Disclaimer: I do not own, nor am I in any way associated with, Wizards of Waverly Place.
AN: I went looking for Justin/Juliet stories yesterday and found zero. As a result, I had to write this.
AN2: Because of when I wrote this and assumptions I made about how Disney would get rid of Juliet, this story is technically an AU, set in a universe where Justin and Juliet broke up. I don't know why, I don't know how. When I wrote this I assumed Disney would fill in that blank. I honestly had no idea they'd go the route they did.
Love and Death
The problem with vampire bars wasn't that you were likely to come out with less blood than you entered with, it was the lack of light. Being nocturnal, vampires didn't really need artificial light and only used it out of convenience.
Justin took his time moving through the dim room, feigning a cool, casual attitude to hide the time it took for his eyes to adjust to the gloom. There was a dance floor at the far end of the bar with only a few couples dancing to a slow tune from the 1920s. Vampires sat at tables in clusters of twos and threes, several of them watching him warily. He smiled tightly as he moved past. He knew he looked out of place.
Humans who came into vampire bars were typically idiot kids on dares or adults who wore too much leather. A teacher in a worn suit and a bright yellow tie stained by pancake syrup was woefully out of place.
"Hey," he said when he reached the bar.
The bartender glanced at him and his face broke into a laughing grin. "I take it you won't be having anything to drink," he said.
Justin nodded, trying to find a way to look at the man without craning his neck. "I'm looking for someone. A girl."
Something in the bartender's eyes darkened and he leaned across the bar to say, "Listen, I don't know what you've heard but it's not worth it --"
"I'm not planning on losing any blood," Justin quickly said. "I'm here for answers."
The bartender shrugged and backed up a step. "Do you have a picture or did this girl of yours die before film was invented?"
Justin pulled a well-worn sheet of paper from his coat pocket and unfolded it. "She did," he said and slid the paper across the bar, "but I can draw."
The bartender's eyebrows shot up and Justin tried to ignore it. He was mildly ashamed that he'd still had the picture.
"Sit still," Justin said, taking a seat on one of the kitchen stools.
Juliet glanced up from her book, but her feet continued tapping out the tune of the song playing on the radio. "Why?" she asked, smiling because she knew he was about to say something adorable.
"Sit still," he insisted, flipping to the back of his notebook where the pages had been left blank for drawing diagrams and tables and such.
She sat up on the couch, her book forgotten in her lap. "Why, Justin?"
"You have to tell me," she said, her feet slowly sliding to the floor, "or I'll start dancing and then you'll have to join me because it's impolite to make your girlfriend dance alone."
Justin sighed. "I want a picture of you to hang in my locker."
She froze, one foot on the floor, the other hanging in midair. He saw her take in the notebook, the pencil in his hand and high-grade pen waiting on the table beside him. Then, in the time it took him to blink, she resumed her seat. Now, though, she was sitting straight instead of lounging and was carefully angling her neck to show her profile. He bit his lip, deciding to take advantage of her statue-still posture rather than tell her that she looked beautiful no matter which side she showed.
The bartender slid the paper back to him. "I think I know her. Her folks own that sandwich shop across town."
"That's her," Justin said, carefully folding the paper once more and placing it back inside his coat. "Do you know where I can find her?"
"She rents a room in the building across the street."
Justin nodded and slipped a ten onto the bar. "Thanks."
The walk back out the door was much easier. Now that his eyes had adjusted he didn't need to worry about tripping over chairs and table legs. As he passed by one of the tables he noticed a vampire who looked disturbingly like one of his old students eying his neck. Before she left his line of sight he saw another vampire touch her shoulder and shake his head. Whatever he said made her think twice about biting the awkward professor.
Justin bit back a sigh and practically slammed out of the bar, squinting in the suddenly overwhelming light from the streetlamps and headlights. Horrifying as it was he wished he had been bitten. It would solve his problem, prove that all of his earlier experiences were flukes, and save him from what would no doubt be an uncomfortable reunion.
He hurried across the street, waving to a kind driver who slowed to let him pass safely. Once inside the building he made a beeline for the mailboxes. The name "Van Heusen" practically jumped out at him and he rushed to catch the elevator. She lived on the top floor and as the elevator climbed steadily higher he felt his stomach clench in worried anticipation. Just when he thought he might chicken out the doors slid open and he was caught up in one idiotic thought: he was on her floor, in her building.
He hadn't seen Juliet Van Heusen in years but his heart still sped up at the thought of being in a place marked as hers. He shook his head. They broke up. They were done. He would knock on her door, ask his question, get his answer, and leave, never to see her again. If things went well he could be back in this elevator again in five minutes.
As if on cue the elevator doors began to close. Justin sidestepped out just in time and began searching for her apartment. It was far from the elevator with a "Beware of Bat" sign on the door that made him smile. He gave the door three swift knocks and stepped back. For the first time he wondered if perhaps she would be out hunting at this late hour, but he only entertained that thought for a moment when the door swung open.
He had expected her to be surprised, had imagined this meeting a thousand times and mentally drawn the expression of shock and curiosity that he knew would grace her ageless face. He hadn't expected her to be horrified, nor had he dared to think that she would look any different than she had when they'd first met, but she did.
"What happened?" he asked, his voice filled with worry and concern instead of the detached calm he had planned on. He reached out as if to touch her before pulling his hand back. "Why are you … old?"
She jerked as if he'd struck her. "Oh please," she snapped, "I do not look old. Frankly, I look good for my age."
"You look like you're in your twenties," he said, "your late twenties! You look as old as me. I saw a portrait of you from the thirteenth century and you looked exactly as you did when I was in high school. So how did you go centuries without aging a day, but manage to age ten years in ten years?"
She pursed her lips and glared. He could see the slight movement around her mouth indicating that her fangs had descended. "You know," she said, resuming her calm, "it's rude to ask a woman about her age. I doubt you came here to ask about my looks anyway. So what's up?"
Justin opened his mouth to press her further, then closed it quickly. If she didn't want to talk about it, he wasn't going to make her.
"I want to know what you did to me," he said.
She crossed her arms and leaned against the doorframe. "What makes you think I did anything?"
"Ever since magic was exposed it's become important to have people who understand it working with law enforcement."
"Like a boy who lost his family's wizard competition," Juliet offered.
"How did you know about that?"
She shrugged. "Our moms still exchange Christmas letters."
Justin's eyes widened and she smiled.
"That actually makes me feel better. I was wondering why you never congratulated me on my silver in the Wizard Olympics."
"That's why Max spent a whole winter learning the Transylvanian National Anthem!"
"He learned the Transylvanian Anthem? He does know that I'm not from there, right? And that the Wizard Olympics doesn't have countries?"
"Anyway," Justin sighed, "when I'm not teaching I do covert work for the government. I investigate weird magical happenings and deal with any fallout from magical items --"
"Like Indiana Jones?" Juliet asked with a teasing smile.
"Only cuter," he said. With a start he realized they were flirting and reminded himself that this was serious. "I was on a mission in Eastern Europe a few months ago and got cornered by a family of vampires. I thought I was done for. There wasn't any garlic or pumpkin around and there was no way I could overpower them, but they didn't eat me. They were about to," he added quickly. "One of them came in for my neck, but he stopped and they just threw me into a dumpster. I've had similar encounters three times since, not counting the vampire across the street who stopped ogling my jugular."
He waited a beat, noting the way Juliet averted her eyes uncomfortably.
"So," he continued, "my question for you is, what did you do to me? I've had dozens of tests done," he added before she could argue. "Trust me, a lot of people would love to know how to make themselves repulsive to vampires, but everything comes back normal."
She sighed and, keeping her gaze focused steadily on his tie, said, "You did it to me first."
"What are you talking about?" he asked, wondering if she was trying to trick him.
"You did!" she insisted, meeting his eyes angrily. "I remember it perfectly. I was coming to warn you that my parents were going to eat your sister and her friend and you told me that you'd done it!"
He shook his head, trying to think of what she could mean. "I- I never did anything to --" He froze, suddenly remembering. "I told you I loved you," he said breathlessly.
She nodded vigorously. "Exactly! You loved me and how could I help but love you back? You were just so perfect with your official white board and your obsessive organizing and your stained yellow tie!"
He blinked, wondering if he should point out that this was the only yellow tie he'd ever owned and he'd gotten it for his last birthday, but she barreled on.
"What else was I supposed to do, Justin? What girl in her right mind wouldn't love you back?"
"Wait," he said, closing his eyes and trying to process. "You're saying that love did this?"
"Of course!" she said, throwing her arms to the sides in frustration. "What else? It's the most powerful thing in the universe!"
"I'm not saying it couldn't do it," he said delicately, "I'm just not clear on what exactly it did."
She sighed and rubbed the bridge of her nose in frustration. "I am aging," she said heavily, "at a normal, steady rate. For a human. And one day, hopefully very far from now, I will die."
She held up a hand, cutting him off, and he bit his lip, waiting for her to finish.
"But I won't die from old age or a stake through the heart. I mean, I could die from a stake through the heart, but assuming no Slayer ever catches me, I'm going to die of a broken heart."
Justin felt his heart clench. He did this? Their break up all those years ago had been so painful for her that it was slowly, day-by-day killing her?
She shook her head, seeing his thoughts in his eyes. "And it's not because we broke up. It's because I still love you and when you die, so will I."
"And vampires are loyal," Justin said slowly. "They don't want to kill one of their own, even if it's second-hand."
She nodded. "So be happy, you can go back to your superiors and tell them the best protection against vampires is a vampire's love." She stepped back into the apartment, her hand on the door. "Have a nice life, Justin."
"Juliet," he said quickly.
"Don't be sorry. I don't expect you to reciprocate. You came looking for answers, not a clingy ex-girlfriend."
As she closed the door he stepped forward, stopping it with his body and pushing his way into the apartment.
"Then you're a fool," he said, grabbing her shoulders. "But that's good because we can be fools in love together."
He pulled her to him, pressing his lips against hers. When her arms slid up his back and into his hair he kicked the door shut.
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