Unofficial Portkey Archive

Alice Evans and the Prisoner of Azkaban by hermy_madness

Alice Evans and the Prisoner of Azkaban


Lost and Found

"Are you alright?" Hermione approached her in the common room later that evening looking worried. Alice had been quiet for most of the afternoon and had taken to sitting in an armchair by the window, staring blankly out at the setting sun for the best part of an hour. Glancing up at her friend she smiled wanly.

"Of course; I'm fine." She widened her smile to emphasise her statement.

Unconvinced Hermione frowned back at her. "No you're not. You've hardly said a word since Malfoy was attacked in class. What's wrong?"

Alice shrugged noncommittally as she struggled to find the words to explain what was bothering her. "It's just that… He could have died! He was badly hurt as it was - I mean they've carted him off to St Mungo's," Hermione sniffed sceptically at this but Alice ploughed on. "Hagrid could lose his job and - and I said I wanted something horrible to happen to him."

"Is that what all this is about? You think you've jinxed Malfoy into getting attacked by a Hippogriff?" Hermione leant against the side of the chair as she stared at her friend questioningly.

"No! I mean…" she sighed, "I don't think I actually jinxed him it's just… Oh I don't know," she muttered getting embarrassed and frustrated by her inability to articulate herself. "I just feel bad about the whole thing that's all."

"Well cheer up, it's just Malfoy, the little toad deserved it. If you're going to worry about anything worry about Hagrid." She straightened up and made to move away again, "and don't sit here all by yourself come over to the fire with the rest of us."

With resigned obedience Alice pulled herself from the depths of the chair and traipsed across the room after her friend. As she neared the boys who were sitting on the sofa she could hear them discussing something intently.

"I mean," Ron waved his arm in the direction of the window and the grounds beyond to emphasise his point, "he could be anywhere out there by now. And the forest is so deep I doubt anyone would ever find a single Hippogriff, even if they are huge!"

"It's probably just as well that Buckbeak did escape," Harry added, "I mean if he was a dog in the Muggle world he would probably get destroyed for attacking someone and I assume the Ministry have the same sort of laws?" He looked to Hermione for an answer.

Nodding she agreed with him. "Yes, he's probably safe so long as they can't find him. It's just Hagrid we would have to worry about. It's so stupid," she threw her hands out dramatically to emphasise the word, "it was all Malfoy's fault anyway, none of this would have happened if he had done what he was told."

Alice remained silent, listening to their discussion. For the most part she agreed with them, but there was one niggling traitorous part of her brain that still told her that however big an idiot Malfoy was he didn't warrant having his chest slashed open by an irate Hippogriff.

"You're awful quiet Alice," Harry glanced across at her a while later.

With a start she looked up from where she had been staring vacantly into the roaring fire and blinked several times to clear the light spots from her eyes. "I'm alright," she smiled thinly at him, "just a bit tired. It's been a long day," she heaved herself up from the sofa as she spoke, "I might turn in." With a half hearted wave she wandered off in the direction of the stairs. It had been the truth, it had been an eventful day and she was tired, but if she was brutally honest she also wanted to avoid someone asking her what she thought about it all again, because she wasn't sure if she could have lied convincingly. Contrary to her wishful exclamation before class, however much of a pustulant little weasel the blonde Slytherin was most of the time she still didn't think he had deserved what happened. It would certainly teach her not to make vengeful remarks about people.

By the next morning the news that Malfoy had been taken to St. Mungo's was all round the school. Pansy Parkinson spent all of breakfast, and then the rest of the morning in Potions sobbing her eyes out and then wailing hysterically to anyone who would listen that "her poor Draco" was on the point of death. Aside from the fact that Alice doubted this - if he had survived this long then with the skill of the St Mungo's Healers he would probably pull through - Alice was mildly annoyed at the fact Snape never once told her to be quiet. Not that she had expected him to show any less bias than usual; it was just irksome to know that if any Gryffindor had so much as sniffled they would have been scrubbing out cauldrons in detention for weeks.

"I bet you Lucius Malfoy kicks up a stink about all this and poor Hagrid is going to get the blame for everything," Hermione worried at her lip as they walked towards Defence Against the Dark Arts after lunch.

"He probably insisted that Malfoy be moved to St Mungo's just to get him into even more trouble," Harry looked grim.

Alice kept silent again as her three friends discussed the possible reaction to yesterday's attack. It wasn't that she didn't care about Hagrid, he was after all their friend, however there was a tiny part of her that felt it had been a tad irresponsible of him to bring out Hippogriffs for their first ever class. She knew that Hagrid had had the very best of intentions, it was just that he didn't see dangerous beasts the way everyone else did; where a normal person would back off slowly, Hagrid would be naming it and planning it's first birthday party. Of course this thought was never voiced aloud.

Getting to class proved to be a welcome distraction. They were all naturally curious about what their new teacher would be like and Alice especially hoped that she could get to the bottom of Professor Lupin's odd behaviour on the train. If she had been expecting a repeat performance however she was to be disappointed. Professor Lupin treated her no differently than any other member of the class, in fact if she was honest he barely approached her for the whole lesson. That was not to say that the lesson itself was a bad one, quite the contrary it was one of the most enjoyable lessons Alice had ever had in that room.

"Good morning class," Lupin smiled at them all as he hoisted a large tank onto his desk. Initially the students all drew back warily; their last practical class had gone less than brilliantly and poor Neville still had nightmares about Cornish Pixies. However on closer inspection the tank did not contain anything remotely similar and Professor Lupin certainly seemed in no hurry to release it. "Welcome to Defence Against the Dark Arts. Now I'm not sure where exactly you are with the subject, but I thought we could start by doing a little observation and you can answer some simple questions for me. That way I can see how much you know and you can decide whether or not to hex my shoelaces together before the end of class." His remark elicited a few uncertain chuckles. "So first off, can anyone tell me what this is?"

Peering between the fronds of the numerous plants inside the tank Alice searched for the creature within. When she eventually spotted it lurking in a corner she didn't bother raising her hand to answer; Hermione had already done that for her.

"It's a Plimpy sir," her friend explained, "they're most commonly found in deep lakes across Northern Europe and their normal diet consists of snails and other small fish. But sir," she looked momentarily confused, "they're not dangerous at all."

"Well done Miss…?"

"Granger," she supplied.

"Well done Miss Granger, you managed to answer my first three questions in one there."

Hermione flushed.

"Don't be embarrassed, never be embarrassed about your knowledge. And you are perfectly right, the Plimpy in and of itself is completely harmless - unless you're wearing rubber flippers of course, it likes to nibble on those. However it can be an indicator for something which is often less altruistic in its intentions. So," he turned back to the rest of them, "can any of you tell me what that might be?"

"Fred and George were right," Ron enthused after class, "he's brilliant!"

"He certainly is a change from all the other Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers that we've had," Hermione joined in too. "Do you think he will last though? I mean he doesn't exactly look very healthy does he?"

"I hope he does, but he's really pale and he nearly passed out on the train too."

Ron turned to look incredulously at Harry who had made this last comment. "You can hardly talk you actually did pass out!"

"It was a strategic move," Harry puffed out his chest in what was clearly meant to be an attempt at macho bravado that was utterly ruined by the mischievous twinkle in his eye. "I was trying to lull the Dementor into a false sense of security."

"Of course you were," Ron bantered back. As the two boys continued teasing each other all the way to the Great Hall Alice glanced across at Hermione and they rolled their eyes with a knowing grin. Boys.

Since the following day was a Saturday and they had no classes the four of them decided to visit Hagrid and see how he was coping after the incident in class. They would have asked Neville to tag along, but since he was busy having the rules of muggle football explained to him by Dean for the hundredth time they decided to leave him to it. When they saw him Hagrid looked utterly woebegone.

"I've `ad someone in from the Ministry o'course," he sniffed as he clattered around with cups and teapots. "Said dependin' on the gravity of Malfoy's injuries," he hiccupped over the word, "there might be an inquiry or summat into what happened, don't know what they -" The end of his sentence was eclipsed by an almighty crash as he knocked several saucers flying off the sideboard where they bounced and shattered on the floor. "Merlin's beard!" Hagrid cursed as he stooped to try and pick up the broken pieces of china. Scared that he would cut himself on the lethal looking shards Alice rushed to help.

"Here, Hagrid, let me do that." Quickly she pulled out her wand and set to work as Hermione went to get more crockery from the cupboard and made the tea with much steadier hands. "Reparo," she muttered. As the saucers sprang back together she turned back to the table where Hagrid was now sitting having his hand patted awkwardly by a very uncomfortable looking Ron as Harry repeatedly insisted that he shouldn't be upset as none of it had been Hagrid's fault. Seeing him so distraught Alice didn't have the heart to disagree. Instead she asked another question. "What sort of inquiry?"

Hagrid took a deep breath before looking up at her with red-rimmed eyes. "He never said; just an inquiry. It'll be `bout poor Beaky I expect."

"Has there been any sign of him?" Hermione asked pushing an enormous mug of steaming tea towards him. His response was simply to shake his head so vigorously that his mass of wild black hair shook and trembled almost as much as the hand that lifted the mug. As he drank Hagrid stared dejectedly out of the rain lashed window as though he was hoping to see the Hippogriff outside. Alice felt her heart go out to him, she knew how attached Hagrid got to his creatures, however sharp their claws were.

That night as she lay in bed Alice pondered on Buckbeak's fate. He must be out there in the Forbidden Forest somewhere, he was probably quite content too; after all he was a wild creature. Glancing through a gap in the curtains she could see Hermione silhouetted through her own set by the light she was casting with her wand. She could see her hunched intently over some book or another, the light of the wand flicking about as she moved across the page. There was no way she could be doing reading for a class because the girls had done all of their homework together already; with a small smile at her friend's dedication she turned over and closed her eyes.

When Alice awoke the following morning it was to find most of the castle still asleep and a thin sliver of morning light was just sneaking its way through the dormitory window. It wasn't quite sunlight yet, it was still far too early for that, but the lilac shade that fills the sky in anticipation of the rising sun. After lying for a few minutes deciding whether or not she would in fact wake up or try and slip back to sleep, she eventually chose the former. Slipping quietly out of bed she padded towards her trunk intent on finding a book to amuse herself with until such time as someone else woke up. From the gentle snoring emanating from the other four beds she assumed that this would take a while. As she gently shifted a few belongings to find what she was looking for her fingers came upon a thick wad of parchment and with a thrill of excitement she pulled out the Marauders Map. With everything that had happened in the last few days she had almost forgotten about it.

Creeping back into bed she spread the Map out on the blanket and tapped it gently with her wand. "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good." To her delight, as it had at the Burrow, the tiny ink lines wormed their way across the parchment until Hogwarts took shape. Looking at Gryffindor Tower she saw herself surrounded by the other girls and then in the boys' dormitory a tiny dot marked Harry Potter slept quietly next to Ron Weasley and Neville Longbottom. A cursory glance across the rest of the tower showed her that, rather predictably, neither Fred or George Weasley were in their room. A few minutes careful study revealed them to be moving slowly along one of the corridors on the first floor near the main staircase.

With a thrill of excitement at being able to use the Map properly for the first time, Alice slid back out of bed and carefully, so as not to disturb the other girls, pulled a jumper on and left the room. Once she had gotten through the portrait hole she scurried along the corridor keeping one eye on the Map to make sure that no one was heading her way. It wasn't that she wasn't meant to be in the corridors, just that other than the jumper which came down to her knees - it had been someone's castoff - she was still in her pyjamas; besides she liked the feeling of having the whole school to herself. Not that there were a lot of people up yet anyway; other than herself and the twins there were only a few moving points on the map.

Pausing just around the corner from where the twins were she listened intently to see if she could work out where they were up to, however other than the occasional indistinguishable whisper there was nothing. Checking one final time that no one else was in earshot Alice summoned up her best impression of McGonagall and stepped into view. "Misters Weasley," she barked, "what do you think you are doing?" She had to struggle to contain a laugh as both boys, who had been busily enchanting the suits of armour that lined the corridor, stowed their wands and whipped round with alacrity. The expressions on their faces when they saw it was only her broke her control and she burst out laughing.

"Evans!" Fred exclaimed looking torn between irritation and amusement. "That's not funny; you almost gave us a heart attack!"

She gazed at them in wide eyed innocence. "Me?"

George scowled at her and addressed his brother in a dramatic aside. "We've taught her too well. Look," he put a hand over his heart and affected a wounded expression, "she's even using out own Map against us. The outrage!"

Grinning as she walked towards them Alice changed the subject. "What are you doing to those poor suits of armour anyway?"

"Just a little charm we cooked up… to save them from boredom you understand."

"Armour does get notoriously bored," Alice nodded in agreement only just managing to maintain a straight face.

Fred nodded sagely. "Our thoughts exactly. And we also thought that if, coincidentally, we could alleviate this boredom a tad whilst also entertaining our fellow students -"

"- then that would be our good deed for the day."

"Month," his twin corrected.

"How very altruistic of you," Alice responded with a grin. Really it was impossible to look serious around these two, especially when they bowed low in mock appreciation of her compliment.

"So if you do happen to travel this way, after breakfast say, then you might find yourself rather entertained -"

"- if we do say so ourselves -"

"-which we do."

"What are they going to do?" She looked at the twinkle in Fred's eye and found herself naturally intrigued. His response was to mime locking his mouth shut with a wink. "Pleeeease?" she wheedled.

"Have you ever seen Tiller Girls, you know linked arms, high kicks when they dance, that sort of thing -"

"- Dad took us to see some once, he said it was typical muggle entertainment -"

"- Well… they're going to do that." Fred finished, beaming at her and clearly very pleased with their handiwork.

Alice had seen the dancers they were talking about on the TV once and began to grin at the thought of the clunking suits of armour attempting to imitate the style.

"Just give us a second will you, we need to finish our masterpiece." Alice waited patiently whilst they charmed the last few suits of armour.

To pass the time she looked at the rest of the Map which she still carried in her hand. It really was amazing, she considered as she looked at it, the magic that it must have taken to create such a detailed Map. The truly wonderful part was that it had to continually shift and change as rooms and people moved about. Even with her limited knowledge of magic - which, she reluctantly admitted, was slightly more advanced than the average third year - she knew it would take an awful lot of power to create such a thing. Everything was so detailed too, that's what she loved about it. Each corridor was laid out in exact proportions, there were tiny marks to denote windows and doors and even the contours of the grounds and the trees in the forest were -

She suddenly froze and her hand began to tremble slightly as though someone had just thrown a bucket of water over her. There, over by the spidery line that marked the wall around the grounds was a tiny moving dot. A dot that was inside the school grounds. A dot with a name next to it. A dot that - "Someone please tell me I can't read." Her voice was a hoarse whisper.

"You can't read." George chuckled as he finished his incantation with a flourish.

Fred however, looked up in concern at the tone of her voice. "What's wrong?"

"I -" she hesitated as the two of them made their way quickly over to her. "Can this Map be wrong?"


"It never has been before." Fred reached out to steady her hand as the Map shook before their eyes. "Hey come on Evans," he tried to crack a smile, but she could see the worry in his eyes now. "What is it? You're starting to scare me."

By way of answer she just pointed at the mark on the Map that had gotten her so rattled. There, seeming to stand out starkly against the creamy parchment, was a name.

"Sirius Black," George whispered sounding appalled.

Fred gave a long, low whistle.

"Merlin," Alice's thoughts seemed to have returned to her and were now bouncing around inside her skull at such a speed that she couldn't get a proper handle on them. The implications of that one name on the page were terrifying. Her eyes flicked back to the area showing the Gryffindor Tower and she was relieved to see Harry still in his room, at least he hadn't gone wandering off anywhere. "We have to tell McGonagall."

"And say what?" George demanded looking rather pale. "You were just perusing this map, that's probably against the law never mind school rules, and happened to spot Sirius Black's name on it?! Then we'll all get into trouble."

"Well we can't not tell anyone! I'd rather get into trouble than have something happen because I stayed quiet," she cried as her temper, stung by his attitude, began to rise.

"She's right," Fred looked gravely at his twin. "Although," he added turning back to Alice with a touch of his usual mischief, "if you could find a way to tell her without mentioning the Map… that would be great too."

And so it was that five minutes later the three of them found themselves swearing blind that they had seen Sirius Black at the edge of the Forest when they had been out for an early morning walk. Alice had her fingers crossed behind her back the whole time.

"You're sure?" McGonagall asked sharply. Her face was ashen, her eyes boring into them as though trying to determine if they were lying - which they were but not, Alice reassured herself, about what was important. "You're all positive you saw S-Sirius Black?" She stumbled fleetingly over the name. Alice had never seen her this upset by anything; she was usually so unflappable and that got her own nerves on edge again.

"Yes Professor," Fred answered seriously as his brother and Alice nodded vigorously beside him. "He looked exactly like he does on the picture on the front of the Prophet."

She gave them all one last stern look. "Right - well then you better come with me the three of you." Pausing only to mutter a spell which sent a jet of silver light shooting from her wand and speeding from her office, she lead them brusquely in the direction of the Gryffindor Tower. The light sent a ripple of memory skimming across the surface of Alice's brain, but in the current circumstances she couldn't quite get her mind to focus on it enough to pinpoint it exactly.

Arriving in the common room they found a few early risers startled at the sight of the Head of House bursting in on their Sunday morning with several pupils in tow. Striding over to the fireplace the Professor tapped what looked like an extravagant whorl in the decoration, but in actual fact turned into a key which she proceeded to turn. At once a loud ringing, rather like church bells but more insistent, filled the room. After that it wasn't long before students began appearing down the stairs, some clattering down two at a time, others meandering groggily still half asleep, all with a look of equal confusion and bewilderment on their faces. Harry, Ron and Hermione were among them. When they saw McGonagall standing with Alice and the twins they shot them curious looks, but none of them responded beyond twitching their head in the direction of the Professor. All would be revealed.

Once she was satisfied that the entire House had assembled McGonagall took her hand off the key - which transformed back into an unobtrusive piece of fireplace - and addressed the group gravely. "Ladies and gentlemen I am about to tell you all something and I would like no hysterics," Alice could have sworn she flashed a look towards Lavender and Sally-Anne as she said this, "I would like you all to remain calm and follow my instructions straight away." By now every pupil in the room was gazing at her in stony silence. What could she have to tell them that demanded such seriousness? "Sirius Black has been sighted in the grounds, and -" she had to raise her voice to be heard over the muttering and squeaks which broke out at her proclamation; Alice saw her friends go very pale. "And while we - quiet please!" Silence fell instantly. "I feel it safest that whilst the staff conduct a full search of both the grounds and the school -"

"You don't think he could have gotten into the castle do you Professor?" Asked a particularly alarmed looking sixth year whose name Alice couldn't remember.

"I feel it is unlikely Mr Dennings, but is always better to err on the side of caution. So as I was saying whilst the staff conduct a search you are all to be taken down to the Great Hall where we and the Prefects can better keep an eye on you all. So," she turned and pushed open the portrait hole, "if you could all please follow the Head Boy," she nodded towards Percy who puffed his chest out importantly as he strode forward, "and go down as quickly as possible - no running please," she added as several first years tried to make a dash for it.

As Harry, Hermione and Ron scurried towards her Alice was aware of the fact that McGonagall fell in behind them. Clearly she, like Mr Weasley and the Ministry, believed that Black was specifically after Harry. "What happened?" Hermione hissed as they pushed through the portrait hole with everyone else.

Not wanting to give too much away with McGonagall in earshot Alice just muttered "I'll tell you later," and tried to indicate the teacher's presence with her eyes.

"You are all right though?" Hermione persisted.

"Of course she is," Fred clapped her on the shoulder, "she had us to protect her."

"That's encouraging." Ron forced out a joke, but no one felt like laughing much; the anxiety in the air was palpable. As they turned the next corner however the sight which greeted Alice made her feel such a sense of relief that she almost broke into the most enormous grin imaginable. Standing in the middle of the corridor, complete with flowing white beard and reassuring twinkle in eyes that were scouring the pupils filing past for a particular face, was Dumbledore.

"Ah, Professor McGonagall," he moved quickly towards them as he spotted her next to Harry. "I got your message; the rest of the students are being ushered into the Great Hall as we speak."

Alice and her friends glanced as each other as Dumbledore too fell in behind them. "They might as well wrap me in cotton wool whilst they're at it," Harry hissed, clearly fed up with the fussing.

Hermione frowned at him. "They're just trying to keep you safe."

Harry paused and was just about to open his mouth to say something when McGonagall raised her voice. "Hurry up now Mr Potter, no dawdling, we would all like to get to the Great Hall this week."

With a rueful grin he shut his mouth and followed his friends, but Alice distinctly heard him mutter, "it's impossible to have a proper argument with anyone around here!"

It wasn't long before they arrived in the Great Hall to find the rest of the school congregated there and a huddle of teachers all anxiously discussing what they were going to do. Someone had pushed all the tables against the walls and filled the floor with giant beanbags. Spotting some of their friends Fred and George excused themselves. "Don't go getting into any more trouble without us Evans," they called as they walked away.

Grabbing a beanbag each the four of them went and sat in a quiet corner where they could have a little privacy to speak. Settling herself down Alice surveyed the room as she rested her head against the wall. She had the feeling it was going to be a long day.

A/N: By the way the answer to Lupin's question about Plimpies was: Merpeople. The light, for those of you who haven't guessed, that McGonagall created was a Patronus which she sent to Dumbledore. And if you haven't heard of Tiller Girls, they're like the Rockettes at Radio City.