* * *
Kit could barely hear the soft chant of the Nephilim over the greedy crackle of the flames: “Vale, vale, vale. Farewell, farewell, farewell.”
The smoke was thick. His eyes stung and burned, and he couldn’t stop thinking of the fact that his own father had had no funeral, that there had been little of him left to bury, his flesh turned to ash by Mantid venom, his remains disposed of by the Silent Brothers.
Kit couldn’t bear to look at the Blackthorns, so he stared at the Lightwoods. He had overheard all their names by now: he knew Alec’s sister was Isabelle, the girl with the black hair who stood with her arms around Alec and her mother, Maryse. Rafe and Max held each other’s hands; Simon and Magnus stood close to the others, like small moons of comfort orbiting a planet of grief. He remembered someone saying that funerals were for the living, not the dead, so that they could say good-bye. He wondered about the burning: Was it so that the Nephilim could bid good-bye in fire that reminded them of angels?
He saw a man come toward the Lightwoods and blinked his watering eyes. He was a young man, handsome, with curling brown hair and a square jaw. He wasn’t wearing white, like the others, but plain black gear. As he passed Maryse he stopped and laid a hand on her shoulder.
She didn’t turn or seem to notice. Neither did anyone else. Magnus glanced over quickly, frowning, but looked away again; Kit realized with a coldness in his chest that he was the only one who actually could see the young man—and that the smoke seemed to flow through the stranger, as if he were made of air.
A ghost, he thought. Like Jessamine. He looked around wildly: Surely there would be more ghosts here, in the Imperishable Fields, their dead feet leaving no traces on the grass?
But he saw only the Blackthorns, clinging together, Emma and Cristina side by side, and Julian with Tavvy, as the smoke rose up and around them. Half-reluctantly he glanced back: The young man with the dark hair had moved to kneel beside Robert Lightwood’s pyre. He was closer to the flames than any human could have gotten, and they seemed to eddy within the outline of his body, lighting eyes with fiery tears.
Parabatai, Kit thought suddenly. In the slump of the young man’s shoulders, in his outstretched hands, in the longing stamped on his face, he saw Emma and Julian, he saw Alec as he spoke about Jace; he knew he was looking at the ghost of Robert Lightwood’s parabatai. He didn’t know how he knew it, but he did.
A cruel sort of bond, he thought, that made one person out of two people, and left such devastation when half was gone.
He glanced away from the ghost, realizing that smoke and fire had made a wall now, and the pyres were no longer visible. Livvy had disappeared behind the boiling darkness. The last thing he saw before tears blinded him was Ty beside him, lifting his face and closing his eyes, a dark silhouette outlined by the brilliance of the fire as if he was haloed in gold.
NOTHING THAT IS OURS
The pyres were still burning as the procession turned and headed back toward the city. It was customary for the smoke to rise all night, and for families to gather in Angel Square to mourn among others.
Not that Emma thought it was likely the Blackthorns would do that. They would remain in their house, sequestered with each other: They had been too much apart all their lives to want comfort from other Shadowhunters who they barely knew.
She had trailed away from the rest of the group, too raw to want to try to talk to Julian again in front of his family.
“Emma,” said a voice beside her. She turned and saw Jem Carstairs.
Jem. She was too surprised to speak. Jem had been a Silent Brother once, and though he was a Carstairs, he was a very distant relative, due to being more than a century old. He looked only about twenty-five, though, and was dressed in jeans and scuffed shoes. He wore a white sweater, which she guessed was his concession to Shadowhunter funeral whites. Jem was no longer a Shadowhunter, though he had been one for many years.
“Jem,” she whispered, not wanting to disturb anyone else in the procession. “Thanks for coming.”
“I wished you to know how sorry I am,” he said. He looked pale and drawn. “I know you loved Livia like a sister.”
“I had to watch her die,” said Emma. “Have you ever watched someone you loved die?”
“Yes,” said Jem.
This was the thing about nearly immortal people, Emma thought. It was rare that you had a life experience that they hadn’t.
“Can we talk?” she said abruptly. “Just us?”