Victory?

Everyone burst into the hospital ward and rushed to the reception.

"Hi I'm Dave Seville, I'm here for my son" Dave panted as he reached the receptionist. She looked up at him before recognizing his name and giving a smile.

"Oh, you must be Simon's father. He's still in room 235, and I think he's waiting for you. You'd better get up there quickly" she said happily before she returned to her duties. Dave thanked her and led the kids through the different wards until finally they reached Simon's room. As they approached the door, they could hear movement on the other side.

"A doctor must be in with him" Dave shrugged as he approached the door. He gave it a knock, and was surprised when he heard Simon's voice.

"Come in" he called. Dave was expecting a doctor, but he did as Simon had instructed and entered the room, the Chipmunks and Chipettes right behind him. The sight that befell them caused everyone to gasp. Simon's bed was completely vacant. It looked like it had only just been abandoned a few moments ago, but the bed wasn't what had everyone's attention. In the centre of the room stood one figure. He held a crutch in his right hand and was leaning on it for a support. The person looked tired and weak, but very determined. This person was none other than Simon Seville.

"Simon?" Dave queried as everyone stepped into the room, their eyes all focused on the blue-clad Chipmunk before them.

"In the flesh" the bespectacled Chipmunk chuckled. Then he did something that everyone had been praying he would be able to do again. He slowly walked towards them. He used the crutch heavily to support himself, and his leg movements were sluggish and painful, but he was walking. He wasn't paralyzed, he could walk again. No one else moved, they just couldn't believe what they were seeing. Simon panted and struggled onwards. It was clearly very hard and even painful for him to walk, but he forced himself towards them. He was only a few steps away when suddenly his legs gave out and he fell to his knees, dropping his crutch in the process. This snapped everyone out of their stupor and they all immediately rushed forward to Simon.

"Simon are you okay?" Dave asked as he helped his son back to his feet.

"Yeah I'm okay. I probably just pushed myself a bit too hard that's all. I only just regained mobility in my legs today" Simon said was he had regained his balance and was able to support himself with the use of his crutch. At this Dave smiled and he gave his son a hug.

"I'm so glad that you're okay Simon" he said as he gave the Chipmunk another squeeze. Simon smiled and hugged him back.

As Dave released him, it was now everyone else's turn. Immediately Eleanor and Theodore rushed to him and started to hug him happily, and moments later Alvin joined as well. The only one who did not approach was Jeanette. She smiled at him, but then looked away, making no effort to approach him. Simon noticed.

"What's wrong Jeanette?" he asked as the others all broke off. Jeanette looked up at him.

"Oh, well I have a…" she started before she gave a sneeze and wrapped herself tighter in her blanket, "A cold… I don't want you to get sick"

Simon looked at her for a moment, then he moved forward and wrapped his left arm around her, still keeping right firmly on his crutch so he wouldn't fall.

"I don't care about getting sick Jeanette. I'm in a hospital; dealing with sick people is what they do here. I just want to see you" he said with a smile, then hugged her tighter. She smiled, and a tinge of pink appeared on her cheeks. She pulled both of her arms out of the blanket covering her and wrapped them around Simon as well. Everyone else just watched and smiled.

Suddenly there was a knock on the door and a doctor popped her head into the room.

"Ah, Mr. Seville, you're here. Good, I wanted to go through Simon's test results with you" she said as she entered and approached the group. Everyone nodded in response.

"Can we discuss this at my bed, the muscles in my legs are still pretty sore and it's hurting to stand" Simon said, wincing a little. The doctor smiled and nodded. Everyone watched as Simon walked to his bed and climbed in without any assistance. As he settled under the covers, the rest of the group approached and the doctor examined a clipboard that she had brought with her.

"Well, as you all just witnessed, Simon isn't paralyzed" she said. Though everyone already knew it, just hearing that made them all smile.

"The tests we conducted showed that the damage to his nerves was not as great as we had feared. His motor control was shocked, but it wasn't damaged, so Simon will make a full recovery within the next few weeks. We would still like to keep him here at the hospital for a day or two to make sure, but after that he will be fine to go home. He is going to need to use a walking stick for a few days until the shock to his nerves dies down, and I would advise plenty of rest with very little strenuous movement, but I would say that about two weeks from now Simon will have made a complete recovery" she said happily gazing around at the smiles on everyone's faces.

"That's great doc" Alvin chuckled. It was contagious, and soon everyone was chuckling, giggling, laughing or simply smiling. This moment was very happy for them all.

"Oh god this is not good!"

A day had passed and now the group was arriving at school. They had spent a while sitting around with Simon. He had been puzzled by everyone's appearance. Eleanor's moss covered arms, Theodore's pale face and clutching stomach, Alvin's minor bruising and Jeanette's cold. He had been shocked by the explanation, but just his presence alone had made them forget about the ordeal, so he hadn't brought it up again. After they had returned home, Eleanor had made dinner (Theodore refusing to enter the kitchen at the mere mention of food) and they had prepared for bed. Eleanor managed to get the remainder of the moss off and she combed her fur to try and hide any torn hairs on her arms. They went through the regular routine of watching Brittany, although Jeanette and Theodore still felt ill so Alvin and Eleanor forced them to stay in bed and took the watches themselves. Now they were in Dave's car on route to the school and Alvin was starting to panic as he remembered Brittany's deal.

"Tomorrow at school, I'm going to have something set up just for you and you are going to do exactly as I say" the words rang clearly through his head and caused him to shiver involuntarily.

"What has she planned? Oh I am so screwed" he sighed to himself. He had no idea what she was planning, but he knew it was going to be unpleasant. As the car pulled up in front of the school gates, Dave turned back to the chipmunks.

"Ok kids, have a nice day at school. I'll pick you up this afternoon so we can go to the hospital. Simon is probably going to have to stay one more night to recuperate but it would be nice to see him" Dave smiled.

"Ok Dave. See you later" everyone replied cheerfully (although for Alvin it was completely half hearted).

The group all exited the car and watched as it drove away.

"I hope we don't have to deal with Brittany again" Jeanette said giving a sniffle and rubbing her red nose. Her cold had died down after a good night's sleep, but she was still a little fluey.

"I just hope that lunch comes soon" Theodore whined. Unlike Jeanette, Theodore was now completely fine and since not eating last night, he was starving.

"Don't worry Theodore, only a few classes to get through and then it's lunch" Eleanor said with a smile before giving him a playful cuddle. Slowly the group started to head towards the school building, all chatting away to each other, except Alvin. He was wrapped in his own thoughts, fearing what would happen when Brittany arrived. Suddenly words sprung at him that chilled him to the bone.

"Hi Alvin"

Timidly Alvin turned to face a smirking Brittany. Her clothes seemed even worse than usual. They were no longer just ruffled and creased; now they were torn. Her leggings were in shreds, dangling down her legs uselessly. Her pink top was ripped so that it only covered her chest, leaving her stomach completely visible. Her yellow socks that usually covered her leggings could now be barely called material. She looked as though she had been attacked by a bear.

"So Alvin, I have something big in store for you today" she said, a wisp of evil travelling through the words. She took a step towards him and her tattered orange hair swayed. She had long since abandoned her ponytail and had been electing to wear the hair loose so that the tufted strands of her hair could flow freely down her back. Today though it seemed even more wild and fierce than usual. The hair could barely be called hair anymore. It was now needle sharp and deadly like each individual strand could slice through flesh. It even seemed longer. Her hair had always been kept just passed her shoulders, but now it seemed to grow down to her mid section.

"What am I going to have to do?" he asked, trying to hide the nervousness in his voice, but he knew she had detected it.

"Oh just you wait. At lunch today you are going to be putting on… quite a show for the others" she said letting out a menacing chuckle. Alvin let out a gulp.

"See you at lunch" she said staring directly into his eyes. It was then that Alvin noticed yet another change. Her eyes were still as dull and lifeless as ever, but now there was even more. Under her eyes were large black rings. It made her look as if she hadn't slept in weeks, which technically she hadn't due to her transformations, but it was definitely more than sleep deprivation. They made her face even more dark and menacing and it caused her dulled eyes to look even worse, as though now the sparkling blue was actually turning gray. All these changes were shocking. The curse was starting to affect her incredibly deeply. Her old personality was gone without a trace, and her new cruelty was growing darker and darker. Soon there wouldn't be a shred of humanity left within her; she would be nothing more than a savage monster. The thought struck horror straight into Alvin's heart.

Brittany gave one last smirk before shoving Alvin aside and heading into the school building. Alvin watched her, before noticing that Theodore, Eleanor and Jeanette were all watching him intensely. They had seen the entire conversation taking place.

"Alvin what's going on? What does Brittany have planned and why are you going along with it?" Eleanor asked while Jeanette and Theodore stood still looking frightened, worried and most of all confused. Alvin wasn't sure what to say. He still didn't want them to worry about him getting hurt or have them try to stop him from going along with Brittany's plans for their own safety, but what was he going to tell them? They had heard the entire conversation and would see straight through any lies he could come up with. He hated it when he got himself into situations like this. As he looked at them all, only one course of action could come to his mind. Run.

Alvin turned around and bolted off into the school building where he blended into the crowd of kids. By the time Eleanor, Theodore and Jeanette had caught up he was long gone.

"I don't like this. Why would Alvin do anything for Brittany while she is still in this state? Something isn't right" Jeanette stated out loud what everyone was thinking.

"Let's just hope that Alvin knows what he is doing" Eleanor said. They all looked at each other and sighed. Alvin never knew what he was doing, and right now that just made the whole situation worse.

As the bell rang signaling lunch, Alvin immediately sprinted out of the room before Eleanor, Theodore or Jeanette could get to him. All morning it had been the same. Every class they had with Alvin, he would ignore all the notes they sent him throughout the lesson and would dash out of the room before anyone could confront him when the bell rang. Now it was lunch and whatever Brittany had planned was about to commence. Alvin wasn't sure what Brittany wanted him to do, but he was scared none the less.

"I just hope that we can get this over with soon. I just want this to be over and focus on finding a way to cure her" he started to ponder. He grabbed a table at the back of the cafeteria, out of eye sight of his brother and the Chipettes. He knew sooner or later he was going to have to talk to them about what was about to happen, but he would rather be explaining his actions later instead of trying to justify what he was about to do now. They would just tell him not to go along with Brittany's plan and to stop worrying about them. Alvin wasn't going to do that however. He was not about to see his family hurt by Brittany when he had a way of stopping it. As he continued to analyze the situation in his head, he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned to face a grinning Brittany.

"Are you ready Alvin?" she asked playfully, her insidious grin never leaving her face. Alvin rose and faced her.

"Let's just get this over with" he muttered, utter contempt in his voice. His loathing of the situation seemed to give Brittany even more joy and her smirk widened.

"Follow me" she instructed, turning around and heading away from the table. Alvin gave a sigh then did as told and followed her. They didn't walk far. At first Brittany exited the lunch room, then hang a right, leading him towards one of the most popular areas in the school. It was a small garden that was constructed to the side of the school building. Flowers had all been planted alongside the building many years ago and now were always in constant bloom as each year, more of the plants were added by the student body. But the flowers weren't the main attraction of the place. A medium sized grassy area was the central gathering. Some benches and smooth rocks had been placed for students to sit around quietly during recesses. A lone tree sat in the centre where younger children often climbed and played. In such a large school, just having this small quiet area gave great appeal to most students. It was like a sanctuary in between classes where peace always took place. This was probably the only place in the entire school where there had never been one incident of bullying, or one fight. It was always left undisturbed, respected too much by everyone to taint its presence with such acts.

It was not often that Alvin came to this area, as he was always too busy playing sports or hanging out with his multitude of fans. But when he was able to be here, he cherished every moment. That was why as Brittany led him to the haven; he immediately knew something terrible was going to happen. As if to confirm his thoughts, Brittany began to speak.

"Here we are Alvin. It is here that you are going to perform your task" she said, coming to a stop. She turned to face him and Alvin was once again subjected to her horrid smirking.

"What am I going to have to do Brittany?" he asked, dreading whatever she was going to ask of him.

"Eager are we?" she teased, but when she received no further response of any kind from Alvin, she decided to continue with her scheme.

"This what you are going to do if you want to keep everyone safe. You are going to do something that no student has dared do in the entire school. You are going to 'taint' the garden. You are going to have to go in there and pick on everyone. Start a fight, throw insults, I don't care. But you have to gain some attention. I want people to see you ruining the garden's tranquility until you become the most hated person in the entire school. Not even Nathan has caused an incident with that garden, but you are going to. After this, you will never be able to walk around this school without everyone hating you" Brittany said with her voice drenched n evil.

Alvin was beyond shocked. The garden was just so peaceful. No one had ever tried to do something like that, and no one would ever want to. Brittany had him exactly where she wanted him, and he could do nothing about it. He either had to suffer the hatred of everyone in the school, probably for the rest of his schooling, or see his family injured by cursed Chipette. Whichever choice he made, he was going to suffer. But he knew there was really only one option. There was no way he was going to allow his family to be endangered. There had been too much pain as it is, and he was not about to cause more for the sake of his own reputation. Brittany just watched him, waiting patiently. She knew that he would succumb to her wishes. He cared too much to allow her siblings and his brother to be harmed. She didn't even grow annoyed waiting as he tormented himself. No matter what outcome he chose, he was going to suffer, and she was going to enjoy every minute of it.

Finally Alvin was able to voice his chosen decision.

"I'll do it"

Theodore, Jeanette and Eleanor walked down the corridor in silence. They hadn't seen Alvin since the end of their last class, and by now Brittany would have found him. Whatever she was planning for him, there was little chance that they could stop it now.

"I just wish that Alvin had told us what was going on. Why would he willing do something for Brittany? It was obvious that he is being forced to, but what could it be?" Jeanette said aloud. They had all been thinking it, but she was the only one to put it into words.

"Come on, let's keep looking. Maybe there's a chance that he hid from Brittany and she hasn't found him" Eleanor said, but they all knew that it was slim to no chance of something like that happening. So the group continued down the corridor in silence, allowing their thoughts to wander. Eleanor brought in the images of her date with Theodore. How they had frolicked in the sand, how he had cooked such a meal for her, and how beautiful the entire night had been at that lagoon on the beach. She knew she would never forget it.

Theodore found himself thinking about his next upcoming date with Eleanor. He was nervous about dancing, but whatever made her happy was good with him. He just hoped he would be able to give her a nice night out.

Jeanette found herself thinking about her own dating arrangements. It was probably the first time she had thought of them. She knew that Simon would do something special for her, but what he would do was a complete mystery. They hadn't discussed it once since he had first asked her out. She hoped that it would be as memorable as Eleanor and Theodore's first date.

As the three of them let their minds drift, an all too familiar voice drew them back into reality.

"I'll do it"

They all watched as Alvin loathing agreed to whatever Brittany had planned for him. Slowly he started to walk away, towards the garden. The group had no idea what was going on, but they all knew one thing. They weren't about to let it happen. Immediately all three of them rushed forward passed the surprised Brittany until they had completely surrounded Alvin. He was shocked, but also clearly upset about their presence.

"Please just go away. I would rather you not see this" he sighed as they blocked his path. He was already in torment about what was about to happen, and having them witness it would be even more unbearable.

"No Alvin, not until you tell us what is going on. Why are you doing what Brittany is telling you to do?" Eleanor said. Theodore and Jeanette simply stood in his way, looking just as pleadingly as Eleanor. It just made it even worse to see their concern.

"Look, I'll tell you alright, but you have to let me do this" he conceded, knowing that the only way to get around his was to come clean. Brittany simply stood watching, annoyed by it all. She wanted to see him ruin his own reputation, not stand around chatting.

"The other day, when Brittany attacked us all, she did more than just hang me upside down from the rafters. She has forced me to ruin the peace of the garden, she wants me to pick a fight or start throwing insults, just as long as get enough attention on myself. The whole school would hate me for ruining the garden"

"But why would you go along with something like that?" Jeanette asked, shocked that Alvin would even consider performing such an act.

"She said that if I don't… she was going to hurt you three. She was going to send you to the hospital like Simon. I can't let that happen, I don't want to see any of you in pain" he said quietly. It was hard enough facing them, let alone explaining himself. He expected their reaction of shock, followed by defiance.

"Alvin, forget about us, you are not going to do anything here in the garden" Eleanor ordered, but Alvin didn't reply. He knew they would oppose, but he was not about to put them at risk. Jeanette and Eleanor didn't know what to say. They had given him many speeches over the last few weeks, but now he was simply depressed, he was trying to protect them. It was difficult to know what to say. Surprisingly, Theodore was the one who spoke.

"Alvin listen to me. I know you are trying to protect us, but doing this isn't going to help anything at all. Think about it. If you do this now, Brittany will win. She'll know that you will do anything she says so long as she threatens us. She'll keep this up until you won't simply be hated, you'll be in even worse shape than we would be. Please don't do this. She can threaten us all she wants, but we will be fine. She has already beaten me up before, and Jeanette has experienced it to, but we got through it fine. She won't be able to hurt us Alvin. If you do what she is ordering, she will have finally won. Even after we cure her, you will remain hated by everyone else. Don't do this" he said fiercely.

Alvin took his words in. Theodore was right. If he succumbed to Brittany's demands, then it wouldn't end there. She wouldn't stop, and he would never be able to stand against her. If he drew the line here and now, he and his family, would prove once and for all that she would not beat us. Slowly, Alvin turned away from his family, and faced the waiting Brittany.

"Brittany, I won't do it. I am not about to become your puppet. If you try to hurt my family, then together we will face you" Alvin growled strongly. Eleanor, Theodore and Jeanette all moved forward until they were next to him. The four stood defiantly, their determination, the most powerful weapon in their arsenal.

"I see. Well, I guess you'll be joining them in the hospital" Brittany sneered. She raised her arms, ready to move forward and punch, but she stopped and examined her surroundings. She was standing straight in the middle of the garden. If she attacked now, she would be the hated one, not Alvin. That was something she wasn't about to risk. She lowered her arms. She gave one last glare at the four chipmunks before turning and stomping away.

As soon as she was out of sight, Alvin turned to Theodore and the girls.

"I'm sorry. I just didn't want her to hurt you' he said lowering his head. However the next moment he was being squeezed by all three of them.

"That's alright Alvin. You were just trying to protect us. You are a good friend" Jeanette said as everyone smiled and hugged. A couple of students watched the moment, but it didn't faze the chipmunks. After all, they were a family, and they cared for one another, and no one could do anything about that.

Well, here is the next chapter. I deeply apologize for the wait. Some of the time was spent with school work, but most of it, I was simply stuck. I really had a hard time trying to right this chapter. My initial idea was that Alvin would have gotten hurt last chapter, but I decided instead to get him humiliated. However, humiliation is something really hard to do, as I couldn't in a way to keep it in context with the story. So I finally decided on the approach of public hatred rather than humiliation. Hopefully this was worth the wait. Anyway, next chapter is going to be rather big, as it will start the countdown to the finale. So get ready!