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Once Upon The Marauders: The Untold Story by princesslily_36
Chapter 21 : 3rd Year - Game Plan
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 4


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 The sun was barely up, and the dull morning hue had ascended upon the castle, not enough to get the students up and about. Adhara strode purposefully down the stars, along the drafty corridors, the height of her emotion rendering her immune to the chill prickling on her skin. The parchment crumpled in her clenched fist only added to her momentum. She turned around the bend leading to the dungeons, a path she had frequented during her first year, and at last faced a stone wall. She groaned in frustration, clearly not having thought this through.

Footfalls sounded from behind.

“Adhara?” The voice was filled with genuine shock, and widened grey eyes stared at her.

“Regulus!” She turned around, unable to keep hope and relief out of her voice. She was quick to notice that he was donning his green Quidditch gear. If the Slytherin team had been out practicing, that must mean he had to be around here. Fury rose within her as the purpose of the visit reared its head. “Where’s Rigel?” she demanded.

Regulus continued to look stunned. “He, uh, didn’t come for practice today. How did you even know where our Common Room was?” he asked, his expression suspicious and incredulous at the same time.

“I’m a Selwyn,” she raised her chin. “I’ve known where the Slytherin Common Room is since I was five. Now, go and get Rigel.” A sudden shift in his expression, a slight raise of his eyebrows, made Adhara realize her words had sounded more like a command than a request. “Please,” she added a little stiffly, in an effort to soften her previous tone lest he not comply.

He continued to look haughtily at her, his passive look of defiance strongly reminding her of Sirius. More footsteps were heard, and Regulus looked behind him nervously, suddenly looking as though he would rather be somewhere else. “It’s – Er – six in the morning,” he replied hesitantly.

Irritation shot through Adhara. “I don’t bloody care if it’s three in the morning, I need to see him NOW,” she said hotly.

The sounds of footsteps seemed to grow near. Regulus shifted his weight and rubbed the back of his neck. He glanced at her unsurely before stepping right in front of the stone wall.  

“Merlin,” he muttered, and the wall in front of him melted to reveal a passage bathed in green light. Adhara peered into it with wondering curiosity. She used to come to stare at the wall in her first year, wondering how different her life would have been if she had been sorted into Slytherin, but she had never lingered long enough for someone to show her what was beyond that wall.

“Stay here,” he instructed, holding out his arm when she made a move to follow him. “I’ll get him to come out.”

Not wanting to argue with him, she bit back a retort at his haughty tone and nodded stiffly. She figured he was still rankled at being commanded by her. She sighed as the wall melted shut behind his retreating figure, her spirits slightly dropping at the memory of their once good friendship.

A couple of girls in Slytherin Quidditch robes raised their eyebrows at the sight of her as they passed her to enter the Dungeons. She recognized one of them as Cassandra Blishwick, her classmate, who looked at her as if she were something nasty. Adhara challenged her look. She wasn’t going to let a Blishwick judge her. Adhara started pacing impatiently, glancing up every time a student walked past and glaring at everyone who as much as looked in her direction.

“Alright.” Adhara turned around at the sound of Rigel’s hoarse voice, and a sudden feeling of panic clenched her heart at the sight of him. He was rubbing his eyes, squinting as he exited the dimly lit dungeon. “Who the bloody fu-” He stopped short at the sight of her. “You?”

Adhara felt a wave of gratitude towards Regulus. Smart bloke, that one, not telling Rigel that it was Adhara waiting outside.

“What in the Snake’s Hell is this?” she swore at him, seizing the opportunity to catch him off guard and waving the offending piece of parchment in his face.

He scrunched his face in confusion, and then his forehead cleared. A smirk drew across his lips, one she dearly felt like slapping away right then.

“Oh that,” he drawled, his eyes glinting maliciously.

“What’s your fucking problem?” she spat, flinging the crumpled letter on his face in an attempt to wipe his expression away. His reactions were causing her to shake in anger. “What did I ever do to you? Why can’t you just stay out of my life?” she said furiously.

His expression remained unchanged. “It’s my duty to take care of my little sister.” His smirk grew wider. “And Father ought to know.”

“I’m no sister of yours,” she growled. “And you had no right to tell Father that I have been – what was it he wrote – Oh yeah, frolicking obscenely with Sirius!” Her face grew hot.

“Well, haven’t you?” He cocked an eyebrow, his smirk now a full-fledged grin, his perfectly white teeth glinting mockingly at her.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said through her teeth.

He took a step closer to her, towering over her. A move made in an attempt to intimidate her, something he had succeeded in doing ever since she could remember. Her legs shook slightly, and every instinct was telling her to take a step back, to save herself, that dignity didn’t matter. She fought the instinct and raised her chin to face his gaze, her hands trembling as she rested them firmly on her hips.

“I know what you’ve been up to,” he said in a low voice that sent a chill down her spine.

“How could you possibly-”

“I have my ways,” he cut her off. “And you’d do good to heed Father’s words.”

“I can date whoever I want,” she replied, trying hard to keep the fear out of her voice.

“Yes, date,” he sneered. She turned red. The word rolled out of his tongue as if it was something so… vulgar.  “Well,” he drawled his words out, pleased at her discomfit. More people were starting to move in and out of the common room, and the sun was completely out now, the sharpened edges of his malicious features lined with an orange glow. “Now, you can’t.”

Tears of rage formed a film in front of her eyes. She blinked and drew in a sharp breath. “If you think for one moment that Father’s letter is going to stop me from doing what I want, you’re mistaken,” she said in a low voice.

He scoffed. “Do you really think-”

“Shut up,” she snarled. He looked stunned for a moment. “Stay away from my life.”

His composure returned as he stared down at her for a few moments, his face dripping with something that could only be described as sadistic pleasure. He let out a small puff of breath, his lip curling on one end before breaking the gaze and taking a step back towards the Common Room entrance.

“Oh, and Adhara, I’d be careful if I were you.”

The low chuckle that followed echoed in her ears even after the dungeon wall melted shut behind Rigel’s back. He had managed to unnerve her yet again, and all she could do was glare furiously at the cold, unyielding stone.

She made her way back, hating that he had gotten the better of her yet again. She fumed inwardly as her father’s cold, slanting letters swam in front of her eyes - The news about you frolicking around obscenely with the likes of Sirius Black did not go down well with me. After nearly two years of ignoring her existence, her father’s silvery-grey owl had hooted at her window at wee hours that morning. I forbid you to see him in that capacity ever again. She could see in her mind’s eye, his brilliant green quill tracing those words out to her in all their dictatorial glory. She clenched her fists, wishing she could escape from it all, wishing she could live another life.

So engrossed in her own thoughts, it took her a few moments to realize that someone had been calling out to her. She halted at the unfamiliar voice, turning to face the addresser.

“Athena?” Her eyes grew wide in surprise.

“I was hoping to catch you alone,” Athena Greengrass said, her voice bearing an aristocratic lilt.

“Me?” Adhara couldn’t hide her surprise. Athena, apart from being Rigel’s classmate, was her second cousin on her mother’s side. But the two of them had barely bonded even when young, and had gone on to promptly ignore each other at Hogwarts. It probably had everything to do with how Athena had been properly sorted into Slytherin while Adhara had dragged the family name to mud by being a Gryffindor.

“Yes,” she said, pulling Adhara to a side as a student hurried past them. “I know we don’t talk much,” she started bluntly, “but I just wanted to warn you.”

“Warn me?”

“Yes,” Athena’s voice showed an edge of irritation. “I couldn’t help hearing you and Rigel out there, and if you quote me on this I will deny it with everything I got.” Athena’s dark eyes bore down, forcing a nod out of her. “Rigel is more dangerous than you think, and you need to be more careful.”

Adhara’s reflexively clutched at her right forearm, feeling the long scar that Rigel had inflicted upon her. “I know what he’s capable of.”.

Athena’s expression didn’t waver, but her voice dipped. “I don’t think you do. He’s… well, he’s really into this Blood Purity movement, and as long as we all sympathize with the cause we’re going to be out of harm’s way.”

Adhara let the words sink in. “Are you saying that I-”

“I’m saying that Rigel has it in for you, for some reason. And hanging around with a Mudblood isn’t doing you any favors.”

It suddenly struck Adhara how easily the word ‘Mudblood’ had rolled out of Athena’s tongue, and her mind flew to the way James had reacted to Lily being called the same by Mulciber.

“She has a name,” said Adhara stiffly.

“What?” Athena frowned slightly.

“The Muggle-born,” she stressed, “has a name. It’s Lily Evans. And I’m not going to stop being friends with her because of something Rigel may or may not do to me in the future.”

Athena exhaled derisively. “This is all so much bigger than you.”

“Are you threatening me?” she demanded.

“Oh dear Salazaar, no!” she gave a short laugh. “I’m on your side,” she said, her voice suddenly softer.

“Meaning what, exactly?” she folded her arms, regarding Athena skeptically.

She sighed. “I don’t really care what’s going on outside the walls of this castle. As far as you’re concerned, you’re a pure-blood, you don’t need to go down with the lowlife Muggle-borns. I’m just trying to give you a piece of advice to save yourself.”

“By abandoning my friends?”

“By looking out for yourself before anything else.”

“That’s selfish!”

“That’s practical,” Athena’s voice remained level but seemed tethering on an edge, a sharp contrast to Adhara’s rising tone of voice. “Your mother would advise you to do the same,” she said, raising her eyebrows slightly.

“I’m not scared of Rigel,” she replied stubbornly.

Athena made a sound of frustration. “Fine,” she resigned. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you. But I know that when the time comes it’s every witch for herself, and you’ll be the same.” With that she walked past Adhara.

“You’re wrong,” Adhara called out when she was just a few paces ahead. Athena stopped and turned around. A small smile tugged at Adhara’s lips. “Unos pro omnibus, omnus pro uno.”

“What?”

“It isn’t each one for themselves. It’s one for all, and all for one.”

Athena looked like she just caught herself from rolling her eyes, contented herself with a small shake of her head and continued on her way. Adhara realized she was running quite late, and wouldn’t even have time for breakfast. A couple of steps, and her path was blocked by someone coming out of the Potions dungeon.

They stared at each other, almost as if waiting for the other to speak first.

One look at Lily’s face and Adhara knew she had heard everything.

“What-” started Adhara crossly, but was cut off by Lily throwing her arms around her. Grinning widely, Adhara circled one arm loosely around Lily’s back.

“Thank you for saying what you did,” Lily said as she broke free, her face pink.

Adhara felt mildly embarrassed. “Yeah. It wasn’t a big-”

 “Yes it was,” insisted Lily. “You called me your friend, defended my birth and refused to let up…” Lily’s voice seemed to be shaking slightly. “... and all this while I was so mad at you for not sticking up for me when Marlene was being so horrible. But none of that matters now… honestly...”

Adhara tried to suppress a smile that threatened to break out. She realized that she had actually missed Lily and her incessant chatter, and never ending questions.

“Lily,” she interrupted Lily, who had for some reason jumped to the topic of Professor Slughorn in the few seconds Adhara had zoned out. “You’re grateful, I get it.”

Lily paused for a moment, making Adhara wonder if that had come out all wrong. Then, Lily beamed. “I’ve missed you,” she confessed unabashedly.

“You’ve been an idiot,” Adhara replied dryly, letting the smile break free.

“You’ve been a git,” she shot back.

As they walked to breakfast, Adhara was feeling much brighter despite the nagging feeling of dread that Rigel had instilled in her.

 




 “We have honestly got to find better ways of communicating with each other than charmed memos,” announced Sirius as he, Remus and Peter crowded around James’ hospital bed.

  "This is what they do at the Ministry,” retorted Remus, who had come up with the idea in the first place.

Sirius snorted. “Well if the Ministry does it…”

“Can we get back on topic?” cut in James irately. Sirius and Remus turned to James. “How do we get me to play the match tomorrow?”

Peter groaned. “Haven’t we already been over this? At this rate Pomfrey won’t even allow you to watch the match!”

“Peter’s right James. I doubt McGonagall will give you permission after the stunt you pulled yesterday,” agreed Remus.

“Who cares about permission?” scoffed James. “There has to be some way to do this.”

“Why this suddenly now?” asked Sirius. “You had let it go, hadn’t you? I mean, sure, you were bawling your eyes out-”

“I did not bawl,” interjected James hotly.

Sirius’ smirk grew wider. “Yeah, Okay. But after Poppy’s Calming Draught you seemed fine with it.”

James glared at Sirius, and then sighed. It wouldn’t do to let Sirius side track him with untruths (he hadn’t bawled!). “We haven’t tried everything.”

“Short of getting Dumbledore to overrule Poppy-”

“We are not going to the staff!” James cut off Peter impatiently. “I’m thinking something a lot more foolproof.”

“Like?”

“Polyjuice Potion.” James dragged out the syllables, enjoying watching their reactions to it. Predictably enough, Sirius broke into a wide smile, throwing his head back in a short laugh, Peter looked stunned and Remus, a little unsure.

“But we can’t make-”

“That’s the simplicity of the whole thing,” James rushed excitedly. “We don’t have to make it. I know the sixth years have made the potion and submitted it to Slughorn for grading last week. All we have to do is nick some of it. Nobody has to know, and I still get to play the game.”

“Sounds brilliant,” shrugged Sirius, mirroring James’ enthusiasm.

James turned to Remus who seemed to be contemplating it. “It could work…” he said slowly.

“Of course, it will!” said Sirius.

“How did you come up with this?” The lilt of admiration in Peter’s voice heartened him further.

“Well, after Evans left I began to-”

Evans?” Sirius said sharply.

“Er- yeah...” James looked at him quizzically. “She came last night. And after she left-”

“Hang on,” Remus interrupted. “Lily Evans came to see you?”

Why were they focusing on that instead of listening to how he came up with the idea all by himself? “Yeah. She snuck in last night,” he replied impatiently. .

Sirius, Remus and Peter exchanged significant looks and started snickering.

“What?” What was he missing?

“So,” Sirius’ smirk got wider. “What exactly did Evans tell you?”

“Nothing. Just that she was sorry, and asked how I was doing.”

The three of them started snickering even more.

“Looks like you were right,” Remus commented to Sirius.

“Devil’s shit!” Sirius shook his head incredulously, apparently still amused by something.

“What is it?” asked James insistently. It was beginning to annoy him.

Remus glanced at the laughing Sirius and Peter once more. “Well, sorry to break it to you, mate. But looks like Evans fancies you.”

“What?” James yelped. “You’re joking!”

“We’re not,” said Peter, shaking his head seriously. “Last night she asked me if you fancied her.”

Sirius broke into fresh peals of laughter that made James’ face turn hot. “She did not,” he muttered, refusing to believe them. This must be Sirius’ idea of a joke, that git.

“She did!” insisted Peter. “And she seemed quite sad to hear you were here.”

“Heartbroken, I hear,” replied Sirius grinning widely at his discomfort.

“Wait a minute,” cut in Remus, a look of realization dawning on his face. “That must be when she decided to sneak out to see you.”

James felt his face grow hot. Lily Evans? Fancying him? That had to be the most bizarre thing he had ever heard. Yet there was something absurdly pleasing about the prospect, despite the protests falling from his lips.

“Stop- Stop laughing Sirius!” he chided them, heat radiating from his flaming face to the rest of his skin. “It’s ridiculous!”

“That’s what we thought too,” nodded Remus knowingly. “But the evidence is too damning, James.”

“James and Lily in a broom closet,” Sirius’ voice sang out laden with amusement. James aimed a kick at him, which he deftly dodged, continuing to snicker. James felt a small smile tug at his lips much to his horror.

“Don’t you all have class to go to?” he hastened to ask, trying to get his smile to disappear by changing the subject. The mirth in Remus’ eyes was worse than Sirius’ open teasing.

“Sure,” Remus nodded. “Let’s leave, mate.” He turned around, nudging Peter and Sirius along. Just as they were near the door, “he probably wants us out before his girlfriend comes to visit him!”

James well aimed flower vase fell on the door seconds after Remus had closed it behind him.

 




A/N: Hello folks! I'm so grateful to those of you who have stuck with me till here. The chapters are coming up, and I'm happy to say I've gotten the next few already written. I'd love to know what you think about this one! There's a lot that has happened - what do you think about the Lily and James development? Rigel is a jerk isn't he? How do you think Adhara is going to handle this? 


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