When they landed in the tall grass Alice hadn't gotten a chance to look around because she threw up. Snape took a few steps back.
"Are you alright?" he asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine," said Alice.
"Do you need any water?"
"No, I'm fine."
Alice looked up at the house.
"I might vomit again! The Weasley's?!? You meet at the Weasley's house?!"
"Keep quiet they can probably hear you."
They walked up the front steps and knocked on the door. Two red-headed twins opened the door.
"Fred! George!" said Alice, hugging them both. Ron was watching her hug them.
"How do you know them?" he asked.
"I met them at their shop -- they gave me a tour and tons of free stuff."
"What?!?" Ron looked at Fred and George. "You gave her free stuff, but you tried to make me -- your own brother -- pay double?!?"
"Well, she's a lot prettier than you," said George. "Evenin' Proffessor," he said to Snape.
"You'll have to let me borrow her, sometime," said Fred. Alice's breathing was suddenly very shallow.
"What's wrong with her?" asked George. "It was just a joke."
"Alice, why don't you go sit down," said Snape, bringing Alice into the living room.
"She just got raped, you idiot!" said Hermione. "I heard Pansy Parkinson talking to Nott yesterday and that's what he said, right before he raped her."
"Who did it?" asked Fred.
"Blaise Zabini," whispered Hermione. "Lavender said the Aurors came for him yesterday afternoon."
"How do you know all this?" asked Harry.
"Parvarti told Ginny and I on the train. And then I talked to Lavender on the way back to our compartment."
"Dinner's ready!" said Mrs. Weasley. She walked over to them. "No more comments like that towards Alice, Fred. I don't want to hear another word about this from any of you for the rest of the night. The poor girl's been through enough already. The last thing she needs is another meltdown like she just had thanks to you." She looked at Fred. She walked away, leaving them alone again.
"Oughta use Muffilato next time," said Ron.
"I heard Zabini carved 'Mudblood' into her arm," said Ginny.
"I didn't know she was muggle-born," said Harry.
"Well, she's in Slytherin so if she was, that would explain why she hasn't mentioned it."
They walked into the dinind room where Lupin, Tonks, Snape, Alice and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were sitting. Harry saw Alice and Snape holding hands underneath the table. Alice was resting her head on Snape's shoulder.
"It's bloody disgusting, isn't it?" whispered Ron.
"I don't mind. He cancelled one of my detentions because he had a date with her."
"Yeah, but remember when she left? He was giving out detentions just for asking a question."
"Yeah, I'd rather not remember that week."
They sat down and ate dinner.
Alice didn't eat much, and right after dinner they all went into the living room. Snape sat on the end of the couch and Alice laid down on the couch with her head in Snape's lap. Snape was running his fingers through her hair as the Order talked about Voldemort.
" . . . the ministry agrees with us now, so that helps us," said Mr. Weasley.
"I strongly doubt they're going to help us," said Lupin.
"The ministry's been infiltrated anyway," said Snape. "Voldemort has one of Scrimegeour's close advisors under the imperious curse. I wouldn't try getting any help from them . . . "
Alice fell asleep in Severus's lap. Lupin smiled.
"She looked tired, I was wondering when's she'd fall asleep."
"She hasn't slept well since it happened," said Snape.
"Nightmares," Snape said. "She can't sleep for more than ten minutes at a time without waking up, screaming and crying."
"I don't know how you didn't murder that Zabini boy," said Mr. Weasley.
"If anyone did that to Tonks, I'd murder them," Lupin said.
"It took a lot of restraint," said Snape. "I hope he dies a slow, painful death . . . "
He looked down at Alice's bruised face. Her pale face looked angelic. He stroked her cheek where there was still faint red marks where the chain had hit her.
"What?" asked Harry. "Murdering her family is fine, but when something happens to her -- "
"She didn't murder her parents."
"I s'pose they just dropped dead of their own accord?"
"She was seven years old, do you really think a seven-year-old would murder her parents?"
"Well, what happened then, if she didn't murder them?"
"She was mad at her father and sister. They were treating her like a servant because her sister said she was a freak. She was angry and too young to be able to control her magic and the chandelier unbolted from the ceiling and crushed them both. Her mother started beating her and starving her. About a week later her mother hung herself."
"Oh," said Harry. Snape glared at him. "Where did she live?"
"With a friend. She was a witch, too."
"I don't know," said Snape. Harry could tell he was lying, but he didn't ask any more questions.
Alice laid there, asleep in Snape's lap for a while longer, then she woke up.
Snape smiled at her and she smiled back.
"We should probably go home. It's getting late," said Snape. Alice and Snape stood up and everyone followed them to the front door to say goodbye.
"Ooh!" said Fred. "Snape and Alice unerneath the mistletoe!" They both looked up and sure enough there was a tiney bit of mistletoe above them. Alice wrapped her arm around Snape's neck and kissed him and they apparated while still kissing.