AN: Quick apology and warning now. There is a slight amount of angst in this chapter. Now you know, hope you enjoy it anyway.

Elle's Secret

Alice awoke, as always, at 5am on the dot. Then promptly had a mild freak out, whipping her hand underneath her pillow and grabbing the dagger hidden underneath it, because she had no idea where she was. Luckily, no one else noticed the fact she had a blade in hand, because the rest of the fourth-year female dormitory were completely normal, and fast asleep.

Smiling sheepishly to herself, Alice tucked the blade, with a muttered a spell above it, back under her pillow before stretching and climbing out of bed. Swiftly she changed into her workout clothes and snuck silently out of the Gryffindor girls dormitory, okay fine, she did pause when she was walking past Hermione's sleeping form and note how cute she looked sleeping, before realizing she was acting like a creep and stalked down the dorm stairs to the common room. Where she promptly went through a few quick stretches designed to warm her muscles, slipped quietly out of the common room and slunk through the sleeping castle until she reached the doors to the grounds, Hermione had shown her last night, and set off at a jog around the perimeter of the castle, then of the grounds.

Thinking about last night made Alice grin. Neither Hermione or Alice had actually wanted to go straight back to the Gryffindor Tower, both wouldn't admit that they wanted to spend more time with the other, so Hermione had volunteered to show Alice a basic tour of the castle and their probable classrooms. Alice, silently ecstatic for reasons unknown to her, had agreed. They had spent the rest of the walk talking about all kinds of things, from the lessons and history of Hogwarts ('the Great Halls ceiling is actually enchanted to look like the sky outside, you know.' 'Really? I never would have guessed.' -whack- 'Ouch, I was kidding.' 'Hmmph.' 'Aw, Hermione don't be like that...') to the mischief that Harry, Ron (Alice had nicknamed him Retard) and the twins usually got up to ('They actually stole, and flew, an old car to Hogwarts and crashed it into the Whomping Willow?' 'Yes.' 'May I ask who was driving?' -mumble- 'What? Didn't catch that?' 'I said, it was Ronald.' 'Ah, shoulda known the Retard would've crashed the car.' -whack- 'Don't call him that!' 'Why not? He crashed a bloody car into a massive tree.' -whack- 'What was that for?!' 'For calling Ron a retard.' 'But he is?' 'Hmmph.' 'Oi, come back! I don't know where I'm going. Alright, fine. I'm sorry.' 'For what?' 'Calling Ron a Retard.' -cough- 'What was that?' 'Nothing. So where to next?').

A lot of their conversations had ended up with one of them, normally Alice, grinning like an idiot with the other trying to hide their own smile. It had been so easy to slip into the light friendly banter, both of them completely at ease, which probably should have made Alice nervous. But try as she might, she just couldn't distance herself from the other girl. It had only become harder when Hermione had mentioned that the TriWizard Tournament was being held at Hogwarts and that it was all anyone could talk about. Alice had been so overjoyed at the news that she had completely forgot herself, picked up Hermione and spun her around in a circle before plopping the dizzy girl back on her feet and smacking a kiss on her forehead. Hermione's cheeks had flared a brilliant red and she had motioned, stuttering out the words, for them to keep going.

She had looked so cute all flushed and embarrassed, Alice thought as she completed the outer lap of the grounds and started heading back to the castle, as she wanted to get a quick shower in before she met Hermione for breakfast. That was another thing they'd organized, or well, Hermione had basically ordered, Alice to sit with Harry, the Retard and herself at breakfast and she just couldn't find it within herself to refuse. Though she had complained about sitting within spitting distance of Ron. She had only got a mild rebuttal and eye roll for that remark, which Alice saw as an improvement, so she'd let the matter drop and just wished the girl goodnight. A little provocatively maybe, but what could she say, she loved making Hermione blush.

Shaking her head as she climbed the steps to the courtyard, Alice checked her watch and realized it had only taken her an hour to complete her laps, so she had another full hour before having to meet Hermione. Grinning, she jogged towards one of the alcoves that had a low hanging beam, intending to use it for chin ups, when she noticed someone huddled into a corner. Frowning, she slowed down, casually reaching for her wand so as not to startle the person, squinting slightly, in black and yellow bordered robes.

What's a Hufflepuff doing out here this time of morning, she questioned silently, then gently nudged the student with the toe of her shoe. Startled, large brown eyes shot up to meet grey ones and Alice frowned even more.

'Elle?' said Alice. The girl, upon recognizing Alice, hadn't immediately relaxed her tense posture. Only after making sure it was Alice, and that she was the only one around, did she nod demurely and stare at her shoes. Crouching beside the shivering girl, Alice gently placed a hand on her arm, noting the almost instinctive flinch and filing that tidbit of information in the back of her mind for later.

'Elle, what are you doing out here?' Alice asked softly, watching the girl bite her lip as she thought on what to say.

'I- I just wanted to explore the ground's a bit.' said Elle, making her big brown eyes even larger and sticking out her bottom lip just a little bit. Alice's eyebrow rose of it's own accord and she waited to see if the girl would come up with a better lie. Seeing that Elle wasn't about to fold, Alice sighed and ran a hand through her hair.

'Please don't lie to me, Elle. I just want to know what you're doing out here.' Elle turned away, staring indecisively at the stone floor. Alice didn't move, letting the silence stretch as she waited patiently for the truth. Finally, Elle mumbled something into her knees.

'What was that?'

'I said... I- I couldn't sleep. I have - I have nightmares.' The last part was whispered with such fear that Alice just leant forward and wrapped her arms properly around the girl, before pulling her into her lap, her knees had started to hurt in the silence, so she'd sat, so sue her.

'They're- they're so scary sometimes. I don't - don't know why they won't go away. But- but they're always, always there when I close my eyes. They don't leave me alone. Why won't they leave me alone?' Alice gently rocked Elle back and forth, holding her little body close as the Hufflepuff tried, and failed, to hold back tears, puzzling over the things she was being told.

'What won't leave you, Elle?' Alice questioned softly, having an inkling of what could be, but needing it confirmed. Elle heaved a gasp, clutching tightly to Alice's sweaty shirt and shaking her head back and forth. Gently prying the little hands off her shirt, it took a minute because Elle was a lot stronger than she seemed and really didn't want to let go, Alice managed to make Elle sit up and face her, mostly. Ducking her face a little so she could maintain eye contact, Alice asked the question again, and again Elle shook her head and looked away but this time it was accompanied by words.

'You won't believe me. No one ever believes me.' Elle whispered, looking anywhere but at Alice. Frowning, Alice tightened her hold on Elle's hands in her own.

'Tell me, Elle.' she ordered quietly, squeezing the hands in hers gently, reassuringly. Neither moved for a moment before Elle slowly nodded.

'Promise- promise me that you won't hate me. That you won't leave me.' Elle whispered, her eyes darting towards Alice's face when she felt the girl stiffen.

'I promise, Elle.' Alice said, only just managing to choke the words out through her anger. What had happened to the girl if she was asking Alice to promise not to leave her? Alice fought the temptation to drop the girls hands and gather her in a massive hug instead. Shaking her head at the weird urge, and her feelings, she pushed it away to think about later and focused all her attention back on Elle.

'I-' Alice watched as Elle swallowed hard, obviously fighting so hard to tell her the truth when she was so scared. 'I see things.' Alice nodded to show she understood but Elle struggled out of her grasp and stood shaking in front of her.

'I see things.' Alice nodded again as it all fell into place in her head. Apparently it wasn't enough for Elle because she started to elaborate, and pace, very quickly. Which was making Alice a little dizzy watching her.

'You don't get it! I see things. Events. People. Moments. Things that haven't happened yet. Things I shouldn't see! Even my mum thinks I'm crazy!' Elle continued but Alice had stopped listening at that. Reaching out a hand, she grabbed Elle's forearm, stopping her from pacing and making her look at Alice's unreadable face.

'Your mother thinks you're crazy?' If Elle had been paying attention, not seeing what she wanted to see, or should think she sees, she might have noticed just how angry Alice had sounded as she asked the question, instead, Elle threw up her hands and started ranting.

'Of course my mother thinks I'm crazy. I think I'm crazy and I bet you do too.' Elle didn't notice the low growl that came from Alice at the accusation. She just kept going, eleven years of pain, confusion and misery pouring out of her and into the world, hoping that someone, anyone, would understand.

'I mean, I see the future! What eleven year old girl sees the future? Not a normal one. No. Not anyone from my primary school could see the future. But then again, they didn't turn out to be a witch, did they? No. And I couldn't even be a normal witch! I have to be some stupid future-seeing witch!' On that last word, Elle promptly burst into tears and collapsed onto the floor, or she would have, if Alice hadn't caught her and smoothly maneuvered her back into her lap.

After a while, the tears slowly faded, the quiet whimpers in her ear disappeared, but Alice still cradled the girl like Elle was her own. And in a way, she was, or would be. Alice would make sure of it. She had promised never to leave her, and Alice never broke a promise. Especially to family. And Elle, Elle was family now. She just didn't know it yet.

AN: So it took me awhile to figure out where I was going with this, there was a lot of ideas being thrown around in my head because this is, essentially, a huge piece of groundwork for later chapters and I had to make sure it worked. Sorry it's a bit angsty but it needed to happen if I wanted things in the future to work. Also, there will be a bit more angst in the future, not soon. But there will be some. Every good story needs at least a bit of angst to keep going. And this is a big story, so I'm just warning you now.

Thanks for reading. Reviews are love. Madds x