For once, Remus, Adie and Lily were not alone in the
Library. Instead, the tables were filled up and many students had resorted to
pursuing thick tomes on the dusty carpet. The first OWL examination of the year
Adrianna shut the book on Transfiguration that she was trying to dissect and looked at her two friends.
“Rems, Lily,” she enquired tentatively. “Do you think they’ll go alright, the exams?”
Her nerves were very evident in her voice and this prompted a smile from the others.
Lily waved her quill airily. “Honestly, Adie, you’ll do brilliantly – you’re one of the cleverest people in the year.”
“Lily’s right. You’ve studied even harder than usual (which is really saying something), you’re bound to do well.” Remus concurred.
Adrianna did not look satisfied with their answers.
“I have to do better than just ‘well’, Remus,” Adie sighed. “I need to do outstandingly. I want to keep all my options open and get a good job.”
She had previously confided in the pair about how she hoped a good job might provide some outlet for her later on in life. Both Remus and Lily had been struck by the sadness of such a young girl feeling the need to plan so far in advance and make such a contingency plan.
Adrianna had spent every waking moment of the past few months immersed in revision. She studied with Severus in the Common Room, Remus and Lily in the Library, she asked Reg to test her on incantations over meals and she had even managed to coerce the Marauders into some studying by the Lake.
That situation was very much resolved now. There had remained some tension between Adie and Remus after their reunion but that had entirely dissolved within a week or so. James had reverted back to his japing and jesting self immediately; his warm enthusiasm for Adie had reduced all of the potential awkwardness. Peter seemed quietly pleased to have regained his friendship with the kind girl who often helped him with homework when none of the impatient Marauders would.
Most of all, however, Adrianna’s relationship with Sirius had changed dramatically. For a start, she could almost begin to think of him as a friend, she felt. They had conversations – she had even made him laugh a few days ago! Admittedly, their conversations were somewhat stilted and slightly awkward but they were definitely well-meaning and positive.
In fact, that very night James and Sirius had persuaded Adrianna to pause her studies for a couple of hours for some Quidditch practice.
The thought of it made Adie’s stomach squirm slightly, although she didn’t fully understand why. Surely it wouldn’t be too awkward between them if James was there? It was impossible to feel uncomfortable if James was in the vicinity!
At five o’clock, Adie excused herself from the Library and set off towards the pitch. Within minutes she was changed and warming up in the warm summer sky. Adie was so absorbed with her exercise that she did not even notice the two boys entering the pitch. When James called out a hallo, she almost fell off her broom in fright.
“My gosh, James, you nearly scared me half to death!” Adie laughed and flew back down to the join the boys on the turf. Sirius nodded to Adrianna in greeting, a small smile on his lips.
James joined in Adie’s laughter. “Come on, my face isn’t that bad! Or is it? Is that reason Evans is so determined not to date me? Because she can’t possibly have an objection to my irresistible personality!”
Sirius shook his head and exchanged an exasperated glance with Adie. She smiled at him widely. They had shared quite a few jokes about James and his hopeless infatuation with Adrianna’s best friend.
Sirius suddenly stopped laughing and looked around the pitch. “Um, James mate, weren’t you supposed to get the balls from McGonagall’s office?”
James groaned to himself, having completely forgotten a rather essential part of the night. “I’ll sprint back and get them now – I won’t be two minutes!”
And with that he was gone. Sirius rolled his eyes once more.
“Yeah, you won’t be two minutes – more like twenty.”
Adie snorted at the truth of this statement; James was a Quidditch king but his sporting prowess did not extend all the way to activities that actually take place on the ground. He would most likely jog for a couple of minutes before wandering aimlessly the rest of the way, probably stopping to chat and flirt along the way.
Sirius sat down on the grass, leaning back on his elbows. Adie felt a little self-conscious remaining standing so she joined him quickly, sitting cross-legged beside the boy.
He looked over at her. “I still think it’s a veritable miracle that James even managed to get you here. You study an insane amount – you’re actually worse than Moony!”
Adie smiled slightly at his comment before explaining. “Well, I just really need good grades, you see. I’m think that –”
The blonde paused for a second; she was unsure of whether she should mention her future in front of Black. She didn’t know if they were friends enough yet for him to feel comfortable discussing it. He cocked his head, confused by her sudden silence.
“I’m thinking that if I secured a good job, perhaps at the Ministry, I might be able to keep it… You know, my husband might let me keep my job. I’d really, really like that. I think I’ll go a bit insane if I don’t have anything else in my life.”
She stopped speaking again. She was afraid of overstepping the mark and incurring Sirius’s wrath again; he still struck Adrianna as rather volatile in his moods.
Sirius’ eyes were fixed on the stand and he nodded slowly. “Yeah, I don’t really hear of that much. Most of the women in my family stay at home to decorate the house and buy expensive clothes.”
Adie breathed a small sigh of relief at his civil response and continued. “I’m going to be such a crap wife to which ever unfortunate Slytherin male I get shoved with. I’ll pick blue wallpaper and magnolia carpets or something equally as terrible. Worst of all, I’ll probably even show my children some affection – the horror of that!”
Adrianna laughed dryly and Sirius snorted too. When she looked over at him, she was pleased to realise his half-smile was still there.
Suddenly, Sirius’ smile faltered for a moment and he turned to look Adie in the face.
“Adie,” it was the first time he’d called her that. “Things with your family, they’re pretty ba-”
“GUYS, I MADE IT! TEN MINUTES, LOOK AT ME GO!” James’ victorious yell rung out around the pitch.
The other two looked around suddenly, surprised to see James. Adie cursed him mentally, she felt like they’d been on the edge of a break through; a feeling of disappointment settled in her stomach.
As she turned back to face Sirius she noticed that he looked similarly annoyed. He caught her eye and just waved his hands in a “forget about it” way.
James, blithely unaware of ruining any sort of important moment between his friends, continued to set up the game. Eventually his enthusiasm pulled Adie and Sirius on to their feet and they joined him in the warm evening air. By the end of the night, Adrianna had practically forgotten Sirius’ unfinished sentence as her mind was once again filled with the coming exams.
Exams began and passed –for Adie at least- without too much hysteria. She didn’t find them too nerve-wracking once they actually started; there were few questions that really threw her.
Her Charms practical went well as did her Transfiguration. Astrology wasn’t too bad either – though, Adie spent a lot of the exam worrying about drifting off to sleep. Potions (the exam Adrianna had been dreading most) actually went alright, she felt. The last exam was Defence against the Dark Arts and Adie could see no cause for concern there.
She sat in the Great Hall and was flicking through her exam paper one last time when Flitwick’s call made her jump.
“Five more minutes!”
Adie resumed her reading, double-checking each answer carefully. She smiled as she reached question ten – werewolves. Five easy marks there, she thought.
In attempt to while away the last few minutes of the exam, Adie began to play the now familiar game of picking her friends out from the hall full of students.
Narcissa and Severus were sat a few rows ahead and to the left of Adie; Cissy had evidently finished and was inspecting her nails carefully while Sev, on the other hand, was still writing furiously.
James was hunched over his paper – ahead of Adie – although she doubted he was actually writing anything to do with DADA. Peter was in between the Slytherin and James, staring absent minded into the middle distance.
Remus was to Adie’s left too, carefully going over his answers with a little frown line appearing between his eyebrows. Lily had adopted a similar pose, her vibrant hair tied up to keep it out of her face as she wrote. Emmeline was biting her quill as if she was searching for that one last answer.
Finally, Adrianna’s eyes found Sirius sitting just a few desks to her right; she couldn’t believe she hadn’t realised he was there before.
If anyone had been watching Adie, seeking her out from the crowd, they would have noticed a flicker of annoyance cross her face suddenly. Dorcas Meadowes was staring at Sirius with the most ridiculous love-sick puppy expression on her face. What an idiot, Adie thought disdainfully, he doesn’t even know who you are!
She was about to turn away from the sickening sight when Sirius looked up. He shot her a wide grin before turning to give James a quick thumbs-up. Adie had to check herself and make sure she wasn’t looking to puppy-like. After all, she didn’t fancy Sirius – she’d leave that up to bimbos like Dorcas. Still, it was quite nice seeing the bitter look of resentment the other girl was shooting Adie.
Finally, Flitwick released them all and Adie caught up with Lily and Emmeline. Lily, as ever, ignored the group rule of not discussing each exam paper once they’d finished it and immediately launched into a dissection of each question.
“Oh, Lils do shut up would you!” Em laughed kindly. “That was our last OWL – we’re free!”
Adrianna joined in the happy laughter, feeling confident and happy. She linked her arms with Em and Lily as they walked out into the bright July sunshine.
Adie smiled “No more lunchtimes shut up in the Library or pouring over dull Transfiguration books – bliss.”
“And only four days left here!” Lily exclaimed. “Sev and I have already made plans for the holidays. I have missed hanging out with him a bit.”
Adie grinned, pleased that Lily and Severus would be able to meet up again. They were two of her good friends. However, Lily’s reminder of the imminent summer holidays was not so pleasing for Adrianna. She knew what those six long weeks of summer meant for her. She would deeply miss Hogwarts, her safe haven.
Em pulled Adie out of her reverie by poking her best friends in the side.
“What’s going on there?” the blonde asked, standing up to try and get a better look at the group that had congregated a little way off their spot at the edge of the Lake.
The three girls paused for a moment, listening to the sounds of laughing and shouting.
Suddenly they heard a stream of angry words, a desperate sound. Both Lily and Adie recognised the voice and they too shot to their feet.
Adie, reaching the mass of people, looked on in horror as James spoke the incantation cruelly. Severus began gagging immediately on the bubbled flowing from his mouth. It made Adie feel sick to hear the laughter of the others; the look of coldness of James’ face; Sirius’ amused smirk; Remus sitting there and doing nothing. They were not the boys Adie was best friends with.
“Leave him ALONE.” Lily yelled as she stomped forwards into the circle. Although James looked surprised to see her, he did not halt the spell.
Adie joined Lily. “You heard what she said, leave him alone.”
James shot Adrianna a confused look but nevertheless he flicked his wand and the bubbles stopped. Severus clutched at his throat, still retching; Adie ran to where he was sat on the ground and began trying to help him. She noticed, as she ran, an odd look on Sirius’ face. Adie ignored it, still furious with the boy for egging James on.
As she tended to Sev, Adie could hear an argument develop between James and Lily.
“All right, Evans?” James sounded stupid, Adrianna thought, too deep.
“Leave him alone. What has he done to you?”
“Well,” James paused for a moment and his smirk was practically audible. “It’s more the fact that he exists, if you know what I mean…”
Sirius’ laughter, although mingled with many other students, made Adie’s head whip round furiously. He caught her angry glower and shrugged as if to say “I’m not doing anything wrong”. They act like just because it’s Sev they’re torturing, it doesn’t matter and it’s not wrong, Adie thought angrily.
It appeared Lily was having similar thoughts. “You think you’re funny,” she said coldly. “But you’re just an arrogant, bullying toerag, Potter. Leave him alone.”
“I will if you go out with me, Evans,” James spoke quickly and Adie now turned to look at him disbelievingly. Did he really think Lily would go for that? “Go on… go out with me and I’ll never lay a wand on old Snivelly again.”
Adrianna was too busy glaring at James, hating the names he used for Sev and hating the way he spoke about Severus as if he wasn’t even there, to notice that James’ victim was slowly crawling towards his wand.
“I wouldn’t go out with you if it was a choice between you and the Giant Squid.” Lily sniffed and Adie grinned victoriously.
“Bad luck, Prongs,” was Sirius’ response as he turned towards where Adie sat. “OI!”
Adrianna glared at him in confusion. Why was he yelling at her? Suddenly, there was a flash of light and Adie saw some drops of blood hit the grass in front of her.
By the time she looked up, Severus was dangling upside-down in the air. His robes were flung over his head to show his underwear. James was holding his wand aloft, a large cut on his cheek.
Adie sprang to her feet, torn as to whether she should help Severus down or see if James was alright.
“James? Why are you -? Please stop it, James,” was all Adie could say. Her plea made James’ laughter falter for a second.
“Let him down.”
James whirled away from the guilt of Adie to look instead at Lily who appeared, much to Adrianna’s annoyance, to be fighting back a grin.
“Certainly,” James said and instantly, Sev was on the floor in a heap. Within seconds, his wand was back out and ready to curse James but the Seeker was faster. Once again, Severus lay on the floor as James hit him with Petrificus Totalus.
“LEAVE HIM ALONE.” Now Lily and Adie, too, had their wands out and the boys eyed them warily.
“Ah, Evans, don’t make me hex you.”
“Quit playing cute, James,” Adie said shortly. James realised her very real anger now.
“Take the curse off him.” Lily’s tone was equally as unimpressed.
James huffed indignantly but turned to the Slytherin boy and lifted the curse.
“There you go,” James said as Severus got to his feet. Adie was about to go and help him before returning to the Common Room when James continued. “You’re lucky Evans was here, Snivellus –”
“I don’t need help from filthy little Mudbloods like her!”
Adie halted, halfway between the Marauders and Snape.
“Fine,” Lily’s voice sounded calm but her best friend could hear the wealth of pain below the surface. “I won’t bother in future. And I’d wash your pants if I were you, Snivellus.”
Lily’s voice broke somewhat as she hurled her words at Snape, trying to hurt him as he had just hurt her.
“Apologise to Evans!” James roared.
“I don’t want you to make him apolo –”
Before Lily could finish her angry comment, directed towards James, Adie had fired a curse at Snape.
The dark haired boy flew across the grass once more but it was not anger and embarrassment in his eyes as he sat up but complete confusion.
Everyone standing around had turned in shock to look at Adrianna. She faltered for a moment, disconcerted by all the looks she was getting. However, as her eyes met Lily’s tear-filled eyes she remembered her rage.
“Never, never ever use that word again, Severus. You just insulted the only two people who liked you for who you are; the only two people in this world that you could call friends – that are there for you,” Adie paused for a moment, trying to express her true anger. Her words stuttered and stumbled in her fury.
“You’re as bad as the rest of them!” She was referring to the other, elitist Slytherins; it was the worst thing Adie could think of to say before turning and pushing her way past the crowds of students.
Through the sound of the blood beating in her ears, Adie hear Lily yell one more insult at James.
“Evans! Hey, EVANS!
Evidently, Lily had walked away. Adie had no desire to see if she’d come to follow her. She suspected not; Lily was probably equally furious with Adrianna as she was with James.
The Slytherin threw herself onto the ground as close to the Forbidden Forest as she dared to go. She watched numbly as Snape was thrown into the air once more. She could feel no sympathy any longer.