Fierce and Fragile Hearts

Chapter 1

Author's Note: This is a James Herondale and Cordelia Carstairs story. Little to nothing is known about them, but I have a feeling that we're going to fall irrevocably in love with this Herondale when we see Cassie use him.

Cassandra Clare says the children of Tessa will have special "talents". Yet since we do not know that those are, I'm making some up for James and (his sister) Lucie. When the books come out for these characters, feel free to smite me. Until then, free reign, baby!

Until then, I have no idea what he or Cordelia are supposed to be like. This me, and my take on them. Any questions, comments or concerns, let me know!


Cordelia Carstairs wandered around the London Institute on her own, glass of wine in hand. Casting a glance at the great grandfather clock in the hallway, Cordelia let out a soft sigh. The summer night was still young. She knew sooner or later that someone would find her, she would have to smile, make small talk, and be engaging.

None of these things were bad, it was just…Cordelia was in the middle of composing a new piece for the piano and she feared that she would forget her progress by the time the ball was over and she would have to start from scratch.

Twice a year, during Christmas and summer, her family travelled from Idris to spend time in the London Institute with the Herondale and Lightwood family. Cordelia was told that she once had a cousin that was Will Herondale's parabatai, although he had passed away. Her father felt the need to maintain relations with the Herondale family in order to honor her late cousin's memory. Often times, she found herself wondering about this mysterious cousin, especially whenever her father heard her play piano and would say her musical abilities would be on par with Jem's.

"Hiding from the party, Miss Carstairs?"

"Am I that obvious," Cordelia asked, a smile already tugging at her lips, knowing the low voice behind her.

James Herondale strolled down the hallway toward Cordelia with a light smirk playing at his lips. His dark hair curled over his forehead, making his pale amber eyes that were already bright with mischief seem brighter. "As plain as day, Miss Carstairs."

"Rats, I'll have to find a better hiding place," said Cordelia, tucking one of her dark blonde curls behind her ear. She peered up at James with her hazel eyes and quirked an eyebrow at the boy who was one year older than her 17 years.

"And why aren't you at the party, Mr. Herondale," Cordelia countered. "You're denying the girls a chance of a foxtrot that could lead to marriage."

"Ah yes, Miss Pangborn and Miss Hightower are awaiting my presence, but I had to deny them such pleasure and come after you. Your father is worried that you might have snuck off with a scoundrel."

"So he sent you to look for me," said Cordelia with a laugh, "the king of scoundrels and scallywags."

James bent at the waist into a bow, straightening up at the sound of Cordelia's laugh. He had known the girl for years since her family remained close to his. His eyes travelled up and down the length of her body, admiring the pale pink and gold gown she wore for the summer ball. James offered his arm for Cordelia. "I can see why you hide in this hallway," said James his eyes moving along portraits of old Shadowhunters. "Our histories are an interesting thing."

Cordelia gently rested her arm around James's and allowed him to escort her back to the party downstairs. "They are," she agreed.

"It's good to know the stories of our past so they can't come back and haunt us in the future," James added. As he led her down the stairway he noticed the eyes of several young women following his every move, eyeing Cordelia with jealousy. He also noticed that some young men were watching Cordelia and would shoot hard looks in James's direction.

James knew he was attractive and enjoyed getting the most rise out of people. After all, what was life without excitement? James bent to whisper in Cordelia's ear, pleased that he didn't have to bend terribly far in comparison with other girls. "I should warn you, miss Carstairs, that you've caught the eye of two suitors, Kingsmill and Aldertree."

Cordelia rolled her eyes, "nothing but arrogant pricks with little more to say except how many demons they've killed or parroting what their fathers say."

James laughed out loud at Cordelia's sudden distaste. "So you wouldn't care that I killed 3 demons this past week?"

"Not one bit."

James held a hand to his heart, as if wounded by her words. "What must a man do to impress you, Cordelia," James asked, switching to her Christian name.

"Well," said Cordelia with a mischief smile of her own. "He must stop bragging about himself long enough to get to know me, and secondly," Cordelia lowered her voice so that only James would hear her. "He mustn't fear ducks."

"They are vicious creatures! Have you ever had one chase you," James protested as Cordelia laughed. "It's not funny," he adamantly insisted.

"If you say so," said Cordelia, removing her arm from James's when she saw her parents. Giving her escort a slight curtsy she left her wine glass at a table before going to greet her mother and father.

James watched as Cordelia weaved her way through the crowd, a gentle blur of pale pink and gold. James had to admit that Cordelia was different from the other girls he had met. Many girls listened to him and marvel at his stories, laughing at his jokes at all the right moments, though with Cordelia he had to work to make her laugh. She questioned what he said and challenged what he believed. She was a refreshing breath that was easy on his eyes.

Scanning the crowd, James looked to see that his sister was conversing with their Lightwood cousins, laughing at a joke one of them had said.

"Enjoying yourself?" James turned as a hand touched his shoulder. Will Herondale smiled at his son, who was just as tall as him. The older Herondale male had laugh lines around his deep blue eyes and a quick smile. James knew he looked a lot like his father except for his eyes. His eyes neither came from his mother or father.

"I am," said James. "The girls are lovely but I'm not one for these balls."

"You are my son," said Will, as though he doubted James. As head of the Institute, it was his job to host these events. It was stressful sending out invitations, planning the food courses, the entertainment…usually Tessa helped him with all of that. Aside for the Institute, Will knew exactly how his son felt, but he knew it was important to keep ties between all the families.

"Glad to know you are proud of my reclusive ways," said James.

"You, my son, are many things," said Will with a laugh, "but a "recluse" is not one of them. I'd try arrogant with a hint of elitism."

"It's a wonder you haven't disowned me," said James, with a slight smirk. James and his father shared the same dark humor that often left Tessa rolling her eyes and walking away from her boys.

"Only because I love your mother, I keep you as a favor to her."

"Bless her soul," said James, knowing how much his father loved his mother. Often times, James caught Will simply staring at Tessa as she sat by a window reading a book. Or he'd notice the way his parents were always in contact by holding hands and other subtle touches. James wasn't one to commit to a single girl, no matter how hard his father tried to change that in him, but he hoped that one day that would—"

A scream from the front door of the Institute halted the party as everyone turned, shocked by the sound. James and Will ran to the front door to see what the commotion was.

There, a woman lay, her pale green dress covered in blood, her eyes wild with terror. Will ran to help the woman up. "Mrs. Penhallow," Will said, trying to get the attention of the hysterical woman. "What has happened."

"D-demons," she eventually stuttered out. "Two blocks from here, my, my husband. Oh God—" She broke into sobs.

Tessa had arrived to help Will steady the sobbing woman. Already, James was jumping into action, a seraph blade seemingly produced out of nowhere. "I'll be back, Father."

"Be careful, James," Tessa called after her son, her heart lurching every time her children rushed into battle.

Following James were a couple other young shadowhunters, producing weapons that they had hidden among their nice suits.

From several feet away, Cordelia saw James and two other boys follow him. Moving to join the group, she was stopped by her father, gripping her arm.

"Cordelia, no, you can't go. Let the men handle it."

"Let me go," said Cordelia, pleading with her father. "I can help, I know I can. I've brought my daggers!"

"You're in a dress!"

"I'm still a better fighter than some men with or without a dress!"

Finally Elias Carstairs relented. He reached into his pocket and produce a seraph blade. "Sanvi," was all he said as he watched his daughter run off.

James and the two other shadowhunters finally found where Mrs. Penhallow had said she ran from. There they saw the slain body of her husband and a group of a dozen demons wreaking havoc in the night. James had never seen a group of demons so big gathered to one place.

"Look, young ones," a demon said, noticing the three boys. "Maybe they'll put up a better fight than that old nephilim."

"Fan out," James said as he charged forward after one demon, his seraph blade blazing into the night. Without a moment to spare he drove the blade straight through the chest of a demon, ichor spraying over his vest and shirt as he extracted the blade. The demon yelled in pain before it crumpled to the ground, dead.

"Well done, young Herondale," said another demon, chuckling as one of his comrades was slain. James heard one of the two boys with him yell out in pain, but he kept his eyes trained on the demon before him.

"You were interrupting a rather important party," said James, holding his blade defensively in front of him. "I hope your attacks were important enough to die for."

"Cheeky, just like your father," the demon cackled before it went to lash out after James. James jumped back, narrowly avoiding the attack.

"What does my father have to do with your attacks?"

"Not just your father, young Herondale, but all of your kind," the demon spat. "Never forget us. The door has been opened. We will never rest until the last Shadowhunter is slain."

As the demon lashed out, James noticed that he was caught between the demon in front of him and the demon that had managed to sneak up behind him. Cursing angrily, he looked to his comrades to see that both were engaged in a fierce battle with a demon twice their height.

James raised the blade in his hand and spun on his heel facing the demon behind him, and drove his seraph blade into the demon's chest. Just as he was about to face the demon that spoke to him, a dagger whizzed over the top of his head and into the skull of the demon that had talked.

Turning, James saw Cordelia with another dagger raised, ready to be thrown.

"Cordelia!"

"I believe you own me for saving your life," said Cordelia, her chest heaving from her run to catch up. She carefully took deep breaths, fighting away the light-headedness that her tight corset had caused.

"You should have stayed behind," James said, sudden worry for her twisting his insides.

"Not when I know I could be helpful here," said Cordelia, quickly putting away her dagger and bringing her father's seraph blade to life.

James opened his mouth to say something but quickly closed it again as one of the demon's cry pierced the night. Half of the demons were slain, leaving 6 left to destroy.

"They're trying to retreat," one of the boys, George Aldertree, said. Cordelia noticed that he had a gashing on his right arm, staining the white of his shirtsleeve. The other Shadowhunter, Brian Kingsmill, was relatively unharmed.

"Don't let them get away," said James, running after what was left of their pursuers, causing Cordelia, Brian, and George to run after him. As they ran, Cordelia noticed they were running through an alleyway. Noticing a stack of crates, Cordelia jumped onto the crates and up a metal ladder, pulling herself up to the rooftops. From her vantage point, she sprinted as fast as she could to catch up to the demons.

Once parallel to one a large slimy demon that was the furthest from James, Cordelia jumped from the rooftop and onto the demons back, tackling it to the ground. The demon roared in surprised, twisting itself out of Cordelia's grasp. As Cordelia raised her father's blade, the demon knocked it out of her hand, and several feet from her.

Reaching into her bodice, Cordelia drew her dagger, intending to imbed her weapon where the demon's heart would be. Catching her wrist, with a swift easy motion, the demon snapped her hand back, causing the bones in her muscle to break.

Cordelia bit down on her bottom lip, refusing to cry out in pain. The demon chuckled at her limp hand. "You won't be killing me today, nephilim filth" he hissed.

Ignoring the demon's taunts, Cordelia switched the dagger into her other hand, quickly driving it into the demon's heart. The demon screamed in pain as Cordelia withdrew her dagger. Though, before it died, the demon lashed out with its claws, slashing deep into Cordelia's stomach, straight through her dress.

Cordelia looked down on the wound given to her, grimacing as her blood began to seep through. Stumbling back against the brick wall, Cordelia pushed back her dark blonde hair that had fallen from its up-do. Checking her bodice, she realized that she had forgotten her stele.

She looked to see all three of the boys locked in battle with one final demon. As Brian Kingsmill delivered the final blow, James left the group and ran toward Cordelia. He paled upon seeing the blood staining the front of her dress.

"Cordelia!"

The girl looked up and smiled at him gently. Taking a step toward him, James notice her stumble, and quickly he caught her before she could hit the ground.

"Cori," James murmured, a nickname he had given to her when they were kids because he couldn't quite same her name.

"I forgot my stele," Cordelia muttered, watching as James produced his and began to draw an iratze on the exposed part of her porcelain chest, closest to her heart. Cordelia watched as James flushed slightly at where his hand was, but he knew that the best place to put an iratze was closest to one's heart.

James gingerly inspected Cordelia's broken wrist, as color began to rise back into Cordelia's cheeks. "Will you be able to walk back to the Institute," he asked.

"I should be," said Cordelia straightening up. She was still winded because of her blasted corset. "I'll just have to take it slow."

James nodded and put his arm around her shoulders, intending to guide her all the way back to the Institute as Kingsmill and Aldertree followed behind them. "I must tell my father about these demons," he said. "Before you arrived a demon told me that the gates have been opened. I have no idea what he meant."

Cordelia shook her head, not knowing what to make of it either.

"You should have stayed with the others," said Aldertree, one of the boys interested in Cordelia.

Cordelia laughed and shook her head. "I can't. If I am born into a Shadowhunter family, I can't sit around and pretend I'm not born to fight."


Author's Note: Well..super spoilery for all of you who don't know about Will/Tessa...

Let's see where this goes! :)