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Starting Over; Justin/Padma

Title: Starting Over
Paring: Justin/Padma
Rating: R
Word Count: 2786
Summary: Justin has to fix the mess that results when one thing leads to another with Padma.

The din inside the pub was deafening.  Justin could hear it from several buildings away, and coming through the door was like walking straight into a wall of sound.  He accepted the shouted greetings from his fellow Healer candidates and made his way to the bar to get a drink, marveling at the fact that so much sound was being produced by a fairly small group of people.  Passersby must think that something incredible had just happened, certainly much more than the end of board examinations.

Justin slid into a booth across from Padma Patil, who was nursing a drink of her own.  "You're drinking?  It really is a celebratory evening."

She rolled her eyes but smiled nonetheless.  "I appreciate the end of our training period as much as anyone."

He took a drink, then asked, "So what are you going to do with yourself now that this whole mess is over?  Travel?  Write the next great novel?"

"I've been meaning to update my resumé," she replied, completely serious.

"You're thinking about leaving St. Mungo's?" he asked, trying to sound neither surprised nor panicked, which were the two emotions he was feeling.

"No," she replied, twirling her straw in her drink and thankfully missing anything that had happened on his face.  "It's just something that's good to do from time to time."

Justin smirked.  "God, Patil, it never stops with you."

"What?" she asked.

"All right, I'm going to use my plans as an example of what normal people are going to be doing now that boards are over." He took her rolled eyes as a signal to go on.  "I'm going to sleep for about five days in a row.  Then I'm going to go let my family know that I, in fact, do still exist.  I'm going to bum around there for a while and let my mum feed me.  Then, who knows."

"Some people don't like to do nothing," she told him, sounding rather prissy.

"Yes, people who are robots," he shot back.  "Everyone needs to have a bit of free time now and then.  Especially when they have been doing nothing other than working and revising for months."

Their conversation was cut off at that point, as several people just noticed Justin's arrival and came over to offer congratulations, drinks, and toasts.  There were quite a few empty glasses when they moved off again, and Justin honestly was not sure how many of them had been his.

"Everyone likes you," Padma said when they had moved off. Justin noticed that she was also surrounded by glasses and looked rather happy.

"Not everyone," he said.  "You don't."  He definitely had not meant to let that slip.

She giggled.  "Silly!  We're friends!  That's like, the definition."

He laughed at her sudden wide-eyed earnesty, though he was not at all amused by the statement.  He and Padma were great friends, but that did little to help how attracted he was to her.  He had been from nearly the moment they started working at St. Mungo's together, but she had just come out of a relationship.  Then, somehow, while he was trying to let the appropriate amount of time pass to ask her out, they had become friends.  Justin had been repeatedly advised that there was no changing that now.

"That blonde girl by the door is very pretty," Padma said, interrupting his reverie.  She had an annoying habit of trying to set him up.

Justin pretended to notice and, more importantly, to care.  "Hmm."

"You should go flirt with her," she went on.

"Nah," he replied, trying to sound merely disinterested, and ordered a firewhisky.

"I've never had one of those!" she announced as it arrived on their table.

"They're strong," he warned, but she promptly ordered one anyway.  "Really strong, Patil."

"Oh shut up," she said.  "I'm not a prude."

He began to laugh but stop when she downed the firewhisky in one gulp.  For a moment, she looked like she might choke, but she recovered and pointed at his.  "What are you waiting for?"

He obediently drank, nearly choking as well.  Justin always forgot how intense the burn was as the whisky went down.  He vaguely heard Padma order and blinked in surprise when four more firewhiskies appeared on the table.

"This is not a good idea," he protested as she downed another.

"Drink," she ordered and he did.

"Really, you shouldn't- it's too strong," he sputtered.

She rolled her eyes and hopped up from the table.  "You're not my mum, Fletch-Finchy!  I'll be back."

She took another firewhisky with her, but Justin did not have time to figure out where she went, because someone took her empty seat immediately.  He drank the one she left behind.

The night became a bit of a blur after that. He lost count of how many drinks he had, who he talked to, or how much time had passed.  At some point, he began dancing with the others.  That, too, was a blur until Padma came dancing up to him.

"There you are!" he said and she giggled, holding onto his arm a bit to steady herself.  Justin figured she must be having a similar night.

"Dance with me?" she asked.  He nodded.  "Promise you won't try to feel me up?" Again, he nodded.

Justin soon realized that the real danger in the situation was not him feeling her up.  Less than a minute into the song, she started dancing closer and closer to him, until soon her backside was directly up against his crotch, which was traitorously responding with enthusiasm.

"Er-" he stammered, but she interrupted his thought process by grabbing one of his hands and resting it on her hip.

"Have you been dancing with everyone like this?" he managed, trying to keep his mind away from what she was doing to his body.

"No," she replied simply and turned around to face him.  His hand automatically pulled her hips forward against his, and a little sound escaped his throat simultaneously.  They both seemed to come to their senses a bit at that.

"It's late," he said at the same time she said "I'm ready to go."

They walked out together.  "I can't remember how I got here," she confessed, giggling.

Justin laughed and started to walk her back to her flat.  There was much stumbling and giggling on the way but little talking, as he tried to analyse what happened in the pub.  They both tripped several times up the steps, but at last he saw her into her flat.

"Good night, Patil," he said, but she grabbed his shirt.  "Are you all right?"

"Don't leave," she told him.

"There's no reason to stay," he said comfortingly.  "You'll be fine."

She used her grip on his shirt to pull him down and kiss him. There was a reason.  He kissed her back (with his eyes open, as he quickly discovered he was no longer capable of keeping his balance with them closed).  He lost track of time for a bit while they stood like that, but then he felt her hands on his belt a second before his trousers were falling down to his knees.

"What are we doing?" he asked, noticing suddenly that her skirt was also on the floor.

"I want you," she murmured.  Justin had been wondering if he ought to try to stop what was happening, enjoyable as it was, but that statement gave her the green light.  Their clothes came off quicker after that, and the next thing he knew, she was pushing him down into a chair and climbing onto his lap.

The kissing picked back up.  Justin stopped caring if he was being sloppy or if he was out of practice.  The feeling of wetness between them was proof enough for him that something was going right.

"Shite," she muttered as she started moving onto him.  "This's big-"

He grinned widely and his extreme pleasure at that statement allowed him to forgive her for taking a tortuously long time to finish getting on all the way.  It was worth the wait, though, he decided, when she began to rock her hips against him.  There was a lot he wanted to say when it was over, but all he could manage was an incredibly goofy grin right before he fell asleep.

~*~


The sound of a low groan was the first thing to penetrate his sleep.  He noticed that his neck felt funny, that his mouth was dry, that his eyelids felt too heavy to open, that he was naked and someone was on him. His eyes flew open quickly at that thought, in time to see Padma looking at him, utterly horrified.

"You arse!" she said, smacking his chest before jumping off and grabbing something to cover herself with.

"What?" he sputtered.  Justin was not much of a morning person as it was, but being hung-over and randomly naked certainly did not help his ability to form coherent thoughts.

"You shagged me!" she shouted.  He was glad she looked to be trying to keep her distance or he was sure she would have smacked him again to punctuate her statement.  "You stole my virginity!"

"I- I- but-" he stammered.

"God- put some clothes on!" she said.

He jumped up and scrambled back into what he had been wearing the night before, noting the missing buttons on his shirt.  He was not about to look for them right now.

"You came onto me," he said, finally able to articulate the point he had been trying to make since her "good morning" slap.  "And- it was my virginity too."

She glared at him.  Justin knew if she had her wand he just might be dead right now.  "Get out."

"Patil-" he protested.  She stomped over and picked up her wand.  He apparated away.

~*~


Unfortunately the end of board examinations meant that all of the Healers-in-training had ten weeks of vacation, which meant that in order to talk with Padma, Justin had to become a bit of a stalker.  He tried to be the least creepy that he could be about it, choosing to take a book to a cafe nearby in the hopes that she would walk past.  It took him three days to get lucky, but then finally, there she was.  He hastily paid and left the café.

"Patil!" he called.  She spun around and looked like she might hit him in the mouth.  Maybe he was wrong in thinking she could have gotten over the drunken shagging.

"You have a lot of nerve," she muttered when he was a few steps away.

"Look, Patil," he said.  "About the other night-"

"A mistake," she said, waving her hands as if to deflect what he was trying to say to her.  "A very big mistake."

"All right, maybe it was a mistake," he allowed. 

"Maybe?" she asked, looking dangerous.  Justin wondered if that was her wand that her hand kept clenching around in her pocket.

"Please just let me say what I'm trying to say," he told her.  She crossed her arms over her chest and waited.

"It was a mistake," he began.  Justin had rehearsed this little speech a hundred times.  "The timing was all wrong- and we were drunk, obviously.  But- I've fancied you for such a long time, and there you were dancing all on me and saying that you wanted me.  We were caught up in the same moment for once, and it really was wonderful when-"

"Stop it," she said, pushing him back.  "You should've known better-"

Justin started to feel a little angry.  "Won't you listen to me?  I never would have slept with you if I thought you didn't want it-"  He ignored her shushing as his voice grew steadily louder.  "I wouldn't do something like that.  Don't you know me at all?  I care about you-"

"I don't think I do know you," she snapped and walked past him.  He was too stunned to move.

~*~


It had been good to see his family, Justin concluded after a week spent out of the city at his childhood home.  His mother had cooked all of his favourites and worried about how he looked tired.  His father and brother had gone hiking with him several times, and he saw a few films with his younger sister.  All in all, it had been nice to get away, especially since it kept his mind off of the mess that his life was back in London.

He was trying to keep those thoughts away as he unlocked the door to his flat, when suddenly a voice said "oh, thank God" and someone grabbed him around the neck.  He couldn't see them by virtue of being grabbed around the neck, but the size and smell gave him an idea.

"Patil?" he asked, baffled.

She sniffled against his shoulder. "I thought maybe you wouldn't come back."

"I went to visit my family.  Remember?" he asked.  "What's going on?"

She pulled back from the death grip of a hug she had him in and looked down at his shoes.  "I've acted foolishly."

Justin was about to say something before he realised that there was no good response to that, so he just waited.

"I know that what happened is my fault- a lot of it, at least.  I was just upset that I let it happen, and I took it out on you.  I'm sorry."  She glanced up at his face.  "I hope we can go back to being friends, because I miss you."

He smiled, a bit wryly.  "I appreciate the apology."

"And we can be friends again?" she prompted.

"I don't know," he said, feeling horrible as he watched her face fall.  "I don't know if I can settle for that anymore."

"Justin, I've always liked you, a lot actually," she said while he wondered if she had ever called him by his given name before.  "I just don't think that we can start something from here.  I mean, we've already- and we're already a mess.  I just think it'll be too much hassle to sort it all out and have a proper relationship."

"Fair enough," he said calmly, then stepped into his flat and shut the door behind him.

~*~


Justin spent a lot of time that night thinking about the way that Padma had turned him down (and not very much time at all sleeping).  When he got out of bed that morning, he found some parchment and wrote her a short note.  After roughly twelve drafts, he settled on one that said:

Dear Healer Patil,
My name is Justin Alexander Finch-Fletchley, but I realise that's quite a mouthful.  Most people call me Finch-Fletchley, though some choose Finch or Fletch.  The rare few even go with Justin.  I do hope you'll agree to be my pen friend.  I've heard many good things about you.  So the questions I hope you'll answer for me in your return letter are:

  1. What is your favourite colour and why?

  2. Who is your favourite author?

  3. What are your hobbies?

  4. Do you have any pets?

  5. What is your favourite herb?

Five questions ought to be enough, I think.  Please write back, and add more questions if you like.  It's not really fair if I have to be the one thinking them up all the time.

Yours truly,
JFF

He sent it out before he could think too much more about it.  A grin spread across his face when an owl showed up a little later that morning with a reply.

~*~


After three weeks of correspondence, Justin invited his new pen friend out for tea.  He played his role perfectly: introducing himself when she first came in, pulling out the chair, keeping the topic of conversation on things they had discussed in their letters.

"I get your point," she said suddenly towards the end of their tea pot.

Justin was baffled, considering he had been pondering aloud how much longer it would be before the board results came out.  "What?"

"I get your point.  People can start over," she said.

"Er, what're you talking about?" he wondered, unsure if he wanted the conversation to stray into that territory.

"You were right.  Again, which is really quite annoying."  She smiled at him.  "And I would like it if we could pick up again at where we were, because honestly, at this rate, it's going to be about two years before you shag me again."

Justin grinned and poured out the last of the tea into their cups.  "And how long would you like it to be?"

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
thisiamdenied
Mar. 22nd, 2009 09:47 pm (UTC)
1) I REALLY LOVE THAT SHE WANTS TO SPEND HER BREAK WORKING ON HER RESUME.

2) SIMULTANEOUS VIRGINITY STEALING.

3) Oh stalker!Justin. At least he's not sneaking in through her window.

4) LETTERS OF ADORABLE.

5) She wants it to be later that night, probably. >.>

andomgilovethisandyouand<44444
thisiamdenied
Mar. 22nd, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC)
Oh also:

6) PROMISE NOT TO FEEL ME UP. <--best thing ever. Even though she ends up molesting him after making him promise not to do it to her, haaaaaaa. Oh Padma and her double standards.
end_unplanned
Mar. 22nd, 2009 09:54 pm (UTC)
6. Indeed. I really don't think he minded ;)
end_unplanned
Mar. 22nd, 2009 09:53 pm (UTC)
1.Hahaha, I was like "what would be the most Padma-esque thing to do in this situation?"

2.Woot.

3.Truth.

4. Yay!

5. Justin would approve
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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