That One Will Die Before He Gets There
Relationship: Kit Herondale x Tiberius Blackthorn
Word Count: 4k+
Read of AO3
Content Warnings: semi-graphic depictions of violence, temporary character death, semi-graphic depictions of medical procedures (CPR)
Summary: Ty made a friend. They know virtually nothing about each other but they talk nearly every night. But he gets a call that speeds up their plans to meet in the worst possible ways.
“ ‘I need to tell you something.’ Kit pleaded. There was a sound of a door being kicked open and shouting. It made it near impossible to hear what was said next. ‘Sherlock, I love you.’ The line went dead. “
Ty was thinking about talking to Watson after dinner. He’s been doing that a lot; viewing his days as spaces between getting online and messaging him or opening up a video sharing site and watching a movie together. It was sometimes all he thought about. How he was going to share what he did during the day, or show off some of the creatures he was able to find on the beach earlier. At first, he was worried that Watson was bored with Ty’s consistent long messages about animals or the Sherlock Holmes story he finished rereading, but that was quickly eased when Watson said he liked reading what Ty had to say. Something lit up in Ty’s chest that had yet to die down.
It didn’t matter that Ty had never seen Watson’s face, he hadn’t seen Ty’s either, or that Watson was a nickname Ty had given due to not knowing his real name. But Watson was funny and considerate and really interesting. He had heard Watson’s voice numerous times, so Ty was sure that he was a teenager too. He liked Watson’s voice. So he liked Watson.
“Are you waiting for something Ty?” Julian asked from across the table. He was dutifully pinching pasta in Tavvy’s bowl with tongs.
“What do you mean?” Ty put his phone into his jacket pocket.
“You keep checking your phone. Is there a message you’re expecting?”
It was an idea Julian had said in passing about Ty trying to make some friends online, one that in retrospect maybe wasn’t totally serious, but one that stuck. So Ty found an anonymous messenger. He was able to put his own interests to find people like him, so he put nature, animals, mysteries, true crime, and Sherlock Holmes; then books, video games, and cars in hopes of finding somebody. He’d gone through quite a few people that quickly moved on after chatting with Ty for a bit before finding Watson. It was all completely anonymous, but they had gotten along so well so quickly that they both made accounts on an instant messenger app to talk more without giving up information. Despite his great luck at finding Watson, Ty hadn’t told anyone of his success at making a friend. He trusted his family but this was something precious and he wanted it just for himself for a little while longer.
“Yes.” Ty said, adjusting the phone in his pocket. He didn’t like lying, but he didn’t want to hear Julian lecture him again about safety online. Ty could almost hear Watson’s hear over through his headphones: there’s a trick to lying, you have to use something that is still likely; a lie will never be believable if you try to say something out-of-character. “A classmate from AP Biology needs to send me her part of the assignment.”
“Okay. But you know there are no phones at the table. The text will still be there even if you don’t check it immediately.” Julian said, handing Tavvy his bowl of spaghetti. It wasn’t hard to obey the rule, there weren’t many people outside of his immediate family texting Ty, but that was before Watson. Still, Ty kept his phone in his pocket. He let the clear notes of violins muddle the conversations around him.
Ty was hoping for a text, that part was not a lie, so when his phone began to vibrate and the shrill tones of the default ringer cut off his music he didn’t answer. Everyone in Ty’s phone had their own ringtone and pattern of vibrations for texts, so Ty could know who was trying to contact him without even looking at the screen. Anytime it was the default settings Ty ignored it outright as it was usually spam. He had a new song lined up for when he and Watson finally shared phone numbers; he couldn’t wait to use it.
The second time his phone rang, Ty pulled it out to check. It was a Los Angeles area code, but not a number Ty recognized. He heard Julian clear his throat when he put his phone away again.
“It’s just spam I think. Or maybe a wrong number.” Ty clarified. Julian didn’t say anything more. He felt Livvy nudge him. Livvy was the only one Ty had told about Watson, he had to as they shared a room. He didn’t disclose too many details. He just nudged her back. Ty was able to get through a piece of garlic bread, a few bites of pasta, and half of Rachmaninov no. 2 before his phone trilled.
It was a special note. One that only sounded when he got a message on the app he solely used to talk to Watson. Ty pulled his phone out to check. Julian huffed from across the table.
“Tiberius. I don’t want to have to take your phone.” Julian’s voice had that steely tone he usually got when he was being authoritative.
“Hey, maybe it’s an important assignment.” Livvy said, twirling her spaghetti but not eating it. She knew why Ty was antsy and she knew Ty didn’t want to tell everyone. He appreciated it.
“Maybe Ty got a boyfriend.” Dru spoke up. Ty wasn’t fully paying attention to tell her no. Not technically. He was staring at the message Watson sent.
HowToPickALocke: Homes, please picked up.
Sometimes, Watson had typos if they were talking late at night. When Ty had inquired about it, he said it was because he’d be falling asleep and his thumbs would drag against the screen. It was too early for him to be so tired. Something was wrong. The unknown number called again. Ty picked up.
“Absolutely not.” Julian said but Ty wasn’t listening. On the other end of the call, Ty could only hear hushed, labored breathing.
“Watson?” Ty asked. Livvy turned to stare at Ty. Sometimes when Watson called, Ty was worried that the proverbial shoe would drop. That no matter how much he enjoyed talking to Watson, it was all just some elaborate joke. There were some other kids at school that tried to make Ty’s life miserable. He wouldn’t find all that unbelievable if they had paid some guy to talk to Ty as a highlight to his general inability to make friends. Ty still had no idea what he had ever done to those kids; Livvy told him sometimes people were just mean.
“Sherlock?” The voice croaked. That was Watson, his Watson, undoubtedly. There was still something wrong with his voice. It was quiet but hoarse. “Oh thank god. I didn’t know if you were going to pick up.”
“I’m not supposed to. I’m eating dinner.” Ty stood from the table and pushed his chair back. He really wasn’t supposed to be on his phone at the table, so maybe if he excused himself he could finish the call. It had to be urgent because Watson never called first.
“Okay. Then I appreciate you answering.”
“Watson, what’s going on?” Ty asked, he moved from the table. It sounded like Julian was protesting but Emma was talking to him. He heard a sharp inhale of breath through the receiver, then silence. In the background, there was indiscernible shuffling and thumping. Once it quieted again Watson spoke.
“I can’t really explain. But something is going on at my house and I don’t know what’s going to happen.” His voice was so hushed Ty had to strain to hear him.
“That’s very vague.”
“I know but I really can’t say more as I don’t know more. I think my dad is dead.”
“Dead?” Ty paused in the doorway. He heard Livvy gasp and the scrap of a chair that could only be Julian.
“I saw him. There was so much blood. Sherlock, there was so much blood.” Watson’s voice took on an uncharacteristic waver. He was one of the coolest people Ty had ever talked to, in the sense of staying calm and collected. It was unusable to hear his words shake.
“You can still survive severe blood loss.”
“I can’t check but I think he was shot in the head.”
“Is the shooter still there?” Ty asked.
“Can you get out?”
“No, he shot me in the leg. I really can’t move.” Something thumped into Ty’s stomach. It was probably his heart. “Sherlock I called you because I’m probably not going to make it out of here.”
“Don’t say that. I told you that Emma is in the police force. We can get people to you.” Behind him there were still voices, Julian and Emma asking him what was going on, Livvy trying to calm down Tavvy who was likely reacting to all the stress in the room. He didn’t hear Dru but she usually got very quiet in distressing situations. Ty didn’t answer any of them, his entire focus was on Watson.
“It won’t matter. They won’t get here in time.” Watson said. His voice was wet like he was crying. Ty’s heart in his stomach began to freeze.
“Watson you-” Ty began but Watson cut him off.
“What?” Ty asked, the conversation was moving faster than he could comprehend.
“My name. It’s Kit. Kit Rook.” He whispered it into the phone. Ty’s breath caught.
“Kit Rook?” It was like a thief’s name from a fantasy novel. Quick and easy to yell out in frustration as he made away with the spare coins in your pocket. It was fitting, as during one of their late night conversations Kit had confided in Ty that he could pickpocket and had done it on more than one occasion. His name was perfect.
“Wait, Rook?” Emma spoke up from the hush that had fallen over his family. In the phone, the rustling had started back and the thumping was louder. It was footsteps.
“I need to tell you something.” Kit pleaded. There was the sound of a door being kicked open and shouting. It made it near impossible to hear what was said next. “Sherlock, I love you.” The line went dead.
Ty couldn’t believe it. Still, the call ended screen flashed before going dark. The chill that had encompassed most of his stomach began to spread to his chest. Ty couldn’t just let Kit die, but there was little he could do. Somewhere in Los Angeles, Kit was likely suffering the same fate as his father. In all the times they talked, Kit was very careful to not tell Ty details about his life. The few things Ty did know, that Kit lived with his dad, without siblings, and went to online school, couldn’t help him here. None of those things narrowed down where Kit was. The area code for the phone number covered basically all of downtown Los Angeles. Kit had called Ty instead of 911, in hopes of telling him that he loved him.
“Ty?” It was Emma. She was standing just next to him but kept some distance between their bodies. “What’s going on?”
“My friend, Kit, had something happen at his house. He said he was going to die. He called because he wanted to say-” The words caught in his throat, stuck to the walls of his trachea like spines. “He wanted to say goodbye.”
Everyone gaped at him. Ty didn't have the energy to try to decipher what it all meant. He needed to get to Kit somehow and time was quickly running out.
“You said Kit Rook. That’s his name?” Emma asked. Her voice was steady and calm as she was the only one not in shock. Ty could only nod. She grabbed her jacket off the back of her chair. “I think I know the house he’s talking about. Do you want to go with me?”
Emma was still a new officer but Ty had been listening to her stories from the precinct ever since she graduated from the academy. She loved telling stories about the high-stakes arrests and thrilling shootouts, but she always added the behind-the-scenes detective work most everyone else found boring but Ty loved. Emma was one of the reasons Ty wanted to be a detective. Ty nodded again.
“Hey, hey, hold on. I need to know what is going on.” Julian cut in. Emma looked at him and suddenly they were having one of their silent conversations. When it happened for the first time, Ty thought it was just him who didn’t understand, but both Livvy and Dru said they never knew what they were saying to each other. It was a type of communication exclusively for Emma and Julian. Julian sighed, but the tension had eased from his shoulders. Emma turned around sharply to leave the room with Ty hot on her heels.
Ty had never been to Echo Park before, specifically Victor Heights. It was far enough away from Ty’s house that he had no reason to go and it wasn’t a shortcut to anything he cared about. Ty couldn’t believe Kit was only 30 minutes away this entire time. If Ty was feeling up to it, he could have taken the bus to his house.
Emma was speeding down highways. If her car had sirens installed, she no doubt would have had them on too. The way she drove matched her personality, fierce and passionate. Usually, Ty would have objected to cutting people off at every turn and flooring it on any open stretch of road; but, he appreciated that Emma was taking this as seriously as he was. She has been on the phone with 911 before they even entered the car.
It was dark, so Ty couldn’t see much of the neighborhood they were entering. It was built on a hill, giving the houses a comical tilt to their foundations. Most of the houses were single-story bungalows, most likely with light-colored roofs to repel light and painted green-grass lawns. He couldn’t believe that in one of these houses was Kit. Ty had no idea which it could have been, but Emma drove down the street like she was familiar. She stopped in front of a house that didn’t appear much different than all the others they passed. But, the front door was wide open and the lights were on. Ty jumped out of the car before Emma got a chance to put it in park. He heard Emma call from behind him but Ty kept running.
Inside, it was a disaster. Furniture was either skewed across the floor in unnatural positions or flipped over completely. Various nicknacks littered the ground in varying stages of brokenness. Clearly, there had been a fight here; a violent one. There were no obvious bodies from the front door.
Turning the corner to see further into the house, Ty saw feet sticking out from behind a half-wall dividing the kitchen and living room. They still had their shoes on. He peered over, between dirty cups of coffee and one dry plant, praying it wasn’t Kit.
The man on the floor was just that, a man. Easily in his late-40s to early-50s with flecks of grey in his dark brown hair. Ty couldn’t see his face well from the angle, as the man’s head was dropped forward, but the large chunk missing from his temple was obvious. Blood dripped from his head down his neck to mix with the splotches of red already staining his shirt. There were cuts and bright red marks ready to develop into bruises all down his arms. This man could have been the assailant or another victim.
He heard Emma come through the front door but he didn’t look away from the body. It was a body now, not a person. This was the first real-life dead body Ty had ever seen.
“Good, god.” Emma choked out. She moved around the wall to crouch in front of the man. According to protocol, Emma still had to check for a pulse despite part of his brain tissue being exposed to the open air. Her hand came back bloody as she shook her head.
“That’s Johnny Rook.” Emma had surely seen more than enough victims of gun violence while on the job. Yet, she still trembled on the balls of her feet by Johnny’s feet. “I was hoping, foolishly, that he’d be alive.”
Johnny Rook. Kit’s dad, the one who got shot in the head. Ty didn’t know of Emma’s relation to Johnny Rook. She hadn’t had time to disclose it in the car and Ty didn’t have the time to ask now. A clue he could figure out later. But this clearly wasn’t Kit so Ty still had to look. He turned on his heel to look around the living room again. In the far wall from the front door, there was the opening for a hallway. When Ty got around the knocked-back couch and overturned coffee table, he saw a new stain of blood disconnected from the ones already seeping into the carpet.
It was a larger blob where the hallway met the living room with a light trail leading to the rooms at the end. Ty didn’t have to follow the trail as only one of the doors was opened. Ty heard that door slam open on the phone.
It was a room that could only be described as a teenage boy’s room, with 90s band posters on the walls, a skateboard propped in the corner, and comic books stacked on the nightstand. There was nothing knocked on the floor here, a sharp contrast to the rest of the house. If not for the smear of blood going behind the bed, Ty would have been tempted to investigate the other rooms.
In the corner, slumped against the wall, was a boy. One of his hands was covering a dark red stain on his abdomen while the other was outstretched to his right. His Superman pajama pants were darkening just above his left knee. Ty’s eye followed the boy’s hand to see a phone just out of reach. His breath caught in his throat.
“Kit?” Ty’s vocal cords strained around his name. The boy broke his stare out the window to look at Ty. There was blood in his blonde hair and splattered across his face but he still had the bluest eyes Ty had ever seen. Like staring out into the Pacific during a bright Summer day.
“Sherlock?” Kit asked. His voice was weak, but somehow he smiled at Ty. In a flash Ty kneeled by Kit, trapping him against the wall. One hand went to cover Kit’s already on his stomach and the other reached to find the wound on his leg. If they were lucky, the bullet missed his femoral artery; there wasn’t much Ty could hope for with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Too many organs to rupture.
“You’re going to be alright. We called 911, the ambulance should be here any minute.” It wasn’t like Ty to feel frantic but he was struggling to come up with basic first aid. He’d never been properly trained for trauma aid but he’s read enough to know the fundamentals. Apply pressure above and below the wound, especially if arterial. Ty didn’t have enough hands.
“Emma!” He yelled. There was no way she couldn’t have heard him, the house wasn’t that big, but Ty wasn’t going to take any chances. He heard the thumping of her footsteps as he turned back to Kit.
Kit brought his free hand up from the floor to brush Ty’s jaw. For some reason, Ty didn’t flinch.
“Somehow I knew you’d be the prettier of the two of us.” His laugh afterward was wet. Ty hoped blood hadn’t gotten into his lungs. He heard Emma gasp sharply from behind. She too rushed to Kit’s side. Ty moved his hand from Kit’s leg to allow Emma to apply pressure herself.
“If I knew you were here I would have come so much sooner.” She said as she pulled a small pocket knife from her jacket pocket to tear open Kit’s pant leg. The entrance wound didn’t look too bad but there was so much blood.
“If you knew I was here, my dad wasn’t doing his job.” Kit mumbled. He rested his head against Ty’s knee to look up at him. “You should tell me your name, handsome stranger. I want to know the last face I ever see.”
“Tiberius Blackthorn. I go by Ty.” He could feel warm blood soaking his palms but he didn’t move them. The pressure wasn’t slowing the spread.
“Hmm,” Kit hummed letting his eyelids droop, “sounds like the name you’d give an angel.”
“My father named me after the Roman emperor Tiberius Claudius Nero.”
“My dad named me Christopher, after nobody. No one calls me Christopher though.” Kit’s voice was slowing and fading at the end of his words. Emma heard the difference too.
“Hey, Kit. Buddy, I need to stay awake for us okay? The EMTs are here, I can hear them. Can you tell me about what happened?” Emma asked. She was right, the ambulances were here. Luckily they didn’t keep their sirens on in a residential neighborhood but Ty could see their red lights flashing through the window. Any moment now they would come in.
The light didn’t leave his eyes. As bright and blue as they were Ty wouldn’t have been surprised if they began to dim like fading headlights. But they didn’t. Kit just closed them. Like he was going to sleep.
“Christopher. God please stay awake.” Emma’s voice was wet like she was crying. Ty didn’t know if she’s ever lost someone on the field before; if she had, she never shared the story. She was still at Kit’s knee, so Ty was the only one who felt Kit let out a shallow breath but not take another in. He felt his only friend die against his leg.
His skin was still warm. His blood was still soaking both Ty and Emma’s hands as they scrambled to stabilize him with no tools. Ty knew they had 3-5 minutes before irreversible brain damage occurred due to lack of oxygen. EMTs were coming but they needed to get here faster.
So Ty moved around Kit’s chest to start CPR. He stacked his hands on top of each other and pressed into Kit’s sternum. Ty counted off in his head, 30 2-inch compressions before stopping and checking for a heartbeat. Nothing. Ty did another 30. Still nothing. He opened Kit’s mouth to try rescue breaths. The small amount of oxygen Ty could get in would be better than nothing.
It felt like Ty’s head was being split in half. He had to focus on getting Kit back. He couldn’t stop the compressions for longer than ten seconds to check for breathing. But there was another part that was screaming. Begging for Kit to defy odds a wake up for the EMTs. It wasn’t likely. Kit’s body was shutting down, too much blood had been lost and oxygen wasn’t getting to his organs. His heart wasn’t beating. His brain waves were likely weak, if there at all.
Kit wake up please. You have to wake up.
Kit didn’t wake up. Distantly Ty heard more voices. The paramedics, maybe police. Ty didn’t stop until someone pulled him away. He had to watch a stranger press their hands into Kit’s chest while another placed an oxygen mask over his face.
“I’ve got a pulse.” The woman said, her fingers roughly pressed into Kit’s neck. For some reason Ty didn’t feel relieved. In a flurry they hauled Kit onto a stretcher and were out the door. Kit’s heart could stop again on the way to the hospital. They could have taken too long and he’d never be the same. He could die on the operating table.
“Ty, Ty.” Emma was trying to get his attention. She didn’t touch him. Ty knew he couldn’t blame the paramedics for acting in an emergency situation but it felt like his nerves were firing on overdrive beneath his skin. “We need to go. This is a crime scene now. They need to ask us some questions.”
It was protocol. Ty had expected to be a part of crime scene investigation, looked forward to it, but not on the victim’s end. When his parents died, there was little to no investigation on the matter. Both easily deemed natural causes and an unfortunate accident.
Ty didn’t want to leave. He didn’t want to wash Kit’s blood from his hands. He wanted to look around the room. Find all the little things about Kit that he might never get to hear first hand. Read through notes scattered around Kit’s desk, memorize the curve of his handwriting. Analyze the posters of bands he hadn’t told Ty he liked. Investigate his closet to see if he also had a preference for certain fabrics. Still, he knew he couldn’t stay as detectives and crime scene photographers would need to see everything as it was. It was all evidence.
He followed Emma out of the room without a second look to the large stain where Kit once lay.
As soon as Ty could, he was waiting for Kit to get out of emergency surgery. His family sat with him, but no one asked who this person Ty was staying up all night for was. He waited for any news, always fearing the worst. It didn’t matter if the doctor’s found Ty’s constant question endearing or annoying, as they relented and let him know bits and pieces. One of the bullets tore through Kit’s small intestine. The other shattered Kit’s femur. On scene Kit’s heart had stopped for 13 seconds. The female paramedic came up to Ty while he was still slouched in a waiting room chair and said he easily saved Kit’s life. Ty didn’t feel like he did. She said she’d seen people survive much worse. Ty knew people died from much less. It was a fever that eventually killed his mother. The car accident didn’t kill his father, the broken rib that shifted into his heart did.
Kit was asleep for three days after the surgeons were able to successfully stabilize him. When he finally woke up, Ty was the first face he saw.
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