A/N: This idea came to me when I was watching the series finale. What if the griffin wasn't basically some mean prank meant to test the Russo kids? What if there was something else going on there?

Alex walked into the kitchen in an effort to be alone. That didn't exactly work out seeing as her mother, father and friends were still able to see her through the window. She clenched her fists so hard she imprinted the shape of each fingernail into her palms after she caught the looks they were sending her. She didn't need their pity, she didn't want it. Suddenly she felt like she was on display, like everyone was looking at her and it annoyed her more. She ducked into the storage room out of habit, but was disappointed all over again for a moment when the only thing there was food. And jeez it was cold. But she couldn't go out there yet. She couldn't face them, especially Justin and Max.

She had messed everything up, and she knew it. Not just for her, for everyone else. They had every right to hate her. It'll never be better. You ruined everything. She closed her eyes and held back tears as she remembered what her brothers said to her. It'll never be better. You ruined everything. Then she scrubbed at her eyes, disgusted with herself. Her fault? Was she the only one that saw that saving their friends was far more important than winning some stupid competition (even if it was THE competition)? Were they really that selfish, valuing power over friendship, and even over human life? She didn't really pay attention in English class, but she couldn't help but feel like that thought was bitterly ironic. If ironic was the right word to described her disgust with her brothers for needing their powers more than their friends when everyone probably expected her to have that attitude. She didn't really know what "ironic" meant.

Tears were now flowing freely down her face and she couldn't tell if it was the frustration at her brothers, or the anger at herself. Alex shivered as the tears seemed to freeze on her face from the cold of the room. After years of being told that she would never win, never amount to anything as a wizard, she had prepared herself to loose. She even prepared for a couple months of cold distance from Justin, whom she was sure would win. How could he not? And how could she not be the teensyest bit jealous of him, the golden child, the favorite? Most of the time she wouldn't let Justin's snark get to her, after all, she obviously had way more snark than he does. Most of the time she would ignore the soft chuckles, confused stares and eye rolls she often got after people found out who she was. Alex Russo. The trouble maker. The rebel and the exact opposite of her perfect brother, that's who she was.

From the first day of kindergarten, Alex recalled the heavy expectations that were already on her, and how much she resented them. Her wonderful brother already had such potential, and they expected just as much from her. At first she tried to make everyone happy, tried to learn at the same rate as the great Justin Russo, but how could she do that when she couldn't seem to concentrate for more then a few minutes? And then Gigi and her stupid friends happened.

Gigi had decided that Alex would be her worst enemy because Alex took the crayon Gigi was using. It was the dumbest thing Alex had ever heard and she told Gigi so. Gigi didn't appreciate that. The next day she was the laughingstock of the entire grade because Gigi had poured juice on her mat after nap time and said that Alex had an accident. That's when Alex just snapped. She was furious with Gigi and she couldn't control herself, she pounced on her, tugging at her hair and screaming the meanest names she knew of at that age. After that day, everyone wrote her off as a trouble maker, after that day, everyone compared her to Justin.

And then there was Max. Max was also something she could never be: innocent. Alex knew Max wasn't as dumb as he tried to present himself, he just needed the attention that came with it. Like Alex, he got his attention from rebelling, just in a different way than Alex did. Alex was the prankster and as unreliable and uncaring as they come. She knew that. She did it on purpose after all. Max acted stupid and amusingly clueless because Justin was already getting the attention through good grades and good behavior, Alex with her bad grades and bad behavior. He decided to be something wholly other because if he accomplished anything either his brother or his sister did it wasn't as big of a deal because they had already done it. However, in Max's mission to be different than his siblings, he managed to maintain an innocence that drew people to him. No one could resist the "Max Charm" as he called it simply because you just couldn't help it. There was an air around Max that was so child-like, but at the same time almost adult. He managed to have a wonder for the world around him, but at the same time, he understood it perfectly. It was the kind of magnetism Alex could never have.

Alex heard footsteps coming toward the door, hesitating, then growing fainter. It was probably Harper or her mom wanting to check on her and then thinking better of it. Glaring at the door, she realized that she would never truly be alone if she stayed in the building. She stood up, checked herself for any remnants of crying, then walked out of the shop. Her parents and Harper called after her, telling her to wait, and she saw out of the corner of her eye that her brothers had come out of their hiding spots to see what was going on.

The moment she stepped outside she knew why they were trying to stop her: It was pouring down rain. She didn't bother looking back even though it was freezing and she wasn't wearing a jacket. Once upon a time, she could have just popped one on, but now it seemed almost ridiculous. Popping a jacket on? Magical powers? Absolutely, utterly ridiculous. If she didn't have a scar from one of Max's spells gone awry and a small hole in the wall next to her bed from when her wand was launched into it, she might begin to question the existence of magic. Maybe it had all been some crazy dream. That's what this felt like anyway. Losing her entire family's magic felt like she had woken up from an insane dream, one she knew wouldn't last, but couldn't help enjoying anyway.

Thinking back on all those happy memories, she couldn't help but feel an intense stab of sadness. In the end, it didn't matter who was morally right, all that mattered was the fact that something wonderful had ended forever. And she wasn't sure if her brothers could ever let that go. In their minds, Alex was the sole reason everything went wrong today and Alex couldn't find it in herself to blame them. Maybe because part of her agreed with them.

"You should." A voice whispered behind her. Alex whipped her already soaking head around, annoyed that someone would interrupt her sulking (no matter how pathetic that sounded). Seeing no one, her annoyance quickly gave way to confusion. There was a complete lack of people on Waverly Place because of the storm. Everyone had retreated into shops, homes, and taxis leaving the street eerily.

"Hello?" Alex called out, despite having just assessed the fact that there wasn't a soul in sight. She knew it was her imagination, she just needed to be fully convinced.

"Oh come on!" The voice said slightly louder. "You may be mortal now, but that doesn't mean you need to act like one!" Alex whipped her head left and right trying to find where the voice was coming from now, but it seemed to come at her from all directions. "Just your imagination," it scoffed. "You used to be a wizard, shouldn't that have shown you that everything is not what it seems?" The voice goaded her.

"Who are you?" Alex asked, angry with herself when her voice came out wavering and weak. "What do you want?"

"Right now I want you to see. I want you to see that you are right to be afraid of me." The voice had taken a horrible, demonic sound, reminding Alex of monsters in the movies she watched all the time. She began to back up quickly, preparing to run. Suddenly she felt a horrible pain in her arm that stunned her so badly, she fell to the ground, shaking and drained of energy. She was entirely too weak to move away even as she heard something approaching her. "Come on Miss Russo," the voice snarled. "Look at me, see me. See what you're so afraid of." She felt the invisible someone (she was eighty percent sure it was a person) kick her in the stomach. Hard.

"Why are you doing this?" Alex managed gasp. The invisible man grabbed her roughly by the hair to pull her head up and she cried out in pain. Then his hot breath was next to her ear. She shivered, because of both the rain and the horrible feeling she had about this whole situation.

"I meant what I said earlier you know. You should agree with your brothers. You ruined everything for them. They hate you, and you deserve it. You don't deserve them." Her head slammed against the pavement and tears were overflowing in her eyes again. Did she deserve the emotional and physical pain she was in now? She wasn't sure.

It only barely registered in her mind that this thing must be able to read thoughts and that could have been because the world was growing slightly fuzzy or it could have been that she was a bit too preoccupied to think about it too much.

"Come on Alex, open your eyes and see me. If you don't see me it won't be nearly as satisfying." Her eyes were open, she wanted to protest, and what exactly won't be satisfying if she can't see him? But her mouth wouldn't open, and she still could barely move.

"Alex?" The sudden appearance of Harper's voice was a welcome change, but she couldn't allow Harper to find her. What if the thing hurt her too? She began to squirm away, but hadn't gotten far when she received another hard kick, which was accompanied by a sickening crack. Alex bit back a sob.

"Alex, where are you?" Harper must have heard something, for her voice sounded panicked now. The pain flared up even worse with every breath she took and even though she never had a broken bone in her life, she was sure her ribs were. Alex felt the thing kneel down beside her.

"You're lucky you still have someone to save you, but it won't be like that for long." It growled. Alex was confused, how could Harper have saved her? Then, he was gone, and Harper was in his place.

"Alex! Oh my gosh what happened? Are you hurt?" Alex finally couldn't stand it anymore, her friends genuine concern and her ignorance of what had just happened sent Alex over the edge. Sobs wracked her body, and the pain became unbearable. Soon, she realized that she needed to calm down unless she wanted to faint from the pain. When her body stopped shaking she looked back at Harper, who was now worried sick about her best friend. She decided then and there that she couldn't handle giving Harper more to worry about.

"Sorry about that," Alex whispered hoarsely, trying, but not succeeding to ignore the pain in her ribs. "I just... I was running, and I slipped in a puddle and landed really hard on the curb. I think I broke a rib." Harper nodded, and got out her phone.

"Hello? Yeah I found her... No actually she's not... She needs a doctor so... Yeah at the very end of the street... I'll explain when you guys get here... Yeah... Okay bye." Harper glanced at Alex, who was shivering from the rain. Shrugging off her own jacket, she carefully draped it over her friend. "That was your mom, she and the rest of the family are on their way. Do you think you can sit up?" Alex tried to, slowly inching her way up when she hissed in pain."It's okay Alex, you're almost there." When she finally managed a sitting position, she heard a car honking at them. She looked over and saw her parent's barely used car parked on the curb next to them.

"Alex! Are you alright? What happened?" Her mother called out, slamming the car door in her hurry to reach her daughter.

"Well, I-" Alex began weakly, but was cut off by Harper.

"She took a really nasty spill, Mrs. Russo. She thinks her rib might be broken." Harper informed them.

"Oh mija! Can you stand? Justin! Come help your sister! Now!" Theresa yelled at the car. Then she saw Justin rushing out of the car toward her. He grabbed her arms at her armpits and yanked her up. Alex bit back a cry of pain, and started hobbling to the car with her brother following closely behind.

She didn't know what possessed her to do it, but abruptly, she turns around to face him. "Thanks, you know, for helping me." She doesn't know why she thanked him either, it's like her and apologizing, it just doesn't happen. But she desperately wants things to be okay between them. For a moment Justin looks almost pained, then he brushes it off and tells her the one thing he know will hurt her, "I didn't want to, they made me." He was right, the look on her face told him just how much it did hurt. His stomach churned guiltily.

"Sorry to have inconvenienced you." Alex coldly replied. Then she turned around and crawled into the car, wincing every time she made a wrong move. Justin got in on the other side and openly stared at her, hoping to catch her eye so she could see he was sorry. But she wouldn't even glance at him, looking out the window the whole way there.

Justin had no way of knowing that it had less to do with him and more to do with the horrible creature that had attacked her. She was terrified he would come again, and a part of her knew he would. Her encounter with it had been brief but she had still walked away with electrical burns on her arms (how could she explain those?) and a broken rib or two. Next time she feared it would end a whole lot worse. She had to tell somebody, she knew that, she was just having trouble deciding on which somebody she should tell.

"I hope you're very proud of yourself Justin Russo." Justin looked up from his magazine to find a very angry Harper Finkle glaring at him. "If you hadn't upset Alex so much we wouldn't even be here."

"Maybe if she hadn't made us lose our magic we could have healed her at home!"

Harper made a disgusted sound and replied, "Is that always what it's going to be about? The competition? Because that was not her fault and you know it! I don't understand why you blame her either, because she was doing the right thing."

"Well you're biased!" Justin yelled.

"Oh, yeah of course! Of course you'd think I'm biased. The only question is, am I biased because I'm her best friend or am I biased because she's the only one who wanted to save my life? And when you guys got there and couldn't find Zeke? You wanted to leave him there." Harper exclaimed tearfully.

"We would have come back for him." Justin defended weakly.

"When? After the griffin had digested him? Some best friend you are. I'm really, very impressed." Came her scathing reply.

"Harper-" Justin began.

"No! I don't want to hear anything else from you ever again." Justin felt as if he had been punched in the gut. Harper turned to walk away but turned to face him again to add, "You know, it's funny, I'm sure everyone would have expected Alex to act selfishly, but situations like that tend to show people's true colors, I guess. In the end, Alex was the one who didn't even stop to think about herself while her wonderful brother wanted to turn his head and pretend it didn't happen so he could have his precious powers. You even turned Max against her. Did you know she's terrified that you won't forgive her? Do you realize how backwards that is?" And with that, she turned and walked down the hall to her room. Leaving him to wonder just how badly he screwed up.

A/N:I just couldn't resist putting that last scene in there. I mean I would think Harper and Zeke have every right to be mad at Justin. He didn't want to save them! Well, review! Flames will be used to make smores.