They come for him in the morning. When Maia texts him to go outside the Institute, he knows it won’t end well. He puts on black jeans and a simple long sleeved tee, writes a post it note to Alec.
I went out to clear my head. Don’t worry.
He knows Alec will worry anyway and will find out the truth through the bond. He still plasters the post it to the kitchen and exits the door to the institute. He doesn’t struggle when two wolves jump him and tie his hands behind his back, stuff a gag in his mouth, push him forward into a waiting car.
He doesn’t know who they are but it doesn’t matter.
They’re right. And whoever they are, he killed their kin. They have a right to their revenge. Jace closes his eyes and accepts his fate.
He vaguely recognizes the building they reach. He knows about Preator and what they do, and although he is pretty sure they aren’t sanctioned to bring justice themselves, they do act as a sort of Downworld police and it’s no wonder they would be the ones to get Jace, officially or not.
He is led through the corridors and he can see people eyeing him with either morbid curiosity or disdain. He cannot blame them. There is not much else being spoken about in the Downworld right now other than Jace.
The test drive.
Several people dead in what everyone believes to be a first test before trying to exterminate the entire species. Only his siblings, Clary and Magnus knowing about his intentions, the failed, misguided attempt of sacrificing himself to save everyone.
It really couldn’t have backfired worse.
He was led through huge, heavy door into a spacious room filled with people, a judgemental looking man standing on a dais in the very front.
Jace was pushed on his knees in front of him, exposed in the middle of the gathering, still tied up and gagged, for his fate to be decided.
The door closed with an overly loud thud.
“Jonathan Christopher Morgenstern.”
Jace flinched at the name that he found out wasn’t even his but he couldn’t even protest, gagged as he was. He just stared at the floor, trying not to think how little it mattered. Valentine’s son or not, he was a mass murderer.
“You stand before the Preator accused of murder of nineteen innocent Downworlders through activation of the Soul Sword as well as attempted genocide. You are found guilty and have been sentenced to death. Your sentence will be carried out at dusk.”
A sudden cry pierced the silence, breaking Jace out of his reverie.
“Where is his plea? You are putting a gagged man on “trial”! How is he even supposed to defend himself? This is a farce! It is NOT what I signed up for!”
“Sit down, Mr. Kyle! This is not your place!” A voice of the chief booms with anger, making Jace flinch. “This man has killed our kin and attempted to kill us all! We do not need to hear his excuses.”
The man… boy, maybe, looking around Jace’s age, seems like he wants to argue further. But then he just turns, his gaze falling at Jace and their eyes meet. For a moment, Jace wants to turn away and avoid him in shame but he had learned to face the consequences of his actions at young age, so he holds the intense look.
“I am sorry. Proceed, Preator Scott. Forgive my interruption.”
“I will deal with your insolence tomorrow, boy. We have no time for that today. Take the prisoner to the scaffold. May he stand there in the sun as an example for all of you to see, what the Nephilim are really like.”
With that, the preator leaves, everyone filling out after him. Jace’s eyes catch sight of the one who tried to defend him - Kyle - sneaking out too. He allows his gaze to fall, focusing on the floor as none too gentle arms grab his shoulders, forcing him up and leading him out into the courtyard, up on the execution site, where a pole is mounted, right in the middle.
The turn him around, untying his arms shortly before they secure them around the pole, restraining him tightly with a coarse rope, wrists, a coil around his chest, knees and ankles. He doesn’t know how they will execute him but the terrifying unawareness serves him well.
He tries to wiggle somewhat and whimpers through the gag but another, thinner piece of rope pushes it further in place and tying around the pole, forces his head upright.
There’s not much he can do without closing his eyes.
Forced to look at the curious, hateful heads in the windows around him.
Having to face those he had wronged.
He closed the lid of the piano he couldn’t bring himself to play and forces out a low “come in”. It took him a while, to heal, come to terms with reality. When his execution was crashed by an armed force of Shadowhunters, Alec leading them, he was almost angry.
He flinched when his parabatai untied him, unable to look him in the eye, and he was silently allowing himself to be led away, feeling like this wasn’t justice. His gaze fell on a familiar figure then, tanned skin and beautiful long curls, his saviour.
Later he found out Kyle also happened to be Maia’s ex. Kyle, who saved him. Maia, who sold him out. He wasn’t sure which one he should thank.
After he was brought back to the Institute, Alec and Magnus managed to talk him into seeing a therapist. Catarina was a warlock, and Magnus’ friend, so at least Jace wouldn’t have to worry about mundanes ignorance. And as much as he hated to admit it, Cat helped him.
He was far from alright, but he grudgingly accepted he didn’t deserve to be executed without a trial after he tried to destroy the Soul Sword and commit suicide.
“Did you need something from me?”
He turned to look at Kyle, who was the one standing in his room, the door already closed behind him. He was smiling slightly, in that permanent carefree way of his that was both exasperating and unfairly adorable.
After the unsanctioned attempt as bringing Jace to justice, Preator had been reformed and rebuilt from the ground. Instead of only wolves, other Downworlders and Nephilim joined the force, the organization having officially recognized function as a social regulator of the Shadow World, Shadowhunters included, a function The Clave had aimed to fulfill before, with its questionable results.
Taking care of all lost supernatural beings meant, unfortunately, that Jace got a preator assigned to himself too now. The preator being Kyle himself.
And Kyle… Kyle was not bad. When Alec first told Jace about him getting a preator Jace was, naturally, angry and protesting. But Alec was right. Between all the shit he had gone through in teh past months and his unique abilities, if anyone needed a guide and support in figuring out his place, it was Jace.
(It helped a bit that Alec also gave Clary a preator. And her, he didn’t ask or inform before.)
Kyle had proven pretty good at it.
He was, thankfully, not overly pushy, and only checked on Jace from time to time. Which was great, because even that was sometimes too much and Jace had snapped at him too many times at first. But as weeks passed, Kyle helped him figure out what being angelically enhanced meant and why him trying to save the Downworld by sacrificing himself was really noble, heroic attempt… but a completely foolish one, since it involved him killing himself.
And Jace liked those visits by now. Kyle had become great support but dare Jace say, he had also become… a friend. It was strange, to have friends outside of his siblings, but it was nice. And he had Kyle now, and Bat too, who was Clary’s preator, and Simon decided he and Jace were suddenly friends also.
Jace pretended not to like it.
“Oh, I have some news actually.”
Jace led Kyle to the couch, which was the newest addition to his room, the enormous space desperately in need of a space to put guests which became an annoying regularity in his life.
“Yes, well, we’ve basically covered the research on what you are now.” Kyle ignored Jace’s glare at the unfortunate phrasing of his superpowers. “And you are doing… good, or at least what counts as good in your case.”
“I don’t mean it that way, and you know it. And you still have Cat. So what I’m saying is… I’ve been dismissed from your case. You’re a Shadowhunter born and bred and you found your footing back after the war. You don’t need anymore.”
Jacetried to process those words, surprised by the wave of disappointment they had caused in him. Kyle was right. Preator was there to help the lost people. Newly turned wolves, vampire fledglings, warlock unsure how to deal with their powers, Seelies suddenly finding out their ancestry or newbie Nephilim like Clary, as rare as they were.
Jace didn’t need a preator anymore.
But he was surprised to realize he would miss Kyle’s presence.
“That’s… great, I guess. Erm, thanks for everything you’ve done for me. It was… pretty cool knowing you, actually.”
His felt his cheeks heat up but Cat taught him expressing himself was important. Kyle just smiled, strange glint in his eyes.
“Well, that’s the thing. Myself, I enjoyed our time together immensely, and I was thinking… since technically I’m also no longer bound by work ethics… Would you like to go on a date with me?”
Jace stared at Kyle surprised and awed, the other man waiting patiently for the answer. Never in a million years would Jace have thought, when he was bound and gagged for hours on display, after the Soul Sword incident, that the situation would somehow lead him here.
But here he was, and he found himself almost grateful for that as he smiled back.
“You know what? Sure. I’d love to.”