Unofficial Portkey Archive

Alice Evans and the Prisoner of Azkaban by hermy_madness

Alice Evans and the Prisoner of Azkaban


Consequences and Conversations

"Right…" Harry paused in front of the portrait hole. It was the first thing either of them had said to each other since they had left Dumbledore's office. Having walked quickly straight to the Hospital Wing only to be told by Madam Pomfrey that she had already patched Ron up and let him go, they had slowly made their way back to Gryffindor Tower. It wasn't that they were lost in thought about the evening, for her own part Alice had been all too aware of the awkward silence that was developing as they roamed the corridors, keeping an arms length away from each other and exchanging fleeting half-smiles every so often. She just didn't know what to say, wouldn't know where to start. What were you were meant to say to a brother you had technically only just found after twelve years, having been friends for three of them? It was all rather confusing and her exhausted brain just didn't have the energy to cope with it.

"Yeah…" She shuffled her feet, looking at the Fat Lady, the guttering torch on the wall, Harry, the worn and pitted surface of the stone, her shoes, Harry, the loose thread trailing from the cuff of her sleeve which she proceeded to twist round her finger before glancing back at Harry again. He looked as uncomfortable as she did. "Do you want to talk in the morning?" She asked hesitantly.

"Yeah…" he echoed her. "Yeah in the morning would be good. I'm really -" He struggled to contain an enormous yawn and failed, "- really sleepy now."

Her smile broadened as she turned and gave the Fat Lady, who was staring curiously at the two of them, the password and they climbed quickly into the common room. No sooner than Alice had stumbled sleepily halfway across the room than she heard an excitable squeal from beside the fireplace and looked up to see Hermione and Ron, pale faced but whole again, rushing towards them.

"What happened? What did Dumbledore want to talk to you about? Is Sirius still alright? What's he going to do about Pettigrew?" The questions tumbled out of Hermione's mouth as she grabbed Harry's sleeve and looked searchingly first at him and then Alice. Ron hovered behind her with expectant curiosity.

"Its fine," he replied with a grin, "its all fine. Sirius is still in Dumbledore's office; he's talking to Fudge, but Pettigrew confessed so they know he's innocent."

"That's great mate," Ron beamed as Hermione threw her arms happily around Harry babbling about how she had know it would all turn out for the best.

"If you don't mind," Alice was dead on her feet, too tired to properly celebrate at that moment. All she could think of was the comfy bed and warm blankets waiting for her upstairs. "I think I might go to bed. If I don't, I'm going to fall asleep standing upright." After her own quick hug from Hermione, and another awkward smile with Harry, she shuffled towards the staircase, leaving him to explain it all.

Sleep however proved elusive and she was still awake when Hermione came to bed an hour later, she was still awake an hour after that too, and she was still awake after what felt like several nights and days must have passed. Everything that had happened was bubbling around inside her head, clamouring for her attention and calling her away from sleep.

What was it going to be like having a brother? Was there a chance that they could be like a normal brother and sister? She would love to have what Ron had with his siblings, but would she and Harry ever be able to make up for the lost time they could have spent together as children, for the violent way their home life had been shattered? Of course Harry wasn't the only family that she had found, if she was also the child of Lily and James Potter then that meant that she was related to the Dursley's too; not that she welcomed the fact, but somehow just knowing she wasn't so alone in the world anymore was comforting.

She was still annoyed with herself for not having realised it all sooner, even though she knew whatever spell Dumbledore had cast - she made a mental note to go and look it up in the library at the earliest opportunity - had prevented her from doing so. But whenever her thoughts steered themselves in the direction of her headmaster she would get annoyed again so she stopped thinking about it; instead her thoughts turned towards her parents. She was going to have to find out all she could about them. Harry never spoke about it much, but everyone always said he looked like his father - with his mother's eyes of course - and flew like him too. Perhaps that was why she was good at Quidditch too? She hoped so; it would be nice to have that sort of connection. And her hair, dark red and long, from what she could remember of the photos she had seen Lily's hair had been much the same, maybe a little lighter and straighter perhaps, but that didn't matter. Was she like them in other ways, did she do things, have mannerisms or expressions, that they had? Did her talent for Transfiguration and History of Magic come from them? How much had she inherited from her parents and never even known? Her mind was buzzing with questions.

Eventually, frustrated by her lack of answers and the elusiveness of sleep, she threw off her covers and padded softly towards the window. Wrapping herself in a blanket she settled down to gaze out at the grounds. Where was Professor Lupin? The revelation that he was a werewolf had been unexpected, but with everything else they had found out that night it somehow wasn't nearly as much of a shock as it should have been. Her gaze roamed across the top of the forest taking in the sweeping blanket of the canopy which was gently undulating in the cold mountain breeze. She squinted to get a better look; was it only the wind? Suddenly a dark shape broke through the leaves and soared high above the forest before just as quickly folding its enormous wings and diving back beneath the safety of the canopy. It was only at the very last moment, when its form was illuminated by the bright moonlight that she realised what it was: a Hippogriff. She smiled, the situation with Buckbeak seemed like so long ago now, she was glad that he was still alright. She made a mental note to tell Hagrid, but she suspected he knew far more about he Hippogriff's well-being and whereabouts than he ever let on.

Settling back again she allowed her tired eyes to drift upwards to the stars. For some odd reason this helped to steady her thoughts, and quieted the roaring torrent of questions pouring through her brain. Gradually she began drifting off, lost in the endless tapestry of lights in the velvety black sky.

"Alice!" Someone was shaking her gently awake. "Alice? Come on waken up."

She shifted with a groan registering both the extreme cold she could feel in her hands and toes and the discomforting stiffness in her back and neck. She must have fallen asleep on the window ledge; she cracked open her eyes with a murmured groan.

"Come on, you're going to miss breakfast if you don't get a move on," Hermione was standing next to her, looking much more dressed and awake than Alice.

"Mhhm," she mumbled, her voice raspy with the cold morning air in the dormitory, "just give me a second."

"Are you alright?" Hermione asked ten minutes later as they walked down to the Great Hall for breakfast. She was examining Alice's pale face critically. "You look exhausted."

Alice yawned for what seemed like the hundredth time since she had woken up and smiled sleepily. "I'm fine; yesterday was just a big day that's all." A thought suddenly occurred to her. "Hey! I never asked: how did your date with Harry go?" She was amused to see colour flood into her best-friend's face as she immediately squirmed under scrutiny.

"Oh that… it was good."

Alice waited for a moment as the silence stretched and Hermione's face continued to turn such a deep red that Alice wondered if it would eventually just catch fire. "Aaaaand?!" She prodded when it became apparent that the brunette wasn't going to be forthcoming. "Come on you've got to give me more than that."

"It was… well… we went for a walk round the village, then we had lunch in the Three Broomsticks and we looked round a few of the shops… we talked…" She trailed off again, examining the ends of her shoes as they walked.

"And?" Alice repeated, trying not to laugh now at how embarrassed her friend was.

"He…" Hermione was intrigued by her laces to the point where Alice wondered if she thought they might leap up from her shoes and start dancing across the corridor, as sleep deprived and curious about Hermione's circumstances as she was, the prospect made her smile. "He might have… givenmeapeckonthecheek." The words tumbled out of her mouth, tripping over themselves in their haste to be heard before Hermione finally went violet, clamped her mouth shut and hid her face behind her voluminous curtain of hair.

"Sorry," Alice could feel a giggle rising up inside her, "I didn't catch that. Could you repeat it please? He gave you what exactly?"

With an irritated tut, Hermione raised her head, fixed annoyed and defiant eyes on her best friend and practically shouted the words at her. "A. Peck. On. The. Cheek!" As she spoke two first years, who had just rounded the corner stopped dead, eyed her fearfully for a moment and then quickly scurried off looking as though all the ghosts of Hogwarts were chasing them. With a snort Alice surrendered to her laughter, and after deliberating for a moment whether or not she should get properly angry Hermione joined in.

"Did you see the look on their faces?" Alice choked out several minutes later as they entered the Great Hall for breakfast.

"Yes!" Hermione chuckled, "they looked like they were about to wet themselves. Do you think we were ever that small?"

"I'm sure Fred and George would say that I still… What's going on?" Alice stopped dead as she registered the uproar which seemed to be taking place in the room. At every table students were clustered in groups whispering anxiously to each other, or shouting across and between tables to classmates on the other side of the room. The teachers, who Alice noticed also seemed to be deep in discussion with each other, were doing little to stop the students that were darting the length of the table, or careering into the Hall at high speed and dashing to join their friends whereupon they took up the conversation with animated alacrity. It wasn't until Alice spotted a group of Hufflepuffs nearby pouring over what looked like that morning's issue of the Daily Prophet that the penny dropped.

"Come on," she grabbed Hermione's hand and dragged her in search of their own friends.

"Have you seen this?" Lavender Brown shouted as she noticed them approach the Gryffindor table. "They're saying Sirius Black is innocent!" She waved a copy of the Prophet in the air. "Can you imagine?" Hermione snatched the paper from her, ignoring her indignant protestations. Quickly, her bright, perceptive eyes scanned the front page before she flicked it open and read the columns within. Twisting herself at an angle Alice glimpsed the headline.

Black Cleared: Ministry admits failings

Beneath that was an old picture of Sirius shortly after his arrest. She assumed that must have been when it was taken, because although he was wearing prison robes, his face still looked full and healthy. It certainly hadn't been taken recently anyway.

"Failings?!" Alice whispered indignantly; that was putting it mildly in her opinion.

"Shush," Hermione chided her, "just read this." She pushed the paper towards Alice and continued reading it over her shoulder. Skimming quickly through the four pages devoted to the story Alice struggled to keep the telltale grin from spreading across her face. Certain phrases jumped out at her: Extraordinary events. Ministry backtracks on twelve year old sentencing. New evidence quashes Black's conviction. Free to go. Peter Pettigrew taken in for questioning. Dementors removed from Hogwarts. Manhunt wound down.

Alice contained her wild desire to do some sort of celebratory dance around the table with some difficulty. The only niggles she had about the article was the noticeable lack of any official apology offered to her godfather, and the fact that it spoke about his conviction being overturned. She felt like writing in to the idiot who had written the piece and pointing out that he had never been convicted in the first place, he would have needed to have had a trial for that. She refused to let it spoil her good mood though.

"What do you think happened?" Both Lavender and Parvati looked as though their birthdays had come early, they hadn't had this much gossip since Wayne Hopkins had been caught kissing Mandy Brocklehurst behind Greenhouse Three by Professor Sprout. "We thought that maybe -"

But exactly what the illuminated speculation of Lavender and Parvati's minds had come up with was to remain a mystery to them. "Have you seen it?!" Harry and Ron skidded to a breathless halt next to them having obviously dashed the entire length of the Hall. Harry was positively glowing. His eyes were fixed on Alice.

"Yes, I… Lavender do you mind if we borrow this?" She was conscious that the girls were staring curiously between the two of them, perceptive enough to notice that there was something going on.

"Suit yourself," Lavender looked crestfallen that she was to be kept in the dark. "I got it from Seamus in the first place anyway."

Alice and Harry went to sit at the other end of the Gryffindor table, but before they had taken more than a few steps each Hermione grabbed their sleeves. "Not in here," she hissed, glancing around suspiciously, "someone might overhear you."

"Good thinking." Ron nodded at her so seriously, and the look Hermione gave him in return was so incredulously condescending that Alice felt herself in danger of beginning to laugh again.

Once they were out in the Entrance Hall Harry stopped and turned to them with a wide smile. "It's brilliant isn't it? Now the world knows that he's innocent."

"I can't believe they let him off so easily," Hermione mused. "Not that I doubted it," she rushed to clarify, before Harry or Alice could frown at her, "I just meant that Fudge is usually such a stickler about things, and it was him who sent Sirius to Azkaban, I thought he would fight more to prove he hadn't been wrong."

"Well he couldn't very well do that when Pettigrew was lying trussed up on Dumbledore's office floor, spilling his guts about what he'd done could he?"

"From what my Dad's said about him, I think he'd still try," Ron mused. They all fell back to reading the article, pointing out bits to each other and trying to contain their excitement. Of course there was no mention in it of how Pettigrew had been caught, Harry and his friends didn't feature at all, the article simply glossed over that part, but in a way Alice was glad that it did, she didn't feel she was ready to face questions yet. After a few seconds she glanced up in time to catch Hermione and Harry going through a very odd pantomime - well, Hermione was, Harry was just staring at her in confusion. Her friend would glance at Alice and then look meaningfully back at Harry and then raise her eyebrows questioningly, she would then role her eyes in frustration when he continued gazing at her blankly and then repeat the process. After watching this for a few seconds Alice eventually took pity on them both.

"I think what she's trying to say is that we should talk Harry."

"Oh." Realisation flooded his face. "Oh, right… yeah," he suddenly looked bashful, "yeah we probably should."

"Come on Ron," Hermione immediately declared, sweeping up the newspaper and the protesting red-head simultaneously.

"But, I was just reading -"

"Let's go and get some breakfast."

"Oh ok."

Hermione had to lengthen her stride to keep up with him after that.

"What are they like?" Alice queried as she watched their retreating backs.

The corner of Harry's mouth curled upwards in a motion that was, now that she thought about it, very like the half smile she herself often displayed; he was quickly serious again though. "Do you want to go for a walk or something?"

"Sure," she nodded racking her brain for what exactly she was going to say to him; she wasn't sure where to start. "Just don't make it sound so much like you're asking me out alright, it's a bit weird. Besides," she added slyly, "Hermione might complain." That got that laugh she had been hoping for.

They set off along a corridor and had been walking for some minutes before either of them spoke again. It was Harry who broke the silence.

"Did you have any idea that…?" He tailed off gesturing vaguely in front of him, trying to articulate with his arms what he couldn't with his words.

Alice shook her head, vehemently. "No. I mean I realised that there was something I was missing. The whole story about your sister… and there were others things that never quite made sense, but I had no idea that it was this."

"Me neither."

"Do you mind?" The question was out of her mouth before she even realised that she had wanted to ask it. Had wanted to ask it since the moment she had put two and two together the night before.

Harry stopped dead in the hallway and looked at her incredulously. "Mind? No of course not; why would I mind?"

"I don't know," she shrugged, suddenly embarrassed again, "I just thought that maybe… you know…"

"Don't be daft," Harry grinned, "I'm delighted."

"Well, that's alright then." They continued on in silence for a few moments. "Are you going to go and live with Sirius?" She asked eventually.

Harry didn't even pause to consider his answer. "Yes." The words were immediate. "Are you?"

She watched him from the corner of her eye for a long moment as they continued walking before she answered. Observing the way his hair was in such a state of disarray that he looked like he had stuck his finger in a plug rather than simply run his nervous fingers through it repeatedly, his normally pale face was flushed red with embarrassment, but there were prominent shadows lurking under his eyes; eyes that were currently watching her in a similar fashion. She smirked when she realised what they were both doing. "I was thinking about it… but only if you want me to."

"Why wouldn't I?" His incredulous gaze fixed sharply on her. "We'll be like a family."

For some reason his use of the word family made Alice feel more reassured than anything else he could have said. Family. She had hoped that Harry would have felt the same as her but now she had actually confirmation of it. Up until that moment she hadn't realised how afraid she had been that he would want things to stay exactly as they were, or worse that they would become awkward and distant.

"…if you want that… I'd like to be your brother if that's what you want…" Harry was looking uncertain now, and she suddenly became aware that she had been so deep in thought that she hadn't said anything in response to his question.

"Of course! I would, family is… I've wished since forever that I… yeah," she beamed at him, "family would be good."

"You know," Harry's swift footsteps echoed around the near deserted hallways, everyone being at breakfast still, "if it wasn't for Dumbledore's spell I think we'd probably have worked everything out much sooner. You look so like my Mum - our­ Mum. From the photos I've seen anyway."

Alice beamed at him again. "Thanks. Do you mind if… would I be able to borrow your photos of them? Just to look at. I'd like just to see them."

"Of course. You can keep some if you like. Or copy them, there must be a way."

"We could probably ask Colin Creevey," Alice laughed, enjoying being able to tease him about the second year again, "I'm sure he would know how."

"Speaking of other students, what are we going to do about telling everyone - or not," he rushed to add. "It's up to you."

Alice could feel the tiny lines appearing between her eyebrows as she frowned thoughtfully. "Can we keep it to ourselves just now? Do you mind? I just want to think about it for a bit. Take one thing at a time."

Harry nodded sagely. "I was thinking the same thing. We should probably talk to Dumbledore and Sirius again too. Speaking of which: do you know if Sirius is still in the castle? I haven't seen him yet today."

"Neither have I, but," she reasoned, "if I was him I'd want to keep a low profile this morning, especially with those Daily Prophet headlines."

"You're right -"

"Aren't I always?"

He stuck his tongue out at her. "Anyway." He grinned back. "Do you want to go and find the others now?"

"Sure," she smiled sweetly at him, "we've been away so long Hermione's probably pining for you." The minute the words were out she gleefully darted off down the corridor before he could react. After a split second she heard his feet pounding on the flagstones after her.

"Oi! Just watch it you!" The sounds of their laughter swirled around in the corridor and tumbled out of a nearby window to join the brisk February breeze whirling round the castle.

"Hey Midget!" Alice's head snapped up from where it had been resting on her arms as two solid thuds rocked the bench on either side of her.

"Oh great, it's you two." She yawned sleepily and replaced her head on the table she was sitting at, her plaits falling across the books scattered there as she did so.

"Yeah we knew that already -" Fred made her head connect sharply with the table as he pulled out the book she was utilising as a pillow and held it up for examination. She sat up and scowled at him irritably.

"- Thanks for telling us, but we're not the ones having an identity crisis." his twin finished.

"Really, you are going to have to decide whether we can call you Evans or Potter, we're exhausting our supply of appearance-related nicknames -"

"-And with our O.W.L.'s to study for we really don't have the time to be thinking up more."

"You two have never studied for anything in your lives," Alice snatched the book back from Fred before rubbing the sleep from her eyes. Still, they were right; she was going to have to decide what to do some time soon. It had been nearly a month since the events in the Shrieking Shack, and Alice still hadn't told anyone that she was Harry's sister. Only Neville and the Weasley's knew about it, and that was largely because Ron couldn't keep a secret and had blurted it out one evening. She knew the newspapers and the wizarding world generally would seize on the news with gusto if it was revealed, and she didn't know if she wanted to put Harry through all that, never mind herself. She had seen the furore generated by the unexpected announcement of Sirius' innocence, the interest from which had all but sent her godfather into hiding or as he called it "going on a little holiday," to Merlin only knew where; the last time she had received an owl from him he had been in Peru, the one before that Switzerland. Although after twelve years being cooped up in a cell in Azkaban, she didn't begrudge him the time spent exploring the world. It still hadn't even been properly decided if she and Harry would be staying with him during the holidays, although his offer still stood. As much as she longed to say yes, it would mean revealing her identity to everyone.

"Yes we have!" George exclaimed indignantly. "We frequently study the ancient and most noble art of mischief. We're adept practitioners now."

"Speaking of studying, aren't you meant to read the books, not nap on them?" rejoined Fred. "This behaviour doesn't seem very characteristic at all O-Tiny-One, imagine what Hermione were to say if she saw you?!"

"Yeah well, I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, and besides I think Hermione might have other things on her mind at the moment," a mischievous smirk broke across her face at this last statement.

"Yes, where are Harry and Hermione? They're normally joined at the hip these days." The comment was unusually restrained for Fred, and George's silence on the topic was positively uncanny. However Alice suspected that they were still smarting from Hermione hexing the latter's eyebrows off the previous week and refusing to return them until they stopped their teasing.

She had to admit it was a little odd to see her two friends, well her brother, although it she was still just getting used to the idea, and her best friend as a couple. Not that they were a proper couple yet, they still blushed whenever they held hands or anyone mentioned their new status. But they were just spending a lot more time in each others company, and Alice found that things which she would normally have been the first to hear from Hermione were being reported to Harry first. She wasn't jealous; at least that was what she kept telling herself, it was just going to take a while for them all to adjust to the new way of things. But they were happy, and if they were then so was she.

"Actually they're with Ron and Neville in the common room I think. I had to finish this so I stayed in the library," she waved vaguely at the books piled in front of her. "It's my Potions essay for tomorrow," she answered the question George was about to ask.

"Ah. So why haven't you done it yet?"

"Don't think the irony of our questions does not make an impression on us," Fred grinned.

"It is noted," added his twin.

"In fact we relish in it."

Alice laughed and yawned again. "Harry let me borrow his photo album, I started looking at it when I went to bed and before I knew it, it was after midnight - so I may have slept in a little this morning." She didn't really mind though, it had been nice to have the privacy to look through it, finally knowing that these were photographs of her parents. She still marvelled at the fact. Not that it had been the first time she had seen it since February, but she liked to look at it and Harry didn't mind.

"Ah, well if you're becoming nocturnal anyway then you can do your essay tonight. We need a hand with something."

"Four aren't enough?"

"Nope come on," Fred grabbed the aforementioned hand and pulled her up from the table, ignoring her protests, as George scooped her books under his arm and then followed them from the Library. As he passed a scowling Madame Pince he waved comically and enthusiastically at her, which only made her scowl even more. Alice giggled again.

After having dragged her halfway across the school with no explanation as to the why or wherefore, Fred and George finally stopped outside the Great Hall. Since it was the middle of the afternoon the great oak doors were firmly shut.


"Come on." The twins glanced around furtively, satisfying themselves that the coast was clear, before George hauled open the heavy door until there was a big enough gap to slip through. Fred followed swiftly, still dragging Alice after him.

"Are either of you going to tell me what you're up to?" She stopped once they had closed the door, pulling her hand from Fred's and placing with the other on her hips in her best imitation of Hermione at her most bossy.

"All in good time midget," George chuckled as he continued to lead the way across the Hall.

"Freeeeed?" She wheedled, her curiosity getting the better of her.

The nearest twin turned around and winked at her. "We're just going to liven up dinner a little that's all. With Sirius in the clear and the Dementors gone from the school, we thought it was high time we did something to celebrate."

"I'm surprised you hadn't done something before now."

"Well it was all in the planning you see; we wanted something extra special for such a momentous occasion -"

"- especially since it involved our favourite specky-celebrity and his midget sister."

Despite knowing no one was in the room, Alice glanced around reflexively at his last statement. "Keep your voice down."

"Don't panic Thumbelina."

"Alright then what do you want me to -"

"Should I ask why you are all in here in the middle of the afternoon?"

All three of them swivelled quickly to face the doorway where, much to Alice's relief, Professor Lupin was standing. He still had that drawn and cautious look that he had worn since the night in the Shrieking Shack, as though his misadventure in the Forest had damaged him somehow. She hadn't really had the chance to speak to him properly since then however, so she didn't really know for sure.

"We were just…"

"Alice left her books in here at lunch and we were helping her look for them professor." George lied quickly holding up one of the volumes he had snatched from the Library.

"Right, I see," Lupin didn't sound at all convinced. "Well now that you've found them why don't you run along now? Alice," he added as the three of them scurried towards the door, "could I have a word please?" He quickly shut the door on the twins who had turned back to look at her curiously.

"We weren't doing -"

"Of course you were," he smiled and immediately looked younger. "You and Harry are both far too much like James for your own good. Although perhaps you are less good at lying about it, you've too much of your mother in you I guess."

Alice beamed to hear herself compared to her parents.

"So what were you up to?" There was more curiosity in Lupin's voice now than disapproval.

She sighed with a lopsided, apologetic smile. "I don't know, they hadn't told me yet."

Lupin chuckled at her disappointment. "Well at least you're honest. Anyway I just wanted to have a word with you about… things. See how you are getting on. I promised Sirius I would keep an eye on you two whilst he was away."

"I'm fine. We're both fine…" She paused, wanting to ask something that had been bothering her for weeks, but unsure of how to approach it.

Lupin however, saved her the trouble. "What is it Alice?"

"Professor, I was just wondering… what happened to you, that night after we left the Shrieking Shack?" Lupin's face became grave and Alice immediately regretted that she had spoken. "I'm sorry I shouldn't have -"

"No, Alice. No you are perfectly entitled to ask. And it is I who should be apologising to you and your friends, I put you all in terrible danger that night and I should have known better."

"I think we did an alright job of putting ourselves in danger if you ask me Professor."

At her words Lupin cracked a smile and then chuckled and it occurred to her that it wasn't something she saw him do very often. He looked much younger when he did.

"You're maybe right," he put his hands in his pockets and leaned casually against the wall, "but still, it was reckless of me to go out on a full moon, especially without having taken my potion. You see," he answered the unspoken question in Alice's face, "Professor Snape has been making me the Wolfsbane potion every month whilst I have been teaching here - I assume I don't need to explain to you what that is? No," he smiled as Alice shook her head, "I don't suppose I do; you are so very like your mother. Anyway I came to the Shrieking Shack that night entirely by coincidence… well not entirely…" He sighed as Alice looked at him quizzically; she wasn't entirely sure where he was going with this. "I had suspected for some time that Sirius may have been using the place as a hideout, you see it was where I used to go as a student here when the… my transformation would take place each full moon, but that I went there to investigate on the very night you and your friends should turn up there too, that was not something I had envisaged. I had been so distracted before I left that I had forgotten to take my potion that night. Afterwards, when I had transformed I believe I escaped into the Forest - what you have to understand Alice is that when I am in the form of the wolf… well let's just say I am not at my most lucid."

"And Dumbledore let you stay?"

"Yes." Lupin was serious, but his head leant curiously to the side as he studied her face. "Do you think he was right to do so?"

"Of course." She didn't need to think about it; her response was emphatic although she blushed to the roots of her similarly coloured hair as he continued to watch her. "I mean… you're a brilliant teacher. We've learnt more this year than in the last two years combined -"

"Not to malign my professional colleagues," Lupin interrupted with the ghost of a smile, "but I don't think many would exactly view that as an achievement."

Alice grinned. "Maybe not, but you are still a good teacher. And it all turned out alright in the end, no one was hurt and it's not as though you forget to take the potion all the time. You made one mistake, and everyone makes mistakes sometimes, even teachers." She stopped, aware that this was probably the longest speech she had ever made in front of a member of staff. But Lupin was different wasn't just a member of staff any more. He had been her parents' friend; he was her godfather's friend.

For a long minute he was silent as she looked up at him, determined not to break eye contact no matter how red her face became. Somehow, she felt, this conversation had become very important. Eventually he spoke, and when he did so his voice sounded very old and distant. "And it doesn't bother you that I'm a werewolf?"

A quizzical eyebrow raised itself on her forehead. "Should it? I know the wizarding world has weird hang-ups about stuff like that, but I was raised as a Muggle; everything I see here is weird so being a werewolf isn't any more or less so. Besides, everyone has something odd about them."

Lupin surprised her by bursting out laughing at her last comment. Clutching his sides he rocked back and forth against the wall until tears streamed from his eyes and Alice did begin to start worrying about him. She was just about to start slowly edging away when he managed to regain control of himself.

"I'm sorry Alice," he chuckled wiping his eyes, "but you have a wonderful way with words. It's rare to find someone who is so refreshingly frank with me about my… condition too. Usually they either pussyfoot around the subject or ignore me completely. Now," he pushed himself up from the wall and resumed a more professional stance, "I've taken up too much of your time today already. My apology still stands, and if you could convey it to your friends too, although I shall try and speak to them. Thank you for our chat Alice," he added as he held the door open for her, "I very much enjoyed it."

"That's alright," she smiled, less shyly now than she normally would have, as she passed him.

"Oh, and Alice?" She turned back. "Could you remind Harry that he has a Patronus lesson arranged for this evening? He doesn't really need them now what with the Dementors gone, but we had one scheduled and if he still wants to come… well you never know when it might come in handy do you?"

A/N: I thought it was about time that Alice started coming out of her shell a little bit more, after all that she's been through she would surely have built up a little more confidence. Not much to say else about this one really, I hope you enjoyed it and please R&R!