What if Jonathan Morgenstern had lived: being a big brother

If you read City of Heavenly Fire, you can probably still remember how you felt when Jonathan died. Angry, sad, disappointed, unfair he died before he got a chance to live. I felt it all. So did my brain. My mind started playing with the concept What If Jonathan Had Lived? That’s why I’ve decided to write this series of short scenes. They all take place after the ending of COHF (apart from the first one) and all include Jonathan Morgenstern. I do not own these characters and these events never happened, it’s all from my imagination. This scene takes place at the Institute’s library. 

Jonathan was walking through the library of the Institute, getting lost between the shelves and the rows of books. He loved doing that, discovering the immense library bit by bit. Occasionally he’d pull out a random book and read the first page. Like now. He stopped to pull an old, worn book of the shelf and opened it on the first page. Faded handwriting met his eyes.

Tess, Tess, Tessa.
Was there ever a more beautiful sound than your name? To speak it aloud makes my heart ring like a bell. Strange to imagine that, isn’t it – a heart ringing – but when you touch me that is what it is like: as if my heart is ringing in my chest and the sound shivers down my veins and splinters my bones with joy.

The handwriting continued, but Jonathan stopped reading there. It was too personal, too intense. He glanced at the name below the letter. Will Herondale. Why did that name sound so familiar? He frowned, but the thought was stuck in the back of his mind, not wanting to let go. He was fumbling with the pages of the book when suddenly music bursted through the library. His head jerked up and he almost dropped the book. Piano music. That could only mean one thing. Jace was here. He put the book back on the shelf and made his way to the piano, the sound getting closer with each step. He stepped from behind one of the huge bookcases and saw he was right. On the piano, Jace was playing a song Jonathan wasn’t familiar with. His long fingers ran over the keys and his eyes were set on the music sheet in front of him. When the music died, Jonathan walked up to Jace. “Playing your heart out?” he asked. Jace looked up, not at all surprised to see him here. “That was my good friend Bach actually. Didn’t your father teach you anything about music?”
Valentine taught Sebastian. Not me. But no, he didn’t teach him about music.” He leaned with his elbows on the piano. “Guess I was the fortunate son.” Jace smiled, but it didn’t quite reach his eyes. He turned the sheet and started playing again. It was fascinating to watch him play. Like watching an artist create a painting out of nothing. Halfway, he softened the tune and looked up at Jonathan. “Why are you watching me? I know I’m fascinating, but I already told you you can’t touch my mangoes.” Jonathan rolled his eyes, deciding not to respond to that. A flash of a grin shot over Jace’s face. “I think, with being a big brother, it is my job to warn you that if you hurt Clary, I’ll make you pay for that.” Jonathan said instead and Jace arched an eyebrow before laughing. “Clary is perfectly capable of defending herself.” Jonathan dropped his hands on the piano. “I know that.”
“Then why bother telling me this?” Jonathan frowned in confusion. “Isn’t that what brothers are supposed to do? Warn their sister’s boyfriends and threaten to beat them up?”
“Normally, I’d say yes. But that was before you tried to kill her.” Jonathan’s eyes widened a little, the comment hitting him harder than it should. Jace stopped playing and suddenly it was death quiet in the library. The two guys looked at each other, neither of them willing to break their gaze first. Jace was the first one to talk. “I meant to say that I care about Clary more than anything. I’ve hurt her in the past, hell, you even made me do it. Or Sebastian did. But I’ll never do it again. And if I do, she’ll know how to cut my throat. So thanks for the warning, but I got that message a long time ago.” Jonathan blinked. Suddenly a soft, feminine voice behind them said: “Hey guys.” Jonathan turned around with a jolt. It was Clary of course. Her eyes flickered between the two boys. “What are you guys doing?”
“Nothing.” they said in unison and Jonathan glanced at Jace, who glared back. “I’m sorry.” Jonathan muttered, and moved past Clary towards the library doors. He was not even halfway down the hallway when he hears footsteps. “Jonathan, stop.” Jace voice was cold and left no room for arguing. Jonathan turned rigid at the spot, his back stiff. He didn’t turn around. He heard Jace suck in a breath. “I shouldn’t have said that. I know you meant well. It’s not your fault.” The words sounded stiff and rehearsed. “Did Clary tell you to say that?”
“What Clary actually told me is that I have to stop being a dick and see you as Jonathan, not Sebastian.” He was silent for a moment. “And I’d do anything for her.” There was so much love and worship in that single sentence that it made Jonathan turn around to face Jace. “It’s like I’m seeing Clary every time I look at you. You have the same eyes.” Jace groaned, but it sounded more playfully than frustrated. “At least you don’t have to kiss me.” Jonathan replied and Jace scowled. “Thank you for taking my imagination to places it can never return from.” Jonathan laughed. “You’re welcome.” Jace grinned, and it lit up his eyes. “So, friends? In Raziel’s name, I’m friends with Simon I think I  can manage being friends with you.” Jonathan bit his lip not to grin. “I’d like that.” He replied. “Can I call you John?” Jace asked while they walked back to the library. “Absolutely not.”

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