Disclaimer: Disney owns Wizards of Waverly Place, not me. This fic is being written for pure amusement only. No profits are being made from it.

Author's Note: I was really surprised to see how little Justin/Harper fanfics are out there. Do people hate that pairing or something? Anyway, this is my first attempt at a Wizards fic so if I get any details wrong, please forgive me. Also, if there are any spells in this fic, they will most likely just be rhymes that I made up. It would be too hard to try to remember every single spell that they actually recite on the show, so this would be easier.

Please review. And for the haters out there, your reviews are welcome too but I'll probably ignore you if you bash me too much. And now, enjoy!

A Familiar Pattern

By genielou

Theresa Russo hugged her eldest son tighter as she bawled on his shoulder.

"Miho, my miho, I can't believe you're actually leaving me."

"Mom, I'll be back eventually," Justin cooed, trying to comfort his mother. "In approximately two years, Max will turn eighteen and we'll have to go through the competition. And when that happens," Justin held her at arm's length and looked straight into her eyes, "I promise I'll take an extra long vacation time, and we'll have a bunch of mother-son bonding time. Okay?"

"Okay, querida," she sniffed.

Justin kissed her one last time, then slung his backpack onto one shoulder and headed towards the entrance doors of the Waverly Substation. His family remained in their places as per request; Justin thought that it would be easier for him to leave if they didn't come after him. They merely looked after him longingly; even Alex seemed to look sad.

He exited the building and made his way towards the cab that was waiting by the sidewalk, already carrying most of his suitcases. The cab driver sat by the hood of the car, reading over the directions needed to get his passenger to his new college of choice. He looked up as Justin came closer.

"You ready, kid?" he asked in a Brooklyn accent. Justin nodded in response.

Suddenly, as Justin pulled the cab door open, a hand tapped on his shoulder.


He turned around to see the short redhead, looking up at him shyly.

"Uhm, I made you this," she said, holding out a plate in front of him. "It's a, you know, good bye present."

Justin smiled warmly at her manner, finding this side of Harper quite cute. He immediately thought back to the normal Harper, the Harper that he had once or twice found himself considering as an actual girl and not just as his little sister's weird best friend. But with a look down at the plate she was holding, these thoughts quickly faltered. His smile disappeared when he saw a photoshopped image of himself and Harper, arm in arm, as the plate's main decoration. He cringed at this evidence of her obsession.

He sighed, then took a deep breath. This has gone on for too long. Justin let go of the car door, and positioned himself to face her completely. He held up a hand, and gently pushed the plate away from himself. Harper looked at him with dejected eyes.

"Harper," he started, looking down at her determinedly. "This. Has got. To. Stop."

Harper winced at his enunciation.

"You've been pining over me since elementary school. We're almost adults now. Surely you've realized a long time ago that there is no chance of you and me ever happening?"

"But Justin, that's only because you're being close-minded about it," she said in a low voice, maintaining her cheerfulness but nonetheless unsuccessfully hiding her fear. She slapped a hand on his shoulder in an attempt to lighten his growing mood. "Come on, I'm slowly breaking you down."

Justin shook his head. He didn't want to do this next part, but knew it was necessary. He was entering a new school, and that means a new chance to have a different, and maybe a better, identity. He just couldn't risk having Harper ruin that for him.

He placed both hands on her shoulder and looked at her straight in the eyes. Harper's eyes almost teared upon seeing the seriousness in his frown. She held her breath as she braced herself for the inevitable.

"Harper," he said sternly, determined to no longer humor her. "Grow up."

With those words, he let her go and climbed into the cab. He closed the door without another glance at her. She stood back as the cab engine turned on, and slowly pulled off of the curb.

Harper watched as the cab drove away, further, and then deeper, into the New York traffic. She hugged the plate with both arms as she looked on. She had expected this. She had been expecting it for years. But still, being ready for it didn't help with the impact that it created.

"Harper!" her best friend hollered. "Come on! I'm getting hungry! Eat! Now!"

She took a deep breath and squeezed her eyes shut to try to calm herself. Once the dampness in her eyes dried, she pasted a smile on her face and skipped towards the waving Alex. She would tell her eventually, but for now, eating might help make the pain in her chest go away.