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Lily and Alice by Wenlock

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Chapter 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.



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.”


–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.
Chapter Endnotes: 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.