metaphasia: (Default)
[personal profile] metaphasia
Title: Make One Heap Of All Your Winnings
Fandom: Wizards Of Waverly Place
Pairing(s): Justin/Alex
Word Count: 2109
Rating: PG-13

Summary: Sometimes the things that you miss most are only in your head.

Notes: Beta by the incomparable [personal profile] amathela

Justin's just managed to slide the box back under Alex's bed and halfway stand up when she bolts into the room, shutting the door carefully behind her.

And before he can think about it, "Uh oh" slips from his mouth. And then Alex spins around and is noticing him, and he can't help but curse his panic reflexes for not flashing him out when he hadn't been noticed.

"What are you doing in here?" she asks, and then, "Wait, what's that in your hand?"

"Nothing," he says, as he shoves his hands behind his back as fast as he can. It's not likely that she'll believe him, but stranger things have happened in his life. Even without using magic. But she just glares at him for a minute, and then he breaks down and brings his hands back in front, holding his copy of Dune, the first book that he had ever bought with his own money. He's never been able to deceive her.

"What, you snuck into my room to do some light reading?" she says, with that little smirk on her face that says, you are such a geek. But then she gets that intense look in her eyes that she gets when she's thinking and then she puts it together.

"Wait a second! I stole that book from you! How do you have it?" she says, and runs over to his side to pull the box out from under her bed.

"Well, I kind of knew where you hid it."

"Sure you did. And you just left it in my room," she says, and he shrugs. "Wait, you really knew where I hid it? Why didn't you take it back before, then?"

"Well, I knew what you had stolen and where you were hiding it. And most of the stuff you've taken, I don't use all that often. I just wanted to reread this book again, it's been a while since I have. So I figured under your bed was just as fine a place to store it as my shelves. And if I took it back you would just steal something else of mine, and find a tougher place to hide it."

She looks indignant for a second, like it's required of her to deny anything people say about her, and the she just smiles and nods her head like she completely agrees with what he's saying.

"Besides, it's not like -" he starts, and manages to cut himself off before he says 'any of that stuff really matters'.

"Not like what?" she says, looking angry, and he thinks she caught what he was going to say. But then she says, "Not like I would break any of it?"

"Yes," he says. "It wouldn't be any good as a bargaining chip if you did." He can't help but smile in relief.

And the rest of the day, as he reads in his room, he can't help but think about the things that really matter to him.

It had been a pretty quiet Saturday morning around the Russo household; his parents had taken Max to Wiz Tech for a meeting and decided to close up the sub shop until they got back, and Alex never got up before noon on the weekends if she could avoid it. Justin decided to get in some work out time in the basement while it was quiet; if he tried working out with others around, they invariably mocked him for it, especially Alex. He stayed down there for several hours, his only companion the music from his MP3 player. He worked his way through five separate albums before he decided to take a break and head back upstairs for some food.
And so, as he entered the living room with "Chasing Cars" still blaring in his ears, he was greeted with Alex making out with her boyfriend on the couch. The song kept playing through the entire awkward scene, and burned the images to the music.
It wasn't until three days later that he happened to hear Snow Patrol again, but he switched it off immediately. All he could see was Alex, and the guy's hand up her shirt, when he heard their music now. He still couldn't listen to them to this day, and they had been one of his favorite bands.

When he was only a little kid, he had gotten a collectible Captain Jim Bob Sherwood toothbrush. And while Max and Alex routinely lost teethbrush ("It's like courts martial, Alex!", he insisted to her over and over), he always took special care of his toothbrush, and had managed to keep it for years by cleaning it regularly. One morning, though, he was running particularly late, and figured he could make up some time by sharing the sink with her. But she was already brushing her teeth, and using his toothbrush, too. It should have bothered him more than it did, but it wasn't likely that she would stop if he raised a fuss, and when he had asked her, she had apparently been using it for a couple of months, since she lost her last one and couldn't be bothered to get a replacement. Besides, they had always been close, and it might be a little weird, but, well, they weren't exactly shining paragons of normalcy, now were they?It was a few weeks later though, that Max walked in on them brushing their teeth, and having seen both of them using the same toothbrush, used his Max logic to figure that since he had once again lost his own toothbrush, he should use that one too. Both Justin and Alex stared on in shock, and then raced to throw it out after he left. Justin had impressed upon Max the importance of using his own toothbrush on the way to school, and picked up two replacement teethbrush that afternoon. But he had never been able to find another Captain Jim Bob toothbrush, no matter how hard he looked.

He hadn't always been allergic to cinnamon, either. In fact, it was his favorite flavor until the eighth grade. One day when they were at lunch, he saw this tough guy that kept talking up his sister, whose name he can't even remember now, try to impress her by sucking on a cinnamon stick for a minute.
He had been acting on pure autopilot, not thinking about what he was doing, when he marched up and grabbed one of the other cinnamon sticks and ate it in three big bites. He had felt on top of the world for about thirty seconds when they all looked stunned at him, even Alex. After that, though, he had to focus on not vomiting. Alex had grabbed his arm, and rushed him to the nurse's office. She had actually looked kind of worried about him as he threw up in the bathroom, but she stayed by his side for two hours until he got better, to where he just felt raw, and not actively sick. That night, after she had lied to their parents and made him not sound like a complete idiot, she had told him that it was just to get her out of class.
It wasn't until a week later, when he threw up again, this time after eating some cinnamon flavored cereal, that he found out he had developed an exposure allergy to it, and couldn't have it again.

Thinking back on things though, what he most regretted was Juliet.
When they first got together, he had thought they were moving too fast. He had never had a really serious relationship before. He had dated, but never anyone like her; she had been beautiful, and smart, and appreciated him for who he was, and could take care of herself when she got in trouble, and had had a killer sense of humor, and she even got on with his family, which was no easy feat. But most importantly, he hadn't had to hide being a wizard from her. That had been the real reason he kept looking on the Wiznet for dates, even after all the disasters he had had from it, because he just couldn't imagine being with someone and having to keep such a large part of himself from them. And so he had been a little nervous, and didn't want to rush things.
She had tried to talk him into going all the way, but he just hadn't been comfortable with it. He had told her that he thought they could last a lifetime, and she had just looked sad, but didn't push him, and told him that if he was sure, then she could understand, and she would wait, that she didn't want him to regret his actions.
It wasn't until after she was gone for ever, that he understood what she had told him, what he had known intellectually, but not in his heart. That even though wizards live several times longer than humans, they are still just mayflies compared to vampires, and that every second they had together was precious, and to think that he had squandered the time they had had together just made him sick.
It wasn't until after he'd lost her that he realized he wound up regretting his actions anyway.

He has only made it halfway through the book when his mom calls them down for dinner. He's silent through most of the meal, and Alex keeps giving him these funny looks the whole time they're eating.

"So, does anyone know a spell to get rid of gills?" Max asks, and everyone stares at him, because when Max asks questions, they are rarely hypothetical.

"Max. Are you asking because you now have gills?" their dad says.

Max just shrugs kind of sheepishly. "Well, I was trying to find a sandwich I had stored for a rainy day in my room, so I gave myself a dog nose. But then I remembered that I had stuck it in my ceiling, so no one could steal it. But I couldn't get to it up there, so I cast a spell to let me float up, but I wound up with gills instead."

Justin just moans, rubs his head and tries to figure out what combination of spells Max performed that resulted in his gaining fish body parts.

After they get Max back to roughly human anatomy, Justin feels exhausted, and is ready to go to bed early, but he can't sleep.

He's still awake a few hours later when his door opens and Alex enters his room, dressed in her pajamas.

"Alex," he hisses, "What are you doing in here?"

"What do you think?"

"Argh. I'm sorry about taking my book back from your room, but I'll put it back when I finish," he says, but she just shakes her head.

"No, you dork. You were doing it again," she says, and when it's obvious he has no clue what she's saying, she musses up her hair.


Alex is the only one who ever noticed when he started to rub his head, who noticed how he was a little slower to answer, and a little less sure of himself after Puerto Rico. He's never been able to deceive her, so he isn't surprised when she catches on.

But even if anyone else had noticed, they wouldn't know why he had started stalling for time, when he had always been able to answer instantly before.

They couldn't know, because he and Alex were the only two left who had the memory of what had happened in a field that didn't exist, on a day that never happened.

The nightmares wake him up most nights now, and though it gives him even more time to work, he's less productive than ever because the lack of sleep is costing him. He's slower to think now, more quick to doubt himself, his thoughts are fuzzier.

Except for the nights when she sleeps next to him.

She steps into his bed and shoves him over to one side, while she lays down behind him. And when they're both settled in, she whispers, "It didn't count. Stop worrying about it, it didn't count."

And at first it was the mantra that stopped the cold sweats, that stopped him from worrying about a competition that he lost.

But now, as they lay there, he realizes that the thing he misses most, more than losing the competition and Juliet and cinnamon and a toothbrush and a band all put together, is the time they spent in the jungle, alone, that can't count if his nightmares don't.

Date: 2011-03-04 01:57 am (UTC)
amathela: ([wowp] justin/alex)
From: [personal profile] amathela
Yay, you posted it! And it's still awesome :D