Four years later – July, 1980
Adie made her way into Remus’ cramped living room, from his even smaller kitchen, performing an impressive balancing act. She was managing to juggle a large bowl of crisps, three bottles of butterbeer, and a glass of pumpkin juice. Without managing to spill anything, Adie sat herself down on the sofa and deposited the snacks on to the table where they were immediately grabbed at by her friends’ greedy hands.
“Thanks, Adie,” Peter said, around a mouthful of salt and vinegar crisps. Lily smiled at her best friend, taking the pumpkin juice off the coffee table somewhat awkwardly; her pregnant stomach did not allow for much flexibility. Sirius, sitting next to Adie, leant over to pick up a bottle of butterbeer before putting his arm around his fiancée.
“Nice circus act there,” he murmured to her. “I felt a bit worried about the pumpkin juice as you stepped over James but you made it. Very impressive!”
The blonde laughed before pecking him on the lips and grabbing the half eaten carton of rice from the coffee table. The small room was littered with the debris of the friends’ take-away curry; it was an attempt at a cheer-up for Remus, who had just split from his girlfriend. They hadn’t been together that long, and he wasn’t too upset but in the current climate, any excuse for a small party or get-together was greatly welcomed. The times were dark; tidings of death and sorrow were pouring in from every angle. Adrianna’s father had recently been killed in a skirmish between the Death Eaters and vigilante group, Order of the Phoenix, of which many of her friends were members. Adie had not felt able to join the group, unsure whether she’d be able to properly fight some of her former friends especially if she found herself in combat with Regulus or even Callie. She hadn’t heard anything from anyone there since she had left them all behind.
It was the Prewett twins who had killed her father. They had started to apologise to her when they had met at the Three Broomsticks about a fortnight ago but she had cut them off. Adie knew it was the only thing to do to stop Voldemort’s reign of terror. And as she said to the boys, “I lost my father a long time ago”. He’d ceased to mean much to her the moment she found that robe. However, Adie had still shed some tears over her dad. No human could truly distance themselves from their family that much, so as not to feel anything at their death, Adie told herself. But she could not help wondering, would they cry, if she was to die?
The girl had quickly banished the thought from her head and quickly immersed herself in wedding plans instead. Sirius had proposed to her a few months ago; a lot of people were rushing in to weddings at the moment, however this couple had been together for many years now. Adie knew she wasn’t saying “yes” just because of the pressures around them. She loved Sirius, and was as confident in his love for her as she had ever been. The pair was living in an apartment a little way from the centre of Diagon Alley; they shared the one-bedroom space with their cat, Hester, and the small family was incredibly happy.
Every morning as Adie woke up, she could not help but to give silent thanks for the way her life had worked out. Opening her eyes every day to find her beautiful boyfriend lying beside her, in their cramped flat with their self-righteous and diva-ish cat stalking the room was ever a blessing. Adie could never have imagined such a bright future for herself a few years ago. She had known that she wouldn’t regret the decision she had made, to leave her family, and she didn’t. Every experience of her life since leaving the Greengrasses behind had been wonderful. Emmeline’s family had kindly taken her in for the holidays and up until she and Em left Hogwarts; Em’s mother was a “blood traitor”, who had married a Muggle out of love instead of her chosen partner for power. She sympathised very well with Adie and was delighted to have the girl stay with them. To this day, their home was always open to Adie and she often went there with Em and Sirius for Sunday lunch. Peter and Emmeline had broken up in the Seventh Year, but remained good friends.
Sometimes it made Adie smile to think of the irony of the way her life had panned out. Really, she was doing just what her family had wanted of her – giving up the Greengrass name in order to become a Black. The wrong Black according to her family, however, but the right Black for her. Adie often wondered about Regulus; some members of the Order had informed her that he was indeed a Death Eater now. It saddened her but she still retained some hope that he would defer sides before the end of the war.
Sirius was not as hopeful as he had told Adie one day, when they’d been discussing the matter. “Come on, Adie, you told me you saw it yourself! He’s not got the capability to change and stand up for himself like we did.”
“We both needed triggers to make the move – mine was finding out about my dad, and yours was… well, yours was finding out that Regulus was to be married off to me.”
Sirius had only told her that after they had been together for a couple of years. He said that, at the time, it was his anger that they were settling Reg down. He knew that if Regulus was married to Adie, he would definitely never leave the pure-blood life – he knew that they would be happy enough together. It was only with time that he had realised, he was also upset about Adie being denied her chance to leave and, as much as he had hated to admit it, jealousy that it wasn’t him she was engaged to.
“You’d think having torture Muggles and other wizards to insanity and madness would be trigger enough,” Sirius’ words were quite acidic by this point in the conversation. Adie could sense his anger but tried to placate him, and make him understand her point of view.
“But we also had support,” she murmured, sitting next to him and leaning her body into his. “You had James and by the time I was ready to leave, I had you as well as the girls and the Marauders. I’d just like to think that if Regulus ever did want to get away, he would know that he had our support.”
Sirius relaxed at Adie’s presence somewhat but still seemed agitated. It took a few moments of silence before he worked up the courage to ask her something that had plagued him for many years.
“Did you ever love him, Adie?” Sirius’ voice was small, feeling silly for eve asking. “I know you don’t now, but did you ever?”
His girlfriend laughed at his shyness and earnestness, pressing her lips gently to his cheek, still chuckling. “No, Sirius, I didn’t. We were friends and I saw a marriage with him as the best option I had, the closest semblance to happiness life could offer me. I can’t tell you how glad I am that it didn’t work out that way.”
After that conversation, the pair had discussed Regulus less and Adie began to feel more and more like Sirius did. She doubted her friend would ever manage to leave the Death Eaters and pure-bloods, but she knew in her heart that he did not enjoy his life.
Bringing Adie out of her reverie and reminiscence, James tapped a tandoori-covered fork against his empty beer bottle, evidently wanting to make an announcement. Adie put her rice down and turned to face her friend, still leant comfortably against her fiancé.
James looked solemn as he began to speak, “Lily and I are moving house, soon. We won’t be around the London area any more but, chances are, you’ll be able to Apparate and see us. So I suppose it’s not that big a news bulletin, we just wanted to let you know.”
There was a slightly awkward pause after James said this. Something about his announcement was slightly stilted and forced.
Adie shifted. “Is that a good idea, right now, guys? After all, Lily is only three weeks off of her due date. That might make moving a bit hard, now or when you have a new-born.”
The pair exchanged a glance, loaded with meaning that Adie could not understand.
“If we’re being frank, Adie, it’s Dumbledore’s orders,” Lily said, slightly apologetically. “He says we’re being specifically targeted. It might be something to do with the baby – we’re not sure why or what is really going on, but we’re just going to listen to Albus.”
“That’s always the best idea,” Remus acquiesced. “But what was this about us potentially not being able to Apparate and see you?”
It was James’ turn to deliver an uncomfortable answer to this question. “They’ll be very strict security measures.”
“Even for your best friends?” Remus smiled.
“Yes.” James’ answer was not as friendly and the atmosphere tensed up very quickly. Remus put his bottle down on the table with a loud chink, looking pretty annoyed by James’ curtness.
Adie tried to diffuse the tension somewhat. “Well, I’m happy to carry on being Secret Keeper; no one’s approached me for the top-secret info thus far.”
Her attempt at lightening the mood did not succeed as Lily admitted, “We were thinking about changing Secret Keeper actually, Adie. Thanks though.”
Sirius felt his fiancée stiffen at these words; why didn’t they trust her anymore? Adie couldn’t help but pinpoint their sudden change in attitude towards one thing.
“I haven’t spoken to my family for four years, since I left that house. You know that. As if I would ever pass on information like that to anyone from that group.”
James shrugged; when it came to protecting his family he would be as harsh as he needed to be. “Yeah, but would you tell Regulus Black?”
Adie shook her head, infuriated by James and Lily’s unfounded accusations. She could not believe they thought she would ever betray them, that she could ever do such a thing. Adie could barely form the words to deny that she would do such a thing; how could she convince them of something that they should already know?
Lily had obviously sensed how affronted her best friend was by James’ words and tried to smooth things over.
“No, Adie, I’m sure you wouldn’t but also, there’s your safety to think of. Death Eaters might not have come after you yet, but I don’t think Voldemort’s started his search for us at the moment. It’s quite common knowledge that you’re our Secret Keeper – they will come after you soon if you stay in the position.”
Adie tried to smile at her friend; but she knew Lily’s words were not very truthful, that was not their main concern. Death Eaters were going to come after her anyway, if Voldemort was looking for the Potters. Of course the first thing they’d do was to interrogate their former Secret Keeper. Yet Adie kept her fake smile in place and laughed away the tension; eventually the atmosphere calmed down, the stress dissipated from the group somewhat. However, when they reached their own apartment that night, Adie refused to talk about the issue with Sirius; she was still so angry and, although she hated to admit it, scared of seeing the same accusations in his eyes. The next morning she let him discuss it, having found no anger on his part in his actions. He had simply held her the same way he always; Adie felt guilty for believing he would ever think her a traitor. That was the problem, the scariest part of Voldemort’s reign, it was so hard to tell your enemies from your friends…