Full summary:

"All right," she said, looking straight at Matthew. "Let's go to Paris. On one condition."

Matthew's expression blossomed with shock and pleasure; he clearly had not thought this was how the conversation would go. "Anything," he said.
"No drinking," she said.
Something flickered in his dark green eyes. "You are serious?" he said. "I agree to this and you will come to Paris with me?"
"Never more serious," said Cordelia. "We could leave tonight. There is always an evening train."

In Paris, Cordelia and Matthew are able to forget everything that happened in the past. They get closer and she helps Matthew to stop drinking. They have a good time and in the course of it, Cordelia realizes something. She doesn't love James anymore. Instead, her heart was beating for someone else now. CORDELIA x MATTHEW

Post Chain of Iron, warning for spoilers!

Hey everyone, here's another oneshot! This time, it's about Matthew Fairchild and Cordelia Carstairs/Herondale! If you have read Chain of Iron, you will know that they headed to Paris at the end of the book. While reading this, I've been imagining their time together. And what would happen if they fell in love with each other. The book left me in pieces and I really wanted Matthew to have a happy ending! Don't get me wrong, I also don't hate James! But I just had to write this one.

While writing, I listened to "I Want Love" by Elton John and Sam Smith's version of "Time After Time", I think that kind of inspired me in parts.

I hope you like it, please let me know!

I don't own the characters or places!

"Matthew," she said. "In Paris, will you be able to forgive yourself?"

He smiled at that – a real smile; his face lit up, and Cordelia could not help but think that it was a face that would open any door in Paris to them. "In Paris," he said, "I shall be able to forgive all the world."

"All right," Cordelia said. In her mind, she was dancing down the Rue Saint-Honoré. There was music, light, joy, the promise of a future that would not be empty, and all with Matthew, her steadfast friend, by her side. "Let's find me a coat."

Being in Paris with Matthew was exciting. Cordelia had always known that she enjoyed his company, but until now, she didn't realize the full extent of it. He always managed to make her smile or laugh and all the stories he could tell about the city were really interesting, even if she'd already heard many of them herself. It was delighting to see Matthew so happy – something she'd never seen before.

Even on their way to Paris in the train and later when they'd searched for a hotel, he'd always smiled widely. It was like a big weight had been lifted from his shoulders. Matthew held his promise. He found them a beautiful hotel with two separate rooms next to each other. And the next morning, he brought Cordelia to a tailor to get her new dresses. Of course after the latest fashion in Paris. Matthew also got himself something new – mostly coats in different colours, suiting her new dresses.

The first day, they spent mostly walking through the streets of the city. Cordelia showed Matthew places she liked and in return, he told her where he wanted to go as long as they stayed in the city. They had many plans and she wasn't sure if they would manage to see all the places Matthew suggested, but Cordelia was determined to try, as was Matthew.

They talked about many things, but on the first day, neither of them mentioned the events in London or how their friends were doing. It was like an unspoken agreement not to let those dark thoughts get to them right at the beginning of their journey. Cordelia also noticed that Matthew wasn't drinking. He didn't even have his flask with him, it was still in his flat in London. He seemed to be doing well at first, but she feared that it would get worse once the excitement to be in Paris with her lessened. However, she didn't mention any of this. She was just happy to have Matthew by her side.

On their second day, Matthew wanted to have a look at the sights. It was cold in Paris and looked like there would be snow soon. They were both clad in heavy, woollen coats, and her new dress was also warmer than her usual ones, but Cordelia was freezing anyway. Next to her, Matthew seemed to feel the same.

"We should have made this trip in summer." She joked. "Then we wouldn't have to freeze now."

He chuckled. "Summer, Winter, it doesn't matter to me. Paris is always beautiful." Matthew smiled widely. "Especially with such delighting company."

Cordelia smiled at his words. "I can call myself lucky." She stated. "After all, I'm here with a gentleman who can tell the most interesting stories."

"Don't forget that I can quote many things from literature as well." His eyes were shining.

"You could also cause lots of trouble if you wanted it." She joked and they both laughed. They were just heading towards the Eiffel Tower, though it looked better in the sun than on this cloudy day.

"Cordelia, there's something I wanted to ask you." Matthew said hesitantly and when she glanced at him, she could see an insecure expression on his face.

"You can ask me everything, Matthew." She replied curiously. It was true, she didn't have any secrets from him anymore.

"Please don't get mad at me. But I've noticed that you don't carry Cortana with you." He looked away from her quickly, as if he felt uncomfortable asking this question.

She sighed. "I knew that I would have to explain that soon." She touched Matthew's arm carefully. "I'm not mad at you." Their eyes met again and she could see wonder on his face. "I've given it to Alastair." She admitted and the sadness of that moment came crashing down on her again.

"You did what?" Matthew asked incredulously.

"You know that I can't carry weapons anymore. As soon as I want to fight, I'll summon Lilith." She avoided to look at him now and stared at the ground in front of her feet. "It was the right thing to do. Alastair wasn't happy, by the way."

"After everything I heard when I visited you the other day, I'd already expected that. Though it still surprises me that your brother has so much honour." He replied. She remembered that night clearly. Back then, Matthew had told her his darkest secret,

"He did it for me. Taking Cortana. Because he knew that it was important to me. He even promised to give it back as soon as possible." She smiled slightly at this. Most probably, the others would never understand it, but Cordelia loved her brother.

"He should better do that." Matthew muttered thoughtfully. Suddenly, he stopped and turned so that they were facing each other. "You still believe that you're not worthy." It wasn't a question.

"You know that I'm not, after everything I did." She whispered.

"You're wrong." He said simply. "It wasn't your fault, Cordelia." She'd noticed before that he didn't call her Daisy since they'd arrived in Paris, but now wasn't the right moment to mention that.

"But now I can't take it back anymore." She sighed.

"We'll find a way to fix this once we get back." Matthew promised. He reached out carefully to take her hands. She let him do it. "I promise that I'll help you with this. You're not alone." He hesitated. "And I know that James and the others will also support you."

It was the first time since their departure that one of them said James' name and Cordelia flinched slightly. She hated being reminded of why she was here in the first place. Because James had broken her heart without even knowing it.

"Maybe we could go to the Louvre?" He changed the subject hastily. "I assume it will be warm in there. Not that I'll have to explain to Alastair why I bring you back without toes. That would cause a spectacular duel." He winked at her and this attempt to cheer her up worked. Cordelia laughed.

"All right, let's go there." She agreed. After this short conversation, they refused to talk about the past once more.

In the afternoon, Matthew asked if she would like to drink tea in one of their hotel rooms together. Cordelia agreed, needing something warm after a long day outside. After the Louvre, they'd walked through the city once more. And besides, she enjoyed being with Matthew. They'd also visited a small book store to get something to read, but they didn't go to Paris together so sit alone in their hotel rooms and read books.

When they were drinking tea and Matthew's cup was trembling in his hand, Cordelia noticed for the first time that his hands were shaking. He noticed her gaze and placed the cup on the table quickly, folding his hands in his lap. "I'm fine, nothing to worry about." He said and flashed her his usual brilliant smile.

However, Cordelia didn't let him fool herself. "I know it's hard for you." She said softly and leaned forward. They were sitting in armchairs opposite each other, right next to the warm fireplace. "And I'm sorry that you have to go through this, Matthew. But it's the right thing to do."

He sighed and ran his hands through his hair. "I know." He muttered. "I've always known that drinking was a bad idea. But nothing else would help me to forget." The desperation in his voice made her heart ache. "I couldn't even tell anyone about the things I've done."

"You told me about it." She reminded him.

"With you, it's different." He threw in without hesitation. "It felt right to tell you the truth. It was like a big weight had been lifted from my shoulders."

"I'm sure James would have understood it as well." Cordelia didn't feel well to talk about James now, but she wanted to make Matthew understand that he wasn't alone. "He's your parabatai, after all."

"He was always too busy pining after Grace." Matthew muttered darkly. "Sometimes, it was like nothing except for her even existed to him. And she's not even good for him."

"He would have never let you alone in this, I'm sure of that." She tried again.

"But he did!" Matthew shouted. "What do you think? How many times in the past years did he ask me about my problem? How many times have we spoken about it?"

Cordelia just looked at him silently.

"Once." He said dryly. "When we visited the Shadow Market, right before you found us."

She couldn't believe what she just heard. James shouldn't have noticed Matthew's problems? But he loved him so much, Matthew was one of the most important persons in his life. It didn't make any sense to her that he wouldn't notice how bad his parabatai was feeling all the time. He also didn't notice that you loved him... A small voice inside her head said. So does this really surprise you?

"James has always been stuck in his own head." Matthew explained and leaned back. Suddenly, he looked incredibly tired. "And I can't even blame him for this. I supported him with Grace, even if I hated the idea of them being together. It always tortured him that he couldn't have her." When he realized what he'd just said, Matthew's eyes widened in shock. "Oh no, Cordelia, I'm sorry..."

"You don't have to apologize." She interrupted him. "I've known that all along. He's never lied to me about Grace."

Matthew sighed. "We're a beautiful couple, the two of us, right? Both running away from our problems."

"We're not running away." Cordelia said sternly and he looked at her in surprise. "Sometimes, you have to get away from certain people to find closure. To start again. It might not be easy, but it's the right thing to do."

Matthew's lips twitched. "Since when are you so wise, Cordelia Carstairs?" He emphasized her last name to make sure that she understood he'd said it on purpose.

She chuckled. "Maybe I've always been and you just didn't notice it?"

He grinned, but he was still looking tired. She noticed that the shaking of his hands wasn't getting any better. "We'll get through this together, Matthew." She whispered and after a few moments of hesitation, she reached out to take his hands.

"Is it wrong to say that I'm glad that you're here?" He asked quietly, looking at their joined hands.

"No, not at all." She replied softly. "I'm also glad to be here. I would have been worried, knowing that you're in this big city all alone."

Matthew seemed surprised to hear this. "You would have been worried for me?" He asked incredulously.

"Don't be stupid, Matthew, of course I would have been worried." Cordelia muttered. "You're very important to me." She whispered and when she looked at him in this moment, she realized how true those words were. His blond hair was a mess which was very unlike him, his appearance was very important to Matthew, and his green eyes were looking at her thoughtfully. She'd always known that he was beautiful, but in this moment, he was stunning.

He was a sharp contrast to James. James, who was always so thoughtful and lost in thoughts, with his black hair and the golden eyes. Where James was calm and preferred reading or an evening with his friends, Matthew could be found on every party in London. He could charm everyone easily, no matter if woman or man. It was also not difficult for him to make others laugh. Where James was dark and silent, Matthew was fair and cheerful. Or at least that's what everyone thought. What Cordelia had also thought at first.

Yes, Matthew was cheerful, but he also carried a dark secret with him that nearly destroyed him. Which had made him drink too much in the first place. Only two people knew about it, Jem – or Brother Zachariah – and Cordelia. It had shocked her at first, knowing that he didn't even tell James about it.

"You're very important to me as well, Cordelia." Matthew whispered and swallowed. He'd told her about his feelings for her, so this statement shouldn't take her by surprise. However, it made her heart beat faster, something that didn't happen before.

For some time, they just looked into each other's eyes silently. In this moment, Cordelia knew for sure that it had been the right decision to accompany Matthew to Paris. It felt right to be here instead of London, where misery seemed to haunt her. Yes, they had to go back at some point, but not yet. For now, they could just ignore those problems.

Suddenly, Matthew reached out with his hand and took a strand of hair which had found its way in Cordelia's face. When he placed it behind her ear, she blushed. "I've always loved your hair." Matthew whispered. "It looks like fire."

She smiled. "It's the best thing about me."

He shook his head. "You shouldn't see yourself like that. You're brave and intelligent and stunning, Cordelia. You're a warrior, no matter what happened in London. Never doubt that. I know that we'll find a way out of this and then you can wield Cortana again and be the hero you always wanted to be. You already are a hero to me. You're so strong."

"I don't see myself that way." She admitted quietly.

"Others have a way of seeing the best in us which is hidden to ourselves." He said softly.

"Like you only see a monster in yourself and not the beautiful, caring, charming and brilliant man that you really are?" She asked and raised her eyebrows.

Matthew stared at her and swallowed. "You can't possibly see me like this."

"I do." She smiled. "Because it's the truth." She noticed that his free hand was shaking again. She took it and saw that he was wearing a ring with his initials. MF. It was from James. "I really hope that one day, you'll be able to forgive yourself."

"Maybe I'm already trying to do so?" He whispered. "With you by my side, everything seems to be easier."

She agreed with those words silently. With Matthew, it was the same. Everything was so easy with him. However, she didn't say it. "Do you think you will be fine?" She asked, glancing at his hands which she was still holding.

"It won't be easy, but yes." He smiled slightly. "There's no alcohol in my room, don't worry. And I also won't sneak out tonight to get wasted."

"That's good." She nodded. "We should really go to sleep then, shouldn't we?"

She thought that there was a flicker of disappointment on his face, but it was gone as fast as it had appeared, so Cordelia wasn't entirely sure. "We should." Matthew agreed. "After all, tomorrow will be a long day."

Days passed and quickly turned into weeks. They met a few of the Shadowhunters in Paris, but only briefly and they didn't talk very much. When they asked why Cordelia and Matthew were in Paris alone, they always said that James would join them soon, knowing that it was less suspicious when people thought that her husband would also come. Matthew was very convincing when he said that James was needed in London at the moment. In those moments, Cordelia was glad about his perfect lying skills.

A few days after their visit to the Louvre, the first snow fell and they were both stunned how beautiful the city was covered in white. Once, when no one could see them, Cordelia and Matthew even had a snowball fight. She didn't have that much fun in years.

While they looked at the city or just enjoyed being there together, Cordelia always waited for a message concerning the funeral of her father, but until now, nothing happened. Apparently, the investigations considering his death weren't over yet. Which both Cordelia and Matthew didn't understand at all. Belial had left Jesse Blackthorn's body and they had explained what happened. Well, the most important parts. So why the delay?

"Maybe the Silent Brothers want to understand how it was possible to move runes." Matthew had said with a shrug when Cordelia had voiced her thoughts. She wished that she could just ask Jem about this, but it wasn't possible. She was still convinced that he would see that they didn't tell him the entire truth just by looking at her.

So she tried to avoid thinking of that and concentrated on her time with Matthew, which she enjoyed immensely. They had more in common than she first thought. Just like Cordelia, Matthew also wanted to see the world and he loved books. They read different genres, but there were also a few which they both liked. She also tried to teach him chess in their free time, which Matthew learned with incredible speed. Soon, he even started to win games against her.

Their time in Paris felt like a dream which was too good to be true. However, Cordelia knew that it was real. Slowly, the shaking in Matthew's hands was getting better and he could finally relax more. He also didn't look that tired anymore, something she was glad about. It seemed like all this time without alcohol was good for him. Even if the first nights had been really hard for him, she suspected. There had always been dark rings under his eyes and Cordelia wondered if he'd slept at all. She was also surprised to see that he refused to drink alcohol.

"I don't want to risk anything." He'd said simply when she'd asked him about it one evening. "It's good to finally be myself again, I want to keep it this way." At those words, he'd winked at her.

Cordelia also noticed something else. Matthew seemed more at peace with himself. Apparently, his time in Paris really helped him to forgive himself, just like she could finally see that it wasn't her fault that Lilith had tricked her. She'd fooled them all, in the end.

One day, they were standing on the Eiffel Tower and looked at the snow-covered city. It was really cold and they were both freezing, despite their warm clothing. Their shoulders were touching and Cordelia glanced at Matthew next to her. His cheeks were red from the cold, but his green eyes were shining when he looked at the city in front of them. He was wearing a warm wool hat, the latest fashion in Paris, but a few strands of hair were in his face anyway. He looked beautiful when he turned to smile at her.

In all this time together, he'd been the perfect gentleman, never trying to move closer without permission. Even when they'd been holding hands in the evenings, it had always been Cordelia who'd made the first move. Never Matthew. He respected her boundaries.

But lately, Cordelia had been wondering how it would feel to have his arms wrapped around her. Not like their usual hug in the mornings, but really being close to him. How it would be to kiss him. Somehow, she suspected that Matthew wasn't the gentle type when it came to those things, but she couldn't be sure.

First, those thoughts had shocked her, but that feeling was gone now. It wasn't just desire she felt when she looked at Matthew. Yes, he was beautiful and in their time in Paris, many women (and men) had tried to make advances, but he'd always ignored them. Matthew had always been fixed on Cordelia, even if he'd been sure that she would never want him the way he wanted her.

Just that it wasn't true anymore. Yes, she'd thought that she'd loved James for such a long time, but in those past weeks, she realized that it had only been a dream. She liked James very much, but it wasn't the same as with Matthew. Her heart had never beaten this furiously around James when he'd just looked at her. Cordelia also never felt this strong urge to protect James from any harm as she did with Matthew. Most probably since there were no secrets between her and Matthew anymore. In the past weeks, they'd talked about many things. She'd even hinted the relationship between Alastair and Charles, something Matthew had already suspected.

With James, it had never been this easy. Because far too many secrets stood between them. Not just Grace, but she knew that there were other things James didn't tell her. She'd seen it in his eyes sometimes, when he thought that she wasn't looking.

"What are you thinking?" Matthew's voice took her back to reality. He was frowning, his eyes slightly narrowed, but there was still a smile on his lips. His expression told her that he tried to figure something out.

"I just realized something." Cordelia began slowly.

"Want to share it with me?" He asked, leaving the decision to her. With Matthew, it was always like this. He never tried to force her.

"I've never really loved James." She said before she could change her mind.

Matthew stared at her. "You never...? But I've seen the way you look at him." He muttered in confusion.

"It was a dream, nothing else." Cordelia looked at the city in front of her. "I've realized that in the past weeks."

"What made you change your mind?" He asked curiously. "Of course you don't have to tell me, it's fine."

"You." Slowly, Cordelia turned to him again, just to see shock and something else she couldn't quite place in his eyes.

"Me?" His voice was barely a whisper.

"With you, everything is so easy." She explained. "We don't have secrets anymore, and we're still here, together. Don't get me wrong, I love James, but he's more like a brother to me. I'm not sure if I ever really loved him." Cordelia breathed in deeply and steeled herself for her next words. "Not the way I love you." While saying this, she looked directly into his eyes. This was it. She'd said it. Her heart was beating furiously in her chest while she waited for Matthew's reaction.

He opened and closed his mouth several times, but no words would come out. "Cordelia..." He said in the end. "Are you sure?"

She nodded. "Absolutely." Cordelia smiled slightly. "Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring. It's true. With you, I finally feel complete."

Slowly, a wide smile appeared on Matthew's lips. "Did you just quote Oscar Wilde after confessing your love?"

She laughed. "Seems like I did."

He cleared this throat. "All right, my turn." He grinned and she watched him with amusement. "You don't love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear." Matthew smiled softly. "It's true. I've known it the first time we really talked, back in the ballroom. I knew you're special."

"You saved me that day." She remembered.

"And you saved me so many times after that." Very slowly, he leaned in, giving her enough time to change her mind. However, Cordelia knew what she wanted. Their lips met hesitantly and Matthew placed a hand on her back lightly. They kissed each other carefully and Cordelia felt a warmth in her chest that had never been there with James. When they parted, she smiled widely and Matthew took her hands. "My beautiful Cordelia." He whispered.

They stood there for some time, just enjoying being close to each other. "This won't be easy." Cordelia said in the end. "I'm still married to James."

Matthew sighed. "I don't care. Once this farce is over, I'll openly court you and then I will propose. For real." He said it with a determination that made her heart race. "And don't say that James might be mad, let him be. After everything he's done to you with Grace, he deserves it."

"He's still your parabatai." Cordelia reminded him softly. She knew that Matthew was still mad at James, but they would figure everything out. James would surely forgive them this as well. After all, he'd never hidden his affection for Grace from Cordelia. The marriage wasn't real. There was no point why she couldn't listen to her heart.

"Yes, and I know that he will forgive me with time. Just like I will be able to forgive him." Matthew wrapped his arm around Cordelia's shoulders. "Should we go back to the hotel? Slowly, it's getting cold."

"All right." Cordelia agreed and grinned. "After all, I don't want to explain to your mother why I brought you back without toes." She repeated what he'd said at the beginning of their journey.

Matthew laughed happily and leaned in to kiss her again.

The next days passed rather quickly. Of course Cordelia and Matthew couldn't show their new relationship in public, but for now, it was enough to know how the other one felt. And they spend much time in one of their hotel rooms, cuddling on the couch. They both enjoyed this closeness very much. They were both so happy and nearly forgot all the problems they would have to face in the future.

One afternoon, about a week after their first kiss, someone knocked on Matthew's hotel room door. They had both been sitting on the couch together and Matthew had been reading to her from one of his favourite books. Cordelia also liked it very much.

"Are we expecting someone?" She asked with a frown.

Matthew shook his head. "I don't think so." He stood up and walked towards the door, not caring that he was just wearing trousers and a white shirt which wasn't even buttoned up all the way. Luckily, Cordelia was wearing a dress that looked quite representable, even if it was too thin for social standards. However, it was comfortable.

When Matthew opened the door, she heard him inhale sharply and Cordelia stood up slowly, expecting trouble. Without saying anything to their visitor, Matthew stepped aside to let the other person into the hotel room.

It was James.

"I'm so sorry, Math." James said to Matthew once he was inside the room. He didn't notice Cordelia yet. "For not contacting you earlier, but so much happened. I didn't get a chance. And I'm also sorry for everything that happened in the past months – years even. Grace -"

"Jamie, stop it." Matthew interrupted him, his voice neutral. His expression didn't give away if he was pleased to see his parabatai or not. "How did you even find us?"

James chuckled. "Search for a noble hotel in Paris close to all the sights. It wasn't that difficult." He explained. "I know which place you would choose, Matthew. Where's Cordelia?" Now James looked around in the hotel room and Cordelia wasn't sure why, but he'd sounded nervous when he asked for her.

When he saw here standing there, James froze. "Daisy." He whispered and she smiled.

"Hello James." She smiled at him and then Matthew walked over to her again.

James' eyes wandered from his parabatai to her, taking them in for the first time. The inappropriate clothes, Cordelia's hair not made, the tea on the small table in front of the couch, the book in Cordelia's hand. He paled, but otherwise, his face didn't show any emotions. He was wearing the Mask now.

"Do you want tea?" Matthew asked, but James just shook his head and sat down in one of the armchairs.

"What are you doing here, James? Did something happen?" Cordelia asked curiously and also a little afraid.

"Very much." James muttered. He was still watching them closely. Did his eyes narrow slightly when Matthew sat down on the couch next to her? She wasn't so sure. Next to her, she could also feel Matthew tense. He also didn't like the situation. The tension in the air made her feel uncomfortable. "The night you two decided to just vanish, Lucie headed to Cornwall with Malcolm Fade and Jesse Blackthorn's body." James explained.

"Lucie did what?" Cordelia asked incredulously and sat up straight. She barely noticed that Matthew touched her arm lightly. A comforting gesture.

"She's fine." Suddenly, James sounded incredibly tired. "Jesse Blackthorn is alive and Malcolm knows now that the Shadowhunter Annabel Blackthorn he loved many years ago has been murdered and not sent to the Adamant Citadel as they told him."

"Seems like we missed quite a bit." Matthew noted dryly. "Tell us what happened."

So James did. He explained how he'd wanted to catch them at the train station and how his father had showed up there, telling him about Lucie. He'd left immediately to follow them with Will and Magnus Bane. In Cornwall, they'd found them in Malcolm's house, right after Lucie had talked to the ghost of Annabel Blackthorn. Malcolm had been nearly out of his mind from pain and sadness, but luckily, Magnus could talk some sense into him. Then, they'd also discovered that Jesse Blackthorn was alive. Just that it didn't need necromancy to bring him back. Lucie had done it with her power to command the dead.

"She can command the dead?" Cordelia whispered incredulously. "So many secrets..."

"She lied to all of us, Daisy. It's not your fault." James whispered. "They're in London now, it hadn't been easy to convince the Clave that Jesse isn't a threat anymore. That's also why it took me so long to come here."

"You should have sent us a message." Cordelia muttered, still worried for Lucie. They wanted to become parabatai, Cordelia should know about such things! But then she thought of James and Matthew once more, and everything that was standing between them...

"Actually, I didn't come here to talk about Lucie." James said suddenly. "What you heard in our house, Daisy, on that evening..."

"Why are you here?" Matthew interrupted him harshly. It was the first time he spoke since James had told his story. "What do you want, James?"

James stared at him. "Matthew..." He began, but he was interrupted once more.

"Shouldn't you be with Grace?"

James sighed. "It was all a big misunderstanding!"

Matthew opened his mouth to say more, but Cordelia placed her hand over his quickly. She noticed the flicker of some kind of emotion on James' face, but it was replaced by the Mask again. "Let's at least hear what he wants to say." She whispered and Matthew glanced at her. He sighed and nodded at James to explain everything.

So he did. He told them about Grace's power and the bracelet to control him. How it had fogged his mind for years, making him blind for so many things. Like all the problems Matthew had. "I'm so sorry, Matthew." He finished his tale. "I should have been there for you. I'm a horrible parabatai. And Daisy... I know it's unforgivable what I've done."

"I'm going to kill her." Matthew muttered. "I always knew that something was wrong with her! So much misery, just because Grace Blackthorn and that stupid bracelet..."

"Her powers were already removed." James reminded him. "The Silent Brothers did it as soon as possible. The Inquisitor also wanted to question Tatiana Blackthorn, but she escaped from the Adamant Citadel."

"Great, just great..." Matthew muttered and ran a hand through his hair. "You were right when you said that the problems would come to us." He noted with a slight smile at Cordelia. She was still holding one of his hands.

"So what are we going to do now?" She asked James.

He looked at her silently for a few moments. "Actually, I wanted to ask you two to come back with me. To go home." The last words were directed at Cordelia. Home. Was that house on Curzon Street still her home? "Christopher has done some research and we've been talking to Magnus. They have an idea how we could remove Lilith's influence from you, Daisy."

She stared at him. "They think it's possible?" Next to her, Matthew also looked at James attentively.

He nodded. "It might not be easy, but possible." He hesitated. "I saw Alastair the other day. He was carrying Cortana." There was disappointment in his voice, as if he didn't like find out about it this way.

"It was the only way." She replied simply, not wanting to talk about this with James right now. Discussing those things with Matthew had been easier, she realized.

"Don't blame her for this, Jamie." Matthew threw in. "Let's just drop that subject."

They looked at each other for some time and in the end, James sighed. "I should have seen that something bothered you all those years. That you tried to drown the memories in alcohol. I've been so blind, Math."

"Yes, you have." Matthew muttered and for half a second, it looked like James had been punched. "But it seems like it's not your fault."

"Will you tell me about it?"

Matthew glanced at Cordelia. "Yes, but not yet." He reached for his cup of tea. Cordelia noticed that James was watching his movements closely.

"Your hands aren't shaking." It wasn't a question.

Matthew nodded. "The first days were tough, but now it's better. Thanks to Cordelia."

James turned to her now, a questioning look on his face. It was obvious that he wondered how she'd managed to get Matthew to stop drinking. However, she didn't want to talk about that. Somehow, it felt too personal. This was something between her and Matthew. Matthew would tell James everything when the time was right, this wasn't her story to tell.

"So you don't love Grace." She changed the subject, even if this wasn't better.

"I never have." James explained. "It's always been you, Daisy."

A few weeks ago, Cordelia's heart would have been racing with joy at this statement, but now she only felt numb. She couldn't even smile at James. Next to her, Matthew was watching her reaction closely. "James..." She started hesitantly, not knowing what to say. She didn't want to break his heart.

"I know you never loved me and that all this isn't real for you." James continued when it was obvious that Cordelia wouldn't say more. "But I had to tell you that I love you. That I've always loved you."

When she still hesitated, she could see Matthew turn away from her, pain on his face. She tightened her hold on his hand when he tried to pull away. "It's true." It wasn't easy to say it, but she had to get it out. "It's not a real marriage. And it will never be. We agreed on one year, remember?"

She felt horrible when James flinched as if he'd been slapped, but it was the right thing to do. She loved someone else. Next to her, Matthew slowly turned to look at her again, shock and joy in his eyes. She smiled.

Of course James noticed this. "I see." He muttered dryly. "So you...?"

"I've always loved her." Matthew explained. "I'm sorry that I didn't tell you earlier."

James closed his eyes. "I'm happy for you." He muttered, though it didn't sound like that. But after a few moments, he relaxed again. Cordelia wanted to hug him and tell him that it wasn't his fault, but she couldn't move. Next to her, Matthew seemed to struggle with himself as well. After a short nod from her, he stood up and placed a hand on James' shoulder. Luckily, he didn't flinch from the touch of his parabatai.

For some time, no one said a word. They were all lost in their own thought. Cordelia felt horrible for breaking James' heart, but she just couldn't pretend to love him. Not when her heart was beating for Matthew now.

After some time, Matthew spoke again. "Do you want to leave today, or will you have a look at the city with us tomorrow and then we leave in the afternoon?"

James breathed in deeply. "Let's leave tomorrow." He whispered and smiled slightly. It wasn't a happy smile, not really, but it showed them that he wasn't blaming them for anything that happened. Cordelia and James would stay married for some more time, but then they would divorce and Matthew would get his chance to court her properly. However, they had to break Lilith's control on Cordelia first and then there was still the problem with Tatiana Blackthorn and Belial. Most probably, they would be busy in the next months. And Cordelia wanted to see Lucie again and meet Jesse Blackthorn, the boy for whom she'd risked so much.

When they walked through Paris the next day, some of the tension between them had vanished. Matthew and James were even able to joke around again. Cordelia was glad about it. She'd already feared that the news of her and Matthew would ruin their friendship. Luckily, they were stronger than that. James didn't even seem to be mad, rather sad. She hoped that he would get over it soon and find the right person for him with time.

On their way back to London, Matthew took Cordelia's hand in the train and squeezed it. Even if they would have to face more problems soon and the reality was crashing back down on them, she knew that she could all face it with him by her side. And of course James and the other Merry Thieves.

She was glad that Matthew had been able to let go of his self-hatred in Paris. Later, he would always say that she'd saved him in every way possible. Just like he'd been there for her when she needed him most. He was always there for her. And he never started drinking again.

I'm so sorry for breaking James' heart! But I had to do it. I hope you're not too mad at me. I really think Matthew and Cordelia could be happy together.

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