Chapter 1 : Home
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Hogwarts is my Wonderland. Teeming with history and mystery beyond your imagination.
Albus is my Mad Hatter. Though he can be utterly mental, and hold grudges greater than Voldemort himself, he was the only thing stopping me from flying away entirely. He did anything for those he loved, and hated hurting them.
Rose is my White Rabbit. I'd follow her to the ends of the earth if I had to. She kept me in place: kept us all sane.
Bethany is the White Queen. A pure Hufflepuff who can easily be underestimated. A shoulder to lean on and a hand to propel you forwards.
Rita is the Red Queen. She'd do anything to win her crown, even if it meant stealing from the girl in the clouds.
But Alice doesn't fall in love, or live happily ever after. She leaves Wonderland without a single regret, the Hatter and the Rabbit just shadows in her memories. Though the Red Queen may have been overpowered, she never got a proper 'The End.' She never found her true love. She wasn't a damsel, and she wasn't planning on ever stepping back into reality.
Falling, on the other hand, was a different story.
"Dad?" I whispered, pushing the door open. Mum was alone in bed, her golden curls splayed across the pillow like Rapunzel. How she had been able to stick with the Three Broomsticks when she had those looks I'd never know.
"Dad?" I called again, hopping down the three steps to the living room. The house was above the pub, offering us two bedrooms, a bathroom, a small kitchen and a living room. That was all we needed. After all, it was only me, Mum, Dad and my cat Aurora.
"Alice? Is that you?" Dad called from the kitchen. He was juggling two plates full of toast, scrambled eggs, sausages and beans, as well as two overflowing glasses of pumpkin juice.
"Here. I'll take the juice. You all packed?" I asked, walking back up the stairs to their bedroom. It was the last day of August, so Dad had to leave to be back at school for tomorrow. Every year he surprised Mum with breakfast in bed, fitting all the daily chores in before he had to disappear.
I nodded a yes, pushing the door open with my hip. Mum was still in the same position as a few minutes ago, though her hands had moved so they rested on her swollen stomach.
She was twenty-three when I was born. I most definitely wasn't planned, but they're glad I came. Without me, it would have taken Dad another seven years to pluck up some courage and stammer out a proposal, despite the fact they'd already been living together for over two years. Beheading a very big and very deadly snake? Simple! Proposing to the woman you love? Like surviving a bullet to the head; impossible.
But there had been no other children. I'm not saying they hadn't tried, because they had. Nights with me staying over at Aunt Becky's or Uncle Harry's, check-ups at St Mungos, years of confusion and slight depression. They wanted lots of children. And now, after sixteen years, they were having twins.
Iris and Philip Longbottom. Only seven weeks until their due date. And not getting any easier to deal with. People always make it seem like the morning sickness and sudden crying ends after five months. No. It doesn't. It gets worse. Mum was a volcano waiting to explode, both in her temper and her stomach.
"Nev? Is that- oh honey, this is beautiful!"
I smiled as Dad leant over and kissed her nose, giving her bump a little kiss as well. Love was the reason I adored the magical world. Divorces were nearly as legendary as Voldemort. Here, we worked things out, instead of just giving up.
"Right, Alice, shoo! Serious PDA coming up!" Mum said, laughing as I sprinted from the room in mock horror.
Today was also the day I worked the tavern completely alone. With Dad gone, our barmaids all having their free day and Mum forbidden from even being near alcohol, I had no one to balance the shifts out with. Luckily my friends had stopped by during summer when I was less needed, so it wasn't just me and Firewhisky Finn.
Showered and dressed in drainpipe trousers and a 'GEEK' jumper, I skipped downstairs to open the tavern.
"It's not about the money, money, money. We don't need your money, money, money. We just wanna make the world dance, forget about the-"
"I beg to disagree Ally. You would be out of business if it wasn't for the money."
I jumped, turning to see who'd interrupted my beautiful (snort) singing.
"Albus! I thought you were having a family gathering." I exclaimed, bounding over the table to give him a hug. We had to resort to contact by Wizbook due to my ungodly work hours and his large (and needy) family.
"We are." Albus replied grimly, nodding to behind him. There stood a cluster of around fifteen people, all brushing soot from their clothes and smiling at my shocked face.
"Hey Alice! Lovely singing by the way." My face turned bright red as Uncle Harry came forward to give me a hug. Maybe singing 'Price Tag' at the top of my lungs wasn't a very good move. "How's your mum?" Uncle Harry continued, ignoring my furious blush. The same couldn't be said for the rest of the family who were already doing impressions of my singing.
"Fine. Less than seven weeks left now. It's sort of impressive how big she is for such a tiny woman!"
Uncle Harry nodded in agreement. Mum could barely reach Dad's throat, and even I towered over her by a good two 1/2 inches.
"Right. So we've got...Harry, Ginny, Al, Lily, James, Ron, Hermione, Rose, Hugo, George, Angey, Fred, Roxie, Teddy, Dom and Louis. Are you lot all right sitting at separate tables?"
Luckily they agreed. With the six adults together at one table, James, Hugo, Fred, Roxie and Louis at another, Teddy and Dom sharing a two-seated corner booth and Al, Lily and Rose with me at the bar, they were ready to order.
"Hey guys. Do you know what you want?" I asked, reaching James' table after accidently disturbing Teddy and Dom mid-snog. I tried not to catch James' eye, knowing about the extra and final fights him and Albus had gotten into over summer. I wasn't just neutral. I was completely out of this war.
"Yeah. Me and Fred will have the Hungary Horntail Fire Burger, Louis will have the Troll Claw Fries, Hugo wants some steak and we'll have five butterbeers to wash it all down." Roxie recited, listing them off of her perfectly manicured nails. She and Fred played Beater together- the best duo seen since their father and his twin- but I never got how she perfectly maintained her looks throughout the season. There wasn't even a chip on her varnish after a match.
"James?" I asked, pretending to be writing so I didn't have to look at him. He sighed heavily.
"Al told you then."
Nobody moved. Obviously everyone knew of the tension between the two Potter brothers. I squeezed my eyes shut for a millisecond, reopening them into his.
"I'd give you a hug but Albus would probably kill you. I want to stay out of this. I need to stay out of this. You might be my friend but he's my best friend. No, I don't see him as a perfect little angel because of that. Neither of you are. You two can either sort it out or regret it for the rest of your lives. Your choice really. Now, are you going to have something with that butterbeer or can I get back to my job? The food doesn't cook itself you know."
James paused, searching my eyes carefully.
"Yeah. Same as Fred and Rox."
I nodded, walking back to the counter. Al was staring at me, glaring at James furiously at the same time.
"Shut it and help me with some of these orders."
Taking hold of his wrist I pulled him into the kitchen, but not before taking a glance back at James. His gaze was already on mine, capturing me immediately. He looked lost. Broken. Lustful?
And then he blinked, turning back to laugh at something Fred had said.
Most people would shrug it off. Say it was a trick of light, that work and stress was meddling with your mind. Why would he be looking at you like that? It was implausible. Impossible!
But luckily I'm not most people.
So...what do you think? If you don't like it, tell me, or just stick with it- my writing should improve! I just hate beginnings. Anyway, I just want to point out that Neville is seven years older than Hannah, making him 30 when Alice was born and currently 46. Yeah. You feeling old yet?
Disclaimer- Anything Harry Potter related that you recognise belongs to J.K.Rowling. Rapunzel is from Brothers Grimm, and Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll. Price Tag is by Jessie J. You gotta love that song.