an actually nice headcanon for you today
so we all know how cordelia felt even more alone when alastair went off to the academy, and she told him this the summer after his first year
alastair being alastair would want to do something to change this, so the two of them come up with this little tradition
during the summer, they both read as many books as they can
while they read, they annotate the books, underlining things and leaving notes in the margin and pointing out things they think the other might like
then, at the end of the summer, they switch books
this way, whenever one of them gets lonely, they can just pull out a book and read it and see it through the other’s eyes
they make their own markings, too, responding to the other’s annotations, and then switch again
this goes on for a few years, and by the time alastair is done with the academy they have a huge pile of books all marked up with their jokes and notes to one another
they continue it after the academy, too, only now they don’t wait until the end of the summer to switch books and simply give it to the other as soon as they’ve finished
whenever one of them goes on some kind of trip, the other will give them an annotated book to take with them
it just becomes a thing between them
they develop a lot of inside jokes
whenever someone asks about the scribbles in the margins, they come up with increasingly ridiculous excuses for it
when james and cordelia get married for real, alastair gives her the very first book he ever annotated for her, one they passed back and forth for years up until recently, and she gets so excited she nearly knocks him to the ground with a hug
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If I can't have you...
I don't want anyone: James Herondale, Jesse Blackthorn
That's okay: Thomas Lightwood, Cordelia Carstairs
No one can: Grace Blackthorn
That's alright, but you have no idea what you are missing out on: Matthew Fairchild, Lucie Herondale, Anna Lightwood
I'll just sleep with your brother: Charles Fairchild
Bitch who the hell said I wanted you in the first place: Alistair Carstairs, Christopher Lightwood
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“You are as beautiful as all the stars,” he told her, “but better, because you have coffee.”
Matthew Fairchild, Chain of Iron
He gets it.
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“She could see that his eyes were not dark, as she had thought, but a deep shade of green like forest moss.”
Cordelia Carstairs about Matthew Fairchild, pg.63, Chain of Gold.
Things that give me hope that Matthew is Clary’s ancestor, part one.
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Life has been meh lately so I made some colourful TLH stickers to rebel :)
Link to redbubble is in my bio!
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listen I'm a simple bisexual who sees sarcastic dark haired dumbass and scary lady with big knife and falls in love, okay?
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One of my favourite things about Chain of Gold is that it’s heavily implied that the moment Henry and Charlotte moved out and Will took over as head of the institute, Tessa immediately set to redecorating the entire thing from top to bottom
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The last thing James says to Cordelia in the Whispering Room right before everything happens between them is painfully beautiful as it is the essence of what they have both felt for so long, and foreshadows a major theme of how their relationship continues over COG & COI; wondering, longing and waiting.
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“I swear my loyalty,” Cordelia said fervently. His blood continued to run down the blade, but as soon as the drops struck the hilt, they became sparks that lifted, gold and copper and bronze, into the air. “I swear my courage. I swear neither to falter nor to fail in battle. Whenever I draw my sword, whenever I lift up a weapon in battle, I shall do it in your name.”
Cordelia and Cortana, Shadowhunters, The last Hours, Chain of Iron
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The Last Hours as Random ass gifs
(I am procrastinating writing and also on a Dead Poets Society High.....or low depending on your definition)
Me and my mutuals to Eugenia:
Matthew at the end of CHOI:
Henry to Charlotte at every given opportunity:
The shadowhunters when Jessie's body rocked up:
What Cordelia actually wanted to say at that party to Charles:
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I can’t wait for the moment in Chain of Thorns when James undoubtably will recite Layla and Majnun back to Cordelia, remembering every single word she had read to him while he was sick and after all the time that has passed. It’s going to be so damn beautiful.
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idk man, so much about jordelia in chain of iron just hits me where it hurts
strong beautiful cordelia marrying james and pretending she doesn't really love him
james showing her the house and all the little touches he put in bc he knows her THAT well
their quiet marital bliss, the chess games, the easy comfort between them
james slowly realising how hopelessly in love with her he is
"He is not yours. He is mine."
"Daisy, my daisy"
and then that ending....
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Last Hours characters as Taylor Swift albums
Inspired by @carstairs-supremacy
Taylor Swift: probably Ariadne, aka Kamala. About to show the world who she is, determined, and led by stories of love and courage and faith.
Fearless: Lucie, for sure. Fearless, taking the leap, young and free and madly in love.
Speak Now: Thomas. Kind and generous, but still unsure and can hold a vicious grudge when wronged
Red: Cordelia. Love, loss, and liberty in her own mistakes, all in a lovelorn blaze of glory.
1989: Anna, who's been burned before, now with her wild fun, and heartbreaker grin, and beautifully unique honesty contrasting how often they hide their true emotions
Alastair (a dark exterior, but actually really loving? Character growth and rising from the ashes of an awful childhood/ adolescence? No Explanation, only Reputation was his thing. Rep is full of love, and really only has one breakup song--Getaway Car)
James (can be cutting, is always loyal. remember TIWWCHNT, Don't Blame Me, and CIWYW?)
Lover: Christopher (yes, really) because even though I hc him as aroace (and aro ppl can be in relationships, too, ofc), it's all about the different kinds of love, and his dedication to his passion is really something else. I'd add Eugenia to this, too, if I could (like, c'mon. Augustus Pounceby and DBATC, Cruel Summer? Self-love, growth and ME! -- it all lines up)
Folklore: Jesse--he's been through a lot but seen so little all at once, and his whole vibe is beautiful melancholic comfort
Evermore: Matthew. The album is about pain, heartbreak, future healing, and endings. Need I say more?
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Friendly reminder , Alastair told his sister , come back home if James doesn’t treat you well , oh my heart, ( overprotective brother )
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all gone, all gone, all gone
part 1: yeah, there’s a lot left over
CW: suicide attempt (warnings for later chapters: emotional manipulation, PTSD, kidnapping)
i’m super serious about this y’all, dead dove: do not eat
there are parts of this that are very, very unpleasant. please don’t read if it will be triggering for you!
Read it on AO3
“It… It was you,” Cordelia said in horror, staring at her brother. “You betrayed us.”
“Is it wrong to say I told you so?” Matthew asked, and Thomas glared at him.
“I don’t understand how you could do something like this,” she told Alastair. She wanted a response from him, a flinch of pain, a sensible explanation. He had none for her. He could make one up, surely. He’d spent enough of the past week playing the good guy to be confident in that. Belial did not need him here any longer, though, so there was no purpose.
It had started just over a week ago, two days after Alastair’s deal with Belial. He wanted him to learn of the plans they had, Cordelia and James and the rest of them, and report back to him. It was straightforward enough, leaning into his father’s death as a reason to change. He never said the change was for the better. He thought it quite ironic considering the Alastair of a few weeks ago was a much, much better person than the one standing before them now.
He’d done it all. He’d comforted Cordelia, bonded with James, flirted with Thomas. He could see it in Matthew’s eyes, he had begun to be forgiven. Too late, he supposed cynically.
"He'll kill you," Cordelia pleaded. "You have to know that. You're merely a pawn. He'll dispose of you once he's done. You'll die!"
He snaked his grin in a way he was certain he could not have done before. Before he had allowed Belial to plant his darkness in him. He tilted his head with a pitying glance. "Layla, I'm already dead. I jumped off Tower Bridge a week and a half ago."
He watched her gaze fall, now horrified. The others' faces were steeled, but he could see the slight flinch in Thomas' eyes. Alastair would never flinch again. "I... I don't understand," Cordelia said slowly.
Alastair could remember it, he could remember his despair, though he could no longer feel it. He was intoxicated, just a little, just enough. He was so tired, he was so sad, he was so tired of feeling sad. His father was gone. There was no one he needed to protect his family from any longer. It was his fault. He could recall the feeling of falling, of flying, before he was caught by a cold inky hand of the scraps of the night. He could remember his panic as he floated upwards back to the ledge of the bridge, the rising sun blinding him. He recalled the figure that he could now identify as Jesse Blackthorn, possessed by Belial, his eyes black and hands twisted in inhuman magic, waiting to meet him. He held him over the depths of the Thames as he asked him to join him.
He said that he could make it so he never felt pain again. He would never feel powerless. He could have everything he ever dreamed of. A bit of assistance now and the world would be his once it was over. A true second chance.
He knew that he was lying. He was a Prince of Hell. He'd been lied to enough times, he'd lied enough times to know what it looked like. He was scared, terrified, and all he wanted was for it all to stop. He wanted to no longer feel exhausted. He wanted to no longer feel.
He said yes.
"I'm a ghost, Layla. A wraith. The brother you knew is merely a memory. Belial saved me. Your silly sentimentalities cannot touch me now."
He watched her break. He'd devoted his life to shielding her from pain. To taking it himself so that she would never need to. But he was no longer living, and in death he could protect her no longer.
He sighed, seeing her tears fall. "Silly little sister..." he mused. "How foolish I was to sacrifice so much for someone so weak. Now, I must be going. You do understand Belial's demands, don't you?" His tone was patronizing.
Her eyes flared with anger. "You are not my brother! I will get him back!"
As Alastair left, he chuckled. In life, such an act was impossible. It had been years since he'd last laughed. In death, he was free.
* * *
Looking at her father’s dead body, Cordelia had not thought her life could get any worse. She’d been naive, thinking his death would be a true low. She hadn’t known what low felt like. She felt lost in space, floating. If James hadn’t guided her, she never would have made it home.
The other boys lingered around. She understood why. Words needed to be said, but she had none.
Thomas was the first one to speak. His voice sounded more like an echo and Cordelia wondered if he even knew he was speaking at all. “It was all a lie.”
“I suppose we should have guessed that something was off,” Matthew said gently. “Given how kindly he was acting.”
James glared at him. “Matthew, now’s not-”
“Stop,” Cordelia interrupted. She took a breath and tried to compose her thoughts. “Stop talking. You don’t- You never actually knew him. I thought- The thing is, the past few days… I don’t think I’ve ever seen him act more himself. The person who he truly is underneath everything else. The person he was before- before all of the bad things started happening. Alastair before he’d experienced true pain, true cruelty. I’d thought… I thought that with our father’s death, he had finally started to heal. I thought… How could I have gotten it so wrong?”
“An Alastair without pain,” Christopher mused.
She blinked. “I… suppose? What are you saying?”
“It’s clear that Belial is controlling him somehow, or holds some type of influence over him. If nothing else, we all know that even at his worst, he would never hurt Cordelia. Perhaps he took away his pain.”
“Why would that cause him to act this way?”
“Pain isn’t… it’s many things, isn’t it? It’s sadness and anger and fear. You can’t truly feel happiness without pain, either, can you?”
“So… he took his emotions?”
“It’s a possibility.”
“Do you think… Do you think this means we can get him back? We can free him?”
The boys cast worried glances at each other. “Cordelia,” James started. “You can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved.”
“Alastair’s not hopeless, James. He’s not a lost cause. He can heal, I know he can. He just needs a little help. If there is any part of him that wants to, I will find it. I’ve turned my back on him over and over and over again. I will not make the same mistake now. I won’t ask you to help me, but please don’t try to stop me.”
They looked at each other slowly, then nodded.
Cordelia didn’t know how, but she would do it. She would find a way to free Alastair from Belial’s control, and whatever came after, they would figure out together. They would find a way. After every terrible thing that had happened, Alastair deserved a chance to truly live. She knew this deeply in her soul, and she knew she would do just about anything to help him find it. In this moment, though, all she needed to do was get him back.
I’m not going to use my regular tag list for this one because it’s so dark, but lmk if you want to be tagged for the next part of this series! I do have most of it written out already, but it’s also finals. Thank you to @littlx-songbxrd for all of your help and support lol <3 i’d say i’m sorry but i’m not
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muffled sobs and stifled laughs
a carstairs siblings ficlet
The sound of muffled sniffling stopped Alastair in his tracks. He stood in the middle of the hallway, trying to hone in on where the sound was coming from. A particularly loud sob sent his feet into motion, walking up and down the hall, pressing his ear to the doors until he found the source. It was coming from the library.
He hesitated a moment, bracing himself before he pushed the door open.
Cordelia was hunched over on the sofa, her shoulders shaking as she tried to suppress the deluge of tears streaming down her face. A few pieces of paper were spread on the table in front of her, tear-stained and ink-smudged. A letter, it looked.
Alastair found himself frozen as he watched his sister curl into herself as though it would protect her from whatever hurt those words had rained on her.
She gave another sob, bringing her hands up to cover her face, and Alastair was spurred into action. He sat on the sofa beside her and wrapped his arms around her, holding her as close as he could without hurting either of them. He whispered softly to her and stroked her hair, choosing simply to hang onto her until her tears started to subside and she stopped shaking quite so much. “I’ve got you, Layla,” he murmured into her hair. She turned her head into his shoulder as she wept, and he held her tighter. “It’s alright, I’ve got you.”
A few minutes passed until finally Cordelia was able to speak through the tears. She made no effort to move away from him, so Alastair continued rubbing her back in a comforting manner. “I’m sorry,” she said eventually, hiccupping through the words. “I’m a mess.”
“A fair assessment, though I’d argue the reason for why is far more important than the fact itself,” Alastair told her. “What happened, Layla?”
“It’s this letter I got from Lucie,” she said. Her voice was thin and raspy. Dread twisted in Alastair’s stomach. “It’s not her fault, it’s just... She’s telling me about this party she attended with her family for her cousin Anna’s birthday. She wrote all about—about her friends and cousins and all the people who were there and I just—”
She took a shuddering breath to steady herself and leaned further into Alastair’s embrace.
“It’s never been a problem before. She tells me about them all the time—about James and Anna and Thomas and everyone in London. But this time, I suppose... I don’t know why, but it just made me feel so...”
Alone. The word hung unspoken between them. Alastair’s heart sank. He knew why it felt more prominent this time. They’d just moved from Devon to Bombay, one of the farthest places from London they’d ever lived. The isolation felt almost suffocating to them all.
Cordelia sucked in a shaky breath and continued. “I miss her so much. I wish... I wish could see each other more than just once every couple of years. I wish we had more than just letters to solidify our friendship.” She paused. “I wish we didn’t move so much, Alastair. Why do we have to move so much? Why can’t we just... why can’t we stay at Cirenworth?” Her voice grew thick, her tears coming faster. “I know it’s for Baba, it’s all for his health, but couldn’t we stay in Devon for a few years? Or London? Couldn’t we stay anywhere near the people who actually care about us?”
Alastair closed his eyes, trying to keep the tears pressing at the back of his eyes from spilling over. Everything she said was true, and it broke Alastair’s heart knowing how she was struggling with it. Even worse was that he knew the truth of it all. They didn’t move because it helped their father’s health. They did it to keep people from getting suspicious. They did it in hopes that whatever new town they moved to would have fewer pubs, fewer opportunities from him to drown himself in liquor. They did it selfishly.
There was nothing Alastair wished to do more than tell Cordelia everything would be alright, but he did not wish to lie to her anymore than he already did. Instead, he whispered, “Layla, you know Lucie wishes more than anything that you could have attended that party with her. There’s a reason she’s so devoted to your correspondence with each other, and it’s because she cares deeply for you. All she wants is for you to feel less alone. That’s why she brings you into her circle by telling you of things such as this. Tell me you know that.”
“I do. I just wish it didn’t hurt so much.”
Alastair chuckled and squeezed her before pulling away to look her in the face. Her eyes were red and puffy, her face streaked with tears. Her hair was tangled as well. Alastair wiped at the tears with his thumbs and pressed a kiss to her forehead. “It will get better,” he promised, and it didn’t feel like a lie. “You and Lucie will become parabatai and you’ll visit her whenever you please. Things will get easier with time, Layla. And you won’t be trapped by our father’s health forever.”
She sniffed a few more times and nodded quickly, wiping at her eyes and smoothing her hair. She gave Alastair a tired smile. “Thank you, dâdâsh.”
“Of course, Layla joon.” Alastair ruffled her hair, tangling it further, and she let out a cry of indignation and pushed him away, both of them laughing. Alastair rose and made for the door. He paused before he left, though, and looked back over his shoulder. Cordelia had moved forward to the edge of the couch and was peering inquisitively at the letter in front of her. She skimmed one of the lines and a smile bloomed on her face. A few more lines and she was giggling to herself.
Alastair smiled fondly. She’s going to be okay, he told himself. No matter what happened to him, his sister would be okay. He closed the library door with a soft click behind him, his sisters stifled laughter floating to him as he continued on his way down the corridor.
do i know anything about the order of the places the carstairs moved? no, but to be fair, neither does anyone else, so. also i’m posting this at 11pm with absolutely no editing whatsoever but in my defense all of my mutuals were being angsty today so i felt it needed to be posted sooner than later. lastly, pls never expect two fics from me in the same day. it’s never going to happen again.
tag list (lmk if you want to be added/removed) @littlx-songbxrd @anarmorofwords @foxglove-airmid @barbra-lightwood @itsdaughterofthemoon @stxr-thxif @lifewouldbebetteronmars @alastair-esfandiyar-carstairs1
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Lucie and Daisy, a holy duo from @cassandraclare’s The Last Hours series <3
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lucie: can we go out to eat ice cream?
will: what did tessa say?
lucie: she said no
will: then why did you ask me?
lucie: cause she’s not the boss of you
will, internally: this is a trap this is a trap this is a trap this is a trap
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james: if i punch myself and it hurts, am i weak or strong?
lucie: an idiot is what you are
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Let’s say baby Carstairs is a girl. I know people will then say it must of been Alastair who continued the family line. Who says Baby Carstairs’s husband wouldn’t take her last name? Mmmm? For example, *cough cough* Henry Branwell *cough cough* is Henry Fairchild. There are men out there who would change their last name to their wife’s name 👀
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