#the last hours fanfiction
“My poor girl, you have not been very well taught how to make a home for your husband, but unless you mean with all your heart to strive to do it, you had better murder him than marry him — if you really l o v e him.”
― Charles Dickens, The Complete Works of Charles Dickens
"Please Lucie, forgive me. I trespassed against Raziel. The Devil made me do it. Lucifer himself commanded me to draw blood in the streets." He moved his hands, the chains around them rattling against the stone.
"You are a monster, Matthew." Her voice, steady in the dark.
He laughed and the laugh was the sound of someone who had lost themselves. Lucie stood still, quiet with her hand on her axe as she graced the light streaming in from the hall. The uniform she wore had thrown Matthew off at first, she had surprised him. She was no longer the little girl he had loved in pigtails and gingham.
"I've been thinking a lot lately about Cain and Abel." He had paused only long enough to wipe the blood from his mouth. "Cain killed Abel. Cain and Abel were the first children. The first... murder."
"You are still a monster."
Matthew laughed again, the sorrow stricken from his face. Now, he looked poisonously mad. "Lucie, lovely Luce. We are all descended from monsters."
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Bruised Souls (Scared to Be Lonely) | Finan x OC One Shot
Prompt: for @lauwrite1225's 500 follower challenge ;)
WARNING: heartache. angst. like heaps load of angst. & angsty smut. get ready to cry. poor depictions of military life but not really (ples take my words with a grain of salt its just fanfiction my guy)
@solinarimoon @thebohemianpenguin @emilyhufflepufftlk @magravenwrites @unicornlovedust @lalahmaria @lauwrite1225 @obipoelover @axe-does-writing @webreathfandoms @93xdiagonxalley @evelynshelby @shadow-of-wonder @geekandbooknerd @nobodys-business-world @for-bebbanburg
This shouldn’t be as hard as it is.
All he has to do is just go in and say goodbye.
He wasn’t sure what was making this so difficult… except, he did.
Because goodbye was the last words Finan was to come out from his lips.
So what in the ever-loving fuck was going on with him?
There was a time where one night stands and friends with benefits were the only two thoughts Finan would associate with women. He did the relationship thing once, and only once. It ended in divorce and absolute disaster, and he promised himself never again. He would keep his heart sealed away in a NASA-grade lock box, password safe, and never open up to another potential partner ever. He knew romance was a one-way street to heartache.
Fuck that shit.
So for whatever reason, albeit fate or just really the fantastic sex, Finan just knew the moment he met Sigrid Kjartanson, he was fucked. Not in the good way, either, more in the oh shit there goes all my walls kind of way. Sigrid was… sweet Jesus, the woman was out of this world. Not even thinking sexually. Finan had never met another person who made him smile so easily. Laughter came easy around Sigrid. She was a good woman, kind and thoughtful. She saw the world differently than everyone else. As a beautiful place full of hope and potential, which was incredible for someone who has been through so much shit.
Finan shouldn’t have let himself get too close.
It started as sex. Like most things. A one-night stand, and then two... and then sleeping over. Then before he knew it, Finan had the spare key to Sigrid’s apartment. It wasn’t meant to be like this, especially with her. What made this all exponentially worse was that Sigrid’s half brother, Sihtric, served with him in the military, making her practically family. He couldn't just drop off the face of the world for this woman and expect to get away with it. Finan should’ve always known this was a bad idea.
Stupidly enough, he fell in love anyway.
In his defense, it was impossible not to. She was single handedly, the most easiest person in the world to fall in love with. Somehow, Sigrid managed to blindly guess the password to that invincible safe around his heart and break in like some kind of criminal mastermind, and in the short four months that he knew her, Finan melted in her fingertips like a kids ice cream cone on a hot summer afternoon.
So why the fuck was he breaking up with her, he has absolutely zero good explanations.
Except for one: he reenlisted. Like a fucking dumbass.
Not like he had much of a choice. The moment Finan found out that his brothers-in-arms; Uhtred Ragnarson, Sihtric Kjartanson, and Osferth Mitchell, all reenlisted for four more years the decision would be made for him. If his brother would go back, so would he. It was that easy. Where his brothers went, he was destined to follow. The four men were bonded, his heart gave him no choice.
So he would break up with Sigrid, and probably live to regret his choices for the rest of his life.
To ease the pain of letting go of the most incredible woman in the world, Finan made the mature decision to get absolutely plastered first. At least he was responsible enough to take an Uber to her place, and after fumbling with the keys for a moment he unlocked the door. Sigrid had already let him know she'd be home, meeting him after a work dinner with a boss she wasn't too fond of, which meant this meet in her eyes was meant for one thing.
Boy, was Finan about to give them both a rude awakening.
"Finan?" He could hear her call out as he stumbled through the door, "Finan is that you?"
"Yeah 'is me," Finan tried to sound calm, but he knew in the back of his mind his words were slurring, "Where are ya?"
"Living room!" Sigrid calls, and Finan heads to her without bothering to remove his shoes.
He finds her lighting candles, a bottle of white and two wine glasses on the coffee table. When she turns to face him, she's beaming, and her smile makes this immediately worse.
"Hey! Long day?" She asks and Finan stops before he reaches her side. Sigrid, however, closes the gap and moves to kiss him, but stops when she smells the liquor, "Oof! Partied before you came here, huh? Without me?"
"Sigrid," Her name slips from her lips, but she doesn't catch the sad way he says it so instead tries to kiss him, "Sigrid-"
"Yes?" She mutters as she pulls his face towards hers slowly.
Before their lips could connect, Finan grabs her hands and moves them away to stop her, "We need to talk."
Sigrid raises a brow and takes a step back to get a better look at his face, "Is everything okay?"
"No, it's not," Finan tells her bluntly, trying to keep his composer, "I'm leavin'."
Sigrid's brows scrunch together in confusion, "Leaving… where?"
"I reenlisted, Sigrid," Finan explains, "I'm going back… I fly out this weekend."
Just rip off the band-aid ya stupid bastard, get it over with.
What are ya waiting for?!
She just stares at him for a while, taking another step back as the wheels in her brain clearly turn. Her mind takes the time to process his words for a while before she replies, "You are… going back, overseas?"
"Leaving me?" Sigrid asks, as if she's double checking.
"I am," Finan spits the words out before he can hesitate any further, "Listen, Sigrid, this has been nice-"
"This has been nice?!" Sigrid raises her voice, putting more of a distance between them than Finan really wants, "Nice? What the hell do you think this has been?"
Finan sighs, glancing away as the next sentence escapes his mouth, "You know what this has been, Sigrid."
"No, I don't!" Sigrid snaps, getting angrier at him than he initially expected, "So please... fucking enlighten me!"
"We've had our fun, but this ain't anythin' more than that," Finan is lying out of his ass, hating every word he manages to get out as he watches Sigrid's heartbreak before his very eyes, "It was just sex."
Sigrid scoffs, looking away for a moment with her hand covering her mouth. He can see her anger rising, anger that's meant to mask the pain but is doing a piss poor job because when she looks back at him he can see her eyes turning red, "You really believe this was just sex for me?"
Finan didn't expect her to say that.
He's already dug himself too deep, so he might as well jump in the damn casket.
"It's all it was for me," His words come out like a whisper, and tears of anger immediately fall from Sigrid's eyes, "I'm sorry I misled ya, but this wasn't anythin' more than…. then a quick fuck."
The tears fall fast, running down her cheeks with haste as she grits out her next words so softly he almost missed it, "You're a fucking liar."
"I said you're a fucking liar!" Sigrid screams out at him, taking a step towards him, "You needed this just as much as I did! I opened the door for you and you had no problem walking right fucking in and making yourself at home!" She shoves Finan's chest while she speaks, making him stumble back, "You fucking used me for my love and now that you had enough, you're walking out!"
"This ain't what ya thought it was, Sigrid," Finan snips back at her, but she doesn't seem to believe him anymore, "I don't-"
He wants to say it, but he doesn't think he can push the lie that far…
If the floor could open up and swallow him whole right now, that would be great.
"You don't what, Finan?" Sigrid snarls, getting up close and personal, so he cannot avoid her anger and pain, "You don't what?"
"I don't…" He can't get it out… or rather he cannot choose what to get out. Does he not love her? Not want her? Neither of those things are true, and lying now seems so much harder than it does before. Yet, after a deep breath, he gets it out, "I do not love you…"
Sigrid snickers incredulously, shaking her head as she looks away from him, and when she looks back she shoves him again, "I don't believe you."
"I don't, Sigrid."
"Well, I don't fucking believe you!" Sigrid growls at him.
Had this been another time and place her rage might have even turned him on, and Finan tries not to think about it too much as he watches the fire on her heart stir with anger.
"I led ya on and I am so sorry Sigrid, but this," Finan points between them, "It doesn't end well."
"Says who?" Sigrid questions, throwing her arms in the air.
Finan blinks twice at her, shocked with how much she's trying to fight for this, "What?"
"Who says this doesn't end well? That it won't work?" Sigrid's anger is fading into sadness, and he can see the way her bottom lip starts to tremble, "Why are you giving up on this before it can even begin?"
Finan stutters to respond, feeling like he's backed himself into a corner, "There's nothin' 'ere to start… what were ya expectin'?"
"To give us an honest chance? I don't know!" Sigrid sniffles, the tears still falling at a steady pace. There is a long moment of silence, neither of them looking at each other for a solid few minutes, and then Sigrid speaks again, "So what? Someone else breaks your heart so bad you're not even gonna give me a chance to fix it?"
Her words blow him away, getting Finan to look at Sigrid once more, "What are you-"
"You really think I didn't know?" Sigrid snickers, shaking her head as she looks at Finan, "Sihtric told me about your ex-wife, Finan, I know what a fucking asshole she was," She takes a shaky deep breath and then continues, "You didn't deserve what she did to you, but I don't deserve what you're doing to me…"
He told her… Sihtric told Sigrid about everything and she still stayed… still loved him.
What the fuck is he doing?!
"I can't go through this again, Sigrid," Finan cannot think of anything else to say, because he's realized he's fucked up to the point of no return, "I do not expect ya to wait four years for me to come home, nor do I wish for ya to experience the day someone else brings ya a damn flag and the news that I didn't make it!"
Sigrid scoffs again, this time wiping the tears from her eyes, "So then that's it? You're making my decision for me?"
"I have been basically begging to love you, Finan," Sigrid admits to him, and her words are his breaking point as tears finally fall from his eyes, "And you are so desperate to push me away!"
"Why me?" The words slip from his mouth, "I don't understand, ya don't need me. You never had. You got life by the balls all by yourself-"
"I hate being by myself," Sigrid spits out, much to Finan's surprise, "Have you ever thought that maybe I was using you just as much as you were using me?" He doesn't fully understand her meaning, so he doesn't respond. After a moment, Sigrid wipes her face with her hand and continues, "I thought I was okay being independent… but really I am terrified of being alone. I want love-"
"And you deserve it-"
"So why are you running from me!" Sigrid cries out, "Tell me I've been reading this all wrong! Tell me I'm crazy, please!" She all but begs him as the tears roll down at a faster pace, "Tell me you don't love me like I thought you did, really tell me and meant it because I know you didn't mean it before," Sigrid takes a deep breath and then tells him, "Tell me you will never love me, and I'll let you go."
Finan cannot speak because his heart is caught in his throat and the warm tears are soaking his cheeks, and now he's realized just how much he's fucked this up. How does he come back from this? How does he take everything he said back?
Finan isn't sure he can.
So he takes a deep breath, and says the next worst thing, "It does not matter if I do or don't… because I'm leavin' not matter what."
Sigrid sniffles, nodding as she glances away, "Fine… then go."
"Please… just-" If she's moments away from falling apart, Sigrid is doing an excellent job at covering it up, "If you're gonna go, then go..."
Finan licks his lips, breathing out through his mouth and pausing before he says anything else. All he can think to say is what she probably doesn't wanna hear, but he says it anyway, "You're a great woman, Sigrid, there's someone out there desperate for your love… I know it."
Against his better judgment, he wills his feet to move and carry him across the room. He doesn't make eye contact as he approaches her, moving to the side to avoid her and any pain that is probably visible on her face. He almost stops... but manages to get himself to the door. Yet, it's when he's reaching for the handle that he finds himself stopping. Finan is all but screaming at his body to just go ahead and leave-
But he doesn't get a chance.
For whatever reason he doesn't hear Sigrid rush up to him; maybe it's just because he's so lost in his mind, but the next thing he knows Sigrid's hands turn him around and push him up against the door. She stares at him for just a second, Finan getting a good look at the pain on her face before she leans forward and kisses him hard.
And just like that child with an ice cream cone, he melts in her hands.
Finan's common sense unravels at her touch, all logic going out the window as he pulls her closer to his body. The kisses are messy and hungry, teeth clanging together as they try to take in as much of the other as they can. Finan's hand is firm around Sigrid's waist as her hands pull in his hair tight, making him groan from pain and pleasure. His hands slip lower against his will, gripping hard on her ass until Sigrid is flushed against him.
She must feel how hard he's grown with her body rubbed up against his, because she breaks the kiss for just a second to speak, "Take me to bed," She growls into his mouth, "Now."
Finan doesn't need to be told twice, lifting Sigrid by the ass into his arms, and carrying her across her apartment into her bedroom. The moment they reach the bed, he falls on top of her, his mouth never leaving hers. Their hands move frantically to undress themself as much as they can without breaking the kiss until Sigrid goes to remove her shirt, Finan doing the same.
Now that they are naked and staring at each other, Finan can see Sigrid is still crying.
Like she knows this is goodbye.
He doesn't want to think about the pain anymore, so he rushes back down to her mouth as his hands slip down her legs and spread them more apart. Making space for his hands to reach her cunt, finding her dripping and wanting.
"Jesus," Finan groans into her mouth, making Sigrid moan as his finger moves slowly through her folds, "God dammit woman-"
"Finan," She moans again as his finger slides across her another time, "Finan, please…"
Two fingers slip inside Sigrid and she gasps at the feeling, while Finan works her with no rush. He was to savor this moment, so he breaks the kiss so he can watch the way she pants and moans, coming apart with his touch.
"That's it, darlin'," He whispers sweet words to her, knowing that's what she needs to send her over the edge, and that's all that matters right now, "I want to feel ya come for me, can ya do that?" Finan asks her, knowing she's getting closer by the way her body writhes behind his, "Let go, Sigrid, I'm here… I got ya."
A few more thrusts of his fingers while his thumb rubs against her most sensitive part, and she's there, coming with a gasp as Finan helps her ride out her pleasure. Pumping his fingers slower and slower until he pulls out altogether, and Sigrid looks up at him only so that she can pull his face down for another kiss.
With her forehead rested again his, Sigrid whispers, "I need more."
"Do ya?" Finan whispers back as he reaches for his throbbing cock, tugging on it a few times to make sure he's ready, and then aligning himself with her entrance, "Tell me then."
"I need you, Finan, please. I need more, I need-" She's cut off as a guttural noise slips from her lips, and Finan slides himself inside her. He cannot help but gasp at the feeling, Sigrid gasping as well, "Yes, please… I need-"
"Don't worry, I know what ya need," Finan whispers back as his hips start to move, moving out almost fully before thrusting himself back in with a bit more force making Sigrid whine. He does it again, his pace picking up as Sigrid's hands claw at his back and scalp. He'll certainly be scratched up by the time this is all over, but Finan can hardly give a shit now.
All he can think about now is how good his cock feels moving inside Sigrid's body, and how he never wants this to end.
As he goes on, his thrusts get harder and his pace a touch sloppier. He's getting closer, but he knows if he comes then this is all over. So Finan pushes his mouth back against Sigrid and kisses her with absolutely everything he has, not worried about the fact that his tears are definitely falling down his cheeks onto her face. After a few more moments, Finan comes inside Sigrid with a groan, slowing his thrusts until he empties everything he has inside her. Then once he is done, he pulls himself out and drips his head to her shoulder.
He isn't ready to face her, so Finan keeps his head down and sobs silently to himself.
Except, Sigrid feels his body wracking with tears because he cannot stop himself from shaking. So she wraps her body against his tightly, letting Finan cry in her arms.
They stay like this late into the night, hours passing until they are exhausted and all but ready to fall asleep in this awkward and uncomfortable position. Finan tries to move, tries to leave, but Sigrid keeps her grip tight.
From her mouth, comes a whisper so soft and so tiny Finan almost misses, "Please come home to me," She tells him, both of them afraid to look the other in the eye so they keep their heads buried in each other's shoulders, "You don't understand… I love you so much…"
Finan sobs return, worse than before and far from silent as he holds Sigrid with all his strength, and though he had trouble getting his words out he finds the will to speak, "I will never understand what I've done to deserve your love, Sigrid, but I don't deserve it."
"That doesn't matter," He can feel Sigrid shake her head, "It's already yours. I don't want it back."
He finds the courage to break the hug and look Sigrid in the eye, and what he finds is exactly what she has said. A woman, desperate to love him, regardless of how absolutely stupid he's been about this. His hands move to her face, holding her right behind the ears as his thumb helps wipe her tears.
"I hope one day I'll be worthy of this love you've given me," Finan feels he's finally being honest with her, his eyes looking over her carefully. Not wanting to ever forget what she looks like, "And should ya still want me when I come home, please let me make this up to you… let me mend the heart I didn't mean to break."
"I want to love you," Finan promises her, his voice cracking as he speaks, "I want to give ya all the galaxies in the universe, 'cause the stars in the sky just ain't enough. God, Sigrid, you are the most perfect woman-" Finan smiles through his tears, and Sigrid chuckles, "And when I come home, I promise I'm gonna make up for all the stupid shit I've done… I swear it."
"Just come home, okay?" Sigrid begs of him, "Do not- do not leave me alone anymore."
"I don't plan to," Finan replies, leaning in to give her another good kiss, sighing contently as he breaks it, "Whatever it takes, I'm comin' back."
"I love you," Sigrid whispers again, kissing him with more passion as her tongue slips between his lips and runs against his. Meanwhile, Sigrid has started grinding herself against him, trying and succeeding at working him up again as she moans softly, over and over, "I love you."
She says it, perhaps, over a hundred times that night. Whispering it in his ear as she grinds against him, groaning them out as his cock moves in and out of her mouth. Crying the words out as she rides him with everything she has, until he comes a second time with a gasp and releases himself inside her again.
The words are on his lips the whole time, but they never come out.
Not once as they cuddle the rest of the night, unable to really get any good sleep.
Not when he leaves in the morning and she tells him she loves him again. The words so sweet on her lips he almost rushes them both back to her bed, but Finan holds himself back and heads for the door.
He doesn't tell her when she sees him, her brother, and the rest of his unit off at the airport, even though the words hang at the edge of this tongue. His brothers in arms seem surprised when she cries against his chest as he holds her close, Sigrid whispering how much she loves him and Finan whispering promises to write and call. As well as the promise to come back to her. And though Sihtric and the others try to question him about what's going on, he keeps his business to himself.
Sitting in his seat as he wonders how the hell a broken man like him with a bruised, and worn out heart could have possibly earned the love of a woman like Sigrid. He doesn't deserve it, he's certain, but it will always be his all the same.
And it's while he's sitting there, waiting for take off, that he realizes he should have just told her he loved her too... because he does.
Perhaps if he comes home, he'll finally have the courage to tell her.
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I am on a roll right now! Two fanfictions and a chapter of Believer? What?
There are some Chain of Iron spoilers in this one for the few who might not have read it but they are quite minor and I have put a discreet warning as to when they begin.
Well I hope you guys enjoy this chapter. There are only three more left and an epilogue and this story will officially be finished.
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Hello, I love your writing! 🌸💞
Maybe 31 with Thomastair if you'd like?
Hi anon and thank you! 🌼 I can't remember when you sent this ask, perhaps in winter. I'm sorry for this long wait, but I haven't feeling too inspired for a while. Now I think I'm back and I hope you like this fluffy fic!
Prompt: “I’m yours, in every way you’ll have me.”
Ship/Characters: Thomastair, Thomas Lightwood and Alastair Carstairs
The sound of something hitting the floor wakes Alastair. Then someone sighs heavily, and new noises invade the room. He’s disoriented for a moment. Is it music? The lights are dim but he realizes that it isn’t night. No, the grandfather clock on the wall signs a little past two in the afternoon. He jerks his head too hard, noticing that the blinds are drawn, and feels pain in his neck. He’s sitting on an armchair, a velvet armchair that might have looked comfortable to sit down to read, but not to sleep on. Somebody's watching him from the other piece of furniture of the small apartment. He flinches. Then his eyes adjust to the new colors of the room, and he recognizes the other person. He tries to hide his surprise and joy, but he’s sure they’re seeping through his face. He doesn’t need to hide anything.
“I didn’t mean to wake you,” Thomas apologizes. Alastair wants to tell him that he shouldn’t. He sat down on that armchair because he was thinking about what he was doing in another town, wishing he would be quick and return so he would not feel alone.
But he doesn’t.
“You mean the music?” Alastair wonders instead, frowning and scratching the back of his shoulders. They are stiff. Ah, sitting on that armchair was a bad idea, and now he didn’t want Thomas to believe that he was uncomfortable and that he needed help.
Thomas’ eyes glance at Alastair’s hand, and he stands up, coming towards him as he speaks. “It was meant to be a surprise, but I stumbled on something on the carpet,” he rolls his eyes. “I woke you up.”
“I would have woken up sooner if I knew you were coming,” Alastair says, biting his lip. “And prepared… well, something.”
“I don’t need anything,” confesses Thomas, moving behind the armchair. “While you look like you need a massage,” he suggests. He doesn’t wait for Alastair’s reply and he just starts moving his hands behind his neck.
Alastair is about to say that it’s not true that he needs that, and that he is fine on his own, with his neck hurting because of the damn armchair. But he doesn’t. The truth is that he loves when Thomas does that. Not just the massage he’s doing right now. Anything. He’s one to keep things to himself. He’s been like that for his whole life, and it’s hard to unlearn pretending to be okay, not to need things. Thomas was good at seeing through the cracks, and Alastair decided to let him take care of his neck. He closes his eyes as Thomas’ fingers work their magic. Really, he’s just pressing his fingers, Alastair -
“I want to dance,” Alastair says out of the blue, while Thomas’ hands still graze his neck. A jolt runs through his spine. “Please, don’t stop,” he begs, not feeling his partner’s fingers anymore. The back of his neck is suddenly cold.
Thomas laughs, but he still doesn’t continue. “You’re greedy,” he teases, his mouth close to Alastair’s ear. Another thrill shakes his shoulders, making the hair behind his neck stand up. Aching for more.
This is how you make me feel, Thomas Lightwood. Like I’m on the top of a cliff and jumping in the water is my only escape. I’m afraid of the heights, but I would leap into the sea and face my fear, if you hold my hand.
Alastair grins, and gazes up at Thomas. “You’ve been in Paris for a week. I deserve to be greedy.” He stands up, ignoring that he has revealed too much; has been too forward. Their relationship is young, there are still many things they have to tell each other, but there isn’t a guide on how to be with someone, nor a right time where you can be forward with your feelings.
Thomas is already offering his hand, and Alastair doesn’t hesitate when he takes it, interlacing his fingers with his. The music playing is a waltz, but they are not following it. They are out of tune, but none of them complains. They’re going at their pace. Like always.
“It feels like a dream,” Alastair whispers, gazing up at the man he loves.
Thomas grins, his whole face lights up. He is blushing. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it? I knew you would love this sound.”
“I didn’t mean the music,” Alastair sighs, holding Thomas’ stare. Almost stopping because those hazel eyes distract him. “I mean this.”
Thomas nods, and chuckles. He looks away, almost embarrassed like Alastair used to be a few minutes ago when he woke him up from his sleep. “I regret to inform you that this is not a dream. This is real. We are real. And I’m yours, in every way you’ll have me.”
“There’s no need to remind me,” Alastair says, his heart is about to jump out of his chest. “I am not possessive by any means. Though I’d make an exception for you.” He doesn’t stop staring at Thomas, and winks. He has the urge to see his reaction. He is curious, even though he knows that Thomas hasn’t shown anything but affection for him ever since they started. And, most importantly, Thomas didn’t treat him as a secret. On the other hand, he granted Alastair what he never dared to believe someone would ever do for him. He put him first.
It happened during one of the mundane events Alastair disliked so much but had to attend out of courtesy, a few days after he agreed to get to know Thomas better. To see if they would last. They still weren’t officially together, and he couldn’t say he wasn’t scared, for he feared history would repeat itself. He had to tread lightly.
Alastair thought that something was off when he saw Thomas wait for him outside of the venue. He had come alone, so he didn’t have to invent excuses. When Alastair saw Thomas’ serious stare, he thought: this is it. We’re done. He made his hands into fists as he climbed the stairs. People were passing by, but he could only stare at Thomas as he felt a void in his stomach, and he hadn’t even eaten anything.
“I need to tell you something, and it can’t wait.”
Those were Thomas’ words. Alastair stilled, trying to keep his expression neutral, and nodded. What else could he do? Maybe he should stop being such a pessimist?
They went into a private room, and Thomas sighed audibly after closing the door. “I can’t wait anymore. I’m sick of waiting.”
“Waiting for what?”
“To tell everyone that you’re mine,” Thomas said, and shook his head, embarrassed. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to sound possessive.”
“I understand what you mean,” Alastair replied.
“And what do you say?”
“About being possessive?”
“The first thing,” Thomas managed a tiny smile. “Tell everyone.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“Why shouldn’t I be? Even though my friends still don’t know the truth, and only my sister and Lucie know,” he explained. “I don’t want you to be my secret.”
“I don’t want to be your secret either, Thomas,” Alastair murmured, and it was as if saying it out loud had freed him. He felt lighter. “If we have to stay together, we -” he sighed. “I don’t want to hide.”
“I don’t want to hide either,” Thomas answered, opening the door. “That’s why, if you agree, I suggest we enter the ballroom together. Hand in hand.”
“I never thought you were so reckless, Thomas Lightwood,” he said, offering his arm.
“There are a lot of things you don’t know about me.”
“Believe me, I intend to find out,” Alastair smirked.
Thomas smiled. “Likewise.”
That was the first time they danced together.
“Well, I am,” Thomas tells him in the present, his voice rises to make a point, and his hand grips the back of Alastair’s jacket. Alastair is beside himself, and the only thing he can do is reach out to Thomas’ lips to let him know how he feels about that.
Taglist (if you want to be added or removed, send me a PM): @princesslucinda @kit-12 @immortal-enemies @lucian-evander @esa-emery @danieldyers @blackthorn-trash @rinadragomir @fortunesandfables @itsdaughterofthemoon @silvenys@thomastair3 @livvyheronstairs @ holding-infinity-and-a-book @lovelaces @axoloteca @autumnangel20 @cordelia-cardale @lucie-blackthorns @thephcastcouldsteponme-please
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The Ashwood Chronicles wallpaper/graphics
I made a thing
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lol i had my second covid vaccine dose yesterday and then paul (the name i gave my period to talk about him in public) decided to stop by for a week long visit and then i went to the bathroom and thought about sokka and cried lol
anyways i still feel like crap and wanted to complain because i have slept half the day instead of doing homework and writing fanfiction but it’s fine I needed the sleep anyways thanks for letting me rant, kiddos
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you're not living in this world alone
i wrote this in one sitting and i'm sorry i don't really know what the point is i was just frustrated lmao, the song title is from "enjoy your life" by marina which is what i'm manifesting for COT. i don't think there are any triggers beyond what you would expect: mentions of bullying and elias' shitty parenting
Fanfiction Masterlist | AO3
“And how would you know where Alastair was yesterday afternoon?” Matthew mused.
Thomas exhaled. The truth was a long time coming. “Because I was with him. Alastair and I are friends.”
“Friends? After everything he’s done? You can forgive him so easily?”
“It’s been years since school, Matthew. He’s grown and changed since then, just as you and I have. I have forgiven him, and I ask that you respect that, even if you choose not to.”
“Respect that? Thomas, how could I-” He moved closer and lowered his voice as if that would effectively prevent Cordelia from hearing him, despite her sitting mere feet away. “I don’t know what he said to you, but you don’t owe him anything just because he helped you with the whole serial killer business. Listen, Thomas, you’re very kind, and Alastair… Well, I know what type of person Alastair is, and he’s the kind that understands well how to take advantage of kindness. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
Thomas could see Cordelia straining to stop herself from reacting. “You don’t know anything about him.”
“And you do?”
“I know more than you, continuing to reduce him to the horrible nonsense he said over four years ago.”
Matthew flinched. “Horrible nonsense? That’s what you’d call the things he said about my parents, about your parents, the things that made your mother cry?”
Thomas bit back involuntary tears. He knew how those words had hurt his family. His intention was never to reduce the gravity of them. “Don’t you dare use my own words against me! What about the things you said, Matthew?”
Matthew crossed his arms. “I have not a clue what you’re talking about. Whatever he told you were lies, I’m sure-”
“Did you forget that I was there that day? I’d nearly forgotten because it was so long ago, but I remember. I was trying to help Alastair because he was in a very bad way. Clive had just died. I know that the prank affected you, too, maybe even more so, but Alastair said that the prank wasn’t his idea, and I believe him. Clive was Alastair’s bully long before he was any of ours, and I don’t blame Alastair for fearing his own safety and going along with his stupid, dangerous plan. At the end of the day, it’s just not something you need to blame someone for. Alastair learned his lesson in the worst way possible. Someone died.
“I could tell that the other boys’ parents coming to the school in the aftermath of it all was upsetting him because he knew that Elias would never come to his rescue. You can jest all you’d like, Matthew, about how if he was your son, you wouldn’t care about him either, but it’s never going to be funny.”
A stillness fell on the room, a look of guilt creeping over James’ face, a look of panic having set in on Matthew’s shortly after Thomas began speaking. Cordelia stood up abruptly. “Excuse me?” She turned to Matthew. “Tell me that isn’t true.”
“Never to his face! It was just a joke. I didn’t mean it-”
“Is that supposed to make it better? All those times that you acted as if were some heroic feat for me to love him… Now I’m not sure if they were jokes or if you genuinely believe he’s less deserving of love than you or I. All this time my brother suffered in silence, he shielded me from it all so that I would never have to know what kind of person my father really was, he sacrificed his own well-being for mine, meanwhile… you all were here, making jokes about it.”
Thomas expected Cordelia to be angry, and she was, on some level. Her expression was haunted, however, her eyes holding even more guilt than Matthew’s. He realized, suddenly, what she must be thinking: How dare they discuss in passing something she never realized herself? How could Thomas and his friends see it so clearly when she could not? Thomas wanted to tell her that Alastair didn’t try to hide it from them, not in the way that he hid it from her, that he’s learned from his parents that in many cases you it’s more difficult to see the bad in those you love, your heart always searching for the good, but James began to speak instead.
“Daisy-” James started.
“No,” she interrupted. “I don’t want to hear it. Thomas, finish.”
“I- What?” he stammered, nearly forgetting how the conversation began. His heart was racing; he shouldn’t have said so much, he knew. It would only cause more pain. He simply needed all of this nonsense about Alastair to stop, and he did not know how besides telling the truth.
“What happened that day at the Academy,” she prompted.
“Right. He… he was in a bad way, because of Clive’s death and because of his father. He told me to leave him alone, but I didn’t because I thought that I could help. I… I thought that he shouldn’t be alone. Now I wish that I had gone, because Matthew went looking for me. He found me with Alastair and started insulting him. He made fun of his hair, which I know sounds silly, but it wasn’t, was it? That’s why he changed it,” Thomas realized as he spoke. “So that he would- so he wouldn’t look Persian. Matthew could tell that it bothered him so much, that’s why he continued to say it.”
Thomas sighed as he continued. Alastair should be the one saying all of this, but he would never, nor would Matthew ever hear it. “Matthew asked him if no one cared about him enough to tell him that he looked silly, not his friends or his father. He told him that the prank was entirely his fault, that it was his fault Clive was dead. And then Alastair asked me to leave. I assume that’s when Alastair said the things he did, and I’m assuming that’s where he got the bruise I saw on his face later.”
“And Matthew placed Alastair’s belongings in the wing that Christopher blew up,” James offered.
“Sorry,” Christopher chimed in, though no one was much concerned about him or his actions that day.
“What? Was I meant to not retaliate after he said those things to me?” Matthew’s eyes narrowed at them.
Thomas was exasperated. “Of course that’s not what I’m saying! I’m saying that you need to stop pretending like you haven’t said and done things to Alastair that were just as terrible as what he’s said to you!”
“Are you serious?” Matthew asked. He looked to James for a defense, but none came.
“This entire time you’ve acted as if the whole ordeal was one-sided,” Cordelia said. “Like you were just some child helpless against my brother’s cruel words, but that was never the case, was it?”
Matthew didn’t respond.
“I need some time to think,” she said finally, walking quickly out of the tavern without waiting for a response.
Matthew turned back to Thomas. “Is this how it’s going to be now?”
“What do you mean? Me, not letting you mercilessly take out your own problems on someone who’s been trying to make amends, someone who has been through far enough? I suppose so. It’s up to you, Matthew. As I said before, you don’t need to forgive him, but I have. You are my friend, but so is he. He doesn’t have a problem with that. Do you?”
Matthew finally resigned himself. “No,” he said quietly.
Thomas knew this was only the beginning. Cordelia was almost certainly on her way to confront her brother, and soon this would be an even larger discussion. There were apologies and amends that still needed to be made. Even more, Thomas knew that Matthew’s issues with Alastair ran deeper than his actual dislike for the man, but he knew that allowing him to continue to take his own guilt and self-hatred out on Alastair would only continue to make life more difficult for all of them. Both Alastair and Matthew deserved to be free of it. Once Matthew was free of this nonsense with Alastair, Thomas knew that the real work towards true freedom would begin. And once Alastair was free of it… Thomas could only hope for what would come next.
Thanks for reading! Tagging my usual suspects (lmk to be added/removed): @stxr-thxif @chaos-and-starlight @zosiaenrique @lifewouldbebetteronmars @littlx-songbxrd @dianasarrow @eugeniaslongsword @bookswitchcraftandcats @jamesherondaleofficial @thomas-gaypanic-lightwood @livingformyself @anarmorofwords @foxglove-airmid @writeforjordelia @sapphic-in @jem-nasium @fortheloveofthecarstairs
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New chapter for Believer! For some reason exams are inspiring me to write. I hope you all like it 💕
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3/100 (3rd of June 2021
Written/posted for the #100daysofwriting challenge by @the-wip-project, 2nd part of: https://scorzaleviathan.tumblr.com/post/652948629144911872/2100-2nd-of-june-2021 —Bolded text was written before today—
The Walls Come Crumbling Down (and All Stands Revealed) Time travel, (Katakuri, Marine, Teach, Fukaboshi, Vivi, Luffy, Robin, ¿+? no Shirohige, not Jinbei —that would wreck the balance in way too many ways for one character, man is too powerful and well-connected.)
In the background during all of this a Marine lands back in time (2nd person back actually) and the Marines organize and execute a raid on Baltigo. On account of this being powered by future-knowledge —the identities of Revolutionaries that haven’t been discovered yet, the location of Baltigo itself— this is completely unexpected by the Revolutionaries and strikes a devastating blow, only not crippling the Army because due to the incredibly spread-out nature of the attack they didn’t actually manage to kill as many agents as they wanted to, just completely destroy what they were doing ("raid on Baltigo" is the wrong way to put it. It was a co-ordinated attack on everywhere the RA was operating, disrupting hundreds of important projects and burning the identities of thousands of agents and killing a not insignificant number of them, if not as many as they wanted (the World Gov. in the future didn’t know the identities of all the agents it ended up burning/attacking during this, but it knew where the Revolutionary Army had been and what it had been doing, making it easy to figure out who was RA once they got there) if any Marines actually made it all the way to Baltigo it was not a whole lot, but either way it was made obvious they knew where it was). Forced to assume that everyone is compromised, Dragon temporarily disbands the Army with orders to go to ground/home and hide, those last few who have nowhere to go and no friends who can take them Dragon takes with him. The ones who go with Dragon (including Sabo and Koala (who could’ve gone to Fishman Island/the Sun Pirates with Hack, but as a human living on Fishman island would’ve stood out like a sore thumb) and a few others who will probably have to be OCs because I need variety in rank) are expecting to be doing no-backup no-base no-supplies extended on-the-run mission(s) (think pre-Mugiwara Robin), and are very surprised when he takes them to a small village on a small island in East Blue that he obviously knows well, where he wanders around in a Hawaiian shirt (they all had to make themselves look as unrecognizable as possible on their way here, cutting hair, covering distinctive marks, and changing clothes, none of them had ever seen Dragon out of his dark-clothes long-hair cloak setup before) and everyone calls him by name and regards him as a fond troublemaker. The jaws really drop when they realize they are seeing Dragon’s home town, except for Sabo’s, who is too busy passing out because blond boy practically spirited into his memories when they ran into Makino.
@just-a-well-wisher here you go! ^_^ This only covers about half of what I know goes down on this side of the story on account of me continually getting distracted with explaining my reasoning while writing it, so tomorrow will probably be the final part of the outline, unless it multiplies in size on me again.
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Heyy could you please write smth amazing maybe a fic about Charlotte and Henry,i love them so much🥺😍and maybe smth about Matthew and charlotte too♥️♥️😍🥺
Of course! Thank you so much for the amazing request! I missed writing about the Fairchilds :)
Characters: Charlotte Fairchild, Henry Fairchild & Matthew Fairchild
Charlotte opened her eyes and jumped to her feet, speeding to the bathroom, where she promptly heaved into the toilet.
“Lottie?” Henry asked from the bedroom, concerned. “Are you alright?”
She heard him shift to get up.
“No, don’t get up.” She said, “It’s—I’m fine, really. I feel better.”
“You don’t sound better,” Henry said.
“Yes, well,” Charlotte said, getting to her feet. “I did just spew what felt like my entire stomach.”
“Lottie, are you sure you’re alright? I can easily—”
“Truly, Henry, I’m fine. I feel much better now.” She quickly added after gurgling and spitting out some water to get the fowl taste out of her mouth.
She re-emerged from the bathroom to find Henry sitting up, his face etched with concern, “Besides,” she pointed out. “Your bath chair is all the way over there.”
“Yes, I only realized that while I was insisting on getting up.”
Charlotte felt a soft giggle make it’s way up her throat. She crawled into bed beside him and wrapped her arms around him, resting her head on his chest. When they were both sitting—as they were now—it was quite evident that Henry is much taller than Charlotte. She closed her eyes and listened to his heart beat as he folded her in his arms, which were warm and strong, from pushing his bath chair around all day.
He preferred to do it himself, he’d confided to her one night. When other people pushed it without asking him was when he truly felt paralyzed, not being able to control where he was going.
Charlotte dug her face into his chest, smiling as he kissed her hairline.
“Just make sure to visit the Brothers tomorrow,” he said quietly. “in case it’s something serious.”
“You worry too much,” she mumbled, “but I’ll make sure to stop by tomorrow. Just for you.”
Even though she couldn’t see him, she suspected he smiled against her as his arms tightened around her.
She basked in the wave of calmness that went through her at being in Henry’s arms before gently peeling herself away to lay down on the bed. She propped her head on her fist as she watched Henry rearrange his legs so that he could lay down.
A dark shadow tried to creep into her mind, but she shoved it away.
Not yet, she thought to herself.
Henry lowered himself and looked into her eyes, and looked as though he knew exactly who she was thinking about.
She shook her head and laid down on the pillow. She moved closer to Henry and let him hold her close to his chest. His steady breathing made her eyes close slowly, his familiar, lovely scent warming her enough that it lulled her to sleep.
After stopping by the Silent Brothers, Charlotte didn’t remember the carriage ride back home. She didn’t think as her feet found themselves descending Henry’s laboratory, as she was suddenly at the base of the staircase, her eyes wide with shock, staring at Henry’s back as he worked.
She didn’t know how long she’d been standing there when Henry finally turned his chair around, jolting when he saw her standing there, pale and wide eyed.
“Lottie,” he said, “Have you been here this entire time?”
Charlotte shook her head, swaying on her feet.
“What is it, darling?” Henry said, wheeling towards her. He blanched, “Did something happen in the Silent City?”
“I—” she couldn’t quite find the right way to say it, so she just blurted out, “I’m pregnant.”
Henry stared at her and blinked. His lips parted, a slow grin spreading across his face.
“Are you sure?”
Charlotte nodded, her hands drifting to her lower abdomen.
Lottie!” He laughed.
She felt herself choke out a laugh of her own. She was so dazed, so shocked and amazed, that she didn’t remember much of what came afterward. The next thing she remembered was sitting in Henry’s lap and kissing him, tears streaming down both of their faces, for neither could believe the miracle they were blessed with.
Miracles, Charlotte suddenly remembered.
She pulled away, “Wait,” She said, holding Henry’s face in her hands. “There’s more; they’re twins.”
Charlotte nodded through her tears of joy. She couldn’t see Henry’s facial expression but she knew by the way he held her tight that he was ecstatic.
“They’re genders can’t be determined yet, they have to do a further investigation—”
“To hell with the genders,” Henry said laughing. “They’re twins!”
Charlotte laughed, shaking her head.
Henry put a hand to her abdomen and looked up at her, his smile lighting up his entire face, his green eyes crinkling. Charlotte matched it, unable to think of anything other than how blessed they both were.
Days later, Charlotte found Matthew sitting on the floor in the room where Will said he’d be. It was completely empty, save a window right across from where he was. His face was blank as he stared out of it.
She looked at him for a moment before crossing the room and slowly sitting down beside him. She had been meaning to meet with him for some time, but had always told herself it wasn’t the right time. It was only when a boy stopped by her house earlier that morning, that she decided she’d waited enough, the boy’s bravery giving her enough strength to go out and find her son as soon as he’d left. Now, neither Fairchild said anything as they looked out the window, at the snow that was delicately drifting to the ground.
Finally, Charlotte spoke, her voice hoarse. “I thought if I gave you space and time, that it would heal you.” She paused. “But it seems that all it did was tear me apart slowly each day.”
Matthew’s silence continued, but she felt that he may have shifted slightly.
“When you came back from the academy, I knew that something happened, that something changed within you, even though there seemed to be nothing to suggest that change.
“I also knew that after my miscarriage, you couldn’t seem to look me in the eye. That you slowly began crumbling apart. I know I’m not there most of the time, but I know that it’s been a while since you’ve been alright, Matthew. What I had dismissed as the woes of adolescence, was actually something much deeper and painful.” Her eyes remained fixed on the window, seeing, but not processing what she was looking at.
“It was painful to lose one child, but even more painful to lose another to despair.”
Matthew made a noise, as if to say something, but he stopped himself. After a while, Charlotte continued.
“You can’t argue that there’s nothing the matter. I find it strange that ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ has been your favorite book for so long, when so many other children usually change their favorite, as they find others that resonate with them more. To me, it indicates that you’re either stuck in the past, or you see yourself in that book, and that terrifies me, for Dorian Gray is not the kind of character you’d want a loved one to relate to.
“What hurts me the most, however, is that I can’t help you. That every time I try to get close to you, you push me away. It hurts me as your mother that you seem so intent to push away my affections. It hurts to know that I failed as your mother to understand what the matter is and to help. I know that nobody can carry your burden for you—whatever that burden may be— for your weight is for you to carry alone. It is what you came to this earth to do, and the lesson you came to learn. I know that it has to be you alone, but I can help make it less painful and difficult, if you could only let me.”
She stopped speaking then, letting the silence fill the room.
“You haven’t failed as a mother.” He finally said, quietly.
Charlotte closed her eyes, resting the back of her head on the wall and hugging her knees. “Then why does it feel that way?” She asked softly.
“Because I don’t want you to love me.” He said after a long moment of silence. “You haven’t failed as a mother; I’ve failed as a son.”
Charlotte managed to keep her tone even as she looked at him and said. “And why’s that?”
“I can’t tell you.”
“You can,” She said, putting a hand on his leg.
Matthew looked down, pressing his lips together.
“If I tell you a secret, would you be willing to consider telling me yours?”
Matthew finally looked at her and she caught a glimpse of when he was younger, a small child with the fairest of hair and the light blue eyes, falling asleep on her collarbone as she worked well into the night.
She took his expression as a yes, and spoke. “I know you hated me when I sent you to the academy. How angry you were that I enrolled you without asking first. When I dropped you off, you wouldn’t hug me back or even look at me. Believe it or not, I had a reason for sending you away, and it wasn’t because I wanted you to make new friends.” She swallowed. “There was a rumor going around that time…about Gideon and I.
“I didn’t care about what other people said about me, but the problem was that the rumor, it was about you, too. I almost considered ending my term that year, because while I ran for Consul and accepted the implications that came with that, you didn’t choose to be my son. You didn’t choose this life, and I didn’t want whatever I did to affect your own life.
“Instead, however, I sent you to the academy, where I hoped you’d be protected and shielded from those rumors. And I truly believed that worked. Until now, when Alastair Carstairs came to apologize to me personally and told me what happened all those years ago.”
Matthew looked up, surprised at that.
“Henry is your father, Matthew. I wanted to reassure you that nothing amorous has ever occurred between myself and any other man, especially not Gideon. I see him as a brother.”
“I know that, Mother.” Matthew said quickly. “Of course you’d never do…that.”
Charlotte looked at him sadly. “I wish we never had to be in such a position where I had to tell you as such. I wish you would have asked about the rumor. I can’t imagine it being something easy to be told.”
“It should have.”
“What do you mean?”
“It shouldn’t have had such an effect on me. I should have known better.”
“About what?” Charlotte asked.
Matthew looked up as if noticing her presence, and quickly looked away, shaking his head. “Alastair apologized to you?”
Charlotte nodded slowly. “He’s a good boy,” she said. “A good boy who was dealt a bad hand in life. He has his own burden to carry as well, though he’s already on the right path. Sometimes, we add burdens on top of the ones we were meant to carry, which hinder our passage through life. Today, I saw him let go of something that was weighing him down for a very long time. I think it’s time you did the same.”
Matthew closed his eyes, exhaustion evident on him.
Then, he looked at Charlotte.
“What if you end up not wanting anything to do with me, once you realize what it is I’ve done?”
Charlotte felt like this was the eye of the hurricane; the moment where everything would come crashing down. She got déjà vu, of a time when a seventeen-year-old with dark blue eyes sat on a stool before her, took a deep breath, and said the unimaginable.
This time was no different.
“Matthew, I will love you no matter what, for you are my son and nothing will ever change that.”
Matthew took a shaky breath.
“I did a terrible thing, mama.” tears were falling from his eyes, “An unforgivable thing.”
“Tell me, Matthew.”
“I killed her.”
Charlotte felt her heart stop. “Who?”
“Your unborn daughter.”
She exhaled in relief. “Oh, Matthew, that was not your fault.”
“But it was. I slipped poison into your scone that day. It was me, Mother. I killed my own sibling. I killed them before they had a chance at life.”
Charlotte was taken aback. She felt her face pale and her world come crashing down. Matthew got one look at her face and burst into tears. He turned away to get up, but Charlotte grabbed his arm and crushed him into an embrace.
She was in such a state of shock, her movements felt as though they weren’t her own. She vaguely remembered lifting a hand to stroke her son’s fair hair. Nothing had made sense to her at that moment.
She wasn’t at all horrified by what Matthew had done, but more so that it had happened. It had happened so long ago, and he’d lived with that shadow over his head for that entire time.
She’d always assumed that Matthew had grown less attached to her because he was horrified at what had happened that day, but never did it cross her mind that it was because he’d felt he killed his sibling.
“It’s alright, darling.” She whispered, pressed her lips to his temple, her heart breaking. “It wasn’t your fault.”
“How could you say that?”
“Because everything happens for a reason.” She said softly, combing his hair with her fingers, “I’ve long accepted the fact that the child I was carrying back then was simply never meant to be born. Destiny had something else in store for our family.”
Matthew swallowed. “Does that mean you forgive me?”
“Of course I forgive you, Matthew. Though it’s not my forgiveness that you need.”
Matthew pulled away from her embrace and wiped at his eyes. “I don’t think I could ever forgive myself, Mama.”
Charlotte felt her lips turn up. It’s been a long time since he’d called her that. She knew that he was already one step closer to forgiveness, to happiness. “You will, my dear child. I know you will. I won’t let you fall.”
Matthew looked at her. “You truly aren’t horrified? It’s not a lie you are feeding me?”
“Matthew,” Charlotte said, playfully. “When, in your seventeen years of life, have you ever seen me give a little white lie?”
“Never, I suppose.” He said, his lips turning up a little, even as he hugged himself.
She put a hand to his cheek. “That’s right.”
Tentatively, he went to rest his temple on her shoulder. Charlotte pulled him in close with her arm.
“I love you,” she said, kissing his head.
“I love you too.” Matthew smiled, wrapping his shaking hands around her waist.
Later she’d tell him about the twins. Right now, however, it was about them, about building the bridge that had been burned all those years before.
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This was fun! I've had this idea for a while, and I wanted to write something before I disappeared for the next nine days bc of a school trip. so enjoy!
Grace wasn't exactly sure what she was doing outside the Carstairs house at Kensington Gardens. Although technically that was a lie, she did know what she was doing, but it felt a worse and worse idea as she approached the house. She had barely been out of the house since the end of her trial, and she wasn't exactly sure how she would be received, especially by the Carstairs. Her "gift" had been removed by a warlock before the trial, and by the end of it all, she had been acquitted, more or less. She was to be monitored by the Consul and her family until it was determined that Grace was no longer a "threat to society." She thought that staying with the Fairchilds would be easy, or at least it would be until Matthew returned, but no one knew when that would be.
However, while staying with the Fairchilds, Grace felt something she hadn't felt in a long time: pure loneliness. She didn't feel it during the trial, everything was too busy, but once it ended, the loneliness settled in her bones. Jesse was alive, and she was happy because of that, but she didn't have him anymore. She was so used to having him with her every night that his absence hit her like a freight train, while her mother's absence felt like the sword of Damocles. All she wanted was to feel closer to Jesse and distance herself from her mother. Which was why, she reminded herself, she had taken the cab to Kensington Gardens.
Deciding she had been awkwardly standing outside the house long enough, Grace climbed the steps of the house and quickly knocked three times. No one answered. She looked through the small window on the door and saw a figure move out of sight, so someone was home. It was possible that the Carstairs weren't taking visitors or just not taking visitors that were sixteen-year-old girls that manipulated their in-laws by using magical powers gifted to her by a demon. If that were the case, they could turn her away in person, so Grace knocked three more times. She heard someone inside swear quietly, and a moment later the door swung open to reveal Alastair Carstairs.
Alastair Carstairs looked like he was trying very hard to seem put together. He wore a fitted black suit with a weapons belt around his waist and a straight back, which was an interesting contrast to his bloodshot eyes accompanied by dark circles. Grace guessed he was expecting someone else, as he first looked over Grace's head before lowering his eyes to her with a surprised expression, though it quickly turned to nonchalance.
"Miss Blackthorn," he greeted, "what a surprise." He pulled one hand out from behind his back and slid an ornate dagger into his weapons belt.
"Good afternoon, Mister Carstairs. I was wondering if you could do me a small favor?" Grace asked, trying to hide her nervousness. Alastair tensed at her request. He attended most of her trial, so he knew everything that she had done his brother-in-law and former lover. Grace assumed that he wouldn't be the most willing to help her.
"And what would that be?" he asked.
"It's nothing major," Grace said, trying to clear up her intentions, "I only want to know where you got your hair dyed." Alastair's eyebrows shot up.
"Where I got my hair dyed?" he repeated.
"Yes. I would like to dye my hair."
Alastair inspected her moment before asking, "What color?"
"Black," Grace answered. She felt the need to clarify and somehow felt comfortable enough to do so, "My brother has black hair." Alastair nodded, and then grabbed a coat and a hat.
"Alright, come on," he said, stepping out the door past Grace.
"What?" she asked.
"I don't have enough hair dye to do all of your hair, so we need to go buy more," he answered, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, walking towards the street. He turned around to look at Grace and gestured for her to follow him.
Once she reached him, she asked, "You're going to dye my hair?"
"Of course. If anyone else did it, it would be a complete mess," he answered, "The store isn't far. It will probably take no more than half an hour to get what we need and come back." He started walking again, and Grace was quick to follow.
The store did not take very long. Alastair bought multiple containers of hair dye, as well as an applicator brush and a cheap sheet to cover Grace's clothes. There was minimal conversation with the cashier, and Alastair picked up the bag and left before the cashier could give him his change. Shortly after, Grace was seated in a bathroom at the Carstairs house with the sheet draped over her shoulders.
"Before we start, I just want to tell you," Alastair said, "it will take a lot of time and effort to get your hair back to this color and length after it's dyed. Are you absolutely sure you want to do this?" Grace didn't hesitate. Her mother hadn't let her do anything to her hair. It was rarely cut, and Tatiana had made sure that her hair was brushed and presentable every day. It was the one thing about Grace she'd paid attention to.
"Yes," she said.
"Alright." Alastair got to work.
It was a terribly long process. Grace wasn't quite prepared for how long it would be. Alastair made conversation the whole time, asking Grace questions about herself and about her interests. It was actually exciting. Not many people had asked Grace about what she liked to do, and the people that had weren't actually interested, but Alastair listened and commented on things he knew about. It was a little like talking to Jesse, but Grace found it was rather difficult to compare Alastair and Jesse.
While Grace was talking about her interest in science, she mentioned how it was difficult because Tatiana never let her learn math.
"That's ridiculous!" Alastair said, "How could she not teach you math? Never mind, it doesn't matter. I'll teach you."
"Really?" she asked.
"Yes. Math is easy. You'll pick it up in no time." And that was that.
Once her hair was thoroughly coated in dye, Alastair wrapped it in some kind of plastic and brought her down to the parlor. He grabbed two pens and multiple sheets of paper, and he started to teach her multiplication tables up to twelve. Alastair was right, Grace had no trouble understanding math, and he started to teach her long division in the same lesson. The lessons were distracting enough that Grace was able to mostly ignore the burning sensation on her scalp. However, partway through a long division problem, it became too much, so she told Alastair.
He ushered her back into the bathroom immediately, telling her it could burn a little but not too much. She rested her head in the washing basin as he rinsed the dye out. The cold water was a relief on her head, and Alastair didn't was her hair roughly as her mother did. He was very gentle with his hands and made sure not to pull her hair. Once he was done, he handed her a towel to dry her hair with.
When Grace sat up, she caught a glimpse of her hair. It was nearly the exact same shade as Jesse's, and it pooled around her like ink. Her skin looked even paler with the dark contrast, but she didn't mind much. She loved it. Tatiana always told her that her blonde hair was something special, like the power Belial had given her. Now, she was rid of both those things. Even though it was small, she was finally starting to feel free.
Alastair explained the type of maintenance her hair needed. She shouldn't use white towels for her hair, hot water made it fade faster, and she would probably need to re-dye it in a month or two if she wanted to keep the color. He told her that she could return to the Fairchild's house after her hair had dried, unless she wanted her hair to freeze off as soon as she stepped outside, which Alastair did not recommend. He also gave her two sheets of long division problems.
"These are for practice," he said, "I'm going to be at the Fairchild house day after tomorrow to help Christopher with an experiment, and I can teach you more then. Until then, I'm sure Henry or Charlotte would be happy to help you."
"I don't think they would," Grace responded.
"Of course they would," Alastair ensured, "and if they don't, I'll make them."
"I don't think you can make the Consul do anything."
"I'll figure something out," he said, "and I recommend you join Christopher in the lab more. He'd appreciate your company, and I trust you won't enable him in setting things on fire." He smiled as he said that, and Grace had the feeling that there was something else behind his words. However, she didn't care to find out quite yet.
"I'm sure those are accidents," she responded.
"I'm not." He laughed, then said, "Also, you can come by anytime if you need anything." Grace smiled.
"I will," she said.
"Good." He ruffled her hair, "You should go home. I don't want the Consul to send out a search party for you."
"Okay," she responded, "Thank you for doing my hair. You did a good job."
"It's no problem," he responded, "It suits you." Grace smiled and ran her fingers through her hair before saying her goodbyes. As she got into the cab on the way to the Fairchild's house, for the first time in a long time, she felt light.
(I'm using the same tags as city of love and memories so) tags: @styxdrawings @writeforjordelia @imsoftforthomastair @foxglove-airmid @liasan-stuff @eugeniaslongsword @nott-the-best
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Any Other Name- Chapter 3
Once the dishes were all dried and put away— dishes that didn't even belong to them, to begin with— and the kitchen cleaned, Cordelia helped Sona unpack a few more boxes of kitchen supplies and pack away some of the things that Tessa left behind. They labeled the boxes storage so no one would throw them away and tucked them into the empty hall closet.
When it was only half an hour to ten, the Inquisitor and Consul finally left, leaving the Carstairs family once again alone in the house that felt nothing like home.
At some point during the hour and a half discussion spent inside of the study, her father had loosened his tie, abandoned his jacket, and rolled his shirt sleeves up to his elbows. Dark circles etched around his eyes and a distinct shadow appeared along his jaw and neck flecked with silver amongst the black.
Cordelia stared at the door they’d just left through and silently sent a prayer to the Angel that they both died in a terrible, albeit ironic, accident on their way home.
“Well,” said her mother, her voice echoed in the empty foray. “What did they say?”
As much as Cordelia wanted to stay and listen to her father’s debriefing, she only had twenty minutes left to meet with Lucie and she still had no idea how to get to the location Lucie left her. She’d never ventured alone around London before and with all the buildings and streets and mundane vehicles, it might as well be a maze to her.
“I think I’ll wait to hear the overview over breakfast,” said Cordelia as she turned towards the stairs. “There is only so much nonsense the stomach can handle. Too much is just not good for the digestion.”
“Goodnight, sweetheart,” said her father. “Thank you for tonight. They were both quite impressed by you.”
With her back towards her parents, she rolled her eyes and ran up the rest of the stairs.
Once back inside Lucie’s bedroom, she peeled off the cotton dress and tossed it on the bed. She pulled on a pair of black jeans, a black long sleeve shirt, and her favorite leather jacket that she zipped up to her chin and flicked the hood over her head. She tugged on her combat boots and tucked in the laces before grabbing Cortana, a stele that she tucked into her inside jacket pocket, and a couple of daggers before she shoved open the window and climbed out on the roof.
A fine mist had started just enough to make everything wet. Cordelia’s rubber soles gripped the tiles as she snuck across the tile until she found the trellis that usually had delicate pink roses clinging to a climbing vine this time of year. It was long dead and fallen to the ground in a pile of brown sticks and thorns.
Cordelia hooked her foot into a hole in the trellis and began her descent; the toes of her boots taking purchase in every nook they could find until her feet landed in the flower bed outside of the now dark dining room window.
Cordelia shook the water from her hands and shoved them into her jacket pockets to keep them warm before heading out to the main road.
The rune her mother gave her before they portaled to London still burned and kept her invisible from the mundane eye and her relatively mundane clothes wouldn’t attract the attention of any Shadowhunters that might be out on patrol. As she strolled through Mundane London, which remained surprisingly bright and alive at almost ten at night, with loud vehicles motoring past on narrow roads, horns blaring, or someone’s obnoxious bass beating into the night, Cordelia found that in some ways it did remind her of the city in Tehran. When she’d go out on patrol with Hettie and Minu it would often look quite similar to London.
If she hadn’t been running late, she might have lingered to ogle at some of the buildings or traveled her preferred way over the rooftops. High above the crowds, where she could see the gabled peaks of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the moon glittering off the River Thames. But tonight she was short on time.
Once a few miles away from the Institute, Cordelia took out Lucie’s note and her stele and drew a tracking rune onto the sheet. It burned to life in her hand and flapped in an invisible wind. She followed its lead down Fleet Street until they reached the corner at Ludgate Hill and it tugged her down St. Paul’s Churchyard.
She had to run to keep up with the possessed page. Cordelia began to wonder if it was some cruel trick Lucie was playing on her as it turned down Cannon St, then Queen Victoria St, then Mansion House, and Cornhill. She nearly gave up when it took a slight left from Leadenhall to Aldgate when the bells of the old clock tower began to chime the hour.
She could see the clock now. Its round face was bright in the night and its ancient wooden structure looked decrepit as it titled slightly towards the left. The paper tugged itself stubbornly towards the tower nearly ripping itself out of Cordelia’s hand.
Cordelia tucked the paper back into her jacket pocket even as it continued to twitched and force itself out. She picked up a jog and jumped at the iron gate protecting the park where the old tower stood in the center. With little effort, she was able to clear the gate and land back on her feet on the other side.
The park was empty except for an oblivious security officer staring at his phone from his odd-looking golf cart. The angle of the phone and the light reflecting off his face gave him an unattractive double chin. She never wanted anything to do with mundane technology, it served as too much of a distraction. That mundane might as well offer himself to a demon for dinner. If Shadowhunters allowed themselves to be that vulnerable, there’d be far fewer of them.
Minu, she knew, would want to mess with him. Minu enjoyed teasing mundanes when given the chance, especially if what the mundanes were doing was dangerous and negligent.
But she didn’t have time to think about what Minu would do or that the security guard was distracted by his phone.
Cordelia walked the rest of the way to the clock and carefully ducked under the yellow caution tape surrounding it. By the burning runes etched into the wood, she knew it was glamoured. She wondered what it looked like to the mundane eye when they walked past.
Cordelia spun around looking for a shadow or a shape that might be Lucie waiting for her. She hoped she wasn’t too late and Lucie left.
“Lucie,” she whispered into the night. “Lucie, I’m here. Where are you?”
After a moment when the only sound that responded to her was a pigeon's coo, she circled the base of the tower until she found a back door propped open with a brick.
Never one to need a moment of courage, Cordelia took a deep breath to calm the tightening in her chest and opened the door on its senescent hinges.
A serpentine staircase twisted its way up the tower for what looked like miles where Cordelia stood. A few field mice scurried away to their burrows at the sudden intrusion, their droppings and mess littered the wood stairs that groaned under Cordelia’s weight as she started her slow ascent, testing each beam before trusting it. She skipped a few that bowed in the middle and those that were already missing and wondered how Lucie hadn’t fallen to her death climbing her way to the top.
London and their pride over their ancient structures, Cordelia thought to herself. It was no wonder the whole building had to be cautioned off. It would only take one idiotic mundane with a death wish to climb these and plummet to their doom.
She began to wonder what would happen if she were to fall and be found dead at the bottom of the tower. Surely she’d disgrace her family who would wonder what would bring her out to an abandoned old clock tower in the middle of the night. The Clave would think the reason was something scandalous most likely. One thing was for certain though, she’d become the Bridgestock’s personal poltergeist in her afterlife.
Nearly at the top now and clinging to the unreliable railing, she could see the light from the watch face and feel the reverberating beats of the mechanisms through the wood underneath her feet as each hand of the clock moved half an inch for each second.
Once at the top, the paper in her jacket pocket went still. She stepped into the empty room and took in her surroundings. The clock face was a window that looked out over London. She could see the points and peaks of Buckingham Palace and Big Ben’s watchful eye in the distance. The lights from Regent’s park lit up the night as well as the red and white traffic lights around King Cross station. She had to admit if only to herself, London was beautiful from up high. Looking down on it, she felt how Pip might have felt in Great Expectation. From down below, London appeared ugly, crooked, narrow, and dirty. But from up above, it represented the ultimate milieu in terms of success. The equivalent of civilization; a world where only the most successful go; a tireless city of possibilities; and a bit romantic.
“You came,” said a soft, familiar voice behind her. Cordelia turned, her hood dropping away from her face, as she faced Lucie standing in the dull shadow the clock face made on the floor. She held something in her hands pointed directly at Cordelia. It wasn’t a knife or a sword or even an ax-- Lucie’s preferred weapon-- but a gun.
“I didn’t think you’d come,” said Lucie, her hands steady. The barrel of the weapon never once dipped or swayed. “Give me your weapons.”
Cordelia raised her hands. “Lucie, I’m not here to hurt you—“
“Remove your weapons and toss them here,” said Lucie firmly. “I won't ask you again.”
Cordelia wasn’t sure if that meant Lucie would shoot her or leave if Cordelia refused, but she didn’t prefer either outcome. She removed Cortana first and laid it on the ground at her feet and kicked it gently towards Lucie. Then the duel blades from inside her jacket and her stele.
“Now remove your jacket and your boots,” said Lucie, eyes still locked over the barrel.
Cordelia unzipped her jacket and dropped it to the floor. Then she kicked off both of her boots and tossed them into the pile too.
“Put your arms out to your sides,” said Lucie as she took a step towards Cordelia, “and spread your legs.”
Cordelia did as she was told watching Lucie carefully as she approached, holding the gun in one hand now while the other quickly patted Cordelia down for any more hidden weapons.
“Don’t speak,” said Lucie, feeling around in Cordelia’s pockets.
“I thought that was why you asked me to come here,” said Cordelia, as Lucie pushed the gun into Cordelia’s side and frisked both of her legs. “To talk.”
“Then why did you bring the weapons?” Lucie stood and took several steps backward once she was satisfied Cordelia had no more weapons.
“I’m a Shadowhunter, I brought them in case I needed to defend myself,” said Cordelia. “Why did you bring the gun?”
“For the same reason.” Lucie hissed.
“Guns don’t work on demons.”
Lucie’s gaze narrowed. “Not all of them.”
Cordelia dropped her arms back down to her sides and took a moment to appraise her friend— though she wasn’t so sure she could call her that anymore. She looked nothing like the girl Cordelia used to clash pretend swords with or make chains out of the wildflowers that would grow in the fields of Alicante when they’d visit during Spring. Her eyes changed in the five years since they last saw each other. Once wide, excited, and curious, they were now focused and on guard, like an expert gambler waiting for an opponent to show their tell, and lined in thick black ink that bled down to her lower lash line. She cut her mousy brown hair to her narrow shoulders where it curled in an uneven pattern, similar to her brother’s.
“Lucie, it’s me.” Cordelia exhaled and stepped forward.
Lucie pulled down the hammer on the gun until it clicked into place. “What nickname did my brother give you when we were children and why?”
A test, Cordelia understood. A question only the real Cordelia and not some imposter would know the answer to. “Daisy. He called me Daisy because when we were little girls we were playing and you fell from the edge of a cliff. I caught you and held you there until help came. James said that when they pulled you up, I collapsed from exhaustion into a pile of daisies.” Tears sprang to her eyes at the memory. “It’s me, Lucie. I’m not here to hurt you.”
The corner of Lucie’s mouth twitched right before she lowered the gun down to the floor and disengaged the hammer, her eyes never leaving Cordelia.
“I had to be sure,” whispered Lucie. “I’m sorry for being this way, but you have to understand the precautions are necessary. It’s incredibly dangerous for me and you to be here right now, but I had to speak with you and I knew that if anyone would be willing to meet with me, it would be you.”
Cordelia nodded and took a tentative step closer. “I understand. No need to apologize. How did this happen, Lucie?”
“Bridgestock finally got his way." She shoved her gun into its holster at her hip. “We can’t even use angelic weapons anymore. He had them be remade by the iron sisters so that they wouldn’t respond to anyone with even a little bit demon blood, the bloody tosser. It wasn’t enough that he stole our home, he had to take our one form of defense away.”
“That’s awful,” said Cordelia and looked down at the pile of weapons on the floor.
“He believes that we cannot be Shadowhunters because of our linage,” said Lucie.
“But why?” asked Cordelia. “It doesn’t make sense. Your family has never done anything to deserve this kind of treatment.”
“He believes our blood to be dirty,” sneered Lucie. “He always had something to say about my mother’s paternal side but he didn’t fight anyone on it until my mother became pregnant with James. Then, he really started to build his whole agenda around the purity of Shadowhunter blood. No one paid him any mind until James accidentally disappeared into the Shadowrealm in front of Augustus.”
“It was an accident,” shouted Lucie. “Augustus was saying horrible things about my mother and James retaliated by punching Augustus in the face. When Augustus grabbed him to throw a punch, James just disappeared out of his grasp. Of course, Pounceby ran home to his father to tell him of the situation and that seemed to be the last straw. They gathered enough votes to remove Charlotte from her position as Consul and have us banished.
“No one cared that Augustus said my mother was nothing more than a Shadowhunter’s whore that my father knocked up on accident because he couldn’t keep his—“ Lucie shuttered and her whole face turned red. “He said some nasty things, but no one cared about that. No, they only cared that James’s demon blood gave him abilities that were not gifted by the angel. They didn’t want to risk anymore of the blood being passed on when James or I married, so they banished us. They fucking banished us.”
Cordelia fought the urge to run over and hug her. Even words failed her, what could she say that could fix any of this. To say “ I’m sorry” felt disingenuous because she wasn’t sorry, she was livid. She wanted to ask Lucie who she wanted her to murder first.
In the end, she decided to say nothing and let Lucie speak.
“It’s also partially punishment,” continued Lucie, “because my father continued to refuse Bridgestock’s and Pounceby’s advancements on the separation of Shadowhunters from Downworlders. Downworlders are also not from the Angel and therefore we should not have an alliance with them. We should govern and control them. He wants us to disassociate ourselves from our friends, Cordelia. He wants us to manage and control them like they’re beneath us. He wanted to strip them of their rights, rights that they earned from the truce created between us so long ago. He’s a dictator, Cordelia, and he’s going to start a war.”
Cordelia nodded. “I know. I agree. What can we do?”
Lucie closed her eyes and exhaled. “Nothing. He has the majority of the clave so wrapped around his finger that he can manipulate them to do his work like little marionettes.” She imitated the movements with her hands.
“What about your Aunt Cecily and Uncle Gabriel? Charlotte and Henry? Sophie and Gideon?” asked Cordelia. “They make up a large part of the Clave surely their opinions have some sway.”
“He threatened them,” said Lucie. “When they banished us at the Clave meeting, they told everyone that disagreed with the decision that they could be exiled as well and they would be forced to give up their Marks. Christopher, Matthew, and Thomas were willing to do it, but their parents stopped them and then forbid them from seeing James or me! Did you hear what they did to Matthew?”
Cordelia nodded and felt like she might be violently sick.
“I can still hear James screaming in my mind when they removed the mark from Matthew.” A far-off look washed over Lucie’s face. She squeezed her eyes shut in an attempt to erase whatever had taken over her vision.
“What about Brother Zachariah?” asked Cordelia. “Jem and the rest of the Silent Brother’s. Surely, they wouldn’t agree to this.”
“Brother Enoch’s exact words were ‘they do not doddle in the affairs of mortal men’.” Lucie rolled her eyes. “Just another way of saying it’s not their problem. We haven’t heard anything from Jem because to try to intervene would be going against his vows. We have been utterly abandoned.”
“No,” Cordelia stepped forward again until she stood only a few inches from Lucie. “I’m here. I won’t abandon you.”
“You can say that now but you haven’t been here the past six months,” said Lucie. “If anyone knew you came here to see me tonight you’d be publicly punished, possibly stripped of your Marks, or something worse. I shouldn’t have ever asked you to come. It was selfish of me, but I don’t have very many choices and you’re the only one that can help me with this.”
Without hesitation, Cordelia blurted, “What do you need from me? How can I help?”
“When you go to the next Clave meeting in Alicante, there is a book from the library there that I need you to find,” said Lucie. “It’s the first volume of the Shadow Codex ever written. You’ll most likely find it in—“
“I know where I can find it,” said Cordelia, the warmth from her skin drained. “Lucie, it’s forbidden to touch that book, you know that. It’s protected with wards and a glass encasement. It’s an ancient relic for us. To look at that book is a privilege; to touch— to steal it— would be cause for punishments we haven’t even heard of.”
“I know, I know,” said Lucie. “I wouldn’t be asking you this if I had any other choice. I can’t ask anyone else because they’re all constantly being watched by Augustus and his friends. You have less of an affiliation with us than anyone else. They won’t be watching you as closely and you’re incredibly clever.”
“Flattery will not work right now, Lucie,” said Cordelia as she began to pace. “What do you want with the Shadowhunter Codex anyway? What’s in the original that isn’t it one of the hundred volumes published for public access?”
Lucie averted her eyes. “I can’t tell you.”
Cordelia huffed. “Why not? If I’m to do this I deserve to know what I’m doing it for.”
“You’re doing it to help me and my family.” The hardness returned to Lucie’s gaze and tone as she looked back up to Cordelia. “If you believe what’s been done to us is wrong and needs to be stopped then you will help me with this, no questions asked.”
Cordelia let out a deep breath and tried to make sense of her racing thoughts. If she did what Lucie was asking and stole the very first Shadowhunter Codex written and illustrated by the first three then it wouldn’t just mean her punishment, but her family’s punishment as well. They’d be humiliated by her, disappointed, and possibly cast out. But if she wasn’t caught and within this book was a way to help save the Herondales and tear Bridgestock and Pounceby down from their reign of power, then the risk may be worth it… as long as she wasn’t caught.
“I’ll try,” said Cordelia. “I’m not promising anything and I’m not risking my own family, but you were a good friend to me when I had no one else, so I will try.”
Lucie’s eyes swam as she gave Cordelia a tentative smile. “Thank you.”
The shadow outline of the clock on the floor of the shack reflected it was forty-five minutes past the hour. She should be getting home for tomorrow she would be training with Augustus and she needed all of her sanity not to club him in the nose with the blunt end of Cortana.
“The meeting is going to be held in two weeks,” said Cordelia as she walked to her pile of clothes and weapons. “I will meet you back here on the Saturday that follows at the same time. If for some reason I don’t make it then it will be the next night or the following. If I don’t show up after three days then it’s safe to assume that I was caught and thrown in prison; in which case I hope that you find a way to win and take those bastards down.”
She shucked on her jacket and slid her feet into her boots.
“We were supposed be Parabatai,” said Lucie and handed Cordelia Cortana. “It would have been an honor. I would have been lucky to have a warrior partner like you.”
Cordelia took her sword from Lucie. “I still believe we will be. Until then, we will continue to treat each other as such.” She placed a hand on Lucie’s shoulders before turning towards the stairs and began her descent back into the night.
A heavier rain began to fall as she made her way back towards Fleet Street. Cordelia pulled up her hood and shoved her cold, wet hands into the front pockets of her jacket as she walked, Cortana nudging her back with each step she took. The city had finally quieted some: the roads were less crowded except for the occasional bright yellow taxi.
Without Lucie’s runed letter to follow, all of the roads and buildings looked the same to Cordelia. She hadn’t exactly been paying attention to landmarks or street signs when she was following a possessed page down dark streets in corners. She did the best she could by memory but found herself growing less and less familiar with her surroundings.
It may have been her growing frustration with herself or her paranoia after seeing Lucie, but she couldn’t shake the odd sense that she was being followed. Though every glance she threw over her shoulder, she found nothing to be lurking in the shadows even with her night vision rune still burning on the inside of her arm.
She found herself wandering down a road that was still rowdy for this time of night. Flickering lights of red and yellow flashed from signs hanging over doorways where loud music and shouting filled the streets. The air smelt thick of spilled ale and magic. As she passed by, she could have sworn eyes followed her from the patrons standing outside of the clubs. She hid her face deeper within her tunic and tried to keep her gate casual to not draw attention to herself.
When she got to the end of the road, she took a right but found that it was a darkened alleyway that came to a dead-end only a few feet in. Frustrated, she turned around and nearly collided with a man.
No, not a man, a Fae warrior. His long black hair was tucked behind each of his pointed ears and when he flashed her a predatory smile sharp incisors glistened in the lights that lined the roof.
Cordelia regained her balance quickly and looked at him then the two other warriors standing on either of his sides.
“You’re a long way from your side of town, Nephilim,” he said in a deep gravely voice. “And all alone.”
“What makes you assume I’m alone?” said Cordelia, fighting to keep her voice even.
“We’ve been following you for the past half hour,” said the Fae. “You seem a bit lost.”
The Fae were not their enemy. She had nothing to fear from them, but for some unknown reason, she felt uneasy in their presence alone. Her hand itched to reach for Cortana, but to do so would show her apprehension and she didn't want to appear as a threat.
So she told them the truth. “I'm a bit lost. I’m new to London and my escort seems to have abandoned me. I’m looking for Fleet Street. Would you mind pointing me in the right direction?”
The Fae took a step forward, forcing her to take a step backward farther down the alley. “A Nephilim alone in our side of town is fair game. Perhaps we should make an example of her the way her kind make an example of us when we wander too far into their parts?”
The other two warriors grunted their agreement.
Cordelia did reach for Cortana then and with a sharp pull, removed the sword from its scabbard. “I don’t want to harm any of you. I’m here by accident and I’d like to leave without any unnecessary bloodshed. If you would kindly move, I will be on my way.”
The Fae warrior removed two blades from the scabbards at his sides and glided them across each other so they made a spark. “She is a lovely thing. Perhaps we could take turns with her and return her back to her people used.”
Cordelia swung Cortana and positioned herself to fight. “You can try, but I strongly advice you let me pass.”
“Or what?” grinned the head Fae. “You’ll cut all three of us down by yourself with that little blade in your hand?”
He moved towards her again, and this time Cordelia refused to give one step.
“Oh, I wouldn’t doubt her, Bevan,” said a voice from the opening of the alley. “I’ve seen her take down men twice as skilled as you.”
As the three Fae men turned to look behind them, Cordelia took her chance and lunged for the lead Fae.
A/N: Comments, likes, and reblog are my main source of motivation so please let me know what you think.
Next chapter comes out: Fri, June 11th.
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matthew fairchild x herondale!reader
warnings: a little angsty? (mention of a nightmare), mostly extremely fluffy, soft boy matthew
word count: 1524 words
summary: reader has a nightmare and needs to make sure matthew is alright.
a/n: hello all, long time no see😅 this fic was something that came to me late one night which inspired me to get back to writing, so i hope you enjoy (although it isn’t the best but just ignore that) :)) (also, apologies that i can never seem to write matthew fics that aren’t a herondale!reader but it just works so well!!)
The Institute hallway is eerily silent as you carefully tiptoe your way across the building. Your witchlight is clutched tightly in your hands, the faint source of light bringing you the smallest amount of comfort.
Pulling the robe you had hastily thrown on tighter around your shaking form, you scan the doorways, counting silently in your head and stopping before your destination. You take a deep, shaky breath, conflicting with yourself over whether or not you should knock on the door, not wanting to wake the occupant of the room but also needing their presence to reassure you.
You shake your head, scolding yourself and preparing to step away and head back to your own bedroom when you spot the wavering light shining through the crack under the door. Furrowing your brows in confusion, you slowly grasp onto the doorknob, turning it gently and peeking your head into the room.
Matthew sits elegantly in the guest bed, back against the headboard and clad in a robe of his own. There is a book placed in his lap, witchlight resting beside him as his eyes eagerly scan the words. His head snaps up in your direction when he hears the door click open, eyes widening when he realises that it’s you.
“Y/N/N?” his voice breaks the silence, tone concerned and confused. “What are you doing here at this hour?”
“Math-“ you start, but your voice breaks and your eyes begin to well with tears of relief at the mere sight of him.
“Hey, hey, hey…” he shushes you, tossing the book onto the table beside him and scrambling off of the bed towards you.
He takes you into his arms, one hand rubbing comforting circles into your lower back and the other holding your trembling head firmly against his shoulder. You grip the back of his robe tightly in both hands, afraid that if you let go, he might disappear before your eyes.
“What happened, angel? Are you alright? Are you hurt?” he questions, worry overcoming him at the sight of you so broken. “You’ve got to talk to me, love.”
“Nightmare..” you choke out through your sobs, understanding dawning on Matthew. “Needed you…”
“I’m right here, sweetheart.” he shushes you, his right arm moving from your waist to the back of your thighs, guiding you to wrap your legs around his waist so he can lead you to the bed. “I’ve got you.”
He seats himself back against the headboard, adjusting you until you’re comfortable in his lap before cupping your face in his hands, urging you to look him in the eyes.
“You want to tell me what happened?” he asks, voice soft and encouraging as his thumbs gently wipe away the tears still falling onto your cheeks.
“You were dead…” you whisper through trembling lips. “There was a demon attack and you were hurt. There was blood everywhere, Math. We-we called for the Silent Brothers but they were too late. You died in my arms. I watched you die, Matthew.”
“Oh, angel…” Matthew murmurs, heart breaking at the pained look on your face. “I’m fine, alright? I’m right here.” He reaches down and cradles your hand carefully in his own, moving it to rest over his steadily beating heart. “You feel that, angel? Feel my heartbeat? I’m alive, I’m not going anywhere. I promise.”
“You can’t promise that.” you sniffle, shaking your head sadly. “Our lifestyle is dangerous, Math. Anything could happen to you everytime we go to fight demons or when you go on patrol. It terrifies me.”
“You think it doesn’t terrify me too? You think I don’t worry about the same things with you?” he says, tilting your head so you’re looking him directly in the eye. “I do. Everyday. But it’s our life, angel. I know that you can take care of yourself and I just pray to Raziel that you’ll come back to me safe. And I know that I do everything in my power to make sure I come back to you.”
He smiles at you reassuringly, booping your nose playfully in the hopes of making you smile. It works and a small smile makes its way onto your lips, Matthew returning it triumphantly.
“Better?” he asks hopefully, noting your breathing return to normal and the steady stream of tears come to a stop.
“Better.” you laugh softly, smiling wider at him now, his heart stuttering at the beautiful sight. “I’m sorry I interrupted your reading. Wait, why were you even awake reading this late at night?”
He chuckles lightly, glad that your mood is seemingly brightened. He reaches one hand over for the discarded book, placing it into your intrigued hands.
“Oh, I should’ve known.” you snort, looking down at the worn copy of ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’. “You stayed up to read a book that you’ve already read more times than I can count?”
“Hey now, don’t judge me for rereading the best piece of literature ever written more than once.” he feigns offence, tickling your sides in retaliation. “It would be a crime against humanity not to.”
You laugh, squirming in his hold and placing your hands on his shoulders to steady yourself. His expression mirrors your own, your heart swelling at the sheer joy and love on the blond boy’s face.
His hands stop their torture and instead come to rest on your waist, pulling you impossibly closer and allowing him to rest his forehead against your own. You sigh contently until your mood sours and your smile fades, remembering the hour and the situation you are currently in.
“I should get back to my own room. We both need to rest.” you smile sadly, carefully beginning to manoeuvre yourself off of him. However, you don’t get very far as his hands tighten slightly on your waist, pulling you back into his hold with a disapproving shake of his head. “Math, what-“
“You are not going anywhere. Do you really expect me to believe that you are going to be able to sleep peacefully if you go back to your own room?” he raises his eyebrows at you, almost daring you to challenge his question.
“Well, no but-“ you begin, but he cuts you off again.
“No buts, angel. You’re staying here, alright?”
“Matthew, you know we can’t.” you sigh, moving his hands from your waist and holding them in your own. “We cannot share a room together. It would be improper.”
“Improper?’ Matthew scoffs, smiling cheekily at you. “It’s not as if we haven’t done it before. Since when has our relationship ever been considered proper?”
“Math, that’s different.” you blush slightly at his words. “Sharing a room and bed at your apartment where no one can prove that we have isn’t the same. Anyone could walk in here. Papa was very clear when he let you stay over that we were to stay on opposite sides of the Institute all night long.”
“When has that ever stopped me before?” he winks, giving you a mischievous grin. “Your parents love me. It’s not as if we aren’t courting anyway. What’s the worst that could happen?”
“They could walk in and see us here together. How do you think they would react to that?” you retort, dropping his hands and circling your arms around his neck, slowly giving into him.
“I’m sure they wouldn’t mind. They’d probably find the sight of their daughter and future son-in-law all loved up adorable.” he says confidently, smirking with pride.
“Future son-in-law?” you laugh, raising your eyebrows in question.
“Oh, don’t deny me, my love. It’s going to happen one day.” he chuckles, leaning in to press a quick kiss to your neck. “So you’ll stay?” he looks up at you hopefully, giving you his best puppy eyes.
“I’ll stay.” you smile warmly at him, kissing him gently on the nose, giggling when he scrunches it up in delight.
“Good.” he nods, a glint in his eye which you start to question before he flips you onto the bed, causing you to let out a surprised squeal. He settles you against the mattress, pulling up the covers snug around the two of you. Raising his arm, he guides you to rest your head against his strong, warm chest, holding you tight against him. “Comfortable?”
You nod against him, sighing peacefully before your eyebrows furrow, watching as he fumbles around for something on the bed. You shake your head with a fond smile as your eyes land on the beloved Oscar Wilde novel clasped in his free hand.
“Would you like me to read you back to sleep, angel?” he offers, pressing a lingering kiss to your forehead when you nod in response, eyes already growing heavy.
You adjust your position, pulling his robe down slightly so you can press your cheek against the bare skin covering his chest, reassured by the steady thumping of his heart. You leave a final kiss on the spot before you feel your eyes beginning to droop, the soothing voice of your love lulling you back to sleep.
“The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses…”
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crying in band class, normal wednesday things
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Hello! I come to those interested with a new update of Believer. I hope you all enjoy it.
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all gone, all gone, all gone
part 3: it will not be at all or any better
CW: kidnapping, suicidal thoughts, manipulation, descriptions of bullying, child abuse, and toxic relationship
as a disclaimer (and acknowledgement), some of the dialogue is from what I remember of the book, and some of it is based on takes i've seen on tumblr that I agreed with!
Part 1 | Part 2 | AO3 | Masterlist
Thomas never made it to the Devil Tavern that night. His throat burned when he woke, a mixture of dehydration and whatever drug had been used to incapacitate him.
“There you are,” a familiar voice drawled. “Finally. I was worried I’d perhaps gotten the dosage incorrect and killed you.”
Alastair. “You were worried about me?”
“Ha, I suppose not. Would have been a lot more work if you’d died, though. Belial surely wouldn’t’ve been happy if I killed you before he got his hands on you.” He approached Thomas with a glass of water. “Drink,” he ordered.
Thomas wanted to refuse, but he was so thirsty that he could not stop to worry about whatever Alastair may have snuck into the drink. When Alastair finally took the glass away, he attempted to regain his composure. “What do you want from me?”
Alastair shrugged. “I’m sure Belial has his uses for you. Until then… I am to get as much information from you as I can.” He picked up a knife from a table and spun it around with a flourish. “Whilst leaving you in one piece.”
“Why are you doing this?” He hadn’t entirely intended to ask the question out loud, but it hung in the air anyways.
Alastair rolled his eyes. “What, you expect me to hold some sort of loyalty to you? What’ve you ever done to earn it? You truly expect the world to be handed to you, still? You despise me, Thomas. You send me rude letters and threaten me at large gatherings. Give me one reason why I should ever choose your side instead of Belial’s.”
A wave of guilt crashed over Thomas. He knew he’d made mistakes. He was simply angry. He was never trying to hurt Alastair. Thomas wondered whether he would have treated him differently if he’d known what he was hiding. “Cordelia. What about your sister?”
He shook his head. “Before, I had all of these ideas about what I owed her and the world and what I deserved myself. I felt it sensible to give all of myself to others, to give endless compassion and protection and patience to the people I cared about and accept when they gave me nothing in return. Belial helped me to see clearly.”
“What did he do to you?”
Alastair flung the knife, it soaring right past Thomas’ head. He braced himself but never felt an impact. The blade splinted the wood behind him. “Belial made me strong,” Alastair said coolly. Thomas could tell his outburst was not out of anger; he was making a play at intimidation. Thomas would not show him just how terrified he truly was.
“You were already strong.” Thomas’ heart ached for the boy beneath this creature that Belial had created. Though that wasn’t entirely true, was it? It had not just been Belial, it had been Elias, it had been every cut and lash that had led Alastair to the bridge that night. Perhaps some inflicted by Thomas himself.
“I was weak. Love is weakness. Perhaps it is not for everyone, but in my family? In my family, the cost of love is hopelessness. All of us are destined to love those who will never truly care for us.” Thomas thought of Cordelia. Did he know the marriage had been false?
“What did you think I couldn’t see how deeply my sister felt for James? How he disregarded her over and over again for Grace Blackthorn? I understand now that the situation was more complex, but my sister did not marry him thinking that he did not love her back because of a bracelet, she believed he did not love her at all. Such seems to be our curse. So when Belial came to me, when he offered me our deal, I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to not care, too?”
“Love makes us human, Alastair.”
“Good thing, then, that you and your friends already thought me a heartless monster.”
Thomas bit at the inside of his cheek. It was true. He’d spent months, years convincing himself that Alastair was cruel and uncaring. He wanted desperately to know how he could have confused hurting for heartlessness. A thought creeped into his mind, one that had been pestering him ever since he learned of Cordelia’s letter. Had Thomas been one of those people? One of the ones Alastair gave himself to and received nothing in return? He studied his expression, but could read nothing. “It was you, wasn’t it? The person who was following me when I went out at night? You- You were protecting me.”
Alastair didn’t waver. “Perhaps I was.”
“But… why?” He was correct, Thomas had treated him more than poorly the past few months. Why would he risk his life to protect him? Why would he do it all in secret, not even leaving behind a trace of his true intentions in his letter to his sister? In fact, he was fairly certain that if Alastair had been killed, if it were not immediately apparent that he had been following Thomas, he would have assumed that Alastair had some completely separate business that he was taking care of, and they merely happened to be in similar places at the same time. Why would he do that? Perhaps he did not want to risk exposing what Thomas was doing? Or… perhaps he wanted to save him from the guilt?
Alastair approached him non-threateningly, but he could not forget the dagger in his hand. “Because you have shown me kindness in the past, and there are not many people in this world who have done so. I thought it would be most unfortunate for you to die alone, recklessly trying to repair your guilt over not saving your sister.”
“I- I wasn’t- I was just trying to find the killer. So that no one else would get hurt. I had to go alone; going in pairs or groups… it’s too obvious. He would hear you coming.”
“Is that what you told your friends?”
Admittedly, his friends hadn’t asked very many questions about his whereabouts and his actions, so he hadn’t explained it to them. He didn’t answer.
“There may be an element of truth to that, but you and I both know that’s not the whole of it. You couldn’t save your sister. The killer may not have been responsible for her death, but it didn’t matter. Evil is evil, whatever form it takes. You went alone because you knew the risk you were taking, you knew the danger you were putting yourself in, and you didn’t want anyone going down with you.”
“How- How do you know that?”
He rolled his eyes. “You’re not the only one who can be observant, Thomas.”
“I- I don’t understand.”
“Just another piece of evidence, proving human weakness. You were never going to save Barbara. You’re guilty over nothing. You risked your life for nothing.”
Thomas felt his anger rising again. “That’s not- If we had-”
“Did you think it was a coincidence that her and Oliver both got so much sicker so much faster than the others? That they were simply unlucky? There was nothing unintentional about her death. Oliver was unlucky, certainly. Unlucky to have loved her, perhaps. But your sister was dead the moment Belial marked her.”
“The welcome ball,” Thomas realized. “But why?”
“Tatiana,” Alastair answered without hesitation. “She has quite the grudge against your father. You’re the icing on the cake, of course. When your family learns of your death, when your father finally realizes why… The guilt will consume him. He will never forgive himself. Tatiana will finally have her revenge.”
“You- you said you weren’t going to kill me.”
“I’m not going to kill you, no, but only time will tell what Belial plans on doing with you.”
Thomas could find no words, only stare at him in fear and shock. That was what he wanted wasn’t it? Alastair placed his fingers against his cheek, and he flinched away. After a long pause, Alastair sighed. “Do you want to know what my favorite memory from Paris was?”
“It was you.”
“I find that hard to believe.”
“Why is that? I would never tell you lies, Thomas.”
Thomas swallowed hard. Alastair’s voice was soft, filled with longing. It’s not real, he told himself. “All you have done is tell me lies! From the very beginning. I know you were in Paris with Charles Fairchild, anyways. I’ve seen the ways you look at each other. When we were together, your eyes lit up every time you mentioned him.”
Alastair hesitated for the briefest moment at the mention of Charles. Thomas cursed himself for still feeling the slightest pang of jealousy. “Pathetic, isn’t it? But no. My favorite memory,” his voice softened again, a sickly sweet melody in Thomas’ ears, “was taking you to see that film. I’d fallen in love with moving pictures during my stay in Paris. I’d fretted all night over it, worried that you would find it silly, or worse, you would mock me for it. But I wanted so desperately for someone to share it with. Charles never had an appreciation for art, not that he would have ever dared to go somewhere that public with me anyways. Afterwards, looking into your eyes, I thought… in another life... in another life, I could have been here with him.”
Thomas hated how his heart ached in his chest. He hated Alastair, even before this whole deal with Belial. That’s what he told himself, anyways. In another life… These are lies. He’s using you. “No chance we could go now then? I hear it’s beautiful during the holidays.”
Alastair smirked. He ran the cool blade lightly against the skin of Thomas’ throat. “Don’t you feel guilty, Thomas? You couldn’t have saved your sister, but you could have saved me.”
He hoped Alastair could not feel how hard his heart was beating. “No- no, that’s not true. There’s no saving someone like you.” He knew they were lies.
“No, not someone like me. Someone like him.” Alastair leaned forward so that Thomas could feel the breath on his neck as Alastair hissed, “He loved you. He would have died for you, in secret, even knowing how openly you disdained him. You gave him hope last summer. You helped him realize he deserved more than a lover who lied every time he claimed to love him, who never cared for him more than a Clave meeting and always left before the sun rose.” He frowned. “You could have saved him, if you wanted to. But you didn’t think he was worth it.”
“I- That’s not- I-” Thomas tugged at his bindings, suddenly filled with rage. “Shut up! I hate you! You now and you before! You’re cruel and callous! You never cared for anyone but yourself! Why were you even so mean to us at school? We never gave you any reason for it! Your family is friends with the Herondales; you could have at least been kinder to James.”
Alastair looked away wistfully. Thomas loathed it, how easily he replicated emotions. He felt none of them. “If you wanted an apology, Thomas, you should have asked for it two weeks ago.”
“Just explain it to me. You wish for me to feel something for the person you once were? Explain it.”
“When I arrived at school, talk about my family preceded me. The rumors about my father’s drinking, the speculation about why we moved so much. The fact that my family couldn’t afford tutors for us. I looked different than them; talked different than them. Shadowhunters like to pretend that such prejudices don’t touch them, but it’s only to make themselves feel better. I had no friends; I knew no one when I arrived. Who better to beat up than the Persian boy whose father would never show up when he was injured?”
“So you were jealous, that day after the prank. I thought you might-”
“No. I wasn’t jealous. I was angry. I was put in the infirmary for two weeks, I nearly died, would have were I a mundane, and all my father did was lecture me when I came home for the holidays about how I needed to be more careful and how much of a burden I was to him. You, James, your friends, you had everything. You had pretty homes with nice parents, parents who loved you, who cared for you. You arrived at the Academy expecting the world to embrace you, as it never had me.”
“So, what? You needed to even the scores?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. There are no scores, and if there were, I would never be able to even them. It had to be someone. It was the only way to keep them from hurting me. I had nothing, no one, but I had my tongue, and when I cut some poor student down to size, the other boys were so amused that they forgot about ever hurting me. I never hit anyone, never got my hands dirty, but it didn’t matter, did it? I was one of them. It had to be someone, so I chose you. I chose James.” He paused. “So, what about now?”
“What?” Thomas’ throat ached from holding back tears.
“Do you think I could have been saved?”
“I don’t know.” His voice was just above a whisper, more of an echo. It was the truth. He understood what Alastair was telling him. The decision he’d come to was not a rash, impulsive decision. It was one that was built up over many, many years. And with that was the knowledge that time after time, year after year, someone, anyone, could have helped, could have saved him, like Thomas’ own father had been saved when breaking free of his father, but no one did. No one noticed, and the ones that did didn’t care. “You deserved better.” A still silence fell on them. “You’re stalling.”
“How do you figure?”
“You’re meant to torture me, but you can’t do it. You never physically hurt anyone at school, and you can’t now. Maybe it’s morals, maybe your mind is still caught in your past, maybe some part of you still cares for me. It doesn’t matter; you can’t do it.”
“That’s quite the gamble.”
It was. There was no telling whether his speculation was correct or whether Alastair was about to place him on a skewer. He was simply trusting his intuition. “Prove me wrong. Hurt me or let me go.”
Alastair moved closer to him, essentially on top of him, but Thomas kept his eyes locked with his, not showing a flicker of fear. When Alastair’s arms dug in, however, he felt no stab of pain. His wrists came free. He watched as he slashed the binds at his ankles. Alastair kept his eyes on him as he left, his expression never swaying. I’ll free you next, Thomas thought.
* * *
"You let the Lightwood go?"
"Don't lie to me! What, do you think you're special now? Do you fancy yourself human? Redeemable? You think yourself better, more moral, than I? You would betray me for them? You are exactly what I make you. If you wish to be sentimental so badly, you need only ask." With that Belial disappeared. The doors to the room slammed shut and Alastair nearly stumbled to ground. It felt like he couldn't breathe. It felt like- It felt like heartache.
He ran first to the doors, but he knew they wouldn't budge. There were no windows to this room and only one vent that would not move no matter how hard he tried to pry it open.
He gasped for breath, knowing there was no escape. Belial would not let him go free. Not after Thomas. He’d had a lapse in judgement, and he would not make the same one again. Alastair was trapped here, alone. Alone with nothing but the feeling of the world crumbling around him, of his guilt crushing his chest. Finally, he was all the things other people believed him to be: evil and heartless and cruel. Finally, he was all the things his father and Charles had called him: pathetic and weak and useless. Finally, he was the monster he’d always feared becoming.
There was no redemption for him, not anymore. Not after Belial. Not after betraying Cordelia. Not after kidnapping Thomas.
He looked to his blades laid out on the table. He could not leave the warehouse physically, but… He lifted one, and it felt oddly heavy in his hands. His grasp shook and he sunk to his knees. He gripped it tighter and he realized that Belial would never let him.
He had not let him die the first time, and he would not now. Belial wanted this, he wanted him to give up. It made him much easier to control. Belial wanted him to have no motivations, no loyalties, no reason to betray him. If he wanted him dead, he would be dead. Belial still had uses for him, and the only thing Alastair knew was that he could not let him win.
thanks for reading! we're almost done actually! taglist (lmk to be +/-): @jem-nasium @littlx-songbxrd @fortheloveofthecarstairs @cant-think-of-anything @vampireeugenia-deactivated20210
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Hello, I posted an edit, based on one of my Matthew x Reader future fics, on my Instagram.
Here it is, if you want to see it. A little sneak peek at the 1st chapter. Comment or send me a dm if you want to be tagged in it.
Lots of love and stay safe xoxo
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seventeen (paris, 1901)
this is inspired by "seventeen" by MARINA! i recommend giving it a listen! the way she sings the chorus honestly gives me chills, it really makes me think about how young alastair was when all of this was happening. sorry in advance for the angst!
cw: toxic relationship, bullying
Read on AO3 | Masterlist
Could never tell you what happened
The day I turned seventeen
Seventeen, Alastair thought. The number sat happily in his mind. It wasn’t a particularly special number. He still was not an adult in the eyes of the Clave, but he took comfort in the number. One year older.
When he was younger, he thought of his birthdays and the years passing optimistically, imagining that in the future there would eventually be a day where he felt like the age of his body matched the age of his mind. Now, however, he doubted that day would ever come.
Adults liked to tell him he had an ‘old soul.’ Parents always commented on his maturity. Not his parents, of course, but when he visited the boys from school or his family found themselves at some gathering of sorts, those were the words he always heard. Oh, Alastair is so mature for his age.
Perhaps that was his problem, he’d always thought. That was the reason he could never make friends the way that Cordelia did. The reason he never got on well with people his own age. He was never any sort of teacher’s pet in school, but he always found it easier to converse with adults nonetheless. He felt far more comfortable with Charles than he ever did with any of the boys from the Academy. It was all because he had an old soul, and his peers did not.
As he grew older, however, these designations made less and less sense to him. He did not feel as if his soul was old at all. In fact, most of the time, he felt more like a thirteen-year-old pretending to be a thirty-year-old than anything else. Now, he was certain that he would never feel like his physical age fit the rest of him. Still, seventeen was a nice number.
Alastair didn’t have strong feelings about birthdays. Most of the time, he simply did not wish for the attention. Back before he went away to school, birthdays were never much of an ordeal. They were far too busy with his father’s health to spend much time, money, or energy on something as relatively insignificant as a birthday. Still, he and Cordelia had a habit of making each other presents for their birthdays. His was in early autumn, September, and they’d spend the day outside, wherever they were living.
They’d collect the prettiest flowers and stones and anything else they could find, then build whatever they could make out of what they had. A castle out of clay; a crown out of twigs. It was nice; it was special. It was theirs.
Then, Alastair went away to the Shadowhunter Academy. He was not excited to spend his fourteenth birthday alone. He missed Cordelia dearly, and the bullying did nothing to help. On the morning of his birthday, he’d gone to the mess hall, attempting to contain both his excitement that there would be letters waiting for him and his anxiety that there would not.
When he arrived, however, the boys were waiting for him, Clive and Augustus and the rest. Clive was in the front, holding an opened envelope. He twirled a flower stem in his fingers, the petals clearly torn off. He could see a few other broken flowers, crushed at his feet. Augustus was beside him, holding out a letter for the others to see, already mocking the writing on the page simply because he could not read it.
Alastair would never read it either, whatever his mother had written him, nor would he read Cordelia’s letter. In fact, he would not remember most of that day at all, only the bruises after.
He did not write to them after that, and when he returned for the winter holidays, conveniently the same time as Cordelia’s birthday, he let the occasion pass without a word. When she asked him if he’d received the flowers she sent to him, he told her he didn’t.
She did not send him anything for his fifteenth birthday.
He spent his sixteenth birthday at home again, but it did not matter. He’d already put far too much distance between him and his sister. He considered trying to apologize for the way he’d treated her, promising to do better, but when the day came, he’d spent the entirety of the night before searching for their father who always decided to go on a bender a few weeks after they arrived in a new city. He’d wistfully wished himself a happy birthday at some early morning hour, gone to bed, and decided it simply was not worth the effort. The only thing he wanted for his birthday was for it to no longer be his birthday anymore.
Today, he was finally seventeen. He’d received two letters at the Paris Institute the day before, one from his mother, wishing him well on his travel year, and the other from his sister, though it was short and he was fairly certain their mother had forced her to write it. There were no flowers, and he did not deserve them. The boys at school may have hurt him, but the way he continued to treat her in the years after was entirely on him. He thought for a moment that he should find her something in Paris, a book or a piece of jewelry so beautiful and thoughtful that she would need to forgive him. He did not believe he deserved her forgiveness, though.
Charles was away visiting his family in London, so Alastair would spend his seventeenth birthday alone. He doubted Charles even remembered it anyways, or that he would have wanted to do anything special for it if he had.
Thus, he did what he did any time he needed some cheering up: he started by visiting various bookshops across the city. He did not typically purchase much from them, but he found the atmosphere comforting. His father was an avid reader and was always severely critical of his son’s tastes in literature. He had many opinions over what was worthy of reading and what was an utter waste of time. Any time Alastair attempted to choose a volume to purchase for himself, he inevitably felt his father’s voice creeping up in the back of his mind. He wasn’t certain whether he preferred the books that the voice favored or the ones it didn’t. Nonetheless, he disliked anything that reminded him of his father, so he resigned himself to casual browsing, purchasing books as gifts for others, and only ever buying for himself what he had the space to hide.
After, he’d take himself to an art exhibit or the Louvre. He was fairly certain he could spend weeks in the Louvre and never grow tired of it.
When he finally returned to the Paris Institute that evening, he’d felt content that at the very least, his birthday was not as terrible as the ones preceding it. As he entered the building, he was startled to see Charles’ coat in the cloakroom. He quickly hung up his own belongings and went to the dining room where dinner was already being served. Charles was there, politely chatting in French with the head of the Institute, Jean Beauvale.
“Monsieur Fairchild!” It felt odd to address him so formally, but while it may be appropriate to address Charles by his first name in English, it was not in French. “You’ve returned from London.”
“Yes, I just got in a few hours ago,” Charles responded. “How was your day?”
“Yes,” Monsieur Beauvale added. “You must tell us how you spent your day off.”
Alastair always felt like this question was a bit of a trap. He knew that Shadowhunters viewed art and literature as a waste of time, but at the same time, he did not want to show a lack of appreciation for the culture. In the end, he simply commented on the beauty of the city and the language, thankful that he could spend a bit more time learning about France.
A servant arrived then with a bottle of champagne, and Monsieur Beauvale proposed a toast. This was how Alastair learned that the Beauvales would be traveling for several months, and Charles would serve as interim head of the Institute. “That is not the only thing we have to congratulate you for, is it,” he added.
Charles grinned a humble, sympathetic politician’s grin. “Oh, thank you, Monsieur. Yes, it’s true, Ariadne Bridgestock and I are to be married,” he announced.
Alastair felt his blood run cold. He bit the insides of his cheeks, forcing a smile and a congratulations. The rest of the meal dragged on, though Monsieur Beauvale and Charles did not seem to sense any tension. When it was over, Alastair promptly excused himself and returned to his room. He suddenly wished desperately that he had purchased a book earlier, anything to take his mind off of this awful truth. Charles was to be married. He was marrying a woman. Of course he was, why would Alastair have ever been enough for him? Still, he felt as if he’d at least been owed a warning.
He heard a knock at his door, but he did not respond to it. “Alastair,” he heard Charles say gently. “Please allow me to explain.”
He should have refused. He should have told him to leave and been done with the whole ordeal. When he looked back on this moment years in the future, he’d wish he did. However, he was lonely, and it was his birthday, and thus he let Charles inside.
“I know you’re upset,” he began.
“I’m not upset,” Alastair said quickly.
“Right,” he responded. “Anyways, this is merely what needs to be done to please our families, both mine and Ariadne’s.” Of what Alastair knew of the Fairchilds, he had a hard time believing that they cared that much about Charles’ romantic life. “This is what I need to do if I wish to secure a position in the Clave, a real position, not simply interim head of an Institute. It means nothing, I swear it. She has no interest in me. It’s merely an arrangement; it’s not real.”
“Not real? You mean, you’re not getting married?” Alastair asked, not fully believing Charles’ words.
“No,” he said quickly. “I mean, perhaps, one day far, far in the future, I will need to, but I have no intention of getting married right now. I am merely doing what I must, you understand that, don’t you?”
“You know what the world we live in is like. We must do what we can to ensure our success in it.” Satisfied with Alastair’s reluctant acceptance, he pulled a long, thin box from his pocket. “I have a present for you.”
Alastair blinked. “What?”
“You didn’t think I would forget your birthday, did you?” Charles handed him the box, already smiling in anticipation.
He slowly untied the string securing it, and uncovered a fine, ornate dagger made of stunning Damascus steel. He must have paid handsomely for it. He knew that Charles did not understand his collection of blades, why someone, a warrior, would collect weapons with no intention of using them, but the dagger was gorgeous, each element of it expertly chosen. Alastair could not keep himself from smiling.
“I knew you’d like it,” Charles said, pleased. “Alastair, you know how deeply I care for you. I would never do anything to hurt you. I swear, everything I do is so that you and I could be together.”
Alastair looked at him in stunned silence. He’d never heard those words before, but he’d hear them many, many more before their relationship finally came to an end. At that moment, Alastair felt as if Charles’ words were true. He felt as if there had never been anyone to care for him as much as Charles cared for him, and there never would. He felt as though the key to everything he desired lay within this man. The way he was looking at him, this beautiful dagger in his hands, how was he to feel anything but loved?
He’d look back on it years down the line and wonder how long Charles must have planned that moment, if he’d organized his trip and his engagement all around Alastair’s birthday so that he could have an excuse to give him such a very expensive gift, whether the existence of it was merely a ploy to distract him from the reality of his engagement. If it was, it worked.
That night, Alastair held no doubts in his mind that Charles’ words were anything but the full truth, even as he left him cold and alone that night to return to his own room, only ever staying until he himself was satisfied. Many months would pass before Alastair would even begin to question that night, when he would begin to wonder whether it was the beginning of the end.
The rise of a king and the fall of a queen,
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Find The Way Home (Part 2)
~Later that night~
Thomas trudged into his house, letting the door click softly and locking it before hanging his boleadoras on the hook by the door—something he’d gotten so used to doing out of habit, it was practically a reflex—so that his parents knew whether he was home or not. He could feel his drowsiness deep in throat, threatening to become a yawn.
He hadn’t realized how tired he was, how little he’d slept these past weeks, until the adrenaline rush from the battle had suddenly come crashing down. Thomas walked past the drawing room and found his parents, laughing over something.
Both had taken off their gear and changed into something more comfortable. Sophie’s knees were bent over Gideon’s legs, their heads bent towards each other’s. Gideon seemed to have a photo album on his lap.
Shadowhunters didn’t take many pictures, because it wasn’t customary, so the book was rather small. Nevertheless, Thomas’ parents were flipping through slowly, stopping at every picture to point out the events of that year.
It would have seemed like an intimate moment, if Thomas didn’t know any better. His parents, no matter what, always wanted to spend time with their children. He knew his parents loved him and his sister so much that they would do anything to keep them safe. They always reminded him that they loved him, no matter what. He knew he could tell them he loved men, and that his parents would embrace that part of him, and tell him they loved him, but Thomas still had difficulties in telling them. There had been so many times that he had opened his mouth with full intentions of telling them, and then closing it again. His mouth couldn’t form the words, he couldn’t speak; it was as though his throat had become honey, and the words he wanted to say got stuck in it.
But now, he was too exhausted to even think about telling them anything. He was too exhausted to think. He leaned against the doorway and must have made a loud noise, because both Sophie and Gideon looked up.
Sophie smiled at him. “Your sister said she was off to bed, though I suspect she’s gone off to read or knit. I’m afraid she finds our company dull.”
“You’re not dull.” Thomas said, his words slurring together, unintentionally.
Sophie shook her head, shifting so that her feet rested on the floor. “You’re too kind. But, Thomas, darling, you look exhausted; you’re swaying on your feet. Come here before you fall.”
Normally, Thomas would have argued that he was fine, but tonight he was far too tired to do anything but trudge over to his parents and fall back onto the couch beside Sophie.
He rested his head on her shoulder. Sophie put an arm around him and kissed his head.
“He hasn’t slept well in a while, has he?” Gideon said.
“I’m afraid not.” Sophie said. “He might have to be carried off to bed.”
“I’m still awake, you know.” Thomas mumbled.
“Perhaps not for long,” Gideon said.
Thomas could feel Sophie snicker quietly. “We were just looking at the pictures we have of you and your sisters.”
“I remember that one.” Thomas said, pointing to one at the upper left hand corner. It was the three of them with their Lightwood cousins, Anna and Christopher. Barbara and Eugenia had twin toothy grins while Anna’s looked mischievous. Thomas and Kit were sitting on the ground in front of them, playing with the grass. Christopher had been moving, so he was a blur in the photograph. “Kit fell into the pond that day.”
Gideon burst out laughing. “How could I have forgotten about that?”
“And then Gabriel had to jump in after him because, naturally, Christopher couldn’t swim. And when he came back, dripping wet, Aunt took one look at him and said ‘it’s a bit late in summer to be going for a swim, is it not?’”
Sophie wiped her eyes from laughing too hard.
“Never a dull moment with your cousins.” Gideon said.
Thomas smiled and looked down at the photo album again.
“The day before this one, Eugenia was so angry that she threw Bab’s doll out the window and she cried for days.” Thomas felt his throat close a little bit at that one. The memory of his sister still made his throat close up.
“Those crazy girls.” Sophie said, rubbing circles into Thomas’ back. “Their shenanigans made me loose years of my life I will never get back.”
Suddenly, the telephone rang, which would have startled Thomas awake had he not been too tired for his body to react. Gideon got up. “I’ll get that.”
Thomas barely registered what Gideon said, now leaning heavily on Sophie’s shoulder. She slowly guided him to lay his head on her lap as she stroked his hair back.
“Was the mattress in The Sanctuary too small?” Sophie asked.
“It was fine.” Thomas said.
Sophie laughed. “You can tell me the truth. I won’t tell anybody.”
Thomas sighed and smiled sleepily. “It was a little bit too small.”
“A little bit too small by normal human standards or Tom standards?” Sophie said. Though his eyes were closed, he could hear the smile in her voice.
“My calves may have been on the floor.”
Sophie chuckled. “You’re too tall, darling.”
She bent down and kissed his cheek. Thomas liked his mother’s kisses. Her scar went from the tip of her mouth and stretched across her face. When she kept it at a neutral, her mouth was able to fully close, but when she pressed her lips forward to give a kiss, the corner pulled back slightly, which meant that Thomas could only really feel one side of her mouth. It was silly to describe, but it was distinct in a way that he could only associate it with his mother.
When he was younger, the boy his age would ask him what it was like to have a mother with such a hideous scar on her face. They always wanted to know if it ever scared him, which used to confuse Thomas. The scar was a part of his mother’s face; he never really thought much of it because it has always been there. He didn’t think it was hideous because he loved his mama and she won’t be his mother without her scar.
“Did you hit your head?” Sophie asked, feeling the small bump on his head, which was a little bit tender to the touch.
Thomas fought the urge to laugh. He had hit his head, but he didn’t want to tell his mother how. Even if she knew about Thomas and Alastair, he wouldn’t have wanted to tell her about about that, tell about. Things. Head. Alastair…
Thomas’ thoughts were turning into soup. He couldn’t concentrate on anything.
“Hm,” he said softly.
He found it hard to remember where he was or what he had been doing as his eyes shut closed again, against his will.
“Sleep Thomas, darling.” Sophie said lightly. “I’ll make sure everything is alright.”
It’s like his body was waiting for permission to sleep because immediately after she said that, Thomas fell into a state of deep sleep.
He dreamt of nothing. Even his mind was too tired to conjure up a single thought. He just slept until he woke up again to hear his parent’s voices. His throat felt like honey, and he felt the urge to stretch his limbs, but he resisted it.
“Remind me again how we’ll kill the inquisitor?” Gideon was saying
“Slowly.” Sophie said calmly. Her calloused hands were still stroking Thomas’ hair and occasionally brushed his cheeks. They were so gentle he found it hard to believe that they were the same hands that fought off dozens of automatons at once. “And I’m sure we can get the rest of the family to join in as well.”
“There’s no doubt about that.” Gideon mumbled. “We can even get Henry to use his staff.”
“It’s been such a long time since I’d seen him fight. It brought me back to when I was younger. He and Charlotte would always patrol together.” Sophie said, sighing.
Thomas didn’t need to open his eyes to know she was resting her head on Gideon’s shoulder.
“Yes, I remember. Though I can’t say I heeded them much attention; I only remember scowling at my father. It’s strange how time goes by.”
Thomas never heard much about his Grandfather Benedict. Gideon didn’t like talking about his father, nor did Gabriel. Thomas was very familiar with the story of how they defeated him when he was a worm, but he knew little to nothing about Benedict when he was still human.
“Now that James is married, we have an extra family member.” Sophie said.
“We should get Alastair too, he fought well today. Like a part of the family.”
Thomas’ eyes flew open, which startled Sophie, causing her to jump in her seat.
“Goodness, Thomas. Did you have a nightmare?”
“No! I was just eager to wake up.”
Gideon and Sophie looked down at him with twin expressions of confusion and skepticism.
Thankfully, he was saved by the opening of the parlor. However, that relief was then masked with confusion when he was who came in.
“Aunt Cecily?” Thomas said, sitting up.
Gideon sat up, rigidly. “Is something wrong with Gabriel?”
“Oh, no. Heavens no.” Cecily said quickly.
Thomas swore he saw his father sigh in relief.
“I came here for something else.” Cecily looked a little bit breathless. “Lucie hasn’t stopped by here, by any chance, has she?”
“No,” Gideon said, standing up. “Why? What’s the matter, Cecy?”
“She’s gone.” Cecily said, pale.
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