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how are your lungs?

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His throat is the first thing Kit feels. 

That's perhaps the worst part of the disease, the way even breathing in after one of his episodes can feel like rubbing sandpaper on his respiratory system from the inside out. Today, it's so bad he's actually a little surprised he isn't actively choking on blood.

Maybe he did. His mouth tastes as if iron could die a gruesome death, which unfortunately he's far too used to these days. Kit decides to brush his teeth as soon as he can make sure it won't make him throw up- it would be even worse than usual. Nothing seems broken, at least, but his entire body feels like a bruise. Even his stomach is sore, the way it always is after a really bad coughing fit. 

Kit is less tired. That… is a surprise.

He experimentally opens his eyes; after an episode like this one, one of his parents should be by his bedside. Kit gets neither. 

Instead, Ty is fast asleep on the armchair Jem had dragged in a few nights after the first, claiming it would be kinder on his back. It does look fairly comfortable. Ty's headphones, stele and knife belt have been left on Kit's bedside table, Ty himself mostly curled up in a ball. His mouth is slightly open, crushed against the back of the armchair.

Kit finds that unfairly endearing. 

It doesn't surprise him that he doesn’t remember a lot of what happened right after the- the kiss.

It had already been a very busy day. He had known, down to his bones, that he was going to pay for all the running around. Nothing had hurt, exactly, not besides the raw throat that had become his constant companion, but the adrenaline would fade and the pain would settle in. It always did.  

Kit always paid a far too steep price when he pushed his body. 

Perhaps that was why he'd been caught off guard when Ty touched him, too busy thinking about when he would be able to sit down. 

The conversation, Kit remembers vividly. He doesn't think he'll ever forget the kiss. What comes after is fragmented, however: the vague memory of coughing up way more flowers than a pair of human lungs should ever be able to hold, Dru's concerned voice, Ty bracing his body against the shaking fits.

Then, being picked up by strong, lean arms. Letting himself rest his head on Ty's chest. 

After that, nothing. 

That’s okay. Ty got him home safe and sound. He was always going to. 

There is the warning of fluttering eyelashes. Ty’s eyes blink open, slightly glossy; he focuses on Kit’s face with what looks like relief:

"Good morning.How are you feeling?"

"That", Kit says, "is a very complicated question."

His voice sounds painful, because it is. Ty leans over- his shirt pulls up a little, pale skin in show- and grabs the mug. Kit wiggles up into a sitting position just in time to accept it.

"Tessa left it here for you. She says it should help with your throat."

The smell is familiar. A thousand moments fold into this one, a hundred first sips of tea in the morning, tasting like home. It also tastes very much like he should have brushed his teeth. 

"Thanks", Kit rasps out. 

"Of course."

A strand of hair falls on his forehead. His hands are shaky. They always are a little bit after bad nights, or particularly cruel training sessions. Kit holds the mug with both hands and wills them steady. 

Ty reaches out and brushes the strand away from Kit's eyes. He blinks up at him, surprised, as the hand trails lower- stroking his temple, his cheek, the shape of his jaw- until it reaches his neck. A thumb strokes his throat. 

Kit swallows. His mouth still tastes like blood. 

Stumbling out of bed is easy; the harder part is landing on dead feet. Ty snatches his hand back, startled, and Kit stands up, says a panicked " I'm gonna brush my teeth", and dives into the bathroom. 

Great. Really smooth work out there, Herondale. 

The person in the mirror, he knows from previous bad nights, won't look anything remotely human. There's nothing Kit can do about that, so he just avoids looking at his reflection. 

Mint toothpaste sucks, but it's better than the taste of iron, and, well, Kit's in a rush. He's kind of trying to avoid panicking here. 

The thing is. The thing is. 

Kit has been completely convinced that Ty does not give a shit about him. Clearly. It wasn't- nice to think about, it wasn't good, but he could live with it. At least for a few decades, he could live with it. It simply became one of the fundamental truths of existence. 

And now it isn't. And Kit… has no idea what to do about it. 

Maybe stop avoiding him, says a voice in his head that sounds like his therapist's. A step at a time. You know Ty never says something he doesn't mean. Plus, it adds, not unkindly: your legs are starting to shake. You need to sit down. 

Kit takes a deep, painful breath and opens the door. 

"Sorry," he says. "I got nervous."

Ty doesn't look up, but he relaxes a little. Some tension leaves Kit's shoulders as he slips back into bed, kicking off the heavy duvet so that it isn’t trapping his legs. They are unsteady, that’s true. Nothing that won’t pass with a few meals and rest.

"That's okay. Are you tired?"

"I always am", Kit says. "I think I'm gonna feel better, though."

Ty sighs, in- relief? "You... yesterday…You wouldn’t stop coughing, and then you just passed out. I thought..."

"I'm sorry. You probably have a lot of questions, don't you?"

His mouth opens, then closes as Ty looks at Kit, a frown on his face. "Are you okay enough to answer them?"

And that's… a very good question. He reaches out a hand, smiling a little as Ty reaches back and allows his fingers to be played with. Long, callused fingers. His nails are trimmed short, as much for practicality as, Kit remembers, the fact that Ty hates the feeling of his nails touching fabric.

Pressing the pads of his fingers against the blunt edges, Kit thinks.

He did mean it when he said he thought he was gonna feel better. In the moment, though… just the little walk to and back from the bathroom made him feel shaky. A little unsteady in his own body. A nap would be great, he knows, but would that mean Ty would leave? 

Ask , says the voice again, unimpressed. 

"Are you gonna stay here if I say no?"

"I'm gonna stay here unless you ask me to go", Ty says. 

Kit exhales. Slowly, he lets himself slip down into a horizontal position, his hands still clinging to Ty's. He should let go, he knows, but… Ty squeezes them. So it’s probably fine. It is.

The duvet is lifted (is Ty gonna tuck him in?-) and the mattress sinks as someone else slips into bed.

"I didn't sleep well", Ty explains, eyes fixed on Kit’s agape mouth. "Do you mind?"

"I really don't", Kit says. 

There's another smile, the sunrise one. Ty kisses him briefly before pulling away and gathering him closer, tucks Kit's head under his chin, holds him like a barrier to the outside world. It doesn't escape him that Ty keeps his body between him and the door. Hiding his face in Ty's chest feels very much imperative. It's a nice chest. 

A part of Kit wants to protest- what if his parents walk in?- but the rest of him has already melted against the warm, solid body against him.

"Go to sleep", Ty murmurs against Kit's hair. "I'm here."

He is. He is, he is, he is. 

Kit falls asleep smiling.