AN: I'm sorry it's taken me so long to upload. Real life kinda got in the way. I promise though that I'll have a new chapter up every month. Anyway, enjoy.
Promises and Unforgivables
Finally, Alice glanced around, some sort of sanity returning to her light grey eyes.
'Fuck.' she muttered as she watched Moody slowly try and stand from where he had been thrown. Pointing her wand once more at Moody, she came to a quick decision.
Moody swept the dead spider off the desk onto the floor.
'Not nice,' he said calmly. 'Not pleasant. And there's no counter-curse. There's no blocking it. Only one known person has ever survived it, and he's sitting right in front of me.'
Alice watched disinterestedly as Harry's face reddened and focused his embarrassed gaze at the blackboard. In a distant part of her mind, she felt sorry for him. She had only known him less than a week and could already tell he absolutely hated attention, especially when it involved his status as The-Boy-Who-Lived. On the other hand, she was rather thankful, because that had been her not ten minutes, several memory charms, a reparo! and a memory altering charm, ago.
Moody had started talking again; Alice mindlessly took notes and wrote down everything the Professor had to say on Unforgivable Curses in silence, as did the rest of the class, though that only continued until they were out of the classroom, then mindless chatter burst forth.
'Did you see it twitch?' '-and when he killed it - just like that!'
Did it make it bad, that all Alice wanted to do was punch them? She didn't think so. They treated it as if it was some fantastic show. If only they knew.
Alice shook her head, unconsciously running a hand through soft brown locks as she watched the rest of the Gryffindors go, though her attention was quickly diverted towards a tense Hermione and Harry and a completely oblivious Ron. She snorted at the thought, the Retard was always completely oblivious, why would she expect anything less from the git? Her thoughts were quickly derailed though, at the sight of a horrified Neville, standing all by himself just off the corridor.
Of all the minds she had obliviated, it was his that Alice had wanted to alter the most. When she had scanned the minds of those around her, just the surface image, it was in his mind that she had found an image that truly saddened her. A small memory of two mindless people vaguely resembling Neville lying in hospital beds, smiling vacantly at the boy as the woman handed him candy wrappers. Another image had risen beside it, that of a spider twitching and silently screaming as it was cursed. It hadn't taken long for Alice to connect the dots and her heart had gone out to the boy.
As Alice stood watching in silence as Harry, Ron and Hermione approach the boy, his subsequent confused mumblings and Moody's guidance, she replayed the two images in her head. It was in that moment, as their eyes connected as Moody guided the boy away and his slightly terrified glance back, that her heart had lurched and she desperately wanted to tell him the truth. Or at least a part of the truth. In Neville - and Harry - Alice knew beyond a doubt, she would find someone who was just a little like what she used to be. A little lost, really confused and mostly in pain. So it was with true sadness that she tore her gaze from the boys' and glared at the stone floor.
'What was that about?' said Ron, as he watched Moody and Neville walk away.
'I don't know.' said Hermione, looking pensive. Harry shrugged and the group turned to walk to the Great Hall only to see Alice just a little bit behind them, head down and hands in pockets. Hermione opened her mouth to speak but was cut off by Ron's usual bluntness.
'What are you doing here?' said Ron. They all watched as Alice's head shot up, grey eyes flashing with anger and ... pain? Hermione couldn't be sure, it had only flickered in her eyes for a moment, before her eyes became emotionless once more.
'Alice?' said Hermione worriedly, taking the tiniest step forward. Hermione watched as Alice's jaw clenched, eyes flickering towards the ground, before Alice turned on her heel and strode away.
'Wha - Alice? Wait!' called Hermione, making to follow the new girl when an iron grip on her arm halted her. She turned to see Harry staring at Alice's retreating form until she disappeared around the corner, before turning and locking green eyes with brown.
'Let her go, 'Mione.' said Harry as his eyes flickered back to the corner their topic of conversation had last been seen. 'She needs to be alone.'
'How do you know that?' Hermione huffed, crossing her arms over her chest in defiance. Harry just looked at her.
'Oh ... You think ...?' Hermione's shoulders slumped slightly when Harry nodded.
'Are you sure?'
'Yeah,' said Harry, wrapping an arm around Hermione's shoulder and guiding her down the hall, Ron falling into step with them as they walked towards the Great Hall. 'We'll see her later. Let's just go get something to eat.'
'Yes!' shouted Ron, pumping a fist in the air. Harry laughed and even Hermione smiled at Ron's enthusiasm for food, but she couldn't stop her thoughts drifting back to that look in Alice's eyes. It was just like the look Harry had sometimes, whenever someone mentioned the night his parents died. Or the one when he thought no one was looking. Hermione called it his 'old eyes', because that's what it was. They looked like the eyes of a veteran soldier. Just like Alice's had before she had walked away.
Hermione shook her head, determined to think about it later, she quickly shoveled food into her mouth and headed off to the library. Where she spent the next two hours flickering between researching about house-elves to wondering if Alice was okay to charming badges and back before finally giving up and heading back to the Gryffindor Common Room, secretly hoping that Alice was there.
'Hello,' she said as she climbed through the portrait hole, eyes wandering the room distractedly.
'I've just finished.'
'So have I!' said Ron triumphantly, chucking his quill across the desk and leaning back in his seat, big grin on his freckled face.
'Has Alice?' Hermione started as she sat down but Harry shook his head and Hermione sighed, placed her things in an empty armchair and pulled Ron's prediction chart towards her to distract herself from her thoughts. Looking them over, she rolled her eyes.
'Not going to have a very good month, are you?' she said sardonically, as Crookshanks curled up in her lap. Harry grinned.
'Ah well, at least I'm forewarned,' Ron yawned.
'You seem to be drowning twice,' said Hermione.
'Oh, am I?' said Ron, peering down at his predictions. 'I'd better change one to being trampled by a rampaging Hippogriff.'
'Why not strangled by an angry Alice?' Harry quipped. Ron paled at the thought and Hermione hid a grin.
'Don't you think it's a bit obvious you've made these up?' said Hermione.
'No,' Harry replied, Cheshire grin still in place. 'Alice really would strangle Ron if he annoyed her too much.'
Ron gulped as Harry and Hermione laughed, one hand touching his throat as if to make sure it was fine.
'New topic.' Ron said, looking around the empty room nervously, spurring his two friends to laughter once more.
'Alright, new topic. What have you got in the box?' said Harry, finally calming down.
'I'm glad you asked,' said Hermione, taking off the lid and showing them the contents. Inside were about fifty badges, all different colors, but they all had the same letters: S.P.E.W. The fruits of her, slightly distracted, research in the library.
'"Spew"?' said Harry, picking up a badge and looking at it. 'What's this about?'
'Not spew,' said Hermione, nose wrinkled in annoyance. 'It's S - P - E - W. Stands for the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare.'
'Never heard of it,' said Ron.
'Well, of course you haven't,' said Hermione, frowning slightly. 'I've only just started it.'
'Yeah?' said Ron in mild surprise. 'How many members have you got?'
'Well - if you two and Alice join - four,' said Hermione.
Harry rolled his eyes as he watched Ron and Hermione go at it, slightly grateful that no one else was in the common room, and leaned back in his chair.
'And how do we go about all this?' said Harry.
'We start by recruiting members,' said Hermione happily. 'I thought two Sickles to join - that buys a badge - and the proceeds can fund our leaflet campaign. You're treasurer, Ron - I've got you a collecting tin upstairs - and Harry, you're secretary, so you might want to write everything down as a record of our first meeting.'
There was a pause in which Hermione beamed at the two boys, and Harry sat, torn between amusement and trying to find a way out of the situation he had found himself in. Suddenly, a thought struck him.
'What about Alice?' said Harry, a slight grin on his face as he watched his bushy haired friend turn pink. Ron was still wordlessly opening and closing his mouth - still trying to understand what had just happened.
'What do you mean "What about Alice?"' said Hermione stiffly. Harry grinned like the cat that ate the canary.
'Well, you've somehow managed to drag us into your sch - hmm hmm idea. Does Alice have a part in it?' said Harry, his clever comeback slightly diminished when he had to quickly change his wording. Well, he thought to himself, it was better then the pain Hermione's glare had promised if he had used that word.
Hermione straightened her back and stuck up her nose as she started to shuffle her nose.
'Of course Alice will be helping us. She'll be joining me in the leaflet campaign.'
Sitting on the roof of Gryffindor Tower, Alice felt a shiver race up her spine. Wondering what could've caused it - it certainly wasn't because she was cold - Alice shrugged and helped herself to another large gulp from the bottle in her hand, deciding that she could think about it in the morning or when the world stopped spinning. She didn't really care either way.
It was with a very addled brain that Alice watched a rather pretty snowy owl fly towards her tower, and another few minutes she watched the same owl fly - rather angrily - away. A curious thought about the bird drifted through her mind. Brushing it away, she stared up at the stars.
They're always there, she thought to herself. Even if they're sometimes hidden, they're always there. Thinking it over a bit, well - as much as someone in her state of being can think something over - Alice came to a conclusion and quickly sent a prayer towards the twinkling lights. Hoping that maybe, someday soon, things would change. That was the last thought that Alice had before sweet darkness claimed her and she knew no more.
It would only be in the morning - far after she woke with a splitting headache and the pre-dawn light in her eyes. Then, somehow, managing to clamber her way, still quite drunk, back into the tower and collapse on the couch by the fire, scaring the life out of the poor house elves working there and eventually being found by a rather bemused Harry Potter - that Alice would turn her thoughts towards her intoxicated state of the night before, would she vaguely remember a half thought out prayer to the stars and hope, a little half-heartedly, that the stars would answer back.
AN: Once again, I'm sorry I haven't updated it recently and that it's such a short chapter. The next one will be longer. Probably by a lot. Pretty please review :)