A/N: For those of you who follow my work on AO3, you'll have noticed that this wasn't on my other profile. I've decided to move away from my original AO3 account (because I don't believe in deleting my works or orphaning them). Almost everything there was related to Marvel or Psych and I'm frankly sick of those fandoms. Anyways, this is a new fic, slightly mature. There's referenced rape, implied abortion, break-ups, attempted murder, so on and so forth. For those of you who like Mason and the Mason/Alex ship, you'll want to skip this one.
It's the first time he's loved someone like this.
He hasn't known Theresa for very long, has really only exchanged notes with her once in class, but she had a brilliant smile and a twinkle in her eyes, and he was enamored.
And he didn't really think that there was any specific "one" for him before, but then he met Theresa, and then he knew, from the first moment he saw her, that he would move mountains for her, that he would dry out oceans for her, that he would do anything in his power that he possibly could. And he could do a lot.
Jerry Russo has known the rules of wizarding for a long time. He knows that, if he goes out with her, if he marries her, he has to give up his powers and there is no backing out of it.
He takes a deep breath and focuses back to his business textbook. No business in considering giving up his powers if he's not even going on a date with her.
He asks her on a date because the feeling isn't going away, and he still knows he would give up his powers for her. She smiles, a little shyly, and shakes her hair away from her face before she accepts his offer, with her only condition being that it couldn't be a standard dinner date or movie date. Jerry nods, waving goodbye with the promise that this date will blow any other first dates out of the water.
He wants to tell her that he's a wizard.
He will not tell her that he's a wizard.
Instead of a romantic date on the top of a parking garage, where they're laying down in the bed of his truck, staring at the stars and him using beautiful magic, they go roller skating, then for ice cream. He tells her that he's a broke college student, so he couldn't afford much else.
Outside of her dorm building, she stands up on her tiptoes and kisses him.
He knows he is going to marry her.
It's no longer a question anymore; it's an instinct, a feeling, a knowledge of the powers he is about to give up, but he has been dating her for six months, and he knows the rules. Wizards cannot marry mortals, but he will do anything to marry her.
She just…deserves to know the truth.
So this time, he takes her to the top of a parking garage past midnight, and he gives her his jacket. They sit on the bed of his truck, their feet hanging over the edge, when he takes a deep breath and says, "Look, Theresa, I'm a wizard."
She tilts her head to study him, and eventually, like he expected, she laughs. "Oh come on, I'm not an idiot. Wizards don't exist."
He wipes his palms on his pants. "I'm not kidding, Theresa. I'm actually a wizard."
She's about to stand up and storm off, but he grabs her elbow and lifts his finger in the air. Light drifts from his fingertip, and he traces a heart with Believe me now? written inside of it. And Theresa holds her hand up to her mouth, her eyes wide, and she doesn't know whether to look at him or the heart.
"You're a wizard!"
He nods, and he knows he might have just blown his chance. "I'm a wizard."
It takes some getting used to for her, but she understands. They get serious. When she hangs out at his place and the weather becomes too bad, she changes into a pair of his sweats and one of his shirts and stays the night with his arm draped over her middle. They start talking about having kids – he's always wanted three boys, and she's always wanted three girls. He tries to joke about having six kids, but Theresa came from a family of nine, and she immediately vetoes any number exceeding four, and four is if her last pregnancy is twins.
He tells her about the rule that wizards cannot marry non-wizards.
She freezes. "That means you can't marry me?"
He sighs and reaches for her hands. "Not exactly. I can't marry you as a wizard, but that doesn't mean I can't give up my powers."
She tries to pull her hands away from him. "I can't ask you to do that. I don't know what it's like being a wizard, but I can't ask you to give that up for me."
He grips her hands tighter. "I've already made my decision. I don't need my powers, but I cannot imagine the rest of my life without you by my side."
His father disapproves. His mother disapproves. His sister frowns upon his decision. Kelbo is ecstatic.
Professor Crumbs tsks his tongue and says what a shame it is that Jerry is giving up his powers. Dad says he cannot understand why Jerry would do such a thing for a girl. Mom agrees, and Jerry wonders how much they really love each other. Megan storms out of the house and doesn't speak to him again until Justin is born. Kelbo hugs him so hard he loses his breath.
Afterwards, Jerry goes back to his apartment, where Theresa is waiting for him, and she stands up, wringing her hands. "So? How'd it go?"
He smiles gently, walks over to her, and takes her hand. "Theresa Larkin," he says, kneeling on one knee, "will you marry me? Even if I don't have the ring yet?"
She kisses him, and he knows that everything will be okay.
It's a year later, and they have a baby on the way.
Jerry knows for a fact that their child will be born a wizard, that they will have immense power, and there is nothing he will be able to do to protect his child or any future children from the threats that the world of magic presents.
Theresa goes into labor a little early – still too early for Jerry's tastes, though the doctors were not as concerned – and at the end of a long 19 hours, they have a wailing baby boy named Justin. Justin has a full head of hair and bright blue eyes that no one else in the family has, and underneath the tiny little fingers attached to the tiny baby hands, and Jerry knows that magic courses in those tiny baby veins.
Theresa rests, understandably, because 19 hours of labor after nine months of carrying a child, and as she does, Jerry takes baby Justin out of his bassinet and cradles him in the crook of his arm.
Baby Justin yawns, and Jerry extends his index finger to his newborn son. Justin's tiny fist closes around Jerry's finger, and it's still too small to completely close around it. Justin is a tiny baby, and he is completely defenseless.
Jerry presses a kiss to his son's forehead. "I love you so much, Justin," he whispers, studying every detail of Justin's face, trying to learn the new feeling of being a father. "And I will protect you with everything in me. If it means my life or yours, I will choose you every single time."
They decide to have another child when Justin is two.
Normally, Jerry would ask to wait, or he would even suggest that maybe it wasn't the best idea for them to have more than one wizard child, but Justin is the definition of an angel toddler, even if he is slightly clingy. Justin watches Kelbo with fascination, and Jerry monitors both of them with a careful eye. When they read Justin to bed, he tries to sound out the words with them, and within a month, he knows the stories already. He crawls and walks at a young age. Theresa teaches Justin Spanish, and sometimes Jerry wishes he knew Italian because it's so funny to watch a toddler run around switching between two languages.
When they first tell Justin that he's going to be a big brother, they experience his first toddler tantrum. He starts crying and beating his fists against the floor. Theresa sends him to his first time-out, and Justin stands facing the wall with his blue blankie clutched in his fist.
Once Theresa starts showing, however, Justin starts warming up to the idea of having a little brother or sister. He climbs up onto the couch next to Theresa while she snacks and rests his head on top of her growing baby bump.
Jerry takes pictures of Justin pressing little kisses to Theresa's stomach. Theresa takes his hand and shows him what it feels like when a baby kicks. Justin goes to get his book and tries to read to his little sibling.
When Theresa goes into labor with Alex, Justin cries, and Jerry spends most of the time during Theresa's labor taking care of Justin. Ernesto shows up, thankfully, and Jerry passes him off to rush into the hospital room. Inside, he smooths back Theresa's hair and whispers that she has never looked more beautiful, and he cries when he hears his daughter's cries.
As soon as he sees his daughter for the first time, he makes the same promise to her as he did to Justin. And when Justin comes into the room, he tries to give his blankie to his little sister, and Jerry knows that Justin has just sworn to protect his little sister.
Max was more of an accident than a plan, but Theresa and Jerry decided that they would never tell him such. Mostly it was because Alex was the exact opposite of Justin in terms of the Terrible Twos. She faces more time-outs in one day than Justin faced in his entire toddler years, and she gets out of punishments with a cute face that Justin could never quite pull off. Alex hates reading and gets most of her education from tv shows, and they all expect that her preschool years will be just as bad, if not worse. So when Theresa tells Jerry that she's pregnant again, even though they're scraping by with two kids as it is, Jerry puts money into investments.
Alex takes the news surprisingly well, but that's mostly because they find out before Max arrives that he's a boy. She loves Max like Justin loves her, but unlike Justin, she tries to take Max's new toys instead of giving up her own. Still, she kisses Max's cheek and crawls into bed next to Theresa.
Jerry tries not to remember the heart-stopping fear that Max was born eight weeks too early and way too heavy for his age.
Doctors say he's at risk for diabetes.
But right now, as Jerry cradles Max in his arms, Max is safe.
Eleven years later, when Justin is sixteen, he vanishes from Jerry's life. Jerry tries to pass off his forgetfulness as a dad thing, but he lays awake in bed, his heart squeezing with pain and fear.
Theresa rolls over when she notices Jerry tense beside her, and she runs her fingers up his arm. "What's wrong, Jerry?" she whispers, even though she knows the answer, even though her heart aches with the knowledge that she forgot her own son.
Jerry swallows heavily. "I broke my promise to my son. I didn't protect him."
Theresa sighs and props herself up on her elbow. "Jerry, this is not the same."
Jerry knows that it is different than the original promise he made to Justin. It was Alex's wish. "It was still the genie's fault. The genie knew exactly what Alex meant by that wish, and I didn't protect either of them."
"He's here now, Jerry."
He nods. "What kind of father forgets his own son?"
When the kids have to choose a back-up career in case they don't become the family wizard, Justin and Alex's band does surprisingly well. Jerry and Theresa berate Max for making a magical crowd appear, so they try it again, and it's still a success. On Friday nights, they bring out the Justin-Alex band, and people pay for the extra entertainment.
Every week, Justin and Alex trade off between who perches on top of the kitchen counter to scrawl out new song lyrics. Alex brings a certain charm to the lyrics, and Justin knows how to pick out a melody that brings magic to the song. Occasionally, they cover hits at the request of the customers, and Harper suggests that they open a karaoke night as well.
It's the only time Jerry notices Justin and Alex really get along. And suddenly, Alex's distaste for school suddenly makes sense.
It's when they're in bed that Jerry tells Theresa, "I'll bet you any amount of money that Alex picks up art within a year."
"I'm proud of you, son."
Theresa wraps her arms around Jerry's middle and rests her chin on his shoulder. "Were you that good as a wizard? Did you have a verified spell?"
Jerry watches as Justin cleans up the lair. "I was never that good. Maybe with time as a family wizard with my full powers, but not at his age. He has a knack for magic that I never had."
She kisses his shoulder. "Or maybe he has a fantastic teacher."
Alex steps away from the wall. "You think he's going to be the family wizard, don't you?"
Jerry licks his lips. "I don't really know, Alex. You and Justin both have a knack for it, and in time, we'll see how Max will do."
Alex studies the floor, trying to decide if her dad just used his lying voice. "Well, I'm going to beat him."
"That's my girl."
"She hid Hugh from his parents." Jerry throws the hand towel at the bed. "He ran away and she just –" without anything else to throw, he tugs at his already thinning hair, "– kept it quiet!"
Theresa leans against the door frame. "Jerry, she was just trying to help her friend."
His breaths come in short spasms. "I just– how could she do such a thing? Doesn't she know how terrifying it is?"
Theresa's face softens, and she crosses the room to pull Jerry into her arms. "Jerry, she's not a parent. She couldn't know."
"I just– I couldn't imagine if it was her, or if it was Justin, or if it was Max, and just the thought…"
Theresa holds him tighter. "But it's not. They're here, and they're safe, and they're growing up to be great adults."
He tries to swallow past the rock in his throat. "But they're not safe as long as they're wizards."
She tucks her face into the crook of his neck. "And this is the only reason I hate magic, Jerry."
"I won the bet."
Theresa rolls her eyes. "Okay, Jerry, you get a back massage."
He kisses her. "I'll give you one, too, honey."
Jerry buries his face in his hands. "Theresa, I don't know what to do anymore."
She sets down her book. "Jerry, I'm as concerned about the kids as you are, but I don't know what you're talking about this time."
He sighs. "Max was the one who got upset and released all the wizards from Justin's training book. Justin got kidnapped, Juliet was put under mind control, and the thing is…by releasing all the monsters, Max was the one who killed the monster hunters."
"Now you know as well as I do that it is not Max's fault."
"Not entirely, maybe, but indirectly, it is." Jerry runs his hands through his hair and pulls back the covers. "I just don't know what the Wizard Council is going to do about this. They have to know about this, and even if they don't now, then Max is going to let it slip sooner or later."
Theresa frowns. "Do you think they'll strip him of his powers?"
He lifts one shoulder in half a shrug. "They've stripped Alex's powers for less."
Jerry hates Mason.
Not because Mason tried to date his daughter, but because Mason broke Alex's heart. When Mason comes into the sub station, intent on winning Alex back, it takes everything in Jerry's power not to deck him into next year, werewolf or no werewolf. His fingers tighten around the order in his hands, and blood rushes through his ears.
Maybe it's a good thing that he has the sandwich in his hands.
The customers glance around, uneasy with all the tension in the station. Justin nearly threatens Mason, and Jerry knows that Justin has never been in a fight before that didn't require powers, but he thinks that maybe, right now, Justin would win.
Jerry is ready to take his Alex shift to make sure she's staying as far away from Mason as possible, but she's missing, and Max has a guilty look on his face.
Jerry doesn't have it in him to yell. All he does is call Justin to fix it.
Justin and Alex should be the only two siblings in contention for the wizard competition, but they are stripped of their standing.
Justin and Alex should be making each other be better wizards, but they compete to get back into the competition.
Alex saves the world, and they still struggle. Mason and Alex break up again, get back together again, and break up again.
Justin still struggles with his love for Juliet.
And Jerry wishes that one of his kids could, for once, fall for a human instead of a vampire, werewolf, centaur, or any variety of creatures from the wizard world.
The powers aren't worth it.
Justin becomes the family wizard.
It doesn't really surprise anyone when Justin charges out of the tunnel of mist and bounces on the balls of his feet, waiting for his siblings to come out through the mist. Alex comes through, and as soon as she sees Justin waiting on the other side, regardless of how much she might have expected it, she gasps and tears spring into her eyes. Alex slows from a run into a walk, and Justin's face falls, and he reaches for his little sister.
Jerry looks away and finds Mason, gripping the arms of the chair, anger behind his every move. Jerry leans to whisper in Theresa's ear. "The only good thing that comes out of Alex losing her powers is she can't be with Mason anymore."
Justin is a full wizard by the end of the day.
It's two years later, and Alex comes to him in the middle of the night, crying as hard as she ever has.
Theresa's out of town, so it's just him, and Alex needs someone.
"What's wrong, sweetie?" He leads her to the couch, and Alex curls up and pulls one of the pillows to her chest.
Jerry expects that Alex was intending to save this revelation for Theresa. "Oh. Um…wow." He licks his lips. "I'm assuming it's not a planned or, um, welcome pregnancy."
Alex shakes her head. "Mason raped me, Dad. I was walking back to my apartment after work, and he just– he just –" her face crumbles, and she loses her voice.
Jerry pulls his daughter into his arms, and he makes a mental note to tell Justin to kill Mason later.
There isn't anything Jerry can do to make Alex feel better about the whole situation, but he is a father, and he has to try.
Alex accepts the ice cream he offers her. "Dad, what should I do?"
Jerry knows less of what to do than anyone else would. "I think part of it depends on the fact that this baby is going to be both a wizard and a werewolf." He takes a deep breath and spoons ice cream into his mouth. "It also depends on if you want to keep the baby."
Alex plays with her ice cream. "I don't want the baby. At all." She sets her bowl on the coffee table. "Dad, I'm not even twenty-one, I can't be a mom!" She swipes at her cheek. "Besides, it's– it would be Mason's, and I just– Dad I can't do it."
He nods slowly, and he has lost his appetite for the first time in his life. "So I guess you've made your decision." He sets aside his own bowl. "I should warn you, though, you can't go to a regular doctor or to Planned Parenthood about this."
"Dad, why not?" She picks at her lips. "I– I need…"
Jerry nods again and leans forward. "It's going to be a werewolf baby. It's also going to be a wizard baby. As a parent of three wizards, I can assure you, having a child who's also a wizard isn't the problem, but combine that with a werewolf, and you can't see a regular doctor. You'll need to see someone in the wizard world." He clears his throat. "You're going to need to talk to Justin."
The first time he sees Justin since the last family reunion, it's five minutes after he calls him about Mason being the worst scum to walk the planet.
Justin flashes into the room before the call is over.
Jerry points at the couch, where Alex has curled into herself and fallen asleep. He gestures for Justin to follow him down into the lair.
Justin's eyes are on fire, and every single muscle in his body is taut with anger. "I'm going to fucking kill him." His hand tightens around his wand. "I will fucking find Mason Greybeck, and I will kill him, with or without magic."
Jerry's face softens. "Justin, you can't stand up against a werewolf without magic." He places his hand on Justin's shoulder. "But that's not why I called you. Alex needs your help."
Justin swallows heavily. "She's getting an abortion, isn't she?"
Tears sting Jerry's eyes. "She needs your help," he repeats.
Alex moves back in with them. Considering Justin is the only one who still possesses his powers, and the person who caused Alex more pain than anyone else in the world is a werewolf, he moves back in as well.
After she terminates the pregnancy, she locks herself in her old room for weeks, and only comes out when the power flickers. All of them trade off between who takes Alex her meals.
Jerry and Justin are on their way back from the grocery store when they run into Mason. Justin sees him and forcefully bumps into him. Jerry knows that he whispers something to Mason, and even though he doesn't know exactly what Justin said, he figures it has something to do with Justin's overwhelming desire to kill Mason.
Mason turns into a wolf, and Justin's wand is in position. Jerry would try and take the wand from him, but Justin is too powerful even without the wand, and Mason is about to attack him. With a single flick, Justin sets Mason on fire and watches him burn.
Jerry rests his hand on Justin's arm. "Okay, Justin, that's enough. Lift the spell."
Justin clenches his jaw and twirls his wand between his fingers. "Dad, you know what he did to Alex. He has to pay for it."
"I agree. But I do not ever want you to compromise yourself and your values to do so. He isn't worth it. Report him to the Wizard Police, but don't kill him. You are better than him."
Justin sighs, lifts his hand, and flashes them out of there.
The last thing Jerry notices is a slightly-singed Mason lunging for them.
Mason is executed by order of the Wizard Council.
Jerry thought he would be relieved, and a part of him is, but it does not undo what Mason did to his baby girl.
He throws a pillow at the wall, and the painting on the wall crashes to the floor. "I swore to protect her!"
Theresa doesn't flinch when the painting falls, and she doesn't flinch when Jerry raises his voice. "Jerry, you don't have your powers anymore."
It's the first and only time Jerry ever regrets giving up his powers for a mortal.
Justin usually is up reading on the couch whenever Jerry comes down for his midnight snack. Alex has been recovering for the past few months, and she's even started classes again at the community college. She's only taking one or two courses, but it's a step in the right direction to recovery. She starts therapy at Harper's recommendation. There isn't much to worry about anymore in the way of Alex's mental health.
Which means there isn't much reason for Justin to stick around.
Except when Jerry comes downstairs for his midnight snack, Justin has no book in his hand.
Jerry sighs. "What's wrong, Justin?"
"I think Juliet and I have to split up."
Now, Jerry has always liked Juliet. He always approved of her, and how she took great care to protect his family when he couldn't. The only reason he ever disliked her was because of the competition between them and her family, and even then, he never hated her.
"Why?" He forgets about his snack and takes a seat next to his son.
Justin tries to smile. "It's nothing she did, it's just…" he sighs. "We got to talking about our future. You know, marriage and kids and all that."
"And she's not ready for the commitment?" Jerry chuckles. "You'd think after two thousand years, she would have prepared for that."
Justin shakes his head. "She's okay with marriage, especially since I'm not a mortal. But the thing is, because Juliet is a vampire, and she's so old, she– she physically can't have kids." He scratches his nose. "I– I feel like a jerk for thinking it's such a big deal. I want kids, Dad, and I know that the wizard competition breeds more sibling rivalry than normal, but I just never imagined a life without children."
"You're not a jerk for wanting to have children. That's an important issue, and frankly, more people need to consider that when thinking about marriage or commitment. It's important to you, and you shouldn't compromise something that's important to you."
"Do you think Juliet will understand?"
"If she doesn't, I'll be sorely disappointed in her."
Jerry notices something blooming between Harper and Justin after a few years.
Justin moved out shortly after his breakup with Juliet, and Harper started college in Buffalo, but they come back for holidays. Jerry finished his Christmas wrapping (and his shopping) at the last minute, and he's trying to sneak downstairs to put the presents underneath the tree. He stops in his tracks when he sees Justin and Harper sitting next to each other, arms touching.
Harper says something, and a smile crosses his face. Justin picks at the dirt underneath his fingernails and responds in kind, knocking his shoulder against hers.
Jerry sighs and walks back up the stairs.
He wonders how long it will be before Justin gives up his powers for Harper.
Justin calls him.
"Dad, how did you know Mom was worth giving up your powers for?"
Jerry smiles. "This is about Harper, isn't it? She won't let you."
"And the Wizard Council won't let me keep my powers and marry a mortal, which I think is stupid, but it's whatever."
"Try and reason with them. Professor Crumbs loves you, and so does the rest of the Wizard Council. You're a good man, and a good wizard. You know how to survive without it or to minimize use of magic." Jerry clutches the phone tighter in his hand at the first thought that pops into his mind. "They almost did for Alex and Mason." He swallows the bile that collects in his throat.
Judging by the pause that follows, Justin is seriously restraining himself from sending his fist through a wall. "I'm thinking that, based on Mason's conviction, that would actually work against me."
"Just try it, Justin. I don't think Alex wants anything to do with magic anymore, and you know Max. He's forgotten all the spells already."
Justin doesn't have to give up his magic.
Harper already knows about magic, and Justin is responsible. They love each other, they have things in common, and they get married.
Jerry is glad that he has grandchildren. Harper and Justin are a good match, and they have similar parenting styles. Whenever they come and visit, Justin and Harper watch their four kids run around the Waverly Sub Station.
One night, after the grandkids came to spend the weekend, Jerry and Theresa get ready for bed. He stops in his tracks and stares at his wonderful, beautiful wife, and he leans over to kiss her. "I'm so glad I met you." He cups her face and kisses her again. "And I love you more than magic."