"But, Isla," Addison protested loudly, three tables over. "I simply don't understand!"
Sirius looked at the girl for a moment as she sat in the library, books stacked up so high that you could barely see her nose. The couple sitting at the table between him and Addison looked startled and dropped hands, before returning to staring soulfully into each other's eyes.
She sat and scowled, not unbecomingly, he had to admit, as he wondered who she was and what she was incapable of learning. Generally, he excused himself from James' s Lily-patrols of the library, but this time he had been unable to think of a viable excuse, and so had grudgingly come along.
"Sirius," James whispered. "There's Lily, alone by the back book shelf. Wish me luck!"
James grinned hopefully at his best mate and he was off, while Sirius rolled his eyes, feeling the futility of his friend's mission deeply within each corpuscle of his being. Watching James go down in flames had lost its appeal long ago, but Sirius couldn't find a subtle way of dissuading him from continuing his pursuit of the disinterested young witch.
"Miss Pidge!" Miss Pince, who was notoriously harsh on any student offenses that might in any way compromise the sanctity of her domain, the chief of which was loud talking, was standing in front of the young girl, her face just inches away from Addison's.
Addison bit her lip, obviously unglued by the unwanted attention, but Sirius was impressed by the level way she looked directly into the librarian's consternated scowl. That took a bit of nerve,
he thought approvingly.
"Yes, ma'am," she answered in a delicate whisper.
Sirius stifled a laugh. What a cheeky move, worthy of himself or James! Complete disavowal of any wrongdoing. That gamut seldom worked, but as an avid student of the ins and outs of dealing with an infuriated member of the faculty, he found himself enthralled.
"We do not comport ourselves like . . ." The older woman stopped, carefully choosing her words.
"Like students trying to decipher incomprehensible texts?" Addison asked helpfully, a slight sarcastic lilt to her voice.
Sirius winced. Amateurs,
he thought. Always a bad move. No one with any authority wanted to be shown the obviousness of the reasons behind an infraction, and sarcasm was absolutely deadly. He began to feel pity for the strange little Slytherin, in spite of himself. She, like his poor James, was destined for a fiery end.
"Miss Pidge, loud talking and disruptions which keep your fellow students from their academic pursuits . . . "
Sirius caught the look that Isla threw at the boy sitting across from her. It was painfully obvious to all that the only "pursuits" being thwarted at that moment had little to do with anything contained in a book.
". . . will simply not be tolerated. Furthermore, taking that tone of voice with a member of the Hogwarts' staff . . ."
A crestfallen James returned to the table. He began to speak, but Sirius waved him off, curious to see what was to become of the poor little urchin.
". . . is punishable by the taking of ten house points!" Miss Pince took a well needed breath before continuing. "Now go! You can be certain that Professor Slughorn will be informed of the ill manners being displayed by the members of his house!"
Sirius collected his dejected friend and overtook the Slytherins as they retreated from the library.
"Your first instinct was spot on," he whispered, sliding in beside Addison. "If you'd maintained the 'who me?' attitude, I think you'd have won the day."
Addison looked up at him, a small grateful smile playing on her unhappy lips.
"Shove off, Black!" Isla hissed lowly, slowly raising her wand, as Jonathan and James stared at each other in pure hatred.
"I meant to, but I was so angry," Addison whispered back, ignoring her friends' reactions to being in the Gryffindors' presence.
Isla tugged at Addison's arm, a look of pure disgust on her face, as she looked at Sirius and James.
Addison and Sirius exchanged smiles and allowed their friends to lead them off in opposite directions.