Unofficial Portkey Archive

Alice Evans and the Prisoner of Azkaban by hermy_madness

Alice Evans and the Prisoner of Azkaban


A Very Good Plan

Alice winced for the fourth time in as many minutes as the bus turned a particularly sharp corner and her knees smacked against the window pane. Harry's trunk had been too bulky to fit in the luggage rack and so with much pushing and shoving they had managed to squeeze it underneath their chairs; the only problem with this solution had been that they had to rest their feet on top of it for the entire journey leading to her current joint related issues. Staring outside into the darkness of the countryside they were driving through as she rubbed her painful knees she wondered, not for the first time, if the driver was doing it on purpose. He had seemed none too pleased when he had been asked to help them load Harry's enormous and decidedly heavy trunk onto the bus.

When they had arrived at the bus stop earlier in the day it was to discover that they had just missed a bus and would have to wait several hours for the next one. To pass the time Harry had practiced his impersonation of Vernon Dursley until it was passable, if slightly higher pitched than the genuine article, and they had walked to the nearest phone box to let Carol know that she would be spending the evening at "Harry's house." She felt slightly bad at deceiving her like that, but as Harry pointed out once he had finished telling Carol that he would treat his "nephew" and "little (she had bristled at that) Alice" to the zoo the next day and hung up, sometimes the truth wasn't an option. By the time the bus eventually appeared the last of the sunlight was just sliding beyond the horizon and they were both beginning to succumb to the tiredness generated by the day's events. As though he were reading her thoughts Harry spoke up.

"You should try and get some sleep, you look exhausted."

Glancing across at him and the dark circles under his eyes she smirked. "You don't look too bright eyed yourself." She tried to stifle a yawn as the eyes in question crinkled with amusement. "All right. Just for ten minutes though," she shifted in her seat to try and get more comfortable, "but if you think you're going to fall asleep too wake me up. We don't want to miss our stop."

"Will do boss."

She didn't think the motion of the bus, the noise of her fellow travellers, or the excitement of the day would allow her to get any rest, but no sooner had she felt her eyes beginning to slide shut than the bus driver was shouting, " All passengers for Charing Cross," and Harry was nudging her gently in the ribs.

"Come on sleepy bones, this is us."

"How long was I asleep?" she queried trying to rub the sleep from her eyes and flatten her hair back into its plait where it had stuck to the window she had been leaning against.

"A while. Give me a hand with this will you," he indicated the trunk which seemed jammed under the seats. After several moments of Harry trying to pull it out while Alice knelt on her seat and shoved it she gave up and climbed over the top into the aisle and they both grasped the handle and hauled at it.

"Harry, did I ever mention that I hate your trunk?" Alice grumbled as the thing stubbornly refused to budge.

"Only once or twi - oh look out," he nodded behind her, "our helpful chauffeur is coming to the rescue." Alice heard a muffled curse behind her as the driver creaked out of his seat and lumbered down the length of the bus with a face like thunder. Within seconds the trunk had been ripped out from under the seats, so fast that Alice thought they were in danger of being parted from the floor themselves, and deposited along with Harry and Alice in the strengthening drizzle of the dark London street.

"Well he was pleasant," Harry removed his glasses to wipe off the film of water that was gathering on them as Alice looked around to get her bearings. "Pity we didn't get his address I'd have sent him a Christmas card."

Alice rolled her eyes at this. "Are you sure you're not secretly a Weasley, that joke was as bad as any of Ron's or the twins."

Reaching for his trunk again Harry grinned, "I'm flattered you would even put me in the same league as such masters of humour."

She swatted him lightly on the arm. "Come on O King of Comedy, I think it's this way."

Alice didn't realise just how strong her longing for the wizarding world had been until she saw the Leaky Cauldron emerge from the gloom and judging by the expression on Harry's face his thoughts were heading along a similar track. It was so good to see something familiar again even if it was a shabby looking pub in the heart of muggle London. Pushing their way into the pub she allowed Harry to take charge and head to the bar to talk to Tom. The few times she had seen the man before he had intimidated her slightly, (though to be honest who didn't?) and Harry was better at that sort of stuff anyway.

"Follow me," he flicked a gnarled looking wand so that Harry's trunk levitated in front of him, "I'll get you sorted out with some rooms."

Grateful that he seemed to be asking few questions about why two almost-teenagers, one of whom was the famous Harry Potter, had turned up on their own in the middle of the night they obeyed without complaint. Careful so as not to bash the trunk against the walls of the narrow corridors he led them along several dusty passages that looked as though they hadn't been used in years, although she knew this couldn't be the case, and up a rickety flight of stairs.

"Here you are," he indicated two wooden doors before opening one and floating Harry's trunk inside, "if you need anything else I'll be downstairs," and he turned on his heel and stomped off again.

"Hedwig!" Harry cried once he had followed his trunk in. The snowy owl who had been perched on top of the wardrobe spread her wings regally, and with several powerful wing-beats, landed on Harry's arm. "Hey girl," he whispered affectionately, "you managed to make it then?" In response the owl nuzzled his ear and then, being her usual independent self returned to her original spot and settled down to sleep.

"She's got the right idea," Alice grinned.

"Well," Harry observed once they had both flopped down exhaustedly on the bed, "today's been different I suppose."

Alice snorted. "You can say that again."

"Today's been diff - ouch!" he protested as she elbowed him in the ribs.


It was a few minutes after this that she became aware that she had done nothing but stare absently at the ceiling. It seemed that her brain was starting to slip into that disengaged state that arrives just before sleep and causes time to become all fuzzy. "Right," the bed creaked loudly as she sat up, "it's been a long day I might go to bed." When Harry didn't answer she glanced down at him. What she saw made her smile affectionately.

Sprawled out on the bed, his glasses askew and his feet hanging off one end, her friend was fast asleep. It had been a long day for both of them, but unlike her poor Harry hadn't been able to get any sleep on the bus; no wonder he was exhausted. Gently, so as not to disturb him, she eased herself off the bed. Removing first his glasses and then his shoes she put them to one side before casting around for another blanket. Finding that he was lying on the only one in the room she carefully folded it in half over him. Once that was done she tiptoed towards the door and into her own room.

It was only once she was there that she realised that she didn't have any essentials of her own, she was sure Harry wouldn't have minded if she had borrowed a pair of his pyjamas for the night, but she didn't want to go back in and wake him. If she was honest she was also too tired to care. Crawling into her own bed she blew out the candle on the cabinet and was asleep almost instantly.

When she regained a conscious state it was to hear an insistent banging on her door. Immediately assuming something was wrong she flew to it and hauled it open to find Harry standing there looking nervous.

"What's happened?"

"Nothing… well nothing bad."

"Makes a change," she muttered relaxing slightly, but Harry who had heard her anyway grinned. "So what's up then?"

"Tom just came and woke me up. Apparently the Minister for Magic is downstairs… and he wants to talk to us."

At this Alice felt a horrified dread sweep over her. They had both run away from home and Harry had blown up his odious uncle using under-age magic; how much trouble would that have landed them in? If the Minister for Magic himself had come looking for them then clearly a lot. She could feel her tongue curling up and her thoughts becoming incoherent even as she considered having to face the man.

"Don't worry," Harry tried to reassure her seeing the panic on her face, "I'll do all the talking." His smile conveyed more confidence than she was sure he felt. After all he had been told last year that he would be expelled if he performed any more magic outside of Hogwarts - even if it hadn't been him that first time. Then again, Harry had been threatened with expulsion more times than she could count.

"Right," she took a deep breath, inhaling till it felt as though her lungs were completely full, "we can do this. Come on." She moved forward and nearly walked straight into Harry who hadn't moved. "What's wrong now?"

"Erm… you might want to fix your hair first," he gestured vaguely at the side of his own head to make his point.

"Why, what's…?" Striding quickly across to the chipped and dusty mirror propped in the corner of the room she trailed off as she saw what he meant. "Oh." Having slept with her plaits in all night her reddish-brown curls seemed to have partially escaped them and were travelling as far from her head as they could possibly get. Deftly she pulled off the ribbons and began redoing her hair as she returned to the doorway and followed Harry down the stairs.

As it was still quite early there were only a few people down in the bar: one was a witch who was sitting in a corner counting what looked like tiny claws into a leather bag and in another corner sat two wizards completely ignoring each other and utterly absorbed in the books they were reading. Tom, who was busily wiping down some of the tables, seemed to be the only other person in the room.

Glancing up from his work he spotted them nervously hovering at the bottom of the stairs. "He's through there," he pointed towards an aged looking door, "end of the corridor, last room on the left." His toothless smile didn't exactly instil Alice with confidence.

Just as they were about to go into the room, Harry hesitated and looked at her. "You ok?"

"I'm fine." How like him to be worrying about her nerves instead of himself at a time like this. The truth was she felt as though something had reached inside her stomach and was slowly twisting her inside until they were about to split. If she didn't really concentrate on ignoring the feeling she was going to be sick any minute, but she didn't tell Harry that of course.

"Right then," raising his hand he knocked on the door and waited. The sound had barely reached Alice's ears when the latch gave a sharp click and the door swung open by itself.

"Come in, come in." Cautiously they followed the voice into the room, to see the man who could only be Cornelius Fudge sitting by the empty fireplace. "Take a seat please," he waved towards the two armchairs positioned opposite his own. "I understand neither of you have had any breakfast so I took the liberty of having Tom procure some for us."

It wasn't until she cast an eye over the pile of toast and fruit that was on the table next to him that Alice realised that neither of them had had anything to eat the previous night. Despite feeling sick and nervous the smell of the hot toast was making her stomach rumble. Seeing that Harry was doing as he had been directed she shuffled quickly behind him into the second of the chairs and slid so far back in it that her feet were dangling several inches from the floor. Starving as she was she also waited until her friend had taken some toast before she helped herself to a piece and promptly wolfed it down. She never had been one of these people who couldn't eat just because they were anxious.

As all this was going on Fudge just sat and stared at them in silence, which was unnerving really and only served to make her even more nervous than she already was. Finally he broke the tension by smiling benevolently at them. "I should probably introduce myself before we go any further. I am Cornelius Fudge the Minister for Magic."

Having seen plenty of pictures of him in the Daily Prophet they both already knew this, in fact Alice wondered if there was anyone in the wizarding world who hadn't seen an image of this portly little man in pinstripes and a bowler hat. He made a striking, if somewhat diminutive figure, and she suspected he knew that.

"Harry of course everyone has heard of," he continued, oblivious to the fact that perhaps Harry didn't appreciate this, reaching out to shake his hand. "It is an honour to finally meet you Harry." Harry's lips twitched awkwardly into what was evidently an attempt at a smile. "And Miss Alice Evans, I've certainly heard a lot about you too in the last few hours. It would seem the two of you had a fairly busy day yesterday."

Alice wasn't sure if this was a question or a statement so she nodded and waited for him to continue.

"You both led us at the Ministry on quite a merry dance I can tell you." He paused again as though he was looking for a reaction from one of them and when none was forthcoming excepting a stony and anxious silence he exhaled sharply. "If you are worried about your uncle Harry there is certainly no need to be, we have dealt with the situation. Mr Dursley has been deflated and the memories of both he and his sister have been modified so there will be no lasting harm done."

"Oh." Harry seemed to have nothing to say to this.

"Your aunt, though understandably upset, has agreed to allow you to return, provided that you do not do so before the summer holidays next year."

"Do I have to?" Harry blurted almost as though he couldn't stop the question from tumbling out of him. Alice hid a sad smile; she hated it that he was so unhappy there.

"Now, now," Fudge looked perplexed, "I'm sure this will have all boiled over by then. The members of the Accidental Magic Reversal Department who were sent to your house reported that your aunt was concerned for your whereabouts -"

"She probably hoped I'd been squashed by flying house," Harry muttered so that only Alice could hear.

"And that she even asked after your friend Alice here."

"She asked after me?" In her surprise Alice was startled from her usual tongue-tied nervousness. Why would Harry's aunt ask after her? She had seemed to despise her at the house. It was all very odd and certainly deserved some further thought.

"What about our punishment?" Harry asked with the sort of urgency that told Alice it was all he had been thinking about.

"Punishment?" Fudge chuckled jovially. "What on earth would you be punished for? A little under age magic is hardly worth a fuss over. No, we're all just glad that the two of you have turned up safe and sound. You really shouldn't have run away like that given… circumstances." He stopped for a moment and seemed to collect his thoughts. Just as it seemed that Harry was about to say something else he began to speak again. "Alice your muggle guardians have been informed that you are staying with Harry for the rest of the holidays, no need for them to know the truth, and all the official technicalities have been taken care of by our Muggle Liaison Office. I believe your things have been collected and sent to your room."

"Erm… thank you," she mumbled. At least she wouldn't have to explain her peculiar absence to Carol. "Are… are we to stay here then sir?" She could feel her face warming as she spoke.

"Sir? My, we are very formal aren't we?" She flushed a shade that any Gryffindor would have been proud of at this. "Yes I think it would be best if you both stay under Tom's watchful eye for the rest of the holidays, provided that you stick to Diagon Alley and don't go back out into Muggle London. Everything will be paid for by the Ministry of course."

"Are we under house arrest then?" Asked Harry who couldn't seem to compute that they weren't going to be punished. Alice could scarcely believe it herself, after all Harry had told her about the expulsion he had been threatened with the year before and compared to that this decided under reaction was just weird.

"House arrest?" It was obvious they were just bewildering Fudge now. Pushing back his bowler hat he scratched his forehead in consternation. "Of course not. I told you, you weren't going to be punished. Surely you don't want to be, do you?"

"But last year -"

The Minister for Magic waved a hand dismissively at Harry's statement. "Now, now, think no more of it. You are here now and safe and that is what matters." He stood up glancing at his watch as he did so. "But I am afraid I must go now. Pressing matters to deal with at the Ministry. There's no need to see me out," he smiled as they both made to stand up, "stay here and finish your breakfast. It was very nice to meet you both." He shook their hands again and with a swirl of his emerald cloak departed the room leaving Alice and Harry staring curiously after him.

"Well," Harry exhaled when he had gone, "that was… weird," he echoed her earlier thought.

"Hmm," Alice grabbed another slice of toast as she continued to stare at the door Fudge had exited through and reprocessing the conversation in her mind.

"Come on then," Harry smirked at her.


"You've got that look on your face that you get when your brain goes into overload. What are you thinking?"

"Well he certainly provoked more questions than he answered there," she looked at Harry who nodded and motioned for her to continue. "I mean why aren't either of us getting punished? Especially you - no offence."

"None taken," Harry grinned.

"I mean it could just be because you're the famous Harry Potter but that didn't seem to stop them last year. And then there's these circumstances he was talking about. What do you reckon is going on there?"

"Dunno. You don't think it might have anything to do with Voldemort again do you?"

"I'm not sure," she reluctantly considered it, "but whatever it is must be serious if the Minister for Magic himself came to check you were alright."

"Both of us," he assured her. "Fudge came to check on both of us. You're just as important."

His loyalty and lack of self importance made her smile. "Thanks Harry, but I know I'm not. The Ministry wouldn't give a fig if I disappeared down a well, but you're a completely different story. If anything happened to you there would be a national outcry." His embarrassment at her statement made her laugh. To cover it he returned to her original topic.

"So what else were you thinking?"

"Well…" She wasn't sure how to proceed with this one. "The only other thing was… what he said about your aunt."

"About how she asked after you? Yeah I thought that was bizarre too. Aunt Petunia has never cared about my friends or magic," - or Harry himself Alice thought internally, but she didn't say it - "except to hate them."

"When I was at your house, she looked as though she'd seen a ghost or something when she spotted me. I thought she was going to have a fit. At the time I thought it was, as you say, just because she hated magic so much, but now…"

"Now you aren't so sure," Harry finished for her. Suddenly he laughed loudly, startling Alice from her thoughts. "This is great, term hasn't even started yet and already we've got two mysteries on our hands. Although…" he stopped mid sentence as he suddenly realised something.


"Our Hogsmeade permission slips. Now that I'm definitely going back to school I should have asked if he would sign it."

"Didn't you get it signed at home?" She felt upset and disappointed on Harry's behalf.

"No, it only arrived the morning of my birthday. I didn't have time and then… Did you get yours signed?" He was clearly trying to keep himself cheerful about it

"Yeah, just before I came to visit you. They might make an exception for you," she added hopefully though with little real conviction; McGonagall was a stickler for rules.

Harry simply shrugged half heartedly in response. "Oh well, it's too late now. Let's forget about it and concentrate on the rest of the holidays."

Once they had finished their breakfast they went back up to their rooms to find that Fudge had been as good as his word and Alice's trunk and belongings were waiting for her outside her door. After much heaving and shoving she and Harry between them eventually managed to get them through the door.

"Right," Harry surveyed their handiwork, slightly out of breath. "Now that you've got your stuff why don't we get changed and then go exploring."

"Fudge said -"

"We won't go out of the street I promise," he held up his hand solemnly as though about to swear an oath.

"Ok then, I'll be two seconds. Now shoo while I get ready." She flapped her arms in the direction of the doorway.

It maybe took longer than two seconds, but it wasn't long before the two of them, feeling much refreshed, were sauntering along the dazzling and bewildering hodge-podge of shops that was Diagon Alley. Alice smiled contentedly as she allowed the welcome feeling of being back amongst wizard-kind to wash over her. The tangy smell of spices and ingredients wafting from the door of the Apothecary, the clang of metal ringing from the cauldron shop, the buzz of noise from the shoppers swarming along sun warmed paving slabs, the -

"Alice!" Harry's shout disturbed her from her romanticised observations; she hadn't even noticed he had left her side. Where was he? "Alice, over here!" He waved at her animatedly from the front of Quality Quidditch Supplies and she trotted obediently over to see what all the fuss was about. "Look at this," he pushed her with gleeful excitement through the gaggle of other children that were pressing their noses against the glass to get a look at… whatever he was showing her. When the boy in front of her eventually condescended to let her past she gasped in ill-concealed delight. There lying in the window was the most beautiful broom she had ever seen. No wonder Harry's eyes were lit up like it was Christmas.

The Firebolt was what the carefully inked sign declared the masterpiece of broom-making to be. Alice didn't think she'd ever heard anything more wonderfully named, just the sound of seemed to say everything you could ever need to know about such a broom's speed and agility. Scanning the rest of the notice she whistled in appreciation at the sheer precision and technical brilliance it purported to possess. Glancing across at Harry he saw that he was silently mouthing the words on the sign as though trying to memorise them by heart.

"Haaarry," she smirked at the look of total absorption on her friends face whilst trying, and failing, to look stern. "Don't even think about it," she could tell exactly what he was thinking.

"What?" He looked up at her with innocence.

"You can't buy the broom. For one thing we haven't any money yet, you probably couldn't afford it anyway, and for another there is absolutely nothing wrong with your Nimbus 2000."

"I know," he sighed and returned to gazing enviously at the Firebolt in the window. "But it's just so - so… I mean look at it!"

Alice laughed and rolled her eyes, but she had to admit that she secretly agreed with him.

After what seemed like an age they reluctantly dragged themselves away and continued on down the street. Harry was just in the middle of postulating on whether or not they should stop for an ice-cream at Florean Fortescue's Ice-cream Parlour once they had been to Gringott's when Alice, who had been gazing at the bookshop on the other side of the road, stopped suddenly.

"Harry! Look, I think I know what Fudge was talking about!" She swung him round to face Flourish and Blott's excitedly. When he continued to look non-plussed she helped him out by pointing at the newspaper stand outside the shop.


Rushing over she grabbed a paper and hungrily devoured its front page. HUNT FOR BLACK CONTINUES it read in a headline that, combined with a photograph of the most terrifying man she had ever seen, took up the majority of the front page. She turned the page and Harry joined her to scan the article.

Azkaban's most notorious prisoner is still on the run today more than five days after he first escaped prompting questions as to the effectiveness of the Ministry's search for him. Sirius Black, the murderer who killed thirteen people with a single curse twelve years ago, is the only person ever to have escaped the fortress of Azkaban. It is believed when caught he will receive the toughest punishment that the law can mete out to him. Readers are reminded that on no account is he to be approached if sighted and -

Suddenly a carefully manicured hand appeared in the middle of the column that Alice was reading and whisked it out from under her nose. Looking up she saw a tall witch with severely cropped short, dark hair and a matching stern expression as she peered over the top of her glasses at them. She could feel Harry bristling beside her so she quickly placed a restraining hand on his arm; the woman was wearing the robes of a Flourish and Blott's employee after all.

"You intending to pay for that?" she indicated the money box on top of the newspaper stand and the sign declaring that each paper cost five Knuts.

"I…" Alice stammered as the woman's gaze bore into her, "I don't have any money on me."

"Well then don't go reading the paper unless you can pay for it; we're not a charity you know." And before either of them could respond she pivoted on her heel and disappeared back inside the shop.

"Well manners certainly don't cost anything," Harry glared after her, "I've a good mind to go in there and -"

"Just forget about it; she's not worth it. We are going to need to go to Gringotts soon though, especially if we are going to be here for a while."

"Yeah," he ran a hand distractedly through his hair. "Well I guess we know what Fudge meant about circumstances then. They were probably worried we had run into Black or something. Have you heard of him before?"

She shrugged. "I think I remember reading his name once before, but I couldn't have told you before this what I had been reading about. Thirteen people with one curse though," she whistled, "that's…"

"I know," Harry nodded. It was scary. "What was it they said was going to happen to him? The toughest punishment they can mete out wasn't it?"

Alice nodded as she gazed at the picture on the front of the pile of papers. The face that stared back at her was gaunt and deathly pale, the skin stretched over a frame that seemed too large for it and eyes that burned through to your soul were framed by long curtains of black matted hair. She shivered. "What could be worse than Azkaban though?"

Neither of them could think of a suitable answer to this. Finally Harry shook himself. "Come on," he put his arm through Alice's and steered her away from the bookshop. "It's too nice a day to stand here thinking of depressing things. Let's go to Gringott's, get our gold and then we can go and get an ice-cream. How does that sound?"

She beamed at him. "Like a very good plan."

A/N: There you go. Sorry for the long delay, I've been reeeeeaaaally busy. Will try to be more prompt with the next chapter. Please R&R!