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Star Crossed by RiverFord

Format: Novel
Chapters: 28
Word Count: 79,871
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Strong violence, Scenes of a sexual nature, Substance abuse, Sensitive topic/issue/theme

Genres: Horror/Dark, Humor, Romance
Characters: Lupin, A. Longbottom, F. Longbottom, James, Lily, Sirius, Pettigrew, OC
Pairings: Sirius/OC, James/Lily, OC/OC, Remus/OC

First Published: 02/17/2018
Last Chapter: 04/11/2018
Last Updated: 04/11/2018

Summary:
The darkness threatened to break her, but it turned out she was stronger than even she thought possible.


Chapter 1: Chapter 1
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Staring back into the blank face of her mother, Adhara struggled to remain expressionless as her mother kept a firm grip on her shoulder, holding her at arm's length. 

'You know what's expected of you Adhara.' She was stood in front of the Hogwarts Express, with her sister Aludra, as their mother bid them goodbye before her first year at Hogwarts. Her father, as was not unusual, was off with his little group of fellows. He'd been gone for four months this time already. She didn't know what they got up to, and she didn't want to know. She had been overwhelmed with her answer the one, and only, time she had asked. 'You better not disappoint us. We do not need any more embarrassment coming from you' While her expression remained impassive, her eyes shone with the warning of her words. Adhara gave a curt nod, and her mother released her hold of her in favor of saying goodbye to her sister. 'We'll see you at Christmas,' Mother said to them both, quirking a brow. 

 

'Yes mother,' Aludra answered brightly. We each stooped to pick up the end of our trunks, and turned toward the train. 'Don't think you're sitting with me,' Al sneered, once they were out of earshot. 

'Like I'd want to,' Adhara grumbled, scowling back at her. 

'Just so we're clear,' Al retorted, quickening her pace, and Adhara stuck her tongue out at her back in reply. 

'Adhara!' She turned toward the familiar voice, a polite smile spreading across her lips. 

'Carina.' 

'Sit with me?' 

She gave a small nod. 'Sure.' 

'You don't have to sit with Aludra?' 

'No, thank Merlin. She's being a right cow.' 

'So the usual?' 

'Obviously,' She smiled. They boarded the train and found an empty compartment near the middle, settling down for the long journey ahead. Adhara watched a few families still out on the platform, hugging and crying and carrying on, and she frowned. As a pureblood, such behavior was unacceptable. Emotions were beneath those of her birth. Honestly, she felt a bit jealous. It would have been nice to feel as though her parents would have missed her, rather than knowing she was just a disappointment to them. 

'Are you nervous?' Carina asked, bringing Adhara out of her stupor. 

'More excited really. Glad to be away from both of my parents, even if it's only for a little while.' 

'Still have to deal with Al though.' 

'Not if I can help it.' 

Carina sent her a skeptical look. 'You don't want to be in Slytherin?' 

Adhara frowned. 'I just don't want to have to deal with Aludra all the time. You know what she's like.' 

Carina nodded slowly. 'Yeah, I do, but I also know what your parents are like, and if you're not in Slytherin, you'll have to deal with them right?' 

Adhara grimaced. 'Ravenclaw wouldn't be so bad, would it?' 

Carina frowned at the ceiling. 'I suppose.' 



                                                                                                                                             



Following Professor McGonagall into the great hall, with all those eyes watching them pass, was when Adhara did become nervous. So overwhelmingly nervous, she thought she might get sick all over the tattered hat as it was set on the stool before the group of incoming first years and began to sing. 

'Nott, Adhara.' 

She could feel her hands shaking and took a deep breath, trying to calm herself as she sat on the stool and Professor McGonagall placed the hat on her head. She managed a quick glance at the Slythering table where Aludra was sat the other third years, and made eye contact, before the hat fell over her eyes. 

'Ah, another Nott, I see,' a raspy voice spoke in her ear, nearly causing her to gasp in surprise. 'You're very strong-willed. Determined. Proud. You have a lot of ambition, I see. A strong desire to prove yourself. You could do well in Slytherin-' 'Please not Slytherin!' She thought loudly. 'Not Slytherin, eh?' 'NO.' 'Alright then. Better be 

Gryffindor!' 

The hat said the last bit out loud, and Adhara breathed a sigh of relief as the hat was pulled from her head. That is until she saw the look on Carina's face and turned to see that Aludra had narrowed her eyes. She gave an almost imperceptible shake of her head. Adhara swallowed thickly. Aludra would tell their parents. She could only imagine what they would do. This would be considered a deliberate act of rebellion. 

Adhara made her way to Gryffindor table amidst a smattering of clapping, to sit by a girl with dark red hair. 

'Adhara, is it?' 

'Call me Addy,' she smiled. 

'I'm Lily,' she said with a smile.  

A girl with dark brown hair, sitting on the other side of Lily, leaned forward to see around her, her light blue eyes twinkling in the light from the candles floating above the table. 'Mary,' she said with a small wave. 

'Marlene,' said a girl with long brown hair and brown eyes, sitting opposite. 

'Right,' Adhara nodded. She somewhat knew of Mary and Marlene already; the pureblood society was relatively small, though the Macdonalds and the McKinnons were regarded as unacceptable to associate with.  

Adhara twisted her hands together beneath the table as she watched the next Gryffindor first year, James Potter, join a boy with sandy hair, and the black-haired boy she knew to be Sirius Black, on the other side of the table by Marlene. Sirius clapped James on the back and smiled, greeting him as though they were best friends, and she wondered if they had known each other long. Adhara knew of James in the same sense she of Mary and Marlene, the Potters were on the same list of unacceptable associates, though she had seen Sirius at a tidy few functions over the years. 

Adhara directed her gaze back to the stool, where a small boy had been sitting for quite some time. She thought she heard some of the professors mutter something about a hat stall, before the hat finally shouted 'Gryffindor,' and the boy scurried over to sit next to her. He offered her a nervous smile, which she tried to return, though it came out as more of a grimace. 

'Selwyn, Carina,' went to 'Slytherin,' and Adhara was sure her heart stopped beating for a moment. She really hoped it wouldn't affect their friendship, if you could call it a friendship. While they normally navigated toward each other during gatherings, due in part to their mutual lack of options, they had hardly anything in common. Carina tended to do and think as she was told, never wanting to cause trouble or draw attention to herself. Adhara rarely agreed with what she was told to do, and thoroughly resented being told what to think; though she would often do and think as she pleased, she rarely came right out and blatantly disobeyed the wishes of her parents. Not often. Not anymore.  

Adhara tended to be relatively secretive, and wait until she wasn't being watched, to do as she liked. She hardly ever got caught, though when she did, it was most often by Aludra, who never hesitated to rat her out, which was a major reason she didn't want to be in Slytherin; she had hoped for Ravenclaw, though she was fairly certain either was a disappointment in her parents' eyes (Hufflepuff would have most likely resulted in an immediate disowning).  

As soon as the feast was over and Dumbledore sent them off to bed, Adhara tried to make her way over to talk with Carina, but Carina managed to slip out before she could get there, so she was forced to follow the prefects up to Gryffindor tower with the other first year Gryffindors. 

Adhara followed the other three girls into the round room designated for first year girls, and took the last bed, stating it made no difference to her, as her stomach churned with anxiety. She quickly got ready and climbed into bed, chewing her lip, her mind spinning with the events of the day, the possible events of the next, and the likely punishment she would receive from her parents. 



                                                                                                                                             



The next day Adhara quietly followed the other girls down to breakfast, where Professor McGonagall passed out their time tables. Adhara wasn't able to catch Carina until that night, as they were entering the great hall for dinner. 

'Carina! I've been trying to catch you. Bit disappointing, we can't be in the same house...how is it in Slytherin?' 

Carina chewed her lip and glanced around uncomfortably. 'Er. It's alright.' 

'Looks like we'll have potions together though. We can sit together?' She said, trying to ignore the uneasiness rising inside her due to Carina's demeaner.  

'Er...I don't know if that's the best idea Adhara.' 

'What do you mean?' 

'I mean...it's not exactly accepted for Slytherins and Gryffindors to sit together. It's...sort of frowned upon.' She furrowed her brow and Adhara frowned. 

'Well. Maybe we could together on Saturday? In the library? We could study together or something...' Not that she was keen on studying. 

'I'm not sure that would a good idea either...' 

Adhara's brow knitted together. 'Why not? We're still friends, aren't we?' If they even were friends to begin with. 

'Er...the thing is Adhara. I don't think we should hang round each other anymore. My parents told me I'm not allowed to associate with you...now that...you're in Gryffindor.' 

Her eyes widened. 'You told them already?' 

Carina nodded and glanced around again. 'I wrote them last night to tell them about being sorted into Slytherin. I was a bit upset you weren't too, so I mentioned it then. Look. I'm sorry, but I should go.' 

Adhara turned and watched her go, a frown on her face, before she slowly made her was to Gryffindor table. Losing Carina as a friend wasn't necessarily what bothered her, as they didn't have much in common, and was more out of a lack of options. What bothered her more was that it was difficult, almost impossible, for her to make friends. She was so painfully shy, talking to new people made her feel sick with anxiety. In that type of situation, where nearly everyone was either fairly or completely unknown to her, she felt as though she were on the verge of chundering. By the time she would feel comfortable enough in a situation to get to know people, most people had given up on her, either assuming her to be some sort of mute freak or stuck up. Unfortunately for her, most people tended to stick with their first impressions, not bothering to get to know the real her. Luckily for her, she had done enough spell work ahead of time that the classes would be altogether manageable, since the multitude of new people was enough to overwhelm her. 

Adhara sat down, starring at her plate, willing herself not to cry. 'I can figure something out. I can find someone. All I need is one. One person to call friend,' she thought to herself.  

'Are you alright?' A voice asked softly from the table opposite. Adhara started, not having heard someone arrive, and looked up to see the sandy haired boy from the night before. 'Sorry. Didn't mean to startle you.' She blinked several times. 'Are you ok?' He looked sincere enough, his brown eyes full of concern. She nodded quietly and looked back down at her plate for a moment to compose herself, and the boy the one sat next to him glanced at her before turning back to their food. By the time she looked back up, the boy had turned and engaged in conversation with Sirius, James, and the small boy.  

'Bollucks. What's his name? And what's brown eye's name?' Adhara thought, as she pulled chicken, mashed potatoes, and a roll onto her plate, and filled her goblet with pumpkin juice, and quietly picked at her food until the desserts appeared, then ate a bit of chocolate pudding, before following the surrounding Gryffindors to the tower.  



                                                                                                                                             



The following morning at breakfast, the Nott family owl dropped a letter into Adhara's cereal bowl. She snatched it up quickly before the milk could render it unreadable, and opened the letter finding the familiar neat cursive of her mother. 


Adhara, 

 

Aludra wrote to us and let us know of your sorting. We will deal with this when you are home for Christmas. Your father is most displeased. 

 

Mother 

 

Adhara frowned. 'Well that was rather vague and ominous,' she thought. 



 



Chapter 2: Chapter 2
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As the days wore on, Adhara became more acclimated, and gradually began to feel more comfortable, though she felt as though Mary, Marlene, and Lily had become fast friends, and she was merely an observer, watching their interactions from the sidelines. A few months in, and they were to be practicing levitation charms in Charms class. While Adhara's dorm mates didn't outwardly express a dislike of her, she still felt she didn't fit in with them, so she chewed her lip nervously, sliding into a spot close to them. As she pulled out her text, a short Ravenclaw girl with light brown hair and hazel eyes, slipped into the empty seat beside her. 

 


'Hello!' She said brightly. 

 


'Hi,' Adhara greeted quietly. 

 


'I'm Darcy.' 

 


'Addy,' she said with an uneasy smile. 

 


'You're in Gryffindor?' 

 


Though she thought it was obvious, Addy answered, 'yeah.' 

 


'Cool,' Darcy nodded. 

 


They sat in silence for a while, Addy scratching her elbow uncomfortably, until she felt it only polite to ask the follow up question she already knew the answer to. 'You're in Ravenclaw, yeah?' 

 


'Yeah,' she nodded again. 

 


Addy found Darcy to be a bit odd at first and wasn't entirely sure if she could really be bothered. But she proved persistent, if anything, and just kept coming back. 

 


'So how are you finding Hogwarts?' Darcy asked one day. 

 


Addy shrugged. 'Fine.' 

 


Darcy narrowed her eyes. 'Fine?' Addy nodded. 'Just fine?' Darcy said incredulously. 

 


Addy shrugged again. 'I'm just glad I'm not in Slytherin with my sister. We don't really get on...' 

 


Darcy's expression tensed. 'Your sister's in Slytherin?' Addy nodded. 'You must be a pureblood then?' 

 


Addy's brow knitted in confusion, wondering why Darcy would want to know something like that. Had someone said something to her? 'Erm...yeah. Uh. What about you then?' She asked, trying to be polite. 

 


'I'm a muggleborn,' Darcy said hesitantly. 

 


Addy nodded. She had already cottoned on to that. 'So, you don't have any siblings here?' 

 


'No. I have a younger brother though.' 

 


'Do you get on?' 

 


Darcy shrugged. 'Well enough.' 

 


'That's nice...' They were quiet for some time, the only sound that of charms being cast around them, before Addy decided she may as well continue the conversation. 'So how did you find out about magic then?' 

 


'Professor McGonagall came round to mine back in July close to my birthday. Until then, I had no idea the stuff I could do was magic.' 

 


Addy smiled, trying to imagine a life like that. 'Like what kind of stuff?' 

 


'Made bubbles float round the bath and down the hall...made my brother shut it when he was bothering me too much...made the blender burst once when I was scared...' 

 


'What's a blender?' 

 


Darcy erupted into giggles, and Addy smiled broadly, a chuckle escaping her lips. 

 


'Settle down there girls,' Professor Flitwick admonished. 

 


'Sorry Professor,' they mumbled together.  

 


After that Darcy started sitting next to Addy in every class, and it slowly became easier for Addy to talk with her. Darcy asked her to study with her in the library, like the Ravenclaw she was, and from that point on they became close. Addy didn't enjoy studying quite as much as she did, but Darcy didn't care who Addy's family was, and for that she was grateful. Though they came from seemingly different worlds, they soon found they had a lot in common. Addy shared things with Darcy about the magical world and Darcy educated Addy on all things muggle. Addy was fascinated to hear about all the ways they got around not having magic, and she found the muggle pictures Darcy had highly amusing. 'I mean, they don't even move!' 

 


 

 


By the time Christmas Holiday came, Addy and Darcy were best mates, though the fact that Addy felt she had to hide it from her family made her feel sick. As they prepared to take the Hogwarts Express back to London, they sat in a compartment with a few of Darcy's dorm mates, and Addy closed the curtains, blocking the view of any wandering eyes, afraid that Aludra might see her with Darcy. It wasn't that she was ashamed of her, but she was afraid if Al were to see her with Darcy, she would tell their parents, and there was no telling what they would do to her, and more importantly, to Darcy. Addy had once been punished severely for befriending a muggle boy at the park when she was eight. 

 


When the train pulled into Kings Cross, Adhara quickly said goodbye to Darcy and wished her Happy Christmas, before she dashed out of the train to the platform, slowly making her way to the back of the platform to where her parents were stood with her sister. Both of them. Her father didn't usually turn up that early before Christmas, and it made her uneasy. Her mother merely looked at her blankly, acknowledging her presence, her father not even managing that. She grimaced at her mother's pincher-like grip on her upper arm, while her father took hold of Aludra, as the disapparated with a sharp crack, appearing at the end of the walk leading up to their manor. It didn't look like much, seeming a townhouse nestled in the heart of London, but it was bigger on the inside. 

 


As they entered through the front door, Adhara made to head straight up to her room, when she was stopped in her tracks by the sharp sting of a slap across her cheek before she even had a chance to recognize her mother's presence. 'Dinner will be ready in an hour Adhara,' she seethed, 'make sure you're on time.' 

 


'Yes, mother,' she said through gritted teeth. 

 


Adhara dressed in a set of royal blue robes that matched her eyes almost perfectly and pinned her golden tresses back in a knot. Family dinners weren't exactly formal, but it was expected you look 'presentable.' She made her way to the dining hall where Gilly, their house elf, was putting food on the table. Father was sat at the head of the table farthest from the door, mother on the other end. Aludra sat at the table opposite, leaving the last space on the side closest to the door, for Adhara. Marvelous for a quick escape if need be, she thought to herself. Her father stared stoically at his plate as he ate, he had yet to look at her. 

 


'Your father and I are quite disappointed in you,' her mother began. 

 


'Shocker,' she muttered. 

 


'How did you manage to get yourself sorted into Gryffindor? We made it quite clear, you were to behave yourself. Do you realize the shame you have brought us? The Rosiers sent us their condolences. The Rosiers! We were humiliated! What do you have to say for yourself?' Adhara shrugged half-heartedly, staring at her plate. 'You will answer me when I bother to speak to you, you vile little disgrace!'  

 


She pursed her lips and sighed at the ceiling. 'It's not like the bleeding hat gave me a choice!' She lied. 'It told me I was a Gryyfindor. Definitely not a Slytherin. I tried to negotiate for Ravenclaw, but it wouldn't have it. There was nothing to be done. I'm sorry.' Not really, she thought to herself. 

 


'What about all those owls we I received about your getting detention? Why can't you just behave yourself?' Adhara shrugged again. It wasn't as though she had misbehaved per say. She had gotten detention for being late to class too often, or not paying attention during class. She found it incredibly difficult to pay attention to someone talking for long periods of times, so she would often space out. Professor McGonagall was good about catching Adhara when she was lost in her thoughts, even if she did still call her Lyra half the time. 'Well you're just going to have to do better.' Adhara nodded slowly, barely repressing the urge to roll her eyes. Because that's what I was missing. That's all I needed to do. Just do better. Simple really, she thought to herself.  

 


'I will not tolerate any more of your misbehavior,' her father cut in in a low, firm voice. 'Is that understood?' She nodded. 'I said,' he finally looked at her, his eyes cold. 'Is that understood?' 

 


'Yes father,' she said. 

 


'Now,' her mother continued, 'who are these girls you share a room with?' 

 


Adhara sighed. 'Mary Macdonald, Marlene McKinnon, and Lily Evans,' she said quietly. 

 


'Evans? I don't believe we know any Evans.' 

 


'I believe she's muggleborn...' 

 


There was a loud clatter as her mother let her fork fall to her plate in exasperation. 'So, you're sleeping in a room with blood traitors and a filthy little mudblood?!' 

 


Adhara frowned. 'She seems to bathe regularly.' 

 


'Adhara,' her father warned. 

 


'Sorry,' she mumbled. 

 


'Make certain you don't touch her or any of her things,' her mother said seriously. Adhara stared at her plate, picking at the asparagus, biting back a scoff. Bit hard when her bed is next to mine. 'And don't you dare associate yourself with her.' She frowned again. That sounded like what Carina had said to her. What would they say about her friendship with Darcy? 'She must be a rather weak witch, is she not?' 

 


Adhara's brow knitted as she looked up at her mother. 'Actually, she's quite bright. She's one of the best in our year.' 

 


'Well, she must have taken the power from someone. There's no other way that filth would have any magical ability. She shouldn't be allowed at that school. She shouldn't even be allowed out in civilized society. She needs to go back where she belongs. That Dumbledore is letting the school go down the drain.' 

 


 It was all Adhara could do to keep her mouth shut for the remainder of the meal, or rather, the holiday. It continued about the same; she received countless lectures on how disappointing she was, sometimes they included how brilliant Aludra was and how Adhara should be more like her. There was a formal gathering that she was forced to attend as usual, at the Averys', where she sat quietly the whole time, just waiting for it to be over.  

 


 

 


By the time the end of the holiday came and they were back on Platform 9 ¾, Addy was racing away without so much as a backward glance, ready to find Darcy and attempt to recover. In her haste to get away, as she clambered onto the train, she collided with another solid figure, effectively sprawling both of them on the floor. 

 


'Oh, I'm so sorry!' Addy cried breathlessly. 

 


'That's quite alright.' 

 


'Remus!' She squeaked, climbing to her feet. 'Are you ok? I'm sorry! I wasn't looking. Here, let me help you with that.' She stooped to gather the items that had fallen from his suitcase in their collision, her face flushing in embarrassment. 

 


'You don't have to,' he said hastily, his own cheeks flushed. 

 


'I do. It's my fault. Oh, this is mine...' She looked down to see that her own suitcase had fallen open also. 

 


'Here. I think this is yours as well,' he handed over a red jumper without making eye contact, his face, if possible, growing even redder. Addy nearly laughed as she noticed this. It was, after all, only a jumper. 

 


'Thank you,' she said, stuffing the jumper away and shutting her suitcase again. 'I really am sorry,' she mumbled as she stood. 

 


He smiled softly as he stood and looked at her quickly. 'It's alright. Really. These things happen.' 

 


She nodded. 'Right. Well. See you Remus.' 

 


'Addy,' he nodded back. The use of her chosen nickname brought a smile to her lips before she continued past him down the corridor in search of Darcy. She found her a few cars down, sitting in a compartment with a few of her dorm mates. 

 


'What's happened?' Darcy asked, looking up as Addy closed the compartment door behind her. 'Why are you all breathless and flushed?' 

 


'I ran into Remus,' she gestured lamely behind her before she closed the curtains. 

 


'And? What? Do you fancy him?' She said, her eyes growing wide in excitement. 

 


'What? No! I mean literally. I ran into him. We both fell down. Our suitcases flew open. Shit went everywhere...it was awkward...' She shrugged. 

 


'Awkward?' 

 


'Yeah, well. It's me,' she shrugged again. 

 


Darcy nodded sympathetically. 'Still. That Remus is cute. Really nice too.' 

 


Addy smiled at her as she sat next to her on the bench. 'Do you fancy him then?' 

 


She smiled and shook her head. 'You know who I fancy.' 

 


'Right.' 

 


 

 


'Addy you're soaked!' Lily exclaimed, as she sat near her at Gryffindor table. She had been playing out on the grounds in the snow with Darcy, making forts and having a snowball fight. She thanked Merlin her cheeks were already pink from the cold. 

 


'Oh, it's alright,' she said, waving Lily off. 

 


'No, it's not,' she said. And she promptly pulled out her wand and performed a drying spell on Addy's robes. 'There, that's better.' 

 


Addy smiled weakly, trying to quell the feeling of embarrassment. 'Thanks Lily.' 

 


She smiled brightly. 'You're welcome, Addy.' 

 


While Addy quite liked Lily, she was bright and friendly, she felt a bit resentful toward her. She had noticed Lily was friends with that Snape boy, who was in Slytherin, and despite the fact that Lily was in Gryffindor, they had maintained their friendship. They had probably actually been friends to start out, but still, their relationship, for whatever reason, bothered Addy. Why could he remain friends with Lily, when Carina didn't hesitate to cut ties with Addy? What's wrong with me? She thought. 

 


The remainder of term continued in much the same way, and it was with a sense of dread, that end of year exams finished, and Addy prepared to return home. Where she spent two months being lectured about what a failure she was. Where she attempted to avoid her family. Where she was forced to dress up and go to society functions and play nice. Where she counted down the days until she could escape again. Home.... 


 


 

 

 


Chapter 3: Chapter 3
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Back on Platform 9 ¾, Adhara's mother barely acknowledged her departure. She had taken to ignoring her, which was honestly a relief. Addy can hardly get away fast enough. As she climbed on the train, the Gryffindor boys in her year, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter, pushed past her, only Remus pausing to offer an apologetic smile as she's pushed into the corridor wall. 'Prats,' she muttered. She found Darcy toward the back of the train in a compartment with a few of her dorm mates. 


 


'Don't you look fancy,' Darcy commented, eyeing the plum robes Addy was wearing. She grunted as she pulled them off. 'Where'd you get muggle clothes?' She said with wide eyes. 


 


Addy smirked. 'I managed to get away one day. Went into some consignment shop.' 


 


Darcy smiled. 'You're such a rebel. Anything else exciting about your summer?' 


 


Addy chewed her lip, thinking about the society gatherings and the special meeting she had to go to. 'No,' she sighed, 'spent most of my time avoiding people and getting reminded of how big a disappointment I am.' 


 


Darcy frowned. 'Well, if it makes you feel any better, my holiday wasn't exciting. Just hung round Toby and saw Lydia, my friend from muggle primary school a few times.' 


 


'That doesn't make me feel any better. That sounds loads more fun!' 


 


She grimaced. 'Sorry. But we'll find things to get up to now.' 


 


'I like the sound of that,' Addy grinned. 


 


 


 


Some time in mid-October, Professor Slughorn set the second years to brew a Hair-Raising Potion, and Addy was just setting up her cauldron at her spot in the back row toward the end of the Gryffindor side after having gotten her supplies, when someone slipped into the seat across the aisle from her. She stiffened when she glanced up, recognizing the now familiar sneer of Graham Avery. She decided to focus on her work and stared down at the table to prepare her ingredients.  


 


'Too good to talk to me now Nott?' She felt her cheeks flush uncomfortably and pressed her lips together. Apparently, he had different ideas. 'Though you didn't really talk before, did you? Can you talk? Or are you mute?' Her brow furrowed. They'd had to talk at functions plenty of times in the past. 'Guess that would explain why you're such a freak.' Addy's head snapped over and she looked at him with blazing eyes. 'Well,' he said smugly, 'at least you're not deaf as well.' He looked bored before he turned back to his table surface, and she turned her scowl down, collecting her silver knife. What a git. 


 


That wasn't the last time Avery decided to bother Addy either. In late November, Professor Slughorn had them working on a Girding Potion, and Avery, along with Randall Mulciber in tow, decided to have another go at her. 'S'alright. I like the quiet ones,' Avery said in an undertone to Mulciber, though Addy knew it was directed at her. 'Means they're more submissive.' Her hand slipped and she gasped, turning her head toward them. 


 


'What? Are you actually going to say something?' Mulciber said mockingly. 


 


Addy huffed, 'why can't you just leave me alone?' 


 


'Woah, woah, woah! She actually does speak!' 


 


'Still didn't hear what she said.' 


 


'True, but I thought she was mute.' 


 


'Fair point.' 


 


Her jaw tightened and she looked back to her cauldron.  


 


 


 


'You're going to the Gryffindor Ravenclaw match with me, right? You'll sit with me?'  


 


'Course, calm down,' Darcy said in mock seriousness. 


 


'Sorry. You know I love quidditch, I just don't love sitting alone amongst all those...' James Potter had made the Gryffindor team as a chaser that year, and he, along with all his friends, would not shut up about it. They were driving Addy mad. 


 


'I know,' Darcy rolled her eyes. They walked down to the pitch and found a spot in the middle of the Gryffindor stands in front of Hagrid. Belatedly Addy realized they were also two rows behind the other second year Gryffindors. Oh well. 


 


As fifteen brooms rose into the air and the match started, Addy lost track of her surroundings and became lost amongst the sport, as usual. Her eyes followed the quaffle and scanned for that glitter of gold. She loved quidditch more than anything. 'Oh, buggar that Hooch! That's a foul!' 


 


'What?' Darcy said, her face scrunched in confusion.  


 


'You can't go at the keeper when he's not in play!' 


 


'Wood seems fine,' she rolled her eyes. 


 


'That's not the point,' Addy scowled. As she turned back to face the pitch, she found a few faces turned toward her, mixed looks of amusement on their faces, before they turned back to the pitch. Her face flushed in embarrassment. 


 


'Didn't know you were such a quidditch nut Nott,' Sirius said, eyebrow quirked. 


 


Addy shrugged, trying to look nonchalant. 'Course. How could I not? It's bloody brilliant.' 


 


His eyes widened briefly in surprise and he smirked. 'True.' He turned back to face the game and Addy forced her attention back to the quaffle that was quickly approaching the Gryffindor keeper under the arm of a Hufflepuff chaser. 


 


'YES! Nice save Wood!' She jumped up and down, pumping her fist in the air. 


 


As they left the stands, a hand clamped around Addy's arm, pulling her to the side as soon as her foot hit the grass. 'You were making a foot of yourself.'  


 


She looked down into the sneering face of her older sister and wrenched her arm free of her grip. 'I thought we greed to act as though we don't know each other?' 


 


Aludra's eyes narrowed. 'When did we agree to that?' 


 


'It was more of an unspoken agreement,' Addy rolled her eyes. 


 


'Well when you behave like you were-' 


 


'And how is that?' Addy asked, her voice rising. 'as though I'm not dead inside, like the lot of you?' She gestured wildly. 'Like I'm enjoying myself? Merlin forbid!' 


 


'When you behave like you were,' Al repeated as if Addy hadn't interrupted, her voice deadly quiet, 'it makes it difficult to ignore you. Father will be most displeased.' 


 


'Yeah? What else is new? What, are you going to run and tell mummy and daddy? Add that to the list?' 


 


Her eyes darkened. 'I'll be watching you Adhara.' She turned and marched away, her head held high in an arrogant posture, and Addy sent a rather rude hand gesture at her back. 


 


'Watch it there Nott,' a masculine voice said from her left, where the stairs to the stands were. 


 


'Oh, sod off!' Addy turned to the voice and her eyes widened in horror at the sight of Daniel Clarke, a sixth year Gryffindor prefect. She wasn't sure how he knew her name. 'Sorry,' she mumbled quickly as he cocked his head questioningly to the side. 'It's just...my...sister was just...I'm sorry.' 


 


He glanced in the direction of Aludra's retreating form. 'Family troubles?' He asked, a look of recognition on his face. 


 


'You could say that. Nothing I'm not use to...' Her face felt like it was on fire. 


 


He nodded with an understanding expression. 'Alright then, I won't recommend you for a detention this time,' Addy breathed a sigh of relief. She already had two detentions for being late to herbology and spacing out in transfiguration. 'But you need to be more careful. Don't want to be flipping the bird and telling McGonagall to sod off now do you?' She swallowed thickly and shook her head, and Daniel laughed. 'Go on then,' he nodded, and Addy scurried off ahead of him, finally finding Darcy at the edge of the castly. 


 


'Where'd you go?' She asked, 'I was talking to you, and when I turned round, you were gone.' 


 


'Aludra had a few choice words for me,' Addy grumbled, as they made their way into the entrance hall. 


 


'Oh no,' Darcy said apprehensively, 'what'd she say?' 


 


'That she'd be watching me. Whatever that means.' Darcy frowned in concern. 'Don't worry. I can handle my sister. I am bigger than her now,' she smiled, trying to ease the tension she still felt, and reassure Darcy.  


 


'You're taller than her. She still looks like she weighs about a stone more than you. She could just sit on you.' 


 


Addy frowned. 'Nah, she hasn't done that in about four years.' 


 


'What?' 


 


'Relax, I'm kidding...not really. But she wouldn't do that now. Muggle fighting is beneath someone like her,' she said, imitating her sister's haughty expression. 


 


Darcy's brow knit together. 'Just...be careful, won't you?' 


 


'Your concern warms my heart,' Addy said, giving her a sardonic smile, and Darcy hit her arm lightly. 


 


 


 


Christmas Holiday had come on quickly, and before Addy knew it, as before, she was forced to endure lectures on how she wasn't living up to the family name. She avoided everyone as much as she could. At the formal gathering of the year, held at the Selwyn's that time, she slipped outside to a small garden once all the formalities had been taken care of. As long as she was back when it was time to leave, no one would notice she was even gone. They wouldn't want to have to look for her after all. That might be embarrassing. 


 


By the time she was back on Platform 9 ¾, Addy felt as though she hadn't smiled in ages. She found Darcy in the corridor, and quickly pulled her into an empty compartment. 'I need some chocolate. Now.' 


 


'That bad?' Darcy asked, her eyebrows furrowed in concern. 


 


'It was bloody awful!' She groaned, 'If I didn't have to go back there, I wouldn't.' 


 


'Why don't you come to mine?' 


 


Addy grimaced. 'You know I'd love to, but-' 


 


'Why don't you then?' 


 


'You know my parents wouldn't let me...' 


 


'What if you told them you're staying at Hogwarts?' 


 


She paused. 'What, for Easter Holiday?' Darcy nodded. 'I think they'd notice when I walked past them on the platform.' 


 


'We can wait for them to go. They usually disapparate, don't they?' 


 


'Yeah...' 


 


'Then it's settled. My mum can't wait to meet you.' 


 


'Really? Me?' 


 


'Of course, silly. You are my best mate.' 


 


Addy felt her cheeks heat up. 'I'm just...not use to parents wanting to meet...children. My parents certainly don't.' She chewed her lip uncomfortably. 


 


'Well,' Darcy shrugged, 'no matter. You're not your family.' Addy smiled at that and Darcy smiled back at her. 


 


 


 


'Where'd you get them?' 


 


'Knicked them off my dad on holiday. You sure you still want to try them?' 


 


Addy nodded. 'Yes. Give it here.' Darcy handed her a fag and she lit it with her wand as she placed it between her lips. 


 


'Different 'innit? I'm still not sure what all the fuss is about.' Darcy pulled the cigarette in her hand back to look at it curiously as she blew smoke from her mouth. 


 


Addy shrugged. 'S'pose to be relaxin' or somethin...not so bad.' She took another puff. 


 


'Do you think we're doing it right?' 


 


Addy's brow knit together. 'What d'ya mean? What's there to do but take a puff, blow it out, and repeat?' 


 


'I dunno,' she shrugged, 'how much should we inhale?' 


 


Addy frowned. 'As much as you like I suppose.' 


 


'Aren't we suppose to cough or something? The first time?' 


 


'How should I know?' 


 


'Maybe I'm overthinking it,' Darcy shook her head, 'guess it doesn't matter.' 


 


'It really doesn't,' Addy said, looking at her pointedly. 


 


 


 


 


Chapter 4: Chapter 4
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If she'd thought Avery and Mulciber had lost interest, Addy was mistaken. The brief reprieve she'd had must have lulled her into a false sense of security, because she was caught completely off guard one day in potions, when Avery sidled up to her cauldron just as she was preparing to start on a Wiggenweld Potion, and stuck his nose into her hair, breathing deeply. She jumped away hastily. 

 


'What the bloody hell?' Addy hissed. 

 


'You're growing lovelier by the day, I'd say,' Avery smirked. 

 


'Much more attractive than that sister of yours,' Mulciber added. 

 


Addy's cheeks flared in embarrassment. 'What do you want?' 

 


They acted as though they hadn't heard her, though maybe they hadn't. 'You even smell divine. Nothing like that filthy mudblood you've been hanging round.' 

 


'What?' She peeped. They couldn't possibly know... 

 


'You do just about everything together don't you?' Mulciber went on. 'Do you shower together?' 

 


'Do you kiss the mudblood?' Avery whispered in her ear, his hot breath sending chills down her spine. 

 


She jerked away. 'Don't call her that!' They merely laughed. In her face. Their volume rising as the heat in her cheeks grew. 'Don't use that word!' Addy pushed Avery into Mulciber, who stumbled into his cauldron. The cauldron teetered and bumped into the ingredients on the desk, causing them to scatter, some falling, glass shattering on the floor. 

 


'Oh ho ho! Now, what's going on here? Miss Nott, Mr. Avery, Mulciber? What happened?' 

 


Avery and Mulciber scrambled around, righting themselves with frowns on their faces. Addy scowled back at them, willing the daggers she was shooting through her eyes to kill them. 

 


'Nothing,' Avery said. 

 


'I tripped,' Mulciber added, 'fell into him.' They gave Addy warning looks as Slughorn turned to her. 

 


'Is this true Miss Nott?' Her eyes narrowed and she clenched her jaw, before conceding with a curt nod and turning back to her cauldron. 

 


'Very well,' Professor Slughorn said. 'Back to work with all of you then.' At his words, Addy noticed most of the class was blatantly watching and had most likely watched the previous interactions. The rest were trying poorly to act as though they hadn't been paying attention the whole time. As they left the classroom later, Mulciber pulled Addy aside and leaned in close to her ear. 

 


'I'll be watching you.' 

 


Her blood boiled at the words. The same words that came from Aludra. He pulled back with a smug smirk that quickly dropped from his face. He must not have expected Addy's reaction. He was attempting to intimidate her, yet she was filled with a sudden rage that must have shown on her face. 

 


'Watch this!' She snapped, as she pulled her arm back and balled her hand. Her fist connected with his nose before he had a chance to react, a satisfying crunch filling the dungeon hall. Mulciber staggered back, clutching his hand to his face where blood was quickly seeping through his fingers and down his face. Avery stood gobsmacked next to him, watching silently. Addy felt two hands grip her upper arms from behind before she was led from the dungeons toward the entrance hall. A low whistle was issued, followed by muffled sniggering. 

 


'What was that about?' Marlene asked, as she spun Addy around once they had climbed the stairs. 

 


'Not that we didn't enjoy it,' James said, joining them. 

 


'It was bloody hilarious,' Sirius added. 

 


'Are you alright?' Remus asked, lifting Addy's hand into both of his to inspect it. 

 


'I'm fine.' Addy pulled her hand free, suddenly feeling embarrassed and quite uncomfortable with all the people around. She didn't do well with all that attention. 

 


'Are you sure?' Lily asked. 'You don't look fine. You look rather upset.' She said softly. 

 


'What happened?' Mary asked sincerely. 

 


Addy shook her head, looking at the floor. 'Nothing I haven't dealt with before. They like to bother me,' she shrugged, 'I'm fine.' She really just wanted to get away. Away from the situation. Away from the people. She needed to be alone. 

 


Marlene nodded, though she didn't look convinced. 'If you're sure?' 

 


Addy nodded again, though part of her wanted to tell them. To be able to talk about it. But a bigger part of her, couldn't. She wouldn't be able to get the words out. When she was overly uncomfortable, she had the bad habit of bursting into tears, rendering her physically unable to further communicate. The group cast her doubtful looks, before heading into the Great Hall. As the large oak doors closed behind them, Addy hastily shuffled into the girls' toilet and washed the blood from her hand, wincing slightly at the pain. Ah well, it was worth it. 

 


At least, she thought it was worth it at the time. While Addy had acted impulsively in hitting Mulciber, she had rather hoped it would deter them from messing with her. Though, if anything, it seemed to have the opposite effect. They seemed to up their efforts in whatever little game they were playing. After that, it wasn't just a few muttered words in potions. It started between classes, in the corridors, the library. They would corner her with slanderous words, hug her inappropriately, trap her between them and touch her. The only place they couldn't find her was in the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw common rooms, so she spent a great deal of time in the Ravenclaw common room with Darcy until Easter Holiday came. Her family didn't mind when she owled to say she would be staying at Hogwarts. There were no society gatherings, so she wasn't needed to make an appearance.  

 


Darcy assured Addy her mum was more than willing to wait a bit longer for Addy's family to leave in order for her to come back to Darcy's for holiday. So, that afternoon, after taking the train back to Kings Cross, they scoped out the platform, watching and waiting for Addy's family to leave. 

 


'It'd be a lot easier to sneak you out if you weren't growing to the size of a giraffe ya know?' Darcy said, a playful grin tugging at her lips. 

 


'Just because you're the size of a bloody hobit-' 

 


'Oi!' 

 


'-doesn't make me a giraffe,' Addy snapped back, poking her tongue out at Darcy, a gesture she was quick to return.  

 


'Alright. I think we're clear,' Darcy glanced out the window and nodded, and they collected their suitcases. 

 


'You go first, just to be sure,' Addy said, as they approaced the barrier. 

 


'Lot of bloody good that'll do,' she muttered. 'What am I s'pose to do? Block you?' Darcy gestured lamely at their height difference and Addy stared back at her blankly. 

 


'I dunno. Warn me somehow?' She said, her eyes growing wide in a form of pleading. Darcy grimaced slightly, but continued toward the barrier, and Addy took that as her acquiescence. They saw no sign of her family though, as they made their way out of the platform to where Darcy's mother was stood.  

 


Darcy's mother was a few centimeters taller than Darcy, though she was still shorter than Addy, and slightly plump, with Darcy's hazel eyes, and dark brown hair. 

 


'Nice to meet you Mrs. Williams,' Addy said politely, extending a hand. 

 


'Oh pish-posh! Call me Judy!' She bypassed Addy's hand and went straight in for a hug, leaving Addy sputtering and wide eyed. 'It's so nice to finally meet you!' She went on. 'Darcy's told us so much about you-' 

 


'Mum,' Darcy hissed. Mrs. Williams looked at her expectantly. 'Shouldn't we get to the car?' 

 


'Oh right, right! Where's my brain? Let's get to it then.' They followed her on to the car, where she opened the boot for their suitcases, before they climbed into the back seat. 

 


'So, Adhara. That's a lovely name. Where's if from? Are you named for someone?' 

 


'Erm....it's a star actually. But yes. I'm named after my great-grandmother on my father's side...' She trailed off chewing her lip uncomfortably. 

 


'Well it is a beautiful name.' 

 


'Thank you. I much prefer Addy though,' she smiled wanly.  

 


'Alright,' Mrs. William smiled through the rear-view mirror. 

 


When they arrived at Darcy's house, (or should we say the Williams?) she introduced Addy to her dad, Mr. Williams, or as he said to call him, Bert, and her younger brother, Toby. Her parents were all smiles and friendly chatter. Her and Toby got caught up in some good-natured bickering. It was strange for Addy to see how...open? they were with each other. How close. Accepting. It made something in her chest tighten, and she was painfully aware of how uncomfortable it all made her. Her family certainly didn't behave that way. It wasn't acceptable. Feelings weren't allowed. 

 


Darcy and Addy spent a good portion of the holiday watching this moving picture box. Something called a...phellatone? No. That's not right. Any roads, Darcy had Addy watching some of her favorite movings and something about a muggle healer that travels through time in a blue please box? It really was quite fascinating. She also had Addy listen to some music on the muggle gramophone, that's not a gramophone. Muggle music is...in a word: brilliant.  

 


 Addy felt like she barely had time to enjoy herself before they were back at the castle, resuming classes, getting bogged down with homework and detentions. For the next few months, aside from potions class, she managed to avoid certain Slytherins, by spending any free time in the Ravenclaw and Gryffindor common rooms with Darcy. End of term exams were on them quickly, and before she knew if, Addy was back to a life of degradation and avoidance at Nott Manor. The only bright side of the summer holiday, was that her family had gotten so use to her absence, they truly no longer noticed as long as she was present for dinner. Which was at the same time every day, so she managed to sneak out a fair few times and would explore muggle London. She even managed to make a few muggle friends down at the park. But the dark and suppressive atmosphere at home was still too much.


Chapter 5: Chapter 5
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By the time the 1st of September came round again, Addy was itching to get away. As she pushed her way onto Platform 9 ¾, she made to board the train quickly, but her mother blocked her path. 'I expect no misbehavior from you this year, is that understood? You've embarrassed us enough. You're not a child anymore Adhara. It's time you started acting in a manner that befits your birth.' She gripped Addy's arm tightly and Addy clenched her jaw. 'I do not want any more disappointment. Do I make myself clear?' Addy scowled ahead without looking at her mother and nodded curtly. Seemingly satisfied, her mother released her arm and she pushed through the crowd without a backwards glance. The thing about that little lecture? Addy really hated being told what to do, or what not to do. Even if she knew it was in her best interest to listen, after that, she was much more determined to do what she wanted. 

 

 


Addy found Darcy sat in a compartment with a few of her Ravenclaw year mates, Saoirse and David, along with David's cousin John, who was in Hufflepuff, and his friend Killian. Addy's cheeks flushed as she knocked softly on the doorframe. Merlin, she knew she would be uncomfortable. Especially when everyone looked up at her, and a strange look crossed over Darcy's face as she took in the sight of Addy. She pressed her lips together in a tight smile, while Saoirse, Killian, and John smiled politely. 

 


'Addy,' David nodded. 

 


'Can I, er...sit with you,' asked Addy hesitantly. Darcy was still looking at her strangely.  

 


'Course,' Darcy nodded, not quite meeting Addy's eyes.  

 


Addy pulled her trunk in, pulling off her robes and stuffing it in in the process of storing it in the overhead. She noticed David watching her out of the corner of her eye, but pretended not to, and sat in the last available seat between David and Killian. John was sat opposite, with Saoirse to his right, and Darcy next to the window.  

 


'You look like you got some sun,' Killian said, poking Addy's knee. Her cheeks flushed again. 

 


'Erm...yeah. I uh,' Addy glanced at Darcy, who was watching with a blank expression. 'I spent a bit of time at the park. Avoiding my, er, family...' She trailed off, not really sure she wanted to say any more. 

 


'Right,' Killian scratched at his neck awkwardly. Great. Did I just make that awkward? I think I did. She thought. 

 


'So...' John started, shuffling in his pocket. 'Exploding snap? Who's up for a game?' He held the pack up in the air, and Killian put his hand up like he was waiting to be called on. 

 


'I'll give it a go.' 

 


'Brilliant!' John glanced around at their current seating, pursing his lips. 

 


'Do you want to switch me?' Addy offered, gesturing a hand between them. Darcy frowned. Bollucks. Did she still fancy him? Addy wondered.  

 


John nodded. 'Yeah, yeah. I think that'll work best.' They both stood and awkwardly shifted around so he could sit next to Killian. Addy shot Darcy an apologetic smile to which she shrugged. Saoirse pulled out some muggle magazine, Honey, and opened it to a dogeared page. 

 


'Do you have any Witch Weekly's?' Darcy asked hopefully. Addy suddenly noticed she had a Jackie and a Vogue on her lap, and sighed internally.  

 


'Who's that? She pointed at the Vogue. 

 


'Liza Minnelli.'  

 


Addy rolled her eyes, 'yeah, I knicked a few off Al,' she said, standing up to pull the magazines from her trunk. 

 


'You've got Quidditch Weekly?' David spoke up. 

 


'Er, yeah. Do you want to look at some?' Addy asked, holding a few out to him. He reached out to them, smiling softly at her, and she felt her cheeks heat up. 

 


'Yeah, thank you.' 

 


'You're welcome,' she mumbled. Darcy winked at her as she sat again, shoving the Witch Weekly's at her and hastily opening another Quidditch Weekly. She pretended to read until she looked up at the shouting of victory on John's part, and painful surprise on Killian's. 

 


The next morning at breakfast, as Professor McGonagall passed out timetables, Addy looked her's over while munching on some toast. 'Have some bacon Nott, you're looking rather thin this year.' Potter tossed a pile of bacon onto her plate, and she gaped at him, slightly taken aback. While it was true, (she had grown ten centimeters last year) she wasn't sure whether to be offended or touched. She supposed it showed he cared, but who says something like that? 

 


'Muggle Studies?' Sirius said, looking at Addy's timetable. 'Won't mummy and daddy disapprove?' He said mockingly. She felt warmth spread up her neck and shrugged, trying to act nonchalant. Of course, they'd disapprove. That was the point.  

 

 


The next day when Addy walked into Muggle Studies, she found Sirius sitting there with Potter. As she walked by their desk she raised an eyebrow questioningly. Sirius smirked back at her and leaned his chair back on the back two legs. She had the strong urge to push him over, but merely shook her head and continued on. Mary and Marlene had also taken the class and were sat together. There was a Hufflepuff boy, Arnold MacMillan, whom Addy didn't really get on with. He was a bit of a ponce. 

 


'You can sit here.' Addy looked over to see Hufflepuff , Emily Westwick, a tall girl with a stocky build, dark brown hair, and dark brown eyes. 

 


'Thank you,' she smiled politely as she sat down next to her. 

 


'Adhara, right?' 

 


'Addy. You're Emily?' 

 


'Yep,' she smiled, and Addy nodded. 

 


 

 


'I really wish we didn't have to have potions with the bloody Slytherins every year,' Addy complained. She was sat with Darcy behind the quidditch pitch that Friday night smoking cigarettes. 'If I have to hear Avery and Mulciber make one more comment about us being mates,' she shook her head. 'I'd like to hit a bludger at their stupid gobs.' 

 


Darcy frowned. 'What exactly do they say?' 

 


Addy grimaced, looking down and taking a drag off the fag between her fingers. 'Like I told you. They comment about us hanging round each other so much...' 

 


'Yeah? And?' Darcy prompted, puffing on her own fag. 

 


Addy shrugged. 'They call us names I'd rather not repeat. Asked if we like to kiss.' 

 


'What?' She squeaked. Addy looked at her, and her expression was pained. 

 


'Don't worry about it,' she shook her head. 'They're just trying to get a rise out of me. Have they ever bothered you?' 

 


'No, but...' Her voice cracked and Addy saw her swipe at her eyes with the back of her hand. She cared too much about what people thought of her.  

 


'Really. Don't worry about it. Nothing's happened this year. Maybe they've moved on?' Darcy frowned, gazing back at Addy with watery eyes. 'Besides. You know how stupid they both are.' Addy crossed her eyes and grunted, 'duhhh,' in a deeper tone, and the right corner of Darcy's mouth turned up. 

 


'Uhhh,' she grunted out dumbly. 

 


Addy chuckled lowly. 'I don't know how they made it to third year,' she shook her head. 

 


'I don't know how they make it around the castle without getting lost,' Darcy countered, grinning again.  

 


Addy laughed loudly. 


Chapter 6: Chapter 6
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'Thinking about trying out for the quidditch team?' Addy jumped, turning away from the notice on the board in the common room, to see Alice Fortescue standing behind her. 

 


'Erm...yeah. I was thinking about it,' she shrugged, 'since Harrison graduated.' Would she think it was ridiculous?  

 


'That's brilliant! I'll let Frank know to expect you!' Alice beamed at Addy before she continued through the common room to leave through the portrait hole, as Addy stood, gaping at her retreating figure. Well, there was nothing but to try out. She spent the next few weeks before tryouts just getting up the courage to follow through. On the morning of the last Saturday in September, Addy made her way down to the pitch without having breakfast, as she felt likely to lose it all if she had tried. Though she was beyond anxious, as soon as she took to the air on her Silver Arrow, all nervousness was forgotten, blown away with the wind. She smiled to herself and began taking laps around the pitch.  

 


'Addy!' As she rounded the pitch she saw some people coming out of the change rooms, Alice among them, waving up at her, so she flew down to meet her. 

 


'Hey Alice,' she said quietly, her stomach already churning uncomfortably again. Alice threw an arm over Addy's shoulder and she suddenly felt small. 

 


'Good to see you're already a great flier! I'm really pulling for you. You're the only girl trying out, and it'd be nice to have some support around here.' Addy glanced around nervously, seeing there were mostly boys, though she did see a few other girls. Alice must have seen the look of confusion on Addy's face, since she continued to explain, 'those girls aren't here to try out. They're fan girls.' 

 


'Fan girls?' 

 


'You'll see,' Alice said darkly. 

 


'Alright you lot, listen up!' Frank bellowed. 'We only have one spot open for a seeker, so those of you trying out gather up here,' he gestured in front of him, 'everyone else, off my pitch! Your other right Carmichael.' Frank gestured toward the group forming in front of him. Addy chewed her lip and joined the three other boys trying out for seeker, while everyone else left the pitch for the stands.  

 


Alice squeezed Addy's shoulder. 'You'll do great!' She smiled and joined the rest of the team behind Frank. Steven Laurence and Allen Fry were the beaters, Henry Wood was the keeper, and Frank, Alice, and James were the chasers.  

 


Sirius, Remus, and Peter were among the spectators watching the tryouts from the stands, both to support James as well as trying to gage the ability of the team that year.  

 


'Nott's trying out for seeker?' Peter said in his squeaky voice. 'Is she any good?' He mused. 

 


'She's a brilliant flier,' Remus said fairly. Sirius nodded absent mindedly. 

 


It took a little over an hour for seeker tryouts. The second-year boy, Christian Forrester, was a wobbly flier, so he was out straight away. Fifth year, Marshall Worthington, was a decent flier, though he was somewhat slow and had more of a beater's build. Joshua Carmichael, a fourth year, was a solid flier, but didn't seem to have as good of an eye as Addy. In the first round they had each taken turns catching the snitch; Addy caught it in the least amount of time, catching it in twenty minutes, while Marshall took forty-five. Then Frank set everything up with the keeper, beaters, and chasers, then had Marshall and Addy give it another go. Addy caught the snitch in thirty minutes that time. 

 


'Right then,' Frank called at the end. 'Looks like we have our team! We'll be taking...Adhara Nott as our seeker.'  

 


Addy exhaled the breath she didn't know she was holding and couldn't suppress her grin. Alice rushed forward and pulled her into a quick hug.  

 


'I knew you could do it!' She squealed, grinning broadly. 

 


'Thank you,' Addy breathed. 

 


'Nice one Nott,' James held up a hand and she slapped it tentatively. James chortled. 'Did you just make that awkward? How do you make a high five weird?' She felt her face heat up in embarrassment and shrugged. It's what I do really. Make things weird. 

 


The people who had been in the stands came back to the pitch then, including the girls Alice called fan girls, who were giggling obnoxiously. 'See? I told you,' she muttered, 'fan girls.' Addy's face scrunched in disapproval and Alice nodded agreement. 'Exactly. Stick with me kid. I'll never steer you wrong.' She winked and threw her arm around Addy's shoulders again, making Addy grin. She was starting to like Alice already. 

 


'Congratulations Addy,' Remus said, as his group reached James. Her cheeks flushed again. 

 


'Thank you, Remus,' she nodded, giving him a shy smile. 

 


 

 


The Gryffindor Quidditch team began practices right away, practicing four nights a week. Alice had taken Addy under her wing, becoming a mentor of sorts to the girl, and under her tutelage, Addy had begun to come out of her shell a bit. She smiled and laughed more freely and made the occasional witty comeback. She was really quite sarcastic, a fact that was not lost on one James Potter, who rather enjoyed her humor. 'You know Nott, you're not half bad,' he said one day, as practice ended. 

 


'Gee thanks Potter. I can now rest easy, knowing I finally have your approval,' she said dryly, shooting him an amused grin. He laughed and pushed her playfully. 

 


'I know you were waiting with bated breath.' 

 


She chuckled, shaking her head. 'Sure, I was. That's just what I was doing these last few years.' As they entered the Great Hall for dinner, James went to sit with Sirius, Remus, and Peter, while Addy continued on to sit with Alice. It came in handy to finally have someone like a friend in Gryffindor. 

 


'What was that about?' Sirius asked, brow knitted, as James took his seat. 

 


James shrugged. 'What was what about?' 

 


'You and Nott. You're both all smiley.' 

 


'She's not so bad actually, once you get to know her. She's kind of funny.' 

 


'Kind of funny?' Remus said bemusedly. 

 


'I thought you said she didn't have much of a personality?' Peter piped up. 

 


James shrugged again. 'Like I said, once you get to know her.' 

 


'And you've gotten to know her?' Sirius said, quirking a brow in question. 

 


'Do you have a problem with her?' Remus asked Sirius. 

 


'Not a problem...' 

 


'What do you think of her then?' Marlene interjected from the table opposite.  

 


Sirius frowned. 'I mean, I guess since she's in Gryffindor she must not be that bad, but she just seems a bit stuck up to me is all...' He kept his expression blank as Marlene smirked triumphantly. It hadn't escaped his notice that Marlene was a bit stuck on him. He wasn't sure he wanted to encourage her. 

 


While Alice still spent a majority of her free time with her friend Hannah, and her boyfriend Frank, Addy still managed to spend a lot of time with her, further cementing their relationship. Darcy had taken to acting strangely. When Addy wasn't busy with quidditch, Darcy would make excuses about how she was too busy with this or that to hand round Addy. She was spending an increasing amount of time with Saoirse, her dorm mate, in their common room, and less time with Addy in the library, or anywhere else for that matter. Though when they would get together, she was mostly the same, so Addy pushed any doubts she had to the back of her mind and tried not to let it bother her. 

 


After a little over a month of practicing, Gryffindor had their first match against Slytherin, at the end of October. Gryffindor won, of course, though not by much. 


 


News of her making the Gryffindor Quidditch team must have finally traveled beyond the Hogwarts gossip mill, as a few days after the match, Addy received a note from her mother, dropped in front of her at breakfast by the family owl. It had the usual insults and qualms of disappointment and disgrace and left a distinct scowl on Addy's face and a bitter taste in her mouth. She had the strong urge to set the note on fire, though she managed to suppress that feeling and settled for crumpling it up and shoving it unceremoniously into her bad. She felt out of sorts for the rest of the week. 



On the Friday night before the first Hogsmeade trip for the third years, Addy was getting ready for bed as her room mates were chatting excitedly about what they would be doing the next day. Addy had been tuning their conversation out mostly, not really feeling she was a part of it, when Marlene addressed her. She stopped to peer at her confusedly, halfway between pulling her nightshirt over her head. 



'So, Addy?' 



'Hmm?' 



'I asked Sirius what he thinks of you.' 



She frowned. 'I don't know why you would do that,' she grumbled as she finished pulling on her nightshirt and saw Marlene share a look with Mary. Marlene paused, watching Addy as she crawled into bed. 



Addy's brow knitted. Right. She's waiting for me to ask what he said. 'Alright...what did he say then?' She sighed. 



Marlene smirked. 'He said that he guessed since you're in Gryffindor too, you must not be that bad, but he thinks you're a bit stuck up.' She looked so pleased with herself Addy nearly laughed out loud but settled for rolling her eyes. 



'Right. He would say that.' 



Mary glanced at Lily, looking a bit confused. 'What d'you mean?' 



Addy sighed at her canopy, then turned to look at her. 'Just that he's a bit of a hypocrite, isn't he? We used to get on, and then he was just suddenly too good for me or something. But I'm stuck up?' Marlene frowned and shared another look with Mary. 'It's sort of funny,' Addy shrugged and turned onto her back. 'Night.' 



'Night,' the other girls chorused. 



Chapter 7: Chapter 7
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The next day Addy had planned to go to Hogsmeade with Darcy. Darcy showed up with Saoirse, Jenee, John, David, and Sam Gardener, another Hufflepuff in their year. Addy pulled her hood up over her head and wrapped her scarf around the lower half of her face as they walked into town, meshing into the group to hopefully avoid being seen by anyone like her sister. They went into Honeyduke's and Zonko's, then stopped in the post office so they could see all the different owls. Then they went to take a look at the Shrieking Shack, which had Addy standing there feeling entirely unimpressed. It just looked like a run down old house.  


 


'Shall we go to Madam Puddifoots? I hear it has really good tea,' Saoirse suggested.  


 


Addy saw the boys grimace and she frowned herself. 'Can't we get tea any old time? Let's go to the Three Broomsticks. I've heard it's brilliant. And I could do with a nice warm butterbeer.' Saoirse and Darcy shared a look and Addy's frown deepened. Jenee shrugged. 


 


'Yes!' John exclaimed.  


 


'I've been wanting to go there,' David said.  


 


'Sure,' Sam agreed. They made their way down the street to the pub and as they entered they scanned the room for a spot to sit. It was relatively crowded, being a Hogwarts Hogsmeade Saturday. 


 


'Why don't you lot find us a table and I'll grab some drinks, yeah?' Addy said. 


 


'Yeah, sure,' Sam smiled. Jenee nodded. 


 


'I'll help you carry,' David said, coming up behind Addy.  


 


Her eyes widened briefly. 'Oh. Ok.' Her voice seemed to have raised an octave. They stood at the bar in awkward silence after Addy paid for the butterbeers. She caught David poorly hiding his ogling eyes as Madam Rosmerta, the curvy barmaid, out of the corner of her eye, and bit her lip to keep from laughing. 


 


'So, Addy,' David said, catching her eye, 'what's been with you lately?' 


 


'Er...how do you mean?' 


 


'You've been in a bit of a strop...' 


 


'I have not been in a strop!' She said indignantly. 


 


David's eyes widened. 'Well you've been...I dunno,' he shrugged, 'you've looked...upset about something this week,' he said quietly. 


 


She looked down at the bar. 'Oh. That.' 


 


'Yes, that. What's up?' 


 


Addy glanced at David before Madam Rosmerta plonked the butterbeer down in front of them. David took four while Addy took three. 'Well,' she said as they made their way to the table, 'I got a letter from my mother.' 


 


'Ah,' a look of recognition crossed over David's face and she wondered what Darcy had told them. 


 


'What's with the face mate?' John said as David and Addy got to the table. David glanced at Addy before looking back at John.  


 


'She told me what's been bothering her.' Darcy looked at her sharply. 


 


'Ah. So why have you been in a strop?' John asked. 


 


'I have not been in a strop!' Addy set the last butterbeer down a bit too forcefully and it sloshed over onto her hand and the table. Jenee frowned. Saoirse huffed and dabbed at the table with a wad of napkins.  


 


'What is it then? What's been wrong?' Darcy asked. 


 


Addy sighed. 'Got a letter from my mother.' 


 


She grimaced. 'Why?' 


 


'She's found out I'm on the quidditch team.' 


 


'So?' Jenee said. John looked confused. 


 


'But that's good innit?' Sam asked. 


 


'Well...not to them,' Addy frowned. 


 


'Why?' John asked. 'I think it's brilliant.' 


 


Addy sighed. 'Well...I'm on the Gryffindor team. Which makes it a... how did she put it? A disgrace. I'm not supposed to contribute to Gryffindor house any more than I have to.' John and David shared a look. 


 


'But that's ridiculous,' Sam said. 


 


Addy shrugged. 'That's my family.' 


 


'I think this calls for more than butterbeer,' David said. John nodded. 


 


'What d'you mean?' 


 


Thirty minutes later and they were sat amidst the rocky base of the mountains at the edge of town, and John was lighting a joint. Addy's eyes widened as he passed it to Darcy, who was sat next to her. 'Have you...?'  


 


Darcy shook her head as she took it and took a short puff. 'First time for everything,' she shrugged as she passed it to Addy. She took it between her fingers and eyed it apprehensively. 


 


'You don't have to if you don't want to,' Sam said quietly from Addy's other side. She nodded but took a hit before handing it over to him. It continued its way around the circle until there was nothing left. 


 


'So, what's the verdict?' John asked with a grin. 


 


'Feel any better?' David said. Addy looked down at her hands that were clasped tightly in her lap with wide eyes. She honestly wasn't sure if she felt better. 


 


'I feel...different.' 


 


'Good different?' John said. 


 


'Not sure...it's...strange.' Jenee nodded. Saoirse giggled. 


 


'I know what you mean,' Darcy said breathily as she gazed at her outstretched hand with a glazed look in her eyes. John smirked. 


 


'You look like you feel more relaxed,' Sam said with a lazy smile, throwing his arm around Addy's shoulders in a friendly way. She grinned back at him. David scowled. 


 


'I suppose I do.' 


 


'Good,' John said. 'Let's head back. It's about dinner time.' 


 


'Thank Merlin!' Jenee said loudly. 


 


'Yes, I'm starving!' Saoirse agreed. Darcy sniggered. They discussed what they hoped to eat all the way back to the castle. When they entered the Great Hall, Addy froze in her tracks, not wanting to be caught out at Gryffindor table. Darcy seemed to read her thoughts. 


 


'Just sit with us.' 


 


'You think I can?' 


 


'Yeah, John and Sam are,' David offered. 'Plus. You're pretty quiet. Bet no one will notice.' 


 


Addy nodded and hastily joined them at Ravenclaw table. Luckily no one did seem to notice, as no one said anything, and Addy ate amongst them quietly before retreating to the solitude of her four poster. 


 


 


 


James, Sirius, and Remus normally enjoyed Defense Against the Dark Arts, in fact it was one of their favorite and best subjects, if it was taught well enough, which incidentally, it was not that year. The professor that year, a Professor Blaine, was a real piece of work, Sirius was sure he knew him to hang round a dark crowd, a real wank-stain he had called him. He had never said anything outright, but he had that arrogant air about him. In one such class, he had been presenting the day's subject of werewolves with a suggestion of disdain, and Remus had been shooting James and Sirius quelling looks each time they would huff or grind their teeth in protest. About halfway through the lesson they heard Adhara scoff. 'Typical,' she muttered, shaking her head at her book.  


 


'What was that Miss Nott?' Professor Blaine said from the aisle in front of her. He had obviously heard. Her shoulders tensed and a blush spread up her neck and across her cheeks. 


 


James and Sirius shared a wide-eyed look, while Remus straightened in his seat.  


 


'Nothing,' she said quietly. 


 


'It didn't sound like nothing. Something on your mind?' He leaned over her, placing his hands on either side of her desk. Mary sucked a breath in sharply from beside her.  


 


'Always...' Addy said slowly. Professor Blaine starred intensely into her eyes. 'Don't,' she said, averting her gaze. 


 


'Then by all means Miss Nott, why don't you say it out loud?' He smirked. Sirius's brow knitted. That sounded suspicious.  


 


Addy took a deep breath and glared back at him. 'I was just wondering if Dumbledore was aware he hired such a bigot. Aren't you supposed to be impartial when you're in a position of authority?' 


 


Lily slapped a hand over her mouth while Marlene's eyes widened and her mouth fell open in a smile. Mary was leaning back in her chair, feeling entirely too close to the situation.   


 


Professor Blaine stood up, narrowing his eyes at Addy. 'Why don't you take it up with the headmaster himself?' He summoned parchment from his desk, 'and while you're at it,' he took the quill from Addy's hand, dipping it in her ink, and she grimaced. 'You can discuss your detention for the next two weeks.' He finished writing out a note and pushed it toward Addy, then capped her ink bottle and held out her quill. 'Off you go.' He smirked again and her face flushed a bright red. She shoved her book in her bag quickly and grabbed her ink, pointedly ignoring the quill as she stood and turned to leave. The door hadn't even shut before the sound of glass shattering could be heard from the corridor. 


 


'Uh, Professor, may I go to the loo?' James asked quickly. Blaine waved him off dismissively and James left hastily, Sirius frowning after him. He saw the ink stain on the wall opposite and heard Addy growl in frustration from where she was stood halfway down the hall. 


 


'Fuck,' she muttered, coming to a stop, her hands balled into fists at her sides. 


 


James smiled, barely containing a laugh. 'What was that?' 


 


Addy turned quickly, her face flushing again at the sight of James. 'Oh, you know,' she shrugged, trying and failing to act nonchalant. 'I just can't keep my mouth shut. Got to speak my mind and all that.' 


 


He did laugh at that. 'Right. I've been meaning to ask you to keep it down.' She looked at him blankly. 'I've never pegged you as being the type to talk to a teacher like that.' 


 


'Yeah, well...Blaine's a tosspot.' 


 


James's eyebrows shot up. 'Can't argue with that.' 


 


'What are you doing out here anyway?' 


 


'Goin to the loo?' He posed, as if it were a question. 


 


She quirked a brow. 'Right...' He grinned and started to walk back toward the class. 'Oi!' He turned back around. 'D'you know where Dumbledore's office is?' 


 


James smirked and pointed down the hall. 'Behind the gargoyle statue.' 


 


Addy nodded. 'Right. Thanks.'  


 


He waved a hand lazily. 'No problem.' 


 


When James returned to the classroom, Sirius knitted his brow questioningly at him, but he just shrugged back; Sirius waited until Blaine had stopped droning on, and class was over, to ask, 'what was that about? Why'd you go after her?' 


 


'Just wondered why she did that.' 


 


'Did she say anything?' Remus asked, turning around. 


 


James shrugged. 'Muttering a bunch of curse words when I got out there. Just said Blaine's a tosspot.' 


 


'Can't argue with that,' Remus said, frowning over at the professor as they left the room.  


 


'That's what I said,' James said with a grin. 


 


'She threw her inkpot?' Sirius said, a scowl forming on his face. He wasn't entirely sure how he felt about this situation.  


 


'Yeah,' James laughed out. 


 


'That's what that noise was,' Remus muttered to himself. They headed back to the common room and had just settled down around a table off to the left, when they heard the portrait open again. Addy climbed though distractedly, a small smile on her face.  


 


'So, how'd it go?' James asked her. Her head snapped over and the smile dropped from her face, being replaced with an uncomfortable expression as she glanced around at the group; her gaze lingered on Peter, who seemed to be staring off into space. Sirius's scowl deepened. 


 


'Oh, not bad. Pretty good actually,' she said quietly. She focused on James while fiddling with the hem of her sleeve nervously. 


 


'Did you get in any more trouble?' Remus asked. He seemed to be looking at her like he was seeing her for the first time.  


 


Addy glanced at him shyly. 'No. He reprimanded me and whatnot,' she gestured vaguely. 'But then he just wanted to know my side of the story and listened to me.' 


 


'And what is your side of the story?' Sirius asked moodily. 


 


Addy glared at him and he suddenly realized what his face was doing. 'Anyway, it's just the two weeks of detention,' she frowned. As they went down to dinner later, Sirius was a bit behind Addy, and frowned when he saw her veer off to Ravenclaw table. 


Chapter 8: Chapter 8
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Sirius slowly made his way across the platform toward where his brother was stood with their house elf, preparing silently. No amount of fun he'd had on the train with the boys could make up for the absurdity he was about to endure. I wish I could go home with James, he thought wistfully, as he watched the Potters greet James happily.  Sirius paused, catching sight of Adhara scowling and crossing her arms, exchanging unpleasantries with her sister at the other end of the platform before being apparated away by their own house elf, before wordlessly joining Regulus and Kreecher. He made his way upstairs to his room quickly, once they arrived inside. Things went much better at home if he could avoid his family; though, he couldn't completely avoid them, as he was expected to attend family dinners every night. 'Mistress is requiring Master Sirius to come down to dinner now,' Kreecher muttered, as he shuffled into Sirius's room. 

 


'Yeah, yeah. I'll be down when I feel like it.' Sirius turned another page of Quidditch Weekly lazily, not even bothering to look up at the house elf. 

 


'Such a disgrace. Mistress does not deserve this disrespectful treatment. No. He'll get what's coming to him, the ungrateful-' 

 


'Shut it, Kreecher!' Sirius threw the closest thing he could find, an empty butterbeer bottle, toward the house elf that was slowly closing the door. The bottle shattered against the door and Sirius settled back into his pillow, turning another page. 

 


'Sirius!' He heard his mother screeching a few moments later. 'Sirius, get down here! This instant!' 

 


He huffed and slowly made his way downstairs, hands stuffed in his pockets. 'What?' He snapped. 

 


'You know very well, what,' his mother hissed. He rolled his eyes. 'Dinner is ready. And we will sit down to eat it. All of us.' She gestured toward his seat and he took it roughly. 'What on earth are you wearing?' 

 


'Clothes,' he quirked an eyebrow toward his mother. His father, as usual, wore a bored expression, and didn't seem to be paying them any mind, choosing instead to pick at his food and swirl the contents of his wine glass. 

 


'Are those muggle clothes?' Sirius grinned. 'Why would you wear something so indecent?'  

 


He shrugged. 'Because I'm indecent? Or maybe because they're comfortable? To drive you mad? Take your pick.' Regulus was looking between the two warily. He knew all too well what would come of this. Their arguments were routine by then. 

 


She narrowed her eyes at him. 'Where would you even get such...such-' 

 


'Clothes? James mostly,' Sirius grinned again.  

 


'Those Potters are disgraceful! When are you going to realize that? It's time you surround yourself with reputable companions instead of that riffraff you currently associate yourself with!' 

 


'The Potters are twice the wizards you could ever hope to be,' Sirius shouted back. 

 


'Don't talk to your mother that way,' his father drawled. 

 


'Go to your room!' His mother spat. 'Get out of my sight!' 

 


'Gladly,' he grumbled, pushing his chair back with enough force that it toppled over. 

 


 

 


Christmas evening, there was a society gathering at the Averys'. 'You will behave yourself,' Sirius's mother hissed at him, in a low, threatening, voice. He merely rolled his eyes and took his seat with a bored expression. He noticed the Notts arriving moments later, Adhara trailing behind wearing a disgruntled expression. It was no wonder, Sirius thought with a small smile, as she was wearing a poufy, dark green, nightmare of a dress. She looks like a cupcake. As the desserts finished and the band started playing, signally the start of the night's dancing, Sirius saw Graham Avery waltz up to the Notts' table and tap Adhara on the shoulder. She turned and frowned at him as he said something, then as she opened her mouth to respond her father seemed to answer for her, as Avery wore a triumphant smirk and Addy gaped at her father. She then grimaced at Avery and stood, walking onto the dance floor with Avery trailing behind her closely. She stood stiffly and scowled as he put a hand to her waist. He started talking in her ear and she seemed to avoid looking at him. Sirius watched as their dance brought them closer to his table, Avery's hand slid down to Addy's arse and she slapped at his hand, scowling deeply as he pulled her in closer to mutter something else into her ear. As the song ended he held onto her hand and kissed the back of it. She wrenched her hand away and slipped gracefully through the crowd, causing Sirius to lose sight of her, though he caught sight of her again as she slipped out of the door to the ballroom.  

 


Curious, he followed after a moment, looking casually around the rooms downstairs, then heading upstairs, finally finding the door to a balcony in a guest room cracked open. He found Addy sat on the floor of the balcony with her feet dangling over the edge, her forehead resting against the rail. 'What are you doing out here Nott?' She went to turn quickly and smacked her head against the metal in front of her. 

 


'Fuck!' Addy yelped, clutching her head. Sirius couldn't help but chuckle lowly in surprise, and moved to join her quietly. She peeked open her eye at him as he stood over her. 'Could ask you the same thing, Black.' Sirius smirked and sat down next to her. 'I thought I was too stuck up for you anyway. Why d'ya wanna sit with the likes of me, eh?'  

 


Shit, he cursed internally. Leave it to McKinnon to gossip. He shook the thought from his head, trying to play it cool. 'I knew you had McKinnon ask me that.' 

 


'I did no such thing!' She said indignantly. 'Why the bloody hell would I have her ask you that? I already knew what you thought of me.'  

 


The way she'd said it, made Sirius think she did not, in fact, know what he thought of her. He cocked his head to the side. 'Oh, really? And what do I think then?' 

 


Addy shrugged and took a swig from the bottle of whiskey Sirius just realized she had. 'You don't like me. You're too good for me now.' She looked at him sideways and he frowned. 

 


'Where'd you get that idea?' 

 


'Oh, I dunno? When you stopped talking to me? We use to get on and then you just,' she shrugged again. 

 


'Well you had Carina...' He tried to excuse. 

 


Addy scoffed. 'I never had Carina. Especially not since Hogwarts. She was just the least obnoxious little twat to sit with at these...Merlin forsaken load-of-tosh...society functions.' Sirius's brow knitted as she took another swig of whiskey and he pulled it from her hand.  

 


'Drinking too? Merlin Nott, you really surprise me sometimes.' Her brow knitted as she looked at him while he took a generous gulp. 

 


'What's that mean?' 

 


Sirius took another swig. 'Just that. You surprise me. How come I never knew you thought that way?' He blurted out.  

 


Addy's face became clouded with confusion. '...what way?'  

 


'That thing you said in defense. And last year in potions...I thought I was the only one...' 

 


She shot him an annoyed look while he seemed to get his thoughts in order. 'I guess we never really talked about it?...I didn't know you thought that way either,' she shrugged. 

 


Sirius nodded and drank again. 'Why don't you hang round the girls? The other Gryffindor girls?' He clarified.  

 


Addy looked down at her hands. 'They're too...' She shrugged. 'They intimidate me. I'm not comfortable around them. I'm always all weird...' She turned her head to look at him, resting her temple against the rail.  

 


'You're not being weird now.'  

 


She quirked a brow and he smiled easily. 'Yes, well, I can't exactly go round Hogwarts pissed now can I?'  

 


Sirius chuckled. 'No, I s'pose not. Why are you pissed now?' He looked at her sideways. 

 


'First off,' she sat up and held up a finger so he turned to look at her properly. 'Look where we are. B,' she held up another finger. 'You've met my family. And secondly-' 

 


'I think that's third,' he grinned. 

 


'Don't interrupt me!' Her brow knitted. 'Where was I?' 

 


'Secondly?' He laughed out. 

 


'Ah yes. Third. Did you see who I had to dance with? And furthermore,' she flicked him the forehead. 

 


'Oi!' He swatted her hand. 

 


'Why the hell not?' She held her arms out, palms up, and he shoved her playfully, laughing when she toppled over, laughing breathily. 

 


Sirius shook his head and drank again. 'You know, James was right about you.' 

 


'How do you mean?' 

 


'You're not half bad. When you're not being weird,' he amended, looking down at her. She grinned up at him, looking so carefree she seemed to have a glow about her. Sirius looked away, looking out over the garden, suddenly uncomfortable with the familiar swooping sensation in his belly he'd felt for the same girl exactly six years ago. 'We should probably head back. It's almost time to go.' He saw her sit up, nodding wobbly, and stand, from the corner of his eye. She fumbled with the skirt of her dress and muttered darkly about the, 'stupid, societal expectations,' bringing a small smile to Sirius's lips. He finished the contents of the bottle, leaving it on the floor of the balcony, before he followed her down the stairs. When he got there, he saw her being accosted by her mother in the parlor. 

 


'Where have you been?' Her mother hissed, her fingers digging into Addy's upper arm. 

 


'Ow, Mother. What does it matter where I was? I was staying out of trouble,' Addy retorted mockingly. Sirius assumed she'd gotten a similar lecture to his prior. 

 


'Staying out of trouble? You've been drinking!' 

 


'So, what if I have?' Addy shrugged. 

 


'So, people will think you're a harlot!'  

 


'So? I don't care what people think of me.' 

 


'You should care. You'll never get any prospective suitors with your behavior.' 

 


'Good. I don't want to get married anyway.' 

 


Her mother then drew back her hand and slapped her hard across the cheek. Addy recoiled and clutched at her cheek, turning back to scowl at her mother. 'You will do as you are told and fulfill your duty to your family. We'll be lucky if we can get rid of you, with the reputation you've gotten.' 

 


'I could just leave and make both of us happy,' Addy hissed back. 

 


'And where would you go? It's not like there's anyone else who would take you in. Everyone's aware of how much of a disappointment you are.' Sirius frowned as her mother stalked past, back toward the ballroom, and Addy shot a crude hand gesture at her back. 


Chapter 9: Chapter 9
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Back at Hogwarts, nothing had changed. It was as if that conversation had never happened. Sirius continued to mostly ignore Addy's existence, which she was fine with, as she did not have an endless supply of firewhiskey on offer. 

 


When Addy's birthday came around, and she was unwrapping a few packages at the foot of her bed that morning, she frowned at what she received from her parents: a new set of green dress robes, and a pair of emerald earrings. Last year they had given her a bracelet, emerald, and a set of green dress robes. Basically, the same present every year. And she didn't even like green. 

 


'Oh, those are lovely,' Lily said politely. 'Happy birthday.' 

 


'Thank you.' Addy eyed Lily for a second. She had brilliant green eyes, almost the color of the robes, and she actually liked wearing green. 'Say Lily?' 

 


'Hmm?' 

 


'Your birthday is in a few days, yeah?' Lily looked surprised. Maybe didn't think she'd remember. 

 


'Yeah...' 

 


Addy held out the robes. 'Happy birthday.' 

 


Her eyes widened. 'Oh no! I couldn't! Those must cost a fortune.' 

 


Addy rolled her eyes. 'Yes, you can. Please? I won't wear them. My parents just get them for me to make a point. You know I've got the same thing for the last three years? They don't care what I do and don't like.' Lily's brow knitted. 'Please? Really, they'd look great on you, and otherwise, I'm just going to sell them.' 

 


Lily hesitated. 'Well...if you're sure?' 

 


'Positive,' Addy smiled and handed them over. 

 


Lily smiled broadly. 'Thank you!' 

 


'You're welcome.' 

 


Addy's good deed only did so much to brighten her mood. The accompanying note of disappointment put her in a foul temper for weeks to come. The only benefit of that being that it helped her focus on winning their match with Hufflepuff. The down side was getting detention for hexing a group of first years when they got on her nerves for standing in the middle of the hall, blocking the way. Really though, figure out where you're going and go there! Don't just stand around! 

 


Some time in mid-February, as the class were leaving charms, David Gillem pulled on Addy's sleeve. She followed him to the side of the hall, and he fidgeted with the edge of his sleeve, looking at a spot behind her. She glanced behind her, confused. It was just a wall there. Nothing special. 'Was there something you wanted David?' 

 


He jumped as if he forgot she was there. 'Uh...yeah...well...er...' Her eyes widened. This could take a while. 'Um...I was, er...wondering...' She looked to the floor. His trainers were looking a bit worn. 'Are you going to Hogsmeade this weekend?' His face was red, and Addy's brow knitted. 

 


'Well yeah. I thought we were all going together?' 

 


David bunched a bit of his robes in his fists. 'Uh...well...I was, uh...wondering...' She looked down at her own trainers. 'If you would go with me?' 

 


Addy's head snapped up. He was still staring at the wall behind her. His face had grown redder. 'Oh! Like...like together? You and me?' Her voice had gone up an octave. Breathe Addy! 

 


David finally looked at her. 'Yes.' 

 


'Oh.' She felt a blush spread across her cheeks. 'Ok.' 

 


David smiled. 'Ok?' She nodded. 'Ok great! I'll um...see you later!' He suddenly dashed away and she turned to watch him disappear down the corridor toward Ravenclaw tower. Well that was...awkward. 

 


'Alright there, Ad?' The voice snapped her out of her daze, and she turned to see Alice smiling cheekily at her. 

 


'Um, yeah...just,' her voice was still high. She cleared her throat, gesturing toward the hallway. 'You know.' 

 


Alice threw an arm around Addy's shoulders. 'I do know. You'll be fine,' she said knowingly. She steered them to the Great Hall, where they sat with Frank and Allen, and Alice's friend Hannah joined them a few moments later. 'You'll do great,' Alice went on, 'just act normal.' 

 


Addy grimaced. 'Easier said than done. Do you know me?' 

 


'What is it? What's happened?' Hannah asked. 

 


'First date nerves,' Alice said. 

 


'But is it a date?' Addy asked skeptically. 

 


Frank cocked his head to the side. 'What did he say?' 

 


'He asked if I was going to Hogsmeade. And I said, 'yeah, I thought we were all going together?' And he said he wanted to know if I would go with him.' 

 


'It's a date then,' Allen nodded. 

 


Frank nodded. 'That's what he wanted.' 

 


Addy's eyes widened. 'Oh,' she squeaked. 

 


Alice patted her hand. 'You'll be fine.' Addy nodded slowly and looked down at her plate. 

 


 

 


On Saturday Addy met David in the entrance hall at ten o'clock. He was shuffling his feet, nervously kicking at the floor with his toes, his hands shoved in his pockets. She cleared her throat. 'Hi David,' she said in a broken staccato. 

 


David's head shot up and he smiled. 'Hi Addy,' he inclined his head. She felt her cheeks heat up. 'Shall we go?' She nodded and smiled back at him. 

 


They walked quietly down the street to Hogsmeade, and she became uncomfortably aware of her hands swinging awkwardly at her sides. What the bloody hell do I do with my hands? David still had his in his pockets, so she stuffed hers in her own pockets, balling them into nervous first. They tread through a puddle, her footfalls splashing mud onto his robes. Lucky it was black. She was no good at housekeeping spells. Real selling point for the future husband she never planned to have.  

 


The silence was deafening. 'So where do you-' she started to say, just as David said, 'will you be-' 

 


They both laughed. 'Go ahead,' he smiled, his cheeks flushing red. 

 


'No, it's alright. You go first.' 

 


'Er...ok. I was just going to say...' He shifted uncomfortably and Addy stopped walking. 'Will you be my girlfriend?' 

 


'Oh!' She wasn't expecting that. She fell her cheeks flush too. 'Ok,' she squeeked. 

 


David looked over at Addy and a smile spread across his face. 'Ok?' 

 


She nodded. 'Yeah.' His smile broadened and he started walking again. She hurried to catch up. 

 


'What were you saying?' 

 


'Oh...I was just going to ask where you wanted to go?' 

 


'Oh,' he shrugged. 'I dunno...I was so nervous about asking you...' He cleared his throat, 'I didn't think that far...er, where do you want to go?' 

 


Addy smiled and shrugged back at him. 'Honeyduke's? Zonko's? Three Broomsticks?' 

 


David smiled. 'Is that a question?' 

 


She shrugged. "I'm up for whatever.' 

 


He nodded. 'Alright then. We'll do all of those. In that order.' 

 


'Alright.' And they did just that. Their conversation was strained. Their behavior awkward. They both kept their hands shoved in their pockets for the most part. When they got to the Three Broomsticks they found Darcy, Saoirse, Jenee, John, and Killian sitting at a table and joined them without discussion. David sat next to Saoirse on the end. Addy sat next to Darcy opposite.  

 


'How's it going?' Darcy muttered. Addy shrugged. 'Well, I've got to go to the loo. Addy?' She looked at her expectantly. 

 


'Sure,' Addy nodded. 

 


'So?' Darcy said when they were safely hidden behind closed doors.  

 


'I dunno...he asked me to be his girlfriend,' she said, staring blankly at the floor. 

 


'Which is good, right?' Darcy's brow knitted together in confusion. 

 


'Which is good...' Addy confirmed. 'But...' 

 


'But?' 

 


'But...it's been weird. I dunno what to say to him. And he keeps his hands stuffed in his pockets. So, I do too...it's awkward,' she frowned. 

 


'Well...it's just the first date, right? I mean...it's a first for both of you. And you've never been alone together. It'll get easier...?' She didn't sound so sure. 

 


'I hope so,' Addy shrugged. 

 


Though it didn't get easier. Nothing seemed to have changed in their relationship besides the title. David didn't sit by Addy in class. He seemed stiff and kept his hands decidedly in his pockets when walking next to her. He continued to hang round Saoirse most of the time. The only change was that he would sometimes tap Addy on her shoulder, while standing on the other side of her, so when she would look round, there would be no one there. He would laugh while she looked at him blankly, trying to stifle the irritation rising inside herself. Darcy said he was flirting, but Addy wasn't so sure. After roughly three weeks, she had had enough. The confusion she felt about their relationship was exhausting. It was easier to just be friends. Addy had a feeling David really liked Saoirse but didn't have the guts to ask her out yet. And the fact that that didn't bother her in the slightest, told Addy it wasn't meant to be.  

 


 


Chapter 10: Chapter 10
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Easter Holiday came round and Addy decided to stay at Hogwarts in earnest that time. Darcy was going on a trip with her family, and Addy wasn't close enough with anyone else. She didn't owl her parents to tell them she wasn't coming home. They must have been expecting her absence, as she never received a note of inquiry.  

 


When everyone came back from holiday, Darcy seemed strange to Addy, distant even, and with exams approaching quickly, Addy saw her less and less; though she did still sit with her in charms. After one such class, they were making their way out of the classroom, when Killian came up to them. 'Addy?' Her group stopped walking collectively. 

 


'Hmm?' She looked up at him.  

 


He glanced at Jenee, who was stood next to Addy. 'Will you go to Hogsmeade with me this weekend?' 

 


'Er...' Addy's eyes went wide. She didn't know he liked her. He'd barely spoken to him before. Addy looked at Darcy over his shoulder. She looked back at Addy blankly and shrugged. Some help she was. 'Sure, Killian.' 

 


He smiled and glanced at Jenee again. 'Brilliant! Meet you at eleven?' 

 


Addy nodded slowly. 'Sure.' 

 


He nodded and turned away, running to catch up with John. Darcy gave Jenee a look and turned back around, walking with Saoirse. Addy turned her head in time to see Jenee frowning at the floor, before she jogged to catch up with Darcy and Saoirse. Addy walked to the Great Hall slowly, by herself, feeling like she had missed something. By the time she got to the Great Hall, they had already sat at their own tables. 

 


On Saturday Addy showed up in the entrance hall at eleven, but there was no sign of Killian. She waited around for a bit, but he didn't show. She huffed in annoyance, and was just turning to go back upstairs, when a familiar couple joined her. 'Addy! What's wrong?' Alice asked when she saw Addy's scowl. 

 


'Nothing. I just...I was supposed to meet Killian, but he never showed,' she shook her head. 

 


'Are you sure you have the right time?' Frank asked. 

 


Addy nodded. 'Pretty sure.' 

 


'Well, why don't you come into town with us?' Alice asked. 

 


'Oh, no,' Addy shook her head. 'I don't want to crash your date.' 

 


They both smiled and shook their heads. 'We're meeting Al and Steve,' Alice said. 

 


'To go over quidditch strategies for the last game,' Frank added. 

 


'You won't be crashing a date,' Alice said. 

 


'Besides, we'll be going over stuff you'll need to know anyway. This'll save me from having to tell you later,' Frank smiled. 

 


'Well...alright then,' Addy conceded. 'What about Wood and Potter?' 

 


'Huh?' Frank said. 

 


'Well, you're meeting Fry and Laurence. Then there's us three. What about Potter and Wood?' 

 


'We only decided on meeting up this morning. Wood said he already had plans. And we didn't see Potter,' Frank shrugged. Addy half shrugged in acknowledgement. When they got to the Three Broomsticks, where they were to meet Fry and Laurence, Addy froze in the doorway. 'Isn't that your little friend?' Frank asked. 

 


'And that Killian bloke?' Alice added. 

 


Addy nodded. 'And the rest of them,' she said quietly. Darcy, Jenee, Saoirse, Killian, John, and David, were sat at a table in the back of the pub. They noticed her entrance and went quiet, avoiding her gaze. 

 


'You should go say something,' Alice said. 

 


Addy shook her head. 'No.' It was obviously deliberate. Planned out. They didn't want her around. Fine. Addy was fine with it. 

 


'Are you sure?' Frank said, his eyes full of concern. 

 


'Yep. I'm fine.' 

 


'You're fine?' Alice said, glancing at Frank. 

 


'Yep.' Addy felt numb. 'Let's get a table.' 

 


They found an empty table near the middle, and Addy sat facing the front of the pub. Al and Steve joined a while later, and Addy stared blankly ahead as the four of them talked points and plays and blah blah blah. 

 


Some time later the group from the back filed past, and Addy clenched her jaw when Darcy glanced at her before they went through the door. 'I'll be right back,' Addy said as she jumped to her feet. She barely registered Alice responding as she hurried to the door. 'Darcy!' She cried, when she emerged from the pub. 'Darcy, wait up!' Addy saw her stiffen as she stopped. 

 


'You guys go ahead,' Addy heard Darcy say. The group glanced at her over their shoulders, then quickened their pace, leaving Darcy alone with Addy. Darcy sighed and walked to the edge of the road, and Addy followed. 

 


'Darcy...' 

 


'Look, I'm sorry,' Darcy said, not looking at Addy. 'Killian asked you to Hogsmeade to make Jenee jealous. And I guess it worked...' 

 


'I don't really care about that.' 

 


'Oh...' 

 


'I mean, yes, it's annoying. He should have just asked her. But what bothers me...' Addy sighed and looked at Darcy carefully. She was staring at her feet. 'You've been...avoiding me. Haven't you?' Darcy glanced at Addy and back to the ground. 'And now you're all chummy with Saoirse.' Darcy scoffed. 'You're like...obsessed with her or something...' 

 


'I am not obsessed with her!' Darcy said indignantly. Addy's brow knitted and she took a deep, steadying breath. 

 


'What did I do? Why don't we hang out anymore? Why are you shutting me out?' 

 


Darcy wrung her hands together. 'You didn't do anything. I just...I can't take it anymore!' 

 


'Take what?' 

 


'You're so gorgeous! And I'm hideous. No one looks at me when I'm with you. They're too busy gaping at you.' She flailed her arms wildly. 

 


Addy's face flushed in anger. 'Nobody gapes at me!' 

 


'They do so! All the boys do!' 

 


'They do not! I'm not gorgeous. And you're very pretty. John looks at you all the time.' 

 


Darcy shook her head. 'Not when you're around. I'm just...I'm nothing compared to you.' 

 


'Don't say that!' Addy shook her head. 

 


'I'm sorry. I can't help it. I can't help the way I feel.' 

 


'And what about how I feel? What am I supposed to do? I don't have any other friends.' 

 


She shrugged. 'I'm sorry.' 

 


Addy's jaw clenched. 'So that's it then? You just don't want to be friends with me anymore?' 

 


Darcy sighed and fixed Addy with a blank expression. 'It's my life.'  

 


With that Darcy turned and walked up the street back to Hogwarts. Addy's heart dropped into her stomach, and she willed herself not to cry, her face becoming a steely mask. She was still a Nott after all. The ability to hide emotions was one of the only useful things she had learned from her parents. That and Occlumency. Basically, not feeling. She became numb again. Sometimes she felt like a robot, though that would be much more brilliant. 

 


'Alright Addy?' She turned her head to find Alice had joined her. 'When you didn't come back I got worried.' Addy stared at her blankly. 'Are you alright?' 

 


'I'm fine.' She tried to smile, but it must have come out as a grimace, as Alice seemed to wince. 'Let's get back.' Addy followed Alice back to the pub but couldn't force herself to listen at all as they continued to talk strategy. 

 


 

 


The only thing that caused Addy to falter, and nearly break down, was the suspicious behavior of Emily, her table partner in Muggle Studies. They had started the year amicably, even engaging in polite conversation here and there; but then she grew indifferent, and gradually cold toward Addy, even going so far as to ignore her completely when she'd ask her a question. Then one day Addy showed up and Emily was sitting with someone else, pretending like she didn't even exist. Addy found it quite odd, as they were only table partners. She wouldn't even have considered her a friend; but with other recent events, it was almost too much.  

 


'You can sit with me,' Patricia Tennenbaum, another Hufflepuff, said quietly. 'Call me Trish,' she smiled as Addy sat down. 

 


'Addy,' she nodded. 'What's with her?' She gestured at Emily's back where she sat with Dorcas Meadows. 

 


'Oh, don't mind her,' Trish whispered. 'She's just a narcissistic, social climber.' Addy gave her a small thankful smile before settling in for the lesson.  

 


 

 


The next week, Addy was sat next to Alice at dinner, picking absent-mindedly at her food, as Frank droned on about the final match against Ravenclaw. Honestly, he could talk of nothing else. Addy wasn't really listening anymore and happened to tune in on a conversation a little way down the table from her. 'Really though, I'm easily the most attractive bloke here. It's a bit exhausting. I really don't have any competition,' Sirius was saying. 

 


Addy rolled her eyes. 'Like that's an accomplishment?' She scoffed. 'You're not even that attractive.' 

 


'Excuse me? I'll have you know I've been called godlike.' 

 


'Yeah? By who, your mum? Or James? Please. You're a loud, arrogant, bully. Your nose is too big and your chin...you literally have an arseface,' she said in a bored tone. 

 


'Yeah, well...you're too quiet, and too skinny, and too tall for a bird...and... your... hair's all...big...' Sirius said half-heartedly, faltering when Addy smiled suddenly. 

 


'Exactly!' She said, picking up an apple. 'Thank you!' 

 


'What?'  

 


Addy just took a bite from the apple as she swung her legs around the bench and wordlessly left the Great Hall happily. Alice smiled sadly after her. 

 


'What the bloody hell was that about?' James said toward Alice. 

 


She grimaced and slid down the table a few spaces. 'She's been a bit...sensitive about her...' She gestured toward her face. ' At least since the last Hogsmeade trip.' 

 


James's brow knitted. 'What do you mean?' 

 


'What happened at Hogsmeade?' Remus asked. 

 


'That little friend of hers ditched her,' Alice said lowly. 

 


'Darcy? That little Ravenclaw girl?' Lily suddenly interjected, looking concerned. Alice nodded. 

 


'Why?' Marlene asked, leaning around Lily. 

 


Alice glanced over her shoulder uncomfortably. 'Said something about none of the boys looking her way when Addy was around because she's gorgeous and well...Darcy's...not...' 

 


Marlene frowned and Lily looked toward where Addy had left the Great Hall with a worried expression. 'But that's horrible. Is she ok?' 

 


Alice shrugged. 'She says she's fine.' 

 


Sirius was still staring after the spot where he'd seen Addy slip through the doors into the entrance hall. 

 


 

 


For the next few weeks, Addy wouldn't allow herself to feel anything more than anger on such matters, and used that anger to focus on studying for exams and preparing for the final match against Ravenclaw. And Gryffindor slaughtered Ravenclaw. 

 


'Yeah!' James whooped, as he landed on the pitch after Addy. 'James Potter came to win!' 

 


'Oh, third person James Potter came to play today?' Addy said, half amused.  

 


'That's right! He got here early and he did amazing!' 

 


'Alright,' Addy half shrugged. 'I didn't know third person James Potter was coming to the match. Is third person James Potter coming to the after party too?' James suddenly stepped forward and kissed Addy roughly before stepping back with a beaming smile. Addy looked at him blankly. 'Yeah, third person James Potter needs to never do that again.' 

 


'Sorry,' James laughed, running a hand through his hair. 'Just got a bit caught up in the moment.'  

 


'Right,' Addy quirked a brow at him. He suddenly lunged forward and took the snitch that was still clutched in her hand, before he darted away back toward the castle. 'Potter!' She huffed but didn't have the energy to follow after him.  

 


For the first time Addy couldn't get out of Hogwarts fast enough and was actually looking forward to summer holiday. At least she knew where she stood with her family. And she still had her muggle friends...she hoped. 


Chapter 11: Chapter 11
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Turned out she did, and Addy managed to slip away to meet up with her muggle friends every few days. She had met Kate first a few years back. Then her slightly older brother Paul, and subsequently been introduced to his friend Ed. They were at the park most days, where Addy would meet up with them after breakfast. Then they would either stay at the park, go to Kate and Paul's house, or go round to the shops nearby. 

 


Midway through July, Addy was making her way to the park when she realized a few streets away that she was being followed. By Aludra. She quickly diverted her route to the house of the only person she knew who lived nearby and might understand. 

 


'What are you doing here Nott?' Addy smiled sardonically back at Sirius, shutting the door to his room behind herself after the house elf had let her in. He quirked an eyebrow questioningly, as she wordlessly strode to his window, looking out at the street below. 'Dara?' 

 


She smirked at him sideways. 'Sorry. Al was following me. I'll be out of your hair as soon as she stalks her little puppet arse home.' 

 


Sirius squinted back at her. He was laying on his bed reading a magazine. 'Where were you going?' 

 


Addy shrugged, turning around to face him fully. 'To the park.' 

 


'And is that not allowed?' He smirked. 

 


'To meet up with my muggle friends.' She walked over and sat on his bed, snatching the magazine from his hands. 'Is this the new quidditch weekly?' She started to leaf through it.  

 


He waved the question away lazily. 'Last weeks. Did you say muggle friends?' He looked genuinely interested. 

 


Addy quirked an eyebrow at him, smirking in amusement. 'Yes...' She said slowly. 'Ed's just got himself a motorbike. Promised to give me a ride on it.' 

 


'Motorbike?' 

 


'Yes. Muggle transportation. A bike. With a motor. Just like it sounds.' She flashed her hands dramatically and he scowled. 

 


'I know what a bloody motorbike is you bint.' 

 


Addy chuckled. 'Ok. Then why did you look confused?' 

 


'I'm not...confused. I...' Sirius frowned. 

 


Ah. I see. 'Do you want to come with me?' 

 


He looked hesitant. 'You wouldn't mind? I mean...we haven't...' 

 


'Sirius. It's fine. It'd be nice if you stopped pretending like you don't know me at school, but really? If you want, this can just be payment for letting me use you momentarily.' 

 


'I don't pretend like I don't know you.' She looked at him blankly and he frowned. 'Fine, fine. I'll acknowledge you at Hogwarts. Happy?' 

 


Addy looked down at the magazine still open in her lap. Not really, no. 'Sure,' she said vaguely, setting the magazine aside and standing up. She went back to the window, peering down at the street again. 'Looks like she's gone. Shall we?' She turned back around and Sirius eyed her carefully. 

 


'Sure.' They slipped out of his house and down to the park where Kate, Paul, and Ed were waiting at the edge. 

 


'I was beginning to think you weren't comin,' Ed smiled his crooked smile. He was tall and wiry, with brown hair and brown eyes. 

 


'Sorry to disappoint,' Addy smirked and stole the fag from Paul's lips. He quirked a brow and smirked back at her. 

 


'Who's this then?' Kate asked, gesturing at Sirius, a twinkle in her eyes.  

 


'Oh, right. This is my, er...' 

 


'Mate,' Sirius shot Addy a look. 'From school. Sirius,' he held his hand out and Kate shook it, smirking. 

 


'Ah, so you go to that fancy boarding school too then?' Kate had blonde hair like Addy's and light blue eyes. She was a bit shorter with a curvier build. Sirius smiled and nodded. 

 


'Dara mentioned you'd got a motorbike,' he gestured toward Ed. 'That's brilliant.' Ed nodded and went into the whole story of how he got it and the rundown of all its features. Sirius was hooked. 

 


'So...Dara?' Paul said, pulling the fag from Addy's lips. She smirked up at him. He was tall and muscular, with dark hair and the same light blue eyes as Kate. 

 


'Only Sirius calls me that. I don't remember why,' she shrugged. 

 


He took a long drag and smiled. 'Alright.' 

 


'Ok, now we've heard what it can do, why don't you show me?' Addy waggled her eyebrows and hopped on the back of the bike behind Ed.  

 


He smiled broadly. 'Right then. Hang on.' She gripped him tightly round the middle as he started the engine and couldn't help but squeal as he pulled away. 

 


'This is brilliant!' Addy laughed as he rounded the park. 

 


'Isn't it though?' He shouted back. They were both smiling broadly when he pulled back into the spot at the edge of the park. Sirius was chatting amicably with Paul and Kate. That bloke could get on with just about anyone if he tried.  

 


'Have fun?' Paul smiled at Addy. 

 


'Loads! Yes! It's really, really fantastic! Thanks Ed!' 

 


'No problem, Addy.' 

 


'I'm hoping to get one. Next summer maybe?' Paul said. 

 


Addy smirked at him. 'That'd be so cute. Then you two could form like a little biker gang. Ride round together.' 

 


He shoved her playfully. 'Oh, shut it.' She grinned back at him cheekily. 

 


The time came when Addy needed to leave in order to get home in time for dinner, so Sirius and she said their goodbyes and headed off. 'Your mates seem great.' 

 


Addy smiled. 'They are.' 

 


'You fancy him, don't you? Paul?' Sirius said, when they were a safe distance away. 

 


'What? No! Of course not! He's just a friend,' she spluttered. Her voice had gone up a few octaves. 

 


Sirius smirked at her. 'That's too bad then, since he fancies you.' 

 


'What? No, he doesn't What makes you say that?' 

 


'Oh, I don't know? The fact that I have eyes, maybe?' 

 


Addy shook her head. 'No. He would never fancy me.' 

 


Sirius's brow knitted. 'Why not?' 

 


She shrugged. 'Because...it's me. People don't fancy me. They might think I'm pretty, but...they're not interested in the real me. Not enough to fancy me,' she shook her head. 

 


Sirius frowned. 'You're ridiculous.' 

 


'What?' 

 


'Paul definitely fancies you. I saw how he looked at you. And when you were off with Ed he was asking about you. Like how did we meet? And how good of friends are we?' Addy frowned. 'And plenty of people would fancy you if you would just talk more. You're not half bad when you let people in.' 

 


'It's not like that's worked out well for me in the past,' she muttered. 

 


Sirius's brow knitted. 'What?' 

 


Addy shook her head. 'It doesn't matter. Either way. We'll be going back to Hogwarts. Paul will forget about me soon enough.' 

 


Sirius shook his head. 'If you say so.' They parted ways shortly after, and she didn't see him again for the rest of holiday. 

 


 

 


Sirius saw Dara greeting Alice warmly on the platform before climbing onto the train. He hadn't seen her since that day in July, the one bright spot in his otherwise horrible holiday. After a rather heated row with his mother his first night back, he'd been locked in his room for three days and she'd taken to intercepting his mail. He hadn't received one owl from his mates all holiday. He'd really enjoyed that day with Dara, he'd seen a different side to her. She seemed so at ease around her muggle friends. But she'd never come back. 

 


'What are you staring at, mate?'  

 


Sirius snapped out of his daze to find James stood next to him. 'Nothing,' he drawled in a bored tone, shrugging. 'Just waiting on your ugly mug.' 

 


'Sod off! My mum says I'm beautiful,' James said with mock indignance as they boarded the train. "Where's Pete?' 

 


Sirius shrugged again. 'You know he's usually late. He'll stroll in last minute.' 

 


James nodded. 'Feels wrong starting without Remus.' 

 


'Did you hear from him?' 

 


'Yeah, he owled me. Should be coming Tuesday morning.' Sirius nodded as they entered their usual compartment. 'So, did you do anything over holiday?' 

 


Sirius shrugged nonchalantly. 'Saw Dara one day. But that was about it. Spent most of my time rereading old quidditch magazines in my room.' 

 


'Dara?' 

 


Sirius cleared his throat. 'Ah, Nott.' 

 


'Since when is she Dara?' James asked, quirking a brow. 

 


Sirius shrugged again and was saved from commenting further when Pete walked in, panting and sweating, and shut the compartment door noisily. 'Merlin's hairy balls Petey, what'd you do, run here?' 

 


'Don't call me Petey,' he wheezed.  

 


James smirked suddenly, and Sirius followed his gaze, his eyes suddenly filling with the mischievous glint they'd lacked the last few months. 'How's about we start the school year off right with a prank in Remus's honor?'  

 


Sirius grinned. 'I like the sound of that.' Roughly half an hour later, they were retreating down the corridor, when Sirius spotted Dara again, as they passed the compartment where she was sat with Alice and her friend Hannah. He paused. Addy had taken her robes off and was wearing some flowy, white, muggle dress that made her skin look like it was glowing, and her hair was sun kissed. She was coming toward the door. 

 


'Oh, look, it's Dara,' James said brightly. Sirius shot a scowl at him, but James just smiled widely as the door slid open and Dara called, 'sure thing,' as she stepped into the corridor. James shoved Sirius into Dara so forcefully, she gasped and tumbled over with him landing on top of her. 

 


Sirius went to get up quickly but stopped when he had pulled back slightly to see her smile softly. 'Your hairs getting long,' she murmured, tucking a lock behind his ear. It fell forward again.  

 


'You've got green in your eyes...' He said quietly. 'It's like a stitching or a web...' Her gaze snapped over to meet his. 'Fancy meeting you here...' 

 


'Yeah, you know? When I asked you to stop ignoring me, I meant give me a wave or say hello, not tackle me on the train.' 

 


'Blimey, are you going to let her up soon?' Sirius's eyes widened briefly. He'd forgotten James was there really. Dara's cheeks flushed before Sirius scrambled to his feet, then pulled her roughly to her's.  

 


She cleared her throat awkwardly. 'Wotcher Potter,' he nodded at her in acknowledgement. 'Pettigrew.' Peter squeaked and Dara's eyes widened in surprise. She glanced at James who shrugged, smirking. Her brow knitted together then. 'Where's Remus?' 

 


Sirius cleared his throat. 'Er...' 

 


'We get Potter and Pettigrew and he gets Remus?' James said, quirking a brow. 

 


She mock glared at him. 'You stole my snitch. Which I still haven't gotten back, by the way.' James scratched the back of his neck, smiling sheepishly. 'So, Remus?' 

 


'He's, ah...not feeling well. Be a bit late,' Sirius muttered. 

 


She looked at her watch. 'Oh...right.' James and Sirius looked at her curiously. 'Well, he shouldn't miss too much.' 

 


'Why do you say that?' Sirius said, at the same time James asked, 'why'd you look at your watch?' 

 


Dara's brow knitted. 'It's only Sunday,' she said, looking between them. Peter seemed to be backing away. 'And if he misses tomorrow, he shouldn't miss too much on the first day. Plus, you lot usually let him borrow your notes, yeah?' She gestured between them and they shared a look.  

 


'Yeah...' 

 


Addy rolled her eyes. 'Well, any roads, as fun as this is. Whatever this is...' She shook her head. 'I actually came out here with a mission. So, if you'll excuse me?' She turned heel and walked down the corridor. 

 


James turned toward Sirius, waggling his eyebrows suggestively and nodded toward Dara. Sirius scowled again, but James pushed him down the corridor in the same direction, which he could now see her approaching the trolley witch. She looked over her shoulder questioningly. 'We were going to get something off the trolley,' James replied easily.  

 


Dara smirked. 'I figured you were just pranking some Slytherins and were running from the scene of the crime.' Peter sniggered. 

 


'Well, that too,' Sirius grinned. 

 


'You should see Snivellus,' James added with a smirk. 

 


She pursed her lips together thoughtfully. 'That depends. Did you improve his appearance?' 

 


Peter sniggered. 'Hardly.' 

 


Dara looked surprised. He'd probably never talked to her before. 'I think I'll pass then. He's bad enough to look at as is,' she said. James chortled. 

 


'Suit yourself,' Sirius said, grinning. They collected their treats from the trolley and went their separate ways when Dara went back into her compartment, and the boys continued toward an irate Lily Evans. 


Chapter 12: Chapter 12
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'Good luck,' Addy waved. James grimaced.  

 


'What was that?' Alice said, quirking a brow as the compartment door closed behind Addy. 

 


'Ah, they pranked Snape. That Slytherin boy? Looks like Evans found out.' 

 


Hannah jumped up grinning. 'Gotta see this...' She moved out of the compartment quickly. 

 


Addy snickered. Alice frowned. 'Not that,' she waved Addy off. 'I meant your little tumble with Black.' 

 


'Oh, that?' 

 


'Yes, that!' 

 


Addy waved her off. 'They were just escaping Snivellus and he ran into me is all.' 

 


Alice's eyebrows shot up her forehead. 'Didn't look like that's all.' 

 


'What's that s'pose to mean?' 

 


'Mean's he looks like he fancies you.' 

 


Addy laughed loudly. 'No. No. Definitely not.' 

 


'What? It's true!' 

 


'No.' 

 


'Yes!' 

 


'NO!' 

 


'And why not?' 

 


'Because, we're barely even mates. We hardly know each other anymore. He definitely does not fancy me.' 

 


Alice shook her head. 'I wouldn't be so sure.' 

 


Addy rolled her eyes. 'Don't be ridiculous Ally.' 

 


The compartment door slid open and Hannah came back in, grinning broadly. 'Bloody brilliant,' she chuckled. 'He looks like a giant bat.' 

 


Addy's brow knitted. 'How's that different than normal then?' 

 


Hannah laughed harder. 'You'll just have to go see it for yourself.' 

 


Addy frowned and Alice shrugged. The three of them got up and left the compartment, moving toward the high-pitched screeching still coming from Lily. 'Oh, Godrick!' Alice laughed. 

 


'Alright,' Addy sniggered. 'That is pretty brilliant.' 

 


'He looks right at home up there doesn't he?' Hannah added. 

 


'Yeah. Too bad Evans is getting him down.' They all laughed and went back to their compartment. They spent the rest of the train ride eating their sweets and chatting and laughing. 

 


 

 


Despite seeing Darcy, and pretending she didn't, the welcoming feast was as great as always, and Addy clapped on the Gryffindor firsties with the rest of her house. She resolved to spend a majority of her time around Alice. She was the big sister Addy wished she'd had. And Hannah wasn't too bad either. 

 


In Charms, in the beginning of that year, Addy sat awkwardly amongst the other Gryffindor fourth years, listening half-heartedly as Professor Flitwick prattled on about the expectations for that year, and trying to pretend like it didn't bother her being around Darcy and the other Ravenclaws and act as though they didn't even know each other. 

 


Next day, as Addy was leaving the greenhouses, a somewhat familiar voice called out to her. She stopped and turned around to find Sam Gardener jogging up the lawns toward her. Arnie shuffled along behind him. Most of the other Hufflepuffs shuffled past. John shot her, what she assumed was supposed to be, an appologetic smile. 

 


'Hey, Addy. Can I talk to you?'  

 


She glanced around, her eyebrows shooting up her forehead. 'Er...sure Sam,' she nodded. 

 


'I'll catch up to you at lunch Arnie?' He smiled. 

 


'Sure thing, Sam. Addy,' he nodded to her. She smiled tightly in response.  

 


'Listen,' Sam said, scratching the back of his neck. 'I heard about what happened the end of last year.' She frowned at the ground. 'I just want you to know, I...' Addy looked up at him and he glanced at her nervously. 'I think it's shite, and I...I just. I don't agree. And I hope you and I can still be mates.' 

 


Addy smiled, feeling her cheeks heat up. 'I'd like that,' she nodded. 

 


Sam smiled. 'Great! That's great. I'll, uh...I'll see you around then?' 

 


She nodded again. 'Yeah.' 

 


 

 


That night when Addy was sat in a corner of the common room with Alice and Hannah, she noticed Remus walk in, looking haggard. He was greeted by his three friends with woops and laughter and claps on the back. He looked over at Addy suddenly, making eye contact, and shot her a small smile. She was torn between averting her eyes quickly, since she had been caught in the act of staring at him or waving and greeting him properly like she wanted. She settled for smiling back before she looked away, as she could tell she was blushing furiously. Alice caught Addy out, and turned round to see why she had gone weird. She turned back, quirking a brow at Addy, who shook her head in answer, and Alice smiled back knowingly. 

 


 

 


A few days later in the first Ancient Runes class of the year, Addy approached Elizabeth Fawley's desk tentatively. 'Erm...'lo Effie. Mind if I sit with you again?' 

 


Effie looked up and smiled. She was a shorter girl with brown hair, deep blue eyes, and a bit of a unibrow. Addy didn't consider herself to be vain, but she gathered this girl put her studies above all else, which she found surprising for a Hufflepuff. 'Not at all.' She gestured toward the empty chair next to her. Addy sat in the empty seat and they chatted idly before class started, the usual small talk that both served to annoy her and make her uncomfortable. Although, Effie seemed to have an easy way about her that put Addy at ease. She didn't make her feel the usual intimidation she was want to feel around other people. 

 


'How are finding Ancient Runes?' Effie asked. 

 


'Really well, actually,' Addy said. 'I find it fascinating. It's like being able to talk in our own secret language.' 

 


Effie looked back at her curiously for a moment. 'You know, I never thought of it like that. I quite agree.' She paused. 'How are you getting on in your other classes?' 

 


Addy shrugged. 'I do alright. Mostly O's and E's. Couple A's.' 

 


Effie nodded. 'What are your A's in?' 

 


'Herbology and Defense. I have a bit of trouble remembering all that bloody plant information. And the Defense Professor didn't like me last year,' Addy frowned. 

 


Effie frowned too. 'Yes, I heard about that...but we should study together. Every now and then. Trish and I are going to be in the library Friday after classed. You should join us. We're no Ravenclaws, but we're pretty decent at Herbology.' 

 


Addy nodded slowly. 'I might do.' It couldn't hurt to have a study partner, or two, she reasoned, if Trish was going to be there too. So, she did show up to the library on Friday, though it was with hesitation, and a sick feeling in her stomach. It wasn't easy for her to put herself out there. 

 


 

 


Addy found Trish and Effie at a table in the back of the library near the restricted section, various books and parchment spread about them like they were researching some sort or experiment. Addy had taken to sitting with Trish again in Muggle Studies this year, though they still weren't close in any sort. Trish had blue eyes and light brown hair; she was also short and, er...plump, and the Slytherins would often poke fun at her. Addy was sure she had seen Trish crying in the loo. To the point she wondered if Trish was vying to take the position of the next Moaning Myrtle. 'Hullo...' Addy said quietly, sitting her bag down. 'Just got done with Transfiguration. You two been here long?' 

 


Trish glanced down at her watch before looking up at Addy. 'Only about twenty minutes.' She immediately looked back to her parchment and Addy's eyes widened. They certainly didn't waste any time. 

 


Addy did pretty decent in most of her studies, with the potential to be brilliant, though she tended to have trouble focusing long enough to revise well enough, and usually left things until the last minute. As it was, she still managed proficient marks. 

 


Addy sat in a chair opposite Trish on the corner, with Effie sitting on the same side but the other end to Trish. They looked to be working on separate things, so Addy pulled out her Transfiguration essay that was set for Wednesday, though twenty minutes in she found she was still alternatively reading the same sentence over and over, and looking longingly out the window at the quidditch pitch. The sky was clear, the temperature mild, and she could see a few figures circling, seemingly passing a quaffle. Why had she agreed to meet here? It was a bloody Friday. And she had ages to finish that work. It was the first thing due and it wasn't even due until Wednesday. She could do it Tuesday night...Addy was just preparing her excuse to escape when Effie spoke, snapping her back to present. 'I'm done with this now, if you want to work on Herbology?' 

 


Addy shook her head, trying to focus back on the library. 'Er...yeah, sure. That'd be great.' 

 


'Brilliant! Trish has some really helpful ways of remembering all the information.' Trish nodded earnestly in confirmation. Effie pulled out her copy of One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi. Cut to an hour later and they were all calling it a night as all three of their stomachs were grumbling in protest. They walked to the Great Hall together and parted ways at the door to get to their separate house tables. Addy made a beeline for Alice and Hannah. 

 


'Where've you been?' Alice asked, noting Addy's apparent bored expression. 

 


'Library,' she grunted. 

 


'Whatever for?' Alice smirked. 

 


Addy groaned. 'I'm trying, ok?' Alice shrugged. 'But any roads, I'm dying to get out on the pitch. Fancy having a fly?' Alice grinned. 

 


Hannah frowned. 'I'll just catch in the common room then, yeah?' 

 


Alice nodded. 'We shouldn't go too long.' Addy grabbed a Cornish pasty as she stood and headed out through the giant oak front doors with Alice. 'So, what were you doing in the library? On a Friday no less.' 

 


Addy shrugged. 'Thought it couldn't hurt to have a few extra study partners. Especially as they're Hufflepuffs. They were helping me with Herbology. S'not my best subject.' 

 


'Still...Friday evening? I thought you were more fun than that,' Alice joked, poking Addy in the side.  

 


Addy chuckled. 'Alright, I concede, that part was rather ridiculous, but I didn't plan it, I was merely invited.' 

 


'Alright then, I suppose I'll forgive you this one time.' 

 


'Oh, thank Merlin!' Addy said dramatically, making Alice chuckled. They grabbed their brooms from the locker room, and spent the next hour flying round the pitch. There's nothing quite like feeling the wind in your hair, being high above the ground. It's absolutely delicious. 


Chapter 13: Chapter 13
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A few weeks later was the trials for the Gryffindor quidditch team. With Frank and Allan gone, they had two spots open that year. Henry Wood was the new captain, and he had asked the current members to meet up fifteen minutes early, and be present for the entire try-outs, so they could give their opinions. He felt it would help him make the best decisions for the team. Addy stood on the end next to Alice, James on her other side, with Wood in the middle, Laurence on his other side. There were four people trying out for chaser that year, including two fifth year boys that had been there the year prior, a third-year girl, and Marlene McKinnon. It looked as if there were five trying out for beater, all boys, including on Sirius Black. After roughly three hours, Wood had it narrowed down, but paused to ask the rest of their opinions. 'I dunno why you're askin me,' Addy said when he'd looked to her. 'I'm the seeker. I'm not really part of this dynamic. I'm off doin my own thing...' 

 


'Because you're part of this team and I asked for your bloody opinion, so just do as your captain asks and answer the sodding question Adhara!' 

 


Addy smirked at him. 'Alright, Henry, don't get your wand in a knot.' He quirked a brow. 'Clafkin's a solid flier and a decent shot with the quaffle, but he didn't really seem to work well with Alice and Potter. Carmichael seems to be too thick to fly and shoot at the same time. Jones is a good flier, not so goo a shot. McKinnon outflew them all, she's a good shot, and with a bit of work, she may even be as good as Alice and Potter. And she seemed to work with them the best, so I think she's your best bet for chaser. That third year...' 

 


'Owens,' Steve supplied. 

 


'Owens, right. Shoddy flier. Pitts can't bloody well aim the damn bludger. And Martin and Morriarti seem like they've already taken too many bludgers to the head. Black's a solid flier, strong hitter, and has the best aim. Plus, he seemed to work the best with Laurence.' Steve nodded affirmation. Wood smirked at Addy and she quirked a brow questioningly. 

 


He shook his head. 'Alright then. Sounds like the vote's unanimous.' Their circle broke and Wood turned to address the hopefuls clumped at the edge of the pitch. 'Alright, you lot! We've made a decision. Marlene McKinnon will be joining out chasers, and Sirius Black will be our second beater.' Morriarti swore loudly and stalked off the pitch. Carmichael threw his broom down angrily. A few others gave out groans. Marlene looked to be suppressing a squeal as she did a little dance before jogging over to Mary, who had apparently been cheering her on in the stands. James and Sirius whooped and slapped each other's backs and were soon joined by Remus and Peter. Addy left the pitch with Alice in search of ice cream in the kitchens. 

 


 

 


The next morning Addy was sat with Alice at breakfast, when a small, raven-haired, first year girl came and sat opposite her with wide eyes. 'I saw your trials yesterday,' she said excitedly. 

 


'Mm,' Addy smiled and reached for the pumpkin juice, pouring herself a glass. 

 


'Did you?' Alice asked politely. Marlene turned her head, tuning in to the conversation like she could smell something good coming. She was sat opposite and one seat over with Lily next to her; Mary was now on the other side of the first year. 

 


'I did!' She squealed. Addy's eyes widened and she glanced at Marlene, who was now thoroughly enjoying herself, while Addy picked up her goblet. 'It's brilliant. We just started flying lessons last week. I'm muggleborn, so it was my first time on a broom,' she beamed. 

 


'Oh?' Addy said, trying to sound interested. 

 


'And how did you find it?' Alice asked. 

 


'It's brilliant!' She said loudly, causing Addy to start. Marlene smirked. 'I can't wait to fly more. I hope I can get as good as you lot. Maybe in a few years, I can try out!' 

 


Addy smiled. 'Maybe.' 

 


'Liked it that much, did you?' Alice said. 'D'you know what position you'd try for? Which one is your favorite?' 

 


'I think I like yours,' she said, staring at Addy earnestly. 'What is it you play? Soaker?' 

 


Addy smiled. 'Seeker,' she said, before she took a drink of pumpkin juice. 

 


'And you catch the snatch?' Marlene snorted with laughter as Addy choked on her juice. Alice thumped her on the back. 

 


Addy couldn't help but laugh. 'No, I don't catch snatch,' she said to the first year.  'I catch the snitch,' she went on. 'It's called a snitch.'  

 


A few familiar boys who were walking past on their way down the table paused. 

 


'Good to know,' James said. Addy rolled her eyes. Remus smiled, while Sirius and Peter sniggered.  

 


Alice finally broke, the laughter she had been suppressing bubbling forth as her shoulders shook violently. Addy grinned and shook her head. 'You're the worst,' she said, before she went back to eating her bacon. 

 


 

 


A few weeks later, at the beginning of October, as Addy was leaving Ancient Runes, and slowly trailing down the corridor, William Harrington, a Ravenclaw, stopped her, and she looked at him expectantly. 'Hey, uh, Adhara...' 

 


'Addy,' she interrupted him. 

 


'Addy, right,' he nodded. 'I'm Will.' 

 


'I know who you are...' 

 


He grinned. He wasn't much taller than her, maybe a few centimeters, and he had sandy hair and green eyes, and a thin build. 'Great,' Will said. 'That's great. Um...' He glanced around nervously, so she did too. 'Hogsmeade,' he said, his voice raising on the end as if it were a question. 

 


'Hogsmeade?' Addy said slowly. His cheeks flushed and she smiled, which seemed to give him courage. 

 


'There's a Hogsmeade trip this weekend, and I wanted to know if you'd go with me,' he said quickly. 

 


'Oh.' He looked at her expectantly, chewing his bottom lip. She scratched the back of her neck, giving him a once over. She didn't know him very well at that point, but what she did know she liked. He seemed bright, and nice, and funny; and he was pretty fit. 'Er, ok,' she said quietly. 

 


'Ok?' Addy nodded, and when Will grinned broadly, she found herself smiling back. 'Brilliant!' Instead of scurrying away, as others had done, he fell into step with her, and they chatted all the way to the Great Hall. Over the next few weeks he continued to pop up and would walk with her to classes or quidditch practice or whatever, and after a few days had started to take her hand. It felt strange at first, but she grew to tolerate it once she was used to it. On the Saturday of Hogsmeade Will asked Addy to be his girlfriend and she said ok. It was nice at first, and she thought she really started to fancy him, but he would often try to kiss her in front of people. She didn't have much free time, although they did manage a few detours into broom cupboards to snog, he seemed overly bothered by her refusal to do so in front of others, and after about a month, he had found someone else, who would. Addy was a little angry that he would be that petty, although she certainly didn't shed any tears over the end of that relationship. It had turned out that he really wasn't as nice as she had thought.  


 


 


 


 



 

 


Chapter 14: Chapter 14
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In early December, after the first quidditch practice the Gryffindors had after Will had broken up with Addy, Alice decided ice cream was needed, even though Addy told her otherwise (she would have rather had firewhiskey); so, they went to the kitchens. Marlene decided to tag along, as she was sometimes want to do; since joining the quidditch team they had hung out more often. With Alice there as a buffer (she was much more outgoing than Addy), she didn't feel quite so awkward around Marlene. 'Honestly Alice, ice cream really isn't necessary, I'm not wallowing.'

'But you said you could use a drink, and this is the best we can do.'

Addy frowned. 'But that's always true...'

'What is?'

'That I could use a drink.'

'I think we could get butterbeer,' Marlene interjected.

Addy paused, a spoonful of chocolate and raspberry ice cream halfway to her mouth, with raised eyebrows. Marlene smiled and called a house elf over. 'Can we get some butterbeer too?'

'Certainly misses.' The house elf scurried off and came back seconds later with three butterbeers.

'So, what're we drinkin to?' Marlene asked as she held up her bottle.

'To silly boys being cocks,' Addy held her bottle up too and Marlene sniggered. 'And being better off without 'em.'

'Oi, not all boys are cocks!' Alice said with mock indignation.

Addy chuckled. 'Mind, I said silly boys.'

'Besides,' Marlene added, 'Frank's not a boy, he's a man.'

'Fair point,' Alice said, raising her bottle.

'Cheers,' they said, clinking their bottles together. As they all took large swigs of their butterbeer, there was a loud laugh from the entrance to the kitchens, and Addy turned round to see four familiar boys entering. They paused upon seeing the girls.

'Speak of the devils,' Marlene muttered from her spot opposite. Alice and Addy sniggered. James smirked, Remus smiled, Sirius frowned, and Peter squeaked. What was with that boy?

They sauntered over to the table the girls were sat at and plopped themselves down around them. 'What are you lot doing here?' James asked.

Addy grinned. 'Toasting my freedom.'

'Here, here!' Marlene clinked her bottle to Addy's again.

Remus smiled. 'I didn't know you knew where the kitchens were.'

Addy smiled back at him. 'I'm told I'm full of surprises,' she said with a shrug.

'I suppose you are,' he said, his eyebrows raised. About that time a house elf came over and James placed their 'order' of various treats. Addy noticed then that Sirius was being rather quiet and staring sullenly at the table, so she nudged him with her toe under the table.

'Why so serious?' Marlene snorted with laughter, causing Addy to chuckle. Sirius scowled back at her and remained quiet while his mates seemed to be suppressing smiles; they continued their chatter as the house elf brought back their treats.

'Did you come here straight from practice?' James asked.

'Whatever gave you that idea?' Marlene deadpanned.

'You're still wearing your practice kits,' Peter offered.

Addy couldn't help but smile. 'Didn't realize we'd have anyone to impress in the kitchen. We'll put on our dress robes next time.'

Remus chuckled. 'I think you still look fine.'

'Oh, we look fine.'

'Don't think we smell so fine, do we?' Marlene said, raising her arm and pushing her armpit toward Remus's nose. Remus leaned away with a yelp, trying to push Marlene back. Everyone laughed. Everyone except Sirius. Sirius stabbed moodily at his food with a fork. Addy pulled out her wand, muttered 'lumos,' and proceeded to poke him with it from across the table. He stopped his stabbing and glanced at her wand, then looked over at her blankly.

'What are you doing?'

'Trying to get you to lighten the fuck up,' Addy said, smiling sweetly. Marlene laughed loudly. James and Remus froze, and Peter looked apprehensive. Sirius's eyes flashed before his face became impassive. Shite. Addy knew that look. She had worn it herself a tidy few times. He slapped his fork down on the table and wordlessly stood up and left the kitchen. Silence ensued. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

Addy jumped up from the table herself and quickly followed him into the corridor. 'Sirius!' She saw his shoulders tense and he seemed to quicken his pace. 'Sirius, please! Wait up! I'm sorry!' He stopped suddenly but didn't turn round, and Addy hurried around to stand in front of him. He was breathing deeply and staring at the ground. 'Look, I'm sorry. I was only taking the mick, I didn't mean to upset you.'

Sirius looked up at her slowly, his jaw clenched. 'You didn't.'

Yeah. Right. Because these are the actions of someone who's calm. 'What's wrong? You've just got your wand in a knot for no reason?'

His eyes narrowed. 'You wouldn't understand.'

She quirked a brow. 'Try me.'

Sirius took another deep breath, staring blankly at her, seeming to consider her. Addy crossed her arms over her chest. 'I got a letter from home,' he said finally.

Addy frowned. 'Oh...' She uncrossed her arms. 'Was it...one of those letters?' He shot her a confused look. 'You know, the 'You're such a disappointment, you've brought shame to our family, blah blah blah...'

He smiled sadly. 'Something like that,' he said quietly.

Addy nodded. 'I'm sorry. Those are hard to get. They usually put me in a strop too.'

Sirius frowned. 'You get letters like that?'

'All the time,' she nodded. 'Did you not notice we've been in the same boat this whole time?'

His expression softened and he gave her a small smile. 'Yeah, I suppose we are, aren't we?'

Addy nodded again. 'Shame all we have to remedy the situation is butterbeer and ice cream.'

Sirius smirked. 'I have some firewhiskey.'

Her eyes went wide. 'And why did you come to the kitchen then?'

He shrugged. 'That lot convinced me to.'

Addy waved her hand. 'Well forget about them then. Let's go have a proper drink, yeah?'

Sirius smiled, shaking his head. 'Yeah, why not?'

'Exactly,' she grinned. They headed toward Gryffindor Tower, walking in companionable silence for a while. 'So, did you do something specific to warrant this love letter, or does she just send them at random?'

Sirius looked at Addy sideways. 'She?'

'Your mother. S'pose I shouldn't assume. S'my mother usually sends me letters. She does most of the yelling and slapping, though it's my father I have to worry about. Baubles,' she said to the fat lady. The portrait swung open and they climbed through the hole into the common room.

'You're worried about your father?' Sirius questioned, when they reached the stairs leading to the boys' dorms.

'Mm,' Addy hummed in response. 'He's the one that punishes me.' They continued in silence into his room. Addy's nose scrunched in protest of the smell when they entered. Sirius crossed to what Addy assumed was his four-poster, and rummaged underneath it for a moment, finally emerging with a half empty bottle of firewhiskey. Addy quirked a brow in question.

Sirius shrugged. 'It was like this when I took it.'

'Half empty?'

'I prefer to think of it as half full.' She rolled her eyes. He sat against the wall on the floor near his bed and Addy crossed the room and sat next to him as he opened the bottle and took a large gulp. Sirius passed her the bottle and began talking quietly as she took a few small swigs. The burning wouldn't allow Addy to gulp it as Sirius had. 'It was my mother sent then the letter.' Addy turned her head toward him. 'She was basically summing up my misdeeds for the term. Joining the quidditch team. Beating Slytherin. Getting owls sent home for detention. Setting up a skating ring on the fifth floor.'

Addy laughed out loud. 'I thought that was you lot. That was bloody brilliant.'

Sirius smiled wryly. 'Course my mother doesn't think so.'

She waved at him lazily. 'Yeah, what does she know anyway? She's no sense of humor, just like my mother. They're terribly dull, the lot of them.' He turned his head toward her and smiled while seeming to debate something internally. She sipped the firewhiskey and watched him patiently. Finally, he seemed to work up some courage.

'Dara?'

She smiled. 'Hmm?'

'Why are you worried about your father?' The smile slipped off Addy's face and she looked down at the bottle in her hands. She hadn't been expecting that. 'You don't have to answer that if you don't want to,' Sirius said quietly.

Addy paused, debating how much she wanted to divulge, but in the end, she decided she could tell him. She could trust him, because he would understand. She looked back up at Sirius; he was chewing his lip, watching her quietly, waiting. 'When we were eight,' she said quietly, 'I became mates with a muggle boy at the park. My governess was old and she would fall asleep on the bench, so I guess she didn't know to scold me, and I didn't know...there was anything wrong with it...' She sighed. 'Aludra didn't usually go, she didn't like to get dirty, but then one day she did....when she saw me playing with him...' Addy shook her head, closing her eyes. 'Of course, she told on me. She's their perfect little puppet. She would never do anything against their wishes. And apparently felt it was her. Duty. To prevent me from 'misbehaving.' My mother never said anything. She only frowned at me. That right there should have tipped me off. She's usually screaming at me. It's dangerous when she's quiet..any roads, my father pulled me into his study...and he cursed me.'

It was quiet for a moment, then Sirius said, 'he...cursed you?' Addy nodded. 'How...w-what kind of curse?'

She shrugged. 'His own creation. Some sort of burning curse.'

'Burn? Where...?' Addy set the bottle down and turned toward Sirius, pulling her jumper up to reveal the gnarled scar across her right ribcage. Seemingly without thinking, he reached a hand up to her side and ran his thumb over the discolored flesh. A shiver ran down her spine and her breath caught in her throat. Well that was certainly different. She looked up at him and he held her gaze. It seemed almost as if time stood still, then just like that, the spell was broken when the door swung open suddenly. Sirius's hand dropped and Addy let her jumper fall back down as both their heads snapped to the door. James, Remus, and Peter stopped, surveying the room curiously. James quirked a brow, Peter's eyes widened, and Remus smirked. What was that about? Addy's brow knitted in confusion.

'We wondered where you two got to,' Remus said casually.

James looked between them, eyes narrowed. 'What were you two doing?'

Addy stood, wiping imaginary dirt from her trousers. 'Just talking about our shitty families,' she smiled and looked back down at Sirius. 'Thanks for the drink.'

He nodded. 'You don't have to leave.'

'No, no, it's fine. It's getting late, and I still have to finish that essay for potions that's due tomorrow.' Sirius grimaced and James cursed softly. 'Seems like I'm not alone there,' she smiled. 'I'll see you lot tomorrow.' She waved as she crossed the room and was met with a few grunts in farewell before she closed the door behind her, sighing deeply.

'She has no idea you fancy her, does she?' Remus said once Addy's footsteps could be heard retreating down the stairs.

'I don't fancy her.'

'Come off it!' James laughed.

'I don't fancy her! I don't fancy anyone. She's just...'

'Fit?' Peter pipped up.

Sirius rolled his eyes. 'I was going to say, my mate.'

'She is fit though,' Remus said, laughing when Sirius threw a pillow at his head.

Next day Addy was meeting up with Sam after dinner. They would still talk during Herbology, the only class they had together, and when they would bump into each other elsewhere, as well as get together every few weeks. He had also made the Hufflepuff quidditch team, as a chaser, and they would usually go out to the pitch, either to fly, or sometimes they would go under the stands to smoke. Sometimes John would come along, which Addy didn't mind. He had never really wronged her, and he was a decent bloke. Plus, half the time he was the one with the supply. That night however, it was just the two of them that were sat underneath the far stands, smoking and talking quietly. Sam was becoming one of Addy's closest mates, aside from Alice. He was good about listening but would still tell her all about himself as well. He told her of how both his parents were muggleborn and had gone to Hogwarts and were both in Hufflepuff, how he was an only child and growing up his dad was his best friend; they would take flights together and he taught him how to play quidditch when he was young. He talked about how his favorite subject was Herbology and he wanted to be a Herbologist. Sam made Addy feel so comfortable, they could probably just sit like that and talk for hours; of course, the thing they were smoking probably didn't hurt. And it certainly didn't hurt that Addy thought he was beautiful with his light brown hair and dark brown eyes, and chiseled cheekbones, and was still harboring a secret fancy for him, so she could just sit and stare at him for hours really. And listen to him talk with that beautiful Scottish accent. She thought everything about him was beautiful really.

 

Christmas Holiday was quickly upon them, and soon Addy was holed away at Nott Manor, attempting to avoid the horrible people she was unlucky enough to call her family. That year the society gathering was to be held at their place, so Addy unfortunately had to make more of an appearance and greet the guests. She was sure she had to suppress the urge to chunder no less than ten times that night. Once dinner was over, Addy was attempting to make her quiet exit when both Avery and Mulciber cornered her together. She had managed to mostly avoid them so far that year, and apparently her luck had run out. They proceeded to croon and touch her, muttering vulgarities at her. 'Let me go, please,' she said quietly.

'Not until you agree to dance with me,' Avery said as he caressed her cheek, causing her to wince as if he had struck her.

'I think it's time you let the lady go.' Addy looked up to see Sirius standing behind them. She was too upset by that point to feel any sort of relief.

'She hardly qualifies as a lady,' Mulciber muttered.

'This doesn't concern you, Black,' Avery said, not bothering to turn around.

Sirius looked at her, his eyes searching hers, as she struggled to steady her breathing. He cut between Avery and Mulciber and grabbed her hand. 'Dance with me?' He asked, tugging her forward.

'Ok,' Addy said shakily.

He held her closer than usual, and she crumbled into his embrace, trying to stop herself shaking. 'Are you alright?' He asked after a while.

'Yeah...I think so,' she said quietly. 'Thank you,' she looked up at him finally and he smiled.

'No problem.' He glanced around. 'Wanna get out of here?'

She exhaled deeply. 'Yes, please.'

They swiped a bottle of firewhiskey on the way past the drinks table before they completed a circle round the room and deftly waltzed out the door of the ballroom into the hall beyond. They snuck up to Addy's room and settled themselves on the terrace. 'What was that about?' Sirius asked as she gulped down the firewhiskey, ignoring the burning in her throat. He looked at her with wide eyes when she finally handed him the bottle.

Addy shrugged and he took the bottle from her hand. 'They like to bother me. They always have. Last year Avery told me he'd make me his...' She frowned, taking the bottle back and drinking again.

'They're prats,' he said, taking the bottle again.

Addy shook her head. 'They're arseholes. They're...dickheads. They're...' She groaned in frustration.

'Yes, exactly,' Sirius said.

Addy smirked at him. 'You know for a while there you were a bit of a prat yourself?' He quirked a brow at her. 'Actually, you're still a bit of a prat sometimes.' He scoffed. 'I mean that in the most endearing way possible,' she said with a grin.

'The highest form of praise, really.' He smirked, then frowned. 'That's why Sharon said she was breaking up with me.'

Addy looked up at the starry sky above them. 'Oh, that's right. I'd forgotten you went with her...she broke up with you?' She turned to look at him and he shrugged, not looking particularly bothered.

'Said I was an immature prat.'

'Ah. That's why Will broke up with me,' Addy nodded.

'Because you're an immature prat?'

'No, because he's an immature prat.'

'He said he was breaking up with you because he's an immature prat?'

'Not in so many words.'

'Huh?'

'Subtitles.'

'Subtitles?'

Addy sighed. 'He didn't actually give me a reason. But it always seemed to bother him that I didn't want to snog him in front of people. Apparently doing it in private wasn't good enough, so he broke up with me,' she shrugged. 'Because he's an immature prat.'

'Are you sure that's why if he didn't tell you a reason?'

'Well since he immediately moved on with someone who would snog him in public, and I'm pretty sure he didn't even wait to break up with me before he moved on, and he always complained about it...'

Sirius was quiet for a moment. 'You're right. He is an immature prat.'

Addy smiled. 'Thank you.'

'Snogging you in private would be good enough,' he mumbled, and she felt her cheeks burn. 'Unless you're a rubbish snog, in which case he wouldn't have wanted to snog you in public at all...'

'I am not a rubbish snog!'

'How would you know?'

Addy huffed. 'Maybe you're a rubbish snog.'

'I am not.'

'How would you know?' She said mockingly.

'I've been told I'm an excellent snog!'

'Yeah? By what, one person?' His mouth opened and closed a few times and she sniggered at how ridiculous he looked. 'Excuse me if I don't take your word for it-'

He cut her off by quickly pushing his lips to hers. She was so surprised she started, pulling back with wide eyes. He looked back at her nervously, searching her face. The empty bottle of firewhiskey sat next to them. They were both pissed at that point. Addy decided she didn't care in a split second before kissing him again. His lips were soft and he tasted of the firewhiskey they had drank. He smelled like cinnamon and his touch felt electric as he held her face in his hands, then wrapped his arms around her waist, up her back. She ran her fingers through his soft hair, then wrapped her arms around his neck. He was right. He was an excellent snog. Once they ran out of air, they seemed to decide mutually they should come up for air. They finally pulled apart, breathing heavily. Sirius smirked back at Addy and she chuckled at how ridiculous he looked again with his hair at odd angles, his cheeks flushed, his lips swollen. He looked a right state. She was sure she wasn't any better.

'Well?'

Addy suppressed a smile. 'Alright. I concede the point.'

Sirius grinned. 'I told you.' She quirked a brow at him. He bit his bottom lip and his gaze traveled to hers. 'You're not so bad either.'

Addy smirked. 'Gee, thanks.' He chuckled and ruffled her hair, making her laugh.


Chapter 15: Chapter 15
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Back at Hogwarts, nothing had changed, and a few weeks later Sirius started dating Claire 'something French' from Ravenclaw. Addy wasn’t surprised, but he had gone back to mostly ignoring her, which honestly had her a bit miffed with him. She had thought they were at least friends by that point.

 

When Addy woke up on her birthday that year, it was to find no gifts at the end of her bed. She was none too fussed, as she had gone to Hogsmeade the day before with Alice and Marlene. At breakfast she received a customary note from her mother wishing her a happy birthday in her own way and stating Addy was free to buy what she wanted for her birthday, which was nice, but then she went on to say that as she was now fifteen they had started the process of picking a suitable match for her arranged marriage. Her vision blurred to the point she could no longer read and her hands shook suddenly. Addy found it hard to breath and felt trapped. She had to get out. She needed air.

 

Instinct must have kicked in, since a moment later a sharp wind snapped Addy back to present where she was sat on the front steps of the castle. She looked down at the letter still clutched in her left hand. She smoothed it out and as she finished reading her blood began to boil. She knew Aludra was in for an arranged marriage, but she would have thought that her behavior up to that point would have led them to the conclusion that she was not interested in following that same path. But here they were, trying to sell her off to the highest bidder like livestock. At that point, why did they even bother? Didn't they realize she would never follow through with something like that? She supposed they would have had to have known her. And they clearly didn't know her at all. They had made sure of that. They didn't care about knowing her, knowing what she did and didn't like. They only cared about maintaining their image. Tradition. Doing what was expected of them. What had always been done.

 

Addy was so filled with rage she wanted to scream and pull at her hair and write back to her parents that they could go to hell. She settled for ripping the letter to pieces and running to the pitch and taking to the air. She flew faster and higher than she had ever before and allowed herself to do something she rarely did: cry. Addy cried the bitter tears of hurt and anger and frustration that had been building in her for so long, reasoning if anyone saw her tears she could blame it on the cold and wind. Though if she were being honest, she couldn't have held it in any longer at that point, even if she had tried. When she finally came down a few hours later she only felt marginally better. She splashed some cold water on her face and trudged back to the castle with a stony expression to drink firewhiskey from the confines of her four-poster.

 

Addy was in a strop for the next few weeks, being cross with anyone and everyone. She even scoffed at the few Valentines she received and quickly chucked them in the bin. She was in no mood for romance. But she finally calmed down by the end of February, and even agreed to go to Hogsmeade with Christopher Turner, or Kit as he liked to be called, the rather fit, dark skinned, dark eyed, fifth year keeper for the Hufflepuff quidditch team. He caught her eye, after Gryffindor had beat them in a match, to congratulate her on catching the snitch. He seemed incredibly sweet and was definitely cute, so she decided to give it a go when he asked her to be his girlfriend at the Three Broomsticks.

 

It was a difficult relationship from the start. Kit remained sweet but was also shy, and with Addy also being shy, there was no initiative to be had. Since they were in different years and different houses, they had no classes together, and didn't share a common room. That, coupled with them both having quidditch practice, at separate times, they didn't have a lot of free time together. What little time they did spend together was often awkward, and quiet, and awkward again. They didn't have easy conversation. Addy tried to give Kit hints, signals; he either didn't cotton on, or he didn't have the guts to act on them. Finally, after nearly two months he kissed her. Stiffly. Like everything else, it was awkward. She tried to give the relationship a proper effort, but it just couldn't be helped. There wasn't much there. They kissed a few times. They never held hands. Addy wasn't sure how Kit even felt about her, but when someone else tried to kiss her, and she told him about it, he didn't seem to care at all. She'd say it fizzled out, but that would have to imply there was any sort of fizz to begin with. The strongest feeling Addy had when it came to Kit was annoyance that he had wasted her time.

 

Addy was terribly saddened by the end of that year, as it meant Alice would be graduating, and she would see her decidedly less. Alice did promise that they would get together as much as they could, though she was going to be starting Auror training, and Addy knew she was going to end up marrying Frank, so she really couldn't fathom when she would have time for her. Regardless, Addy was endlessly grateful that she could consider Alice her mate, and for the time she had already spent with her.  

 

 

 

Once summer holiday had started, Addy snuck away as soon as she could to the park where Kate, Paul, and Ed were just where they always were. Kate jumped up and hugged her while Ed grinned his crooked grin and shouted a greeting, and Paul eyed her up quite obviously before making eye contact and holding her gaze with a look he'd never given her before. Addy realized then what Sirius had told her the previous summer, may have been true. 'Got a motorbike like you wanted?' He nodded. 'Will you give me a ride then?'

 

Paul smiled. 'Sure, Addy.' She grinned. She loved hearing him say her name. And something unspoken had changed between them. Addy spent the whole day with them, not even bothering to go back for dinner, and when Ed and Kate decided to call it a night, Paul took her on a ride out of the city, where they pulled over to a field and sat under the stars. 'I spent all of last summer trying to work up the nerve to tell you how I...how I fancied you,' Paul murmured. Addy turned to look at him and he stared into her eyes. 'And I wouldn't have thought it possible, but goddamnit, you're even more beautiful now then you were then...and just as wonderful.' She felt her cheeks heat up and thanked Merlin it was dark. 'I don't want to waste another summer not...' He cupped her chin with his hand and leaned toward her, stopping just short of pressing his lips to hers. His breath tingled on her lips and she felt like her mind had gone foggy. Addy bridged the gap between them and Paul sighed into her, moving his hand from her chin to the back of her neck and deepening the kiss. They spent the entire summer going on doubles with Kate and Ed, who had gotten together, to eat or go to muggle movies like Monty Python, or they often split off to be on their own and snog each other senseless. Addy had had dreams about it, but she had never dreamt it could be so good. Though they got on fantastically and thoroughly enjoyed each other, as the summer came to an end they decided that since they wouldn't see each other for another nine months, they would see other people if they wanted, and if they were both still single the following summer and still felt the same way, they would get back together then.

 

While Addy would miss Paul, all three of them really, she was feeling pretty good about how maturely she felt they had handled things and mentally patting herself on the back when she came home the night of the 31st of August. As she shut the door and was just turning away, she yelped in pain as she was hit in the arm with the same curse she had been previously. She clutched at her arm gingerly as tears of pain welled in her eyes and found the figure of her father glaring down at her in the dark. Aludra was stood on the stairs behind him, her smirk just discernable in the light from the lamps. Clearly, she had told on Addy again, and was quite pleased with herself. Addy was in too much pain to glare at her.

 

'If I ever find you've so much as thought about going near that filth again, you can count on much worse. Do I make myself clear?'

 

Addy looked at the floor. 'Yes, father.'  She waited for them to disappear and retreated to her room. Next day none of them spoke to her or even looked her way before Gilly apparated her and Aludra to Platform 9 ¾. Addy dragged her trunk onto the train and stopped just inside the door to pull off her robes as it was an exceptionally hot day in London, when she heard a scoff behind her.

 

'You're even wearing muggle attire,' Aludra spat. 'You should be proud of your birthright. Instead you defile yourself associating with the filth you do.'

 

'Merlin's saggy balls! Do you even have your own brain or are you just a mouthpiece at this point?' She scoffed again. 'Wait! I don't care,' Addy said waving her off. 'Don't you have some fellow trouser snakes to find? Or were you planning on running to mummy and daddy and telling them how terrible I'm being again?'

 

Aludra glared at her. 'I really should. Father told me to keep an eye on you.'

 

Addy glared right back at her. 'Yes, because shorts are so filthy you really should.'

 

'I hate you,' Al spat.

 

'Good! I hate you too! Now leave! You're giving me a headache.' She shot Addy one last glare before she stalked down the corridor away from her. Addy kicked her trunk. 'Fuck, I need a drink,' she muttered.

 

'I could help you with that.' She started and wheeled around, clutching a hand to her chest.

 

'Don't do that!'

 

'Do what?' Sirius smirked.

 

'Sneak up on me. Merlin knows I've had enough of that lately,' Addy muttered.

 

He eyed her up. 'When did you get tits Dara?'

 

She smacked him in the chest with the back of her hand. 'Didn't we talk about you being a prat?'

 

James grabbed her arm and she winced, yanking it back. 'What the fuck happened?'

 

'Relax, I catch the snitch with my right hand,' she wiggled her fingers in James's face. 'I can still play just fine.' He scowled.

 

Remus gripped her arm gingerly by her hand and pulled it in front of his eyes. 'This looks like a curse burn.'

 

'Did your father do that one too?' Sirius asked.

 

Addy pressed her lips together and sighed, pulling her arm away. 'Look, I'm fine. Really.' She bent and closed the lid to her trunk before standing up. They were all frowning at her. Even Peter, who was standing silently behind the other three.

 

'We heard you and your sister,' Remus said.

 

'Good for you,' she muttered sarcastically.

 

'She told on you?' James said.

 

'Again,' Sirius scoffed. 'What happened?'

 

Addy took a deep breath and looked at him blankly. 'Paul.'

 

He frowned, his eyes full of concern, and handed her a flask. She took a few deep gulps before handing it back with a small smile. 'You should see Madam Pomfrey when we get to Hogwarts,' Remus said. 'See if she has anything to put on that.'

 

'I will take that into consideration,' Addy nodded, then caught sight of a flash of gold on his robes and smiled. 'They couldn't have made a better choice for prefect.'

 

Remus smiled. 'Thank you.'

 

'I resent that,' Sirius said.

 

'Do you really?'

 

He chuckled. 'No.'

 

Addy found Marlene in a compartment with Mary and Lily and decided to join them. After spending so much time with Marlene last year because of Alice, she felt comfortable around her. And Mary and Lily weren't so bad. Lily had also been named prefect, so she left the compartment after a few moments for some meeting and didn't come back until halfway through the ride as she had stopped to talk with that Snape boy. Honestly, Addy didn't know why she was friends with him at all. He grew increasingly creepy as time went on and had taken up hanging round Avery and Mulciber, which didn't bode well for anyone.

 

Dorcas Meadows joined them at one point to chat with Marlene, and Addy left for a while to talk to Sam who was sat in a compartment with Arnie and John. She met Wood in the corridor on her way back, who at least tried to hide the fact he was eyeing her up. What had they said about silly boys...? Wood waxed lyrical about needing to find a third chaser and their need to hold trials quickly and how this was his last year to win the quidditch cup. He didn't seem to appreciate Addy reminding him they had won both his fourth and fifth years, as he retorted that it was his only chance as captain. She rolled her eyes at that.

 

 


Chapter 16: Chapter 16
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The year started with the Professors launching right into their talks about the importance of OWLs, a seemingly daft new DADA professor, and an abrupt shift in the weather into autumn.

Addy hadn't noticed any significant change in herself, however she did notice a major increase in the male attention she was getting that year compared with previously. While it mostly made her feel awkward and uncomfortable, a few more charming blokes did manage to make it flattering, which led to a few dalliances in broom cupboards, including her biggest mistake in David Gillem. He had been particularly charming during that Charms class, no pun intended, that Addy happened to be having a rather low self-esteem day, so they took a walk to a broom cupboard on the third floor and spent a little time alone. While it made her feel better momentarily, he wasn't that good of a snog and Addy ended up feeling worse about herself. She found herself drinking and smoking more on top of it all.

After just two weeks Wood had decided to hold quidditch trials to fill the one open position for Gryffindor's team. While there were only about four hopefuls, three boys, and that Jones girl from the previous year, there was a much larger group of girls without brooms that appeared to be whispering and giggling. 'Ugh. Fangirls,' Addy muttered.

Marlene's delicate nose crinkled in dislike. 'They're pathetic.'

Sirius scoffed while James said, 'oh please, like you two can talk.'

Addy's brow knitted. 'What are you on about?' Marlene said in a bored tone.

'There's just as many blokes here to gape at you,' Sirius said.

'And half of them aren't even in our house,' James added indignantly.

'That has to be against the rules,' Sirius said.

Addy shook her head. 'Can't be really. Trials are open,' she said with a frown, crossing her arms in front of her.

'That's not going to help,' Sirius said, giving her a pointed look. Her frown deepened.

'I hope this Jones girl has been practicing and is a better shot this year,' Marlene said.

Addy nodded. 'We need another girl on the team.' James scoffed. 'To keep it even,' she added, wide eyed. He rolled his eyes.

It turned out that Jones had, in fact, been practicing, and was exceptionally good; she was even better than Marlene at that point, though Addy assured Marlene that she wasn't. After trials Marlene and Addy decided to drink some firewhiskey because, you know, why not? They were both single and didn't feel like doing their coursework that night. Lily was out doing rounds thankfully, so they drank in their dorm room, and Mary decided to join them. Over time Addy had grown comfortable with Marlene. She was witty, loud, and rather vulgar, which she thoroughly enjoyed. She gave her a laugh. And she was really starting to like Mary too. She wasn't quite as loud and vulgar as Marlene, but she was laid back and went with the flow and was also quite witty, and she shared a lot of the same views as Addy. Lily would hang round them too, though not as often. She was definitely witty, the brightest in their year. Lily was one of the world's most beautiful people in Addy's opinion. The type that you really want to hate, they're so perfect, but then to top it all she was the most caring person she had ever met, and Addy couldn't help but like her. It was terribly annoying how lovely Lily was.

As it was, Addy, Marlene, and Mary had made a solid dent in Marlene's bottle, when they decided what they now needed was chips. On the way down to the common room Addy tripped and took the remaining stairs on her arse. Marlene snorted with laughter and Mary shushed her loudly. 'Well that's the most action my arse has seen in weeks,' Addy muttered. Marlene and Mary both laughed.

'That's not what you said yesterday,' Marlene said in a sing-song voice.

'Shh, that was supposed to be a secret,' Addy said grinning.

'Tsk-tsk, keeping secrets Nott?' Addy froze, Marlene and Mary close behind her, the three of them looking like they had been caught out. 'Merlin, are you three pissed?' Sirius went on, smirking.

'Nooo...' Addy said, while Marlene made a 'pff' sound. Mary nodded her head.

Sirius, James, and Peter sniggered, while Remus grinned from their spot by the fire. 'Whatever,' Marlene muttered. 'Let's just go.' Mary and Addy nodded their affirmation and they crossed the room and scrambled out of the portrait hole.

'Where are you lot going?' James called after them. Apparently, they had decided to follow.

'We're in need of sustenance,' Mary said.

'In way of chips,' Marlene added. Addy nodded. They made it to the kitchen relatively easily, considering they were, in fact, pissed. They sat themselves around the table and they continued chatting while Addy talked with a house elf. She tuned back into the conversation to hear that for whatever reason, James had taken pictures of Sirius starkers. And he had kept them.

'Woah, woah, woah,' Addy said, holding up a hand. Everyone looked at her expectantly. 'Let me get this straight. You have pictures. Of yourself. Starkers?'

Sirius smirked. 'Yes.'

'Why do you have pictures of yourself starkers?' She paused, raising her eyebrows at him as though she were concerned. 'And I don't?' He grinned. James, Remus, and Mary sniggered. Marlene snorted with laughter and pushed Addy, a little too hard, as she fell off the bench. 'Oi! I was only joking!'

'No, you weren't!' Marlene sniggered.

'I know,' Addy laughed out. 'Oo, chips!' She said suddenly, jumping up and reclaiming her seat, tucking in quickly.

'You know, this would be great with some cheese,' Mary said.

'Is this girl for real?' James said.

'Hmm?'

'Tell me you're taking the mick.'

Addy shook her head. 'I would never joke about something so...' She looked at Sirius. 'Serious,' she smirked. They all sniggered.

'You're mad,' James said.

'Barking,' she nodded, shoving another chip in her mouth.

'So, did you hear?' Marlene said thickly through a mouthful of chips.

'Hmm?'

'This lot have been calling themselves...the Marauders.' She pointed across the table at the boys who frowned while Mary sniggered.

Addy paused with a chip halfway to her mouth. 'Makes sense,' she shrugged, and ate the chip. The boys looked at her in surprise.

'What?' Marlene gaped at her.

'How?' Mary asked.

Addy finished chewing and swallowed. 'Well, we're Gryffindors.' She picked up another chip.

'And?' Marlene said, her brow knitted in confusion.

'And...they're boys.' The boys were watching the exchange with amused expressions.

Mary leaned forward. 'I don't get it.'

Addy sighed. 'We're Gryffindors,' she gestured around the table. 'So, we're lions. And they're boys. Or males.' Mary and Marlene looked at her blankly. 'Haven't you ever heard of marauding male lions?' Addy said skeptically.

'No,' Mary said flatly.

'Have you?' Marlene said indignantly.

'No,' Addy deadpanned. James and Sirius sniggered, Remus smirked, and Peter was looking at her with an expression akin to awe. 'Marauding male lions are a group of male lions...roughly teen aged...that hang round together and cause trouble. Males don't usually hang round together. It's usually like...one male per group of females...any roads, if I remember correctly, they also team up to kill the young of the pride.' She pointed a chip at them, narrowing her eyes. 'Best tell Lily to keep an eye on the first years.' James quirked a brow, Remus smirked.

'Brilliant,' Sirius muttered, eyeing her up. Addy grinned back at him and he winked at her.

 

A few weeks later, after a Saturday practice, Addy and Marlene came back to their dorm, and joined Mary for a drink, or ten, of firewhiskey. Once again, they decided they needed sustenance once they were well and truly sloshed and headed towards the kitchens. Though that time around, they weren't as lucky. 'Bugger, it's Mrs. Norris,' Addy hissed.

'Why do you think she's called Mrs. Norris?' Marlene mused. 'Who's Mr. Norris?'

'And if she's married to him, then why is she with Filch?' Mary went on.

'Will you two shut it?' Addy laughed out as they started down a passage.

'Bollucks, the cat's following,' Mary grumbled when they heard the loud meow behind them.

'We need a quick getaway,' Marlene muttered.

Addy nodded. 'Glisseo.' They shot down the chute the stairs had turned into, Mrs. Norris following quickly, yowling. 'Duro,' Addy shouted, once they had passed through the tapestry at the end of the stairs.

'Did it work?' Marlene breathed. When they heard the soft thump and loud yowl of Mrs. Norris as she hit the stone wall, the three girls erupted into wheezy, drunken, sniggers.

'I'd say so,' Addy said. Mary suddenly doubled over and chundered on the floor, which Marlene apparently found hilarious, as her voice went up about five octaves and she laughed out something neither Addy or Mary could understand.

'Sod off, McKinnon,' Mary said with a smile as she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.

Addy vanished the puddle of sick with her wand. 'Are you speaking Mermish?' She laughed, looking at Marlene. She suddenly adopted a high pitched, breathy voice, and squealed out an indistinguishable string of sounds in imitation of her and Marlene’s laughter became silent.

'You're going to make me wet myself,' Mary giggled, crossing her legs.

'We need to move along,' Addy sniggered, looking around. 'Filch is bound to show up with all this noise.' The yowling of Mrs. Norris could still be heard as they finally continued toward the kitchens.


Chapter 17: Chapter 17
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On the first Tuesday in November, the fifth year Gryffindors trekked down to the dungeons for the potions classroom, their first class of the day. Lily, as was usual, went to sit toward the left side in the front row next to Snape, while Marlene, Addy, and Mary sat to the right in the middle row, and the four boys sat behind in the back row. Once they had gotten their ingredients and were starting to prepare them, Mary frowned toward Lily, who was talking in fervent murmurs with Snape. ‘What could they be talking about so adamantly?’

Addy and Marlene followed her gaze. ‘The quality of the lacewing flies?’ Marlene mused.

Addy shrugged. ‘They’re supposed to be best mates, yeah? So, like…best mate things?’

Mary smiled. ‘Like what?’

‘You know. ‘Oh, Sev, did you hear?’’ Addy said, adopting a soft tone.  ‘’That one Hufflepuff girl is going with that git from Ravenclaw. She deserves so much better, don’t you think?’ ‘I don’t know that anyone, bar you, deserves better, my dear Lily,’’ she said in a deeper tone.

Marlene laughed lightly. ‘He wouldn’t say that to her.’

‘Maybe not out loud, but it’s written all over his face,’ Addy said with a smile, and Marlene hummed in agreement. ‘Then, of course, they make plans to do things together, you know? Like, ‘oh Sev, do you want to get together after dinner to work on the potions essay?’ ‘Oh, I don’t know Lily. That might cut into my brooding time. You know how I like to brood.’ ‘Please Sev? You have such a way with potions. I’m sure it won’t take too long. Can’t you spare an hour or two?’’

‘’I’ll have to check my schedule,’’ Mary said in a deeper tone, playing along.

‘’But Sev, I though you said your schedule was ruined by an errant grease stain?’’

‘’Lily! I thought we agreed never to speak of my errant grease stains? You know how sensitive I am about them.’’

‘’I’m sorry, but if you would just use that lemon shampoo I got you, I’m sure it wouldn’t be such a problem.’’

Mary shook her head. ‘’No, Lily. You know how I feel about lemons. When life hands you lemons…’’

‘‘You say, fuck the lemons and bail, I know.’’ Marlene laughed out loudly, and Addy grinned while switching her stirring from clockwise to counterclockwise, glancing over her shoulder when the low chuckles behind her, told her they had had an audience. She smirked to herself, looking back to her cauldron to alter the heat of the fire beneath it.

After lunch the fifth year Gryffindors made their way to Defense Against the Dark Arts. Marlene had taken to asking the Defense Professor questions in order to rile him up. On that day, their discussion was on inferi, and Addy propped her chin on her hand, her elbow on the desk, as she watched with rapt attention, as Marlene's hand shot in the air. 'Yes, Miss McKinnon,' the professor acknowledged her warily.

'Yeah, I was wondering. Inferi are dead bodies animated by a dark wizard and all, but...could you use the inferi for anything really? What if I wanted an army to like...dance maybe? Do they have to be used for dark purposes?' Addy chuckled lowly, cutting off with a cough when the professor looked at her sharply. She spaced out then, imagining what a dancing army of inferi might entail. She only snapped out of her daydream when a hand was waved in front of her face.

'Wake up Dolly-daydream,' Lily chuckled. 'Class is over.'

Addy looked around to see that most of the class had already emptied out. 'Oh. Right.' She stood and started toward the common room with Lily. 'So how do you think inferi would dance?' Addy asked, once they had caught up with Mary and Marlene.

'What the bloody hell are they doing?' James said bemusedly.

Sirius followed his gaze to the portrait hole where the girls were...he shrugged. 'Girly things?'

A small smile spread across Remus's lips. 'I think they're dancing inferi...' He said as Marlene laughed loudly while Addy moved around jerkily. Mary then threw her head and arms back and shimmied her torso. Addy leant over, clutching her stomach in breathy laughter. 'You should ask her now.' Sirius scowled.

'Ask who what?' James said.

'Ask Addy to come to his birthday party.'

'I'm inviting all of them. They're all my friends,' he shrugged nonchalantly.

'Yeah, yeah, sure. Whatever,' Remus waved him off. 'Just go ask her.'

Sirius huffed. 'Fine. I'll go ask them.' He got up and shuffled over to the girls.

James shook his head after him. 'He's in denial. He completely fancies her.'

'Like you can talk Prongs,' said Peter.

James scoffed. 'I'm not in denial.'

Remus chuckled. 'Touché.'

'Hullo, Dara,' Sirius greeted with a smile.

She smiled back brightly, straightening up. 'Sirius. To what do we owe the pleasure?'

'I, ah...was just letting you...all, know. We're having my birthday party here in the common room on Saturday. You're welcome to attend if you like. There'll be firewhiskey.'

'You had me at firewhiskey,' Marlene grinned.

'Sure,' said Lily.

'Ok,' Mary nodded.

‘Oh, that’s right,’ Addy said, looking down at her watch where a tiny moon and stars slowly rotated around the rim. ‘Happy birthday,’ she said, stepping forward and quickly kissing his cheek. Sirius cursed internally as he felt his cheeks heat up. He saw Marlene smirk from the corner of his eye. ‘Many happy returns.’

He cleared his throat awkwardly, inclining his head. ‘Thank you.’

'Sorry, I don't have a gift for you.'

He waved her off lightly. 'Bring it to the party.'

So, on Saturday the Marauders held their party for Sirius. It was the usual big do, with food, drinking, music, and dancing. Sirius was having the time of his life really, just drinking and taking the piss with the other Marauders. But Dara kept catching his eye from where she was dancing with Lily, smiling brightly and drinking a firewhiskey. She was wearing some flowy white top and dark bellbottom jeans, and her hair was down in its usual golden waves. As Peter switched the record over, he saw her fanning her flushed face with her hand and mutter something to Lily before she moved to leave the common room. He made a quick excuse and followed her out of the portrait hole. 'Oi, where are you going?'

She turned around from where she was stood halfway down the corridor, grinning widely when she saw him. 'Sirius, hey.' She shrugged as he caught her up. 'Just needed a bit of air.'

He nodded. 'Mind if I join you?'

'I do, actually. Could you just stay here?' She said in mock seriousness, making him laugh. 'Are you sure you won't be missed?'

'It's my party,' he shrugged. 'I can leave if I like.'

'Alright then,' she laughed, opening a door to an empty classroom. She walked to the other side of the room, pulling out her wand, and unlocked the window, pushing it open. 'It was getting stuffy in there with so many people,' she muttered, smiling as the crisp night air hit her warm cheeks.

'Yeah,' he smiled, watching her quietly from the door.

She turned to face him, leaning against the windowsill. 'So, how was your birthday? Did you get everything you wanted?'

'Not exactly,' he said quietly.

'No? What're you missing then?' Sirius bit his lip, searching her face, before he crossed the room to stand before her. He reached up slowly, cupping her cheeks, something he'd been wanting to do since Christmas. He couldn't get the feel of her soft skin against his out of his mind. Her breath hitched in her throat.

'This,' he murmured, before pressing his lips softly to hers. She tasted like strawberries and firewhiskey and she smelled like vanilla and lilac. Her skin was just as soft as he remembered, and he was just pulling her closer to deepen the kiss-

'Padfood! Padfoot! You in there?' Sirius was snapped back to present by James who was waving a hand in his face. 'Where were you mate? Looked like you were miles away.'

He hadn't gone after her at all it seemed. He was still sat on the couch with James, Remus, and Peter, taking shots of firewhiskey. He shook his head, trying to clear it. 'Not so far...just down the hall really,' he laughed, sitting forward to take the shot glass from the table. He really needed to get a grip on himself. If he didn't know better, he might think he actually did fancy her.


Chapter 18: Chapter 18
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A/N: Though I would hope it were obvious, I thought I should throw out there the comment that if you recognize any part of my story, chances are I was influenced by someone else, and therefore cannot lay claim to it.

 


 

 

A few days later, Addy was listening to Marlene have a whinge about something or other, she couldn’t really follow, though she tried to offer the occasional hums or nods in response to show she was paying attention, as they walked back to the castle after quidditch practice. ‘Shite,’ Addy exclaimed sympathetically.

‘Yes, that is definitely what I need to do,’ Marlene laughed, causing Addy to chuckle.

‘Who is that?’ Addy said bemusedly, as they witnessed a figure emerge from the oak front doors, quickly descending over the grounds.

‘I think it’s Mary,’ Marlene said, quickening her pace toward her.

‘Odd…what’s she doing out here this time of night?’ Addy said slowly, ‘did she just take off her robes?’ she added quickly, as the two broke into a run.

‘Oi, Mary!’ Marlene shouted. Mary stalled her walking, yet only briefly, glancing toward them before she pulled her school jumper over her head. ‘Mary, what are you doing?’ she asked as they converged on either side of her.

‘Going for a swim. I’m to meet the mermaids,’ she said dreamily.

‘Don’t be ridiculous Mary,’ Marlene laughed, ‘the Black Lake is freezing, you’ll catch your death,’ she said grabbing hold of Mary’s arm.

Mary shrugged out of Marlene’s grasp, continuing toward the lake. ‘I’m to ask them about their staff…and if it can be used on a witch…’

Addy’s expression tightened, and she grabbed hold of Mary by both of her arms, looking into her eyes intently, her own eyes widening in fearful surprise. ‘She’s got the imperius on her!’

‘What?’ Marlene shrieked, ‘how is that possible?’

‘I don’t know,’ Addy said through gritted teeth, trying to grab onto Mary, ‘but maybe it’s a discussion we should have after the fact. Sodding Hell!’ she yelped, stumbling back in pain as Mary had flailed wildly in her attempts to escape, her elbow making solid contact with Addy’s nose, where blood was now spurting excessively. Addy paused to swipe hastily at her face, which really didn’t help matters. Marlene had doubled her efforts to halt Mary’s progress toward the frigid waters, succeeding by clinging desperately to one of Mary’s arms with both of hers. ‘Bugger this,’ Addy muttered, before promptly tackling Mary to the ground and laying across her shoulders.

‘Why don’t we bring our wands to practice?’ Marlene panted.

‘Go get someone to help!’ Addy grunted, as Mary continued to struggle beneath her.

‘Oh. Right.’ Marlene turned and ran back toward the castle, but fortunately didn’t have to go far, as James, Sirius, and Steve, were just returning from quidditch practice. While James, Marlene, and Steve brought the writhing form of Mary toward the infirmary, Sirius helped Addy to her feet and took her hand in his to guide her as her nose and eyes were now so swollen her vision had blurred.

‘That looks broken,’ Sirius murmured, running a finger over the bridge of her nose delicately.

Addy winced slightly, trying to play it off with a one shouldered shrug. ‘Nothing Madam Pomfrey can’t handle…’ her brow knitted as she looked in the direction of their clasped hands, stuffing the sleeve of her other arm to her nose in attempt to stave off the flow of blood. ‘Won’t Marlene have a problem with this?’ she asked, lifting their hands slightly.

Sirius paused his walking and looked at her bemusedly. ‘And why would she?’

‘Aren’t you two together?’

His brow knitted. ‘That was last year. And it didn’t last long. We’re too much alike.’

‘Oh, right,’ she nodded, ‘I can see that. Mary then? You’re with her now?’ she said as they started walking again.

Sirius shook his head. ‘That ended before it even started.’

‘Oh?... but then. Who’d I see you with the other day? After quidditch practice? Girl with dark hair innit?’

His shoulders tensed. ‘That was nothing. Just a snog. A one-off.’

Addy frowned. ‘Oh…ok. If you say so.’

Sirius glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. ‘Why? Am I making you uncomfortable?’

She shook her head. ‘I just didn’t want to upset anyone if you had a girlfriend.’ Honestly, Addy normally did feel uncomfortable holding hands, but for whatever reason, maybe it was the circumstances, his seemed to off her comfort.

‘Well, I don’t.’

‘Ok.’

Once they had reached the hospital wing, Sirius directed Addy to a bed across from Mary’s, where Madam Pomfrey continued her complicated spellwork. Professor Dumbledore looked up at them from where he was stood next to Mary’s bed with Marlene, James, and Steve. ‘Ah, Miss Nott, Miss McKinnon was just recounting how the two of you came across Miss Macdonald leaving the castle for the Black Lake this evening?’

‘Yedd, Pwofeddowr,’ Addy nodded, still trying to manage the persistently heavy flow of blood, pouring from her nose. Professor Dumbledore gave a small smile, waving his wand toward her and silently mending her broken nose. Addy breathed a sigh of relief when the sharp, burning sensation had ebbed away. ‘Thank you, Professor,’ she said, gingerly palpating her nose.

‘You are quite welcome,’ he smiled before his expression turned somber. ‘Miss McKinnon also said that you were the one to recognize that our Mary here was under the imperius curse?’

‘Yes, Professor,’ Addy said. Dumbledore nodded, gazing at her knowingly over his half moon spectacles. Madam Pomfrey muttered something to Professor Dumbledore, who nodded, turning back toward Mary, who was now lying in her bed placidly.

‘What’s he doing to her, now?’ Marlene said fretfully as she moved to sit next to Addy on her bed.

‘I think he’s trying to use legilimency to figure out who did this to her,’ Addy said quietly.

‘You all need to leave now, and let the Headmaster concentrate on his work,’ Madam Pomfrey stated, pushing James and Steve along in front of her.

‘But can’t I stay here with Mary? She’s going to be alright, isn’t she?’ Marlene said worriedly.

‘No, you most certainly may not stay. This girl has been cursed. She needs rest. But I’m sure she’ll be fine McKinnon. The Headmaster knows what he’s doing.’ Marlene nodded, though she didn’t look convinced.

‘Don’t worry Marls, I’m sure Mary will be fine,’ Addy said, hoping she sounded sure. She wasn’t the best at comforting people.

‘Yeah,’ James said confidently. ‘Dumbledore’s the greatest wizard alive. Mary’s in the best hands possible. He’s got this, no sweat.’

‘That’s true,’ Marlene said quietly with a small smile, as James threw an arm around her shoulders in a friendly manner. Addy frowned. She wished she could do that, but whenever she tried to be consoling, it always ended up feeling strained and awkward.

‘You ok?’ Sirius asked, squeezing Addy’s hand. She nearly jumped out of her skin, having forgotten he was holding her hand, but managed to cover with a shrug.

‘Yeah…I just,’ she struggled to put her thoughts in order. ‘Who would do something like that to Mary?’

Sirius shook his head angrily. ‘Clearly one of those wannabe Death Eater, Slytherin, pieces-of-shite, trouser snakes,’ he spat.

Addy’s eyebrows shot up her forehead and she stopped in surprise, bringing Sirius to a halt with her, who gave her a questioningly look. ‘Yes, clearly…’ she said carefully. ‘I meant more specifically.’

He shrugged, looking down the corridor to where the others had reached the portrait hole. ‘We’ll just have to wait for Mary to tell us,’ he said, tugging her along again.

‘If Dumbledore can get it out of her.’

He looked at her sideways. ‘You don’t think he can?’

Addy shrugged. ‘If anyone could it’d be him. I just know it’s tricky business.’ Sirius nodded. ‘You know, I think my vision has cleared enough that I can find my way through the portrait hole,’ she said, looking pointedly at their joined hands and suddenly smirking at him.

He laughed lightly. ‘Right,’ he said, dropping her hand and hoping his cheeks didn’t betray him.

By the time Addy made it up to her dorm room, Marlene had finished telling Lily of the events of the evening. ‘But who would do something like that to Mary?’ Lily said quietly.

‘Bloody Slytherin, wannabe, Death Eater obviously,’ Marlene ground out darkly.

Addy frowned, crossing to her bed where she didn’t even bother to change out of her quidditch kit before she had collapsed onto her duvet. ‘You sound like Sirius,’ she muttered, more to herself than to anyone else.

Next day Marlene left the dormitory to visit Mary in the infirmary before the others had managed to stir in their beds, returning just as Lily and Addy were descending the stairs to the common room. ‘Mulciber,’ Marlene growled without explanation.

Lily’s brows knitted.

‘I know our fathers may associate with each other, but please do not address me as that troglodyte,’ Addy said with mock indignation.

Marlene huffed, obviously not amused. ‘Mulciber is the one what done that to Mary.’

‘Well, he’ll be expelled, surely,’ Lily stated.

Marlene shrugged. ‘Dumbledore said ‘he’d take care of it’ apparently. Whatever that means.’

‘But he used an unforgivable! He deserves to be in Azkaban!’ Addy said indignantly.

Marlene held her hands up in mock surrender. ‘You don’t have to convince me.’

Mary was released from the hospital wing a few days later, and while Mulciber was gifted with a shit ton of detentions, he most certainly was not expelled, which quite frankly didn’t sit well with Mary’s friends. While they weren’t privy to the extent of his punishment, his continued presence at Hogwarts told them it was not enough, so they decided to take matters into their own hands. Marlene and Addy would hex him frequently with Lily turning a blind eye, even joining in sometimes, as they felt he deserved it. And the Marauders upped their pranking of the Slytherin, to the point of almost being malicious, as again, he deserved it by their reasoning.


Chapter 19: Chapter 19
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Within a few practices, the three chasers for the Gryffindor quidditch team had established quite the dynamic, and it was clear they were an even better team than the year prior. Though Addy still missed Alice dearly, that Gwenog wasn't half bad really.

They won their first match in the third week of November against Ravenclaw, and had a celebratory party in the common room after. The team, along with a few stragglers, were huddled around a table in front of the fire, taking shots of firewhiskey, and at some point, had started playing a rousing game of dare (because really, who wants to share truths?)

'I dare you to lick Stebbins's mole,' Wood said to Sirius, who grimaced. Michael Stebbins was a sixth year, currently stood in the corner by the fireplace, with a large, rather hairy mole, on his neck.

'Who's idea was this?' Marlene muttered from Addy's side.

'Wood's.'

'No, not the dare, the game.'

Addy's face screwed up in thought. 'Still Wood I think...' Marlene grunted.

Stebbins whirled around and shoved Sirius after he licked his neck and the lot of them laughed loudly. Sirius came back and took a shot before reclaiming his seat on Addy's other side. 'Right. My turn. Marlene.'

'Hmm?'

'I dare you...to serenade Moo-Remus!'

Marlene smirked. That girl wasn't shy at all. Remus however, had gone a delicate shade of pink. 'Any song in particular?' She asked.

'Anything but Celestina Warbeck,' Addy mumbled.

Sirius glanced at Addy sideways. 'Surprise us,' he said to Marlene.

Marlene chewed her lip for a moment, thinking, then stood and walked around the table to kneel in front of Remus's chair. His face turned red. 'It's a little bit funny. This feeling inside. I'm not one of those who can easily hide,' the common room went quiet around them and Remus had turned maroon, but Marlene didn't seem to notice as she continued to belt out her song.

'This song sounds familiar, who is it?' Addy muttered to Sirius.

He shrugged. 'Muggle singer...don't remember his name.'

She nodded. 'She's pretty good, isn't she?' Sirius nodded absent mindedly.

Gwenog cat called suddenly and still Marlene continued. She seemed to be putting a lot of feeling into it and Remus was watching her intently, despite looking thoroughly uncomfortable with being the center of attention. Addy wondered if she was missing something there. 'He's lucky you didn't ask me,' Addy murmured to Sirius. 'I'm a rubbish singer.'

He smiled. 'Killing two birds with one curse then, really.' Well, that sounded suspicious. Marlene finished her song and stood to bow as various people clapped and cheered. Remus looked pretty pleased with himself.

'Right then,' Marlene sat next to Addy again and fixed her with a look.

'Shite,' she muttered.

Malene grinned wickedly. 'Addy.' She braced herself. 'I dare you...to dance.' Addy looked at her blankly. Was that it? 'On the table...' Addy quirked a brow. 'In your nighty.' A few people chuckled and Addy frowned.

'I don't have a nighty.'

'Course you do! It's a pureblood staple.'

'Mm. I sell things like that.'

'You sell them?'

'Mmhmm.'

'Why?'

Addy rolled her eyes. 'Too many reasons to go through right now. What do you want me to do instead?'

Marlene smirked. 'Dance in what you do wear to bed.'

Addy frowned. 'Can't I just do it in this?' She gestured to her undershirt and trousers. 'It's basically the same.'

'Those shorts you wear to sleep are pretty skimpy,' Marlene smirked. Sirius sounded as if he had choked on his drink. Addy sighed. 'Fine, fine,' Marlene waved. 'Let's see it then.'

Addy rolled her eyes and took another shot, before she stood and pulled off her quidditch robes and everyone sat around the table hastily removed their glasses. She climbed up on the table and looked back at Marlene. 'I'm not really sure what you want me to do...there isn't even any music.'

'Oh, grow a pair,' Marlene rolled her eyes.

'I did,' Addy said, gesturing to her chest. 'I think they turned out quite nicely.'

'I'll second that,' Sirius smirked and Addy narrowed her eyes at him, but failed to suppress a smile.

'I know you've got a few songs in your head, you sing to yourself all the time when you think no one can hear you. Now quit stalling and get to it,' Marlene waved at Addy.

She sighed and looked to the ceiling for her Gryffindor courage, finding none, though it had helped that she'd had quite a bit of liquid courage. As she began to plie, eleve, passe, jete, glissade, pas de bourree, but as she began to pirouette, her liquid courage made her go dizzy, and on the third turn she slipped and fell right off the table and into Sirius's lap. 'So sorry,' Addy mumbled.

'S'alright,' he said amusedly as he righted her in her own chair. 'Are you?' He added, when she tipped to the side again.

'Yeah...' She breathed. 'Just a bit dizzy.'

He smirked. 'S'your turn.'

Addy sat up straighter, her eyes brightening. 'Right!' She smiled and looked around the circle. Who hadn't gone yet? 'Potter!' She exclaimed. Sirius flinched. 'I dare you...to run around shouting 'I'm the King of the castle!'

'S'that it?' He asked.

'No,' Addy smirked. 'Wearing this.' She summoned the glittery pink tiara she knew Mary had from her birthday.

'Hey!'

Addy waved her off. 'And in your skivies,' she pointed at him. Marlene and Remus laughed loudly.

'Trying to get me in my skivies, Nott?' A few people sniggered.

'Pff,' she waved her hand at him. 'You're just the only one who hasn't gone.'

He smirked and stood up, stripping down to his pants without batting an eyelash. Addy handed him the tiara and he placed it jauntily atop his head, then took off around the common room shouting, 'I'm the king of the castle!' When he came back he sat down in his pants, still wearing the tiara. He was so full of himself, but to be fair, he was pretty fit. Addy might have been interested if it wasn't already blaringly obvious who he fancied. He took a shot and rubbed his hands together excitedly. 'Right then. Everyone's gone, so we can pick whoever?' They all mumbled agreement. 'Ok...Wood. I dare you...to kiss...the most attractive person in the room.'

'Who?'

'Whoever you think,' James said.

'Most attractive female,' Sirius said. 'Let's be clear her Pr-James. Most attractive female. Because really, if we just say person, let's face it, I'd smoke all you witches.' He smirked and Addy tried to suppress her smile but nodded at him mockingly.

‘It’s true,’ she said patronizingly. Sirius didn't seem to hear her comment as he was too busy narrowing his eyes over her shoulder. Addy turned around in time for Wood's lips to come crashing into hers. Her eyes widened, and she pulled back. 'Wood! What are you doing?'

'Kissing the most attractive person in the room.'

'Female,' Sirius muttered.

'Don't you have a girlfriend?' She whisper-shouted, glancing around. 'Who is now glaring at me like I asked you to kiss me.'

'I was just doing my dare.' He knelt in front of Addy and gripped her arms. 'He said kiss the most attractive person and you are.'

'Probably don't want to tell Susie...Sally...'

'Sharon,' Wood said.

'Right. Don't say that to Sharon.'

'Go to Hogsmeade with me?' He said quietly.

'What?' She squeaked. 'You have a girlfriend.'

He looked in her eyes. 'So? What about it?'

Addy took a deep breath. 'So, I'm not going to Hogsmeade with someone else's boyfriend.'

'What if I wasn't her boyfriend? Then would you go with me?'

She gaped at him. 'I...I mean I guess, but-'

'Sharon,' he said loudly.

Her eyes widened. 'I didn't mean for you to break up with her right now!'

'I want to go with you,' he said quietly, before he stood up and walked over to where Sharon was stood. Addy stared blankly ahead, gobsmacked, unable to process what had just happened. She did sort of fancy him, and they had been talking and, she thought, flirting at practice all year. She guessed that was confirmed then. She felt a little stuck in the middle though. Like she was breaking them up. Which she supposed she was. But she didn't like it.

'You ok?' Marlene said quietly.

Addy shook her head. 'I think I'm going to go to bed, I...I'm not feeling so well now, you know?' Marlene nodded as Addy stood and quickly left the common room. She hadn't even seen Sirius scowling through their whole exchange.

 

Next day Addy's plan was to avoid Wood, but he was sat in the common room, waiting at the bottom of the stairs when she finally came down the stairs around eleven. She tried to walk past, but he jumped up and grabbed her arm. 'Addy c'mon. I broke up with Sharon for you. Go to Hogsmeade with me next weekend.'

She looked at the floor. 'You put me in the middle...' She shook her head. 'Why did you have to break up with her like that? She's going to hate me. She'll blame me for it.'

'So? We've been dancing around this for weeks now. You've no idea how bad I've wanted to kiss you. I just didn't have the guts before. Please?'

Addy shook her head. 'I've got to go. I'm meeting Sam.'

'Sam? C'mon Addy, you're choosing him?'

'He's helping me with Herbology. We already had this planned.'

'Alright. Just say you'll go to Hogsmeade with me then.'

She shook her head again. 'I don't know Wood. Just let me have a think on it ok? I need to process.'

'Fine,' he sighed, 'practice tomorrow.'

Addy nodded and he let her pass. She went to the library and met up with Sam, as planned, though she couldn't concentrate, and he could tell. 'We'll meet up in a few days, when your minds not off in the clouds,' he smiled.

'I'm sorry.'

'S'alright. Something you want to talk about?'

She shook her head. 'I just need to have a think on it really.'

He nodded. 'Alright then. Tuesday?'

She nodded back. 'After dinner?'

'I've got quidditch practice. Before dinner? Say...half five?'

She smiled. 'Sure. Thanks Sam.'

'No problem.'

 

Monday came around and Addy still couldn't concentrate. She earned herself a detention for spacing out in transfiguration again. At dinner she poked halfheartedly at her jacket potatoes.

'If you don't want to go with him, you could just say you're going with us to get dress robes for the Yule Ball,' Marlene suggested.

'Bollocks,' Addy muttered. 'I'd forgotten about that.'

'No matter, that's what I'm here for. To remind you of these things.'

By the end of practice, Addy still hadn't made up her mind when Wood steered her around the other side of the locker rooms. 'Addy, what do you say? Be my girlfriend?'

'What? I thought it was just a date to Hogsmeade you wanted?'

He shook his head. 'I fancy you. And you fancy me, don't you?'

She glanced at him. 'Well, yeah...'

'So, be my girlfriend. And go to Hogsmeade with me.'

'I dunno...'

'C'mon, do you want to?'

'Well...I guess but-'

'But nothing! If you want to, then do it.'

Addy looked at him properly and smiled. He didn't wait for a verbal response and was suddenly kissing her hard, pushing her up against the wall. She found his enthusiasm delighting, and soon lost herself in the kiss, matching it with her own. After some time, a gasp and muttered curse from behind Wood caused Addy to pull away. Wood continued to stare at her, holding her tight. Sirius stood there. Something flashed in his eyes before a blank expression spread across his face. Odd.

'Sorry...didn't know you were...together. Back here.'

'Something you need Black?' Wood said, without turning round.

Addy was starting to feel uncomfortable so she pushed him away with a look. He frowned.

'No...I'll just...I'll put the crate away myself, shall I?'

'Yeah, that'd be great, thanks.'

Addy smiled apologetically at Sirius, who pressed his lips together and nodded curtly before stalking off.

'So?' Wood prompted.

'So...?'

'Be my girlfriend?'

Oh...right. Addy had forgotten what they were talking about. She blushed and bit her lip. 'Ok,' she breathed. He grinned and took her face in his hands, kissing her again.

A few days later the fifth-year students were to have their meetings with their heads of house to discuss career paths and their options, so being close to the end in the year group, Addy was scheduled at three o'clock that afternoon. She left herbology early to make her meeting and had just reached the hall that McGonagall's office was located when she passed Marlene. 'How was it?'

'Not bad,' she shrugged. 'You know how McGonagall can be.' Addy nodded. That was an understatement. 'See you at dinner?'

She nodded again. 'Laters.' She entered McGonagall's office after she knocked and was met with a 'come in.'

'Ah, Miss Nott. Right on time. Have a seat,' she gestured to a wooden chair sat on the other side of her desk. Addy took it as indicated, and the professor held out a tartan tin. 'Biscut?'

'Oh...er, thank you,' she said quietly, extracting a ginger newt. McGonagall pulled out a file Addy assumed to be hers and opened it.

'Now Miss Nott, have you given any thought to what you would like to do after you leave Hogwarts?'

Addy nodded. 'Yes, I...I know it might prove difficult for me, but I...I've always wanted to be a healer. Or at least something in that field.'

McGonagall nodded and looked down at the file. 'You seem to have adequate marks. It seems you've improved quite a bit in Herbology over the last year.'

She nodded. 'Yes, I knew it would be important for healer training so I've been working with...a few people.'

McGonagall nodded. 'Well your Potion's marks will be adequate enough for Professor Slughorn to keep you on for NEWTs study with an E. Although you'll want to work a bit harder beyond that, as you'll need an O in your NEWTs for healer training, which shouldn't be too far out of your reach.' Addy nodded. 'You've got the required marks to continue with Transfigurations and Charms, which you'll need. And you have the required marks to continue with your other classes, should you choose to do so, though they aren't required...why would you think it difficult for you Miss Nott?'

She frowned. 'Well...with my family...you see. They don't necessarily approve of my becoming a healer, or anything really, after Hogwarts. They are currently working to arrange my marriage.'

McGonagall frowned so tightly her lips seemed to disappear. 'I see...and you are...still planning to pursue this career?'

Addy nodded. 'There's nothing else I would want to pursue. And I think it's better than pursuing nothing. Plus, I sort of feel like...with everything else my family...my society, has done...it's sort of my duty to give back. And I'm not much of a fighter, so...I want to help people. And I feel like...with the things that have been happening...I think it's only going to get worse and...we'll need all the help we can get really.'

McGonagall handed her a tissue and she suddenly realized she had begun crying at some point. What was wrong with her? Addy never cried... McGonagall studied her for a while, neither of them speaking. The silence was becoming almost unbearable. 'Well,' she finally said. 'I suppose the only thing to do is continue on your current path. If anything changes, we can adjust.' Addy nodded, staring at the half-eaten biscuit in her hand. 'You're free to go Miss Nott.'

Addy nodded and left the office without looking at her. She didn't want to see the look on her face. She was sure it would be pity and she didn't want or need that, from her or anyone else.

 

Next Saturday marked the beginning of December and was the first Hogsmeade trip of the year, and Addy's first official date with Wood. They got some chocolate from Honeyduke's and shared a basket of chips and some butterbeer between snogs in a booth at the back of the Three Broomsticks. After they went to a quiet spot beyond the post office and snogged each other senseless. Their relationship seemed to naturally progress from that point, and while Addy thoroughly enjoyed their time together, Wood always seemed to be pushing the boundaries. Though he never complained and always stopped when she asked, she still felt pressured to do more than she was ready for. In the middle of December, after beating Hufflepuff in the second quidditch match, there was another celebratory party in the common room. Addy drank entirely too much firewhiskey and ended up sleeping with Wood. She woke up feeling entirely freaked out, her feelings for Wood seemingly changing instantaneously. Addy felt taken advantage of and became cross with him for not considering her feelings. When he started questioning her on why she was in a strop with him and had been avoiding him, she lost the plot. He asked if she had feelings for Sam, which he had regularly done for their entire relationship, though that time she confessed that she had, where previously she had denied it. She had decided she wanted out of the relationship and took the cowards way out; she got him to break up with her. 

Next day Addy met up with Sam after quidditch practice, as had become their Friday night ritual, and she told him about her break up from Wood as they sat smoking under the stands. 'Are you alright?' He asked, his eyes full of concern.

'Yeah, I'm fine,' she said with a heavy sigh. 'It just...wasn't what I imagined it would be, you know? I let myself get carried away.' He nodded. 'And now to top it all, I've got to get another date for the sodding ball.' At that point it was only a week out, to be held the Friday before the start of Christmas Holiday.

'Go with me then,' Sam said in a rush.

'I thought you had a date already?'

He shook his head. 'No, I...well, I wasn't even going to go.'

Addy frowned. 'But...we sort of have to, don't we?'

He shrugged. 'S'not like they take attendance. Any roads, now I'll go. What d'you say?'

She paused. 'You mean, like as friends?'

He looked away, his expression unreadable. 'Yeah, sure.'

Addy chewed her lip. 'Ok...yeah. That'd be great. Sounds...fun.'

Sam nodded. 'Great.'

 

The night of the ball the four Marauders got ready together. James spent half an hour just spreading sleekeazy hair potion over his untamable hair trying to get it to lay right, only to conclude that it was a lost cause. While he was looking forward to going with Macdonald, she was a laugh really, he had been rather gutted to find Evans was going with Snivellus. Sirius ran a small amount of the potion through his hair and threw on his dress robes, effortless as ever. He'd probably still be the best looking bloke at the ball, the bastard. Remus had been tittering about the dorm room nervously for the last fortnight, since he'd finally found the stones to ask McKinnon to the ball. Though they'd both been chuffed once he had. Peter was going with some fourth year Hufflepuff named Rita. They strode down to the common at quarter to, to wait it out for McKinnon and Macdonald. Sirius leaned against the couch, feeling bored already. He was going with Meadows. She was an alright bird, but really, it was more out of convenience that they were going together. Finally, at eight o'clock, the girls came down the stairs.  All four girls were beautiful, it was obvious, but Sirius found his eyes drawn to Dara. That seemed to be happening more frequently as time went on and she grew into her looks. She loped down the stairs with her usual effortless grace that could only come from years of conditioning. She had on gold dress robes of some shiny, floaty material that was covered in a layer of lace that went over her arms. Her hair was mostly down and curly. She was smiling softly, seeing Marlene greet Remus, and Remus blush. The whole effect had her looking like she was glowing. She turned her smile to Sirius and he managed to keep his expression passive. 'You look nice,' he said, going for the least pratty thing on his mind.

'You look nice too.' He smiled, seeing her cheeks flush as she failed to hide the fact she was eyeing him up. 'Who're you going with?'

'Dorcas,' he nodded.

'Oh? Are you two...?'

'Together?' She nodded and he shrugged. 'We're going as friends.'

Dara nodded then. 'Me too.' Sirius looked at her questioningly. 'Sam and me. We're going as friends.'

He looked at her skeptically. 'Right.'

She frowned in confusion. 'What's that supposed to mean?'

He shook his head. She really had no idea how he, or anyone really, looked at her. 'Nothing.' They reached the bottom of the stairs where that Hufflepuff git waited for Dara, running a hand through his hair nervously.

'You look great,' he said to her, smiling when she reached him. She smiled back at him and reached up to smooth down his hair.

'I'll see you later then,' Sirius said as he squeezed her elbow quickly and smiled tightly. He needed to get away from that annoying display. And he may as well find his date. Dorcas was stood closer to the doors into the Great Hall. She looked pretty enough in her deep purple dress robes, her brown hair knotted on top of her head. 'Meadows,' Sirius nodded to her and she took his proffered arm, smiling easily.

'Sirius. You clean up nice.'

'Thanks. You too.' They sat with the other Marauders, chatting and laughing easily through dinner, then danced for a few songs, though Dorcas wasn't much of a dancer, and she opted to sit out with Mary and Marlene for a spell. He spotted Dara near the bar talking with a few Hufflepuff birds from their year group, before she'd turned away. Maybe he could steal a dance while that git was off talking with his mates. He ended up meeting her halfway, as she seemed to be moving toward their table, and placed a hand to the small of her back, catching her attention. 'Dance with me Dara?' He breathed close to her ear, and she seemed to shiver, making him smile. She turned, smiling up at him.

'What happened to Dorcas?'

'She's not much of a dancer. She's sitting out for a bit,' he nodded toward the table.

'And you're that desperate for a dance partner you asked me? Don't you have like...a dozen or so fangirls just panting after you to ask them to dance? And I'm, well...not.'

He chuckled at her candor. 'Exactly.' She quirked a brow in question. 'I'd rather dance with you than some giggly girl who'd probably drool on my robes.' She frowned, and he felt a bit miffed. 'C'mon, we're friends, aren't we?'

Dara smiled brightly then. 'Yes, I suppose we are, aren't we?'

He smiled and took her hand, tugging her forward. 'Then dance with me.'

Her smile broadened, and she set down her glass. 'Alright,' she inclined her head. As they made their way onto the dance floor, the song switched over to an upbeat number by the Weird Sisters, so they danced like mad and laughed. After another fast song, a slow song came on, and Dara glanced around hesitantly like she wasn't sure he'd want to dance it with her. So, he held out his hand with a smile.

'One more?'

She smiled back and nodded. 'Alright.' She took his hand and he pulled her close, letting her familiar scent of vanilla and lilac wash over him. They danced in silence for a while until Dara frowned, her back stiffening. Sirius followed her gaze to see Wood snogging his old, and now current, girlfriend Sharon. He looked back at her with a thoughtful expression.

'What happened with you two?'

She looked up at him. 'He didn't tell you?'

He shook his head. He didn't exactly talk to Wood outside quidditch practice. They didn't really get on. 'I gathered you broke up, but other than that...'

'Well...he...we...' She shook her head. 'Well after the Hufflepuff match, we were drinking...and then he...we...' She bit her lip, looking pained, and he suddenly had a sinking feeling in his gut.

'Did you...did you sleep with him?' Sirius asked quietly.

Dara looked up at him sadly and nodded slowly, making him frown. 'I wasn't really ready for that with him. And then...' She swallowed thickly. 'After that I...I just didn't feel like I could trust him. And I didn't want to be around him, and...' She shook her head. 'I told him I had feelings for someone else and he broke up with me.' She shrugged, trying to look nonchalant. 'It's for the best.'

Sirius's brow knitted. 'He slept with you, and broke up with you? A week later?'

'Less than a week, but yeah.'

'And you're ok with that?'

'Mostly, it's just...'

'What?'

'Well, he told me he loved me. And now a week after we broke up, here he is snogging that Sharon bird. It’s just...he doesn't seem all that bothered.'

'Did you?'

Her brow knitted. 'Did I what?'

'Love him?'

'No,’ she laughed lightly, ‘I'm not even sure I believe in love.' Sirius frowned. 'It's just. I just don't think it’s a word you should use lightly.' He nodded. 'Any roads, tell me something good. Tell me about you. Do you fancy Dorcas?'

'Not Dorcas,' he said without thinking.

'But you do fancy someone?' He hesitated before nodding. 'Who?'

He shook his head. 'Doesn't matter.'

'Why would you say that?'

'She doesn't fancy me back.'

'No! I bet that's not true. Maybe she doesn't know you fancy her.'

'She should,' he smiled down at her. 'I've given her plenty of signals.'

She quirked a brow. 'Have you?' He nodded. 'Maybe she's just really thick then? Oh, poor dear. Is she a bit slow?'

He chuckled and shook his head. 'She's normally pretty brilliant.'

Dara frowned. 'Hm. Well, maybe she's just oblivious.'

'I suppose that's possible,' he smiled.

'Oh, come on. Out with it then. Who is she? I won't tell, I promise.'

Sirius bit his lip. 'Alright. You want to know who I fancy?'

'Merlin, yes!' Her eyes widened, and he opened his mouth.

'Mind if I cut in?' That Hufflepuff git picked the absolute worst time to show up.

But no, it was the best time really. 'Yeah, sure,' Sirius nodded, stepping away.

'But...you were just about to...' Dara trailed off, looking disappointed.

Sirius shook his head. 'I'll talk to you later,' he waved a hand at her.

She frowned. 'Ok...I'm going to hold you to that.' She pointed a finger at him and he gave her a tight smile and nodded before he turned and disappeared into the crowd.

It was better this way, really. He didn't actually fancy her. He didn't fancy anyone. He just wanted to see what her reaction would be if he told her he fancied her. Right. He'd just keep telling himself that. He didn't need to fancy anyone. He didn't want to fancy anyone. He didn't have time for things like that. He was much too busy having fun with his mates.


Chapter 20: Chapter 20
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From the moment she got home for Christmas Holiday, Addy received the silent treatment from her family. They carried on conversation as if she wasn't even there. The most interaction she had with them was a few days before the Society Gathering, when Aludra and Addy were being fitted for their dress robes, they still had to hold up appearances, and Aludra fixed her with a contemptuous look and scoffed. 'When did your breasts get bigger than mine?'

Addy's eyes widened, surprised by her statement. Aludra had always been the shorter of the two, though much curvier, while Addy was taller and more slender. She didn't think she had much in the way of a figure, though that may have changed at some point. She looked down, contemplating. 'I'm not sure...' Addy said eventually. 'This year I would guess, as you didn't mention anything last year,' she shrugged. Aludra narrowed her eyes. Her appearance was apparently very important to her, as all she had to look forward to was an arranged marriage and her continued life of puppetry.

Addy had only received another note for Christmas, stating again that she was free to get herself her own present, which suited her just fine.

That year the Society Gathering was held at the Blacks. When they arrived, Sirius was nowhere to be found, so Addy approached Regulus once she could finally get him alone for a moment. Addy had never had a problem with him. He was always the quieter of the brothers, calmer. It was his friends she couldn't stand. Regulus informed her that Sirius had left, though he would offer nothing more. The night was horrid for Addy on her own. She was forced to dance with both Avery and Rosier. Her skin was crawling by the time they made it back to Nott Manor, and she submerged her sorrows in a scalding hot bath and firewhiskey. The night before they were to return to Hogwarts, Addy's father decided to break his silent treatment of her and called her into his office. She glanced idly at his clippings from his days at Hogwarts and time with the Knights of Walpurgis, as he proceeded to inform her that Aludra was to marry Rabastan Lestrange in the summer holiday, and the prospective suitors they were arranging for her to marry had been narrowed to two, Evan Rosier and Graham Avery.  Apparently, her options were severely limited based on her sorting and her continued delinquency. When he continued by saying she would be married the summer following her graduation, she lost the plot. 'But can't I decide who I marry and when?'

Her father looked at her stoically. 'You will marry who you are best suited for,' he said slowly.

'So, I get no say?' He said nothing. 'But I want to be a healer. I want to go to training after Hogwarts, not get married.'

Her father stood, coming around his desk to stand next to her chair. 'That will not be happening. You will have no more business in school or working.'

Addy stood to face him, looking up at him defiantly. 'And what if I decide to do it anyway? What if I don't want to get married at all?'

She didn't see the crushing blow that cracked across her cheek, coming. Her father had never struck her physically, always preferring to use his wand. She thought vaguely that he may have broken her cheekbone, as she stumbled and fell feebly back into her chair. He leaned over her, sneering, while she clutched her cheek. 'You will do well to remember your place Adhara. You are lucky to have any prospective suitors, and when we have made our decision, your marriage will be arranged. You will fulfill your duty to your family and your society. Do I make myself clear?'

Addy swallowed thickly. 'Yes, father,' she mumbled. He stood straight then and waved a hand at the door in dismissal. She left the room as quickly as possible for her own. Next day she woke early and left for Kings Cross on her own. She sat herself in the toilet at the back of the train, keeping her bruised and swollen cheek hastily hidden away from wondering eyes. She stayed there the entire ride and wondered fleetingly if she would be able to fake her own death and yet still continue at Hogwarts. She was still brooding over the possibilities of staying at the castle until graduation or spending the summer holiday living in the forbidden forest, when the train pulled into Hogsmeade station. She waited for everyone else to leave the train before she looked down at her feet and hid her face behind curtains of hair as she walked up the street to the castle alone, where she sought out Madam Pomfrey, who fixed her right up. The school was abuzz with gossip about Sirius leaving home, and no one seemed to know about Addy's little problem at home; or maybe big problem? Because really, it was one of the things that would ultimately drive her to leave.

On her birthday, Addy woke up again to nothing. But, low and behold, she received a letter again while she was treating herself to waffles, strawberries, and bacon, with her usual tea. The letter started off alright. While devoid of any real sentiment, it did give her permission to again, buy her own present. However, the pleasantries ended there, as the letter went on to say that her husband had been decided and they would begin the process of arranging her wedding to Graham Avery. She barely registered the strangled noise of disgust that came out of her mouth, as she crumpled the letter and stabbed it with a knife. Next thing she knew, she was doubled over outside the front steps to the castle, emptying the contents of her stomach. She hadn't realized she had been followed until her hair was being pulled back and a comforting hand was placed on her shoulder. The icy breeze that blew across them and engulfed her in their warm and familiar scent, told her who it was. When she was finally done heaving, she took a deep breath and wiped her mouth as she stood, turning to see he held her crumpled letter in his hand.

'You alright?' Sirius asked quietly, his steely eyes full of concern.

She shook her head. 'No. No, I'm not. Not at all.' She pulled her wand from her pocket to shoot some water into her mouth, swish it around, and spat it onto the ground. 'I don't think I'm up to classes today. Call it a mental health day...Merlin, I need a drink.'

Sirius frowned and glanced at the ground. 'On an empty stomach?'

Addy frowned too. 'Those were good waffles too. My family ruins everything,' she muttered darkly. 'You didn't need to save that,' she said, pointing to the letter.

'What's got you so bothered?'

'See for yourself,' she shrugged.

He hesitated for a moment, then opened the letter carefully. His brow knitted more the further he got in the letter, before he looked up at her with his mouth agape. 'They're forcing you into an arranged marriage with Avery?'

She exhaled a slow breath, looking to the sky. 'They think so at least.'

'What?'

'Well I'm obviously not going to marry that troll. I just have to figure out what I am going to do.'

'How do you mean?'

'Well, I'm hoping I can pretend to play along until seventh year before I just don't go back.'

'How can you still just...play along?'

Addy shrugged. 'I don't really have another option. We don't all have a Potter.'

Sirius frowned, remembering the conversation he’d overheard between her and her mother, then looked up at her thoughtfully. 'So, how about that drink? I'll buy.'

Her brow knitted as she looked back at him. 'You don't have to skive off class on account of me. Besides, aren't you skint now?'

He smirked. 'I'm not exactly destitute.' He put his arm around her shoulders and steered her toward the gates. 'How about the Hogs Head?'

She looked up at him and smiled. 'Sounds brilliant.'

They sat and sipped firewhiskey and he told her of how he had come to leave home. 'I'd just had enough. I couldn't take it anymore. Any of it. The Potters were really good about taking me in.'

She told him how horrid the Society Gathering had been, more so without him there; how his brother would only say he had left; that she was forced to spend time with him and his mates, and did he know Regulus had a bit of a shrine to Voldemort? Sadly, he did. Also, she told him she noticed there was a right black hole where his name had been before on their family tapestry. He nodded grimly with an 'I figured as much.' She went on to tell him how Aludra was to marry the other LeStrange bloke, how the candidates for her had been narrowed and how grateful she was told she should be, and how her father had struck her for the first time when she'd talked back, and he'd said 'I'd wondered about that,' while brushing her cheek thoughtfully with his thumb. Apparently, he had gotten a glance in the entrance hall. 'Pomfrey said he'd fractured my cheekbone, but she was able to fix it right up.' He had nodded, frowning. They ate fish and chips and drank more firewhiskey and danced down the street to no music but what was in their heads. Addy couldn't remember what they talked about after that except that when she went to put her hair up Sirius said, 'no leave it down,' but it must have been more lighthearted as she distinctly recalled laughing quite a bit as they stumbled back to Hogwarts through some passageway she'd never seen before.

They got back in time for dinner but Addy decided against. She met up with Sam as they had planned. He looked at her with a spark in his eyes that she had never noticed before, saying a 'happy birthday Addy,' while holding out a small package wrapped in brown paper. She smiled as she took it from him and unwrapped it carefully, finding a book of unlined parchment. 'It's a sketchbook,' he said, causing her to look up at him. 'So, you'll have somewhere to put all those drawing of yours.' Emboldened by the liquid courage still coursing through her veins, Addy threw her arms around his neck and kissed him hard. It only took a moment of Sam being surprised before he had wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her closer and deepening the kiss. They stayed that way for quite some time, wrapped up in each other in a quiet corner of a disused classroom. He asked her to be his girlfriend and she agreed without hesitation.


Chapter 21: Chapter 21
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Next day Avery pulled Addy aside as they were leaving the potions classroom. ‘Adhara. You’ve heard the news I assume?’

‘Yes, and I’m just chuffed to bits,’ she said sarcastically.

He took her hand, linking his fingers through hers. ‘Be my girlfriend then.’

‘Ew,’ Addy said, pulling her hand away quickly and wiping it on her robes. ‘No.’

‘Why not?’

‘Why not?’ she laughed incredulously. ‘Because I don’t want to.’

‘We’re promised to each other now.’

‘That doesn’t mean I have to be with you now,’ she said decidedly.

‘It does however mean, that you may not be with anyone else.’

Addy scoffed. ‘And how, pray tell, do you come to that conclusion?’

‘You belong to me now.’

‘Belong to you?’ she sneered. ‘I am not your possession. I belong to no one.’

‘I wouldn’t be so sure, Adhara.’

‘Whatever,’ Addy said, turning to walk away, ‘You don’t own me.’

 

Just a few days later, Effie began acting strangely toward Addy. They really weren't that close, though they sat together in Ancient Runes, would chat if they ran into each other elsewhere, and they had attended a few parties together; but then Effie started acting indifferent, almost cold toward Addy, not talking to her outside of class, not meeting to study in the library, and barely acknowledging her in class. There was definitely a sudden tension between them that hadn't been there before. This went on for a few weeks before Addy couldn't take it anymore and decided to apologize in Runes one day. 'Look, Effie, if I've done something to upset you I really am sorry. I honestly was not trying to hurt you if I have in some way. Did I do or say something to offend you?' Can we be pleasant at least? Addy thought.

Effie's expression softened, and she turned to look at Addy. 'No, it's nothing. You did nothing. I've just been stressed about OWLs.'

Evasive much? 'Oh, I can understand that,' Addy nodded.

Effie smiled. 'Trish and I are studying in the library on Thursday if you'd like to join us.'

Addy smiled back. 'Alright.'

 

Sam and Addy had been spending all of their free time together, which admittedly wasn't a lot, but their relationship progressed rapidly regardless. They had been close friends for years at that point, so it didn't feel like it was too soon when they decided to take that next step a few weeks in and slept together. Addy didn't feel shy or self-conscious at all around him, nor him her, and they could find time every day, with or without libation, to enjoy each other properly; in broom cupboards, empty classrooms, his dorm room, the quidditch stands and locker rooms, they didn't need much time, which was lucky since they really didn't have a lot.

One Friday night in March after dinner, they went up to the prefects' bathroom, he'd gotten the password from Arnie, and they sipped firewhiskey and enjoyed the warm waters for quite some time, until someone started banging on the door that they wanted the bath. So, they went back to his room and pulled the hangings around them and put up silencing spells and drank and talked and laughed and... some time around five Sam passed out, though Addy still felt wide awake, so she snatched his pack of cigarettes and snuck out of the castle to watch the sunrise at the edge of the forest. She leaned against a tree trunk and lit a fag with her wand, just as the first lights of dawn peeked over the tops of the mountains, casting the sky in a soft orange and the clouds glow a rosy pink. As she blew smoke to the slowly brightening sky, the peace was broken by loud laughing and whooping. Addy started and turned to find four figures, completely starkers, streaking away from the whomping willow, and she sniggered as they did some strange erratic dance moves before bending behind a clump of bushes. Peter straightened, looked over, and swore loudly, causing the other three to stand and look round inquiringly. Addy grinned and gave a short wave, still leaning against the tree. James grinned back. Boy was not short on confidence, that's for sure. Remus waved back awkwardly, and Sirius smacked Peter lightly on the chest saying, 'it's just Dara.' She smirked to herself. They finished pulling on their trousers, white oxfords, and robes, only Peter feeling the need to button up his shirt, before they sauntered over to where she was stood.

'Like what you see, Nott?' James asked, waggling his eyebrows suggestively.

Addy chuckled. 'Yes, thoroughly entertaining. That why they've been calling you Wormtail Pettigrew?' she said with a smirk while wiggling her pinky finger in the air. James and Sirius sniggered.

'Bleedin no!' Peter spluttered.

'Relax! I didn't actually see anything. I don't have my magnifying glass with me, you see.' She spread her hands out wide.

'What are you smoking?' James asked, taking the fag from her mouth and putting it to his own lips.

She waved lazily and dug in her robes pocket for the pack of cigarettes. 'Just a bit drunk still.'

'A bit,' James laughed.

'Well that explains it,' Sirius chuckled.

'Hm?' He snatched a cigarette, then pointed toward her legs. She looked down to find she was wearing Sam's white oxford shirt that fell to her midthigh, her own cloak thrown over, but not done up, her black combat boots, and no bottoms. 'Hm. Thought it was a bit breezy,' she shrugged, then held the pack out to Remus, who took one, then to Peter, who did not, before she pulled another out for herself.

Remus lit the fag with his wand then smirked at Addy. 'Drinking, smoking, and a dress code violation. Tsk-tsk Miss Nott.'

She scowled at him mockingly. 'You going to report me Mr. Prefect, when you've broke dress code, and are smoking, and obviously broke curfew. Why are you lot out her anyway? It's not even...' She extended her arm, letting her sleeve fall back, and frowned at her bare wrist.

'It's nearly half seven,' Remus said, looking at his own watch.

'Hmm.'

Sirius grinned, shrugging. 'Sometimes we just run round all night-'

'Starkers?'

'You're practically starkers.'

'First off, don't exaggerate. Secondly, I have my whiskey coat on.'

Sirius grinned wider. 'Right. Any roads, we weren’t starkers all night. That was just part of a...game.' His voice lifted at the end as if it were a question.

Addy smirked. 'A naked game? Between the four of you?' They all seemed to pale. 'Well I'm not one to judge. If that's how you lot feel...' She pumped her fist in the air. 'That whole Marauder business makes even more sense now,' she muttered. They all made noises of protest and scoffed as she sniggered.

'That's not what I meant!' Sirius said angrily.

'Thou doth protest too much methinks,' she said in mock seriousness.

Sirius huffed. 'That's not even the quote,' Remus said.

Addy raised her eyebrows. 'Well, I wasn't going to call him a lady...' Remus rolled his eyes. 'Merlin, I'm just having a laugh! What's got your wands in a knot?... your naked game not go so well?' She sniggered. Remus shook his head, James sighed, and Sirius smiled and pushed her playfully. 'Alright, you don't have to tell me if you don't want.'

'Why're you out here then?' James asked.

'Apparently I knew I would get some entertainment. You lot are a scream. If you're pranking me right now, I'm thoroughly enjoying it.'

Sirius smirked. 'If you want us to prank you I'm sure we can work something out.'

'It must be subliminal,' Peter interjected.

Addy blinked slowly. 'What?'

'You said you knew you'd get entertainment.'

She frowned. 'I think you mean subconscious.'

'Really though,' James said. 'What're you doing out here at six o'clock on a Saturday morning?'

Addy shrugged and held up the fag in her hand. 'Sam passed out. I couldn't sleep. Came to watch the sunrise.'

James shot a glance at Sirius who frowned. Remus's eyebrows raised. 'Ah, so basically, he fancied the pants right off you.'

She snorted quietly, rolling her eyes. 'Something like that. May as well enjoy myself before I'm sold off into slavery.'

'I thought you weren't actually going through with that?' Sirius said.

'I'll figure something out,' she said, waving him off. She didn't really want to get into it with him, because she was going to figure it out. And she really was having fun.

A few days later, after quidditch practice, Marlene and Addy headed up to their dorm, intent on working on their DADA paper. ‘You said you started already, right Ad? Mind if I take a look at it? Just to get an idea?’

‘Yeah, sure,’ Addy said as she went toward the bathroom. ‘Should be in my book,’ she pointed toward the book on her bedside table before she entered the bathroom. Just as she was about to shut the door, Marlene gave a yelp of surprise. Addy came back into the room and had to slap a hand over her mouth to keep from laughing, as she found Marlene completely covered in what appeared to be flour.

‘What the bleeding hell?!’  Addy’s eyes went wide. ‘Did you do this, Addy?’ She shook her head. ‘Don’t you dare laugh!’ The trouble with someone saying that to you, is that you’re far more likely to then. So, Addy backed away, shoving her fist into her mouth. ‘ADDY!’ Marlene screeched, standing up. Addy bolted for the door as a laugh escaped her lips, tearing down the stair. She found the Marauders sitting on the couch in front of the fire, watching the girls’ stairs rather expectantly, and she leapt over it, still laughing, to hide behind it.

‘I’m assuming I have you lot to thank for this?’

‘What are you on about?’ James said innocently, though she saw the glint in his eyes.

‘Addy!’ Marlene yelled from the bottom of the stairs. The Marauders started laughing immediately.

‘I didn’t do it, I swear!’

‘Then why are you laughing?’

‘Well, it is rather funny,’ Addy sniggered. ‘You should see yourself, you look bloody ridiculous. I believe you’ve been antiqued.’

‘Get. It. Off. Now.’

‘I don’t know how, I didn’t do it!’

‘Adhara!’

Addy stiffened. ‘Ask them!’ she said, pointing at the boys still laughing in front of her. Marlene growled in frustration and Addy started laughing again, which Marlene didn’t appreciate apparently, as she chased her round the couch and out of the common room.

Sirius smiled fondly, shaking his head before a groan of frustration escaped his lips as the portrait swung shut behind them. ‘She even appreciates a good prank.’

‘She’s always done, though,’ Remus chuckled.

‘Why is she with that plonker? He’s no idea…’

‘Exactly, mate. He’s no idea. He’ll fuck it up some way or other,’ James said with a grin, slapping him on the back.

Sirius sighed. ‘Yeah, I suppose. Hopefully sooner than later.’

‘That’s the spirit, Padfoot,’ Remus nodded.

Sirius laughed, letting his head fall to the back of the couch and rubbing a hand over his face roughly.

 

Things were going smashingly with Sam until some time in late March, when in the throws of passion, he did something that deeply unsettled Addy. He told her he loved her. He assured her she didn't have to say it back but that he just had to tell her. 'I just thought you oughtta know.' He said this all so earnestly that Addy thought he must have meant it, or at least felt he did. She honestly couldn't be sure, as she had previously not even believed in love. She had at the very least become open to the idea of the possibility of its existence, though she still wasn't really sure what it was supposed to mean. Was there something you were supposed to feel? Other than thoroughly enjoying their sexual relations, she really didn't physically feel anything different for him than she had for anyone else; and while he had assured her she didn't need to say it back, which was good as she didn't feel she could, she did feel exceptionally guilty, and then awkward, in the situation. So much so, that she began to pull away, becoming emotionally distant and irritable. After a few weeks he began to respond in kind, then halfway through April, right before Easter Holiday, he approached her looking rather nervous and refusing to meet her eye.  'Addy, can I talk to you?' He glanced at a spot near her hairline and she felt a sinking sense of dread in her stomach. They settled into an alcove not far from the entrance to the Gryffindor common room. He took a deep breath and wrung his hands, still looking anywhere but at her. 'I've...I've made a mistake and I..I have  to tell you about it. I don't want to hurt you...that's the last thing I want to do but...but I can't keep this to myself. It's killing me.' Her brow knitted as he swallowed thickly. 'I...last weekend when we won against Ravenclaw I drank entirely too much and I slept with someone else,' he said quickly. Addy's eyes widened and she stared at her hands. 'I didn't even really know what I was doing and when I woke up I felt terrible and I know..I know it's no excuse and I'm so, so, sorry I'm just the worst and..please say something.'

Addy balled her hands into fists to keep them from shaking and tried to keep her expression blank before she looked up at him slowly. 'You said you loved me...what...why would you say that, when you clearly don't?'

He shook his head desperately. 'No! I did love you!'

She sighed. 'Did?'

'I mean do! I do love you! I just...'

'What? I know I'm not an expert, but I don't think you do things like this to people you supposedly love.'

'I love you, I do. I just...I don't think I'm in love with you anymore.'

Her brow knitted. 'What the fuck does that even mean?'

His expression was strained. 'Look, you had to have felt it too. We haven't been getting on for a while now. You've been shutting me out for weeks.'

Addy was struggling to remain impassive. 'What? So, you're saying this is my fault?'

Sam held up his hands, back peddling. 'No! Well...' He frowned. 'No,' he shook his head. 'I'm sorry. I was being stupid. It's just...the way you were treating me, I just started feeling insecure and all around shite.'

She looked at him blankly. 'And how do you feel now?'

He sighed. 'I've already said I feel terrible. But look, I was drinkin and she was bein really nice and complimenting me and it just happened.'

'Who?'

'What?'

'Who. Was. She? Who did you have sex with?'

He paled. 'Why does it matter?'

She glared at him. 'Are you trying to protect her?'

'Of course not!'

'Then who was it?'

Sam looked down and was silent for long enough that Addy thought he wouldn't answer. When he finally did he said it so quietly she barely heard it, but she did; and when she heard that name, her blood boiled. 'Darcy?' She said sharply. He seemed to recoil. 'Not only. Did you shag someone. Who wasn't me. But you chose to shag her? Darcy! Darcy bloody Williams? And you weren't trying to hurt me?' She stood up suddenly. 'I can't do this right now.' She had to get away. She walked determinedly toward Gryffindor tower, but Sam ran after her, grabbing her arm to stop her, and she swung around to face him, wrenching her arm from his grip, her eyes flashing dangerously. 'Don't touch me! Don't you dare!'

'Please, can't we talk about this? Can't we work this out?'

'Talk? Work it out? NO! We bloody well can't! You should have thought of that before! I can't talk to you right now. I can't even look at you! You make me sick!' She turned and stalked off, but she heard him following her again. As she neared the portrait hole she saw James and his lot rounding the other corner, also heading for the common room.

'Addy, please!' Sam said, sounding desperate. The boys in front of her paused and turned. James quirked a brow, Remus and Sirius frowned when they caught her expression.

'Sod off, Gardener!' She said loudly, as she pushed through the group.

'Addy!'

Sirius followed her closely while she heard James say, 'I think you should leave her alone mate,' as she climbed through the portrait hole. She was so full of rage she could only see red until she found herself screaming into a pillow.

'Boyfriend trouble Dara?'

'He's not my boyfriend anymore,' she said through gritted teeth as she chucked the pillow across the room and stifled a screech of anger. 'I need to hit something.' She looked around furtively, realizing she was in the boys' room. She hadn't registered the smell in her state. Remus wordlessly summoned the pillow she had thrown and handed it back to her with a concerned frown. For some reason his concern only served to make her angrier. 'This. Isn't. Good. Enough,' she grunted out, as she pounded the pillow into the floor. 'I need to hit someone. Preferably him,' she said, getting to her feet.

'Dara!' Sirius said, putting a hand to her shoulder to stop her. 'What's happened?' He asked softly.

She grimaced. 'Not really a good idea to touch me right now, Sirius.' He pulled his hand away and held them both up, his eyes wide in a silent surrender.

'Whatever he's done,' Remus said carefully, 'it's not worth you getting detention over hitting him.'

Her head turned slowly toward him, and while she tried to keep her expression blank, he seemed to flinch back. 'With all due respect, Remus, you don't even know what he's done,' she said quietly, suddenly feeling exhausted.

'What did he do?' Sirius asked.

Addy shook her head. 'I need a drink.' A glass of firewhiskey was hastily pushed into her hands as she sat on someone's bed and she downed it in one. She held it out wordlessly, and it was refilled quickly. She took another gulp and stared at the glass in her hands, taking a deep, shaky breath, before she was able to speak. 'That fuckwit bleeding shagged Darcy, the slag.' She looked up at them and found James had joined their little motley crew at some point. 'After claiming he was in love with me,' she said mockingly. James scowled, and Sirius's face went blank. He shoved the bottle of firewhiskey at Remus, who took it without looking, and stalked from the room, James following closely. Addy sighed. She wanted to be the one to hit him. But now she didn't have the energy. She felt numb. 'I mean, honestly,' she said to no one in particular, 'why do blokes keep saying that to me, when they obviously don't mean it? I mean...I don't exactly know what it is, but it seems like it should mean something. Why even say it to me? Do they think I want to hear it? Do I look like that's something I want to hear?' She looked up finally, finding Remus and Peter watching her with uneasy looks on their faces. 'You don't have to answer that.' She waved her hand lazily and finished the drink in her cup. Remus went to rummage in what Addy assumed to be his trunk and emerged a few moments later with an assortment of chocolate sweets.

'Here,' he said, handing her a chunk of a Honeyduke's chocolate bar and a chocolate frog. 'You looked drained,' he said to her quizzical look. 'I think it'll help you feel better.' She looked at him blankly. 'Just try it,' he said with a small smile. Addy sighed and took a bite of the chocolate bar while opening the frog wrapper. She held it firmly in her hand and ripped its head off between her molars. It felt oddly satisfying to destroy the animated chocolate. As she finished off what was in her hands, he handed her the rest of the bar and another frog, and when she was done with that she looked up at him, managing a small smile. 'Better?'

Addy nodded. 'A bit. Thanks Remus.'

He nodded back. 'No problem. Anytime Addy.'

James and Sirius came back looking pleased with themselves. 'What did you do?' Addy asked.

James grinned. 'Squid tentacles.'

'On his head,' Sirius went on.

'Thought we'd make him look more appropriate,' James added.

'Then a little petrificus totalis.'

'And some boils.'

'In a very uncomfortable area.'

'Might make sitting on a broom difficult for some time.'

'Then we stuck him to the wall in the entrance hall.'

'Upside down.'

'With a few choice words on his great slimy forehead.'

Addy smiled and looked down at her lap. 'You didn't have to do that.'

'Someone had to,' said James.

She looked up at them again. 'You know you'll probably get in trouble for this.'

Sirius shrugged. 'Worth it.' He sat next to her and put his arm around her shoulders. 'He deserves it. You can't treat our mate like that.'

'Exactly,' James said.

'Right,' Remus added. Peter nodded along.

Addy smiled. 'Thanks.'

After a pregnant pause, Sirius cleared his throat. 'Er, you're not going to cry on me, are you? Not that that's not ok. Just. Maybe warn me first?'

She rolled her eyes. 'No, I'm not going to cry on you.'

'Ok...well. Do you need anything?'

She sighed and shook her head. 'I think I'm just going to go to bed.'

He nodded. 'Right. Well, we'll be here then.' She nodded and left with a sad smile.

‘I’ve never her seen her so…red,’ Peter said quietly, once they were sure she had gone. ‘I didn’t know she could be so…cross.’ He looked worriedly toward the door she had left through.

'Told you he'd fuck it up,' James said.

‘Yeah, but...' Sirius shook his head.

'But what?' Remus asked.

'But..' He rubbed a hand over his face roughly. 'I didn't want him to hurt her like that. She looked absolutely gutted.'

Addy returned to her dorm room to get ready quickly and close herself away in her four poster. With the hangings pulled around her and a few silencing spells cast, she collapsed into her pillow. As the anger slowly subsided, she was left with a sick feeling in her stomach and a dull ache in her chest. She may not have know what love was, but what Sam did still hurt terribly. Regardless of what he’d been feeling for those few weeks, he had been a close friend of Addy’s for years at that point. She thought he would have respected her more than that. But she guessed she was wrong. She finally broke, sobbing into her pillow and clutching at the duvet, suddenly feeling as worthless as her family always told her she was.

 

Next day, Same accosted Addy fairly quickly in the entrance hall when she went down for breakfast. ‘Addy, please, can’t we talk about this? Work it out?’ He had pulled her aside at the foot of the marble staircase, and she pried her arm from his grip, shaking her head.

‘I don’t think so Sam. Not right now any roads. Merlin, I can’t…look, maybe I can forgive you, if you give me time, but I’ll never be able to forget what you did. Maybe we can be friends again after I’m not so bloody cross with you, but I don’t think I could ever fancy you again.’

‘Look, I know I messed up, it was a mistake. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.’

Addy shook her head. ‘You’ve said as much. But sorry doesn’t fix this. Not this time. Just…just leave me alone for a bit. Please? Maybe after holiday we can talk, but really, I can’t do this with you right now.’

Sam nodded sadly. ‘Ok’


Chapter 22: Chapter 22
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After classes had ended that day, Addy met Effie in the library to go over an Ancient Runes project they had set for after holiday. Addy told her about what had happened with Same and she was empathetic and encouraging, summing it up simply and perfectly. ‘Boys are stupid.’ Addy nodded. ‘They need far too much reassurance and often think with the wrong head.’

Addy managed a smile. ‘Maybe it was my fault though. I was a right bitch to him. And instead of talking to him about how I felt, I just shut him out…’

Effie put her hand on Addy’s arm comfortingly. ‘No, no! That’s no excuse.’

‘Still, maybe if I were capable of returning his feelings, he wouldn’t have looked to someone else.’

‘Don’t think that way,’ Effie said, taking Addy’s chin in her hand, forcing her to look at her. ‘That street goes both ways. He didn’t talk to you either. This is not your fault.’

‘Still,’ Addy shrugged, feeling a bit uncomfortable now, seeing as how Effie was still holding her chin. ‘It started because he did tell me how he felt. And I pushed him away. Maybe he didn’t think it was worth the bother.’

‘Of course, you’re worth it!’ Effie cried, looking at Addy intently. Her eyes grew wide suddenly, and she pulled her hand away, turning back to their project and clearing her throat awkwardly. Addy had gotten the strange impression that Effie was about to kiss her, but that was just ridiculous, wasn’t it? Wasn’t it?!

Addy shook her head bemusedly and turned back to the table. ‘Er, thanks,’ she mumbled. Effie nodded stiffly and no more was spoke on the matter as they focused their efforts back on Runes.

 

Holiday started, and Addy was nearly the only student left in the castle apart from a couple fourth year Ravenclaws and a second year Hufflepuff. She spent her time focusing on the important things: sleeping, eating, and occasionally, revision. Though that all changed on Friday, when she shuffled down to the Great Hall once she had finally woken up around noon, and McGonagall approached her at Gryffindor table as she tucked into a slice of steak and kidney pie, looking grave. ‘Miss Nott, have you seen the paper this morning?’

Addy covered her mouth with a hand to mutter, ‘no Professor,’ without spraying bits of pie across the table.

McGonagall nodded stiffly. ‘You are with Mister Gardener, are you not?’

Addy frowned, wondering where this was going. ‘I was,’ she paused, ‘we broke up recently.’ She took another bite, not wanting to say anymore.

McGonagall nodded again. ‘All the same. I think you should come with me.’

Addy’s fork paused mid-air, halfway to her mouth. ‘Now?’

McGonagall pressed her lips together in a tight frown. ‘Yes, I think that would be best, Miss Nott.’

Addy sighed at her plate. ‘Alright,’ she mumbled, taking a last bite, before she stood and followed McGonagall to her office. As they took seets around her desk, she handed Addy a letter and began speaking as she looked down to read it. Once she got to the fourth line of a letter that had been addressed initially to Professor Sprout, Addy barely registered anything else. Her vision seemed to blur, and her McGonagall’s voice sounded as though it were far away, with only a few words like Death Eaters and dark mark, making their way to her mind. After staring blankly at the parchment in her hands, for Merlin knows how long, Addy realized McGonagall was calling her name, and most likely had been for quite some time based on her tone, and Addy’s head snapped up to look at her.

‘Are you alright Miss Nott? Perhaps you should go to see Madam Pomfrey for a calming draught?’

Addy felt a flash of annoyance at the look of pity on McGonagall’s face, but pushed it away. ‘No, I’ll be…fine. I think I’ll just…go back to my room now,’ she said quietly.

McGonagall clenched her jaw. ‘If you’re sure?’

Addy nodded dumbly and rose to her feet. ‘I’ll be fine,’ she said again, thinking how her voice sounded foreign. McGonagall said something else that Addy really didn’t hear as she moved into the corridor and toward th