Fandom: Angel (tv)
Characters: Justine Cooper/Julia Cooper
Summary/Teaser: After their parents die, Julia and Justine turn inward, and towards each other.
Warnings: death. not much beyond kissing in terms of sex, but it is between teenage twin sisters.
Spoilers: none. set pre-Angel
Notes: Ari requested this pairing in buffyverse1000, so how could I turn it down? (Though for what it’s worth, this fic doesn’t fit the universe I created in those other 2 fics.)
Word Count: 694

Standard Disclaimer: Joss Whedon and co. own the characters, I’m just playing with them. I do, however, own this story, so don’t steal it. Archive it anywhere; just ask first.

Feedback is always appreciated. Make me blush with praise or rip apart the story with criticism, or both.

Turning Inward, Turning Outward
by Elizabeth Scripturient

Julia called the cheerleading coach and told her, in a dull voice, that her parents had been killed in a car crash and she wouldn’t be finishing out the season. Since to cheer for athletes when both one’s parents lie rotting below ground was really rather grotesque, everyone respected her decision. The squad members all sent sympathy cards and attended the wake or the funeral or both, hugging Julia and assuring her in hushed voices that if there was anything they could do she had only to ask. Her friends who weren’t on the squad did the same. They tried to take their cues from her, give her time to mourn. At school they watched her downcast eyes and stiffened posture from a distance for weeks. After about three weeks, girls started inviting her to study sessions. They knew inviting her to a concert or party would be inappropriate, but she had been sitting alone at lunch for weeks, never talking in class, and her friends were starting to get worried about her. All invitations got the same response, though: “Sorry, I can’t.” Some friends called the house and left messages on the answering machine saying things like, “Julia, I just wanted to let you know that if you wanna talk to anyone, I’m here for you,” but the calls were never returned. Julia did all her homework; her grades showed no change from the solid marks she had always gotten. But she just stopped talking to anyone. And eventually people stopped trying.

One of their uncles told Julia and Justine that their parents’ combined life insurance policy would probably allow them to pay the rent on the apartment, along with a minimum of the necessities of food and clothing, until they finished high school, though in California one never knew when housing would suddenly become unaffordable. Justine got a job as a waitress. A classy place where no high schooler would ever go for a meal. Although she had always been quiet and a loner, she played the role of cheerful hostess easily. She swept her hair up in a loose bun and with her sister’s help applied a glossy patina of makeup. That, combined with a bright smile and lilting tone of voice, meant no one ever looked too hard at her eyes. And the restaurant was always so busy that she often almost lost herself in her role. She always remembered, though, when she stepped out into the parking lot at the end of an evening and started walking toward the old Buick, and by the time she got home her makeup was always streaked from a steady flow of tears.

They didn’t talk much to each other, either. Julia always had dinner waiting for Justine when she got home, but they ate in silence, sitting across the table from each other but staring unseeingly down at their plates.

One night, Julia crawled into Justine’s bed. Justine rolled over and propped herself up on one elbow, rubbing her eyes.

“I couldn’t sleep,” Julia whispered. “I’m sorry I woke you.”

“Shh, don’t be.” As her eyes grew accustomed to the dim light, Justine realized her sister wasn’t wearing anything. The California nights were often warm, but she herself always wore a nightgown. Modesty, she supposed. The one she was wearing tonight was a pale blue and felt like silk though it was a thrift store purchase that had stood up to multiple machine washings. Julia put out her hand and stroked the fabric, stroking Justine’s left breast in the process. Justine inhaled sharply, and her back stiffened, but she didn’t move away. Julia moved her hand to Justine’s waist, and Justine lay down on her back. Julia turned toward her, propping herself up on one elbow. She stared at Justine for a while, and Justine stared back, meeting her gaze.

Then Julia leaned over and kissed her, softly, on the mouth. Justine let out a short breath of surprise and then kissed her back, draping one arm over her sister’s backside. They continued in this manner, slowly, tenderly, for quite some time, and eventually they fell asleep, their arms wrapped around each other.

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