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what the hell would i be without you

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The door opens with a click. Kit hides from the sound in the crook of Ty’s shoulder.

“Hey, sleeping beauties.” Jem’s voice reaches him with audible amusement. “Time to get up.”

An inhuman sound makes it out of Kit’s throat as he turns into Ty’s tightening embrace, dragging the blanket higher over both of them. “Five more minutes…”

“You’ve been sleeping on and off for twelve hours. I think Tessa is starting to consider calling your aunt Catarina to drag you out of bed."

This rouses Kit enough for him to lift himself up onto his elbow, glaring with bleary eyes at Jem’s smirk.

“I’ve just expelled half a lung in flowers. Can I please get a nap?”

"Don't be dramatic. It was maybe a quarter of a lung, tops."

"You weren't there", Kit says darkly.

Maybe Jem does have a point. Kit doesn't weigh a lot- can't really keep as much down as he wants to, these days- but his arm is starting to shake under the weight of his torso, which probably means it's time to eat. Ty finally yawns, pushing himself up into a sitting position just in time to maneuver Kit into leaning against his side. At least the deep set exhaustion has mostly left.

Blinking, Ty takes in the situation.

“Good morning”, he tells Jem after a few seconds.

“Good morning. Are you boys hungry?”

Not really, Kit thinks. He’s actually more nauseous than anything else. But he recognizes the unsteadiness from experience, and it’s better to eat something now, nausea or not, than wait until the weakness sets in more and he faints. Again.

“Yeah. Is that soup?”

“I figured you wouldn’t want to get up”, Jem explains, handing Kit one of the two big, warm mugs he's holding. This one has a lid and a straw. Seems like he’s not the only one who doesn’t trust his shaky hands. “Tessa said she made you tea, but I don’t know how much it would have helped with the nausea you usually get, so I made you something that’ll go down easily.”

And won’t be too disgusting coming up, if it comes down to it. The taste is inoffensive enough, mostly chicken broth with small enough chunks not to hurt his throat too much, and the warmth is soothing as it makes its way to his stomach. Kit finds himself holding it protectively against his chest.

“Thanks, dad.”

A muscle jumps in the arm Ty’s using to hold him up. Oh, that is right- Kit hasn't really had the time to explain his new family dynamics yet. That is… something. 

(Is Ty going to judge him for it? Sometimes, even now, Kit feels like he's betraying Johnny by letting himself be a part of their family. His first dad would have hated it, Kit knows. No matter how good they were to him.)

(Then again, Ty of all people would understand that.)

“No problem, Kit.” Jem ruffles his hair affectionately, laughing at the dispassionate attempt at dodging, before holding out the second mug in Ty's direction. “I’ve made you some too, Ty, but don’t worry if you don’t like it. It’ll keep, and I can make you something else.”

Ty slowly accepts the mug with his free hand, taking a very cautious sip. His expression relaxes.

“No, it’s good. Thank you.”

“Julian might have actually killed me if I didn’t feed you, so don’t worry”, Jem says, amused. “Kit, how are you feeling?”

Sleeping has, against all odds, actually rested him; the shaking will subside as soon as his body starts digesting; even his throat feels a little better. No coughing fits woke him up at all, which is a novelty. Kit experimentally takes a deep breath.

Oh. It… actually feels good.

Huh.

“Living room day”, Kit decides.

“Not school?”

“Still kinda tired. Don’t think I can focus on math quite yet”, he says apologetically. “I’m feeling better, though. That feels kinda weird.”

Ty gently bumps his shoulder against his. “Weird?”

“I’ve kinda forgotten what it’s like to feel good.”

“It can feel like that, yeah”, Jem says sympathetically. “You should be getting better now, though, so you’ll have time to get used to it. A Silent Brother will come by later to check on your lungs.”

“Ugh, I don’t like them messing around in my head.”

“You know they just want to help, Kit.”

“I do, yeah,” he admits. “Still. I’d rather let you rummage around in my head, if that were still an option.”

“Sorry my miraculous cure came a bit too early for you”, Jem deadpans. 

“You should be.”

Jem shakes his head, still smiling, and leans over to kiss Kit’s sweaty forehead. Ty leans back to avoid getting in the way, but that’s almost unnecessary- Kit has talked enough about Ty for Jem to avoid touching him by accident. The kiss is quick, only a little embarrassing. Tessa, Kit is sure, would have drawn it out just to get him to screech at her in fake annoyance. He’s lucky to have Jem.

“I’ll leave you boys on your own now. I trust that Kit’s tired enough that I won’t need to give you The Talk again?”

Kit takes it back. Jem is a curse upon this Earth and God clearly knew what he was doing when he set him apart from most poor, innocent teenagers for an entire century.

“Go away!”

The pillow hits the door just as it closes, Jem's laughter echoing down the hall.

And now they’re alone again. Um .

A part of Kit wants to go back to his roots, hide from Ty’s gaze by diving under the blanket and staying there. Possibly for the rest of his natural life. Which- seems like it’ll be longer than originally planned.

And that’s… 

Something he will not be thinking about until he has confirmation from a Silent Brother.

“At least he waited until he was leaving to embarrass us?”, Ty offers. He’s tapping against the side of his own mug, eyes fixed on the mounds their legs make under the sheets, and Kit realizes maybe he’s not the only one nervous.

His hands have stopped shaking, too. Things are looking up.

“You had questions?” Kit prompts him.

Might as well have something to talk about. Ty steals a quick glance at Kit’s chest, the warm mug still cradled like something precious. There's the shadow of a frown in Ty's face for a fraction of a moment before he asks:

“Are you okay enough to answer them?”

“Yeah, I think so. I’ll just tell you if I get tired midway.” Kit gives him a tiny smile and shifts, putting his back against the wall. Leaving the warmth of Ty’s hold sucks, but it can get kind of overwhelming to have this kind of conversation while touching- for both of them, actually. And the wall is cold and solid enough to bring him down to his own body. “So go on.”

Ty leans over, grabs his phone from the bedside table, and opens the notes app. Because of course he does. At least Kit’s mug is big enough for him to hide a fond smile behind.

“How long have you had it? You couldn’t have hidden it in LA, we’d have noticed.”

You would have noticed”, Kit corrects him gently. “But you’re right. I got my first episode after I- after I moved here. I think it was the first night? I barely knew what was going on, to be honest.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

Kit pulls up his legs, holds them close with his free arm. The knobs of his spine press against the wall. 

“I’m sorry.”

“What?”

“I’m sorry”, Kit repeats. “I thought… You know I thought you didn’t care. And now I know you did, and… it was fucked up of me to assume. I should have known better. I shouldn’t have just... left. I like it here, but I- I fucked up, I broke my promise to you, and… I shouldn’t have. You trusted me to be the one person who wouldn’t lie to you, and I broke that trust. I’m really sorry. I promise I will never do that to you again.”

Pale, long fingers spasm around their own mug. Did… Did Ty not expect an apology? Kit holds his breath, waits while Ty works through it in his head, something fragile and surprised in the twist of his mouth. He wishes he’d apologized earlier. He wishes he’d never had done something to apologize for. 

“I don’t think I can forget that”, Ty says slowly, almost apologetically.

Kit winces, but tilts his head, a fair enough . “You don’t need to.”

“I- do accept your apology, though. I’ll hold you to it.”

“Please do.”

Ty smiles a little, drawing a little pattern in the condensation on the ceramic. A T, and a B, and a K, and a H...

“You didn’t answer my question.”

“Oh, shit- I meant to, but yeah, you’re right.” Kit straightens up. “I- thought you’d kind of already given your answer? When you didn’t say anything, and then you- you said there was nothing without her, which- I get now, it was a dumb thing to assume.”

“It was.”

“I’m convalescing, you’re supposed to be nice to me!”

 “I am being nice to you.” Ty jostles Kit’s leg with his own, still smiling a little. “Were there- did you get any treatment?”

“Kind… of? Palliatives, mostly, like mom’s tea earlier. The Silent Brothers said a surgery would be too invasive, and likely wouldn't last anyway.”

“Would you have gotten the surgery? If it worked?”

“I don’t know”, Kit admits. “I think I’d have convinced myself I wanted to, but… You were too big a part of me by then. I don’t think it’d have worked at all.”

Ty reaches out, gently bumps his head against Kit’s shoulder. 

“I’m glad you didn’t forget me.”

Kit gives him a self-deprecating smile. “I never could have.” 

He drinks the rest of the soup like a shot, leans over Ty just enough to leave the mug on his bedside table. This feels better already. Will it keep being like this, he wonders? A little better every time he sleeps, every time he eats, until his body goes back to what it used to be?

Will it go back?

"Well, you heard me earlier", Kit forces himself to say. "We can continue this in the living room."