Lily and Alice by Wenlock
Summary: Alice defied the odds when she became the first woman Auror in the 20th century.

Lily was up against even worse when she, a Muggle-born, became a rising star in potions, the most tradition-centric field of magic.

They each sacrificed to prove themselves.
They sacrificed even more for their sons.

This is the bittersweet tale of a war that brought two remarkable women together and made them the best of friends, before it ripped their families apart.
Categories: Marauder Era Characters: None
Warnings: Character Death, Mild Profanity, Sexual Situations, Substance Abuse
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 5 Completed: No Word count: 8491 Read: 6817 Published: 04/12/14 Updated: 07/13/14
Story Notes:
I don't own anything you recognize, JKR does.

While this story is canon-compliant will all the books, it may deviate from some interview statements.

1. Prologue: November 2, 1981 by Wenlock

2. Chapter 1: Published by Wenlock

3. Chapter 2 A Celebration and A Contest by Wenlock

4. Chapter 3 The Order by Wenlock

5. Chapter 4: Express by Wenlock

Prologue: November 2, 1981 by Wenlock
Prologue

November 2, 1981

Alice did not cry when she heard the news. Instead, she left her son with Augusta and Apparated to Hogsmeade. She then marched to Hogwarts. Dumbledore was in the entrance hall, so she did not need to waste her time shouting names of sweets at the gargoyle in the hall. She gave her former Headmaster a glare worthy of her mother-in-law. The students, happily milling about in the hall tried as best as they could to shrink into the corners and avoid notice. Even Dumbledore took a step back, but stopped himself and greeted her warmly.

She did not return his pleasantries, but launched straight into a tirade. –You sent him to Petunia! How dare you! The absolute worst place he could go! If Lily were ali-”

But she couldn’t finish the sentence. She tried again before choking on her tears. The students began to whisper quietly, but Professor Slughorn was passing by and shooed them away. Dumbledore conjured a comfortable chair and made Alice sit down. He waited until the sobs subsided before telling Alice of what had happened to James and Lily. He defended his choice to leave Harry with the Dursleys by saying, –It will be best for the boy to be raised by family.”

To this, Alice said angrily, –James is my second cousin. In fact, he’s related to half the wizarding world, one way or another. You’re sending the boy to the one place he won’t feel loved, or even welcome!”

–Lily died to save him, Alice. There is powerful protective magic in young Harry’s mother’s blood. He must stay with her family, and Petunia is the only choice.”

–Will that magic make them love him? Frank and I are Aurors! We’ve done well enough protecting our son. If it were anyone but Petunia, I could accept it. I’m as good as Lily’s sister. You know I’d raise young Harry as my own. That woman - ”

–Yes, about her,” Dumbledore replied. –I need someone to pay her a visit and make sure the young boy is getting settled alright. But please, Alice, be subtle. Don’t make contact if you don’t need to. Don’t reveal yourself as a witch. Take young Neville in a pram and just happen by her house.” Dumbledore gave her the address and Alice walked back to Hogsmeade to Apparate home.

*****************

She did not, as he instructed, intend to be friendly or subtle. She checked on Neville, who was napping happily in Augusta’s spare room, and then changed into her most official and dangerous looking Auror uniform. She took the Knight Bus to Private Drive, walked down the street to number four, ignored the disapproving glances of the neighbors, and rapped sharply on the Dursley’s door. Petunia answered and, realizing Alice could not be anything but a witch, ushered her in quickly, lest the neighbors suspect anything dodgy.

Alice introduced herself and said, feeling only slightly guilty about using her position to intimidate a Muggle, –I’m with Magical Law Enforcement, here to ensure the wellbeing of young Harry Potter.”

Petunia nodded and gestured for Alice to follow her up the stairs. They came to Dudley’s room where the two boys were playing on the floor, keeping mostly to themselves. Harry looked up when he heard the door open, gleefully said, –Ala Ala,” and toddled over to give Alice a rather wet kiss. She proceeded to play with the boy for twenty minutes or so, until Dudley began to whine for lunch. Alice, while not entirely happy - which she feared she would never be again because of all she had lost in the war - was somewhat placated. She allowed herself to be led out. As she was leaving, she told Petunia she would be around regularly to check on the lad. As the door was closing, Alice straightened up to her full height and menacingly whispered to Petunia, –And if I find out you are treating him poorly, I will kill you.”

Petunia did not tell Vernon of the encounter, until they had a row when Vernon wanted to move Harry down to the cupboard below the stairs. Because of their fear, Harry was given the same treatment as Dudley. The witch came back once or twice a week for a month. Then she did not show up for a week. That week became two and then a month passed. –Humph,” said Vernon one night, –Your sister’s sort are rather the unreliable type, aren’t they?” Petunia wasn’t convinced. Her fear of the witch kept Harry in the second bedroom for two years.

Alice was, of course, not the unreliable type. She was, as Vernon made his remark, lying unconscious in a hospital bed in London, as she had been since the attack. When she awoke, she would not remember her own son, let alone the toddler in Surrey whose mother was gone.

This is the bittersweet tale of a war that brought two remarkable women together and made them the best of friends, before it ripped their families apart.
Chapter 1: Published by Wenlock
Author's Notes:
Again, I don't own anything.
Late August, 1978

Lily was exhausted. It had been a long day at work. As the newest intern in St. Mungo’s apothecary, she had been tasked with inventory. All she wanted to do when she got home was take a nap then maybe wake up and eat some ice cream. She thought longingly of the almost full carton of Fortescue’s best in her freezer. Guiltily, she thought of all the unpacking she still needed to do to. She ran her hand through her hair and immediately changed her list of priorities. She would shower before her nap. What was in her hair? It felt sticky, but with large crunchy bits. Hoping it wasn’t toxic, she turned on her heel and Apparated with a soft pop.

When she arrived at her flat, Sirius and Peter were on her couch, each with an open bottle of champagne. –Shurprise!” Peter slurred.

Lily rolled her eyes and went into her room to grab a change of clothes from her suitcase so she could shower. On the walk down the hall, she decided that what she really needed was a nice long soak in the tub. So she began filling said tub. Just as it became full and she was ready to remove her clothes, sink into the water and relax, she heard James come in.

–Sirius! You were supposed to save that for when Lily got home. It’s for celebrating her good news, not so you and Peter can get drunk! Remus and I weren’t even gone that long. Do you have any self control? Oh, Lily, you’re home already.”

–Yeah, and I was about to take a bath before I heard you come in. What good news?”

–Well, I was out of milk this morning, so I came to your flat to borrow some, and I saw this on your doorstep.” He pulled out a copy of Potente Potions.

–I don’t understand.”

–Page 36.”

–No way! I thought Master Le’Engle was just being nice.”

She grabbed the magazine, quickly flipped through its pages. There it was: Techniques for the Elucidation of Lunar Cycle Variations in Adsorption Kinematics of Bezoars, by Lily Evans. She stared at the article for a minute, then threw her arms around James, squealing excitedly. He kissed her and grinned. –It’s not everyday I get to kiss a published potioneer. I’m so proud of you!”

–Yes, congratulations Lily,” said Remus. –This is the most prestigious potions publication in Europe. Quite an achievement for any potioneer, let alone one your age. When was the last time an apprentice got an article there?”

–1937,” Lily replied, –But it was just a stroke of luck, really. My dad teaches microbiology, you know. So when I told him about my bezoar research, he sent me a microscope and said that changes in the surface properties would explain the variations in potency. He was right, so that gave me the idea to use some chemistry in my research as well. ”

James grinned. –So you’re an outstanding potioneer because of your Muggle knowledge. I’d love to see the look on old Snivelly’s face when he reads the article.”

Peter looked up from perusing the article and asked, –What does-” hiccup –ciliate mean?”

–Well, I won’t bore you with the details from Muggle science, but essentially the bezoar gets covered in tiny hairs during the week of a full moon. They increase its adsorption capabilities by increasing the surface area. The kinematics can then be modeled by the Freundlich Isotherm-”

She was cut off by Sirius’ hearty laugh. –Moony, it looks like you have a friend. Who knew bezoars had a furry little problem.”

–Yeah but only if it can jump off the table, bite you and turn you into a bezoar.”

–Hey that would have been a brilliant prank back at school.”

–Not really. I think you’re losing your edge.”

Sirius rolled his eyes and turned his attention back to Lily. –So I still can’t believe that in the year you spent there, you didn’t do anything but stare at a microscope all day.”

–Not true! I didn’t start my capstone research until halfway through. Before that, it was much like Slughorn’s N.E.W.T. potions class. Oh and there was the conference in Bavaria and the guest lecture at Beauxbatons...”

–No, I mean anything fun. You were in the south of France. Beaches! Bikinis! French women! And you sat in a lab all day.”

–Not all day. I went to the beach... twice.” She paused, then said, –Padfoot, what would I do with a French woman anyways?”

–Hopefully nothing,” James cut in, –Now, how would you like some dinner?”

–Well...”

–On second thought, maybe you should shower first. What in the world is in your hair? That chunk there was blue earlier and now it’s more of a purple-ish brown. While you’re in there, I’ll just go grab some take-away since it’s late and we have the Order meeting in the morning.”
End Notes:
The sorting hat told Harry he has a thirst to prove himself. I think he got it from his mother.
Chapter 2 A Celebration and A Contest by Wenlock
Author's Notes:
JK Rowling owns anything you recognize.
A Celebration and a Contest

Alice Campbell sat at her desk and carefully opened the box. Inside was her new badge and the stripes for her uniform. She had done it! Despite everyone’s doubt, despite her parents’ admonitions to find something more suitable for a lady, despite the long-held prejudices in the office, she finally had her badge. She was a full-fledged Auror.

–Congratulations, Campbell,” Frank Longbottom’s head popped up over the cubicle. –Robards told me you were getting your badge today. Let’s go out to dinner to celebrate when we’re done with this shift.”

–Yeah that sounds great. Leaky Cauldron? Have you told rest of the guys?”

–No, I - –

–Oi! Davis! You and Whyn wanna come to the Leaky with us tonight? You too, Moody.”

**************

– - So then the hag turns to the vampire and says, ‘If you don’t want the blood -” Davis’ story was interrupted by a tall man in black.

–Well, well, well. If it isn’t Campbell, the little Gryffindor slut, ” sneered the man. –What would Mommy say if she saw you out to dinner with four men at once?”

Said men stood up. Longbottom and Moody whipped their wands out.

Alice just laughed. –Sit down, boys. No need to defend my honor; I can do that for myself.” She looked back at the dark-haired man, –Should I tell your friends about the last time you crossed me? As I recall, you cried like a little girl.”

He opened his mouth, but no words came out.

She continued, –You know, if you want someone to talk to you, try not insulting her next time. Also, you should Transfigure your face. Even if you botched the spell and ended up as a warthog, it’d still be an improvement.”

His hand twitched to his wand and Alice stood up. –I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Attacking an Auror in public... With your record, Lestrange, it’d be at least a month in Azkaban.”

–But you’re not - Scrimgeour wouldn’t hire a woman.”

She flashed him her badge and said, –I actually owe you a bit of a thank-you. I got the job because of you. Now get lost before I arrest you all for being illegally stupid.”

After they had gone, Alice breathed a sigh of relief.

Frank asked, –What was that about?”

She replied, –It was a long time ago and I’d rather not discuss it. Let’s just say I have good reason to despise that evil, arrogant son of a -”

–Language, Campbell! We’ve got a kid here,” laughed Davis, shooting a glance at Whyn.

–I’m eighteen!” Whyn protested.

–You’ve not even been on patrol yet.”

–Well at least I don’t still live with my mother.”

–Oh shut it, Whyn. I am clearly much cooler than you.”

Alice jumped in, grateful for the change in subject, –Let’s settle this with a little game. We’ll each get five shots. Go around the table and each person says something they’ve done. If you haven’t done it too, drink a shot.”

–Fine, but if you say something unbelievable, like ‘I got bit by a blibbering humdinger,’ you have to take a shot instead.” Davis said.

–I’m game, as long as there’s nothing age-related,” added Whyn –Oh and loser gets the tab.”

–I’m afraid I’d better go,” said Moody. –I have some things to do. Besides, I don’t do drinking games anyway. Might be poisoned.” He dropped a few coins on the table and walked out.

Frank laughed, –Alright. Looks like it’s just the four of us now. I’ll go order.”

While Frank was up, Moody came back. –I just remembered something. Campbell, can I have a word?”

–Yes, of course.”

Moody glared at Davis and Whyn. –Alone.”

They stood up and walked away.

–That’s better. Campbell, have you thought more about that thing I told you about?”

–What, the Order of th-”

–Don’t say the name here! You never know who may be listening!”

–Alright, alright. Yes. I’m interested. I’m still surprised you didn’t mention it to me sooner. I’ve known you for three years.”

–Yes, well, you can’t be too careful. And you had your training to worry about. Now take this,” he thrust a small bit of parchment into her hand, –memorize the instructions and then burn it. See you at tomorrow’s meeting. Tell no one”

*********

When the drinks came, Frank went first. –I rode a motorbike through London.”

–Too easy. We’ve all done that,” said Davis, when no one drank, –Right then, my turn. Keeping with Longbottom’s theme, I jumped a motorbike.”

The others took a drink. Alice, whose turn it was, replied, –Child’s play. I may not have jumped one, but I did fly a motorbike over the city.”

–But isn’t that against the Statute of Secrecy?” asked Whyn.

–Yeah. Good thing it wasn't my bike. Oh, and it was dark.”

–I’m not sure I believe you.”

–Yeah, Campbell. We may have to rule this one out,” Davis agreed.

–In fact, it’s so outrageous, you may have to take a shot yourself,” said Frank, grinning.

–What if I can produce a witness?”

–What?”

–A bloke who saw me do it just happens to be standing behind the bar.”

–How do we know he doesn’t just owe you a favor?”

–Walk over there with me, Frank. That way you can see if I pay him off or something.”

–Fair enough.”

There at the bar was a young, tired, sandy-haired man.

–Oh bother!” said Alice, –I’ve forgotten his name.”

–Oh that’s alright, I know him.”

–How do you -”

–Hey! Remus! How are you, mate?”

–Frank! So good to see you.” He turned to Alice, –You look familiar. Do I know you?”

–A bit. I was at that party last month.”

–Oh yes. You arrived with Sirius. He takes plenty of girls around on his motorbike, but I’ve never seen him allow someone else to drive it. How’d you manage that?”

–Blackmail,” she said cheerfully.

Remus Lupin was not alarmed. –About time someone holds something over his head. Might knock him down a peg or two. Mind sharing what you have on him?”

–I’m not sure Padfoot would appreciate that. Kinda defeats the purpose of blackmail.”

Now Remus looked worried.

–Lighten up! His secret’s safe with me. Um, we’d better get back to our table before Whyn and Davis get bored and leave.”

–Oh, I thought you were here on a date.”

Alice laughed. She didn’t see Frank’s expression darken ever so slightly as they walked back to the table.

*******************

–Well, Campbell was telling the truth. Bottoms up, boys.”

–Right then, my turn,” said Whyn, –I got kicked out of my parents’ house for bad behavior.”

After Frank had his shot, he said, –That’s a bit of a cheap shot. You know we all live at home.”

–Speak for yourself, Longbottom.” Alice still had four full glasses in front of her.

Davis piped up, –Quit stalling, Frank. It’s your turn.”

–Ok. I’ve arrested a Death Eater.”

–Fair enough. So, looks like we’ve all got two but Campbell,” said Davis, –This is where it gets fun. I went skinny dipping in the lake at Hogwarts.”

–Alright, we’re even now, except Whyn,” Alice remarked, looking around, –Um, I played on the Quidditch team that won the House Cup.”

–And now I’m out!” Whyn exclaimed, –Thanks a lot, Campbell. Your turn again, Longbottom.”

–I peed off a bridge.”

Davis snickered.

–What? I was eight!”

–S’alright. We’ve all done it, mate. Actually, come to think of it, not off a bridge.” Davis took a shot.

–Hello! Girl here! I haven’t peed off a bridge! Just wait ‘til I get my turn. You’ve opened up a whole new can of worms.”

–Not if you loose. Sorry, Campbell, but I really don’t want to hear about makeup or menstruation. I shaved my face this morning.”

–Yet another low blow. Taking advantage of something you can do because you’re a bloke. It’s not even that cool.”

–Fine. I have shagged a girl.”

Frank and Alice both took a drink. For Alice, it was her last. She glared at Davis.

–Would it’ve changed anything if I’d said I shagged someone?”

–No, but -”

–There you go. Don’t be sore loser. Your turn, Longbottom.”

–I got top of my class in Stealth and Tracking.”

–Fair enough. You win. Well that was fun. Who wants to go out dancing?”
End Notes:
Mr. Lognbottom has a rather unfortunate first name. Now I get to call him Friendzone Frank. Poor guy.

Also, quite a few people have read this story, but I only have 3 reviews. This is my first story, so I would love some feedback.
Chapter 3 The Order by Wenlock
Author's Notes:
I finally have a beta. :) Sam (pheonixflame) is great! Thanks so much! Also, I made a mistake and only posted half of this chapter. It's all there now, as of today (June 18).
The Order

Lily looked at the clock. The meeting was not due to start for another ten minutes. Not everyone had arrived yet. Most members were sitting around, chatting amiably. Sirius Black was quietly reading the paper.

Sirius reading the paper? Lily had been around the Marauders long enough to know a distraction when she saw one. It was the reason they hadn’t successfully pranked her since sixth year. They were always out of character when they tried to look innocent.

Sirius Black looked up and laughed, –Hey Moody, your girlfriend’s written another article for the Prophet.”

–She’s not my girlfriend!” the Auror growled.

Frank Longbottom cut in, "Then why do you have every one of her articles pinned to the walls of your office?"

"Because she's right. Her last piece, Constant Vigilance, was sheer genius.”

Sirius smirked.

Lily asked, –May I see the paper?”

They continued ribbing Moody while she began to read the editorial.

The Calm Before the Storm
by Dorcas Meadowes

Wizarding Britain has enjoyed two years of remarkable peace. Yes, there have been disappearances and killings, but nothing compared to years past. The Ministry would have you believe it is due to their crackdown on the terrorist group led by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.


Suddenly, dungbombs were raining from the ceiling. Not very original, but an impressive quantity. Lily calmly said, –Three points out of ten,” and went back to reading.

And, indeed, the Ministry is using their power rather forcefully. There are rumours that Aurors have been given license to use Unforgivable Curses on Death Eaters. Arrests have increased in recent weeks. Of course, the Death Eaters will probably just hold another bus ransom to get the Ministry to empty Azkaban when they want their members back, but I digress.

And then came the flatulence. Everyone who had stood up to clean the mess sat down to a Muggle whoopee cushion on their chair. –Alright, I guess you get a four and a half,” Lily amended.

I hesitate to say the Ministry crackdown is the reason for the calm. The events of Red September still burn in our memories, but we’ve forgotten how quiet August of 1975 was...

Lily glared at the article. "Speak for yourself. That was the first time I got hate mail telling me not to return to Hogwarts," she muttered under her breath. She thought of the Howler she had received just that morning. –If I ever find out who sent those, I’ll owl them a letter or two of my own, and they’ll wish they had got a Howler.”

Frank grinned at her, –Lily, I thought you had more sense than to talk about sending curses in the post in front of an Auror. That’s illegal, you know.”

Lily forced a smile.

James asked, –What’s the matter? Have you had another letter?”

–Yes. Just more of the same.” Her voice became shrill and mocking. –A Mudblood like you shouldn’t go into Potions! You’ll kill someone with your incompetence,” she sighed, –I thought it would get better after my paper was published.”

James put his arm around her.

Frank heard a knock at the door and went to get it. –Alice? What are you doing here?”

–I could ask you the same question, Longbottom.”

–Ah, Campbell. I’m glad you made it all right,” said Moody as Frank returned from the entry-way with Alice. –Now, what’s the password?”

–Was there supposed to be a password? You didn’t give me one.”

–Oh yes, public place. Can’t be too careful.”

Sirius rolled his eyes. –Except now we have to make sure she’s not a Death Eater in disguise or something. I’ll ask her a question. Alright then, um, how did I meet you?”

–Well, we ran in all the same circles, but I think the first time we talked was at my engagement party.”

Sirius said, –Correct.”

At the same time, Frank exclaimed, –You’re engaged?”

–No,” Alice forcefully replied, –That was five years ago.”

–So you’re... married?”

–No!”

James piped up, –Considering who the prospective groom was, and how much every detail of the event was talked about in high society, Sirius’ question probably wasn’t the best for verifying her identity.”

Frank said, –You’re definitely going to have to tell me more about this later, Campbell. As for a security question, how about, who did we catch robbing an apothecary last night after dinner?”

–Not a good question either. Arrests are public record.”

Lily had an idea, –You came to me for advice at the beginning of my fifth year. What did you ask me about? –

–Let’s see, that was the beginning of my seventh year. I asked you about the best potion to use to dye my hair pink. Thanks for that, by the way. I’m still using that one and it works great.”

–Except I see you’re now adding more ragweed buds. That purple is so cool!”

–Thanks! It was an accident the first time, but I like it so I kept doing it. I only wish I could do something to keep the roots colored longer.”

–Oh I can help you with that. Just take some powdered - –

She was interrupted by the appearance of Albus Dumbledore. He cleared his throat, –This meeting will now come to order. Mr. Black, before you say it, yes, we are the Order, so my saying that we should come to order is, indeed, funny.” Lily rolled her eyes at Sirius as Dumbledore continued, –First item of business will be the security arrangements for the Hogwarts Express this year. Then, Ms. Vance will brief us on profiles of suspected new recruits to the Death Eaters. I’d also like to discuss sending some of you to the Continent to keep tabs on Voldemort’s activities there, now that Ms. Evans is back from France. Oh, and I believe Mr. Lupin has a report as well. Before all that, does anyone else have anything they’d like to bring up?”

Lily, Moody, and Fabian Prewett raised their hands. –Alastor, go ahead,” said Dumbledore.

–I think we need a protective detail on Dorcas Meadowes for at least a week.”

Sirius wolf-whistled and Moody glared at him.

Dumbledore replied, –This most recent article seems to say more against the Ministry than Voldemort.”

–Have you read the last two paragraphs?”

–Point taken. We’ll have a lot to do this week, mostly keeping the Hogwarts Express safe, and we can’t divert too many resources from that. I’ll place you in charge of keeping the reporter safe. See if you can get the Ministry to help. Now, Ms. Evans, what did you want to say?”

–A few minutes ago, Frank mentioned he caught someone robbing an apothecary. How often does that happen?”

Frank replied, –Well, I usually don’t catch them - that’s regular MLE - but I think it happens quite often, although it sort of ebbs and flows.”

–Well here’s my thought: the Death Eaters must be behind at least some of the thefts - especially of some of the more heavily regulated ingredients. If you can get me a list of all the apothecary robberies in the last year, including what was stolen, I may be able to use it to try and predict future Death Eater activities - or at least the potions they intend to use.”

Edgar Bones stood up. –That is an excellent idea. I would love to give you a hand. I can develop a sorting algorithm to determine which robberies were linked to Death Eaters. It may involve some fairly complex Arithmancy. Emmeline, we’ll probably need you on this project as well. And Mr. Longbottom, you’d better get us the data from the past five years if you can manage it.”

Dumbledore looked pleased, –Excellent! Now, Mr. Prewett.”

Fabian stood up and pulled out several rolls of parchment. –I have the financial reports on all the known Death Eaters. Oh, and Gringotts is sending me and Gid to the Continent the week after next for a month or two, so we can keep an eye out while we’re there. We’ll be visiting the branches in Paris, Milan, and Bern. If there is anywhere else you’d like us to stop, let us know before we leave and we can find a way to add it to the itinerary.” He sat down.

Unfortunately, he sat down on a recently placed whoopee cushion. It made a loud, rather embarrassing noise. –Sirius Black!” he said, –I am going to kill you!”

Lily whispered to James, –Fine, five out of ten.”

******************************

When the meeting was over, Lily went to sign up for guard duty on the Hogwarts Express. Alice Campbell was behind her, looking skeptical.

–What’s the matter?” asked Lily.

–I’m just a bit nervous about putting my name down, is all. I mean, I’m sure Dumbledore is taking every precaution, but you can’t be too careful.”

–You’re not the first one to have thought of that. We use pseudonyms.”

James piped up, –For example, this week I’m Han Solo and Sirius is Darth Vader.”

Lily chuckled.

Alice said, –I don’t get it.”

Lily explained, –They’re just characters in a Muggle picture I took James to see. He liked it so well that he went back with his friends.” She gave James a wry smile. –Five times.”

James winked.

Lily continued, –Most people choose a character from a book they like. Remus is Dr. Jekyll and Peter is the Pied Piper,” she said as she signed up.

–Anne Shirley?” Alice read, looking over Lily’s shoulder. –That suits you.”

Lily smiled.

Alice thought for a moment, then wrote Cynthia Kirkpatrick on the page.

–You’ve read Wives and Daughters?” Lily exclaimed. –I love that book.”

–Me too! Jane Austen has nothing on Elizabeth Gaskell! It was one of my favorites growing up.”

–I’m surprised you didn’t put your name down as Molly Gibson though.”

–Don’t get me wrong, I love Molly, but I really relate to Cynthia.”

–How?”

–Her mother is a lot like mine.”

–That’s unfortunate.”

James jumped in again. –Personally, I think Vera Campbell is more like Lady Macbeth than some lady in a lace-and-bonnets novel."

Sirius Black joined the conversation. –Why stop there? She reminds me of Count Dracula.”

–I think you’re confusing her with your mother,” Alice laughed.

–No,” James asserted, –Padfoot’s definitely more scared of your mum than his.”

–How d’you know?” asked Alice.

–He actually behaved himself during the parties at the Campbell Estate.”

–That was a shame. They were always so dull.”

–Unlike the party last month,” Sirius said. –Say, Alice, would you want to go out with me again sometime? I enjoyed getting to know you.”

–You enjoyed getting to know me? Was that before or after I hexed you?”

Sirius said nothing.

–Well, I’d best be off. Got things to do. Lily, it was nice to see you again. If I’d known you had such good taste in books, I’d have spent more time with you at Hogwarts. See you all at Kings Cross next week. Tata.” She turned on her heel and walked out.

James looked at Sirius and said, –You told me it went well. You didn’t mention anything about getting hexed. What happened?”

–Well, we were snogging and I thought I’d... er... step it up a notch and she didn’t like that.”

–And you still took the bet? And to think I wanted to take pity on you. Fork it over.”

As Sirius was sheepishly fishing in his pockets for coins, Lily said incredulously, –I don’t even know what to say about the way you treated Alice. I’ve lectured you on that sort of thing enough. But you had a bet on whether she’d go on another date with you?”

–Yeah. James never thought it would work. Ever since she broke it off with Lestrange, she’s been the ice princess. I thought I could thaw her out.” Lily rolled her eyes.

Frank Longbottom had been chatting with Remus and Peter and half listening to the other conversation. His head shot up, –Lestrange? And Alice?”

–Yeah,” Sirius replied, –What, do you live under a rock? Their engagement was the talk of society.”

–When was that?” Frank wanted to know.

–Well they got engaged the summer before my fourth year, um, in ‘73.”

–That was when I started my Auror training. I didn’t have much time for society right then." Frank shrugged. "Not that I ever have.”

–All right, but how did you miss the end? It was in the paper and everything.”

–Must have happened when I went to America for some training. But maybe I should ask Alice about it.”

–She won’t tell you. She never talks about it. It’s too bad you missed out. It was so funny!"

"I'm sure Alice wasn't laughing."

"It was an arranged marriage. She was happy to get out of it. And anyway, she was the one who put it in the paper."

"What do you mean?"

"You know those engagement announcements they put in the paper? like James Potter's gonna marry Lily Evans and everyone is so happy blah blah blah."

James said, "Hey!"

Sirius looked at James, "Mate, I had to stop you from getting a two page spread in the Prophet proclaiming that Evans finally agreed to go out with you."

Lily looked at James. –Good thing you didn’t print that. I probably would have cancelled our first date if I saw it.”


Sirius turned back to Frank and said, "Alice put an announcement in the paper that said something like 'I, Alice Campbell, am pleased to announce that I will not be marrying Rabastan Lestrange."


Remus joined the conversation. "What did she call him? I remember it was really funny, and we were surprised they printed it. Something about a troll’s backside?"

"I forgot. You could ask Alice. I’m sure she remembers."

"No way! I may be a Gryffindor, but I'm not that brave."

"Well, whatever it was, it got her chucked out of the house. She spent the summer living in a place my cousin Andromeda told her about, and when she came back for her last year of school, it was like she was a completely different person. There was the hair, of course, and she joined the Quidditch team. That year, everyone wanted to date her.”

–I didn’t,” said James.


–I still don’t understand why not.”

–She’s my second cousin.” James looked a bit disgusted. –Sorry, but I don’t belong to the Noble and Most Inbred House of Black.”


–Well neither do I anymore. Anyways, Alice was great, but anyone who asked her out got turned down. Nobody knows why.”

Lily had heard quite enough. –Sirius, just because you know nothing about women doesn’t mean the rest of us are clueless. She didn’t want to date you because you were fifteen at the time and had a gigantic ego and terrible reputation. Not really what she needed right then, even if she had been ready to date again. You really are an idiot!” She turned on her heel and went to find Emmeline Vance.

Sirius scoffed. –Women!”

James rolled his eyes.

–You’re no fun anymore, now that you’ve settled down.” He turned to Remus for support.

–Don’t look at me. You’re on your own, mate.”

He didn’t get sympathy from Frank or Peter either.

–Right then. Well, I’ve got to go see a man about a dog. See you all later.”
Chapter 4: Express by Wenlock
Author's Notes:
Sam, my beta, is awesome!
Chapter 4: Express

Alice was sitting at a table full of dark detectors with Jacob Whyn from the Auror Office. They were ready to check school trunks being loaded onto the Hogwarts Express. Longbottom, Davis , and some of the older Aurors were searching the students. Several men from the office were standing about, watching for anything out of the ordinary. Moody was one of them. Alice noticed there was a tall woman standing at his side. She guessed the woman was Dorcas Meadowes, the reporter Moody had been protecting.

Alice looked around. Platform Nine and Three Quarters was oddly quiet. Some students had been pulled out of school. Others had been victims of brutal attacks and would never be returning. A few parents would be taking their children directly to Hogsmeade. The missing students weren't the principal reason for the eerie pall that had fallen over the station. The excitement of a new school year was not enough to make up for the trepidation the children felt at saying goodbye to their families. And for good reason. A few of the students would probably never see their parents again.

Alice watched a particularly tearful parting. She hoped that family would be safe. Realistically, though, the happiest families were the ones most affected by the war. Families like her own - stuffy purebloods, who cared more about keeping the skeletons in the closet than they did about their children - were the ones who, more often than not, went unharmed.

Whyn interrupted her thoughts. –Do you think there will be an attack today?”

–Pro’bly not,” she answered, –At least not here, with half of the department at the train station and the other half on high alert.”

He looked relieved.

She continued. –The attack will most likely happen on the way to Scotland. Scrimgeour disagrees, but he’s letting Longbottom and me, along with a few... volunteers, ride the train just to make sure.”

–That’s good. I know Hogwarts is safe, but I can’t help but worry. I’ve got a brother going to school there. Jason. He’s a fifth year. Hasn’t got a mean bone in his body.”

–Well these are dangerous times. You have every right to be concerned. Good thing Dumbledore’s still at Hogwarts. I’ll keep an eye on your brother, though. What does he look like?”

–Thanks. He looks a lot like me, only younger.”

–Well, you look all of fourteen, so I’ll keep my eyes out for a nine-year-old,” Alice remarked with a grin.

–Hey!” Whyn said incredulously. He punched her lightly on the arm and they both laughed.

***************************
Alice's prediction was correct. The students boarded the train and the only trouble came from one of the older Slytherins trying to sneak a nasty looking knife and a cursed mirror aboard. He already had a record, so he was brought back to the office for questioning. Alice guessed that he would be expelled.

Most of the Aurors left, leaving the Order of the Phoenix responsible for the train on the rest of its journey that day. They had tried to remain inconspicuous at the station. The youngest members dressed like students, blending into the crowd. The Prewetts were wearing conductors' uniforms and Emmeline Vance was helping with the sweets trolley.

Alice was sitting with Lily Evans near the front of the train. Lily didn’t stand much of a chance of blending in after she got on the train - she had been Head Girl two years prior, so everyone knew she had graduated. As such, she was no longer in Hogwarts robes.

–We passed three couples snogging and a budding fight on the way in,” Lily laughed. –I had to stop myself from breaking them up and docking house points. Old habits die hard.”

–Well you were quite a stickler for the rules, and really intelligent, too. I always thought you’d be Head Girl.”

–Thanks. It was loads of work, but we enjoyed it.”

–Who’d they make Head Boy that year? That skinny Ravenclaw? What was his name?”

–No, actually.” Lily blushed. –James was Head Boy.”

–James... James Potter? You’re joking!”

–He grew up a lot during sixth year.”

–He must have, or you’d never be dating him.”

Lily smiled. –He was the only person who could make me laugh that year. But enough about me. Tell me what it’s like to be an Auror.”

–Well, you spend weeks gathering the evidence you need for a raid, then it’s over in a couple hours and you spend the next few days doing paperwork. Sort of boring most of the time, but I like it.”

–That’s not what Professor Slughorn would have us believe. He talked about you all the time. Alice Campbell, dueling club champion for two years running and first woman in the Auror Office this century.”

–He said all that? He wasn’t quite so filled with admiration when I was at school. I was a bit of a dunce at his class.” She looked embarrassed.

–Oh stop. You inspired a lot of us girls in Slug Club. When I was offered the chance to study potions at Institut Alchimie, I asked myself what you would do, and so I took the position.”

–Lily, you got there on your own merit. I read your article. I didn’t understand half of it, but the poison specialist at the office thinks you’re brilliant.”

Now it was Lily’s turn to be embarrassed.

************************

James sat at the back of the train. The day that had started bright and clear had rapidly become overcast. A storm was on its way. He stared up at the churning clouds, wishing he was on a broom.

Perhaps it was his wishful thinking that made him notice the dots in the sky coming closer, following the train. Or maybe it was years of Quidditch. At any rate, something other than the storm was coming.

He used his Patronus to send a message to the others. –High alert. There’s something approaching from behind,” he told them.

**********************

Frank was standing outside a compartment of older students. When he saw James’ message, he went inside.

–Who in here can Apparate?” he asked.

A few students tentatively raised their hands. One said, –I can, but I don’t have my license yet.”

He replied, –I’m an Auror. I’ll make sure you don’t get in trouble. Now listen up. There may be an attack on the train.” He scrawled a message on some parchment. –Gemino.” The note became two. He said the incantation a few times more, making several copies of the parchment. He handed out the message and said, –You three - the second an attack starts, get this to the Auror office. You three, do the same, except Apparate to Hogsmeade and then find Professor Dumbledore.”

–Why three of us?” a student wanted to know. His eyes were wide, his voice shaky.

–Just in case anything happens. If this is a Death Eater attack, we need backup. I don’t mean to frighten you, but with so many children at risk, we can’t take any chances .”

Frank began casting protective spells.

********************

Peter, as a rat, was under the seat of one of the compartments. When James’ message came, he thought, ‘ Drat. Now my cover is blown. ’ But none of the students reacted. . He had been assigned to watch the Death Eaters’ children. They were supposed to be dangerous. Instead, they were sleeping. Feeling useless, he scurried out of the compartment .

*********************

The Hogwarts Express was going around a bend. Lily looked out the window and could see behind the train. –Do you see anything?” she asked Alice.

–No - wait, d’you see those dots?”

–Is that what James meant? They could be anything.”

–I played Quidditch with him. I trust his eyes... and his instincts, said Alice .

*********************

–What about the rest of us? How can we help?” a boy asked Frank.

–You know full well that these are dangerous times. Keeping safe should be your top priority. That being said, we adults may be outnumbered, so anything you can do to keep the younger students out of harm’s way would be greatly apprec-”

BOOM! Somewhere ahead there was an explosion.

The compartment rocked and the lights flickered.

BOOM! Another explosion.

The train stopped. From the sound of it, some of the other cars fared worse than theirs.

As it was, they had been slammed against the wall. Frank lit his wand. One student had a nosebleed. The rest appeared shaken, but unharmed. He turned to the students he had assigned as messengers. –GO!” he shouted.

*************
A loud crash.

Tumbling.

Pain.

Screeching - metal bending, breaking.

James got up and looked out the back. There were scorch marks on the track behind. Probably from the first explosion. The dots in the sky were now hooded figures, approaching on brooms. His train car was no longer straight on the tracks.

Lookout duty was no good anymore. He needed to get to the students. Needed to protect them. Needed to find Lily. Make sure she was safe.

************

Human again, Peter was knocked over by the second explosion. He stood up and looked in the compartment he had just left. Still asleep. ‘Impossible. Not even Sirius could sleep through that. What happened? ’ He thought back. ‘They were awake when the sweets trolley came by. The lady gave them free Pumpkin Pasties. Odd, that. And her voice was wrong. It wasn’t Mrs. Lorrimer like usual.’

************

–The rest of you, stay here,” Frank commanded. –I’m going to find out what happened.”

He left the compartment and stuck his head out a window. Black smoke was billowing from somewhere near the front of the train. The back of the train lay jumbled and zigzagged across the track.

–Help!” came a shout from behind. Frank turned around and ran toward the cry.

*************

James realized it was useless to run through the train. He got down from the train car and began to make his way forward . He saw black smoke ahead.

Something dripped down his forehead. He dabbed at it and looked at his hand. Red. Blood.

The smoke was glowing orange. Fire.

There was a gash on his head. It stung.

The train carts ahead were jumbled. The first three he passed had been full of baggage. Their contents were now strewn across the tracks.

He ran faster.

*****************

‘Emmeline Vance,’ Peter realized, ‘Emmeline was with Mrs. Lorrimer. She must have done something to the students here. She drugged them. They were mine to guard and she drugged them.’

He began walking back, following the path the food trolley had taken.

*******************

Lily looked at the cart ahead. The flames from the engine were spreading.

–Alice!” she shouted, –You get the kids out of here. I’ll take care of the fire.”

*************************

A young girl was the one who had screamed. She was held by a masked figure in black robes.

She was now silent, struggling against the large hands clamped over her mouth.

Frank pulled out his wand and rushed forward.

********************

–Emmeline!” shouted Peter.

She turned around, –I’m glad you’re here.”

–You drugged the Slytherins!”

–Now is not the time.”

–They were my responsibility.”

–I didn’t see you.”

–I was hiding.”

–We’ll discuss this later. I need your help.”

*******************

James saw the Prewett twins pulling children out of the wrecked cars and tending to their wounds.

One of them shouted, –We have this under control. Get to the front and help out up there.”

–Alright.”

–Wait,” said the other one - possibly Gideon, James wasn’t sure.–You’re bleeding. Stop a minute, let us help you out.”

–No time,” James replied, –It’s not so bad.”

He started running again. His head felt light. Grey dots were forming at the edges of his vision.

Lily was at the front. With the fire. It wasn’t safe. He had to save her.

*******************

Alice herded the children out of the car, off the train. There were more students leaving the Express, gathering near the middle of the train. She pointed them in that direction.

Their path was blocked by a pair of Death Eaters.

–Run!” she shouted, –I’ll hold them off.”

*****************

The girl freed herself with a well-placed kick. She ran behind Frank and pulled out her own wand. She looked about thirteen, probably younger.

Frank began to duel with the girl’s would-be captor.

****************

–We need to get the students off the train, Peter. Show them where to go.”

****************

A streak of red. Was that Lily’s hair?

No. Just a student in the crowd. They were safe. James was not needed here. He had to keep running.

Why was he slowing down?

He had to go faster.

Had to save Lily from the fire.

Didn’t want to see the bright orange fire licking her beautiful hair.

Her hair. The color of the flames.

He looked ahead, willing himself to keep going.

*****************

A boy limped into the Ministry. He had a gash in his leg and looked disheveled.

–I need to get this to the Auror office,” he announced, holding up a scrap of parchment.

The other two boys staggered in, splinched worse than the first.

*****************

The smoke was thinning.

The burning glow was gone, the fire extinguished.

The fuzziness in James’ eyes was closing in.

A sharp pain in his side.

He slowed for a moment.

****************

Two girls and a boy arrived at Hogsmeade Station.

They ran to the groundskeeper and gave him their message, hoping he had a way to quickly contact the professors.

****************

A black streak across the sky. Death Eaters on brooms. She was still in danger.

James wiped his forehead, not sure if it was blood or sweat now. He was dripping with both.

He looked down at his feet, willing them to go faster, then turned his eyes back up.

****************

Frank had stunned the first attacker, only to have him replaced by two more.

His training kicked in. Keeping the children safe was his only priority.

****************
James’ foot caught on something on the ground. A root.

He fell.

****************
The messengers in Hogsmeade, unwilling to sit at the station and wait, ran to a carriage. Only one of them could see the thestrals. They piled in, and he urged the beasts forward, towards Hogwarts.

****************

Must get up again. Must save Lily.

Ahead he could see bright flashes of light. A duel.

He stood up. Willed himself forward.

****************

Frank hit the Death Eater on the right. He went down. Only one remained. A woman. She fought ferociously. This would be difficult.

****************

James finally saw her. Lily was back-to-back with Alice. Surrounded by death in black robes.

Four of them. No, five.

James had to reach her . He staggered towards her.

****************

Peter and Emmeline had the students gathered in a circle. She instructed the youngest to stay in the middle. The oldest were to stand on the outside and cast whatever protective spells they knew best.

****************

Frank felt a burning sensation as a hex hit his leg.

It made the fight more of a challenge, but he could not stop.

In the course of the fight, they had made their way off the train. He was standing between the Death Eater and a large group of students.

****************

Crack! An Auror arrived.

Then more. They surrounded the students, protecting them. But what about Lily?

James fought to remain standing as his vision went from grey to black at the edges .

****************

Backup from the office had come. The Death Eaters began to scatter.

Frank tried to stun the woman he was fighting, but his spell flew past her, missing by inches as she escaped.

****************

Another crack. Who was here now? Was that Dumbledore?

Yes. Definitely Dumbledore. Who else had a beard like that?

James was relieved.

They were safe.

Lily was safe.

His legs gave out and everything went black.
End Notes:
I would love some feedback on this chapter. I went out on a limb and tried a new style. Love it or hate it, I want to know what you think.
This story archived at http://www.mugglenetfanfiction.com/viewstory.php?sid=93243