Note: This is a sequel to an earlier story, Alex Gets Punished. Reading that before this is recommended, but I've tried to write this story to stand on its own as well.

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Why does everyone have to make such a big deal out of this? Alex fought to keep her irritation from showing on her face as the family carried Justin's things to his new dorm room.

And that was what she was really irritated about. The carrying was no big deal -- she'd grabbed his laptop, which wasn't really heavy at all, but was delicate enough to give her an excuse to not carry anything else. Which was the point -- let Dad and Justin do the heavy lifting. Besides, it was nice that Justin trusted her enough to let her carry his laptop without any fuss.

Now if only he wasn't moving out. For four months now, Justin and Alex had been more than brother and sister -- they'd secretly been lovers. They'd been spending one or two, sometimes three nights a week sleeping in the same room. It was a wonder they hadn't been caught, even though they'd been careful almost to the point of paranoia, their "night" together usually lasting three hours or so. It had played hell with both of their sleep schedules, but Alex had to admit she loved sleeping with her brother's arms around her, his breath in her hair, feeling warm and safe and loved.

But now what were they going to do? Sure, he'd made his plans to move out into the dorm before they'd been together, but... Alex couldn't help feeling like he was leaving her. And the other students they were passing didn't help.

That blonde's cute... and she looks a lot like that Kari Bergsdorf that Justin had a crush on two years ago. Alex looked to see if her brother was looking at the girl. His head was turned away toward the elevator, and she felt a little relief -- but only a very little. She'll be around here. And she's not going to be the only one. And I won't get to be around him every night.

--

"Oh, my baby's all grown up and leaving!" Theresa Russo took her son Justin's head in both hands and pulled it over next to hers. "My little boy's gotten so big!"

Alex rolled her eyes at their mother's antics, not finding them amusing in the least right now. "He might want to hold off on getting any bigger -- this room won't fit much more." And indeed, with the three of them plus Justin and Alex's dad Jerry, plus their little brother Max, Justin's new dorm room was full enough that they all had to be careful not to bump into each other.

"Okay, Theresa. Let him breathe." That was their father, Jerry, in the act of gently prying his wife off Justin. Meanwhile, Max was looking about the room, brows scrunched down in what most would simply see as a look of confusion, but Alex knew signaled he was about to ask a question... which could be exceedingly obvious, or completely off-the-wall. She tilted her head to the side a little, watching him and waiting.

"So... where's the rest of it?"

"This is it," Justin replied. "Desk, dresser, closet, mini-fridge, bed. One standard-issue single-occupancy dorm room."

"You mean, there's no bathroom? There's no kitchen?" Alex had to fight down a giggle at the tone of horror in Max's voice there.

"The bathrooms are down the hall. I'm going to get a microwave, and there's a food court down at the student union --"

Justin's explanation was cut off by Theresa. "Oh no! My baby is not eating institutional food made by the lowest bidder! You can come home for dinner, Justin!"

This time, Justin and Alex both rolled their eyes. Their mother had been going off on rants even more than usual the last two weeks, all about her "baby". Jerry moved back over to her, trying to calm her down again. "Honey, it's okay. Justin's not going to let himself get sick on bad food -- honey...."

Alex sidled up to her older brother -- she had to sidle, because of how little space there was in the room with five of them in it. "This is an all-boys dorm, isn't it?"

"No -- it's alternating floors. The even floors are all boys, the odd floors all girls." Justin looked at Alex, wondering what she was thinking.

Oh, great. Three floors of girls, in the same building with my Justin. And this is the honors dorm, so his nerdiness isn't going to be protecting me. Not letting the frown she was feeling touch her face, Alex asked Justin, "Oh. So... there should be a ladies' room on the next floor down. I'm going to go there quick." And scout the competition, she didn't say.

"Oh... I don't think you're supposed to walk around the building unescorted, since you're not a student. I'll come with you." Justin gave her a quick smile, and Alex gave a small, fragile-looking smile in return. At least he wants to be with me now.

They left their parents and Max unpacking the two last boxes and walked to the stairs, carefully not touching there, where there was a chance that one of the family would open the door still and see them. On the landing between floors, Justin felt safe enough to take his sister's hand.

At his touch, she stopped walking, looked at him, then suddenly turned and hugged him, hard. Surprised, it took Justin a second or so before he embraced Alex, then kissed her, first on the temple, then lowering his face down to kiss her lips, softly and slowly.

He took a step forward, putting Alex between himself and the wall, and kissed her again, more hungrily, taking several seconds. They kept it a surface kiss, their lips playing with each other, knowing they didn't have much time before their parents would come looking.

It was Alex who broke the kiss. "Umm... I really do need the bathroom," she said, blushing.

"Okay." Justin smiled, taking Alex's hand again, and they walked up to the fifth floor, then down the hall to the bathroom. "I'll be right back," she said, giving Justin a quick smile. "Don't go anywhere."

"Sure thing." Justin darted his head down and gave Alex a quick kiss. "You're worth waiting for." Alex half-skipped into the bathroom, feeling happier than she had in days. The bathroom was huge, with a dozen sinks at the entrance, and two halls going to the sides -- the left with a row of bathroom stalls, the right with showers. Another girl, going out, passed Alex, but Alex barely noticed her, happy for the moment.