Unofficial Portkey Archive

Alice Evans and the Prisoner of Azkaban by hermy_madness

Alice Evans and the Prisoner of Azkaban


Family History

It soon emerged that the problem would not only be telling Harry, but getting him to listen to her long enough to actually start the conversation was almost impossible. Every time she approached the three of them they would either become suddenly immersed in homework or simply get up and leave wherever they had been sitting. After the first twenty times Alice gave up trying; which was probably just as well as she still had no idea how exactly she was going to word it. How exactly did you break it to someone that they had a sister they had never known about?

For three nights Alice didn't get a wink of sleep, she just lay awake tossing and turning. Each morning she woke up with no ideas, but instead had a massive headache not to mention a horrible, nervy, sick feeling in her stomach. What she couldn't understand was why no one had ever mentioned it.

It wasn't just as though Harry was from a normal family that could have managed to keep secrets about this sort of thing; he was Harry Potter, for Merlin's sake! He was in every History book that had been written in the past twenty years. His early childhood, such as it was, had been analysed in depth and comprehensively; how could all these authors have missed out something as vital as a sister? It just didn't make sense.

"Evans…" She jumped suddenly as George Weasley waved his hand in front of her face to get her attention. "Are you alright?" She was sitting with the twins at a table in the corner of the common room and had been attempting to do some homework hoping that it might distract her slightly. It didn't.

"Yes, I'm fine," she smiled slightly to emphasise her point.

Fred peered at her too. "You look exhausted."

"Yeah I didn't sleep much last night."

Both twins glanced over in the direction of Harry, Ron and Hermione who were all laughing and joking by the fire. "Do you want us to go and punch Ron?"

"Because we will."

"Thanks, but… I don't think that will help much," the corner of her mouth lifted in a half smile. "I just…" her smile vanished as quickly as it had appeared. "I just need to put this right, take back what I said… something - anything." She heaved a tired sigh and rubbed her temples in frustration, she couldn't tell them what was really wrong. "I don't know what to do."

"Stick with us midget," Fred patted her on the back, "we'll think of something for you."

"Why does that not inspire me with confidence?" She joked; it was impossible to stay completely miserable around the twins. "I just need to put it right somehow. Do you think they would let me go to Hagrid's hearing and retract my statement, or make another one?"

"What stand up in front of the entire panel?" George looked at her sceptically.

"Well I could try, it's the least I could do if it would help Hagrid."

"Or you could write a testimony and owl it to whoever's investigating, but then if that's Carne then -"

"You're doomed." Fred nodded with grave severity whilst impressively managing to maintain a straight face."

"Why are you doomed?" Ginny Weasley came over and sat in the free chair around the table. "I mean obviously because you're friends with these two," she tipped her head in her brothers' direction, "but why else?"

"Just this whole situation with Hagrid's inquiry and what I said and…" Alice tailed off staring towards her friends.

"Ah," Ginny looked thoughtful for a moment as she considered the situation. "Well… where is his Hearing going to be?"

"In front of some special committee from the Departments of Magical Law Enforcement and Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures I think. Why?" Alice was curious now; she wanted to see what Ginny had in mind.

"Well isn't Susan Bones' aunt the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement? So she should have a lot of influence, write to her, or ask Susan to so you get a fair hearing. Put across Hagrid's side of the story."

The three of them stared at Ginny for a moment as Alice felt a bubble of hope flare in her stomach. That might actually work. Why hadn't she thought of that? "Ginny," she said with perfect seriousness, "you might actually be a genius."

"Of course she is," Fred grinned, "she's related to us!"

Ginny caught Alice's eye and rolled her eyes. "Don't hold that against me."

The next day Alice caught up to Susan in the corridor and explained what it was that she hoped she would do. To her joy and not a little excitement and relief, she was more than willing to write to her aunt. After that there was nothing else she could do but wait, carry on researching and worry about Harry and his mysterious sister. She had already taken out every book on modern magical history that she could find in the Library and trawled through them for any mention of Harry's family, but none mentioned any siblings. Even Professor Kreevain, who Alice felt was one of the best magical historians in the world - though she suspected she might be a bit biased - made no mention of it in any of her books. The whole thing was very confusing.

It was a whole week before she heard back from Susan again. She had just told Professor McGonagall that she would be staying at Hogwarts over Christmas (though with her best friends all not speaking to her she had fleetingly considered saying that she was going back to the Home) when Susan bustled over with a piece of parchment folded in her hand.

"Alice! Here you go," she held out the parchment to her, "My Aunt finally replied. She wrote a letter to you and put it in with mine. Sorry it took so long."

"No that's alright," Alice smiled shyly, desperate to open the note and see what it said. "She's a very busy woman; it was nice of her to reply at all."

"Well…" Susan glanced back across to where her friends Hannah and Morag were waiting for her at the Hufflepuff table. "I had better get back - let me know how everything goes alright?"

"Of course. And thanks for this by the way," Alice gestured to the parchment in her hand as she spoke, "I really owe you one."

"I'll hold you to that." Susan laughed as she turned and made her way back over to her friends.

Without bothering to watch her go Alice quickly tore open the purple seal that was stamped across the back of the note and speedily allowed her eyes to devour the contents. What she saw made her smile like she hadn't smiled for days.

My dear Miss Evans

It was with great concern that I heard my niece Susan's account of your experience of giving evidence for Professor Hagrid's inquiry. Of course we are all concerned about the incident which occurred at Hogwarts, but I would hope that no Ministry employee would have allowed that to prejudice their handling of the case.

As I understand the committee is due to hear evidence on the 13th of December at a special convening within the Ministry, I myself will be in attendance. If you would therefore like to resubmit your evidence please compile a statement and owl it to me forthwith. I will void your original testimony and present this one to them along with the rest. I hope that this solution will be to your satisfaction and that you will not hesitate to contact me directly if any other problems should arise.

Yours faithfully

Madam Amelia Susan Bones

Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement

All of a sudden, finishing her breakfast was not important and she sprinted back up the length of the Hall and ran as fast as she could to Gryffindor Tower - much to the bemusement of poor Neville who had been about to sit down beside her.

"Alice are you alright?" He asked twenty minutes later as he came upon her scribbling feverishly in the common room. "You ran out of the Great Hall like You-Know-Who was chasing you."

Startled from her writing she looked up and made an apologetic face. "Oops, sorry Neville. It's just that I got a reply from Susan's aunt and I was so excited that I wanted to start my reply straight away. I didn't see you there. Sorry."

"That's alright," Neville grinned. "I know how absorbed you get in things. It's fine, honestly. You had better hurry up though, I know Care of Magical Creatures was cancelled, but I've got to get to Divination and you've got Arithmancy."

Alice checked her watch. He was right she was cutting it a bit fine. Quickly scrawling her signature at the bottom of the letter she folded it neatly and stowed it in the pocket of her robes.

For the whole morning Alice remained in a state of nervous excitement, she couldn't wait for it to be lunchtime so that she would be able to head up to the owlery and post her letter. Every so often she would check that it was still there in her pocket, although after she nearly dropped it in the corridor she decided it was probably safest to just leave it there and stop checking every two seconds. Eventually, after what felt like the longest morning of her life, they were released for lunch and she ran up the innumerable flights of stairs to the appropriate tower.

Standing in the owlery she spotted Archimedes sitting on a roost not far from her and called to him. He ignored her. After her third unsuccessful attempt at coaxing him down she decided to opt for a more drastic measure. Taking her wand from her pocket she pointed it threateningly at him. "Archimedes I'm warning you. Get down here right now or I'm going to curse every single feather off of your stubborn body!" The owl gazed balefully at her for a moment before abruptly launching himself from the perch and plummeting towards her so quickly that she thought he was going to collide with her head. At the very last moment he spread his wings and dodged sideways, narrowly avoiding scalping her with his talons. The haughty look in his eyes as he landed told her that this was to teach her who was boss. "Yes well, your job is to deliver letters," she reasoned with him as she waved the scroll about, "and it's not something you've done very much of, so it's time to justify your keep mister." They stared each other out for a moment before the owl hooted in assent and stuck his leg out obligingly. "You see," she commented as she finished tying the knot, "you can be nice when you want to. I'm not saying you have to like everyone, but if you could find it in your feathery heart to be nice to me every once in a while…" After a moment Archimedes nipped her hand with his beak in what she hoped was meant to be an affectionate manner. It was more painful than would normally indicate any sort of warmth, but he hadn't drawn blood which she supposed coming from him was positively loving.

As she watched her owl fly across the Hogwarts grounds she heard a voice behind her. "You know one day that owl is going to kill us all in our sleep." She turned to see Fred Weasley grinning idiotically in the door to the owlery.

"Well we can only hope that he starts with you." She countered. Glancing behind him she raised a questioning eyebrow. "Where's George anyway?"

"What makes you think that I'm not George?"

"Because I can tell the difference between you." She felt obliged to state the obvious.

He nodded seriously. "Right - I forgot you had spooky powers. You don't fancy teaching that skill to my Mum at some point, do you?"

"I can make the two of you name badges if that would help," walking back across to him she ducked as he tried to ruffle her hair then stuck out her tongue as he scowled at himself for missing. "So where is he?"

"He managed to convince Angelina to do an extra Quidditch practice with him."

"What's so funny about that?" Alice asked as she watched him smirk at the news. Then before he could respond she realised what he was getting at. "Does he like Angelina?" Fred's broad grin gave her all the answer she needed.

"Don't tell him I told you that though," he admonished sternly as they began to walk back down the stairs.

Alice felt the corner of her own mouth tugging into a smile at the thought. "Wouldn't dream of it."

"So who were you sending the demon owl off to anyway?" He slung his arm loosely around her shoulders in a comradely fashion as they continued their descent.

"Amelia Bones, she wrote back to Susan this morning so I thought I'd send a statement back to her as quickly as possible. And don't make fun of Archimedes," she jabbed a finger into his ribs, "he's just misunderstood." Their banter continued as they reached the bottom and returned to the common room for the remainder of lunchtime. When they got there however the place was in a bit of an uproar.

"Well Scabbers is my pet!" Ron, standing at the bottom of the staircase to the boys' dormitory red faced and yelling, waved his rat in the air to emphasise the point. Alice and Fred stopped just inside the portrait hole to observe the commotion. "He has as much right to a stress free life as Crookshanks - more even as he's been here longer, he's been here even longer than me for Merlin's sake! He doesn't deserve to be persecuted!"

"Of for goodness sake Ron," a clearly disgruntled Hermione was squaring up to him, whilst cradling her cat, even though there was a ten foot gap between them, "don't be so dramatic all the time. "All Crookshanks did was chase him, it's what cats do! He was just playing." The cat in question spat and hissed in Ron's direction as Hermione hitched him higher in her arms.

"Playing? Playing?!" Ron's high pitched screech would have been comical if he hadn't looked as though he was about to explode. "Scabbers is half dead!" As he thrust said pet in Hermione's direction so that she could see for herself Alice couldn't help but think that the rat might be a whole lot healthier if Ron stopped swinging him about all over the place. The poor thing probably had vertigo.

"Tcht," Hermione tutted dismissively and for a split second Alice thought Ron was actually going to throw his rat at her. Luckily for Scabbers Harry chose that very moment to wade into the argument.

"Look will you two stop fighting about it. Hermione can't you make sure that Crookshanks stays out of the dormitory and Ron can make sure that Scabbers doesn't come down to the common room, that way everyone is happy?" Neither of his friends looked it as they glared at each other over his head.

"Fine." Hermione went off to sit by the fire, cooing over her cat as she did so.

At the same moment Ron muttered under his breath: "I will if she will," and disappeared back up the staircase to the boys' dormitory leaving a bereft Harry standing in the common room on his own. For a split second he caught Alice's eye and she thought that their shared despair at Hermione and Ron's argument might bridge the gap between the two of them. It wasn't to be however, for just as she was about to smile tentatively at him he broke the contact and disappeared after Ron.

Alice sighed. When were they going to forgive her, or at the very least talk to her? She had important things she needed to tell them. Sighing she went to fetch the books she would need for the rest of the afternoon, she would just have to wait for Hagrid's hearing and hope that what she had done would be enough to put things right.

Two days later Archimedes announced that his mission had been completed by landing perilously close to Neville's bowl of porridge at breakfast - scaring the life out of her friend in the process. Attached to his leg was a disappointingly cursory note saying that her testimony had been received. After that all that she could do was wait again.

On the day of Hagrid's inquiry she was constantly fidgety in class, unable to concentrate on anything, and continually peering out of windows whenever she was within sight of Hagrid's cabin to see if he had returned from the Ministry yet. Professor Vector even had to tell her to pay attention in Arithmancy. From the sly looks she cast in Harry, Ron and Hermione's direction she could see they were occupied in much the same activities. By evening she was so impatient for news that Fred, George and Ginny had to take her out to the Quidditch pitch just to distract her. An hour zooming around on a broom did manage to calm her nerves slightly, but more importantly from her vantage point she saw three shadowy forms, that were unmistakably her friends, crossing the grounds towards Hagrid's cabin. And there was already smoke rising from the chimney. Initially her first instinct was to turn her broom in mid-air and head directly towards them, but after consideration she realised that she probably wouldn't be very welcome.

Eventually the biting December chill and growing darkness got the better of them and they headed back to earth. But when they entered the changing rooms Alice was in for a shock. Striding in the opposite direction with determined faces, Harry, Ron and Hermione all stopped dead when they saw her with the Weasleys. For a long moment the four of them gazed at each other uneasily until the silence was broken by Ginny.

"I'm freezing," she declared in an unnecessarily loud voice to no one in particular. "Let's go and warm up by the fire in the common room." She grabbed the twins' sleeves and hauled her brothers out of the room after her. Once they were gone Alice spoke up.

"Look I'm really sorry about what I did, what I said - or didn't say - to Umbridge. I honestly didn't mean to get Hagrid into more trouble it was just…"

"It's alright," Harry smiled at her for the first time in weeks, "Hagrid told us what you did to try and fix it."

"And we're sorry we overreacted so… badly." Hermione's mouth twisted as she said the word as though it was something sour she wanted to spit out.

Alice nodded wordlessly - what else was there to say about it? She changed tack to stop another awkward silence from falling. "What happened with Hagrid's hearing?"

"They didn't come to a decision," Ron answered. "He said that because there was new evidence to consider they needed a second sitting. It won't be decided until the New Year."

Abruptly Hermione stepped quickly across the gap between them and threw her arms around Alice. "I've missed you." Her voice sounded choked.

Patting her gently one the back Alice smiled. "I've missed you too. All of you." She met Harry and Ron's eyes over her shoulder. They smiled tentatively back at her, clearly it would take a while to get things back to normal between the four of them; this had been a rather spectacular bust up but she was confident that they would manage. Deciding that the best way to achieve this would be to put it firmly behind them and pretend it hadn't happened Alice gently released Hermione. "Right then, I don't know about you lot but I'm getting cold just hanging about here. Anyone fancy going back to the fire in the common room and seeing if we can't get ourselves some hot chocolate on the way?" At the mention of chocolate Ron's eyes lit up and both Harry and Hermione agreed whole-heartedly.

That night as she lay in bed and the warm fuzzy feeling induced by the fire, the chocolate and the knowledge that she had her friends back began to wear off Alice began to worry once more about her most pressing issue. Now that he was talking to her again she really had no reason not to tell Harry about what she had discovered. The problem was that over the next few days she was just too scared to say anything.

The news was going to blow his whole world apart and she really didn't have to be the one to deliver it. How would you even start a conversation like that?

Sitting with Ron and Hermione in the courtyard one afternoon, Alice contemplated the problem. She had taken to carrying the journal around everywhere with her and right now it seemed to be burning a hole in her pocket, she couldn't keep track of anything her friends were saying and Hermione had given up on including her in the conversation. She could see that something was on Alice's mind and was confident that's he would tell her when she was ready. Watching some first years screeching riotously as they capered and dived about in the newly fallen snow, Alice spotted Oliver Wood striding past with his broomstick in hand. He looked pre-occupied and seemed to be muttering to himself, but Alice wasn't bothered so much about that as the fact that it almost certainly meant that Quidditch practice was over for the day and Harry had probably returned to Gryffindor Tower. She made up her mind; time to bite the bullet. It was now or never.

"I'll be back in a minute," she told her friends as she slipped off the wall they had been perching on and without further explanation made her way back inside, each reluctant footstep leaving blot in the pristine layer of snow. As she walked she tried to formulate sentences in her mind, the problem was that each sounded worse than the last. "Harry, I read in a book that you used to have a sister." Was that too flippant? "Harry, hypothetically how would you feel if you had had a sister and now you didn't and no one had told you?" Too convoluted? How should she tell him? Was there even a right way to tell him? No matter how slowly she dragged her feet it was all too soon that she found herself standing outside Harry's dormitory. Taking a deep breath to give herself courage she raised her hand and rapped smartly on the door.

"Come in."

Before she could talk herself out of it she slipped into the room and shut the door firmly behind her. Looking up from where he was crouched by his trunk, the contents scattered on the floor around him, Harry smiled when he saw her. "Hi." A look of confusion passed over his face when he saw her grave expression. "What's up?"

As she stared at him trying to think of what to say Alice realised that she had twisted her hair so tightly around her finger that she was cutting off the blood supply to the tip. Letting go she moved her hand behind her back where the other one was clutching the journal she had found. "Look Harry… when we weren't speaking…"

"Alice, are you alright?"

She nodded. "Yeah; just - don't interrupt alright?" She smiled crookedly at him. "When we weren't talking I - I found something out. It was about you. I didn't want to tell you in front of the others, because… well you'll see why." She stopped again searching for the right words. Why didn't they teach a class in breaking difficult news at Hogwarts? Eventually she decided that someone else could explain it far better than she could. "Here," she held out the journal to him. "Read the page I marked."

Still bemused by her behaviour, Harry dutifully accepted the book, opened it at the page marked and began to read. Watching his eyes run back and forth across the lines Alice felt sick. She took in every single reaction and tried to guess which revelation he had reached. A slight tightening of the hand holding the book, the knuckles whitening slightly as he realised it was about his mother; the corner of his mouth curving up into a proud smile as he heard her described as a wonderful healer; then his face went blank as he struggled to cope with the rest of the passage. She saw his eyes flick back to the top as he read it over again, trying to understand; then as realisation hit all the colour abruptly drained from his face and he sat down very suddenly, and very hard, on the floor.

"Harry!" She rushed forward to make sure he didn't pass out. As her hands clutched his arm she could feel him shaking under his robes.

"I don't…" He dragged his wide, frightened and confused eyes up to meet Alice's. "How can that be…? I don't have a s-sister… Why did no one tell me?" He whispered at last sounding anguished.

"I don't know Harry; I'm sorry." She gave him a one-armed hug. "I found the journal in that cupboard in the Library. I know I shouldn't have had it, but once I read… I thought you ought to see it." She stopped, uncertain of what to say next.

"No… it's fine." Harry was just staring straight ahead now, his emerald eyes like beacons shining out of his pale, drawn face. He looked like he was going to be sick.

"Do you want me to get you something?"

He twitched his head jerkily in what was evidently meant to be a negative. "I just don't understand why no one told me before. I mean a sister, that's a fairly important thing to tell someone about… What do you think happened to her?"

Alice stayed silent for a moment; she knew what she thought, but she didn't want to have to tell Harry, at least not while he was still in shock. As she was searching for an answer though, he responded himself.

"You think He killed her too, don't you?"

She met his gaze and felt her heart break for him. He looked so lost and sad. Harry had spent his whole life with the spectre of his parents' murder hanging over him, even if he hadn't known the full story, and now he had another relative to mourn all over again. No one deserved that, least of all Harry. Slowly, and with resignation, she nodded. "You should speak to someone though. Dumbledore, or McGonagall… or Hagrid, they're bound to know. They could tell you what happened, why she was kept a secret." When Harry stayed silent she tried a different tack. "Are you going to tell Hermione and Ron?"

For a moment he was silent. "Yes," he croaked eventually. "I'd better… Thank you for telling me on my own though. I needed to digest it before I do that." She gave his arm a reassuring squeeze.

"Do you want me to come with you when you do?"

"Please," he patted the arm that wasn't stretched around his shoulders, took a deep breath, and stood up. "Come on I had better do it just now."

When they found them a short while later, exactly where Alice had left them, Ron and Hermione's reactions to the news were typically their own. After sitting in stunned silence for a moment Hermione questioned the veracity of the book and once Alice pointed out that she couldn't see why the author would lie, her bushy haired friend enveloped Harry in the mother of all hugs looking as though she herself was going to cry. Ron on the other hand had gone very pale under his freckles. "Mate…" he wanted to be sympathetic but didn't know what to say. What could you say in that situation?

After a while Hermione broke her hug, though she still held Harry by the shoulders and forced him to look at her. "What are you going to do now?"

A steely look had suddenly entered Harry's eyes, the intensity of it scared Alice slightly and it wasn't even being directed towards her. "Now? Now I want answers." Abruptly he stood up, snatched the book up from where Alice had placed it on the table and stormed back into the school kicking up a flurry of snow in his wake.

After looking at each other with a mixture of indecision, mutual sympathy for their friend and worry, the three of them sprinted after him.

"Harry!" Hermione yelled as they saw him disappearing up the staircase in the Great Hall.

Without stopping he just shouted back over his shoulder. "What?!"

"Mate, where are you going?" Ron's long legs meant that he caught up with their friend much more quickly than either of the girls.

As she jogged alongside them to keep pace Alice thought for a moment that Harry hadn't heard him. He certainly didn't seem about to respond; he just kept pounding determinedly along the corridor, his face set like granite. Eventually he bit out a response through gritted teeth that sent another spasm of nerves shooting through Alice's stomach. "To see Dumbledore."

A/N: Well apologies for the HUGE space of time since my last update, I can only excuse myself by saying that life once more got in the way. Anyway I hope you enjoyed the latest chapter and please R&R so I know what readers think of the story… it's always nice to hear from you all.