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-'
'-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.
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