It had to be her!

Justin froze Dominique in place and raced to the dining room. Brittany was screaming her head off as her sister, in pig form, scarfed down a salad and the tablecloth.

Alex, definitely Alex, turned to him with tears in her eyes. She stared, completely sure of how miserable her life was now, with only the stain of hope written on her face. She was one hundred percent sure this was her fault- she was a freak, a dirty, nasty abomination that everyone hated. He would spit in her face, and call her nasty names and no one would come... No one had ever come for her!

Until now.

Mary- no, Alex, needed him, and this time, he would protect her.

"What's wrong? Why're you screaming?" He demanded of the girls.

Britt pointed at the pig, "Bree…"

Justin shrugged, "I don't see any difference."
When the girls turned to him in shock, Justin dropped his hand behind his jacket, smuggled his wand under the table, and transformed the girl back, "See?"

Alex and Brittany looked back.

They looked back and forth between the stranger and Justin. Bree, spitting the tablecloth out, spoke, "Uh… what just happened?"
Meanwhile, Justin unfroze Dominque in time to hear her go on about a transvestite lover in Brazil.

"Yeah, that's fascinating, but… it's getting late…" He yawned loudly, "I gotta go!"

Alex walked him out. She looked at him with intense confusion. What had happened? Did he know she was a freak? Her depressing train of thought disappeared entirely as his arms wrapped around her. There was one thing for sure about her life now; she knew this was where she belonged, in Justin's arms.

Justin hugged her tight. He wanted to tell her everything; who he was, where she had come from, what her powers made her, why he needed her forgiveness. But he knew it was too much. Her brother promised to talk to her tomorrow, and then he flashed home.

Justin's heart sang with joy, and he burst into his favorite song, "Well you know everything's gonna be a breeze," He went through the chorus twice before noticing the serious look on his parent's face.

"What's wrong?"

"Justin, it's time," Jerry had the seriousness of a tomb, "Now that you've let Alex go, the Wizard Council is ready for the competition."

Max was already in full uniform, and Justin realized that if he told Alex, she would have to compete, and perhaps die. She didn't have the training her brothers had

"I'm ready."

The battle was quick, if it even counted as a battle. Justin annihilated Max, even though the whole time, he was thinking about Alex. About halfway through the competition, he called for a time-out. Toweling off, Justin faced his girlfriend.

"If you walk away, and let your brother keep his powers, you'll be setting an example! Everyone will be able to keep their powers!"

The whistle blew. Justin kissed Stevie goodbye and walked back to the judges, "I would very much like a ruling now." He declared. Max was angry, but knew his brother was crushing him. The council murmured with one another and declared their verdict.

"Since a family member is missing, there shall be no family wizard! Max and Justin shall both be stripped of their powers!"

Justin nodded, and relinquished his abilities. He turned to find Stevie gone.

He hung his head in defeat. Alex was ignorant of her power. He could defeat her easily; she had no training, like a puppy thrown into a dog fight. But what kind of monster would show up, tell her about her past, only to strip away her magic? No, it would be better like this. She would never know… Alex- no, Mary, would live her life in ignorance. It was better this way. He would look out for her, protect her secret from everyone. If the angels came around again... well he would deal with them, wouldn't he?

Justin realized just then that he had the opportunity to keep his powers, all he had to do was sacrifice Alex. Just rat her out, tell the council where she was. They would drag her in, strip her of her abilities... The look of betrayal he imagined would never end. He would never get the forgiveness he craved. Then again, not telling her about her past would never give him the opportunity either. But the difference was, he could live with her, and that was forgiveness enough...

Justin saw his little sister the next day. She would never know his secret, only know that she was no longer alone, and that someone would look out for her. Finally, he was her big brother again.

The end.