Unofficial Portkey Archive

Alice Evans and the Prisoner of Azkaban by hermy_madness

Alice Evans and the Prisoner of Azkaban


Homeward Bound

As the whistle sounded shrilly in her ears Alice quickly scooped up her bag, which she had only just finished hastily repacking having spilt the contents everywhere, and leapt towards the open train door. She landed with a clatter just as the wheels began to turn sluggishly, establishing the regular rhythm which would be their accompaniment for the next nine hours. Turning quickly, she slammed the door shut and then paused to stare wistfully out of the window, imprinting an image of Hogsmeade, with the castle dimly visible in the distance, in her mind. It would be two and a half months before she saw it again. Not that going home would be such a hardship this year as home would be with Sirius, but still she knew she would miss it. Far too quickly for her liking, the train rounded a corner and Hogwarts was swept out of sight. She sighed and turned to go and find her friends.

As she walked along the corridor she was aware that her enquiring glances into the compartments were returned with an intense curiosity. She supposed people were still getting used to the fact that she was Harry Potter's sister - as kindly advertised by the Prophet who had gotten their hands on the story only the preceding week - but still, she wished they wouldn't stare so much. If she was honest she was surprised it had taken this long for the revelation to reach the papers, though whilst she was grateful for that it didn't make her newfound celebrity status any easier to deal with. She was also well aware of the fact that she had been sheltered from most of the furore inside the walls of Hogwarts, it was only now that she had left that she would have to face the storm properly. It wasn't an inviting prospect. Peering into a compartment halfway down the train she saw all of her friends sitting discussing something animatedly with Fred, George and Ginny. She quickly slipped inside.

"Hey Evans!" The twins couldn't seem to drop the nickname no matter how hard they tried. "We were wondering where you had gotten to."

"My bag broke," she held it up and indicated the snapped strap which had caused her mishap, "and I dropped everything."

"Well that was -"


"In the extreme."

Alice stuck her tongue out at the twins and took a seat next between Ron and Neville.

Glancing round at her friends she smiled as she saw Harry and Hermione covertly holding hands where they thought that no one could see, she noticed that Ginny was determinedly not looking at them, but other than that she seemed fine with the new arrangement. Next to her, Neville was leafing through a copy of Herbology Monthly, whilst Ron was flicking through a pile of chocolate frog cards he had produced from somewhere. It occurred to her that it seemed like forever since they had last been sitting on the Hogwarts Express, puffing slowly in the opposite direction, and she said so.

"Yeah," Harry answered, "it does, doesn't it? So much has happened since then."

"I'm be glad to be going home again," Hermione's smile, quickly turned to a concerned frown in Harry's direction to check that she hadn't upset him with her remark. He caught her looking.

"Hermione, you can mention the word `home' in front of me, I'm not going to have a meltdown over it."

"Makes a change," Ron whispered grinning as Harry batted him on the arm in response. Alice was glad to see he was able to smile about it now, but she still hated the fact, and felt slightly guilty too if she was honest, that she was to be allowed to stay with Sirius permanently and Harry still had to go back to the Dursleys. Not that he would have to stay there all summer; Sirius had eventually managed to argue a compromise with Dumbledore that would allow Harry to spend part of the holidays with his sister and godfather, provided that he went back to his aunt and uncle first. It wasn't perfect, but it would have to do for now. She still wasn't sure how Sirius had managed it; she suspected that as he was their legal guardian the Headmaster had had little option but to eventually accommodate some of his wishes. The way Sirius told it to them afterwards, the old man hadn't been happy. She knew deep down that he only had Harry's best interests at heart, but she felt that too often he sacrificed Harry's happiness for his safety. It was a difficult balancing act, but she still resented it.

"You've got your thinking face on Evans," Fred observed from the other side of the compartment.

"Don't think," his brother added, "you're on holiday. That means two months off from thinking."

"I can't do that," she bantered back, pretending to look outraged, "imagine what might happen if I ended up like you two and forgot to start again in September?!" She smirked across at them as Ron chuckled and gave her an enthusiastic high-five. Having won that particular bout of verbal sparring she settled back in her seat, returning the gesture when Fred stuck his tongue out at her, ready for the long journey ahead as they continued larking about.

"Neville," she asked after a while, chewing lazily on a liquorice wand as she squinted at the page he was reading, "what's that?" she pointed at a particularly gnarled looking specimen, which vaguely resembled a cactus, embellished with several notes on the opposite page.

"You mean you don't know?" He queried, looking slightly shocked.

She glanced up at him. "No. Why? Should I?"

"Noooo," he answered slowly, "not necessarily; it's just that you and Hermione normally know everything."

"That's not true," the brunette broke off from her conversation with Harry to answer the charge.

"Well, most things then," Ron joined in.

"Definitely almost everything," added George as Fred nodded enthusiastically beside him with a fixed look in his eye that told Alice he was trying to keep a straight face.

"There is a definite absence of anything you don't know; a dearth of uniformativeness one might say; a lack of illogicality; a -"

"Oh, will you lot just shut up and let Neville answer the question!" Ginny broke in with a grin, Alice smiled thankfully at her.

"It's a Mimbulus Mimbeltonia," he answered, "they're actually really rare. They're fascinating plants…" he began to describe the various properties to her at length and she noticed with some pride and satisfaction the way he was obviously enjoying relaying the information to her and the ease with which he could recall it - an unusual feat for Neville. He was just explaining to her the various magical uses which Stinksap could be put to when he was interrupted by the unwelcome hiss of the door as it slid open. Even more unwelcome were the occupants on the other side.

"Oh for Merlin's sake Malfoy," Harry cut in before the Slytherin had even opened his mouth, "you would think you would get tired of constantly coming into our compartment to bother us. Don't you have any friends of your own?"

"Stupid question," George muttered.

Two bright spots appeared in the usual pallor of Malfoy's cheeks as he scowled at them; behind him in the corridor Alice could just see Crabbe and Goyle loitering indolently. Well, if truth be told, she could only actually see Crabbe, but she assumed Goyle was there too, neither of them had enough brain cells to function independently, they probably had to pool resources just to tie their shoe laces in the mornings.

"Didn't that pathetic excuse for a godfather ever teach you any manners Potter?" The blonde glared spitefully at them, clearly irked at having his grand entrance ruined.

"Didn't your father ever teach you it's rude to barge in on people?" Ginny piped up from behind her brothers.

"I'd ask if you the same question, but seeing as you're Weasley's I needn't bother; you probably couldn't afford manners anyway."

"Was there something you wanted Malfoy?" Hermione asked with a sweetness that was clearly forced. The look in her eye was steely.

His scowl deepened as realised his goading was having little or no effect. "I just thought I would drop by and see how our latest Hogwarts celebrity is doing," he nodded in Alice's direction. "The whole train is talking about it. How does it feel to be outshone by your sister Potter?"

Harry opened his mouth to retaliate, the set of his jaw suggesting that Malfoy was beginning to hit the mark a little. Hermione placed a warning hand on his arm and before he could speak Alice launched in. "Really Malfoy, can't you do any better than that? People will start to think you just aren't trying." She wasn't sure where the words were coming from, or the courage to say them; they seemed to trip off her tongue with very little involvement from her brain at all. "Now if you aren't going to say anything worth listening to why don't you just trot off back to whichever rock you crawled out from under and drop it on your head?"

Whether it was the compartment full of uncompromising faces arrayed against him, his disliking of the odds should things degenerate into a wand fight, as they so often did, or the fact that he was simply too shocked at Alice having stood up to him so forcefully, she wasn't sure. Whichever it was Malfoy gawped at them for several moments, his jaw working soundlessly before he whirled on his heel with a scowl which promised retribution and stalked away down the corridor, his enormous protectors trailing dumbly after him.

A loud noise close to her ear made her jump slightly and she nearly cricked her neck turning to see what it was, as it turned out it was only Ron beginning to clap with the others slowly joining in until her face began to heat up with embarrassment.

"Wow Alice, where did that come from?"

"Erm… I'm not really sure." After a slight pause she joined in with her friends' laughter. Perhaps she really was coming out of her shell at last, goodness knows if anything was going to make her do it, it was the crazy things they got up to at Hogwarts. Perhaps by seventh year she would be able to talk to people without tripping over her own tongue?

"Do you suppose Malfoy will ever just get the hint and buzz off?" Ron asked the group at large.

"Probably not," Hermione answered with a sniff, "that would mean he was learning which implies the presence of a brain."

Harry chuckled. "I don't know, I don't think Hogwarts would be the same without him constantly annoying us every five minutes. It would be too quiet."

"Harry," Alice leaned round Ron and looked at him incredulously, "of all the things that can be said about our time at Hogwarts, I don't think quiet can ever be one of them."

He grinned back. "True."

"It'll certainly be quieter without Professor Lupin there next year," Ginny pointed out, sobering slightly, "I doubt we'll get someone as good to replace him." She had a point Alice thought, Lupin certainly did make his subject come alive. It had come as a shock to all of them when he had announced his resignation at the end of the year, even Lupin himself seemed slightly surprised by his decision. When questioned about it by Harry all he had said was that he had felt he was a danger to the students and that events in February had only gone to prove this. Alice didn't buy it however; she flattered herself that she had convinced him to stay at the school, at least she thought she had. Evidently not. His reasoning just hadn't made sense though, it had been months since his episode and nothing had changed since then, at least not that they were aware of. It was all very mysterious.

"You never know he might change his mind," Harry sounded hopeful as he picked up Ron's discarded pack of cards and began to shuffle them before dealing them out to everyone, "besides it's not as though we'll never see him again, he said he'd probably be round at Sirius' all the time. And he said he'd come visit on our birthday."

"Oh." Alice suddenly looked up from the cards she had been examining.

"What's up Midget?"

She looked across at Fred who had spoken and then at Harry. "I've just realised, I don't know why I didn't before really, it's a bit obvious when you think about it, I just don't suppose it's one of those things that you really -"

"Are you ever going to get to the point?" Ginny butted in, not unkindly.

She smiled crookedly. "My birthday will be on a different day now, won't it?"

Her brother smiled in understanding. "Only if you want it to be."

"You could always have two birthdays," Neville chipped in. "You know - like the Queen."

"Just don't expect us to bow and call you Your Majesty all the time," George added.

"Yeah, your head doesn't need to get any bigger than it already is." Fred snickered as she threw a card at him and tossed one back.

"I think you two have maybe missed the point of the game here," Hermione sounded like a parent patiently asking her children to behave; any minute now Alice almost expected her to tell them that they ought to know better by their age. She tried to hide her grin. "Let's get on with the game shall we?" They all looked determinedly at the cards, but after a few seconds she risked a glance upwards; Fred caught her eye and winked conspiratorially.

By the time they arrived at King's Cross they had worked their way through six games of Snap, four games of Old Hag and some other wizarding game which Ron tried and failed to explain to the rest of them. By then most of them had lost interest and left Ginny to sit arranging the cards by herself, doing something that looked very similar to fortune telling.

Hauling her case along the platform with Archimedes empty cage wedged under her arm Alice forced her way out of the throng of pupils and turned to the others. "We should probably say goodbye here, before we go through the gate."

"It won't be long before we see each other again," Harry smiled brightly at her. "Dumbledore said I only had to stay at the Dursleys for a few weeks, and even then I'll see you at the trial, I'm not going to miss that."

"Yeah, we'll all be back together before you know it." Hermione smiled. "I'm going to have to run though, Mum and Dad will be waiting for me." She gave them all a quick hug lingering longest on Alice, before turning finally to Harry. "Take care of yourself till I see you," they heard her whisper as she blushed and glanced sideways at their audience who all looked studiously at the scarlet train idling by the platform.

"What makes you think I wouldn't?" He replied with a knowing smile. "And I promise I'll write till then."

"I'll hold you to that," she smiled back; despite herself Alice felt her heart warm slightly, they really were sweet together. If she believed in such mushy nonsense she would almost say they were made for each other. Hermione reached up and gave him one of her notoriously tight hugs, standing on tiptoe to hold onto him for as long as she could. Eventually she relinquished him and said a final goodbye to them all before turning and plunging into the throng of pupils heading towards the gateway to the Muggle world. Harry watched her go with a wistful expression on his face. Just out of his line of vision all three Weasley boys began to shake with silent laughter and Alice aimed a kick at the nearest one, who happened to be Fred.

"Honestly you three," she sighed, rolling her eyes.

Ginny shook her head at them. "Merlin, have I got to put up with another summer of you lot being idiots?"

"You know you love us really Gin," George put an arm around his little sister and ruffled her hair.

"What's that?" Harry finally turned back to them looking nonplussed.

"Never mind mate," Ron grinned.

He looked at them all with confused green eyes as they smirked back, but held their silence. Eventually he gave up trying to work out his friends with a shrug. He clearly thought they were all mental. Which, Alice considered, they probably were to an extent.

"Right, well, I had better go too," Neville spoke up, "Gran will be getting impatient."

"Ok," Alice gave him a hug too, "but we need to see more of you this summer, alright?" It wasn't really a question. "I'll see if Sirius will let you come and stay or something, once we get sorted."

"I'd… I'd like that," he smiled back hesitantly.

"It's the Quidditch World Cup in a couple of months too," Ron added, "Dad mentioned that he might try and swing us all some tickets."

"Really?" Harry and Alice's eyes lit up at the same moment. They all began walking with Neville towards the gateway chattering excitedly about Quidditch and the possibilities that the World cup presented. As they filed through the wall one by one they left behind a now almost deserted platform and the familiar, comforting bulk of the Hogwarts Express slowly puffing out copious quantities of smoke which swirled languidly into the space they had occupied. It would be there again, as it always was, for the start of a new year in September; waiting to whisk them off to new adventures. As they joined the bustle of humanity on the other side of the gateway any onlooker would almost be forgiven for thinking that there was nothing uncommon about them other than the fact that the group contained a disproportionate number of redheads. They would, of course, be wrong.

A/N: Just a short one this time to round things off. In case anyone is confused about Lupin's resignation, he obviously had to go because of the curse Voldy put on the job, but since he had decided to stay I decided that he should just feel compelled to go at the end of term and made up an excuse rather than have a valid reason. Hope you've enjoyed this and as always please R&R. I'll try and not make you wait too long for Book 4!