Remix: Burn Your Life Down (Cities In Dust Remix) [Justin/Alex, 500 words, rated PG-13, incest], by amathela
When the truth comes out and the world goes to hell, they run.
They get fake IDs, passports, paperwork. Check into cheap motels under fake names, take jobs that pay cash, and never, ever stay too long in one place.
(She uses magic in Denver; in Oklahoma City, a wizard is arrested. She gets used to sleeping on trains.)
She gets better at lying, because it matters, now, because flinching when someone calls her the wrong name could get them both caught. She cuts her hair, and Justin grows a beard; her boss calls him a cradle robber, and Alex laughs, but it stopped being funny a long time ago.
(She twists the cheap ring Justin bought to sell their cover story on her finger, and tries not to wonder if it means more than it should. She's never been great at introspection, anyway.)
They celebrate his birthday, then hers, with cheap champagne, cross-legged on the bed, legs hanging off the balcony, always touching. She's almost forgotten the way things used to be; Justin's tenth birthday when their mom made cake and they all wore ridiculous hats, working at the sub shop and going to school and having friends, forgotten a time when family meant more than her and Justin and magic wasn't a dirty word.
(New York is this hazy, ephemeral kind of thing, like a life that belonged to someone else, but she remembers the panic of sonar and protests and the Anti-Magic Junior League, watching the rising tension on the television, the day magic stopped being a part of who she was and became some dirty, dangerous secret instead. She remembers making the decision to stay, not to run with mom and dad and Max, and the split second of panic before Justin said he was staying, too, when it was almost just going to be her, alone. She never would have made it this far.)
She falls asleep and wakes up tangled in Justin, on top of the sheets; he's already awake, and he pushes a stray lock of hair back from her forehead, smiles down at her. A year ago, she would have teased him about watching her sleep; two years, and she would have pulled back in disgust.
She closes her eyes, and rests her head in the crook of his elbow.
(She's always been good at ignoring danger signs.)
The world burns around them
(burn the witch)
and she holds Justin a little tighter, like he's all that really matters.
(The panic has settled into a dull ache, low in her stomach, something she barely notices any more. Justin's magic, and hers, is a faint buzzing in her head, like something long-forgotten that still won't go away.)
He's the only person who even knows her name.
She takes his hand, the cheap ring biting into her skin; pulls him close, and he cups her cheek, breathes into her hair.
(Really, nothing that happens after this should be a surprise.)