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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.'


'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 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.

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