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Trouble Seems To Follow

Chapter Text

London, 2015

Kit lay in the narrow Institute bed, counting tiny cracks in the moulded ceiling above him, in hopes boredom would send him off to sleep.

He shifted and rolled over, reaching for his phone. 23:47 it read.

Sighing, Kit tossed it on the bedside table. Institute training started again at six am but sleep remained elusive. He tapped his fingers against the headboard, and then traced out the small grooves carved into one corner. WH. William Herondale

Tessa’s first husband had certainly been fond of monogramming his initials across the building- the library was littered with books signed with his name, which had annoyed Kit at first. But now it was almost a game to spot the tell-tale spiky W and H in the various Institute tables or wooden wall panels.

In the tower room that was also now Kit’s, he had spotted six separate ones, plus one carving he suspected was from Tessa and Will’s daughter, reading ‘LH + JB’. He didn’t know why but that one had made his throat ache when he had found it. He had sent a photo of it to Tessa, who had replied back with a single ‘<3’.

He knew Bridget had given him the room as a nod to his last name but… given the choice, he would have preferred a different one. He wasn’t a Herondale Herondale. Not of Tessa’s line. Not like Jace. Not like the perfect Herondale warriors or brilliant strategists of the past. The Herondales that the other Shadowhunters on their travel year at the Institute expected him to be like.

So sue him, Kit thought grumpily- so he hadn’t grown up as a proto-Spartan or went through gruelling Academy training and then drunk angelic fire to get the abs, chiselled jawlines and perfect aim most Shadowhunters seemed to have.

Jem had done his best but Kit knew he was at best a mediocre, working towards competent, fighter. And while he, Jem and Tessa had talked about it and worked hard on his other skills, for many reasons, Kit couldn’t showcase them during training.

Kit had to admit to himself: he hated it here at the London Institute. He should’ve just headed back to Cirenworth after his visit with Jace and Clary in New York. But it wasn’t possible.

Therefore, for the foreseeable future, he would give as many charming smiles and paper-thin excuses as needed to skip training and ignore the sideways glances and whispers that followed when he still failed at basic Shadowhunter tasks.

Which happened more when he didn’t sleep well… Kit contemplated getting up and going for a quick wander down the Institute’s halls, wondering if movement would help stop his ruminations.

He had gone to bed fully dressed. Old habits that had formed during childhood with his father, were now resurfacing as his First Heir problems had multiplied. Given the close calls he had had at Cirenworth and New York, he knew why he was fully dressed, unable to sleep, in London on a lumpy bed. But it still sucked.

Kit also knew the real reason why he didn’t want to wander this late. During the day he kept busy enough… but at night the literal ghosts – Jessamine was way too eager to have a Herondale to talk to again – and the figurative ghosts of his past experiences at the London Institute, were too close for comfort.

Plus- there was Ty- a complication who had arrived with two other Centurions the previous evening. Kit had so far successfully avoided him.

“KIT!”

Kit sat bolt upright, as Livvy’s voice filled his room. A couple seconds later, she popped into sight in front of him. In the moonlight, her dark hair and eerie eyes contrasted with the blinding white of her skin and even paler shade of her funeral dress.

“Livvy?” Kit relaxed his hold on the knife he kept under his pillow but felt goosebumps rise along his arms in alarm. She sounded terrified.

“Kit, Kit- Kit, you have to help- it’s Ty, he’s-” Livvy’s frantic voice pulled at something in Kit’s chest. And he forced himself to take a deep breath, even as he swung into action.

“Where is he? What’s wrong?” he demanded. Shoes and weapons belt already on, and one arm into the spare gear jacket he kept beside his bed, he pulled his go-bag from underneath the loose floorboards. In it held his stolen weapons and all essentials for a quick escape.

Livvy was hovering anxiously beside him. She hadn’t answered his question.

“Livvy- what’s wrong with Ty?” Kit tried to keep his voice calm, even as he unzipped the bag and then thought better of it. He’d bring it all. “I need to know so I can prepare.” He stood up and attempted to find the quiet center of his power. Just like Tessa had taught him. He tried to ignore the thudding of his heart.

“It’s- I don’t know, I think it’s some kind of Fae monster, it doesn’t look like any demon I’ve ever seen, it has him cornered- Kit, HURRY!”

He focused. Everything outside of his immediate vicinity went blurry, and a rushing sound filled his ears, wind swirling around him. He closed his eyes.

When he next opened them, he had teleported to a dim alley and was standing next to a bloodied and winded Ty.

Ty was on the ground, fending off a bulky multi-tentacled monster, hacking at the barbed arm that had wrapped around his leg.

Kit was vaguely aware of the horrified look Ty gave him before he had to dive out of the way, as the monster clocked onto the new arrival on the scene and sent several spiky barbs his way. Oh, they could detach from its body… not fucking good, he thought, even as his training kicked in.

But his hands closed on his empty weapons belt. Out of the corner of his eye, Kit saw his abandoned, carefully packed bag get torn apart, weapons scattering, and money fluttering, and he realised his mistake.

He scrambled to his feet. He’d have to improvise.

“Ty!” he called, and even in the dim lighting and the monster in front of him, he could see Ty’s attention snap to him.

“I can get us out of here but-” He was aware that Livvy had also re-appeared beside Ty.

He saw Ty nod, as he pulled out another blade from his own weapons belt, and cut the last bit of flayed tentacle from his leg. He pulled himself to stand.

The monster- its menacing rhino-shaped head swerving towards him, swept several tentacles back from Ty, and held them up in the air. Almost as if it were scenting for prey.

A rumbling noise filled the air and Kit realised it was the creature’s laughter.

“Ahhhh, the First Heir…” it hissed. “Finally you come to meet your doom.”

Despite the dire situation, Kit grinned. What was it with Seelie creatures and monologuing? Every. Single. Freaking. Time.

“Sorry not sorry- love to stay around and chat but we have to bounce-” he said. He started to edge towards Ty, who had also begun to move towards him.

The creature noticed and lashed out with its largest tentacle. But not towards Kit- towards Ty.

Livvy screamed in frustrated anger as the arm swung through her incorporeal body.

Without thinking, Kit flung himself forward and tackled Ty, feeling solidity of muscle and a soft oomph as they crashed towards the ground. A stinging pain passed over his back.

He had a brief moment to panic at the nearness of familiar grey eyes before he instinctively fumbled towards his power and thought: home

*

They were in the country. After three years hiding in rural Devon, Kit could tell the difference - something about being not in a city meant the air sounded alive

Somewhere nearby, a small animal rustled in the bushes, while an owl hooted and the cool, late-summer wind blew over his back.

Underneath him, Ty coughed.

Kit scrambled backwards, almost falling over and despite being injured himself, Ty somehow reached out a hand to steady Kit.

Kit forced himself to take a deep breath, feeling Ty’s strong grip on his shoulder. He knew that Ty was watching him, steadily. But they both didn’t say anything, and slowly Ty withdrew his support, propping himself onto his elbows.

“Ty-Ty! Are you hurt badly? Kit- give him an iratze!” Livvy had followed them and her ghostly light shone bright, showing they were at the edge of a small clearing, outlined by a low stone fence.

Kit carefully sat back, feeling his gaze blur for a moment, almost as if he were still teleporting. Then it cleared, and Kit felt a moment of pure elation. He had never successfully managed to bring anyone with him with his power- but somehow he had managed to extricate himself and Ty from the Seelie monster situation. He’d take that win.

“I’m okay, Livvy,” Ty said, his gaze not leaving Kit.

“You’re not- you’re bleeding,” Livvy said. But her voice had softened as she took in the two of them, both sitting in close proximity and yet holding themselves in a primed position, despite the moment of danger having passed.

“Not badly,” Ty said.

There was a moment of silence again. Kit could feel the weight of the past three years catching up. At least he and Livvy had had a chance to talk briefly, those few times she had come to visit him at Cirenworth.

“Livvy’s right,” Kit said, finally. He ducked his head, pushing away the sick feeling in his stomach. “I um- the bag the monster destroyed held all my stuff, so I’m gonna have to use your stele…”

Ty dug into his gear jacket pocket, handing it to him without a word. His jacket was shredded and in the moonlight, Kit could see the oozing blood where the barbs had caught on his skin. It must’ve been extremely painful, he thought but Ty hadn’t complained.

“Tessa showed me some field medicine stuff so umm-” Kit said awkwardly.

Ty nodded, his face holding an expression of trust that Kit remembered. “Of course- you should do an assessment.” He unzipped the rest of his jacket, pulling it off, and then leaned down to pull up the remains of his gear pants, where the worst of the damage looked to be, Kit thought.

Kit carefully went through a mental checklist while Livvy settled onto a nearby log, her gaze watchful. He noted Ty’s pallor but also the intent set to his mouth, and the glinting intelligence in his eyes as he peered up at Kit, eyes occasionally flicking to trees beyond, ever the Shadowhunter, still assessing for danger. No head wounds.

Kit noted the blood- mostly from shallow wounds spread evenly across the torso and leg, but also Ty’s careful, steady breathing and equally reassuring heartbeat beneath Kit’s cold fingers, as he took Ty’s pulse. No breathing or circulation issues.

It also didn’t appear the tentacle barbs had held poison, so Kit felt confident to proceed with the normal Shadowhunter aftercare. Carefully, methodologically, he applied several iratzes, watching as Ty’s skin closed up and regained colour, though the rapidly drying blood still remained on the surface.

“Thank you,” Ty told him, as Kit handed over the stele, a shy smile peeking through, as he pocketed it. He stood, shrugging back on his jacket and Kit felt a quick flash of disappointment.

“No problem,” Kit tried to say breezily, as he also rose to his feet. But the words didn’t leave his mouth in the way he intended, and he stumbled, suddenly feeling like he was drunk.

Ty’s eyes widened in alarm. Kit heard Livvy shout something before he fell back onto his knees. His vision started to gray, even he could feel Ty’s arms reaching around him, bracing him, whispering something to him.

Kit passed out.

Chapter Text

*

A low crackling sound hummed in his ears and Kit could smell damp and woodsmoke, as he returned to consciousness. Fresh-from-Los Angeles Kit wouldn’t have immediately recognised the signs of a campfire but that was before he spent several nights out with Jem on the Dartmoor hills. 

Kit opened his eyes, instantly regretting it, the world still hazily spinning and the dim firelight too bright. He closed them again but not before noting the tall shape in front of him, hunched by the fire, poking at it with a stick in an almost rhythmic fashion. 

Ty. 

Keeping his eyes shut, Kit deliberately took a deep breath through his nose, and let the air out again through his mouth, just as Tessa had taught him. Useful for both panic attacks and post-magic exertion fainting. Although it had been a while since Kit had experienced either but… given the circumstances, maybe not that surprising he thought ruefully. 

It started to work after a few rounds of deep breathing and Kit returned to taking stock of his surroundings. He was side-lying on the ground, his head cushioned by- he peeked his eyes open- yep, that was Ty’s gear jacket, still torn up but turned inside out to avoid the blood. 

His dizziness was starting to fade. Kit kept his eyes open, letting them adjust to dark clearing. He was strangely warm, given his position lying on the ground, but he then realised his right sleeve had been roughly pushed up and he saw the freshly-drawn iratze and Thermis runes black on his forearm. 

Kit pushed down memories of a lifetime ago, and the same grey-eyed boy carefully drawing an iratze , his fingers gentle as he gave Kit his first rune.  

Ty must have also drawn a Thermis rune on himself, Kit thought, stealing a glance back towards the fire. Otherwise he’d be absolutely freezing, given he was only wearing a thin t-shirt, and barely that. Kit could see black Marks and white scars peppering the top of Ty’s left shoulder, where the fabric had also been torn in the attack. 

Kit flicked his gaze away, feeling oddly guilty for observing Ty without his knowledge, knowing he should say something. Let Ty know he was awake. 

But he didn’t… and slowly, his curiosity got the better of him. Kit had seen Livvy in the intervening years - not that ghosts changed in appearance - but Ty had been a mystery. In his lowest moments, Kit admitted he had let his mind wander to what the other boy might look like; now that they had had years and experiences apart. 

Earlier, Kit had been caught up in a post-fight adrenaline surge to pay attention to much beyond the basics. But now, he allowed himself to look closer. 

This Ty was taller - Kit had already seen that in the alley, he must have had a few inches on Julian, who had visited Cirenworth with Emma just before Kit had left for New York. And by that measure, a good four inches on Kit, who stubbornly remained at just below six feet. 

Ty hadn’t bulked out but maintained his lean frame, with slightly broader shoulders than Kit remembered. His hair was the same ink-dark black but longer- curling around his ears and fluttering at the nape of his neck, from the wind. 

He couldn’t see much of Ty’s face but in the flickering firelight, he thought the same, elven elegance Ty had always had - more so than the other Blackthorns - had only accentuated in the corresponding years. Kit could see it in the clean line of his jaw, in his straight brow, in the shadows highlighting his high cheekbones, as Ty muttered words under his breath, eyes straight ahead, staring at the fire. 

Technically he was the one with royal faerie blood, but Ty looked like the part of a faerie prince - a dark, dangerous one. 

Kit swallowed, his throat feeling dry.

The fire hissed; Ty looked up sharply, swiftly rising to his feet, a knife appearing in his hand. A cold breeze rose through the clearing and Livvy suddenly appeared beside Ty, and he relaxed.  

“I found a road about a mile away from here, heading eastwards. Down it, maybe a few miles, there was a sign for Chagford. And Dartmoor,” she said. 

“Devon,” both twins whispered, at the same time as Kit felt a thrill of recognition. He had been wondering where they were, given his command of home - and now he knew. They were close to Cirenworth. 

“We must be close to where Kit lives with Jem and Tessa,” Livvy replied, excitement threading through her voice. “When Kit wakes up, I’m sure he can navigate us there,” she said. 

“Yeah,” Ty said, but there was a note of - something in his voice. He fumbled briefly as he sheathed his knife. Livvy’s unearthly light had thrown his face in full relief - which held a distressed cast, Kit thought, as long-dormant protective instincts rose in him. 

Livvy must have seen the same distress in her brother because her tone changed. “What is it, Ty? What’s wrong?” she asked.   

“It’s… not. It’s- it’s Kit-” Ty’s voice was low but ragged-sounding. He gestured, half turning - towards where Kit was lying.  

Almost by reflex, Kit squeezed his eyes shut. Sure, maybe it was the coward’s option. But also- better to get more intel while both Blackthorns were unaware he was awake. 

“What about Kit?” Livvy asked. “We checked him out, Ty-Ty. His vitals are fine. What he did, getting you both out of danger, probably took a ton of energy. No wonder he collapsed.” 

“Exactly- what he did and what you did…” Ty said, in a low whisper. 

“What I did,” Livvy said, her voice rising. “What do you mean? I went to get Kit because your life was in danger!”  

“I had it under control, Livvy!” Ty said. “You didn’t have to get him involved.”

Kit felt his heart sink, hearing Ty’s tone. Clearly, Ty didn’t want to have anything to do with him. Now that the danger was past, they were back on their own separate paths.

“After everything I’ve done… I- after what we’ve been doing. You could have undone all our work,” Ty continued, frustration evident in his voice. 

“I’m sorry for that,” Livvy said. “But excuse me for deciding my brother’s life was more important than a Centurion mission.”

There was silence. “I also… I didn’t think. Seeing Kit again is-” Ty started, and then stopped. Kit desperately wished he could open his eyes, as he wanted to see if he could read Ty’s face better than his flat tone. “We should get back to London as soon as we can,” Ty finished. 

“You two should talk first,” Livvy said stubbornly.

“Livvy-” Ty said, a warning in his voice and Kit decided that he was tired of being talked about. He opened his eyes and made a big show of kicking some nearby branches and leaves to indicate he was awake. 

He needn’t have bothered. With Shadowhunter (and ghost) hearing, both Blackthorns were over in a flash. Kit handed Ty his gear jacket back wordlessly, his eyes catching the flash of silver at Ty’s throat, looking away even as he recognised that Ty was still wearing his mother’s heron necklace. 

“You’re awake. Good,” Ty said brusquely, his gaze casting around Kit, everywhere but near him. Kit felt pricklings of anger start to light in his veins. He pushed down the feeling, as he could feel corresponding power starting to gather in his palms.  

“Yeah,” Kit said, biting back a sarcastic retort. “So… what happened after I passed out?” he asked. As they huddled back around the fire, he let Ty and Livvy bring him up to speed, including the fact that they were apparently somewhere in Dartmoor. 

In the moonlight, the nearby low trees, brushes and stone fences did appear to be vaguely familiar terrain. “Makes sense,” Kit said. “Jem and I often went out hiking in Dartmoor- once we get to the road, I can probably get us back to town, and we can call from there. Or-” he suddenly thought of something. “If your phone is still working, we could call them now to come pick us up,” he said. 

Ty shook his head. “It got smashed in the fight,” he said simply. 

Kit thought longingly of his own phone, forgotten on his bedside table in the Institute. “Yeah, mine too,” he lied. 

Ty was now looking directly at him- not meeting his gaze- but almost as he were being studied, Kit thought.

“Could you teleport us there now?” he asked, curiosity lighting up his grey eyes. “Or does it take a while to recharge?”

Kit froze. Jem and Tessa had drilled into him he was never to reveal his powers to other Shadowhunters. To keep it back, as extra insurance, extra protection. Then he realised how stupid it was to deny it to Ty. 

“I- I don’t know,” Kit admitted. “To be honest… you were the first person I ever brought with me during a trip,” he said. “I’ve tried before during training but it never worked.”

“Hmmm,” Ty said. “That’s something new. When you le- when you left Los Angeles, you weren’t able to do that. Faerie magic.” It was said in an oddly challenging tone. 

Kit bristled. But Ty’s gaze then slid from Kit to Livvy and Kit realised while Livvy had somehow known about his powers, she hadn’t told Ty. Interesting. 

“Yeah- well, there’s a lot you don’t know about me anymore,” Kit said, pulling his knees into his chest, suddenly feeling exhausted again. 

“Clearly,” Ty agreed and his attention, unsettling as it was, was fully focused again on Kit. “So- could you teleport us again?” he asked, back to business. 

Kit reached down, trying to settle and tap into his powers. The brief flash of anger that had almost activated them a few minutes ago had seeped away, and Kit felt hollow, drained. 

He shook his head. “I don’t think I could right now- maybe… in a life or death situation, I might be able to get myself to Cirenworth. But I couldn’t bring you with me.”

Ty tilted his head and Kit shifted his own gaze to the fire. “All right,” Ty said. “We can work on plan B - wait until the sun starts to rise and then we’ll hike out.” 

“Why not start now?” Livvy asked. She floated closer to Ty. “We don’t know the Faerie monster isn’t tracking us right now- wouldn’t it be better to get us to safety quicker?” 

Kit and Ty both shook their heads at the same time. “I think we’ve bought ourselves time,” Kit said. “I’ve never had a Seelie monster find me so soon after teleporting.” It had been the one saving grace about being able to run- it always had bought him time before. 

“There’s always a first time,” Livvy said, her expression foreboding; she kept glancing at Ty.  

“But also- it’s dangerous to wander around here in the dark if we don’t know the path,” Kit continued. “Dartmoor is filled with peat bogs and I’ve seen enough dead sheep carcasses that I know it’s a super unpleasant way to go.” He suppressed a shudder, remembering the several ghosts he’d also encountered on his hikes who had also slipped- or in one case, had been pushed- into a peat bog. No one had ever found their bodies. 

“Kit’s right,” Ty said thoughtfully. Kit tried to ignore the thrill that went through him at Ty’s words. 

“Plus, we’re in a relatively okay place to defend ourselves and-” Ty gazed upwards and his head swung back and forth, almost as if calculating something. “The sun will start rising in about an hour. It’s a better plan to wait here and take the small risk of being caught.”

Livvy narrowed her eyes. “Right- I suppose that makes sense,” she said. “But if that’s the plan- I’m going to go patrol the perimeter while we wait. Because while I’ve had a chance to speak to both of you in the last couple of years- you guys have not. And you both need to.” 

“We’ve just been speaking-” Ty protested, even as Livvy’s form shot up into the air and started drifting away. “Not properly,” she said, her voice faint. “I’ll be back when the sun rises.” 

A weighted quiet settled over the clearing, with the hum of nighttime noises reemerging. Kit jumped as he heard skittering in the bushes behind him. Ty barely even blinked, or made any more towards his own weapons, so Kit assumed he wasn’t going to get immediately eaten by another monster. He thought briefly about asking Ty for a knife or something to defend himself if they were attacked but decided against it. He didn’t want to get into his Shadowhunter fighting skills, or lack thereof, with Ty.

Despite Livvy’s entreaty, neither he or Ty spoke, even as the minutes stretched on. Across from him, Ty was again poking at the fire, watching as sparks rose into the air, his expression unreadable to Kit. 

“How do you know what the time is- and when the sun is going to rise?” Kit finally asked after an indeterminate time, curious despite himself. 

Ty smiled in quiet triumph, almost as if he had been waiting for Kit to ask the question. “There’s a lot you don’t know about me anymore, either,” he said, repeating Kit's earlier comeback. 

Kit rolled his eyes. “Right,” he said. “Well- don’t worry, the sooner we get out; the sooner we won’t have to bother going through the motions of getting to know each other again.” 

He felt an almost perverse pleasure in the way Ty’s face twisted in response to Kit’s words; he didn’t reply immediately, and when he did, he muttered something so low that Kit didn’t catch it.

“What?” Kit asked.   

Ty poked at the fire so viciously that his stick snapped, shifting several logs, the movement sending a plume of smoke into Kit’s face. Kit coughed, blinking several times and when he could see again, Ty had stood up, and had started to pace, back and forth, his hands restlessly moving up and down his legs, almost as if he were trying to brush something off. 

Kit rose as well, and Ty’s gaze shifted to him. “Why then?” he challenged Kit. “Why come save me?”

“I- I. Livvy asked me-” Kit stammered. Oh shit, they were finally getting into it. Kit should’ve just kept his mouth shut- his usual mistake. 

“You were in danger, Livvy was scared- , ” Kit said. “I mean- I know we didn’t exactly leave on the best terms… but I wasn’t going to let you die.

Ty shook his head, almost viciously. “No- it doesn’t make sense.” He came closer to Kit, and to his surprise, he could see unshed tears in Ty’s eyes. 

Kit was instantly transported to another clearing, another campsite, three long years ago.

I wish I had never known you…

Except this time it wasn’t Kit saying the words but Ty- and there was anger behind them. “You said that to me- and then you disappeared without saying good-bye. You just left, ” Ty spat out. “So how- how am I supposed to understand what you would or would not do, Kit? You lied before.”

All of his Ty feelings of the past few years, regret, sadness, loneliness- and yes, plenty of anger- that Kit had ignored, pushed down, tried to numb, tried to run from… rose up, and spilled over as he struggled to find words. Kit clenched his fists tightly, holding in the golden light in his palms, even as he felt the odd but familiar sensation radiating from his eyes, which he knew meant that they had started to glow in the dark, like a cat. 

He expected Ty to draw back in fear- but the other boy only hesitated for a second, before he stepped in again, almost too close- forcing Kit to look up, and in doing so- Kit caught Ty’s gaze, for a brief moment. It spurred him to respond. 

“You just needed someone to help you raise Livvy. I was useful, until I wasn’t!” he replied, letting out some of his own anger and hurt. “So why would I stay around, huh?”

Ty flinched, and out of the corner of his eye, Kit saw his right hand flutter up, almost as if to reach out. 

“And same thing tonight- I know why Livvy called me,” Kit said, trying not to sound bitter. “But… I know where my skills lie- and I will always use them to save you- Ty… even if- even if,” he faltered. He didn’t know where he was going with this train of thought. He didn’t want to follow it- not right now. He was suddenly desperate to keep speaking, as if this might be his only chance to speak to Ty.

He deliberately forced himself to look past Ty, to the circle of dark bushes, and the cold, starry night above, which was starting to look a paler shade of blue… 

“Shadowhunter or hell, fae-shadowhunter hybrid or whatever I am, I’m also still a conman’s son,” Kit knew his laugh was harsh. “So- fair you don’t believe me. But I wouldn’t- I wouldn’t lie about this. And if you thought about what else I’ve told you- in the past, tonight… with my actions, you know I’m not lying.” 

He wanted desperately to ask if Ty remembered other things Kit had told him, chiefly, several words by Lake Lyn, and if he had also obsessed over them in the intervening time - but this confession had taken all the remains of courage he had. 

Kit fell silent. 

Ty hadn’t replied, and Kit stole a glance - there was a distant, faraway look in Ty’s eyes- almost as if he were no longer in the same space as Kit.  

Despite his earlier words to the twins, Kit felt like death by bog was almost preferable at this point. He started to turn - and a hand shot out, holding Kit’s shoulder with a casual strength that arrested Kit’s escape. 

“Kit,” Ty said. “Don’t go.” There was a strange, almost strangled tone to his voice. A beautiful light was reflecting off his cheeks, and it lit his face up like- 

Out of the corner of his eye, Kit could see Livvy’s white dress floating into sight and he realised the situation, as a flash of rich orange-yellow light shone through her onto the tall tree on the opposite side of the clearing. 

“The sun’s starting to rise,” Ty said tonelessly. He released his grip, but Kit felt his touch on his shoulder still, like a brand. 

“Let’s go then,” Kit said, feeling strangely like he had been granted a stay of execution, and at the same time, like he had missed the rarest opportunity.

Chapter Text

Kit’s throat felt dry and the need for water was growing stronger by the minute. He attempted to concentrate on the scenery, and ignore the growing list of uncomfortable sensations his body was throwing at him, having spent the night on ground, and now hiking over rocky, uneven rocky ground, and now having gone without food or drink since the previous evening. 

He was also acutely aware that Ty every couple of minutes was having to check his pace, and slow it to match Kit’s. It was kind of infuriating- he wasn’t the best fighter but Kit had been sure he had improved his stamina over the years. Still not enough to match a Blackthorn, he thought.  

“Did they make you go on Ironman treks or something at that school of yours,” he grumbled, not sure if Ty would hear him.  

He did. Ty slowed until he drew apace with Kit. “Every three weeks or so,” he said, keeping his eyes ahead on the horizon. “There’s an expectation in the Scholomance we’d be going into Faerie for missions and we needed to know how to navigate unfamiliar terrain quickly, so they’d often drop us into random forests in Europe to find our way back.”

“Oh,” Kit said, inanely. He cleared his throat. “I guess that makes sense. In that brutal, Shadowhunter do-or-die sort of way.”

They slowed their pace as they reached the crest of the most recent hill, and Kit stopped to catch his breath. Even in summer, Dartmoor had a desolate look. But the brown, grey and green surroundings were bathed in a warm golden glow, with small pockets of pink and purple wildflowers dotting the ululating hills stretching off in every direction. In the distance, Kit could see a small herd of wild ponies grazing. It was a beautiful morning.      

“But I’m also wearing perseverance and endurance runes, and I’ve taken on a permanent Strength rune,” Ty said quietly, beside him. “That makes a difference.” He shaded his hand against the glare of the early morning sun, as they were heading directly into it- east, towards where Livvy had seen the road. Ahead of them, Kit could see Livvy floating down the other side of the hill. 

“Do you want to use my stele?” Ty asked. “Or…” and Kit could hear a brief hesitation before he continued. “Should I draw some more runes on you?”

Kit couldn’t help but glance down to his right arm, where Ty’s previous handiwork was present. Not only the ones from earlier in the evening but also the elegantly-drawn Voyance rune on the back of his hand, a permanent reminder Kit had both loved and hated over the years since Ty had drawn it on him, in the London Institute’s drawing room. 

Kit wasn’t sure he wanted any more reminders of Ty on his skin, permanent or not. 

“Pass me your stele,” he said, and Ty did, without saying anything further. Kit knelt, taking a moment to roll up his pant leg before drawing on an Endurance rune. Almost immediately his current complaints disappeared to a faint noise. He sighed- he should’ve remembered how much runes could help. 

“Do they hurt at all when you draw them on?” Ty asked, as Kit stood and handed the stele back.

“What- the runes?” Kit was surprised by the question. “No, they don’t. Why do you ask?”

“I noticed you didn’t have many Marks on you and I thought maybe they interacted badly with your Faerie power,” Ty said, his eyes again roaming over Kit briefly before slipping past him. 

“Not that I know,” Kit started walking again. “I’ve been trained on their use but Jem doesn’t wear them anymore, Tessa can’t and Mina is too young… so I guess… I just don’t tend to use them.”

“I see,” Ty said, easily catching up with him. There was a note in his voice and an observing cast to his gaze that made Kit think Ty was weighing him up, adding further evidence to a growing casefile he held on him.

It had been at least an hour since they had left the campsite, and the charged moment at the end of their discussion around the campfire, and Kit wasn’t sure exactly where they stood.     

They had set off after making sure to fully extinguish the fire- technically campfires on Dartmoor were illegal, which Kit only knew about after he and Jem had gotten off with warning from the local police, the last time they had forgotten to glamour themselves.

Ty had disappeared around the bushes and Kit had found himself face to face with Livvy, who was looking at him with an expectant expression. 

“Well-?” she asked. 

“Leave it, Livvy,” Kit said, tiredly, as he kicked more dirt over the still glowing embers.

She drifted closer. “I wish-” she said, and then stopped. “Thank you, Kit,” she said and there was an echoey quality to her voice that caught his attention. He looked up to see her face- forever frozen at fifteen, even as he and Ty had aged and grown- was taut, as if trying to contain emotion.

“For what?”  

“For coming to rescue Ty- I just,” Livvy whispered. “I can’t protect him anymore but- I’m glad you’re able to,” she finished. 

Kit didn’t know what to say. “You’re welcome,” he finally settled on. “He seems like he’s mostly able to take care of himself though,” he offered. He didn’t know a lot about this older version of Ty - but the fragile, grief-stricken boy who he had left had appeared to turn into a terrifyingly competent Shadowhunter. Or maybe that was Kit just projecting what he hoped was true. 

There was a sad smile on Livvy’s face. “Yeah. But he still needs us,” she said. Then Ty had returned before Kit could correct Livvy, having gathered up his meagre belongings and they were ready to leave. 

So they had, walking swiftly in the shadowy morning, a stiff breeze blowing at their back and the three of them only speaking to decide on the direction they’d start hiking in. 

Until a few moments ago. 

“Kit,” Ty said, as they trudged across a wet patch in a hollow between two hills. “Are you still mad at me?”

“You really want to do this now?” Kit asked, his empty stomach flipping over in butterflies. He concentrated as he hopped over a couple of small streams, feeling his shoes slip in the peaty mud. 

“Yes.” Ty’s voice was firm. “Also, it’s easier to talk if it’s done while you’re side by side with someone, and you’re both concentrating on another task.” 

Despite everything, Kit couldn’t help but let out a small laugh. “Is that so? Is that like- rule number twenty-one, in the Centurion interrogation book?”

“Rule 32, actually-” Ty said, a pleased look crossing his face, and his lips twitched upwards. 

“That’s a joke right?” Kit said. 

The half-smile slipped. “Yes,” Ty said. “I mean- kind of. We don’t have an official book but- it’s more like… guidelines than actual rules,” he said, and mischievously looked around to see if Kit would get the reference. 

Kit did. “Well- it’s a bit weird that the Centurions are following a pirate’s code but hey- as long as we don’t have to plunder Davy Jones’ locker, that’s fine with me,” he said, and grinned back at Ty. 

One of his mundane or werewolf friends probably would’ve run with Kit’s innuendo, but Ty just grinned delightedly, happy his joke had landed. His smile widened, transforming his whole face. Kit hurriedly looked away, as something around his heart tightened, missing the first part of what Ty was saying next- “but regardless- Anush and I found that it was a good way to-”  

“What was it like- at the Scholomance?” Kit interrupted.

Ty fell silent. “Can you answer the question first- are you still mad at me?” he asked. 

Kit considered it. “I- no,” he said. “I was- for a while but I’m not now. I feel-” he stopped. “Other feelings about the whole situation that led me to leave L.A. and come to Devon but I’m not mad at you anymore.” Truth be told, he didn’t know what exactly he felt when it came to Ty but whatever it was, he knew it was no longer anger. 

Out of the corner of his eye, he could see an almost relieved slump to Ty’s shoulders. 

“Okay,” he said. “Now ask me.”

“Are- are you still mad at me?” Kit asked tentatively.

“Yes,” Ty said simply. 

Kit couldn’t help but flinch, and then swore under his breath, as he almost tripped on a rock as they started up another steep incline. 

“But… I don’t want to be,” Ty said. He was determinedly not looking at Kit, and was instead staring ahead, at Livvy’s distant form. “I don’t want to be,” he said, almost desperately. He started pulling away from Kit, as they hiked upwards, almost at the summit, picking their way across huge, neolithic boulders.

“Wait- Ty- I, would it help to say I was sorry I left? That-” Kit was almost out of breath as he hurried to catch up. “I was- I was hurt because I didn’t think you cared. And I…” he stumbled. “I’m sorry I lied about not wanting to raise Livvy. I’m sorry I left. I didn’t want to- but I thought it’d be… for the best,” he cried out, feeling his words being whipped away by the wind. 

Ty finally stopped, at the summit of the hill. Kit watched as Ty’s hand fluttered up to his throat, and started stroking the Herondale necklace, almost as if by rote. 

“Because… because of the magic- your powers,” Ty said, his voice small and searching. 

“Yeah,” Kit agreed, crouching down, winded. He really didn’t want to go into this now.

Ty closed his eyes for a moment. “Okay,” he said. “I forgive you.”

“Cool,” Kit said, but he knew there was an edge to his voice. 

Ty glanced over at him, his eyes hooded and unreadable. “Kit- you can be mad at me too. I’ll apologise and then we can go back to being friends… right?” 

“It doesn’t work like that,” Kit said. “It can’t, Ty.” He stood up. 

“I know.” But Ty’s face scrunched up, and he suddenly kicked out at the loose shower of pebbles at his feet, dust kicking up. He kicked out again and again, and again, and below them, Kit could see Livvy turn towards the scuffing noise.  

Kit felt helpless. “But…” he heard himself say. “We can try again? Start over…”

Ty stopped, a gasp and full body shudder marking the transition back to stillness and he turned to Kit. “Start over… learn how to be friends,” he said, slowly and almost unwillingly. 

His gaze was climbing higher and with more purpose and Kit was sure he was trying to meet Kit’s eyes, and knew that if he did, he’d see that Kit was- still lying, or if not lying- at least not telling the full truth. But the full truth was somewhere between his heart and throat and not ready to come out- not when whatever this might develop into, was still so fragile and uncertain.    

Kit looked away. “Yeah,” he said, swallowing past the words in his throat. “Learn how to be friends,” he nodded. “I could do that.”

“I could… too,” Ty said, thoughtfully, almost past the point where Kit thought he’d respond. “Okay- let’s do that.” He nodded too, more firmly. And then started walking down the hill. Below them, Kit could see a thin, snaking line where Livvy was hovering. 

The road to Chagford. 

“So, how do we do this, becoming friends?” Ty asked, when Kit caught up again with him. 

“By- talking about what we’ve been doing, the past couple of years?” Kit ventured. “Like- tell me about the Scholomance? Livvy’s told me the basics but I want to know more- and I heard you have a cat now?”

Ty’s face lit up, and he started telling Kit about his life in the enchanted, cold Romanian forest castle, and his carpathian lynx- apparently named Irene, because of course Ty was still into Sherlock Holmes, and his friend Anush, and the discoveries and mysteries they had solved while they were still students at the Scholomance… 

Kit let it all wash over him, taking in the information but also, as they picked their way along the narrow road, just letting himself relax as he listened to Ty’s deep, slightly raspy voice, feeling something click into place that had been missing for a long time.

Chapter Text

“How was living in Devon, with Jem and Tessa?” Ty asked. 

Kit blinked sweat out of his eyes, ignoring the ache in his calves as he considered the question. How to summarise the last three years of his life? 

Beside him, he could see Livvy turn to watch him with those unfathomably deep eyes, no less eerie in daylight. She cocked her head, mirroring Ty’s similar position, just beyond, from where he stood on the other side of the road. In that moment, Kit was violently reminded of the fact Ty and Livvy had lived, bound together, with the failed results of necromancy while he had spent a relatively idyllic few years actually getting to be a teenager. Albeit one with a weird past which meant occasional faerie assassins were sent after him. 

Kit reverted to staring ahead, narrowing his eyes as he calculated how much they had left before they hit the outskirts of town. They had been following the narrow, one lane road to Chagford for a while, with Ty’s tales from the Scholomance eventually petering out. 

It had been a companionable silence between them up until that point. By Kit’s estimate, given the sign they had seen a mile or so back, they were probably around half a mile from the start of what passed for civilisation in rural England. 

“Oh, it was… fine,” he mumbled. 

Ty crossed the road ahead of him, and Kit could see him frowning slightly. “That’s not really an answer,” he pointed out. But it wasn’t said in a way that indicated he was upset at Kit’s non-response.

“I guess- compared to your life- it doesn’t seem that exciting,” Kit said, shrugging. He gestured at the surrounding environment. “As you can see- I spent three years in the middle of bumfuck nowhere, England.” 

Ty shrugged back. “I don’t care about it being exciting. I want to know.” He looked thoughtful, as he slowed to wait for Kit to catch up again. 

Ty was also sweating, dark hair sticking to his forehead and he had pulled off his gear jacket again and tied it around his waist, seemingly unbothered by the uncool-ness of the style choice. To be fair though, Kit thought, Ty still looked dangerous, the rust-red of dried blood splattered across his rumpled t-shirt, and weapons-belt slung bandolier-style across his chest. 

Kit was thankful they hadn’t encountered any of the tourists and ramblers who would normally be swarming around in Dartmoor in mid-August. Although he supposed maybe he could explain Ty’s look and sword-in-hand as him being in a reenactment club… 

“Tell him about your ghost dog!” Livvy said, coming up behind Ty’s shoulder. She looked mischievous as she followed up with a straight hit: “Or- tell him about the time you were afraid to ask your girlfriend if she was a werewolf.”

Kit could’ve killed Livvy - if she weren’t already dead, although he reasoned that might be a disproportionate response. Ty looked disquieted for a moment but recovered quickly. “Oh? Is there a local werewolf pack?” 

“Yeah- there’s a Dartmoor pack,” Kit told him. “And it wasn’t that I was afraid to ask-” he sent a look Livvy’s way and she made a face back at him. “But Shadowhunter-Downworlder relationships are still not exactly a normal thing. I was trying to be subtle- not draw attention to it, and make her uncomfortable, okay?” He wasn’t going to mention his conversation with Dru that he had had, that one time. 

“That makes sense,” Ty agreed, gravely. Kit watched Livvy’s eyes widen and then relax as she saw them move past the potential awkward topic of Kit’s dating life, and started talking about werewolf pack dynamics, given Ty had also been in contact with several in Romania. Kit also mentioned Oscar- the ghost dog wandering Cirenworth’s grounds and Ty’s eyes lit up in interest and he asked a few questions about Cirenworth’s ghosts that Kit was happy to answer. 

“Also,” Kit said, as a bunch of old-fashioned thatched cottages came into view, in the hollow below them. “Living with Jem and Tessa - and Mina, has been…. brilliant,” he said. He struggled to think of how else to put it. 

Quiet mornings sitting across the cosy kitchen table, Kit on his phone and Jem reading his newspaper, existing in a comfortable silence. Training sessions that ended before Kit was ready to throw in the towel with Jem always knowing the right words of encouragement. The bemusement on Jem’s face as Kit translated the latest meme or slang- or both of them bonding over misunderstanding a particularly modern British term or touchstone, given Kit was also a cultural transplant. 

Classic movie nights with Tessa, a big bowl of popcorn between them and quilted blankets thrown across their knees and sardonic comments flying in the air. Piles of newly-bought cooking books balanced in her arms, allowing Kit full range of the kitchen when he expressed interest in baking; Tessa laughing when she commented that at least someone in the family would be able to pass on baking skills to Mina. Her sharp, grey eyes watching patiently, voice soft and always ready with a rapid containment spell while Kit experimented and explored his Faerie powers. 

Afternoons with Mina, watching as she giggled and ran about, chasing bubbles barefoot in the back garden. Her shrieks of delight when she saw him walk in the door after a day at school, pulling at his shirt and begging for an ‘arpane ride!’ Her tiny flushed cheeks and reassuring weight on his chest as they dozed together in Cirenworth’s conservatory.

Both Jem and Tessa not pushing him to talk, both willing to give him his days of monosyllabic responses, or their full attention when he felt like he’d burst if he didn’t rant over the ridiculous anachronistic requirements in his Shadowhunter training he’d come across, or the most recent drama in his school classes and group of friends. Never making him feel unwanted or… unloved. 

“You were happy, being here-” Ty said, breaking Kit out of his reverie. 

Both Ty and Livvy were watching him, matching intense looks on their faces. 

“Yeah. Yeah- I am- I was,” Kit said, feeling awkward at their scrutiny. 

“It’s been a pretty great place.” He pointed ahead, to a fork in the road where a small, thatched building crouched, looking like a set for the latest Hobbit film. “Right, so through those woods- there’s a shortcut to Cirenworth. We’re almost there. But first- given we’re passing it, let me show you one of my favourite places,” he said. “And also get some food, as I’m starving.”

“Lead the way Wats-” Ty started to say, and then suddenly cut short the sentence, flushing red. “Kit.” 

Kit wasn’t sure how he felt about Ty going back to their old nicknames. He cleared his throat. “It’s this way.”

They approached the bakery, but as he realised an important detail, Kit slowed. Luckily, his clothes were creased and sweaty but still presentable. Ty’s clothes… less so.  

“Umm- can you glamour yourself?” he asked, slightly self-consciously. “It’s a mundane place and- given the blood on your clothes and your weapons…”

Ty followed his gaze, watching distant figures bustle in the bakery window. In the bright, leaf-dappled sunshine; the Seelie monster and life and death situation seemed a distant memory. “Sure,” he said, and drew out his stele, drawing on a glamour rune with ease. He also sheathed the short-sword. He twisted to do so, his t-shirt riding up slightly, and Kit could again see a flash of black runes on Ty’s hips. 

Ty stepped closer then, with a critical eye running over Kit. “You have some dirt on your neck and cheek too,” he offered. “If you want to get rid of that before we go in, so that we fit in.”

“Oh- thanks,” Kit said, trying to figure out why he felt heat rise in his cheeks. He spat in his palm and scrubbed at the parts mentioned. “Better?” he asked, also trying to flatten down his hair.

Ty’s shadow fell across his face as he peered at Kit. His touch was feather-light across Kit’s cheek, and Kit barely had time to react before Ty stepped back. 

“Better,” Ty agreed, smiling in a way that made Kit’s throat go tight. Behind him, Livvy was… well, Kit couldn’t quite read her expression. 

They crossed the last few yards and up the steps, without exchanging any other words. 

The bell tinkled as they walked in, Kit holding open the door just a moment too long, with Ty slipping in behind him, unseen by mundane eyes. 

This early in the morning, there was only one other customer in the shop, who was already paying at the till. One of the middle-aged women working behind the counter looked up as the door slammed. “Kit!” she called out, with a wide smile, without stopping her work of laying out tantalising slabs of thick ginger cake. “You’re back visiting? How’s big city life?” 

“Hey Cath,” Kit said, slipping on a friendly smile and feeling the thrill of re-donning the mask of Kit Carstairs, ordinary eighteen year old. He approached the counter. “I’m good thanks- caught a national express bus down from London” He winked at her, almost conspiratorially. “It’s a surprise- Tessa and Jem don’t know I’m back yet.” 

“Ahh-” Cath nodded wisely. “Tessa mentioned the other day you were back in London, after being in New York for a while- visiting family, she said?”  

“Yeah, exactly,” Kit replied easily. He could feel Ty’s invisible presence at his back, as he took in the homely surroundings. Livvy had moved closer to look at the mountain of fresh scones underneath a bubbled glass dome.  

“Ah well- always good to come back for a visit,” Cath said. “Now- what can I get you?” she asked, settling down to business. 

Kit nodded noncommittally, and rattled off his long-practised order. 

Cath pursed her lips, after gathering the majority of his order. “Hmm, let me just see if those pain au chocolat are ready,” she said, and she disappeared into the back room. Kit’s stomach rumbled and he sent a longing look at the box of already-packed items, wondering if he could lift one out and stuff it in his face before she came back.  

He also took the moment to look over his shoulder and mouth at Ty- “Want anything?” 

Ty wandered over, leaning over the counter before pointing to a chocolate cookie on the bottom shelf. Kit gave him a surreptitious thumbs up - and straightened up, just in time to see Sam, rather than Cath, come out the back room. “Kit! Good news I-” and she paused, her eyes bugging out as she looked past him. 

Sam Jenkins was a local member of the Dartmoor werewolf pack - and as such, had the Sight. Which, Kit sighed internally, meant she could see Ty - blood-stained clothes and all. “Umm, hey- good to see you again,” she said, her brown eyes suspicious as she stared directly at Ty. “And your… friend?”

Kit could see Ty instinctively shift into Shadowhunter mode, once he realised someone else could see him. He stepped closer to Kit, hands hovering over his weapons belt, and his face shifting into an impassive mask.  

Kit rubbed his forehead, trying to ignore the building headache. “Yeah… good to see you too, Sam, and uh- it’s kind of a long story.” As far as the local pack knew, Kit and Jem and Tessa, were an odd rarity of a Shadowhunter lineage family who weren’t associated with any Enclave. 

“Cool, cool,” Sam said finally after a couple moments, once she realised Kit wasn’t going to explain. She started to pack the remainder of his bakery order, with a few wary glances at Ty, her gaze lingering over his runes and then gestured to Kit.  “So- aren’t you going to introduce us?”

“Right,” Kit said hastily. “Sam Jenkins, one of the Dartmoor pack,” he said, keeping it vague in case Cath came back out. “And-”

“Jacob Trueblood,” Ty said, cutting in, and he smiled briefly, professionally at Sam. “I was on patrol close to here- and came across Kit. He helped me when I got into some trouble.” Years of practice with his dad’s aliases meant Kit was able to keep a straight face as he absorbed Ty’s fake name and story, and ran with it.  

“Yeah, you know my family doesn’t do much in the way of patrols,” Kit said. “But we still help out if a Shadowhunter encounters anything ugly locally- and as I was on my way home anyway- I was happy to help Jacob when he needed it.”

Sam looked uneasily between them. “Looks like it was a rough one-” she said, her gaze lingering on the bloodstains. She lowered her voice, and leaned in. “Is something I should let Gemma and Antoine know about?”

Kit thought quickly, it wouldn’t hurt to have the local pack leaders aware. “Yeah- probably- looked like an escaped Seelie or Unseelie creature,” he told her. “It’s after something and doesn’t seem to care who gets in its way,” he added. 

“If you do see it- it has tentacles and looks kind of like a rhinoceros- don’t try to engage with it- just run,” Ty advised, his voice matching Kit’s seriousness. “Let Kit or his family know.” 

“Okay, okay- I will,” Sam promised them. She gave them a long measured look, and grabbed a couple extra Cornish pasties, alongside the requested chocolate cookie for Ty.

Kit thanked her, and dug into his sneaker, handing over his emergency £20 note. 

“You’ve got to be joking-” Sam said, wrinkling her nose at the damp note. 

Kit gave her a sheepish grin. “A monster ate my wallet?” 

She rolled her eyes and gingerly accepted it. “You gonna see Holly while you’re home?” she asked, her voice too casual, as she rang through his order, charging him only half the actual cost of it.  

“I uh- don’t know,” Kit said, trying to match Sam’s casualness, and tried not to look over at Ty. The break-up had happened a few months ago, and reasonably amicably. But he wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to see his ex-girlfriend so soon. On the other hand, he did miss Sam and the other members of the pack who had become his friends. 

Sam shrugged. “Well- if it’s not too weird, you should drop by some evening,” she told him, and she gave him a friendly smile. “You can even bring John McClane over there, as long as he behaves,” she said nodding, and Kit grinned at the reference, even as Ty looked confused. “I’ll keep that in mind,” Kit promised, sadly aware he was probably headed back to London in the evening.

Kit could barely wait until he and Ty were back on the path to Cirenworth before opening the bag, and stuffing the pain au chocolat, and then the Cornish pastie into his mouth, followed by a huge gulp of the locally-pressed apple juice.

He sighed happily. “S’good, right?” he asked, mouth still filled with pastie. 

Ty had been taking bites of his cookie, gingerly at first, and then with more enthusiasm, as they hiked through shaded woods, crossing several old, stone bridges beneath which ran small, swiftly-flowing streams. 

“Yeah, it’s good,” he agreed, smiling and looking around the woods. His grey eyes were flitting around, taking everything in. Livvy was looking wistfully at the cookie in his hand, and she kept looking eagerly into the bag, when Kit pulled out each new item, almost as if she was savouring the experience, secondhand. 

“So… Jacob Trueblood?” Kit asked, when he finally paused in his rapid food consumption and was feeling vaguely human again. 

“It’s my alias, as a Centurion, when I don’t want to use my real name,” Ty said, glancing over at him. “One of them at least-” he conceded. 

“Right. So you really are, like- a detective now,” Kit said slowly. He thought back to the now-shadowy memories of the Centurions arriving at the L.A. Institute- and realised while he had disliked them at the time, mainly due Zara and co’s antics, he didn’t really know what a Centurion actually did.   

While Kit thought he’d be pleased about it, Ty’s expression had briefly shuttered down, and there was a set line to his jaw, which made Kit think there was something more to it. 

“Is it what you thought it’d be?” Kit asked. “Being a Centurion.”

“I don’t know…” Ty said, his voice thoughtful. He was playing with the twist-top of his apple juice bottle, and it flashed blue as he rolled it between his fingers. “I liked a lot of the classes I had, and the research I was able to do there- but-” he trailed off. “Working as one- although I’ve only just started… is different than I expected. What I’m expected to do,” he said, cryptically. 

Kit was about to ask him to elaborate but then caught a glimpse of the sandy bricks peeking through the dwindling treeline. They entered the clearing onto a wide, green lawn, and started up the long entrance drive, lined with oak trees. 

They had finally made it to Cirenworth. 

A shiver ran through him, as they passed through the wards. Ty also stiffened as he walked through, while Livvy flickered like a hologram several times. “Whoa,” she said- and her voice sounded like it was coming from underwater. “These are a lot stronger than last time.” She shuddered. “I’m- I’m going to need to go away for a bit.” Kit could see her disintegrating form wrap around Ty, almost encircling them, and she whispered something in his ear. Ty muttered something back, nodding to her query. 

“See you around soon, Herondale,” Livvy said, when she looked back at Kit. 

“Bye Livvy,” he said, as she faded away from view. Kit felt nervous energy run through him- it was just him and Ty now- no Livvy as a buffer. 

But he didn’t have to worry about that quite yet, Kit realised. A small, black-haired blur was running down the lawn, followed by her two anxious parents, one carrying an unlit seraph blade, and another with a small, blue-grey ball of pure magic ready at hand. Their expressions of relief when they saw him made his chest tighten, even as other parts of him felt giddy with relief. They had made it.  

Kit felt the small force of nature hit his knees, and he swung an excited Mina into the air. “Kitty!” she cried. “You’re home.”

“Yeah, Min-Min,” Kit told her, smiling. “I’m home.” 

*

Chapter Text

*

“So yeah- the only place we stopped was the bakery, and there was barely anyone there,” Kit said, as he finished the quick sketch of the past twenty four hours to an intently listening Jem and Tessa. Of which he had left out several crucial details- namely Livvy’s involvement- given her undead necromantic status. Then he remembered. “Oh- well, Sam was working this morning but she doesn’t know anything specific about my situation, so we should be in the clear,” he added, stifling a yawn. 

He wondered if his parents would catch the lies. He knew he was good at it, his former life as Kit Rook and his Devon school record standing as testament, particularly the kind of half-truth he had just spun… however Jem and Tessa were also sometimes scarily prescient at knowing when he was omitting things. 

But this didn’t appear to be one of those situations. Jem leaned over to briefly touch Kit’s shoulder. “We’re just glad you’ve arrived safe and sound- both of you,” he said, nodding to Ty in welcome. After the initial hubbub of arrival, they had retreated inside at the first drops of rain- the variable English summer weather coming into play. 

In his bloodied clothes, Ty should have looked out of place in Cirenworth’s sunlit and homely kitchen but Kit had seen grown-up werewolves sitting in the same seats, looking slightly ashamed while Jem and Tessa tended to their cuts and bruises- and the one time he had come down in the middle of the night to grab a snack, only to see Tessa, whitefaced and lips drawn, tending to a long slash along Jem’s collarbone, while he murmured words of comfort and apology to her. Cirenworth was a sanctuary but even here, the Shadow world extended its reach occasionally- as he knew all too well. 

“Yes- and you should be safe at Cirenworth,” said Tessa, unconsciously echoing Kit’s thoughts. She waved a hand towards the window. “The wards have been strengthened since you were last here. I consulted with Ragnor and Magnus, and they should be strong enough to repel anything but a full-on assault from Faerie- and at that point, I think we’ll have bigger problems.”  

“Fair- and that’s really good to hear the wards are stronger,” Kit said sincerely, glancing down at Mina, who was sitting in his lap, munching contentedly on a cookie, crumbs spilling onto the floor. “Even I could feel it, coming in.” 

Mina leaned her head back into Kit’s shoulder and wiggled the rest of her body, a clear sign she was done. He carefully let her slide down until her legs touched the ground- a shorter distance than it had been the last time he had been home. “Tank you,” she told him solemnly, handing him her stuffed monkey. “I go play now,” she said, reaching up to grab one last jam cookie- her third since Kit had opened the bakery box- before running off towards the back of the kitchen, which led to her playroom. Tessa opened her mouth but then shut it, exchanging a wry glance with Jem, who smiled indulgently and shrugged.  

“We still don’t know a major piece to this puzzle- why the monster attacked Tiberius,” Tessa said, quietly returning to the matter at hand. Kit could see her fingers tapping against the side of her tea mug, her brow furrowed.

Both her and Jem looked expectantly towards Ty, who was sitting on the window seat side of the kitchen table, tearing bits of a croissant off on his plate and occasionally eating a piece. 

Ty blinked but he set down his croissant and launched straight into a tale of missing Faerie artifacts lost in transit between Alicante and London, and being assigned to track it down.   

Kit sat up a bit straighter and watched him, fascinated. Ty was good, no doubt about it but Kit was 98% sure he was lying. He couldn’t say exactly what tipped him off, other than the fact Ty was almost pointedly avoiding looking at Kit. 

Kit noticed a glance flicker between Jem and Tessa, and he knew they were also sceptical. 

“Where’s the artifact now- did you manage to track it down?” Jem asked him, his voice mild but his dark brown eyes watching Ty carefully. 

Ty nodded curtly. “I have it,” he said, and dug around in the pocket of his wrecked jacket, which was lying in his lap.Ty held out his hand, and they all leaned towards it. It was a small box made of mahogany-coloured wood, covered in carvings of twisting vines and elaborate pentagrams. 

“What’s inside?” Tessa asked, her eyes drawn to the silver clasp on one side. 

“A pendant,” Ty answered. He made no move to open the box. “But speaking of- I should send a fire message to my partner and the other Centurions to let them know I’ve retrieved it,” he said, tucking it away again. 

“Of course- you can use my study,” Tessa said. She stood but then she hesitated, and Kit could feel her eyes rest on him. “I imagine Kit also needs to let the London tutors know where he’s disappeared to.”

“They probably just think I’m hiding in the library, or on the roof, skipping training again,” Kit said, rolling his eyes. 

Tessa’s lips twitched but she kept her expression severe. “Regardless of what they think you’re doing- you should let them know you’ll be back… after you stay for dinner,” she said, in a tone that brooked no argument. 

Kit sighed. “Sure,” he said. He thought it unlikely he’d be at the London Institute much longer before the Seelies found him again- he suspected they must be using some kind of tracking spell that was getting increasingly accurate. He’d be on the run again soon. But no need to worry his parents about it yet. 

Kit was curious about Ty’s box- something about its design struck a faint chord of memory in him. But he doubted it was the reason why the monster went after Ty. It had recognised him right away when he arrived in the alley… Kit suspected the heron necklace currently hidden beneath Ty’s t-shirt was the true reason the monster had come after him, and not the box. He resolved to ask Ty about it when they were alone again.

Ty stood up to follow Tessa. 

“Also, Tiberius-” Jem called after him. “I’m sure you’re aware- or Kit will have told you- almost no one outside our family knows about the extent of his powers,” he said. There was an undercurrent in Jem’s voice that wasn’t normally there, and it reminded Kit of a tightly wound spring, unassuming but ready to release explosive force when directed.   

Ty took in Jem’s calm, steady state and then over to Tessa, who was smiling blandly but Kit recognised the same distant look in her eyes that she usually wore while she was preparing to use her magic.

Tessa and Jem saw Ty as a potential threat to him, Kit realised, and a thrill of both dread and gratitude washed over him. He placed his hands on the table, internally reaching for his power while at the same time not sure he had it in him to use it against Ty, despite… 

Ty lifted his chin imperiously. “I’m aware,” he said, an almost annoyed tone creeping in. “And I won’t be mentioning Kit at all, anywhere in my dispatch,” he said dismissively. “As far as my mission went, it was successful- I was just delayed in my return.” He looked over at Kit, as if beseeching him to help make the case to Tessa and Jem. “We can even take separate Portals back- no one needs to know we were even together last night.”

Kit couldn’t help but flush slightly at Ty’s wording in his last sentence. “Yeah,” he said, dropping his gaze. “Ty’s not going to tell anyone- I’ll be fine going back.” 

“Come along then,” Tessa said, but her voice was gentler than before. “And once you’re done- you both should both go upstairs and clean up.”

*   

Kit dug through his drawers, acutely aware of the shower rumbling on the other side of his room that led to the bathroom. He knew it was irrational but he wanted to find the right clothes for Ty and yet the pile on the floor beside him was growing larger by the minute. And maybe it was also to avoid other thoughts on his hand. Now they were immediately out of danger, there was a growing list of questions he needed to ask Ty. He had a nagging feeling that if he just asked the right one, Ty wouldn’t be the current cipher he was to him. 

Kit’s bedroom was the same as he had left it- down to its rough, white-washed boards and heavy beams above, his double bed in the west-facing corner, underneath the skylight, the Playstation set up on the opposite side, old coursework from his mundane school still piled on his desk, the empty frame where he used to keep a photo of himself and Holly. 

A soft knock on the door startled him, and Kit jumped. It was only Tessa- she smiled sympathetically as she crossed the room. “I’ve made up the guest bedroom down the hall for Ty,” she said, studying him.“You should get some sleep too, darling. It’s been a long day.”

He nodded tightly, as his eyes scanned the pile of clothes without really seeing them, and he slammed the drawer shut, louder than he intended. Kit winced.  

Without saying a word, Tessa’s arms encircled him, and he turned into her embrace, letting his chin drop into a now familiar grove in her shoulder and as her familiar sandalwood scent enveloped him. 

He took a deep, shuddery breath. “I’m all right,” he said. He slowly disengaged from the hug. Over the past few years, he had become more used to physical affection but other than Mina, he still had to fight the instinct telling him he was demanding too much.  

“You’re not,” she said, and there was the same wry mix of practicalness and sympathy that he had come to trust. “I can tell.” She sat down on his bed, patting the space beside her. He sat down beside her.  

“How do you-” Kit began, and then stopped. “Okay yeah- I’m not.” He let his gaze drift towards the bathroom door, watching as wisps of steam floated out the door

She also watched the door, her gaze thoughtful. “I don’t know the full story but I know you have a history with the Blackthorns and Ty - and his sister, in particular.” She paused. “And despite three years and you still waking up with nightmares sometimes, shouting their names…” Kit stiffened; he hadn’t thought Tessa knew about those nightmares. “You still have a connection where you drop everything to come to his rescue, plus while doing so- you were able to expand the limits of your powers. That suggests-” Tessa hesitated. “It sounds like you still care for him.” 

Kit sighed and flopped back onto the bed. “It would be easier not to,” he said, staring up at the rain-washed skylight. Which was as close to an admission as he was willing to give. “So, so much easier,” he added. Why couldn’t time and distance dim or crowd out the mark Ty had made on him? They had met when Kit was fifteen, for christsake. 

He looked over at Tessa and saw a shadow cross her face, and she was biting her bottom lip- and he wondered if she wanted to warn him in some way. He thought of the way both her and Jem had subtly warned Ty off, down in the kitchen. 

But she surprised him. “Mmm,” Tessa murmured. “I know. But now you’re both here- and away from any external pressures so… perhaps use this time to figure out whatever relationship you want with him going forward. But- you’ll figure it out, love.” She smoothed the hair off his forehead and bent down to give him a quick kiss on it. 

Kit closed his eyes briefly, now that the adrenaline had worn off, exhaustion was setting in and he wanted to sleep for a thousand years. He nodded. “Hope so,” he said.  

Despite her warm words, there was a sad look in her eyes as she started to rise off the bed. “You will- and I can tell that from a long history of observing and-.”

Kit let out a small, forlorn chuckle. “- and raising Herondales?”

Tessa laughed. “Observing mundanes, Shadowhunters and Downworlders alike- the instinct is the same across species- although Herondales might have less of that self-protective streak than most,” she said. 

Which was less of a comforting statement than she probably thought it was, Kit thought, as he smiled up at her. 

On the other side of the wall, the water shut off, and the sudden silence was deafening. Kit swung his legs down, sitting up instantly. Tessa gave him one more inscrutable look as she left, shutting the door behind her. 

Kit grabbed the first shirt and pair of sweatpants he could find off the pile he had thrown on the floor. Bunching them in his hand, he made his way to the bathroom door, feeling his heart pound in a fierce rhythm as he tapped lightly on it. 

Ty opened the door almost immediately, and Kit resolutely kept his gaze upwards. “Here you go-” he said, almost shoving the clothes at Ty’s chest. 

Ty looked confused as he accepted them and Kit turned to go- but then his eyes were drawn back to the flash of silver and gold he had seen. Even in the shower- Kit could see the droplets of water cover the front of Livvy’s locket- Ty still wore it and the heron necklace Kit had sent. 

Ty followed Kit’s gaze. “If you want it back, I’m sure I could ask Magnus to transfer its power to another object,” he said, the same flat tone Kit had heard at the campsite returning to his voice. 

Kit opened his mouth. “No,” he heard himself say. “No, it’s not necessary.” He turned blindly and behind him he heard the door shut again. 

Kit dropped back onto his bed, and grabbed a pillow and put it briefly over his face, wondering if he could scream into it without anyone noticing. He pulled it back, and recoiled as he saw a now-dressed Ty peering over him, a worried cast to his face. 

“Are you all right?” he asked. He looked younger and more familiar, out of his Shadowhunter gear. More like the Ty that Kit was used to- his hair a tangled mess across his forehead from the shower, and this close, Kit could see dark, bruise-like marks under his eyes. He also looked exhausted, Kit realised. 

“I’m fine-” he said, aware of how many times he had said that exact sentence already that day. “You look terrible though.”

Ty gave him an odd look, as he sat down on Kit’s bed. “I haven’t slept in thirty six hours, plus iratzes , if you have more than one, can increase exhaustion,” he admitted. Even though it was irrational, Kit felt a stab of guilt- he had given Ty three iratzes when they first arrived in Devon.

From where he was lying Kit could see the blue veins beneath Ty’s pale skin, along his temple, and his normally straight posture was slumped over. Kit’s heart leapt, as he sat up. “Lie down,” he said immediately, throwing the pillow aside and standing. 

There must have been something in his voice because while Ty first looked mutinous, he then closed his eyes briefly, rubbing at the back of his neck. “This is your room,” Ty pointed out. “And your bed.”

Kit shrugged. “We have about eight other bedrooms I can crash in,” he said.  

And Ty’s eyes, dark with tiredness and some other emotion Kit couldn’t read, locked onto his, for a brief moment. Then he nodded and lay down, pulling up the bedding. “Thanks,” he said, muffled by the duvet. 

Kit turned to leave, determined not to let his brain overanalyse Ty Blackthorn in his room, amid the clothes piles and tangled electronics, and the posters of punk pop bands and classic cinema. 

Decidedly not thinking about Ty in his bed. 

“Kit-” Ty’s voice was barely above a whisper. 

He was already at the door to the outside hall, and had opened it. He looked over his shoulder. 

“You’re not going to leave, are you?” Kit’s eyes were suddenly drawn to Ty’s hand at his throat, stroking the heron pendant, as if it were a talisman.  

Kit decided to take the question in the wider context and not this specific situation. A part of him whispered that might be a mistake- but he actively shoved the thought down. 

“No,” Kit said. “I’ll still be here when you wake up,” he said. “Just downstairs, okay?” And then he very firmly closed the door. 

*

Chapter Text

Kit woke up from a dream by a very insistent Kitty kitty kit!! He opened his eyes to find Mina staring at him with round eyes. “Why you not in bed?” she asked him, a tiny frown on her face. 

“I am in bed, Min-Min,” Kit told her, rubbing his face and looking over at the old-fashioned clock on the side table. Just before two in the afternoon. He’d been asleep for three hours.  

“Not your bed,” she said, and started to clamber up beside him. Kit scooted over and held his arm just behind in case she lost her balance. She did– but fell forwards against him; tiny limbs splayed over the side and her chin hit his clavicle. 

“Oof,” he said and then pulled her tighter in a hug as she giggled. She snuggled into him. “Not Kitty’s bed.” 

“No, not mine. But someone else- Ty, needed my bed,” he told her. 

“Oooh,” she said, considering him. “You share?” she asked, innocently. 

“Not- no.” Kit was acutely aware of how his mind had flashed upon that possibility before he had shown himself out- rather gracefully, he thought. 

“Okay.” Mina seemed to accept his brief response, which was good, considering she was still in the midst of her ‘why?’ phase and Kit wasn’t sure how long he wanted to continue that line of questioning. 

“Mina-mine, you should let Kit get his sleep.” Jem’s voice from the doorway was low and calm, and he held out his arms to her, while smiling apologetically at Kit. 

But it had the absolute opposite effect on Mina. “NOoooooo,” she wailed, clinging even harder to him. “I WANT KIT.” 

“Nah- I’m awake now,” Kit said with a grin, thinking he’d rather spend time with his family if he was about to be exiled again so soon. He stood up, carefully balancing Mina in his arms. They walked out of the room together, Mina smiling again and whispering to him about all the books she wanted him to read and current plans for her postbox. 

“Postbox?” Kit raised his eyebrows at Jem as they descended the main staircase. The door to his room was still closed, Kit noted along the way. 

“It’s ah- something to do with a BBC cartoon about a Welsh postman,” Jem told him. “Mina is obsessed and well- you know Tessa and I have fond memories of the Welsh accent.”

“Postman Pat!!” Mina burbled in Kit’s ear, and she started singing what Kit assumed was the theme song to him. They passed by Tessa’s study, where she was curled up with a book, waving briefly as they passed by, and went out into the back garden. 

The afternoon sky was a bright blue, white fluffy clouds lazily floating by, with a fresh breeze that carried the scent of the magnificent flower garden. Sitting in lawn chairs, as directed by Mina, Kit and Jem waited as she ran back inside the double doors, intent on her tasks. 

Kit closed his eyes against the sun, immediately opening them as a shadow fell across him. But it was only Jem, wearing his own pair of sunglasses and offering a spare pair to Kit as he sat back down. 

“Thanks,” he said, slipping them on. 

Mina came zooming over, handing them both some cups and pretending to pour them tea before disappearing again. Jem asked Kit a few questions about how things had been at the London Institute, and Kit deflected by telling him about all the random Will signatures he had found. 

“Sounds like Will,” Jem said, smiling. “But did you find the traces I left in the Institute?”

“No..?” Kit was intrigued. “What were they?”

Jem shrugged and lifted an eyebrow. “Oh, I don’t want to spoil the surprise,” he said.  

Kit rolled his eyes. “All right then, keep your secrets, Gandalf,” he said. But he couldn’t help but be happy he was back at Cirenworth, with Jem being his sometimes cryptic self. 

After a few minutes, they fell into one of their usual silences, which Kit usually appreciated and found restful. But he glanced over and noticed Jem’s face. It was subtle but even with his eyes covered, Kit could tell he was deliberating over words. 

He sighed. “Sure, I’m accepting unsolicited advice at this stage. Go ahead.”

“Am I that obvious?” Jem laughed lightly. “I could’ve sworn my years as a Silent Brother meant I should have a better poker face.”

Kit shrugged. “What can I say? I have a gift for reading people.”

“You do,” Jem’s voice was suddenly serious. “And in that manner - I don’t think you’re unaware of what I’m going to say.”

He paused. “I think you need to be careful when you go back to the London Institute. I don’t think Tiberius is being entirely truthful with you.” The words were filled with regret but conviction.

Kit tried to keep his own face still. He had a similar suspicion but it weirdly needled him that Jem thought so too. “Truthful in what way? Ty would never do anything to- I mean, he’s a good person.”

“No, I don’t think he would intentionally do something to hurt you,” Jem agreed. “But institutions and people working on behalf of institutions or organisations can. Centurions have had an obsession with Faerie - it’s their mission statement and even with the ending of the Cold Peace - well - I’m not sure their current missions are likely to be friendly towards you.”

“Right… but I- I can’t keep hiding,” Kit burst out. “It’s just- I’ve spent the last three years hiding and I can’t do that for the rest of my life.” He leaned back in his chair, staring up at the endless blue sky. “And I want to- I want to have- friends again. Shadowhunter and Downworlder friends. Including Ty,” he said, stubbornly.  

Beside him, Jem let out a small sigh. “I… know, I want that for you too.” He leaned forward, his eyes covered by the dark shades, but there was a sad twist to his mouth, as he looked towards the horizon. “I hope I’m wrong but I keep having nightmares where- something bad has happened to you and well- I’m worried, I suppose, is what I’m saying. I’m not sure London is the best place for you to return to.” 

“Well- if not London, where can I go?” Kit asked, aware of the despairing note in his voice. 

“The Shanghai Institute could be a good option. I could ask my cousin…” Jem trailed off. 

Kit opened his mouth to reply but was interrupted by a flying Mina with an overflowing toy trolley being pushed out the door and speeding towards them. “Special delivery!” she called. “For you, daddy-” she started passing toys to him, and then wheeled over to Kit. “And you, Kitty!” 

Jem accepted his pile gracefully. “Well- let’s talk about this more closer to supper,” he suggested, which Kit was happy to agree to. 

The shadows were starting to stretch behind the tall trees when Kit looked up from where he was building mud pies with Mina, to notice with a start Ty, standing by the doors and watching them. 

After a quick word with Jem and a promise to return to play later on with Mina, who was standing behind her dad, still a bit shy in Ty’s presence, Kit made his way over. 

There was a small smile playing about Ty’s lips as he watched Kit approach, one of his hands playing with a small coin, as he casually leaned against the rough stone exterior of the house. He looked much less pale and no longer looked on the verge of collapse, Kit observed. There was something odd but also right, about him being at Cirenworth, wearing a slightly too-short t-shirt of Kit’s. 

“Hey,” Kit said, pushing up his sunglasses, feeling a smile spread over his face. 

Ty’s eyes went wide for a second and his hands paused their constant movement. “Hi.” He stood up straight, almost soldier-like, as if he had been caught slouching. 

Jem’s warning suddenly echoed in Kit’s head but he pushed it away. He wanted to enjoy these last few hours at home, and part of that meant delaying questions he knew he should be asking. “Hope you slept okay,” he said casually. 

“Yes, I did,” Ty replied back formally. “Your bed is very comfortable,” he added. But he was also looking around, as if searching for someone. 

Livvy.  

“I haven’t seen her,” Kit said, in a low voice, even though Jem and Mina were far away in the back corner of the garden. 

Ty’s mouth thinned. “Hmm, sometimes she- sometimes there can be interferences with her being able to appear.” 

“Well, like Tessa said, the wards are strong here- and Livvy did mention something like that when we first arrived,” Kit said.

Ty nodded. “It’s probably that. She’s usually able to appear anyway better at night,” he said but there was still a reluctant note in his voice. 

Kit was sympathetic but he also realised that, as much as he had wanted Livvy as a buffer at the start, now- as this afternoon was ending- he was wanting to spend a bit more time with Ty alone. He needed to ask Ty some questions and get to the bottom of whatever he was hiding. But more than that, Kit was beginning to realise, he just wanted to spend more time in Ty’s company, without it being a life or death situation.  

“Do you want a tour?” he said quickly, before Ty could suggest anything else. “Of Cirenworth? Given Livvy isn’t likely going to appear for a few hours yet?”

Ty looked surprised but he readily agreed. 

Kit led him around the back garden, waving to Jem and Mina as they went, and he explained the history of the grounds as Jem had explained it to him. Then, he led Ty back into the house, first to the kitchen, where they had a quick snack, Ty telling him of the dire cooking at the Scholomance, while Kit raided the family biscuit tin, which was stocked with chocolate hobnobs (he suspected Tessa had put a spell on the tin, as it always had his favourite types of cookies).  

Afterwards, they continued their tour, with Ty looking curiously at the long history of the Carstairs and Herondales and other Shadowhunters lining the walls of the hallways and Kit wracking his brains trying to remember the stories Tessa told him about them. With some people, Kit thought, they might have politely listened, but Ty was listening intently, with a slight tilt to his head that Kit vaguely remembered from years before. 

“That’s Alastair Carstairs - he was Jem’s cousin and Tessa’s son’s brother-in-law,” he said, more than halfway down the hall towards the east wing of the house. “Oh yeah- AND, he was gay, Tessa was pretty sure - he and a Lightwood, Theodore or something, were confirmed lifelong bachelors in London together.” Kit was proud of remembering the important parts of Cirenworth’s former owners’ lives. 

But Ty had stopped dead in front of another portrait. “This is- he’s a Blackthorn, isn’t he?” he asked, staring at the male half of a couple sitting on a bench in the picture. “I’ve seen him before, I think.”

“Yeah… that’s Jesse Blackthorn. He married Tessa’s daughter, Lucie.” Kit felt a shiver run down his spine at Ty’s intent gaze. He didn’t know the full story but Tessa had skirted around it enough for Kit to know there had been some sort of black magic - perhaps even necromancy- that Jesse and Lucie had been involved in. They had narrowly avoided having their marks stripped and being exiled as mundanes, Tessa had told him. He didn’t want to tell Ty their story- for obvious reasons. 

“Hey- let me show you…” Kit cast a look around for something to distract Ty. He noticed where they were. “C’mon- the training room is this way,” he said, sweeping an arm down the hall, trying to act casual. 

Ty gave one last lingering look at the portrait before following Kit into the large, former ballroom that was Cirenworth’s training room.  

He stood there, transfixed, while Kit leaned back against the nearest wall with a smug smile. Sure, it didn’t have the sleek modernity of the L.A. Institute, but Jem and Tessa had taken as much care and attention in restoring the old training room as they had in the rest of the house. 

The teak floor gleamed a buttery golden red from the late afternoon sun, highlighted from the skylights and wide windows at the back of the room. The white-washed walls held ranges of weapons on display, interspersed with training towers and ladders and ropes with access to the wide beams above, while large display cabinets at the back housed the older and more exotic weapons of Cirenworth’s past. At the far end of the room was the raised platform that had been there since the early 1900s, according to Jem. 

It was impressive, if you liked that sort of aesthetic, which Kit assumed Ty did. 

Ty stood there looking, particularly on the training towers and then with a look that seemed to be focused on Kit’s shoulder, he asked: “This is where you trained?”

Ah, Kit suddenly realised the trap he had walked them into. “Oh- yeah,” he said casually. “I trained here sometimes with Jem. Sometimes Tessa too.” 

“Oh.” Was all Ty said. But he was looking just past Kit, and up at the scuffed platforms and the outline of the unfortunate incident where Tessa had been quick off the mark to put out an errant fireball. Kit could feel the danger sirens go off in his head - he shouldn’t be revealing more about his time at Cirenworth, especially if there was something behind Jem’s words about Ty.   

“I- look. I hated- hate Shadowhunter training, for the most part,” Kit said in a rush. “So anyway- this is where I trained, when I could be bothered to do it.” He willed Ty to drop his interest. “Anyway, it’s a cool room but just like in any other Shadowhunter house or Institute. Let me show you some other rooms. Should we continue the tour?” he rambled.  

Ty’s look was puzzled and he ignored Kit’s last question. “But- when we, we were all together in London, you said that you were going to train- that you were going to catch up with me and Liv- with us,” he said.  

He remembered those conversations. Out of the depths of his mind, a memory stirred of Ty’s luminous smile when he said he’d train him sometimes but that he had other important things to do. 

Kit could feel himself flushing a deep red. “Yeah, well- priorities change,” he mumbled. He remembered the first summer after he came to Cirenworth, following his visit with Jem to the New York Shadowmarket. He had meant to keep up his training- but he soon realised the dull, repetitive nature of it, and while his Shadowhunter blood did make it easier in some ways to build muscle, it was a long slog, and Kit grew bored with it. And then he started at his new school, and he made friends and stayed up late, playing video games and texting with Holly and eventually he stopped showing up in the mornings to train with Jem…   

He wandered over to a small tableau filled with throwing knives. Maybe a quick demonstration would help. He picked up a couple and handed one to Ty, pointing to the targets on the opposite wall. “You can hit that, right?” 

Ty didn’t hesitate. “Yeah,” he said. He looked at Kit, who nodded, and he let the knife fly- it struck true, right in the heart of the bullseye.

Kit sighted his own knife and aimed. As per usual, it went wide and struck the target on the far left side. It was embarrassing. “See?” Kit gave his best charming smile, a Johnny Rook special, the one he used at the Institute to explain away his lack of skills and duck out of training.

“So, you don’t have as good hand-eye coordination,” Ty said, after a moment. “Some Shadowhunters don’t - it doesn’t mean you can’t be-”

“Ty- it’s the same if I try fighting with swords, or seraph blades or bows. I’m distinctly mediocre,” Kit told him, willing him to understand. “I’m not a Shadowhunter.”

Jem and Tessa hadn’t pushed him to continue. Well- not until Kit skipped training for a month and Tessa had appeared at his bedroom door one Saturday morning, with a serious look in her eyes.

“So…” Ty looked back at him, and Kit could swear there was weirdly a hint of panic in Ty’s voice. “You didn’t do any training? You’re no better than a mundane?”

That stung, and Kit couldn’t let it pass. “Not quite,” he said quickly. “Tessa told me I didn’t have to train to be a Shadowhunter but it would be a disservice to my mom’s sacrifice if her and Jem didn’t teach me to defend myself in other ways,” he added quietly. 

Realisation dawned on Ty’s face. “So- Tessa taught you to use your powers,” he said. 

Kit nodded.    

“So- show me,” Ty commanded. “What can you do?” He was looking almost directly at Kit now. 

There was a familiar stir in Kit’s blood, bringing him back to dull winter days where Tessa stood on the ground, one hand on her hip and asked him. “Well then, what are we going to do today?” 

He knew it was dangerous. But also knew he couldn’t resist. 

Kit looked upwards to the highest platform in the room. He kept his eyes open even as he reached deep within to activate his magic (that was one of the first lessons Tessa had taught him), and within a split second he was looking down at Ty. 

But he didn’t wait for a reaction. He took a deep breath, mentally plotting, checking the cabinet at the far end was still as it had been left the last time he had been home. With a quick puff, he materialised on the far side of the room, knowing Ty’s eyes would be scanning for him. Not stopping, he hopped, three more quick stops around the ceiling, then made a beeline for the cabinet, his fingers making quick work of the clasp. And then he was back on the ground, just behind Ty, and dug in a training knife just above Ty’s kidney. 

Less than half a breath later, he was on the ground, and grey eyes were gazing down at him triumphantly.  

Kit grinned. He grabbed his power and pushed. Ty was tossed off him as if being batted away by an invisible wave, which Kit supposed, it was. He quickly flashed himself back up onto the highest beam, and clung there, steadying himself. He could feel his power thrumming through him, seemingly revitalised from his nap and it lapped at him, urging him onwards. He resisted, and finally- looked down to see Ty’s reaction. 

Who was smiling widely back at him, his hands fluttering excitedly by his side. “That was amazing,” Ty said, the acoustics in the room still carrying his voice up to Kit. 

“I know,” Kit said, modestly. 

He appeared next to Ty again, who was watching him appraisingly. “I still managed to knock you down though,” he pointed out. Kit shrugged. “Yeah, I guess so- but it’s not like I was actually going to stab you in the kidney though,” he shot back. 

Ty’s answering grin was feral. “Want to go again?” he asked. “You had the element of surprise that time- what if your opponent is aware of your powers?” 

Kit’s normally low-key competitive spirit was revving up, and he nodded. “Yeah, I practised for that with Jem,” he said. “No biggie.” He didn’t wait for Ty’s response but flashed himself down to the biggest cabinet to do a quick raid. He didn’t like most weapons, especially the big clunky ones but he did know some of them - particularly the small wrist knives could be useful in situations. Behind him, he heard a rasp of metal, and knew Ty was also arming himself. 

He threw himself into the next skirmish. 

They danced around each other, Kit getting close enough to touch Ty on the arms with the flat of his knives, and Ty whirling around in defence with his sword, and then going on the offence with a ferocious attack that had Kit using his air shield and retreating back to the ceiling, feeling his eyes start to glow the eerie faerie green that happened when he delved deep into his powers. 

Kit couldn’t tell how long they practised but eventually, he started to feel a burning in his fingertips, and he knew he was approaching the limit of his power again. But he wasn’t going to admit it to Ty. He couldn’t show that weakness. One more quick pass and-

His back thudded into the wall, and there was a flash of silvery-grey out of the corner of his eye, and he could feel the knife biting into the flesh of his neck, as Ty used his full strength to pin him. 

Instead of instinctively reaching for his dwindling power again, this time Kit looked up- and froze. What had been distant memories roared back, fully-fledged into his mind. His and Ty’s first meeting. When he had been so scared but also- and at this point, Kit was finally admitting it to himself- already falling for Ty, as he remembered thinking… 

“Kit- you’re-” Ty’s voice was hoarse, and he licked his lips. His breath hitched. Kit’s mind short-circuited, and a different type of electricity thrummed through his body, as he gasped in a few breaths, feeling the solidity of Ty’s hand on his chest, and he tore his gaze off of Ty’s lips, and up to the far more dangerous black-sooted fringe of hair and- 

Ty’s eyes were wide, and staring at Kit- and Kit, try as he might, could not read him. 

 They stayed there, almost as if in suspended animation.

Kit felt a wetness trickling down his shirt and unwillingly felt himself return to the present.

Ty’s eyes darted down, and widened in horror. The pressure of the knife was instantly withdrawn, and before Kit could realise what had happened, Ty had his stele out, and the slightly unpleasant burn of an iratze had been drawn just below the cut.

Kit stepped away from the wall, rubbing the iratze and wondered if he looked as disconcerted as he felt. 

“Kit- I, I’m sorry,” Ty stammered. “Why didn’t you try to escape this time?” Unlike a moment earlier, it was easier to interpret the emotions flashing over Ty’s face - embarrassment, contrition, and- maybe a hint of anger. 

“I-” Kit shook his head. He went for the easier answer. “I ran out of gas- I couldn’t,” he said. 

Instead of soothing Ty, it only seemed to incense him. His eyes shuttered. “What?” he asked. “You couldn’t?”

“No, I couldn’t,” Kit responded, hurt at Ty’s response. “It’s not limitless, remember?”

“That’s not good enough,” Ty said, sheathing his knife and starting to pace. “If you get pinned by your enemies- they’ll wear you down using it and trap you and-”

“I KNOW, TY,” Kit exploded, as he turned and threw his knives in frustration.  

“You think I don’t know that?” He wanted to grab Ty and shake him. You think I don’t know? That I have limited power and limited time to learn more about it and I’m still not good enough and-

“It’s why I run and hide, okay?” he yelled. “Because it’s all I can fucking do- I’ve been hiding for three years and running for the past five months and it sucks and I hate it and-” He stood there, trembling. Funnily enough, one of the knives had actually found its target, despite his erratic moves.  

All of his anger drained away, and he slumped against one of the nearby climbing towers. 

“Look- we’ll figure out a way so that you don’t have to keep running,” Ty said. But Kit just shook his head and laughed, harshly. “Maybe- but there’s no guarantee that I- or someone else I love doesn’t get hurt in the meantime.” 

He was aware of time stretching out and Ty hovering just beyond but he couldn’t move. It just felt like so much- and never ending running. He didn’t want to have to be always looking over his shoulder- scared to visit or develop bonds with people.  

“What do you need?” Ty’s voice sounded like it was coming from far away. 

And suddenly Kit was desperate for Ty to touch him, give him human contact, human comfort. “Could you-?” He couldn’t manage to get the words out but Ty stood there patiently, watching, like he found Kit to be the most fascinating thing in the world. “Like- we did on the rooftop of the London Institute?”  

Recognition dawned in Ty’s eyes and he was beside Kit before he could even think to take the words back. The grace and speed of Shadowhunters often surprised Kit but not when it came to Ty.  

He could feel Ty’s fingers gently stroking along his arms, the movements rhythmically soothing. Kit closed his eyes, hands circling around to rest at the base of Ty’s lower back, the cloth slightly damp from their training. 

Ty pulled him closer and Kit sighed, relaxing finally. 

This close, Kit could feel a quiet, almost undetectable hum coming from Ty’s throat- reminding him of a contented cat, and the muffled, steady sound of his heartbeat, as Kit rested his head against the soft, faded t-shirt fabric. 

Ty’s breath though, was slightly fast-paced and uneven. 

It felt more like a sanctuary and less like the open wound he had feared it might be. He moved his head off Ty’s warm chest, daring to look up. There was an intense look in Ty’s eyes, catching him and pinning him with his gaze. “Is this all right?” he asked, his voice soft. 

In the distance, Kit could hear a cheerful, wavering off-key singing from Mina downstairs and the sound of Jem playing the violin. This felt dangerous now, in Ty’s arms. 

He moved to disentangle himself and almost fell off balance when the other boy stepped quickly away, back to the previous, safe distance. 

Kit put his hands in his pocket to cover up his momentary clumsiness. “Thanks,” he said- and Ty nodded back, the motion almost jerky. They started to tidy away the training equipment. 

Unspoken words hovered in the air between them. For the first time though, since their reunion, Kit didn’t think it was the past that was driving it. 

Kit could feel Ty stealing glances at him, until, finally, Kit stopped, turning to him. “What is it?” 

Ty shook his head, almost savagely. “It’s not- not appropriate right now.”

“Tell me- fuck appropriate,” Kit said, suddenly desperate to know.  

“Okay…” There was an unguarded look in Ty’s eyes and the next words out of his mouth were a surprise. “Kit,” he said. “I want to kiss you.” 

Kit stood rooted to the spot. He let Ty’s words sink in, while he stared at the gleaming wooden floor. 

He waited- wondering if Ty would say anything else. Stupidly, his brain went to the classic 80s and 90s romcoms he had watched with Tessa and the fact that in those movies the declaration of feelings was usually followed by a kiss, no waiting around. 

But this wasn’t a film and he knew that wasn’t Ty’s style. He looked up, hesitantly, almost afraid to find out he’d missed his chance. 

But Ty was still there, immobile as a statue, the only indication of his own nerves were the additional paleness to his face, and some subtle finger taps along his jeans.

“Right,” Kit said, coming back to himself. “Yeah, I want that too,” he said more firmly. “I want to kiss you too.” 

Saying the words aloud - maybe his parents would’ve called it his Herondale blood.Or maybe it was while the past three years had taught Kit while his instinct to run usually worked - sometimes, just maybe - the strategy of standing one’s ground was also the right one. 

He took a step towards Ty. “Well, what are you waiting for?” he asked, and threw his best challenging smile, remembering the hitch in Ty’s breath earlier. 

Ty’s luminous smile blossomed. In an instant, his hands were on Kit’s shoulders, carefully steering them and for the second time in as many minutes, his back hit the wall. He could see Ty considering him, his eyes flashing silvery-grey in the dimming afternoon light, before he leaned down. Kit closed his eyes, letting his head tilt back, as Ty’s lips gently, almost hesitantly brushed his own. It was and both wasn’t enough- without thinking, his hands were on the back of Ty’s neck, urging him to deepen the kiss- which Ty did, eagerly.   

This was happening, Kit thought hazily. He was kissing Ty. 

Maybe it should have terrified him. 

But for the first time in several months, Kit finally allowed himself to relax and surrendered to the moment of happiness, however fleeting it might be. 

 

Chapter Text

There was something about kissing Ty that scared Kit. It was unlike kissing Holly, even when she had been the one nipping at his earlobes and down his neck, leaving hickeys and Kit had briefly wondered about bites and how werewolf transference actually worked. 

No, it was different with Ty. It was everything Kit wanted… but it felt somehow darker, where they were both still keeping walls up, a spark of dormant conflict and uneasiness existing, despite boundaries becoming tangled between them. 

He was aware of Ty’s body covering his in a possessive stance, pressing against him in a way that in other situations would have set off his fight or flight instinct. His hands were around Kit’s waist, firm pressure and unmoving, in contrast to their usual beautiful fluttering movements. But Ty kept his kisses lighter and undemanding even as Kit curled  fingers into his dark hair, urging him him down, closer. Wanting to close the distance of years apart. 

After countless times agonising over lost and potential what-if scenarios in his head-  touching Ty, kissing him- initiated by Ty was the sweetest relief. But it also provoked new waves of anxiety. What if he was doing it wrong? What if this was his one chance and he was messing it up? Shut up, Kit tried to tell his spiralling thoughts.  

He placed his other hand at the edge of Ty’s borrowed shirt, slipping it underneath. He hesitated until he heard an impatient in-breath, and a slight movement of Ty moving even closer and only then did he allow himself to touch Ty’s skin, feeling goosebumps and the hard planes of muscle as they moved with Ty’s breath, as their lips touched and lifted. Ty left butterfly kisses around Kit’s mouth, and along his neck, sending thrills down Kit’s nerves, setting them alight. Kit traced along Ty’s shoulder bones, feeling the curve of Ty’s lips shape into a smile as he did so. 

Sometime later, Kit leaned his head back to catch a breath, dropping his hands from their explorations. 

Ty also drew back, his gaze set at a point in the wall. He kept his hands where they were, almost as if to keep Kit in place- from fleeing again. 

Kit studied him, trying to read into the set of his jaw, the squint around Ty’s eyes or the subtle tension he held in his lips for clues as to what they did next. Where they went after this bridge had been crossed - no, thoroughly destroyed - when it came to their friendship. 

Rather than address that thorny issue, his eyes were drawn to the slight raise underneath the fabric of Ty’s shirt. Kit traced a finger over one of the delicate chains, hooking a finger over it, to pull out the Herondale necklace. 

Ty let out an involuntary shiver. 

“You shouldn’t wear this anymore,” Kit said, his voice cracking loudly. Ty’s eyes flew back to his face, settling on his lips, as Kit winced. “It was supposed to keep you safe. But things have changed and wearing it now will only put you in danger.”  

“I’m not in danger from the necklace,” Ty said, his voice steady. Finally releasing Kit’s waist, he took several small steps back. Watching Ty distance himself again, Kit felt a sudden surge of apprehension.  

“Kit. I have to tell you something,” Ty said. “I was going to wait until Livvy came back but I- can’t wait.” He looked nervous - possibly for the first time since they had reunited - rubbing his hands up and down along the side of his jeans. 

Kit’s stomach was churning with uneasiness. He leaned back against the wall, crossing his arms. “Okay?” he replied, trying to remain casual.     

“I know you’re the descendant of the First Heir.” Ty met Kit’s eyes as he dropped his bombshell, his eyes now dark and fathomless in the rapidly-darkening training room.  

Kit straightened up at Ty’s confession. Whatever he expected Ty to say, it wasn’t that. But then again, it wasn’t exactly surprising Ty had put two and two together, he reasoned. The monster attacking Ty had addressed Kit as the heir. And combined with the past twenty four hours and seeing Kit’s powers in action… “Right,” he said, neutrally, noting that Ty was waiting for a reaction before continuing.  

“We- the Centurions, we know the Seelie Queen and her court have been trying to track down this heir - and it’s… you,” Ty said, rubbing the back of his neck, ducking his head. He looked distraught. “I’ve realised it’s you.”

“Yeah, no shit- that’s been my life these last three years, them trying to find me.” Kit said bitterly. “What of it? I didn’t exactly expect the Centurions to protect me, if that’s what you’re saying.” 

“No- but. You probably didn’t expect the Centurions would be helping the Seelie Court track you down.”

“What.” Kit felt cold. “Why?” Suddenly his heart was pounding too loudly in his chest and he could feel his gaze drawn past Ty to the door to the rest of the house. His power itched in his veins, telling him to leave, escape, flee

“Why? Kit, I’ve just seen what you can do. And according to prophecies we’ve read, you’ll be ten times more powerful once you’ve learned to harness it properly.” 

Ty’s voice was back to that same, flat tone. His Centurion voice, Kit decided. “Plus, you have claims to both the Unseelie and Seelie thrones which- if they go to war, it could spill over to the wider Shadow World-” Ty was shaking his head, almost disagreeing as he listed all the reasons that Tessa had laid out to Kit, all those years ago, when she invited him to live with her and Jem at Cirenworth. 

“Yeah, yeah- fine, I’m a ticking time bomb,” Kit interrupted, pushing himself off the wall. His power was building again, gaining energy from his growing anger and fear. 

Fighting against his instinct to flee, Kit walked up to Ty instead, forcing him to back up several more steps. Kit narrowed his eyes. “So, I guess- for the good of the Shadow World, what are you gonna do? Arrest me? Hand me over to the Seelie Court?” 

Ty’s jaw moved imperceptibly, his eyes darting back and forth past Kit. 

“Whoa, things seem to have escalated here,” Livvy’s voice was loud behind them, as she materialised in the gloom. 

“Not a good time, Livvy,” Kit told her, watching as Ty pivoted to greet his sister, as Livvy drifted up to his shoulder. The twins held a rapid hushed conversation between them, before Livvy turned to Kit. 

“Well, you better make up in the next thirty seconds ‘cause you need to leave Cirenworth now. Ty’s machine has gotten very good at giving the Seelie Court’s hunters a heads up to your location… and Anush has just spun it up to try and locate you again.” 

“Ty’s machine?” Kit knew his voice was strained at this new blow and revelation of Ty’s betrayal. Ty grimaced and looked away. 

Livvy’s mouth went into a round ‘o’ and she blinked rapidly. “Yeah- his and Anush’s adapted Sensor- did he not tell you-” she said, looking confused. “I just- you were talking about the Seelie Court, so I assumed you knew he’s been running the Centurion side of the operation to find the heir… like, before he knew it was you .”

“We were getting there,” Kit said, gritting his teeth. “I assume.”  

He looked over- only to find Ty had slipped behind the nearest workbenches, gathering up throwing knives. “You need to pick a weapon,” he called out to Kit. “Quickly, before we go.” 

“What do you mean ‘before we go?’” Kit tried to sort through his rapidly blossoming thoughts, which were threatening to overwhelm him. Automatically, he moved towards the nearest plinth, and grabbed tiny knives and their corresponding sheaths. 

Ty stopped in front of him. “We’ll need to teleport away from Cirenworth for the fight,” he said. His voice was calm, even as he tapped a rapid rhythm on the ground with the massive pike he had grabbed from the wall. He held out several larger knives to Kit. 

Kit threw a glance to Livvy, who nodded. “We need to go.” 

“What do you mean we ?” Kit repeated, even as he accepted the knives. Ty couldn’t mean- 

“Kit, I know you almost drained your power earlier but- you need to take both of us to a location away from Cirenworth. Otherwise your family won’t be safe,” Ty told him, his voice barely above a whisper, deadly serious.     

“I - seriously? You’ve been sending Seelie hunters after me, and now you want me to take you to an ambush with them?” Kit pointed out. He clenched his fists, feeling the ornamental hilts of the knives becoming slippery in his sweaty hands. Why was he wasting time? He should’ve been left as soon as he had heard Livvy’s warning.  

Ty screwed up his face in consternation and his eyes kept slipping to Livvy before being drawn back to Kit. “I understand why you don’t trust me but you need me there for the fight,” he said fiercely. 

“I- can’t,” Kit said.

Ty’s hands spasmed around the pike. “Please- I want to help. Let me help you. So you don’t have to keep running - you told me you don’t want to keep running.” Livvy was hovering behind Ty, an anxious expression on her face. 

It’s an impossible dream,  Kit thought dully. Particularly with the bombshell Ty had just dropped - that the Centurions were helping track him down - it didn’t bode well for his future freedom or chance of a normal life. He tried to focus on buckling the knife sheaths around his forearms.

“Kit, please.” Ty’s voice was almost a whisper and Kit’s survival instinct kicked in. It didn’t have to be today that he was finally caught, he thought. This time around, he could have a well-trained, insider Centurion help him slip the rapidly-tightening net. 

Assuming Ty wasn’t double-crossing him and wasn’t just planning to deliver him over to the Seelie Queen. But that didn’t seem Ty’s style; so, did Kit trust him? 

Kit made his calculations rapidly. He stashed the knives in his arm braces and moved within Ty’s orbit. “Where to?” 

Ty didn’t hesitate, shifting so Kit could comfortably fit his arms around him, in a tight embrace. “Someplace with high cover, maybe a few miles from here. So we don’t have to hike half a day back again,” Ty said, his voice close to Kit’s ear. 

“I’ll follow,” Livvy promised.   

In the distance, Kit could hear Jem calling him and Ty for dinner, as the scene in front of them melted away in a blur. 

Kit felt like he was going to be physically sick. The trip to the steep, hilly Dartmoor viewpoint where he and Jem had started hikes had taken most of his power reserves, and he fought off dizziness, clutching at the nearest tree trunk. Had he jumped quickly enough that Ty’s adapted Sensor was tracking him to this new location, or were the Seelies going to show up at Cirenworth? 

“Let me-,” Ty took his arm, turning it upwards and and efficiently sketched fresh strength and perseverance runes before letting go of Kit, watching him closely for a minute before turning away. Dizziness fading, Kit was reminded once again of the usefulness of runes but decided he may have to talk to Ty about his obsession with drawing them on him. 

Livvy popped into view and with unspoken agreement, all three of them turned their attention to their immediate surroundings, looking down from the craggy, tree-filled outcrop of rock, and the empty parking lot and fields below. Luckily, there didn’t seem to be any mundane hikers around.  

It was so quiet in the still countryside evening that the sudden pop and appearance of the Faerie contingent made Kit jump.  

“Oh shit.” Kit had never heard Ty swear using mundane terms before. 

While Kit’s previous brushes had involved one or two at most Fae warriors or beasts, this was a full contingent, counting at least fifteen fully-armed faeries and two very large wolf-like creatures pacing back and forth below them. Standing as an odd man out, there was also a Centurion, his dark hair and skin and black uniform in stark contrast to the bone-armoured Seelies. 

No matter how well-trained Ty was - and whatever help Kit could provide - there was no way that they could take them. Even if Ty was inclined to fight his fellow Centurion. 

Kit looked over at Ty’s pale face and Livvy’s terrified look and a wave of despair washed over him. 

What do we do? ” he could see Livvy mouth and Kit shook his head. Maybe it was best that this was where he surrendered, keeping his family safe and far away, he thought, even as every part of him rebelled against that suggestion. 

“It’s not possible to fight that many…” Ty murmured, as an intense look of concentration crossed his face. 

Several long seconds passed and Kit grew antsy, attempting to split his attention between the danger below and Ty. 

“Well, Sherlock?” he asked. 

Ty smiled at the nickname, despite Kit’s sarcastic edge to it. He dropped his pike and fished out a couple more items from his pockets, and dropped them carelessly underneath the nearest tree. “I have a plan,” he said, his eyes gleaming. “Pass me a knife, Watson.”

Kit handed it over and then bit down on a yelp as Ty pulled it out of the sheaf, and with a swift motion dragged it high across his collarbone, and then across his left cheekbone. The cuts bled a sluggish red as Ty addressed Livvy. “Can you shield Kit with your ghost cloaking ability, Livvy? For a few minutes at least?”

“I- I think so. I don’t know if Seelie magic can cut through it but I can try,” Livvy nodded and Ty looked reassured. 

“Ty- don’t be, what the fuck are you even doing?” Kit hissed, torn between wanting to get an explanation or better yet- drained power be damned- grabbing Ty and teleporting them both someplace far away from the deadly squad below. 

“Buying us enough time so I can get back to London and disable the Sensor,” Ty replied, as he added a few more shallow knife cuts to his arms, and then smeared the blood around. 

Kit and Livvy looked on in horrified silence. “But I need to do it now before they find us!” Ty said, more urgently. “Climb that tree and just wait here,” he told them, pointing. Without waiting for an answer, he started to walk towards the narrow path down to the empty parking lot and towards the Faeries, who had gathered their bearings and were beginning to spread out. 

Feeling incredulous but unable to think of anything better to do, Kit hiked himself into the nearest suitable tree. Livvy floated up beside him. “Stay still - it’s cold but it won’t hurt you,” she whispered. An invisible blanket of cool air fell across him, and the world suddenly went foggy at the edges, as if they were in a glass filled with condensation. “When did you learn that?” Kit asked, his voice low enough he wasn’t sure she heard him. 

But she did. “At the Scholomance - I discovered I could hide from other ghosts, and Ty and I experimented where we discovered I could also cloak him from ghosts- and also from his fellow students. For a time, at least. ” In the ghost bubble, Livvy’s eyes were fathomless and her voice was as harsh as the winter wind. 

Kit tried not to recoil. Then he leaned forward, as Ty broke from the tree cover towards the now-fanned out Faeries. His heart in his throat, he heard a shout from the nearest one, aiming their crossbows at Ty’s heart, before Ty was ushered into the centre of the group.   

Several long agonising minutes passed as Kit strained to see Ty’s every move and gesture, watching as Ty pointed to his self-inflicted cuts, and wondering if he was able to pull it off whatever mad plan he had come up with. He didn’t seem to have been immediately taken prisoner by the Seelies, which Kit figured was a good sign. 

A few moments later, Ty’s debrief finished, the Faeries continued their scouting of the area. A small group of them, including Ty, headed towards the outcrop where Kit and Livvy were hiding.  

In the distance, Kit could see Ty and the other Centurion - he wondered if it was Anush - in a deep conversation, with a large piece of paper held in his hand and Ty pointing to several spots on it. The wind blew snatches of words towards them but Kit couldn’t make out a legible conversation. He gradually relaxed as Ty’s stance remained ramrod straight but untroubled while hiking upwards with the other Centurion. But then Kit’s attention turned to the Seelie wolfhound attached to the group, which growled and rushed ahead to the clearing where they were hiding. 

Kit tensed, rustling branches. Livvy glared at him and he shrugged apologetically. As the Faeries prowled underneath and around them, he tried to refrain from even breathing. In that sense, he thought, Livvy had the easier job.

“Dhosvy has found a scent,” said the imperious Seelie knight holding the lead. “The Heir must be close.” The wolfhound started circling around the tree Kit and Livvy were hiding in. Kit closed his eyes briefly, wishing he believed in God, Raziel… any deity, so he could pray to them. 

But Ty shook his head. “Perhaps-” he said, looking perfectly at ease despite being only a few metres and moments away from his whole ruse falling apart. “Or-” he tilted his head and went to grab his abandoned weapons, under the tree, picking up a small box. “He might be picking up this artifact that belongs to the Heir,” he said, flashing the small wooden box he had shown to Tessa, Jem and Kit, hours earlier. 

“It’s something I found while searching in the area,” he told the Fae, who were looking disgruntled, as the wolfhound sniffed eagerly at the box being held out and growled at it. “It’s associated with the Heir and I dropped it in my brief skirmish with him.” Ty said calmly gesturing to his wounds. He smiled, at ease, reaching out to let the wolfhound sniff his own upturned palm, which was brave, Kit thought, considering the size of the creature. 

The two Fae looked disappointed and they spoke amongst themselves in a language Kit couldn’t understand but assumed was High Fae. They circled around the clearing a few more times with their hound, while Ty and the other Centurion just watched in silence. But Livvy’s cloaking held and Ty’s deception seemed to have convinced them. After a few more tense minutes, the duo left, their soft, sibilant High Fae words sounding angry. 

Ty and the Centurion lingered, as Ty picked up his pike and other spilled weapons. “So… I assume you’ll tell me the full story of how you arrived here, in the nick of time, when we’re back in London and out of Fae earshot,” the other man said, softly. Despite his accusatory words, he sounded almost cheerful and from Kit’s position in the tree, it looked like he was almost grinning at Ty. 

Ty nodded slowly. “Yes, I definitely have a story to tell,” he said neutrally. “But I have to head back to the Carstairs’ place first- their library has some texts on Fae legends I think will be useful to unravel the next stage of finding the Heir.”

“Hey. We’ve already found him- it’s just too bad he got the jump on you this time and escaped,” said Anush. “You should’ve brought along Kit Herondale on your hike- I know some of the London Institute aren’t too keen on him - but he’s a Herondale, so I’m sure that’s got to count for something. And you mentioned in your message he was helpful last night- which by the way, I am still hurt you chose to bring him instead of me for your jaunt down to Devon to investigate your newest lead.” 

Ty just shrugged in response. But Anush didn’t seem to take it personally and continued chattering on as they made their way back down the hill. 

Kit let out the breath he had been holding. 

Slowly, the Faeries drifted back from their reconnaissance of the area, and despite the distance, Kit thought he could see the looks of frustration on their faces. After another short huddle and consultation, one of the more grandly-dressed Faeries held up his arm, and as suddenly as they had appeared, they blinked out of existence, leaving Ty alone again. 

Kit slumped back against the tree’s spindly trunk with relief. 

Ty made his way back to them almost half an hour later, which Kit assumed was in case anyone had tried to follow him. His lips were tight and white-rimmed, and he kept running his hands through his hair, almost compulsively, as he entered the clearing where Kit and Livvy were waiting. 

“You can come out,” he said. Kit cautiously made his way out of the tree, and watched Livvy rush over to her twin and fuss, as Ty slumped onto a flat rock.

Kit approached, watching Ty scrub at his face, and he could see the sweat beading Ty’s forehead, despite the rapidly-cooling night air.

“That was a bold plan,” he said, as the silence stretched out between them. “I didn’t realise you had become so good at deception,” he said. 

Ty’s face shuttered at Kit’s words. “It’s a skill like any other Centurion one- like any good detective should have,” he said defensively. “Anyway- you’ve been good at it for years,” he said, lifting his chin. 

Ty’s words stung more than Kit would have liked. “Yeah well- we’re both excellent liars now, hooray for us,” he replied. 

Livvy sighed loudly and both of them turned to look at her. “Oh please- do NOT start this again,” she said, throwing her hands up in the air. “Can’t you both acknowledge that you’ve both kept secrets from each other and move past it?”

Kit ignored her plea. “Oh, I don’t know- maybe. But then again, maybe the fact you’ve been in charge of hunting me down for the past few months could’ve come up earlier?” he said, directing his sarcasm towards Ty. 

Ty stiffened. “I didn’t know it was you- plus you also haven’t been forthcoming about where your power came from. Or why you’ve been in hiding.”

“You didn’t ask,” Kit shot back. Then he realised how weird that was in hindsight- Ty not asking those questions, and his curiosity made him forget his anger briefly. “When did you figure it out?”

Ty had started angrily tracing patterns in the dust of the rock he was sitting on. “I didn’t know it was you,” he repeated, unwilling to look up. “But I started to have suspicions almost from the beginning when we met up again.”

“Then why didn’t you say something?” Kit asked, desperate. 

Ty stopped his finger drawings, and slowly stood. “Because I didn’t want it to be true,” he said, an undertone of anger colouring his voice. “Because I don’t want us to be on opposite sides of the war that is coming.”

Kit felt cold apprehension at his words. “Wait- what do you mean by that?” He looked to Livvy but didn’t find any clues on her pale, immobile face. 

Ty shook his head, looking frustrated. “I- I don’t have time to explain it all. Not right now,” he said, starting to pace around the clearing. 

Kit could’ve throttled him there and then. “Why not?”

“Because I have to head back to the London Institute. I need to disable or adjust the Sensor so the Seelie Court doesn’t immediately come after you again!” Ty pointed out, and he looked close to losing his patience with Kit. He ran his fingers through his hair again, letting it stand on end.  

In the fast-paced scenes of the previous hour, Kit had forgotten about that. He nodded reluctantly. “Okay fair.” He watched as Ty re-arranged his weapons, shifting the small box that had saved his skin, into his front jeans.  

“What is that, really?” he asked Ty, nodding at the Faerie artifact. 

Ty ignored the question, pulling out his stele to draw an iratze on his arm instead. Kit pushed down his irritation. He paused. “Thank you for risking your career to pull one over on the Seelie Court for me.” Despite his hurt over discovering Ty’s role in the whole mess, he owed him that much, at least.  

“You’re welcome-  today’s situation is only the start though, to avoid them catching on,” Ty said thoughtfully, stowing his stele and tapping his fingers on the pike again.   

Kit thought about the monumental task Ty seemed to have just agreed to - keeping Kit out of the Seelie Court’s way and presumably also out of the hands of his fellow Centurions. How long could he keep up a double agent life? And why was he agreeing to it? Ty had wanted to be a Centurion for a long time and was surely risking not only his career but also potentially his status as a Shadowhunter just to help Kit. 

Kit felt conflicted - it all felt like too much to ask of Ty- and therefore, he didn’t trust it.

Noticing Livvy’s mournful gaze towards Ty, Kit also considered her position - watching from the sidelines as her twin moved through life, her own autonomy shuttered and tied to Ty. 

And how his own life- which was barely kept under control- was spiralling into an even larger problem. Particularly as his cover as a barely-competent Shadowhunter was crumbling around him. He- and Tessa and Jem- were going to have to come up with a new plan. Or maybe it was time to drop the subterfuge and show the Shadowhunters who he really was. 

The dying rays of the sunset lit Ty’s hair, catching red highlights, and with his unhealed scars, he looked every part of the dangerous, dark presence Kit had originally seen when he first properly met Ty again, deep in the depths of Dartmoor.    

It had been only a little while ago they had snatched a brief moment to be just Kit and Ty. As they had been in L.A. Friends- or maybe it had always been something more, Kit thought, remembering their kiss. Part of him wanted to kiss Ty again, and part of him wanted to shake him until he gave up every remaining secret hidden behind those flinty grey eyes. 

But their roles as Centurion and First Heir were overshadowing everything else. And any clarifying questions Kit might have proposed were stuck in his throat.  

“So… what are we going to do, long term?” he finally asked, wondering if any of the sadness he was feeling came through in his voice. 

Ty’s face softened. “I don’t know yet,” he admitted. He stepped closer to Kit tentatively. “But we’ll come up with a plan,” he promised. 

He held out a hand and Kit took it, accepting the truce. Digging deep within his power, he returned them to Cirenworth without another word. 

Ty, alongside Livvy, disappeared through the Portal, and Kit felt a hollow ache in his chest expand, as the flashing swirl of blue lights closed. 

“As soon as I can, I’ll come back and we can talk more freely next time,” he had promised Kit just ahead of Tessa opening up the Portal. 

Kit had crossed his arms, holding himself back from touching Ty. “You better,” he said baldly. “No secrets next time- all revealed, promise?” 

Ty’s smile had been brief but dazzling, and he reached out to briefly embrace Kit. “I can do that,” he said. “We’ll find the time.” 

And Kit had felt just the tiniest bit guilty.

“You’ll see him again soon, darling,” Tessa said, returning Kit to the present. She clasped him by the shoulders. “And the visit to Jem’s family is only temporary while we chat with Alec about what kind of protection you can get if you go back to another Institute.” 

“Yeah,” Kit said, allowing a quick hug before stepping back. He hadn’t yet told Tessa and Jem about Ty’s reveal that the Centurions were working with the Seelie court to hunt him down- or that Ty was in charge of it, instead making up an excuse that he and Ty had lost track of time. He suspected if he hadn’t, Tessa might not have been so willing to send Ty back on his urgent mission to London.  

“But… I don’t know if he’s gonna be super happy to see me next time…” 

Tessa frowned. “Why?”

Kit dug into the pocket of his hoodie and produced the small, ornate box. “Because I pickpocketed that Faerie artifact from him.” 

He felt bad about stealing from Ty. But he also needed to do what was necessary if he was going to stay one step ahead of the Seelie Court- and now the Centurions, even if Ty did manage to muddle the Sensor so it wasn’t able to find him. The box and the pendant within were clearly important to the Centurions’ mission around the First Heir, and he needed to find out why, even if - especially if - Ty was unwilling to tell him more about it. 

Beside them, Jem swore softly and Mina, in his arms, giggled. “Kit…” Jem said. 

Tessa shook her head but Kit thought he saw a proud look in her eye. “Do you want me to take a closer look at it, before you head off to Shanghai?” she asked. 

Kit pulled off the lid and peered inside. In contrast to its fancy exterior design, the pendant inside was plain, a hollow circle, edged in gold, with two gems- a sapphire and ruby at either end. 

He reached out to touch the sapphire- and immediately felt a pulling sensation, almost as if his powers were being activated unwillingly. He saw Tessa’s eyes widen and she threw out a hand, attempting to snatch the box away. 

But it was too late; he felt the air compress around him and the warmth of Cirenworth’s garden turn into a damp, closed space. The scene in front of him twisted and reformed into a dark cave, lit by flickering candles with black flames. “What the-” Kit pivoted to find a blond boy - of similar age to him in front of him, practising sword drills. 

His green eyes narrowed, noticing the pendant but didn’t seem to be surprised at Kit’s appearance and he let out a short, cynical laugh. “You’re early, First Heir,” he drawled. “But I guess we can start training now.”