Jace had never gotten to know a blood relative before.
That’s not to say he didn’t have family -he had Maryse, Alec, and Izzy after all. At one point he thought he’d had a blood sister, but, well. Thank the angel that it turned out not to be true.
Jace had never really known a living blood relative before, so when Kit Herondale was discovered Jace was excited to meet him. Jace hoped that Kit would like him, though he’d never admit it out loud.
Meeting Kit hadn’t exactly gone how Jace expected it would. No touching words, no conversations about what it was like to be the last of the Herondale line. Kit didn’t even want to be a Shadowhunter, which Jace didn’t understand at all. Shadowhunters were the best, why wouldn’t you want to be one? Kit was also a kleptomaniac, which in all honesty was a little entertaining. He looked like a Herondale though, and was observant as well as sarcastic. They were definitely related.
The first step to their relationship had been when Kit asked Jace’s help in picking out a weapon, and Jace swore not to disappoint. When he did end up giving Kit the Herondale knife and Kit had thanked him, he couldn’t help but feel proud. Clary just rolled her eyes when he told her that, but she also seemed to be happy for him. She knew the value of family as much as he did.
Then the battle happened, and Kit went to live with Jem and Tessa. (Jace approved. Tessa was the best, and Jem was the nicest person he’d ever met.) Jace vowed to visit and get to know Kit. He’d only really talked about it vaguely with Clary and Alec, but he wanted Kit to like him. He wanted to be family.
He decided to make his first visit a month after Kit began living with Jem and Tessa, allowing him time to settle in a bit and hopefully get comfortable enough to want to talk to him.
Jace knocked on the front door, and was about to ring the doorbell before the door swung open and Kit’s head peaked out.
“Happy to see me?” Jace grinned at Kit, who looked shocked. “Most people are.”
“Do you greet everyone like that?” Kit asked, raising an eyebrow and still not opening the door all the way. His eyes flickered to the bag that Jace was holding in his right hand, but didn’t say anything about it.
“Only my blood relatives,” Jace replied, and watched Kit’s curious expression change to one a little more hesitant. “Aren’t you going to invite me in?”
“Right. Come in, I guess.” Kit held open the door for him, and Jace walked in and admired the house. He was especially interested in the pictures of Tessa’s other children Lucie and James, but decided that he could look at those another time.
“So,” Jace started after turning back around to face Kit, who was standing there awkwardly. “I got you something.”
Kit’s blue eyes widened, but then Jace blinked and Kit’s face was back to looking like he would rather be anywhere else. “Oh. Um… You didn’t have to do that.”
Kit shifted a bit and rubbed at his arm, and Jace couldn’t help but be thankful that he was much smoother when he was Kit’s age.
“Well, I did.” Jace stated, and pulled a jacket out of the bag he was carrying. It was pale blue, and had NYC printed on the back in large letters. He offered it to Kit, who took it with both hands.
“It’s soft,” Kit said, and Jace could see the slight upturn of his lips. Success. Jace was glad he didn’t embarrass himself by getting Kit something he wouldn’t like.
“I knew you’d like it,” Jace said proudly, grinning again. “I picked it out, after all. I have impeccable taste.”
“It’s nice,” Kit said, feeling the inside. Jace knew it was a great jacket for Kit. “But is there -I mean, do you need something? Why are you giving me this?”
“Because I wanted to.” Jace answered, absolutely not saying ‘Because we’re family’ as even he had limits. “What,” he teased, “Never had a gift straight from the heart?”
Jace didn’t realize his mistake until Kit’s slight smile was replaced with a guarded look.
“Yeah, well, there’s no heartfelt gifts to get when there’s no one that has you in their heart in the first place.” Kit cringed after his bitter reply, as if realizing what he had just said. “Sorry. Forget that. I’m… Thank you for the jacket.”
Jace wasn’t sure what to say in the face of this new development, and wished more than anything that Clary was there with him. Clary would know what to say, he thought. She always does. “Perhaps that was not the best choice of words.”
Kit sighed, and reached up to move a few golden strands of his hair away from his forehead. “It’s fine. I’m sorry. It just made me think of the past, I guess. Made me think of my dad.”
“Did your dad often give you gifts?” Jace asked, hoping that was a safe question.
Kit laughed, but there wasn’t any joy in it. “No, never.” he said, his tone amused but his face holding the sadness underneath.
“Oh.” Jace said, and tried to think of something eloquent or witty to say to change the subject.
“I don’t think he ever really loved me, anyway.” Kit blurted out, and his ears instantly flushed red with embarrassment. “Sorry. I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I don’t -you can leave, if you want. You don’t have to feel obligated just because I’m a Herondale.”
The puzzle pieces clicked together, and Jace realized exactly what he was dealing with.
“I’m here because I want to be.” Jace announced, with a rare expression of seriousness on his face as he looked Kit directly in the eyes. Kit didn’t look away. “I’m not here because I feel an obligation to you, or because I feel sorry for you, or because anyone made me. I’m here because I want to get to know you. I got you the jacket because I like you, and was hoping you would like it and like me. That’s all.”
It was definitely more than he had wanted to give away, and revealing that much of his emotions was usually reserved for a select few. Jace hoped that he didn’t look as uncomfortable as he suddenly felt, and had to stop himself from making a joke about being too emotional to lighten the mood.
“Okay,” Kit whispered. He was staring intently at the floor tile.
“Well,” Jace said, after a moment of silence in which Kit continued to look at the ground. “I better be getting back to Clary. I’m sure she’s missing me already.” As he walked by Kit, he made the split second decision to ruffle Kit’s hair.
Kit followed Jace to the door and watched him open it, but before Jace walked out Kit called to him. “Thanks,” he said, and Jace looked over at him to see a shy smile. “For the jacket.”
“You better take good care of it,” Jace called back, and smirked. “The Great Jace Herondale gave it to you.”
“Oh, wow,” Kit deadpanned. “I’m honored.”
“You should be. I’ll bring you something else the next time I visit, too.”
Kit smiled, a full one this time, and Jace congratulated himself as he started to walk away. “Bye Christopher!” he yelled.
“It’s Kit!” was yelled back before the door closed.
Jace took out his phone and texted Clary to come get him, and it was only after he put his phone back in his pocket that he realized he was smiling.
He had a lot to tell her about.