Adrianna loved her family. Despite everything, she did love
her family. Perhaps not her younger sister, Calliope, so much – they had never
been exceedingly close and, in fact, they had never really had much interaction
at all. That was what happened, eleven year-old Adrianna Greengrass supposed to
herself, when one lived such a very big house.
Her driver was dropping her off at Kings Cross; her parents had wanted to come, they had assured their eldest daughter but they really were terribly busy that day. Adrianna didn’t mind, she liked Dave well enough. He made her laugh and gave her lemon sherbets. He was a Squib.
Also, Adrianna’s mother had bought her a new dress to go the station in. It was in her favourite colour, blue. Most people Adrianna knew wore green but her mother sighed and said green didn’t go well with Adrianna’s hair. This seemed to disappoint her greatly but then again, most things seemed to disappoint mother, thought the girl.
Cissy would be there at the platform and maybe Regulus too, seeing as his older brother would join Hogwarts this year too. Cissy was as close to a friend as Adrianna had - if you didn’t count Dave and Gillie the house-elf (and father assured Adrianna that they most certainly did not count). Adrianna was not so keen on Narcissa’s older sisters: Bellatrix had dismembered several of her teddies on one visit to the Greengrass mansion and Andromeda was a bad egg.
Regulus was pretty neat too, in Adrianna’s opinion. It would have made sense for Adrianna to be closer to Sirius, as they were the same age, but father said he might turn out to be a bad egg too and it didn’t do to be exposing his daughter to those kinds of ideas.
So Adrianna took her lessons with Regulus and Rabastan instead.
However, Dave soon informed Adrianna that she might not have
time to see anyone on the platform.
“I can’t find a parking space, princess,” Dave spoke through the see through plastic that separated them. “I’ll look some more, but if I can’t find one I’ll have to drop you by the doors.”
The young girl wasn’t fazed by this; she could find her own way on to the platform. She was very independent, everyone said so and Adrianna liked this because it definitely sounded like a good thing, to be independent. You oughtn’t to rely on other people, her parents had told her, they will always let you down.
She wheeled her trolley through the wall calmly, she had a few minutes to spare but platform 9 and ¾ was pretty much deserted. She beckoned a porter and left her cases before making her way towards the scarlet engine. Gryffindor favouritism there, she thought, that wasn’t very fair at all. Most of the school was biased against Slytherin, her lessons with the boys had warned her. And she would be in Slytherin, she had to be. Adrianna always made her mother disappointed, she knew she did, and this time she wanted to make her mother smile that tight smile that almost conveyed some pride in her daughter. She wanted her father to call her his ‘little Anna’ and let her sit in his study for half an hour while he took telephone calls.
It was like a game for her, to achieve these little things.
“Oh, excuse me, I’m so sorry…” A tall redheaded girl had walked straight into her, dragging her trunk along the platform and attempting to squeeze it into the carriage.
“What are you doing?” asked Adrianna. “Surely you know, you just give it to a porter. He’ll make sure it gets on the train safely.”
The girl looked at her surprised. “Oh. I’ve never caught such a fancy train before – is that man a porter?” Adrianna helped her call a porter before climbing on the train with the confused girl.
“Would you like to find a compartment with me?” Adrianna offered politely, expecting to girl to say no and find her friends as Adrianna wanted to.
However the girl beamed and replied “Oh, please! Ah, wait,” She had spotted a boy wandering down the passageway. “Sev! Hey, do you mind if Sev comes with us?” Adrianna shook her head and smiled a vacant smile like her mother did when she was forced into social engagements she didn’t want to go to.
They found a compartment full of rowdy boys (one of them that Sirius Black, Adrianna was displeased to notice) and they were terribly cruel to poor Severus, who seemed perfectly okay to Adrianna. Eventually, they found a much calmer spot and settled down for the journey.
Adrianna’s vacant smile didn’t stand up for very long against the thousand watt beam of Lily Evans’ grin. She found herself laughing and pulling stupid faces and having even more fun than she did with Gillie or Dave. Adrianna couldn’t believe a person could be as funny and as happy as Lily was.
And so it was that Lily Evans and Adrianna Greengrass first met, that train journey was the start of a long and happy friendship.
The two were still side by side as they entered the Great Hall for the first time. Lily was excitedly whispering to Adrianna about the enchanted ceilings. Adrianna knew all this already but didn’t want to interrupt her new friend, who looked blissfully happy, quoting Hogwarts, A History.
The Sorting was hugely interesting for Adrianna who had been brought up knowing all about the Houses and watched with great fascination to where each First Year was placed. Lily was less interested. “The Houses can’t be that important.” She’d said. Severus and Adrianna had both smiled knowingly and the Greengrass girl felt her respect for the boy grow somewhat.
The hat had barely touched his head when:
He stood up, grinning at another boy in the crowds but Adrianna couldn’t help but to gasp along with much of the rest of the Hall. Severus leaned around Lily, who looked unperturbed by the shock Sorting, and raised one eyebrow. Adrianna shrugged in silent reply.
Their shoulders both dropped in disappointment.
“We can still be friends with her though Sev. And who knows, you might still be Sorted into the same House…” Adrianna murmured, he snorted.
“No thanks! You could be a Gryff though.”
“No way, Sev.” She laughed too.
And sure enough when ‘Greengrass, Adrianna’ was summoned, the Hat did place her into the Slytherin House. Adrianna didn’t realise, however, just how long the pause had been. A pause long enough to sow the seeds of doubt amongst her elitist friends. Long enough to make McGonagall’s nostrils flare impatiently. And long enough to make other students wonder if the Hat had stopped working or if perhaps this First Year was a mistake and was really just a Muggle…
“How curious. A Greengrass, you should be in Slytherin, my dear. That’s the obvious choice but we’ve had one surprise already tonight –is it about to become two? I am feeling quite rebellious tonight; the question is, are you? You have wit and intelligence, you’re awfully nice, brave and stupendously loyal. You could go anywhere it’s up to you, my lovely. Where do you want to go?”
“Please Slytherin, please Slytherin.”
“Really? I suppose you can be cunning (cunning enough to hide you’re true identity from yourself but not to them) and they’ve almost got those ideals hammered into you. Well, if you’re sure it’d better be…”
She joined Narcissa with a huge grin on her face but didn’t forget to shoot a quick wave at Lily who was glaring absentmindedly at Black.
Looking back, Adrianna couldn’t truly believe she’d actually felt that happy, going to walk to the table and to join the House that would enslave and torture her for the rest of her life.
However, one thing Slytherin couldn’t take away from her was her friendship with Lily Evans. Despite all her lessons on the importance of blood purity and the stupidity of inter-House relations, Adrianna still kept seeing Lily.
They had soon become inseparable best friends; they spent hours on end holed up in the Library doing homework or just chatting (obviously, their respective Common Rooms were barred to one another) and they decided that as soon as the weather was better in Spring, they would claim the shade of that weathered beech tree and carry on their chatter there.
Lily stayed friendly with Sev but he didn’t work as hard to maintain his friendship with the redheaded girl as Adrianna did.
Adrianna and Severus were friends too. She didn’t connect that well with people in Slytherin, Adrianna noticed.
Adie (as Lily had begun to call her. She liked it) changed hugely within those first three months at Hogwarts, more than most other pupils. She had led a very sheltered life at home and had come to Hogwarts very naïve - her respect for her parents, however, had not diminished.
Adie adored Lily; she’s been warned of the dangers of Muggle borns, of course but Adrianna had realised that her parents must have made some sort of mistake. Maybe they’d met a few nasty Muggle borns but Adie found her parents’ teachings to be flawed indeed.
She’d been told that Muggle borns were liars and idiots, who had an illegal claim to her magic. But Lily was so smart and moral and pretty as were many of the pupils of less magical backgrounds, Adrianna found. She hadn’t even known Lily was Muggle born until a few weeks into the school year when her fellow Slytherins had demanded to know Lily’s blood status – not just anyone can become best friends with a Greengrass.
These Slytherins were less than thrilled with Adrianna’s choice of friend. Lucius Malfoy took it upon himself to write to Lucille and Ethan Greengrass. Their response was not happy but they thanked Lucius profusely for his notifying them of this… mishap.
When Adrianna returned to the Greengrass mansion in the Kentish countryside for the Christmas holidays her parents decided to sit her down and have a ‘stern chat’. Calliope watched gleefully from the side lines.
“Adrianna, my dearest,” her mother began tentatively. “This girl you’ve made friends with, Lily Evans…” The name was spoken with disdain.
“Oh yes, mother, she’s so lovely!” When Adrianna looked back on this memory, as she so often did, she always remembered her voice to be so full of hope and naivety.
“I think you may be wrong about Muggle born witches and wizards; you see, Lily is a wonderful person. Oh, no… Of course, I’m not saying you lied to me, father. Maybe you just made a mistake, it’s okay to make mistakes-”
The cracking sound his hand made as it made sharp contact with his daughter’s face resounded endlessly, it seemed to Callie. Adrianna’s face was blank, her eyes just stared straight forwards and a bright red mark began to bloom across her pale cheek.
No one flinched; neither of the parents, they just exchanged a look which seemed to say that this action had always been inevitable.
“We tried to tell you, Adrianna. You really must learn to listen to what we tell you. You mustn’t make mistakes again, okay?”
They sent their daughter back to school melancholy and confused; the world wasn’t the simple, black and white placed she had previously thought it to be.
Adie honestly intended to avoid Lily, she honestly meant to hang out in the Common Room with Narcissa and Sev. But she just couldn’t help caring.
She couldn’t help caring when Lily sought her out, demanding to know if she’d done something wrong. She couldn’t help caring when she later saw Lily laughing with that quiet, blonde Ravenclaw Vance in the library. And she definitely couldn’t stop her feelings when Lily started to well up, asking once more if they could be friends again.
After that, they never fought again. Until death did them part, they never went a day without talking.
Adie also found that Emmeline Vance wasn’t so bad either although she was wary at first, thinking her something of a threat to her friendship with Lily.
“Excuse me, Adrianna?”
She’d looked up, initially frustrated by having her reading disturbed and then becoming positively annoyed upon seeing Emmeline.
“Oh, please, just call me Emmeline.” Adrianna said nothing. “I was wondering if you could help me with the Charms essay… You seemed to understand the Levitation charm so well in class today. Flitwick couldn’t sing your praises loud enough!” Emmeline laughed quietly.
“It’s simple really. It’s all in the wrist movement you see…” It couldn’t harm to help the silly girl just once, Adie thought.
An hour later and the two were giggling hysterically. When they reminisced on the day, years later, neither could remember what had caused such raucous laughter but they could definitely remember Pince’s face as she threw them out of the library.
“Etched in my mind forever, that ghastly old hag!” Emmeline would exclaim in years to come.
Lily was pleasantly surprised to see her two friends enjoying one another’s company when she came to find Adrianna and they soon became well-known as a trio of good friends. The eagle, the lion and the snake. Later, they would joke about finding a Hufflepuff friend, grabbing random First Year Hufflers and pretending to induct them into the group. It always made them snicker to see the edge of panic in the younger children’s’ eyes.
Lucius wrote once more when it was clear that the problem was persistent; it turned out the Vance girl was a half-blood and her mother a blood traitor. Adrianna endured many a beating over the years and tried, tried so hard to please her parents without compromising her morals. She couldn’t help caring so much, she would protest.
That was no excuse, she knew. She saw Narcissa’s mask of apathy, a mask worn by so many around Adrianna. But try as she might, she just couldn’t construct one of her own, she was doomed to an existence full of emotion and feeling.
A curse is some ways, she thought much later as she waited for the final blow and remembered her friends who had already fallen, the betrayals and the pain. Yet a blessing in so many other ways. Love and friendship and loyalty and laughter – the pros far outweighed the cons.
If she was given the choice, she knew, she’d do it all again.