I'm back! And I've got a new story for you! Please enjoy the adventures of my new OC, Hadley Sinclair!
Please let me know what you think in a review, as I will be basing my timeline on interest. I really hope I capture James and Sirius well!
July 1, 1978
Hadley Sinclair let herself in the back door the Potter's' house. It was still early, and normally Hadley would still be asleep. But, being the first day of vacation, she was still on her school sleep schedule. She had risen that morning at precisely six forty-seven. It was now nearly nine and since she couldn't distract herself anymore, she decided to go wake up her best friend.
Mrs. Potter was sitting in the living room with a cup of tea, knitting away when Hadley walked through the kitchen toward the stairs.
"Hadley, dear! How are you?" she asked, glancing up at the neighbor girl.
Hadley paused at the foot of the stairs, "I'm well. How are you and the Mister?"
"Oh, Fleamont's fine. Keeping busy in the front garden, as usual. James should still be asleep if you want to go up. And we've got Sirius too, the poor dear." Hadley rolled her eyes at the mention of Hogwarts' most notorious playboy, not looking forward to sharing her best friend for their last summer vacation together.
"Right. I'll go get those lazy bums up and about, take them to breakfast in town, save you the trouble." Hadley smiled at the older woman, who smiled back at her before going back to her knitting.
The Potters and Sinclairs had been neighbors since their children were young, and James and Hadley had grown up almost as siblings. They'd grown apart during their years at Hogwarts; they'd been sorted into different houses and moved in different circles, but every holiday was theirs and only theirs. That was, until Sirius Black started crashing with James' family on holidays. While James had mentioned that Sirius's home life was rather miserable, Hadley could barely find the sympathy needed to willingly share James. But share she did, as she really had no other choice.
On her way up the stairs, Hadley planned their day together. They'd walk into Godric's Hollow for some breakfast and butterbeers to celebrate the first day of vacation, then go back to James' room and listen to Muggle records. It had become their usual first day of summer routine and she was a bit surprised he wasn't awake already.
"Oh Ja-ames!" she called in a singsong voice as she climbed the stairs. "James Thaddeus Potter, get your ruddy arse up! I'm not going to let you piss away your entire vacation in bed!"
"Oi! Keep it down out there!" a voice shouted grumpily as it emerged from the bedroom she'd just passed. She whirled around and saw a very shirtless Sirius Black emerge from the guest room that over the last several school breaks had become his, rubbing his bleary eyes with the heel of his hand. Years of Quidditch had sculpted his chest, his shaggy black hair fell in waves practically down to his shoulders, and Hadley took a second to appreciate his bad-boy good looks before he could focus his eyes on her.
"Some of us need our beauty sleep, Sinclair." He joked, leaning against the doorframe.
"It doesn't appear to be doing you much good, Black." She muttered as she knocked on James' door. She'd almost grown used to having Black around, but had to admit to herself that it was a bit awkward living next door to the school lothario. Especially when he was as handsome as Sirius was.
"Hey Hadley, you ready to go? Oh, Sirius, you're up. Why don't you join us, mate? Breakfast and butterbeers in town, maybe walk around the park, should be a good time." Potter offered, adjusting the hem of the wrinkled t-shirt he'd clearly just pulled on. His glasses were askew on his nose, his black hair rumpled, but the smile on his face was wide and infectious. Hadley couldn't help but share his wide-eyed mirth.
"Oh, no I couldn't intrude on best friend together time." Sirius mocked slightly.
"Don't be stupid, you won't be intruding. Will he, Hadley?" James looked to Hadley, and she shrugged her shoulders as the smile disappeared.
"No, no. So long as he puts a shirt on. We don't want to cause a riot." She mocked back at him. She couldn't deny that Sirius was attractive, but he was much too smug for her tastes. He smirked and ducked back into his room, emerging a minute later looking impossibly cool in a pair of dark jeans and a white uniform shirt with the sleeves pushed up to his elbow; his usual look. Hadley could never recall seeing him wear his sleeves properly, but it suited him.
"Better, love?" he asked as he undoubtedly noticed her checking him out. The shirt clung to his body, showing every muscle movement as he reached up to run a hand through his shaggy black hair.
Hadley cleared her throat, a bit embarrassed that she'd been caught staring at him, and moved quickly toward the stairs, "Much. Let's go."
Sirius shot James a cocky smile and watched Hadley walk away. "Told you, mate, she wants me."
"I heard that." Hadley said from the bottom of the stairs and James playfully punched his best friend's arm.
The three of them strolled down the path that led to the high street, Hadley and James arm-in-arm with Sirius following close behind, his hands shoved into his pockets while the Ravenclaw and Gryffindor chatted. As much as he hated to admit, he was jealous of James and Hadley's relationship. They were as close as siblings and, while Sirius and James also shared a sibling-close bond, James and Hadley had had it longer. And despite being present at the Potter's for the last several holidays with her and going to the same school for six years, Hadley was still a bit of a mystery to him. He chanced a glance over her lithe form, taking in the way her jeans hugged every curve of her legs and the outline of her bra through her t-shirt. Lucky for him, he loved a good mystery.
"So Xander is finally getting married?" James asked Hadley, who nodded enthusiastically.
"Yep. Two weeks from now. Your family is invited, of course. Sirius included." Hadley explained. Xander was her older brother. He had graduated Hogwarts four years prior, Xander Sinclair had been a bit of a Quidditch star during his time at Hogwarts. He was captain of the Gryffindor team his sixth and seventh years, and as an eleven and twelve year old Sirius had worshipped him as a god.
"We'll be there, right Sirius?" James called over his shoulder to his brooding best male friend.
"My brother's wedding." She explained exasperatedly.
"Xander Sinclair's wedding? Of course I'll be there." Sirius enthused.
"But wait, mate, there's more." James bragged.
"What do you mean?" Hadley asked, confused.
"Tell him your mum's maiden name." James urged. Sirius squinted at James.
She sighed, "My mum's family is the Moodys. Alastor Moody is my uncle."
Sirius' eyebrows twitched upward, but the rest of his face remained impassive. "The Alastor Moody?"
"Yes, the Alastor Moody. Crown jewel of the Auror Office, foe to any and all practitioners of dark magic." Hadley said dryly, like it was getting rather tiring to be related to her uncle.
"Well now I'll definitely be there." Sirius grinned. Xander Sinclair and Alastor Moody in the same family? Hadley had won the familial relations lottery, he thought as they stepped onto the high street and headed toward The Mortar and Pestle, the local pub. He nestled those two bits of information away in his mind; a few clues into the mystery of Hadley Sinclair.
The morning sun cast long shadows on the cobblestone streets, and most of the shops were still closed, giving the street a half-asleep feeling that Sirius shared. He hadn't had any coffee yet; an absolute necessity within the first twenty minutes of waking. It had now been twenty-three minutes and he could feel the sharp pain of withdrawal start to creep around the edge of his brain, but the pub was in sight.
"Xander's going to be home in a few days to help finish up the plans. I'm sure he'd love to see the two of you again. You were his little disciples in second year if I remember correctly? Followed him everywhere, begged for his autograph?" she teased, nudging James with her elbow as his cheeks turned a bit pink.
"Oh stuff it, Hadley." James said as he ushered her into the dark pub.
"And that autograph would be worth a fortune now!" Sirius added as they took three stools at the far end of the bar and ordered breakfast and three butterbeers. Sirius ordered a black coffee as well, eager for his caffeine fix.
"So Hadley, how's that boyfriend of yours?" James asked suggestively, waggling his eyebrows at her.
"Leo? He's not my boyfriend anymore." She said flippantly, as if it didn't really matter. Sirius was mildly surprised at her nonchalance. He'd seen the two of them making out in the lesser-strolled halls of Hogwarts and they seemed rather fond of each other then.
"What'd he do?" James went into protective big brother mode and sat up a little straighter.
"It's nothing. We had a row on the train yesterday because he thinks it's too soon for him to come to my brother's wedding." She explained, rolling her eyes a bit.
"Too soon? What does that mean?" Sirius asked.
"It means that despite having been together for nearly an entire school year he didn't want to meet my family because it's too big of a commitment." She explicated, a slight snap to her words. Ah, there it was. With her tone, he assumed it was the wand that broke the griffin's back.
"That's ridiculous!" James exclaimed, clenching a fist on the mahogany bar. Prongs must really care about this girl; whenever Sirius told him about one of his relationships ending he was met with a shrug and a sympathetic pat on the arm from his best friend.
"I agree. Which is why I told him that we're over. It's harsh, but what else was I supposed to do?" She said with conviction.
"Yeah, harsh." Sirius said. He had to hand it to her, she was sure of herself. Everything she'd said so far she'd said with absolute confidence, as if she had no doubt she was right in this matter. However it could also be thinly-veiled arrogance, and that he could not stand. He had just left his family behind partly because of their arrogance.
"He's been distant since Christmas. I was getting sick of being strung along, and since he's out of school it was only going to get worse. I refuse to be his doormat."
The ancient barkeep shuffled back over and placed their drinks in front of them, Sirius immediately reaching for the coffee and gulping it down like a man who'd just spent the last six weeks in the desert without water. The bitter black drink started working its way into his system, infusing his blood with life-giving energy. Slamming the mug back onto the bar earned him a confused look from Hadley. He grinned at her in response, hoping to break the veil and see what lay behind it.
"Good for you, Sinclair. The world needs more women like you." Sirius said as he clapped her on the shoulder with his free hand. She smiled at the insinuation.
"Black, if there were more women like me you would be a very lonely little man." She joked. James, who had been taking a long draw from his drink, sputtered and coughed as some went down the wrong tube. Hadley thudded him on the back to help clear his pipes as he collapsed in a mess of choking coughs and laughter.
"She's got you there, Padfoot." He said when his airway was clear.
"Just you wait, Sinclair, you'll fall for my charms one of these days. It's unavoidable," he replied. Her insult didn't bother him, as he knew her words were most likely true, but thank Merlin for small miracles.
"Ha! There would have to be a lot of firewhiskey involved for me to fall for your smug arse." Hadley laughed; a lovely laugh that sounded like church bells on Christmas. Another tidbit of information about her that he squirreled away, along with a small reminder to hear that laugh as often as he could. He very much liked it.
Their eyes connected as James succumbed to another coughing-slash-laughing attack. Sirius took the chance to look into her deep blue eyes. They stared back at him, all at once defiant and amenable. He saw a tinge of pink rise in her cheeks that sent a wave of pride wash through him.
"I think that can be arranged." He said, a smug smile spreading across his face.
July 4, 1978
Rafi scratched at her closed bedroom door, whining loudly so that Hadley had no choice but to get out of bed, which she was loath to do before ten. Her school sleep schedule was definitely over. She opened the door and let the old golden retriever out into the hall, where he padded over to her brother's room and barked. The door was closed, but Hadley could tell Xander was home from the way the dog was going nuts at his door.
"Alexander Bradley Sinclair, if you're in there say hello to the dog," she shouted down the hall. The door of her brother's room opened a crack and Rafi head-butted his way in, barking happily while Hadley went down to the kitchen and put the kettle on. Both of their parents were at work already, but her mother had left out some of her homemade scones and a note reminding Hadley to do the washing up.
She made tea for herself and her brother; she knew he wouldn't be upstairs much longer if Rafi had his say. Sure enough, the dog and her brother came bounding into the kitchen and Hadley smiled. Xander's shaggy blonde hair and brown eyes shone brightly as he hugged Hadley.
"Good morning, sis." He said, ruffling her hair as she finished the tea.
"When did you get in?" she asked, handing him his mug of tea. One sugar, lots of milk, just like he liked.
"I didn't get out of practice until one in the morning. Packed up at home and Floo'd here around two. How've you been?" he said, sitting down at the small kitchen table and motioning for her to join him.
"Oh, you know, dealing with your impending nuptials, hanging out with the dog, dumping my boyfriend, that sort of thing." She sat across from him and felt contentedness settle over her like a warm blanket as Rafi slipped under the kitchen table and put his head in her lap, begging for some breakfast.
"You broke up with what's-his-name? You were practically besotted with him over winter break!" Xander mocked.
"I was nowhere near besotted. And Leo decided that being my date to a wedding was too big a commitment." She took a sip of her tea and shrugged. "Good riddance."
"Well I'm glad to see you're handling the break up well." Xander said sarcastically as he rolled his eyes.
"What would you have me do? Collapse into a puddle because I don't have a boyfriend anymore? I'm not that girl, Xander." Silence settled over them as she stared off into space, sipping her tea and absent-mindedly thinking about Leo and how she hoped he was miserably lonely in London.
"Can I ask you a personal question?" Hadley's eyes locked onto Xander's as he took a breath, preparing himself for the uncomfortable question to follow, "Have you ever been in love?" he queried, genuinely curious as to the answer.
Hadley had never been boy-crazy; Leo had been her first real boyfriend. At least, real enough to mention to her family.
Hadley sighed. Not because she didn't know the answer, but because she didn't want to admit it. She had never been in love. At least, not real love. She'd entertained a mad crush on Dante Glarus from third year until the beginning of fifth, when he started dating her friend Lila. And despite being with Leo for the better part of ten months, she hadn't even come close to loving him. In truth, she was relieved when he didn't want to come to Xander's wedding. It meant she could stop faking it.
Before she could answer her brother, she heard three sharp 'pops' just inside the front door, where the mail would fall in a normal Muggle home. She sighed and pushed back from the table.
"More RSVPs for your bloody wedding," she explained, walking into the foyer.
"I thought the deadline for those was last week!" Xander's voice sounded from the kitchen as Hadley opened her cousin Eleanor's reply.
"Yes, well people are incredibly inconsiderate. Especially when there's an open bar," she said, flipping through the invitations. Eleanor, their dour cousin who lived in the middle of nowhere was coming with a plus one, which made Hadley groan as she sat back down at the table.
"Waff ivv it?" Xander asked through a mouthful of one of their mother's vanilla-raspberry scones.
"Ellie's got a date to this thing and I've got none." She revealed, throwing the unopened envelopes on the table and going to make coffee. This was a coffee problem, not a tea problem.
"What? Surely not! Let me see that!" Xander got up from his seat and reached for the invitation, laughing when he saw the name of Ellie's date. "She's bringing Simon Heatherton? That doesn't seem like something to brag about."
"That's not the point! She's got a date and I don't! If our family gets wind of this I will never, never hear the end of it!" Hadley flicked her wand violently and the coffee began brewing, but nearly at the expense of her brother's eye.
"Oi! Watch it!" he warned, pushing her wrist away from his face. Hadley put her wand down and braced herself against the counter, dropping her head and sighing.
"I am just so sick of not living up to their expectations, Xander." She said, barely above a whisper.
She felt like she would be sick. Another disappointment, another let-down for her family to hold over her head. As a Ravenclaw, her parents expected her to have high marks and achieve academic perfection, but that hope was dashed by her discovery that her interest laid in artistic pursuits rather than book learning. Her marks weren't terrible, and she'd gotten seven O.W.L.s, but she could tell that her parents (and indeed, much of her extended family) were dissatisfied. In many ways, she was glad that Xander was home because perhaps some of the pressure would be taken off her shoulders.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a 'pop' in the living room. At first she thought it was more letters, but James sauntering into the kitchen quickly proved her wrong.
"James old boy, I was wondering when you'd turn up!" Xander exclaimed, pushing off from the counter and extending a hand for James to shake.
"Xander, good to see you mate!" James took the outstretched hand and shook it enthusiastically before turning his attention to Hadley. "Hadley, what's wrong?" He put a hand on her shoulder and, instead of a verbal answer, she held up the RSVP.
"Smelly Ellie is coming to the wedding with Simon Heatherton? What's so upsetting about that?" James asked thickly.
"It's not that she's going with him, it's that she's got a date at all." Hadley said through gritted teeth, pouring herself some coffee and drinking it black, choking on the bitterness.
"And…what's so wrong with that? Other than the children will be ugly as sin." James joked, nudging Hadley with his elbow, a sly smile on his face to try to cheer her up. She knew what he was doing and didn't appreciate it.
"It's that she's got a date and our dear Hadley here hasn't one. She feels as though it's an embarrassing situation." Xander explained so his sister didn't have to.
"No date to your brother's wedding? Why is that embarrassing?"
"Because it just is, alright!? That is, unless…" she looked at James pleadingly but a guilty look crossed his face.
"Oh, sorry, Had but you see…I've already invited Lily Evans and…she said yes…"
"She said yes? Good for you mate!" she congratulated. She'd spent entire summers listening to James wax poetic about the majestic Lily Evans and his many failed attempts to woo her. Now that he'd gotten a win maybe his obsession would be a bit more subdued.
"You know…Sirius might go with you. If you asked him nicely, that is." James said thoughtfully.
Hadley scoffed, "Yeah, right. Me and Sirius Black. People would believe that."
"Come on, Hadley, just let me run it past him. I know he'd say yes."
"Thanks but no thanks, Jamie. I think I'd rather take Rafi." At the mention of his name, the old dog barked and jumped up on her, licking her face and making her laugh.
"You never know. He might surprise you." James offered, smiling deviously as he took his leave.
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