teeth, in clear shock at Jace's reaction to their embrace. Jace used that moment of stillness to turn the tide of the encounter, to become the aggressor. He caught Alec's swollen bottom lip between his own, sucking softly and then raking it slowly, so slowly, between his teeth before biting down carefully. Alec moaned and opened his eyes. The look he gave Jace was so full of heat, so full of want that an involuntary tremor racked his spine. He bit down harder on Alec's lip. Alec moaned again.

The boys were parabatai, a perfectly matched pair of warriors. On the battlefield they instinctively played off one another's movements, synchronizing themselves in the dance of combat. But now that inherent knowledge was having a different effect. It meant that when Alec's knees gave out and he began to fall backwards, pulling Jace with him, that Jace was able to use his good arm to keep Alec's head from hitting marble, and was fast enough to hitch his leg around Alec's thigh, softening the impact when they fell. The boys landed twisted sideways, a tangle of arms and legs. Alec's lip was bleeding slightly, but Jace covered it with his own mouth and sucked lightly, erasing the red stain from Alec's face and Jace's thoughts.

Alec rolled over and pinned Jace beneath him. The blond boy didn't struggle, but let himself be restrained; allowed the other boy to take control. Alec was using his arms to displace some of his weight, so though their bodies were pressed firmly together, the weight of it was not oppressive. The kiss—which had been broken with the shift—now started again in earnest. Alec's lips were demanding on his own, and when Jace felt him seeking entrance with his tongue, he parted them in submission. When he felt the first caress of it pass his lips, he closed them on it, drawing it into his own mouth with gentle pulls. Alec groaned against him, causing Jace to unselfconsciously buck his hips against the other boy. Alec gasped and began to pull away from him, but Jace pulled harder with his mouth, prolonging the contact.

Alec tore away from him, gasping for breath. He sat back, shifting his weight to his knees and the balls of his feet so not to crush Jace's body where he straddled it with his own. "Jace," he said in husky whisper. It was the first word either of them had spoken since they kissed, but it did not break the spell around them. Alec's deep blue eyes flitted down, taking in the way Jace's sweaty, blood stained shirt clung to his well defined chest, then slowly up the hollows of his pale neck where the fine lines evidenced old Marks, up the delicate line of his jaw to his swollen lips, flushed cheeks, and wanton eyes. He took his gaze even further upward, past the tousled mass of blonde hair to where Jace's arms rested, stretched lazily above his head. The sight of Jace's mangled hand caused his breath to catch in his throat. "Let me fix your hand," he breathed, and went to pull his stele from his back pocket. Jace reached for him with his undamaged hand, and grasped Alec by the upper arm.

"No," the word was soft but firm, just like his grip as he pulled the other boy back down to him slowly.

Alec resisted, apprehension written clearly on his slim features. "Are you sure you—"

Jace stopped the flow of words with a single finger pressed against Alec's lips. Suddenly emboldened by Jace's apparent lack of hesitation, Alec drew the slim finger into his mouth, sucking softly on it. Golden eyes rolled back as Jace pushed his head against the cold marble and arched his chest up towards the other boy. Alec began tracing agonizingly slow circles around the circumference of Jace's finger, but reached with his free hand for his stele. He grasped Jace's injured arm at the elbow, and pushed it down firmly to the ground.

Jace felt the hot burn of the iratze Mark being applied, and the small pain intensified every other sensation. He groaned and bucked against Alec again.

"Be still," Alec moaned after he released Jace's finger from his mouth. He leaned in to get a better angle for the Mark, which brought his breath coming in quick gusts on Jace's neck. Jace writhed beneath him.

The Mark, finally completed, began to wash warm soothing waves up Jace's arm. The pain was ebbing, and in its absence, clarity of mind was coming back. Jace didn't want to think clearly, he wanted the oblivion he was finding in the heady cocktail of physical pain and Alec's embrace. With a cry of desperation, Jace reached up and grasped Alec's face between his hands. He crushed his lips to Alec's, kneading and sucking and nibbling, but it wasn't enough, wasn't nearly enough. He could still think, he could still remember. He needed more. More sensation, more contact. More!

He slid his hands roughly from Alec's dark hair, down his spine, to where his tee shirt was riding up his stomach. Not wanting the separation that it would take to slip the shirt over Alec's head, Jace used his strong hands to rend the fabric in two, then ripped it away to expose Alec's glistening chest. Broken little pants were issuing from Alec's mouth, rippling up his chest. "Jace—" he gasped into their feverish kiss.

"Shut up," Jace threw his earlier demand back at him. He clutched one of Alec's hands in each of his own and drew them down to his hips where the hem of his shirt was pulled taught. He guided Alec's trembling fingers beneath the fabric a half inch above where the top of his pants met his bare flesh. With a sigh Jace closed his eyes and dropped his arms to the ground at his side, leaving Alec in control. For an instant, Alec's hands were still on the skin of Jace's stomach, and Jace began to worry that Alec was having second thoughts. But before he had the chance to voice his objection, nimble fingers were smoothing their way across his chest. The contact left trails of white heat, like that of the stele, in their wake, and when Alec's warm palm brushed across Jace's hard nipple, both boys moaned. Jace lay still another moment, soaking in the feel of Alec's hands on his body, before he grew impatient again. "Off," he demanded.

Alec traced his hands back down the same electric path they'd traveled once before. When they arrived back at the hem of Jace's shirt, they gripped it and began traveling up again. Jace arched his lower back off the floor to allow Alec to lift it over his head. The shift of their weight had their bodies pressing together in different ways that made both of them tremble, and which caused it to take an unnecessarily long time to get the shirt off. When it was done, and both boys were bare from the chest up, Jace lowered himself back down against the cold marble, shivering at the feel of it on his flesh.

Alec stared down at Jace, with his skin shining and his hair splayed on the floor around his head like a halo. He'd seen Jace shirtless countless of times before, of course, but he'd never been allowed to look at him. He was breathtaking. Alec let out a low guttural sigh. "By the Angel," he whispered, moving his gaze from Jace's body to meet his eyes.

"Angel?" A wicked grin twisted its way across Jace's mouth. "Not hardly."

Alec smiled back at him and lowered his face towards the blond boy's. Before their lips touched, he angled his descent sideways, pressing his lips instead against the cool hollows under Jace's jaw. Jace moaned, sending vibrations tumbling across his throat to Alec's lips. He lifted himself up and slid himself a few inches down Jace's body, reveling in the rush of skin where their bodies touched. He moved his mouth down Jace's throat, as well, tracing with his tongue the many almost imperceptible outlines that bore witness to old Marks. Angel, but he'd thought about doing this so many times, and the reality of it was infinitely better than the fantasy. The feel of Jace's skin, his smell, even his taste…they were all so much stronger, so much more consuming than Alec could have ever imagined. He used his teeth to tease the skin of Jace's neck, and was rewarded with a shudder followed by the pressure of skilled hands clutching his hair.

Slowly, deliberately, Alec moved even lower, nibbling and licking along the collarbone that outlined perfectly defined pectorals. He shifted his weight to his knees, giving himself the freedom to lick a fiery line across Jace's clavicle, and was unable to stop himself from smiling when the boy took in a ragged breath. He braced his hands on the floor on either side of Jace's shoulders so he would have the stability needed to nuzzle and taste more freely. When he followed a particularly deep etching of an old mendelin rune down the rolling hills of skin over muscle, he was drawn in by the pert patch of golden sensitive skin.

He drew the nipple into his mouth. Jace bucked underneath him, harder than before, and Alec fought to hold on to his shaky control. When Jace stilled, Alec began to suck lightly, drawing it in and teasing it with his tongue. The blond started writhing underneath him again, threatening with his movements to fray Alec's concentration. He responded with his teeth, nibbling and stretching the responsive skin until Jace's growing reactions nearly caused him to come undone. Reluctantly he withdrew and continued on his way down, finding another old scar to outline and fill in with his lips and tongue.

Jace's hands in his hair encouraged Alec's southward descent, pushing him down, and tangling wildly in his long dark locks. Both boys were breathing heavily now, and the sound of their panting and his own blood rushing behind his ears closed the world in around Alec. He could see nothing, hear nothing but the beautiful boy underneath him, just as it had always been.

He leveled out when he reached the sloping skin that marked Jace's navel. He looked up quickly to check the expression on his friend's face, but Jace's head was still thrown back, his eyes still closed. Alec drew a slow spiral around the indention of skin, gradually making his way inward. Tremors rocked the Adonis like muscles of Jace's abdomen, and Alec felt the physical evidence of the other boy's desire through the denim of his jeans pressed against his chest. Alec groaned and his own pants grew tighter in response. It was becoming more and more difficult to practice restraint.

He retreated from Jace's stomach, and moved his ministrations sideways, to the unbelievably appealing landscape of the blond boy's hip. The little crevice there was crying out for Alec to bite at it, so he did, and then brushed his face along the smooth expanse of Jace's stomach to nibble at the matching crevice on the other side. Jace arched off the floor again and let go of Alec's hair, bringing his hands down hard against the marble floor beside him. He clenched them into tight fists and pressed himself upward, seeking even more contact, more friction. He worked his lips over the pale flesh there, and then slowly—painfully slowly—he slid his tongue under the denim fabric that covered Jace's hip. The boy beneath him grew deathly still and silent, and for a moment Alec worried that he'd gone too far, pushed too much. But then, as quickly as the hesitation arrived, it was gone, and Jace was trembling harder than before.

"Don't stop," he choked, so Alec didn't.

They were reaching a point of no return. Alec knew that what they had already done would forever alter the dynamic of their relationship, but looming ahead was a step that could break it completely. As his lips continued tasting the salty skin of Jace's hip, his mind reeled with the possibilities of everything he wanted to do to Jace. Everything he wanted to do with him. But a thought gnawing at the back of his brain stopped him from pushing further. Alec knew that this meant something entirely different to Jace than it did to him. They were both using the situation as a means to their own ends, but if he did with Jace what his blood was screaming at him to do, he didn't know which boy would be taking advantage of the other.

He sat up suddenly, ignoring the discomfort of the marble floor on his knees. He had to stop this; it would be unfair to both of them to take it any further. He raked his eyes regretfully up Jace's body, drinking in a final time his perfect form made even more breathtaking by his vulnerability in that moment. When his gaze reached Jace's face, he was met with deep pleading eyes, as if Jace knew the direction of his thoughts, and hoped to change his mind. "Jace," he began, his voice trembling along with his body.

"No," Jace interrupted him. "Don't say it, Alec. And don't stop. Don't you dare stop."

Alec sat still, indecisive for a moment before Jace reached down and unfastened the top button of his own jeans with strong, sure hands. He met Jace's defiant look with one that he knew showed his confusion as clearly discernable as mundane newsprint. Jace bucked his hips one last time, a final attempt to push Alec's dwindling self-control over the edge.

Alec was never sure which choice he would have made, because as he sat staring silently at the boy whom he had always loved, the ring of echoing footsteps sounded just outside the door. What if it's Isabelle, or my parents? Alec thought wildly. Get up. I have to get up.

"Get up," Jace hissed and pushed Alec off him. Jace had just gotten his pants buttoned and his shirt pulled back down over his head, and Alec was wondering what he was supposed to do with the ruined scraps of his own shirt when his sister slammed open the door and waltzed into the room.

"What are you guys doing?" Isabelle asked, knitting her eyebrows close together in confusion.

"We were…I was, uh."

Jace rolled his eyes and lifted his still bandaged but no longer injured hand. "Alec was just helping me out with an iratze."

"Shirtless?" Isabelle prompted.

"It got stained," Jace shrugged. "So what did you need, Isabelle?" He asked coolly, only a small clenching of his fists to indicate his inner turmoil.

"We need you both down in the study, Aline has run off," she said softly, then turned to go.

Alec threw one last wistful glance over his shoulder at Jace, and then followed after his sister, still unsure whether he was grateful or furious with her for intruding.