Title: turn, turn, turn
Fandom: Wizards of Waverly Place
Summary: Diving into the hourglass. What made her think that was a good idea? [Justin/Alex]
to everything; turn, turn, turn
there is a season; turn, turn, turn
and a time for every purpose under heaven
- turn, turn, turn, the byrds
Alex knows she's not exactly what most people would term 'good', not in certain terms at any rate, and she's okay with that. She accepts it.
So she's not the good child, not the good student. She's still a good person.
It's what helps her not care about the rest.
"Okay," Jerry says, "special lesson today."
Alex and Max groan in unison. Special lessons are never a good thing. They usually end up with band aides and ice packs, and grounding on Alex's end.
Justin, of course, sits up even straighter (if possible) and Alex can see his eyes light up. She snorts. Nothing makes Justin happier than extra work. As if he even needs it. Didn't he finish his wizard training, or was she dreaming? She seriously doesn't understand her brother.
"Alex, Max, come here."
They stand in a circle (square, who knows) around their dad as he sets this big box that Alex has never seen before on the table. And she thought she had found everything that her dad had tried to hide from her by now. Guess not. The box is big and old, and really ugly, with crude carvings all over the dark wood and so covered in dust that when Jerry takes his hand away she can see the stark differences in color along the top.
He opens it up, and she goes up on her tiptoes to look over Max's shoulder when they both move closer.
"Is that a rock?" Max asks. The same question is running around in her mind, but it's colored with disappointment, because lame, instead of the excitement in Max's voice.
So, she really doesn't get either of her brothers. But hey, guys are weird. Old news.
And she's really had enough of rocks…and stones. And anything resembling either of them.
"Well, since I didn't really sign up for rock study (Justin mutters 'geology' under his breath)," Alex says, backing up, "I'm just gonna-"
Her dad nods at Justin, who reaches out and takes hold of the back of her shirt. She stumbles, glaring at her brother once she rights herself.
"Alex, sit." She does, rolling her eyes for good measure. He sounds like he's talking to a dog.
"Is that the piece of the meteor?" Justin asks.
It just keeps getting worse.
Nodding, their father hands it over to him. Justin turns it in his hand, eyes big, and Alex thinks he's going to start cooing to it any second. Max makes faces behind his back, and she smirks.
Well, she understands Max some of the time.
Max takes it out of his hands, bouncing it up and down in his hands a few times. "Does it have powers?"
"Besides being dirty?" Alex chimes in, flicking a speck of rock dust off her shirt that landed there due to Max's bouncing.
Justin opens his mouth to retort, but Jerry cuts him off. "Not really, it's more of a catalyst for magic."
She and Max exchanged equally confused looks and she shrugs. She wasn't going to understand what her dad's talking about anyway, no matter what words he used. And he'll explain. Always does.
Or rather, he would have, but Justin catches on and starts to explain it to his siblings, all snotty and patronizing (she does know that one) until he winds up sprawled on the floor.
"Alex!" he sputters, making her grin. Not like he can actually prove it.
"Guys, pay attention," Jerry insists, tugging Alex against his side. She returns her wand back to her shoe. "This is a piece of a meteor that streaked across the sky when Merlin was born." He takes it from Max and hands it over to Alex. Nonplussed, she passes it on to Justin on her other side. "And it only comes around once every 7 years."
He pauses, looking at both her and Max in turn, expectant. Max has zoned out by now, but she at least tries to feign some interest. Tries and fails, not that it's her fault. That was just way, way anticlimactic.
A piece of a meteor? That comes around once every 7 years? Where's the interesting in that?
"Merlin!" he repeats, obviously trying to bolster some enthusiasm. His face falls and Alex feels bad for a second before she takes the rock out of Justin's hand and studies it closer.
"What's it do?"
Now that he sees he has an audience, he makes a big show of grabbing some dusty old book from the shelf against the wall and searches for a particular page. When he finds it, he lays the book down on the small round table in the center of the room. Alex leans in, pushing her hair over her shoulder so she can see. Her eyes widen and she whirls on her father. "It lets you see the future?"
"Not just see it," Justin clarifies, "but go to into it and watch it happening."
"No way." She grabs the book, and yes, she's reading voluntarily, but being able to see the future is pretty cool. There are all kinds of magical rules about time traveling and not changing the chain of events, blah blah blah blah. This however, this seems to be totally sanctioned and within the rules. "When can we go?"
Justin and Jerry exchange looks, and it sets off all of Alex's senses that usually lay dormant when she's about to do something sneaky, but screech in alert when it's being perpetrated against her. She narrowed her eyes and placed a hand on her hip. "What?"
"It's just that-" Jerry rubs a hand across the back of his neck and averts his eyes. She taps her foot a little, something she picked up from her mother that was sure to get him to fess up. "Only one of you can go."
Alex glares at Justin. Of course it's going to be him. Because he's responsible. Because he obeys the rules. Because he's good in all the ways she isn't.
Jerry swings his hands together, smiling. "So…Alex, Max, how are we going to sort this out?"
Both she and her younger brother swivel their heads towards Justin, who doesn't seem the least bit surprised that he was been left out of the comment. He merely stands there with his arms crossed and looks between his confused siblings.
"What about Justin?" Max asks.
Alex sees the faint tinge of pink on the faces of her father and brother and she narrows her eyes in response. There's something here that they haven't told her. Winding her arms over her body in a mimic of her older brother's posture, she moves closer to him and peers up at him intently from under her lashes. "What about Justin?"
He fidgets and looks away, clears his throat uncomfortably.
God, he should never take up poker. Everything about him is a tell.
"You've already done it, haven't you?"
And he crumbles. "I was 11; Dad said you were too young to try it." Voice all a panic, eyes wide, Justin sits down quickly, leaving her to glare at her father.
Jerry holds his hands up, already trying to placate his daughter. "Now, Alex, you were only 9-you didn't even have your full powers yet. It was too risky to let you do it."
That makes sense. But it doesn't change the fact that they've had 7years to tell her about it…and they didn't.
Don't think she's gonna forget about that.
"So what you're saying is," Alex begins, and turns the rock over in her hands, "is that you two have been keeping this from Max and me all this time."
"You mean technically?"
She deadpans a look at her dad and then turns to Max. "You know, Max," Alex places an arm around his shoulder and pulls him against her side, "knowing the future would only take the surprise out of it for you. Do you really want to cost yourself that fun?"
His brown furrows and his lips draw downward. "Well…"
Spinning away, Alex beams at her older brother. "Great, problem solved. Now how do I do it?"
"Hey!" Max protests. A few seconds pass, when he seems to be running the idea around in his head, before he finally shrugs and plops onto the bench beside Justin and pulls out a video game. "You're right. Where's the fun in knowing what's gonna happen. Just bring me back a present."
Alex rolls her eyes, but nods.
"You can't do that, Alex." Jerry picks the book up and points to a long bulleted list on the page. "Bringing back items from the future is against the rules."
"Sorry Max," she quips. "Anything else?"
Justin steps up beside her, pointing to the list himself. "No leaving the place you appear at, no trying to talk to anyone-"
"I can't talk?"
He shakes his head. "You'll be incorporeal."
She blinks her eyes, face blank.
With a sigh, Justin explains what he means. "You won't be solid. No touching anything, you won't be visible to other. You'll be like a ghost."
"Well that sucks."
Justin chuckles, and that know it all smirk of his that she just really hates appears on his face just in time for him to tell her, "And once you're back, you'll forget what you saw."
Wait. Did he say…?
"I won't remember it?" Her head swivels between him and her dad, hoping for some sort of contradiction, option, 'even a psych!', she's not picky. "What a jip."
She looks at Justin, searches his eyes for the real story. There's nothing in her brother that can lie to her-not without giving in to his guilt and copping to it. And besides, even if he could somehow manage to not give himself away, she knows him, everything he is, and would be able to detect anything that was off with him in a second.
It's that old saying, keep your friends close and your enemies closer thing.
"It'll be okay, Alex," he tells her, his palm heavy on her shoulder. "You're won't remember, but that's okay. That way, you still have options."
If it were possible to sound more like an after school special, there's no doubt in Alex's mind that he would find it.
"Ugh, fine," she grumbles, swatting his hand away. "Just show me how to work this doohickey."
Jerry gives her the spell, instructs her to sit down and close her eyes, tells her to breathe evenly and calmly. "You're going to feel a tug," he tells her, "like you're being pulled, and when you open your eyes you're going to be 10 years exactly in the future."
She cracks an eye open. "Exactly?"
"To the second."
Her nose wrinkles. Magic should not be that strict.
"You get one hour, in that time. In ours, it'll only be about 3 seconds." Jerry squats down in front of her, grimacing when his knee groans at the movement. "No more than that, and then you'll be back here."
"How long before I forget what I saw?" She opens her eyes wide this time, and he makes her close them back (after she rolls them, of course) and resume her preoperational breathing.
"As soon as you get back here it'll start to fade," Justin says. "When I did it, it was only a minute before it was all gone."
Taking a deep breath, Alex grips her fingers tighter around the rock and says the spell, déjà vu hitting her harder than a two ton beam. She feels 6 eyes on her face, like heat lamps set on high, and practically hears Justin mouthing the words along with her.
"To see the future, far and deep, Merlin's comet, let me leap."
Sucking in a huge gulp of air, Alex opens her eyes and sways on her feet. Magical travel doesn't really affect her anymore, hasn't since she was small, but time travel is new. Wizards in training aren't allowed to mess with time unsupervised, and even adult wizards have a thousand rules (literally) they have to follow when they attempt it at risk of losing their powers, so she sits down and puts her head between her knees until her stomach settles.
The aroma of perfume is heavy in the air and though it's not helping her stomach issue, she raises her head and looks around to see that she's in a bedroom. Her bedroom.
And, she quickly deduces, not just hers.
A large four poster bed sits against the far wall, under a stained glass window of roses and violets, with gauzy white ties billowing down from the canopy. Romantic. And not her. She makes a face and walks around, taking in the sketch pad on one nightstand, a little glass bowl heaped with jewelry, hair clips, pencils, bits of paper, and loose change spilling out of it. Has to be her side. The matching one holds a clock radio, a lamp just like the one on the corresponding side, and a thick, leather bound book with a pair of glasses resting on top.
This is a little boring, this sparse room with little clues about her future life, so she wanders down the hallway and into a spacious living room that looks much lived in. A tall shelf lined with thick novels and art books, broken only by an impressive stereo system, stands against the side wall, ending at a huge glass window, more like a mini wall, that showcases the entire skyline of a city she doesn't recognize. Across from the shelf is a squishy, comfy looking couch and chairs, the coffee table in the center heaped high with more books and magazines, mail in a wicker bowl on top of the pile.
All in all, she likes it.
A noise draws her attention and she turns to see the door across from the window opening.
And her future self walks in.
What she was expecting, she's not sure. But the 26 year old Alex walks with purpose into the apartment, leafing through a stack of mail that she drops into the center bowl without opening any of it. She sets down an enormous pizza box and hits a button on the answering machine that sits on the table by the entrance into the kitchen.
Curious, Alex follows…Alex, weird…into the kitchen and watches her, leaning against the doorframe. She takes off her really awesome leather coat and gloves and tosses them on one of the chairs, and Alex looks at her outfit.
Well…monochromatic isn't so bad. Not when it's an expensive looking black turtleneck, over the knee boots that are actually pretty hot, and dark, dark jeans that make her lower body look unreal.
She thinks she likes Alex 2.6.
The messages play out, not that she's listening. Something about a meeting being moved and tickets to a play, but somehow the setting of the table with paper plates and wine in plastic goblets is more fascinating.
And then…"Hey, guys, it's me."
She knows that voice. Right? Possibly, but, no. It can't be.
"I know its short notice, but I'm throwing together a little party tomorrow night and I was hoping you guys might be able to spare a few hours for your old aunt."
It is Megan. Wow. How did that happen?
Then the rest finally wrestles its way through the cobwebs of her sizzling brain and guys? She said guys. Plural.
A door opens and she hears the light padding of bare feet on hardwood. Alex, the older Alex (this is gonna get confusing like whoa) opens a drawer and pulls out some paper napkins, not even turning around as she calls out through the apartment. "Hey, I brought pizza home."
No. Just…just no.
With feet and legs that feel like lead, she turns around slowly, 'no, no, no' playing on repeat in her head.
And there he is.
"Yes, Justin," the older Alex says, "half olives. There's some mail on the table."
He goes to get it and she takes a brief half second to freak the hell out without distraction.
What is Justin doing in her future? Is this her place, his? God forbid they're roommates.
Coming back into the kitchen, he plops down into a chair and grabs a piece of pizza, taking a huge bite. "Who was that on the machine?"
"Oh, it was Megan. She's having one of her parties tomorrow night." She sits down opposite him and takes two slices herself, topped with pineapple and mushrooms. "And Matt called. Your meeting on Monday was moved to 11."
He nods and takes a huge bite of his pizza.
There's another window in the kitchen, over the sink, and Alex looks out toward the skyline again. She blinks because there is no way that that Big Ben off to the right.
Only it is. By a river with that big wheel thingy not far off.
London. Holy crow.
She lives in London. With Justin.
Having given her future self a good once over already, Alex runs her eyes over her brother, who has to be, what, 28 now?
Honestly, Alex would rather die than admit it to anyone else, (she's gonna forget so it doesn't matter anyhow) but age looks good on Justin. He's obviously just out of the shower. There are drops of water clinging to his black hair, and he still has that warm smell of steam and soap about him. Plus, yeah, he's barefoot.
"Are we going to Megan's?" he asks, sipping his wine.
So Justin is still the question freak. Good, sort of, to know.
Shaking her head, the older Alex stretches out, placing her feet on Justin's chair beside his leg. And he doesn't say anything, doesn't give her any annoyed looks. Which is weird to her, but the 26 year old Alex doesn't seem to notice. "Two hours on the Chunnel on a Saturday night? I don't think so."
Chunnel? Is that some kind of Euro talk that she doesn't get?
And where's the magic? Surely one of them one and they could transport them if need be.
Unless Max won, which would be just…she shakes her head. No way.
Justin laughs. "Good. I wasn't thrilled about the idea."
"You're just afraid Paolo will be there," Older Alex smirks, nudges his thigh with the toe of her boot. "With all of his artsy talk and flirty Italianness."
"That's not a word."
She deadpans a look that is all too familiar at him. "Still counts."
He rolls his eyes and goes back to his food.
In the midst of all the creepy comfortable silence, Alex walks around the kitchen, taking in the cookbooks and utensils and wonders which of them does the cooking because in her time neither of them are particularly talented at it.
On the fridge is a calendar with notes and circles, and things tacked on to it. They're busy, clearly, but most of the events seem like joint things; concerts, parties, movies.
And vacations too apparently, if the picture in the kitschy framed photo means anything. A broad strip of white beach is behind them, a hint of bright blue beyond that, and their both in summery clothes. The drizzle outside the windows really kicks London out of that scenario.
She and Justin stand there, his arm casually over her shoulder and hers about this waist, both grinning into the camera. Her eyes are rolling somewhat and Justin's clearly impressed with himself about something-she knows the look-and it makes her smile.
How big of a dork does it make her that she thinks it's…sweet, that they're close. Almost.
And then she sees it.
Her hand, the one not around Justin's waist it reaching up, her fingers tangled around his where his arm dangles off her shoulder.
Whirling around, she stares at the older counterparts of herself and her big brother, looking for…
Well, to be honest, she doesn't really know what she's looking for, but something tells her that when she does see it, it won't be as subtle as interwoven fingers.
Alex thinks she may be a little bit psychic, because it does happen. And it hits her like a right hook in the jaw.
The two of them finish the pizza, making light, normal chatter, and all in all she's beginning to think that maybe she should have let Max take the trip instead. Until the two of them stand up and start to clear the table. Alex leans over the table to get the cups, moving into line with Justin's body as he places the pizza box in the garbage can. Almost as if choreographed, they turn around and come face to face, nose to nose-thanks to Alex's shoes.
A slow smile curves over Justin's lips.
(He's the one facing her.)
"Hey," he drawls and she's never heard Justin sound like that.
Alex's hands slide up his arms and twine around his neck. "Hey yourself."
Somewhere in the back of her head she hears Justin's-her Justin, rather Justin from her time (yeah, that's it)-voice in her head screaming "Abort! Abort!"
Now she understands the concept of morbid curiosity, of not being able to look away no matter how horrific the scene unfolding in front of you is.
And it is horrific. Really, really so. Worse than all the Night of the Halloween Sorority Disaster movies combined.
It is. Truly. But she'd be lying if she didn't admit that it's also, just the tiniest bit, sort of…
But it has nothing to do with the fact that it's Justin. At all. It would be hot regardless. Because the way Future Justin kissed Future Alex held no teasing, no persuasion, no gentle, kind words. This kiss was straightforward and to the point, the meaning clear as day.
I. Want. You. Now.
With no apparent effort at all, Justin ran his hands down her back and around her waist, hoisting her up onto the edge of the table as he moved his body between hers. She watched, transfixed, as her brother gripped her thighs and pulled her even closer-if that was possible-pressing her flush against his chest, and threaded his fingers in her hair, lips moving down her neck.
Alex, younger Alex, squirms, uncomfortable and flushing, not quite sure how to react.
Because she's in shock. Yeah. Shock. That's it.
There is, however, no mistaking just what's behind the blood rush to her face when she hears a low growl wrench out of Justin's throat when her doppelganger (of all the times for a Justin word to pop into her head) arches against him, and her hands slide up the back of his shirt.
He pulls away, and now both Alex's can breath. She takes in deep gulps of air, just as greedy as the Alex who just had her air supply compromised in the fun way.
She doesn't mean it that way. Seriously.
Justin's hands land on her face, and she can see his thumbs moving along the slope of her cheek. "I love you."
Alex stares at him, the passion in his words, the conviction in his expression and look at that, she believes him and can swear that she feels his gaze on her skin, hers, like flickering embers, like she's the Alex he's talking to.
A heat slid to her heart where it took root and burned, growing into a steady fire that caught and ignited everything under her skin.
Snorting, Future Alex leans impossibly further into him. "You say that like its news, Justin." He opens his mouth to retort, but she clamps a hand over his mouth. "Just shut up." Her mouth catches his again and Justin visibly melts into her, reclining her on the table until it begins to tilt and he pulls her back, both of them giggling.
And then, just as hands disappear under Justin's white tee shirt, the world around her blurs and she screams out an empty 'No!' before she blinks and sees her father's face in front of her.
She wants to see if it was some sort of trick. That's all.
Justin, the Justin she knows, stands behind their dad, face openly worried and the pest of an older brother she's known her entire life.
"Alex," his voice is low and calm and makes her insides shake, "you okay?"
Um, how about no.