Name: Chris

Title: don't stand so close to me

Fandom: Wizards of Waverly Place

Genre: General

Rating: T

Summary: "Does someone have a little crush on the teacher?"

……

young teacher, the subject, of schoolgirl fantasy

she wants him, so badly, knows what she wants to be

- don't stand so close to me, the police

……

It wasn't often anymore that Alex Russo was able to catch her older brother off guard. So when he walks out onto Amsterdam Avenue and doesn't even see her, she's not sure whether to be insulted, or merely amused.

And he doesn't get her off guard. Not anymore. Not since-

But she doesn't think about that anymore. Honest.

"Justin."

It's the third time she says his name, as he shuffles around inside his briefcase, and it takes someone else coming out of the Applied Sciences building realizing she's trying to get his attention and tapping him on the shoulder for him to finally notice her standing in front of him.

"Alex, hey."

Man. He looks bad, beyond frazzled. She'd laugh if it weren't so pitiful.

"Geeze, Justin. I was about to throw my coffee at you." She hikes her bag up on her shoulder and steps closer. Honestly, one would think he'd been deliberately ignoring her.

He shuts his briefcase and finally focuses on her. A crinkle forms between his eyebrows as he looks at her. "What are you doing all the way up here?"

"We're doing the programs for that Paul Revere exhibit and I was just dropping off some mock ups," she tells him, draining the last of her coffee and tossing the empty cup in a nearby garbage bin. The only reason she'd walked over towards the school from the Museum of Natural History was because Dino, the guy who ran the coffee cart on the corner of 81st street, made the absolute best Columbian blend in the city, complete with a dark chocolate shaving at the bottom of the cup. It's worth the trek all the way from her office down on 23rd just to get it.

"And besides," she says as they fall into step together, "it's not like you ever venture below 72nd anyway. What would you do without me making the occasional pilgrimage to the Upper West Side to keep that big head of yours in check?" They cross the street over to Broadway and head for the subway.

Justin chuckles. "Guess I'd have to get used to actually enjoying my days."

"Well where's the fun in that?"

There's a restaurant in Chinatown that they've both loved since they were kids, and they end up there without even discussing it. And it's a long way down there from Columbia and Justin's last class of the day, to the other end of the island, but they make it on autopilot, small talk filling the space between them.

Its weird, how separate their lives have become, even though they still live in the same city.

Appetizers arrive, and the entrées get ordered, and Alex takes a sip of her ginger ale.

"What's wrong?" Justin asks, seeing the face she makes.

"My drink tastes salty." She reaches her glass over and he sips it, and grimaces. She takes a hearty gulp of his and it tastes fine, just like ginger ale is supposed to. Justin signals the waiter and takes his own glass back.

"Yeah, I didn't want saltwater," Alex tells the guy, and hands over her glass. He moves and she sees a flash of blue out of the corner of her eye. "We have an audience," she says, titling her head in the direction of the Starbucks across the street and the girl that is not even trying to hide the fact that she's staring right at them.

Groaning, Justin drops his hands into his head. Her new glass is set down in front of her, and she sips it while curiously watching the odd way her brother is behaving. Not even looking is weird enough in itself, but he doesn't even seem all that surprised.

"Justin…"

He doesn't budge, so she shoves at one of his arms hard enough to knock his chin off his palm. He glares at when he rights himself. "Was that necessary?"

She drinks her ginger ale again, now thinking it might be too sweet (and that's saying something) and sits it beside Justin's glass and taking his. He doesn't say anything about that, because its not like it would actually make a difference to her if he did, but he does frown so she's at least eighty percent sure that this is in fact her brother, and not some kind of pod thingy that always seem to take over teachers' bodies in those really crappy horror movies that she loves.

"You know who that is?" Alex asks, and gives a pointed look at the girl in the too trendy top and too short skirt that by now is full on glaring at the two of them. "Care to share with the class, Mr. Russo?"

He sticks his tongue out at her-which should be illegal for a Yale educated Engineering professor but whatever-before he sighs, munching on a potsticker. "She's one of my students."

Ordinarily, Alex would draw her own conclusion here and deduce that Justin's that one super hard for no reason whatsoever professor and just assume that the girl hates him.

But he's turning all red around his ears and that can only mean one thing.

A wicked smile curves around Alex's lips. "Ooooh. Does someone have a little crush on the teacher?"

Now his whole face and neck is crimson above the collar of his prim and perfect white button down shirt and Alex snorts, covering her face with her hands as the giggles turn into chuckles, and then into laughter so hard tears run down her face behind her palms and her entire body shakes with the force.

"Are you finished?" Justin looks more annoyed than embarrassed now, not red so much as mildly pink, and that does nothing but send her into a fresh set of giggles.

Once she's composed herself-a good five minutes later-she wipes at her eyes with her napkin and makes an attempt to school her features into something resembling interested and concerned. "Yes."

One eyebrow arches. Unable to stop herself, she snorts one last time and then composes herself as best she can. "Okay, I'm seriously finished now."

She's still grinning so big it hurts-but this is Justin here.

He heaves a deep breath, like he's unburdening himself in confession and she's Father Petrillo and they're at St. Ignatius, not Uncle Fu's. Then he leans forward and drops his voice so low she has to do the same just to catch half of what he's saying.

"Her name is Amy," he tells her. "She's in my Intro to Engineering class."

Alex tilts her head to one side. "You do know she can't actually hear us, right?"

Justin goes on, acting as though he didn't hear her, but looking a bit miffed anyway, until she gets the whole story complete with roses delivered to his apartment everyday for a week and little gifts hidden in his-locked-office.

"Dude," she says around a mouthful of sesame noodles, "sounds like she's got it bad. Good luck with that."

He gives her one of those patented dry Justin looks, somewhere along the lines of how do we share the same DNA?, definitely on the patronizing side. "Gee, thanks."

"No problem." She smiles, all sugar, getting a dirty look in return and they go back to their food.

…0…

Justin gets her a cab right outside the restaurant. Never mind that it's only five and she lives less than ten blocks away. He's Justin, and over protectiveness is ingrained into him. Heck, he'd probably still hold her and Max's hands while crossing the street if they'd let him.

"You coming or what?" she asks, sliding over enough to let him get in beside her.

He shrugs. "A cab all the way up to 79th? Nah, the subway's not too far."

She grabs her purse and starts to scoot back over towards the door. "I'll come with you."

Justin refuses. It may only be a little ways to Soho, and it may not be that late, but she's still his little sister and he'd feel better knowing she got home safe.

Well. How can she say no to that?

"Fine." She slums back against the seat, closing her eyes as the cabbie pulls out into the rush hour traffic. Alex knows he worries, still, but man-it's going to take her forever to get home.

…0…

Justin calls her the next day while she's sketching out a new logo for some high-end line of ski line wear. She's bored, as she usually is these days, and advertising may pay well but it doesn't do a whole lot towards making her enjoy it.

"What's up?"

"Remember that girl from last night?" he asks, like she's actually going to let him live that down any time soon. "The one from my class."

"You mean the one who loooves you." Alex can't really help teasing him, and a smile curves along the lines of her mouth as she imagines him sitting in his stuffy office, at that ridiculous desk of his, fidgeting around and turning bright pink. The guy who has the desk across from hers gives her an odd look, which she ignores, leaning back in her chair, grin widening.

"Alex…" he says warningly, ever the big brother.

A small chuckle escapes, enough for her to be able to control herself. Mostly. "Sorry. What about her?"

Justin sighs, and she hears the soft tapping noise that comes with him rapping out a rhythm against whatever surface his hand is resting on. He's been doing it for as long as she can remember. "Well, she came up to me after class, and for one second I let myself think that just maybe it was about the term paper I assigned-"

"Oh come on, Justin."

He ignores her, as he does whenever she comments on his more, ahem, nerdy of attributes.

"She said she saw us last night."

Um, okay. "Yeah, I know that. That's how I even know about her in the first place."

"Well, apparently, and I'm paraphrasing here," he says, words beginning to fall over each other, "she 'didn't appreciate my sneaking around with another woman behind her back.'"

("That just makes me a good brother." Her stomach rolls, heavy with something unnamable.)

Several seconds pass before that sinks through all the way. Seconds in which Alex has a minute freak out inside her head complete with warning bells and sirens and flashing lights, all that stuff that screams Emergency! 911! but she forces them down, deep. "Excuse me?"

Nerves radiate in Justin's voice, making it warble and crack a little when he speaks. "She, um, she sort of thought that, you know, that you were my, uh…"

"Justin!" she yelps, his stuttering grating her nerves down to rough nubs.

He clears his throat. "Right, sorry."

She waits, somewhat patiently, while he composes himself on the other end of the line-but only somewhat because now the guy across from her is not even trying to hide the fact that he's listening to her.

She throws a pencil at him. A sharp one.

"She thought we were on a date."

Alex's nose wrinkles. "Um, ew. Did you tell her I'm your sister?"

"No," he scoffs, and she starts to gripe at him, only to be interrupted. "Alex, I'm a teacher. I don't discuss my personal life with my students. It's not appropriate."

"Appropriate? Justin, your little student with the big ole' crush on you thought you were on a date with your sister. I think 'appropriate' is the least of your worries."

(It's saying something, between the lines, its saying a whole lot.)

There's some grumbling on his end, and no doubt he's making that face that does nothing more than make him look like he smells something bad, and she can all but hear him chewing at his bottom lip. "Alex, there are lines-"

She hangs up on him. The whole thing suddenly isn't so funny anymore.

…0…

When he shows up at her apartment that night with a pink pastry box that smells like heaven and a sheepish look on his face, she sighs and lets him.

Alex holds up her hand when he starts to speak. "Box first."

Justin hands it over and she raises the lid, inhaling deeply. Dutch apple crumb cake. Her mouth begins watering. He follows her into the kitchen, sitting at her small table while she digs into the pie, not even bothering with a plate.

"Start talking," she instructs, licking a stray crumb from her lip.

"The reason I called is that I was worried." Justin says, slowly. "After Amy, that's her name-"

"I remember."

"After she talked to me today," he goes on, without pause "I began to realize that this little crush isn't as…harmless as I'd originally believed."

"That doesn't sound good," Alex quips.

Rolling his eyes, Justin grabs a fork from her dish drainer and spears a slice of the still warm pie and pops it in his mouth. He had anticipated that Alex wasn't going to take the situation as seriously as possible. And she can see it on his face.

"Alex, I think she's a little bit unstable, which is what I told the Dean of Students today when I asked him to take her out of my class."

She pondered on that for a second. Alex had only been out of college herself for about a year and a half, but from what she remembered it was pretty close to the end of the semester to be dropping a class. "It's November."

"So?"

"Isn't it a little late to kick her out? I mean, won't she fail?"

Justin leans back a little, settling himself more fully against the back of the chair he's sitting in. His eyes narrow, and roam about her face, like he's looking for something.

Okay. So maybe she isn't the most sympathetic person on the planet. And yes, this girl has been giving her brother a fair bit of trouble-but she almost, almost, admires that. The thing is, she remembers how hard college was for her, even her art classes, even with Justin's help.

So it's not that weird that she does feel a teensy bit bad for the girl, right?

Finally, Justin blinks and shakes his head a bit. "There's another professor who teaches a different section. He said she can take his final to avoid failing."

Alex snorts. Of course he's thought about every aspect of it.

"But the reason I called you today," he adds after another bite of pie, "is that I'm worried about you."

She rolls her eyes. Justin's been worried about her for, oh, her entire life. What else is new? "Justin, I'm fine."

"If you see her though," he pleads with his voice and his eyes, "just do me a favor, okay? Don't antagonize her. Please."

Psh. Like she'd do something like that.

…0…

A week later Alex gets a letter in her mailbox from her landlord telling her that someone on the third floor left some food out and now the building has to be fumigated for ants.

Meaning she has to leave for two whole days. Just great. One of the things Alex loves so much about her apartment, besides the huge closet and rent control, is how close it is to her office. Staying somewhere else is going to be a nightmare.

She tends to oversleep a lot.

But that turns out to be the least of her problems. Everyone she knows is too busy or out of town or sick, and it's beginning to look like her only options are a hotel or her parents. And seeing as how she spent a good chunk of her last paycheck on a killer pair of boots, it sort of counts out option number one.

Her parents have gone a little crazy lately. Justin says it's some sort of delayed reaction to empty nest syndrome (he dated a psych professor for a few weeks) and now she gets within a foot of either of them and they latch on for dear life. Forty eight hours of 'No, Mom, I'm not dating anybody' and 'Yes, Dad, I look all my doors before I go to bed' might just be worth the pinch in her bank account. The Four Seasons is pretty nice.

She tells Max about it. They have lunch once a week, usually greasy pizza at Coney Island, and he offers her his couch. She declines as nicely as she's capable of. He shrugs, looking un-offended. Max and his roommate, Carl, live like frat boys, which they are, in a second floor walk up full of empty take out containers and mountains of soda and beer cans everywhere. But since Max is actually in college, no one says much.

(She never says it, but Alex thinks the Smarty Pants were involved somehow.)

"Why don't you just stay with Justin?" he asks.

Alex makes a face at him for talking with his mouth full (she's finally outgrown that-for the most part) and shrugs. "Justin lives all the way uptown. It would take me forever to get to Chelsea in time for work."

"You could just get up earlier," he offers.

She smiles. "I could say the same about you and your Lit class."

Max laughs. "Touché."

But you know…it's not the worst idea.

…0…

The thing Alex has missed the most about living at home, besides having someone to do her laundry, is the accessibility to her favorite targets.

IE, her brothers.

So seeing Justin's jaw drop when he opens his office door and finds her there with her luggage makes her grin like she hasn't since she booby trapped his graduation gown.

Only high school. He was watching for it after that.

"Alex…" His head whips around, very conspicuously and she snorts, before he grabs her elbow and yanks her inside. "What are you doing here?" One would think he didn't want her there.

"Geeze, Justin, calm down before you give yourself a stroke." She plops into a chair and crosses her ankles on the corner of his desk. He knocks them off and sits where they'd been.

After he dusts it off, of course.

She looks around, taking in just how very Justin it all is, the stacks and stacks of books, the action figures (cough, dolls) sporadically breaking them up, an iPod dock, lots of files and disks on the shelf behind his desk, boxes of software, a snazzy computer system. "Aw, no pictures of me? Justin, I'm hurt."

He makes a face at her, turning around the only photo in the place which is a family photo taken before Max's senior prom. She sees the pained look on her nineteen year old face and frowns. "You couldn't have picked a more flattering one than that?"

Justin grins. "I was going for the most honest representation."

Being his little sister, she sticks her tongue out at him. And being Justin, he harrumphs and asks her what she wants.

"Your couch for a few days," she tells him simply. "Ants."

Groaning, Justin asks her why she'd want to stay uptown, so far away from her job and all of her friends. He says 'friends' in a tone of voice that would imply she hangs out with junkies and hookers down on the wharf.

"Why bother people I like when I can harass you?" She smiles sweetly, leaning her head over to the side.

He gives her a fake smirk in return, full of malice, and reaches into his pocket. When he tosses her his keys she raises her eyebrows high in surprise. "No argument?"

"Is there a point?" He sighs with all the forewarned knowledge of a lot cause, standing from his seat.

"Not really." See-she's honest now.

As soon as they step out of his office there she is; the girl from the restaurant, Amy, glaring at them so hard Alex has no doubt she'll walk away with a headache. Justin curses under his breath, and ordinarily Alex would take the opportunity to tease him about his conduct when there are students milling all around them, but she's just been presented with an opportunity here and Alex is never one to pass up an opportunity when it gets laid at her feet.

Without missing a beat, Alex turns up onto her toes and presses a quick kiss to Justin's cheek, pushing away from him with a hand on his stomach. He looks thoroughly scandalized, and she saunters away, dangling his keys so that the keychain with his name is clearly visible.

…0…

Justin's apartment is just too clean.

By the time he gets there she's made herself quite at home, blasting music and bopping around in his kitchen, warming up the dish of lasagna their mom had sent home with him Sunday.

"You are not playing my records!" he booms, running his hands along the doors of his entertainment center, still ajar from where she'd riffled through for anything not remotely thrash metal or sappy coffee house whining.

"No?" She plasters an innocent look on her face. "Cause it seems like I am."

Frowning, Justin takes the needle off and the silence in the apartment is deafening. He rounds on her, hands across his chest. It's painfully obvious that he's about to scold her, but then his eyes widen. "You're wearing my clothes!"

Alex shrugs. "I forgot my pajamas." She turns back to the oven and pulls the food out of the oven. "Can I at least get credit for cooking dinner?"

"You heated dinner," he contradicts her, "and no. Not when you've been in my underwear drawer."

Rolling her eyes, Alex ignores him and goes about pilfering through his cabinets for the parmesan. Undeterred, Justin continues to grumble as he goes about setting the table. Words like 'inconsiderate' and 'boundaries' reach her ears, but she ignores them. God, it's only a pair of boxers and a ratty old tee shirt. It wasn't as if she were scrubbing the floors in one of his three piece suits.

Then she drips a little sauce on her legs, just where the line of fabric stops, and that vein in Justin's neck begins to pulse visibly and she rolls her eyes again. "Justin, relax. I'll wash them."

"It's more the fact that you got them without asking me."

Scoffing, Alex stands up and hooks her fingers into the waistband. "You want them back?"

His hands fly to cover hers, and he turns scarlet all the way down to his fingertips.

He's so easy sometimes.

"Just-just ask from now on, okay?" His eyes are fixed at a point over her shoulder. She would venture to guess he's looking at that creepy cat clock with the swinging tail and the eyes that sway from side to side.

Alex sits back down, drawing one leg up underneath the other on the chair. "All you have in there is boxers and some undershirts. I don't see the big deal."

He frowns. "How would you like it if I went through your underwear drawer?"

She snickers at the possibility. "Given the fact that you've been terrified of my underwear ever since I started wearing a bra, I'd say that's one scenario we're never going to have to deal with."

The flush that had been slowly fading from his skin flared back up, leaving him close to purple. Any mention of her in regards to subjects even remotely feminine generally results in this type of reaction. He ducks his head, shoveling food into his mouth so fast she worries he may choke-mainly because she doesn't know the Heimlich.

He does dishes, obviously, and she flops onto his squishy leather couch, sighing contentedly. Being an Ivy League Professor must pay better than she thought, because Justin's tricked his apartment out since the last time she was here. There's also the fact that Justin's cheap, but this is one time she's not going to complain, not when she's reaping the benefits of his insane satellite and surround sound system.

Settling beside her, Justin flinches when she puts her feet in his lap. Not that she cares.

They stay that way for a while, until she starts to get a crick in her neck-Justin being a guy and not having any throw pillows and all-so she swings her legs around the opposite direction and tugs on his arm until he slouches and she works her head into the crook of his shoulder.

She's asleep within minutes.

…0…

When she wakes up a few hours later, momentarily disoriented, Justin is asleep beside her, arm draped down the length her back. It's cold, so she tugs a blanket from the end of the couch over the two of them and snuggles further into him.

He's just really warm.

…0…

Justin is muttering to himself, a letter in his hand, when she comes out of the bathroom the next morning. Running her hand through her hair and yawning, she pours herself a huge bowl of cereal and plops onto his couch.

He sits beside her a few minutes later, sighing repeatedly.

"Dude," she complains, nudging him with her foot, "enough with the non-vocal whining, I'm watching this."

Some sound of disapproval makes it way out of his throat as his eyes flick to the screen. "Aren't you a little old for cartoons?"

"No."

He looks down, and releases his breath, his hands falling away and grits his teeth. "You're wearing my socks."

"It's not like they were in your underwear drawer."

"Alex…"

"My feet were cold." She leaves it at that and goes back to her cereal.

Justin lays the letter he'd been reading on the coffee table in front of the couch and she sees it's not really a letter at all. It's a hastily written note, in a messy, girlish scrawl on notebook paper, the envelope un-postmarked. Obviously it hadn't been mailed, just stuffed under the door.

"That is creepy on so many levels." She picks up the paper and her brow scrunches. "'Cheaters never prosper.' Okay, this girl is nuts."

Justin nods. "That's what I was thinking."

Standing, Alex walks over to the big picture window. She can see the park in the distance, and the surrounding colors of the buildings and the mid morning sky. "I feel like I've seen this movie before."

"Ha ha," Justin remarks, tone dry. He comes over to stand behind her, looking over her head to the view of the park in the distance, surrounded by the various colors of the buildings around it and the midmorning sun.

Alex turns, still the slightest bit unused to Justin being so much bigger than her. She'd come close to accusing him of doing something magical or chemical to himself in order to bulk up and add on his few extra inches. But then he'd started in about growth hormones and how men sometimes continued to grow into their twenties and she'd simply turned him into an apple.

It seemed fitting at the time.

"Justin, are you sure you didn't do anything to lead this girl on in any way?"

He looks offended, and sniffs, drawing himself up to his full height. "I haven't acted any differently towards her than I have with any of my other students."

"And that explains why she's just so in love with you."

Pinking up, Justin clears his throat, looking straight ahead. "It's not love. Its teenage infatuation." His tone has gone prickly and defensive, as if her light teasing actually does hold the weight of accusation in its easy words.

There was only one way to deal with this.

Alex starts humming under her breath, smirk twisting her mouth.

"Alex…" Justin says warningly.

"Young girl, get out of my mind, my love for you is way out of line." She grins up at him while she sings, false innocence on her face.

He gives her a hard look and shakes his head. "You are so not funny," he remarks, turning on his heel and stalking off to the bathroom.

…0…

Justin's in the middle of a conference or something when Alex walks into his office later that day. He scowls at her for interrupting. The kid with the dreads just gives her a once over and a cheesy grin.

She ignores him. "Sorry, but I left my sketches at your place this morning, and my meeting is in an hour, so…"

Huffing in understanding, Justin digs into his pocket and tosses his keys to her. She catches them easily, and thanks him. She hears a voice exclaim "Dude!" once she's out of the room.

Amy is in a small row of chairs just outside Justin's office, thick book that proclaims Basics of Mechanical Engineering down the side open in her arms. And like the last two times Alex has seen her, she's glaring hard enough to cut stone with her eyes.

Justin did ask Alex not to antagonize her… Then again, Justin's not here.

(He's on the other side of the door, yeah, but that isn't here.)

So she smiles sweetly, making a big show of dangling Justin's keys in front of her, and walks deliberately past her, tossing off "Your book is upside down" on her way.

…0…

One thing Alex had liked about going to art school was that it was easy to learn her way around. Small campus, few buildings. Very easy.

But Columbia is a different story. Different buildings on different streets, none of them labeled very well, and they all look the same to her.

That may sound a little odd coming from someone who grew up in a city of skyscrapers, but it's true. She has no idea how anyone finds anything on this campus. There's only reason she knows where Justin's office is, and that's because Justin first showed her exactly where it was. Other than that…she knows where nothing is.

"Hey." She grabs some random student by the arm outside of the building Justin's office is. "I'm a little lost." Looking at him, Alex notices he's wearing a Star Wars shirt. Score. "I'm looking for Justin Russo, he teaches-"

"Engineering," the guy finishes. "Well, his office is just upstairs here."

Alex nods. "He's not up there. I think he has a class right now."

"Oh, okay. Most of his classes are in the Applied Sciences building in Hamilton Hall, on Amsterdam. Try 309."

"Thanks." Hitching her bag up higher on her shoulder, and waits for a lull in traffic so she can cross the street.

Once she gets up to the third floor, she peers around in windows until she spies Justin gesturing to some complicated looking formula or theory, or something, on the board behind him while he talked. Some of the students were taking notes, others were gathering their things so she figured that class must be close to finished.

She was planning to wait. Honestly. Until she flicks her eyes to the side and sees Amy, sitting front and center, her skirt hiking up almost indecently on her thighs, giving Justin the full on flirty eyes and chewing her pencil like some bad Lolita cliché.

And that just sort of bothers her.

Justin can't yell at her in front of his class, right?

Pulling open the door, Alex watches Justin stop talking as she walks over to him, his keys in her hand and a huge smile on her face.

"Alex." As tight as his smile is, his voice is even more so, and his eyes have that same murderous gleam they held when she used to steal his comic books. "I'm a little busy right now."

"Not as busy as you'd be if you couldn't get into your apartment." Raising her hand, she spreads her fingers to let the keys dangle against her palm. "And I made myself a copy so I don't have to keep coming to get these."

Somewhere in the back of the classroom one of the students snickers, and Justin's ears get that red glow that must certainly be visible all the way back there. He hisses her name again, which prompts several more giggles. With a heavy sigh he dismisses class early, assigning an extra set of study questions in retaliation for the giggling.

Alex stands quietly at Justin's desk as she gathers up some papers and folders and puts them in his briefcase. Students walk past them, and more than a few toss looks at her on their way out. It takes a lot of effort not to roll her eyes at the guys that make no effort at all to hide the fact that they're checking her out.

A few of the girls huddle by the door, still giggling. Now she does now her eyes because there's no way they should still be that ridiculous in college. No way was she that bad.

Of course she knows what they're thinking. She can't not know, not when it was sort of her intention for them to think that. For Amy to think that. It doesn't even matter how angry Justin's going to be when the whole thing is over. He'll thank her someday.

And that's when she begins to notice something. The girls by the door aren't really looking at her. Well, they dart little glances in her direction, but mainly they're looking at Justin, while they giggle and whisper and she finally gets it.

"Oh. My. God."

Justin looks up at her, confused. "What?"

Giggles of her own start up and he pulls her further away from the door where they could potentially be overheard. "What's so funny-besides you insinuating things to my class?"

Insinuate? He's such a nerd. "Do those girls," she gestures in their direction, "do that a lot?"

He looks over her shoulder. "Do what?"

"You know, stand there and giggle, flipping their hair and smiling at you?" Keeping her features schooled, she waits while he mulls it over, finally shrugging.

"Yeah. I guess they do. Why?"

Alex doubles over in laughter, face in her hands.

Justin waits, tapping his foot, until she gets it out of her system and straightens back up.

"Care to let me in on the joke?"

Not cracking up at his face is difficult, but she manages. "I just can't get my head around it," she says. "You're the hot teacher."

"What?!"

That's the Justin she remembers. The one who overreacts and screeches like a girl.

Snickering, she shushes him and turns him so he can see that the girls are still there, mostly. The group has thinned out a little, but a few of them linger with their eyes flicking up from books and notepads in their direction. "See that?" she asks. "That's what it looks like when an eighteen year old girl is trying to get your attention. I know that never really happened when you were eighteen so maybe that's why you don't recognize it…"

"You're just so funny today."

"Oh come on, Justin, lighten up." She pats his shoulder, bringing her other hand up to the opposite side so he's forced to look at her. "Face it, by some weird twist of fate, you are actually the hot teacher, and all those girls over there are hanging around hoping that you're going to notice them. Deal with it."

Really, she almost feels sorry for him. He looks entirely flabbergasted, tossing a look over his shoulder at the group, who blush and continue to giggle.

She doubts he's ever going to be able to get through a class without flushing ever again.

He seems a little like he's in a trance, and she sees the wheels in his head whirring at a rapid-fire pace, so she blows out her breath and grabs him by the wrist, practically leading him out of the room like he's a small child and not her twenty six year old brother.

Seeing that, the girls, with pouts on their faces, begin to disperse. Alex stands there while Justin locks the classroom. Her phone buzzes, so she pulls it out. It's a text from her landlord that she can come back to her apartment that night. When she sticks it back down in her purse Alex notices Amy a few feet off, watching them. There are other girls around too, and what she is fairly sure is another professor, and it's just too weird that they're all loitering around for Justin.

(Well, she's seen a few of the other staff so maybe it isn't that unbelievable. And he is young, and single.)

(Among other things.)

And Justin, he's never going to do anything about Amy, or any other girl that gets overly attached to him. So maybe Alex is just going to have to do it for him…

When Justin faces her, she takes a step closer to him, which makes him draw his eyebrows together, but the only thing he says is "Pizza okay for dinner?"

Alex nods, taking her lower lip between her teeth. This is probably stupid. More than just probably, but there's a part of her that almost doesn't care.

And she can't convince herself as to why.

"Alex?" Okay, he senses that there's something up, but he can't know…

…and then he watches her eyes fall down to his mouth and his breath hitches. "Alex" he murmurs.

His neck is already flushing hot, and he's falters in his eye contact, unsure what to do with himself when she moves into his him and traces his face with long fingers. A very, very faint 'stop' floats on the air between them, and she should listen to him. Justin's spent her entire life trying to keep her from making stupid, reckless mistakes.

And she could safely say she's made her point here. The crowd around them has changed, going from hopeful to curious, the change in the air, but one thing that Alex has always been aware of is her own lack of self control.

His face goes fuzzy, so close, and she just prays that no one gathered nearby actually knows Justin.

Justin stands there, rigid, and she presses her mouth just barely against his. He jolts, and then seems to melt, both against her and back into the door behind him. Alex sighs, a soft falling sound in her throat, as she repeatedly presses their lips together. It's nothing more than touching, a point of contact between their faces, that's it, but as Justin starts responding shyly, bewildered but trying, and warmth spreads throughout her body. Without warning, she swipes her tongue out over his lips and rakes her nails up behind his ears to the crown of his head. Justin shudders. She can practically hear his toes curl as she laps at his mouth, kisses him soundly, working his mouth over thoroughly. He keeps making these (hot) panting sounds that get lost somewhere between his teeth and her lips.

Someone whistles at them, causing snickers to break out along the hall they're standing in. Breaking apart, Alex can't help but feel a little dazed, even more so than Justin looks-and that's saying something. He's slack jawed and wide eyed, and a whole bunch of other things. She pokes at him to snap him from his stupor before his students begin to think he's entirely inexperienced.

"That was a bad idea," he whispers, eyes still trained on her mouth. "A very, very bad idea."

"Do you care?" she asks, unable to stop herself.

Looking around, he clears his throat and straightens his shirt from where she'd fisted it in her hand. "Ask me again when my students and colleagues aren't watching us."

"Does that mean there's going to be a next time?" Alex flutters her eyes at him, making him grin. "That is assuming you're going to hide that picture in your office. Someone might get the wrong impression, so to speak."

Rolling his eyes, Justin slides his arm around her and steers her towards the elevator. He's still a little red, so they've probably had enough PDA for one afternoon. Alex spies Amy watching them as people get on after them. Unable to resist, Alex waggles her fingers at her in a wave. "So much for a crush on the teacher."

Justin laughs. "What am I going to do with you?"

"Oh I have a few ideas," she tells him, not caring that the other people can hear them, and ignoring him when he tries to quiet her, "but maybe I should go back to my own apartment instead."

"But the fumigation-"

"Is finished."

He looks vaguely put out by the news, which she finds inexplicably adorable, so she takes hold of his collar and pulls his face down. She places her lips beside his ear and whispers, delighting in his sharp inhale of breath.

"It all depends on whether or not we can revisit the subject of the underwear drawer."

…0…

"Young girl, get out of my mind, my love for you is way out of line."

- 'Young Girl' by Gary Puckett