Unofficial Portkey Archive

Alice Evans and the Prisoner of Azkaban by hermy_madness

Alice Evans and the Prisoner of Azkaban


Setting Out

"I wish Hermione would hurry up and get back from France," Harry griped several days later as Ron and Alice grinned at each other behind his back. "She would definitely know a spell that would make this easier." To make his point he forcefully stabbed another peg into the jumper he was hanging on the washing line in the Weasley's back garden. Large families generated large amounts of washing and it was taking the three of them forever to hang everything out to dry.

"If she was she would say exactly the same thing that I did: that not everything should be done by magic. Doing some things the muggle way is character building." Alice ducked to avoid the pair of socks he threw at her whilst muttering something incomprehensible. She knew he didn't really mind doing the washing, he just missed Hermione. As did she, it was over two months since she had last seen her best friend and she couldn't wait to see her on the Hogwarts Express. "We'll see her in a few days anyway."

"Think you can wait till then?" Ron teased with evident satisfaction as Harry turned beet-red and busied himself with the washing. "We really are going to have to do something about those two this year," he whispered later to Alice as the three of them walked inside with the empty washing baskets. "They'll never get their act together on their own. Got any ideas?"

Alice shook her head. "Leave it with me though; I'll think of something."

Once they had disposed of the baskets they went into the kitchen to find Percy sitting at the table, his brand new Head Boy badge pinned prominently to his chest and his nose buried in a book. Glancing at the cover Alice had to suppress a grin as she read the title: How to Rule with Authority: Essays of a Head Boy. Really Percy must have come from a totally different gene-pool because he was nothing like any of his brothers.

"Ah," he looked up at them as they entered, "finished with that then have you?" He puffed himself up importantly and straightened his glasses unnecessarily. "Well, I'm sure there are other things that you could be getting along with. It doesn't do to stay idle you know."

"Yeah alright Perce," Ron muttered ignoring his brother and steering his friends towards the stairs. "Come on; let's go up to my room. I'm not staying down here if Bighead is going to be insufferable."

Alice and Harry snorted with laughter. They were only halfway up the stairs however when they heard a voice calling Harry's name from the bottom.

"Harry," Mr Weasley shouted, "would you mind coming down to the living room for a moment? I just want to have a quick word."

Ron leaned out over the banister, so far that Alice worried that he was in danger of toppling straight over it. "What's wrong Dad?"

"Nothing," came the disembodied reply. "Just wanted to have a quick chat with Harry on his own."

The three of them looked at each other sceptically. They had been around enough mysteries in the past two years to spot one in the offing, and this was definitely mysterious. Either that or they were getting paranoid which, Alice reasoned, was always a possibility.

"Sure," Harry shrugged at his friends and tripped dutifully back down the stairs to find out what was happening. Left standing there Alice and Ron looked at each other in silence for a few seconds.

"So," Ron said eventually. Suddenly a mischievous grin broke across his face and, knowing that he was thinking exactly the same thing as she was, Alice reciprocated. As quickly and as quietly as they could the two of the rushed down the stairs again, jumping the final few and landing cat-like in the kitchen from which Percy had now vanished.

Sneaking over to the living room door they both pressed their ears up against the wood and listened intently.

"- don't want to alarm you," Mr Weasley was saying in an unnaturally sombre voice, "but there is something I need to discuss with you." From his tone it sounded as though he was about to say someone had died.

There was a brief silence during which Alice wished she could see what was going on. She wasn't sure if Mr Weasley was doing something or if he was waiting for a response from Harry. If it was the latter he was sorely disappointed. "Right, well… the thing is… Molly didn't want me to tell you this, but you're thirteen now and you're not a child anymore…" He paused again.

"Is something wrong Mr Weasley?" Harry spoke into the silence which had descended. "Has something happened?"

"No, no!... Well, yes, in a way." She heard him take a deep breath and looked at Ron questioningly, but he shrugged to indicate that he had as little idea as to what was going on as she did. "Well… you've heard of course that Sirius Black has escaped?"

"Yes," Harry said slowly, "we saw it in the Daily Prophet a few weeks ago."

"You see Harry, the thing is that the Ministry, Fudge especially, wouldn't want me telling you this, but we have reason to believe that Black has escaped for a purpose."

Alice was suddenly very still. She had a horrible suspicion that she knew where this was going.


"We think, we are almost certain, that he has escaped to try and come after you. What you have to know is that Black was a member of You-Know-Who's inner circle and for about a week before he escaped his guards have reported that Black kept saying He's at Hogwarts over and over - I don't mean to scare you," he paused.

"You're not." Harry sounded almost as serious as Mr Weasley now. Glancing up Alice could see that Ron's eyes were as big as saucers.

"I know the Prophet has been saying he'll be caught any day now but the truth is somewhat different. What I need you to do, what I need you to promise me Harry, is that you'll stay away from Black. I know what you four are like at school and some of the things you get up to, but if you hear anything about Black, and I mean anything don't act upon it. I want you to go straight to Dumbledore am I clear?"

"Yes Mr Weasley. But why would I go anywhere near someone who wants to kill me anyway?"

"Well…" Ron's father cleared his throat, clearly uncomfortable even through an inch of wood. "Whatever you hear… Please keep yourselves safe this year, alright?"

"Alright. I promise."

She heard a scraping of chairs and the two of them quickly dived back towards the stairs and out of sight. Peering cautiously back around the corner they waited. Seconds later the door was opened and Mr Weasley appeared patting Harry on the arm. "Just remember what I said. And if you need to talk to me at any time…"

"Thanks Mr Weasley," Harry looked ashen as Mr Weasley nodded curtly and then disappeared outside. Catching sight of his friends faces lurking around the corner Harry walked towards them. "I take it you heard all that?"

"Yeah, mate -"

Harry cut him off after glancing around cautiously. "We should probably go up to your room to talk about this."

Nodding in agreement the three of them quickly made their way back up the stairs to Ron's luridly orange room. Alice perched on the wide window sill as Ron thumped down on his Chudley Cannons bedspread, making the springs below him creak violently in protest, and Harry sat on the camp bed that had been set up resting his head against the wall behind him. From the far-away look in his eyes she could tell that he was still mulling over what Mr Weasley had said to him.

"Well, now I can really understand why Fudge was so worried about you when we turned up at the Leaky Cauldron," Alice said eventually when it was obvious Harry himself wasn't going to break the silence. "If they thought Black was going to kill you anyway and then we both suddenly disappeared, the Ministry must have been in uproar!"

"Yeah and there's no way they're going to let me go to Hogsmeade now. Even if I had had my form signed they would probably have thought it was too dangerous."

Alice and Ron, who had been filled in on the situation earlier, nodded in sympathy.

"But I don't understand why Dad warned you away from Black, I mean surely it's common sense to stay away from someone that dangerous?"

Glancing away from Harry momentarily Alice smiled wryly at him. "Some would say the same of Basilisks and giant, three-headed dogs."

"Point taken."

"Ron's right though," Harry suddenly seemed to have returned from wherever he had gone off to inside his head.

"I am?" This didn't happen very often.

"Yeah. It was almost like your Dad thought we would go looking for Black. Why would we want to do that?"

"Maybe," Alice was trying to mull over the possibilities, "because Black used to be a Death Eater -"

"A what?" Harry looked perplexed.

"Death Eater. It's what Voldemort's -" Ron shuddered as Alice said the name, "- followers were called. Maybe because Black used to be a Death Eater Mr Weasley thought you might want revenge on him or something?"

"I don't know. Just because Voldemort-"

"Will you two stop saying that name!" Ron seemed incensed.

"Just because my parents were killed, doesn't mean I'm going to go hunting down everyone who followed Him," he looked pointedly at Ron who scowled back at him. "I mean for one I'm a kid and for another I'd never get any sleep… Maybe I'll write to Hermione; see what she thinks about it."

"Yeah why don't you just do that?" Ron remarked with a casualness which was belied by his smirk and went straight over Harry's head. Sometimes it amazed Alice that for two people who were both so intelligent, they could be remarkably blind about how they felt about each other.

After that they fell into a companionable silence each allowing the other to mull over their own thoughts. Alice, after glancing around at the state of Ron's room eventually broke the silence. "Ron, have you even bothered starting to pack for Hogwarts yet?" She indicated the books, socks, robes, and general knick-knacks that littered his room and were draped haphazardly across his bed.

"You sound just like Mum," he commented idly picking up a fake snitch that was resting on the duvet next to him. "I've got a whole two more days of holidays yet. I'll just throw it all in my trunk before we get the train."

"Not if your Mum has anything to do with it you won't," Harry grinned. The evil glint in his eye hinted to Alice that maybe he hadn't been so unaware of Ron's earlier barb after all.

"Well," Ron heaved himself off the bed, "if you two are just going to pick on me then I'm going down to get some lunch."

"Typical Ron," Harry shook his head once he had gone, but standing up himself anyway. "When the going gets tough: eat." The two of them laughed and followed their friend down the stairs.

Those final few days of the holidays seemed to fly by all too quickly for Alice who was enjoying being amongst a family for the first time since she could remember. Ron's parents were very welcoming and made her feel as much a part of their household as any of their children, or Harry whom Mrs Weasley seemed to regard as a surrogate son. Even sharing a room with Ginny wasn't that bad. They still weren't the best of friends, but there was none of the animosity of the previous year and she even managed to make the younger girl laugh a few times. In fact the only time they came close to arguing was over whether the Holyhead Harpies or the Kenmare Kestrels were the better Quidditch team. For the first time ever Alice had mixed feelings about leaving for Hogwarts. She longed to be amongst her friends and attending classes in the wonderful and precocious castle again, but she was also reluctant to leave the Burrow.

"Who do you think we'll get for Defence Against the Dark Arts this year?" Ron asked as they pushed their trolleys through Kings Cross towards the magical gateway. "Do you reckon they might just cancel the class altogether. I heard they had a real problem finding anyone last year and that's why we ended up with Lockhart. After what happened to His Ridiculousness I don't think anyone would want to take the job."

"Hmm…" Alice responded vaguely; she was too busy looking around to see if Hermione had arrived with her parents yet to pay close attention to what Ron was saying.

"Maybe it is jinxed like people say," Harry commented, though he too was engaged in much the same activity as Alice.

"She'll probably be on the other side of the barrier already," Ron supplied, giving up on his train of thought. "You know what she's like, she's always early for everything. I think her middle name might actually be Punctual."

"Right come on then children," Mrs Weasley stopped in front of the barrier. "We're going to go through in pairs."

Once Harry and Ron had gone through, Alice found herself running at a trot towards the very solid looking wall with Ginny. No matter how many times she did this she still always had a slight twinge in her stomach at the thought that she might not get through and end up bouncing around on the platform as the boys apparently had the previous year. She managed the transition safely however and the feeling in her stomach was replaced by a little bubble of excitement at the fact that she was about to begin her journey to Hogwarts.

As they moved to make way for others coming through the Gateway, Ginny peeled away from the three of them to go and find her own friends. This left Alice and the boys to peer around for people they recognised.

"Hermione!" Alice yelled, suddenly spotting her friend across the platform and waving madly. For once she didn't care if people were watching. With a squeal of delight her friend bolted towards them, her bushy hair flying in every direction, and threw herself at Alice.

"Oh it's so good to see you! How have you been? Have you had a good holiday? I can't believe you ran away from the Home, what if something had happened to you? Did you have fun at the Burrow?" She fired questions at her friend at top speed. Suddenly spotting the boys behind Alice, Hermione leapt forward and gave them both a hug too, although she dropped Harry rather quickly without knowing quite where to look. It seemed she had recovered enough a few moments later to soundly chastise him though. "Harry, what did you think you were doing blowing up your uncle? You could have gotten into serious trouble, not to mention expelled!"

He grinned. "It's good to see you again too Hermione."

She was not going to be so easily mollified it seemed. Glancing around warily to make sure that no one was listening and satisfying herself that the rest of the Weasleys were out of earshot she leaned in close. "And what about that other stuff you wrote to me about? The stuff about Black? You're worried about it."

"No I'm not," Harry raised his eyebrows at her. "What makes you think that?"

Hermione nodded in her friend's direction. "Alice told me," she responded with a sly grin. "We do write to each other too you know."

Alice shrugged as Harry scowled at her. She wasn't going to apologise for caring.

"Hang on a second," Ron interrupted, "Hermione what is that." He pointed to a basket sitting on top of her trunk and issuing a disgruntled and intermittent hissing sound.

"Oh," Hermione smiled happily, "that's Crookshanks. I bought him yesterday."

"And he is…" Ron looked doubtfully at the basket as Hermione bent over it and lifted the flap.

"My new cat!" She hugged the giant orange fur-ball affectionately. "He's lovely isn't he?"

`Lovely' certainly wouldn't have been the first adjective that Alice would have gone with, but she couldn't deny that the cat had character.

"Er, yeah… sure," Harry clearly wasn't overly enamoured with the creature either. "Right well shall we get on the train then?"

"Hang on I just need to say goodbye to my Mum and Dad first," Ron stood on tiptoe to try and locate his parents amongst the crush of families on the platform, "if I can find them that is." Finally spotting them he abandoned his cases and took off at a sprint.

"We should probably say thank you too," Alice looked back at Harry and then at the huge piles of trunks and cages they had amassed. Archimedes hooted grumpily as he scowled through the bars of his cage at her.

"Don't worry I'll keep an eye on everything," Hermione smiled at them.

Making their way over to where the Weasley's were congregated Alice and Harry were quickly enveloped in one of the many hugs which Mrs Weasley seemed to be doling out. "Now take care all of you, remember and write Ginny, and I don't want to hear about you two misbehaving this year, Ron clean that mark off your shirt anyone would think you had eaten your dinner off it, Percy I know you'll do us all proud, no need to thank me Harry dear we enjoyed having you at the house, you too Alice, take care of yourselves all of you." She chattered ten to the dozen as her eyes filled with tears and she hugged each child more tightly than the last.

"Have a good year everyone," Mr Weasley put an arm around his wife as they all turned towards the train again. "And Harry," he called after them, "remember what I said." Alice and Harry looked at each other uneasily as they reached Hermione and collected their belongings. What sort of year was this one going to be?

"Oh this is ridiculous," Hermione huffed several minutes later as she slammed yet another compartment door on a group of giggling students. The train had picked up speed and they had swapped the grey streets and towering buildings for blue skies and rolling green fields and still they couldn't find a carriage that was empty. "Are there no empty carriages on this train?"

"What about this one?" Ron pointed through the glass of the door he was standing by. "It's not empty but he's asleep so it's as good as."

"Who's asleep?" Harry walked over to peer in, dragging his trunk behind him as he went.

"There's a man," he informed the girls as the two came to see what all the fuss was about. "He looks a bit shabby though. You don't reckon he's the new Defence Against the Dark Arts bloke is he?"

"Must be," Alice surmised. "Why else would he be on the train?"

"Well I don't care who he is," stated Hermione, "it's the best we'll get so I'm going in." So she did.

"Hermione!" Harry hissed following his brazen friend into the compartment, "you'll wake him up!" As he moved his trunk collided with the edge of the door causing it to bang loudly. Everyone tensed and watched the man in the faded robes, but he simply grunted in his sleep and rolled over to face the window.

"You were saying?" Hermione asked archly. Harry stuck his tongue out at her as the other two followed him into the compartment. As quietly as they could they set up a military operation to try and store their trunks in the luggage rack. Harry carefully and quietly stood on the free seats so that he could reach the overhead bay whilst the others passed the trunks up to him. Ron, as the tallest, was of a height that he could reach with effort without standing on anything so gave him a hand. It took a few minutes but eventually they had all of their trunks and the owls cages stored neatly away. Crookshanks' basket, much to Ron's chagrin, remained firmly on the seat next to Hermione.

The journey itself was fairly boring; no one wanted to talk too much in case they woke up the teacher sitting next to them so instead they fell to reading the Daily Prophet Hermione had picked up at the station or playing games to amuse themselves. After some rummaging through a bag Ron had found some of his Chocolate Frog Cards which he began to sort whilst watching Alice and Harry play snap, quietly, much to his bemusement as he couldn't see the point of the Muggle version if the cards didn't explode. They had just finished what must have been their thousandth game when she felt the train juddering to a halt under her. Glancing up she saw Hermione look in confusion first at her watch and then out of the dark and rain streaked window. "We can't be there yet," she heard her mutter.

Laying down the Chocolate Frog cards he had been sifting through Ron got up and, climbing carefully round the professor's sleeping form, flattened his face against the window to try and see outside properly.

"Can you see anything?" Alice asked as she heard Harry open and close the compartment door behind her. Throwing a questioning glance at him he shrugged to indicate that he had no idea what was happening.

"I dunno," Ron stood on his tiptoes as though this would improve his view slightly, "it's too dark to see properly, but I think there's someone coming on board the train." The three of them looked round at Harry in alarm.

"You don't think it might be Black do you?" Hermione squeaked.

Gazing back at them, with what Alice could tell was forced calm, Harry shrugged again. There was nothing they could do about it now if it was.

Suddenly the door to their compartment slid open again causing Hermione to draw her wand with a startled squeak.

"Calm down Hermione!" Fred Weasley looked in surprise at the shaking wand currently pointed at his chest.

"We only came to see if you knew what was going on," his twin added popping up over his shoulder, "but if we're getting a reception like that then we might take our fabulous selves elsewhere."

"Sorry," Hermione muttered flushing an embarrassed scarlet, "I thought you were… Never mind. Sorry."

"So what do you suppose is going on then?"

Alice was just about to answer when suddenly the train was plunged into complete darkness as every light in the place abruptly extinguished.

"Hermione! Will you stop squeaking!" Alice hissed into the darkness, as her friend did just that.

"Sorry," her friend repeated.

Suddenly there was a snick as the door slid open for the third time, the noise magnified sevenfold in the pitch black, and they all shrank backwards in their seats slightly.

"Alice? Harry?" She sighed in relief as she heard Neville's voice. "Are you in here?"

"Yeah we're here Neville. Come in. Watch your step," she added, but too late as she heard a thump followed by a curse and Neville apologising to whoever he had just walked into.

"What's going on?"

"Dunno, we were just -"


"Ron! Mind the cat!"

"Well if you had put the stupid thing up -"

"He is not stupid! He's -"

"Quiet!" Alice had to stop herself from jumping as an entirely new and unknown voice entered the conversation. It took her a few seconds to realise it had come from the direction of the sleeping teacher in the corner. Clearly he wasn't sleeping any more. "Lumos," the voice continued. A thin beam of light illuminated the shadowy contours of a lined and haggard face and cast a dim glow over the rest of them giving them enough light to see by. Catching a glimpse of Harry, Ron and Hermione sitting opposite her, she saw that they all looked as confused and alarmed as she felt. The professor wasn't looking at any of them however, but at the doorway to the compartment. Alice felt her head swivel reluctantly on her neck and when her own eyes made contact with the door she felt her entire body freeze. It was almost as horrible as when she had been petrified last term. All her muscles seemed to have become completely disconnected from her brain.

Behind the glass, and seeming to fill the entire corridor with its presence was a creature she had seen only in illustrations. Seeing these Alice had always thought they looked like Muggle representations of Death - minus the scythe of course - but sitting in the tiny carriage next to her friends all of her instincts were screaming at her that these were much worse. A Dementor. Scrunching backwards in her seat as the door glided slowly and sinisterly open again she felt the twin next to her, she suspected it was Fred but was too scared to take her eyes off the Dementor and check - put a comforting and protective arm around her. Then the creature did the one thing she had been terrified it would, it took a slow rattling, blood chilling breath that seemed to suck not only the air and warmth from the room, but the light as well. In a matter of seconds the chill seeped through her bones and seemed to travel past them to her heart. Dimly she could hear a high pitched whistling noise, almost like a kettle was boiling further down the train, but the noise seemed to be getting closer.

Across the compartment she was aware that Harry seemed to have slumped from his seat onto the floor, but no one seemed able to move to help him; they were all fixated, though whether by the sight and feel of the Dementor or some other magic she wasn't entirely sure. It felt as though she had been dunked in freezing water and as the Dementor drew a second hideous breath it threatened to consume her. By now the whistling had increased in volume and clarity so that she realised that someone was screaming. Had something happened further down the train?

Just as she felt herself slipping into unconsciousness and sagging against Fred's arm the professor seemed to recover himself enough to cast a spell. In her fogged and befuddled state Alice had no idea what it was but something wispy and silvery shot from the end of his wand and formed a barrier between those in the compartment and the Dementor. Almost immediately she felt less like she was drowning in ice and was able to struggle slowly back towards the surface, although she could still feel the forbidding presence of the Dementor on the other side of the silvery shield.

"He's not here," the professor sounded hoarse. "Go." Slowly, so slowly that Alice began to wonder if the Dementor hadn't understood or was simply ignoring the order, the creature turned and glided back out of sight along the corridor taking its chilling presence with it.

As though someone had flipped a switch noise and colour suddenly flooded back into the compartment.

"Harry," Hermione dropped to her knees next to their prone friend. "Harry! Are you all right?! Harry wake up!" The note of panic in her voice was obvious.

"Just slap him," Ron was on the floor next to her. "He'll wake up soon enough if you do that."

Alice blinked groggily to clear her eyes and the rest of the room slowly came back into focus. It was only then that she realised that the lights had all come back on although she had no memory of them doing so. She gave her head a little shake to get rid of the last of the cobwebs but that only made her dizzy so she stopped.

"You alright?" At the sound of the low voice in her ear she turned to see Fred looking at her in concern, his twin's face also visible over his shoulder.

"Yeah," she nodded. A crooked smile appeared on her face as she sat up straighter. "Of course I am."

"Good," George asserted. "For a minute there we thought you were going to end up like Sleeping Beauty down there," he nodded in the direction of said friend who, due to the fact that he was at that moment regaining consciousness distracted Alice from the fact that George even knew who the Muggle princess was.

"W-wazzup?" Harry asked dazedly as he propped himself up on his elbows. "Hermione!" He protested as she suddenly flung her arms around him and he disappeared in a cloud of frizzy brown hair.

"Perhaps you might give him some room?" The professor laid a gentle but firm hand on Hermione's shoulder.

"Oh," she drew back as she flushed red again, "of course. Yes. Sorry Harry."

"'S'ok," he smiled weakly. "What happened though?" He repeated reaching up a hand to wipe the thin sheen of sweat from his forehead.

"You passed out mate," explained Ron, whose freckles stood out starkly against his pale skin, "when that thing -"

"Dementor," Hermione supplied automatically.

"- when it appeared."

"Who screamed?" Harry asked the question that was on the tip of Alice's tongue. The answer it received however puzzled her exceedingly.

"Screamed?" This time it was Neville who answered. "No one screamed Harry."

"But -" The confusion was evident on Harry's face. Alice was similarly bewildered, perhaps the noise had been an effect of them both slipping into unconsciousness? She could have sworn it sounded like screaming though. Then again she hadn't been her most observant at the time. Harry tried a different tack. "What is a Dementor though?"

"One of the guards of Azkaban Prison," the mysterious professor spoke in his gravelly voice. Though his steady grey eyes were tired with deep shadows under them, at present they were fully alert and fixed determinedly on Harry's face. "They've been called in to guard Hogwarts this year. They were searching the train for Sirius Black." Alice, Harry, Ron and Hermione all exchanged significant glances at this. "I'm Remus Lupin by the way," he reached into the pocket of his robes and brought out a large bar of chocolate. Breaking off several large pieces he continued, "I'm going to be your Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher this year. You should eat some of this, it'll help," he stood up as he began passing them each a piece. As he turned to give Alice some chocolate his eyes met hers for the first time and his already unhealthy pallor drained even further so that he looked almost corpse like. So quickly that he almost tripped over Hermione and Harry who were both still sitting on the floor, he staggered backwards and thudded into a seat.

"Professor!" Hermione looked at him in alarm. "Are you all right?"

"Y-yes," he tore his gaze away from Alice's face, which was frowning again in confusion, and smiled thinly at her friend. "Yes, I just stood up quickly that's all. Obviously the Dementor affected me more than I thought." He looked round at them all, his eyes lingering for a fraction of a second longer on Alice, who was now thoroughly baffled. "I'd better take some of my own medicine," he bit into a large square of chocolate with a wry smile.

Before Alice had a chance to ask anything else he stood up and moved towards the door. "If you excuse me I need to go and speak to the driver…" he quickly slipped out without another word. Alice gazed after him as the others filled Harry in on what had happened after he had passed out. It was without doubt the oddest thing she had ever seen. She could have sworn that Professor Lupin had gone pale at the sight of her; but what was so disturbing about her? There was always just the possibility that she had imagined it, it wouldn't have been the first time that she had been wrong about things, but still…

"Didn't any of you - fall off your seats though?" Harry, whose hand, Alice was mildly amused to see, was still being clutched tightly by Hermione, looked at each of them in turn.

"Well Evans looked pretty green for a minute there," Fred supplied, much to her embarrassment.

"Thanks," she muttered. "How could you tell anyway? It was pitch dark."

His twin smirked at her. "Ah but you're so radiant we could see your luminescent face even still."

"Yeah it was florescent green." Several weak chuckles sounded around the compartment; everyone was still fairly shaken up.

Smiling, Alice bit into the chocolate and felt the heat instantly begin to flood back into her veins. No one said much for the rest of the trip, which wasn't too great a feat as they arrived at the station in Hogsmeade within twenty minutes. Struggling along the platform in the lashing rain they all made their way towards the horseless carriages that were waiting at the end of the platform. As they hustled over to them as quickly as possible Hermione hovered pensively behind Harry with a hand not quite touching his back, as one might do to an old person who was felt to be in imminent danger of falling. Every so often she would throw a concerned look in Alice's direction, but as her best friend hadn't actually passed out Harry was clearly the higher priority. Alice was happy to leave the situation at this because she hated people fussing over her.

"You all right Neville?" She whispered as they all took their seats. He was very pale his eyes were so wide that she thought they were about to pop out of his head.

"Yeah," he answered, tight lipped, but attempting a smile to back up his statement. "Fine."

She was about to reply but at that moment the carriage lurched over a rut in the road sending her already roiling stomach off into several more spasms of nausea, compounded seconds later by their approach to the gates.

"Blimey," Ron peered out the window, "they've got them stationed at the gates to the school!"

Alice was about to ask what he was talking about when the familiar chill from the train hit her and her question was answered. Sitting back in her seat and closing her eyes, as she did when she got car-sick, she took several deep breaths and willed the churning in her stomach to stop. As they passed through the gates she felt that swooping feeling again, but refused to pass out, one attempt at it was bad enough. Besides the twins would never let her live it down if she did. Through a combination of sheer will and stubbornness she managed to make it into the grounds intact. She really hoped they were the only ones; crazy mass murderer on the loose or not, if the Dementors were swooping around the castle all year she really might go back to the Home.

A/N: I would imagine that the trunks were magical and fitted with some sort of weight reducing charm as if they contained all the stuff that they need for a full year at Hogwarts I would imagine they were quite heavy and so two students would struggle to lift one quietly otherwise. There is no actual reference in canon to the colour of Lupin's eyes, so my most profuse apologies to anyone who didn't imagine him with grey eyes. Please R&R!