The Grass Is Always Greener

Chapter 27

After that encounter, Adie very much wanted to be alone. Luckily for her the rest of the school were still in their lessons; as much as the run-in with Reg had shaken her, everyone else remained blissfully unaware. There was no way the girl was going to go to her class now – she needed time to recover and pacify her emotions. The sadness, loss, and, above all, the guilt; Adie could not help but to blame herself for Regulus’ change. Deep down she knew it was inevitable, his following the other Slytherins, but that did not help alleviate her pain.

Adie wondered what would become of Reg in the future, the things her docile, former best friend would be forced into doing. He was so vulnerable, she could see that now; he lacked the fire of Adie and Sirius. All she could do was pray that some inner-steel would show itself when he most needed it. Hopefully, he would realise that she would always be there to support him if he made the decision to follow her path too, no matter what circumstances it was under.

Sirius had seen it so clearly, Adie had never imagined he’d be more perceptive than her but, evidently, he was. When he’d left, he must have recognised Regulus’ unwillingness to disobey his family. Adie cursed herself for feeling this way, however it was with such relief that she realised Sirius had never given up on her in that way. He must have always seen a spark in her, potential. Maybe that’s why he had found her so frustrating, her lack of action? Her stomach squirmed as she thought about the fact he had never given up on her. Adie knew she should not read so much into Sirius’ actions but she couldn’t help herself.

Unfortunately for Adie, someone up there was not feeling particularly kind towards her that day and she was not to be left alone with her thoughts. Callie rounded the corner of the corridor at exactly the same time as her sister, the two nearly colliding as they walked.

“Sorry, I was in a bit of a daze I didn’t see–” Adie began to speak before realising exactly who she was talking to. “Callie, I’m sorry.”

Adie couldn’t finish that sentence because she didn’t know where to start with her apologies; she hadn’t meant to run into her sister, she had never intended to abandon Calliope and bring such shame to their family. Adie was well-aware that it was the latter of these two that had upset Callie. The dark haired sister did not see Adie’s actions as abandonment because she was unaware of the awful fate that lay in her future. Well, not unaware of what her future entailed but definitely oblivious to how horrible it would be.

It must have been her run-in with Regulus, and her subsequent thoughts about his relationship with Sirius that was inducing such sympathy for her sister. Adie knew how the older Black brother must have felt leaving his younger sibling behind – no matter how much of a lost cause they were, it was still tough.

Calliope, unaware of her big sister’s thoughts, was regarding Adie with a rather cool stare. “Mother almost had a breakdown when father told us what you’d done. How could you humiliate us all like that?”

Adrianna was always amazed by Callie and her mother’s ability to say such angry words in such even tones, expressing no emotion and still managing to make you feel incredibly small and chastised.

“Callie, you know I never belonged. Isn’t it better this way? I would have made a rubbish wife and done something typically stupid at every ball and event. I’m not denying you your chosen future, so don’t deny me mine.” Adie tried to be firm but fair with her sister.

The dark haired girl shifted into a more defensive pose, crossing her arms, “Well, you’ve damaged my chances of getting a decent husband! Being engaged to a Black was a real coup for you, Adie, and I would make a perfect wife. Now you’ve shamed the Greengrass name so far that I’ll be stuck with some second-rate family.”

It was utterly beyond Adie how obsessed her sister was with finding a future husband – it was literally her singular goal in life. The blonde knew in that moment, that she would never regret leaving it all behind. She could be so much bigger than that.

“Whatever, Calliope, you have your life and I have mine. We’re separate now, I thought that was all you’d ever wanted – to be as distanced from me as you could be? You got your wish.”

“Yeah, but don’t do anything else to shame us – just because you’re not a Greengrass anymore, doesn’t mean your actions won’t affect us. This does not mean you can go around trying to mess up the natural order of things now.”

With this last command, Callie stalked off and left her sister. Adie was surprised by the lack of violence and fight in her sibling – that was one of the calmest discussions they’d ever had. Once again, their situation seemed to mimic Regulus and Sirius’. They had never been on good-terms, unlike the brothers, but Adie could sense in Callie’s lack of true vitriol, that she did miss her sister. Sort of.

Before she could encounter any more unfriendly Slytherins, Adie headed to the Library, knowing that Em had a free lesson next and would soon be there too. A few months, or even weeks, ago, Adie wouldn’t have dared to tell her friends about incidents like that with her fellow Slytherins; she wouldn’t have wanted to worry them or have them bombard her with questions and well-meaning comments about how awful things were for her. Now her freedom let Adie wait anxiously for her friend so she could vent to her. It was a lot healthier this way and the girl relished the lack of restraints in her life. She had never realised before just how wary she’d been of fully letting her people into her life.

The Ravenclaw entered the dusty room a few minutes after the end of lesson bell rang, hand-in-hand with her boyfriend, Peter. Adie waved to the two, motioning them over to the window seat she had guarded for them. The couple made their way across the room to join their friend, sensing some gossip ahead.

“What’s up, Adie?” Peter asked as he sat down next to the blonde. “You look kind of mad, or sad – I can’t really tell.”

Adie laughed, “I guess it’s kind of a mixture of the two; I finally ran into Reg and my sister.”

Em and Peter exchanged a glance, ready for a story. Lily and Em had been greatly enjoying the sudden slew of Slytherin bitching that she had been coming out with over the past two days. It was like the floodgates had opened and they were being shown into the world of the pure-bloods, with all their absurd etiquette and ridiculous lifestyle. Some of the stories, especially those about her family’s casual cruelty, had shocked some of the girls, but Adie remained light-hearted, simply glad to be rid of it all. They were all glad for her too, so they tried not to make a big deal of their surprise and let Adie acclimatise to her new life. The boys had not been present for most of Adie’s tale-telling and so Peter was looking forward to this account, particularly as Sirius always kept so quiet about his family life.

Adie recounted the story of her meeting with Yaxley and the rest of the gang, her exchange with Regulus, interrupted by a few questions and comments from Em. She could not believe how ready the Slytherins had been to harm Adie, which greatly amused the girl herself. Of course, that was just standard retribution for such traitorous actions. She then went on to describe seeing Callie; it was this that piqued Peter’s interest.

“But why wasn’t she as angry as the others? She didn’t want to hurt you, but surely she’s been more affected than they have – it doesn’t make sense…”

Adie smiled again, “I think she misses me. She might not realise it, but I am her sister – no matter what she might think of me, neither of us can change that. It’s hard for a family to be torn apart; regardless of anything that we’ve been through, at the end of the day, we’re two sisters who are never really going to see each other again.”

She felt a lump rise in her throat as the truth of this hit her; Adie was never going to associate with her family again. Despite everything bad that they’d ever done to her, she would never forget that feeling of craving their approval, the rare occasions that they had felt like a unit.

Adie cleared her throat quickly, the lump of potentially tears not budging, “Oh, hey, I just realised that I told Diana I would meet her this period. I better go – although I’m sure you lovebirds don’t mind being alone!”

The pair laughed and waved to Adie as she made her hasty exit from the Library, sniffing back the tears. She waited until she had reached the empty Entrance Hall to rest against the wall and just let herself cry for a few minutes. Adie hated herself for feeling so sad about leaving them all – it really was something that she should celebrate. And she did, but she couldn’t help missing them too. As Adie wiped her eyes, she wandered to the doors leading to the grounds of the castle. Unless her eyes were mistaken, she could see a familiar figure sitting under the beech tree. She made her way over to sit by Sirius, not entirely sure if she’d stopped crying yet.

“Tell me you missed them too, after you left,” Adie’s voice wobbled as she said the words. She was not feeling emotionally stable enough for any preamble, and knew that Sirius wasn’t one for small talk anyway. He turned to look at her, taking in her red-rimmed eyes.

“I did; I mean, not my parents so much, but Regulus I missed really badly. We were fairly close, really, and it killed me that he wasn’t going to come with me. Knowing that I could never interact with him, be close to him again, hurt a lot and it took me a while to come to terms with.” He spoke looking straight ahead, his words direct and free from any heavy emotion.

Adie breathed a sigh of relief as he said this, so pleased that he had felt the same way too. She relaxed somewhat as she began to speak again, letting herself lean against the rough bark of the tree fully. The girl began to talk briefly of her encounters earlier that morning, mostly concentrating on having seen Reg.

“And I figured something out in that moment, something that had puzzled me for years,” Adie said eventually, turning herself more to face Sirius. “How you had actually managed to leave him. I knew you guys had been close, and it was hard enough for me to leave Callie who I’ve barely ever been on talking terms with. He doesn’t have the capacity to do it, even though he wants to – and that’s worse than Calliope’s ignorance. The desire to leave it all and the lack of courage to actually do it.”

Sirius nodded and turned to look at her, about to speak but she cut him off.

“Thank you for never giving up on me, thanks for seeing that spark of courage in me. It means… a lot. I don’t think I would have been able to do it without that, without you.”

A silence fell between the pair, Sirius still looking at Adie and her unable to meet his gaze, worried that her true emotions had coloured her words too obviously. Neither of them said anything for a long time, each one wrapped in their own thoughts about the other. Eventually Sirius tore his eyes away from the girl to stare out across the lake.

“It’s raining,” His comment, obvious and monotone, was the first thing to break the increasingly awkward silence that had formed. Adie held her hand out, palm facing the leaden sky where a thin mist of rain settled on her skin.

“So it is,” she replied, her deeply ingrained sense of politeness showing itself once more. Neither of the pair moved, despite the raindrops swirling around them. The transparent beads of water clung to them, forming intricate patterns on their black cloaks and creating lacy, crystal webs in their hair.

When Adie looked back on that moment, as she so often did, she could never remember who had shifted first, bridging the gap between their bodies, or if they had both moved together in silent, mutual agreement. Either way, without speaking, the two found themselves face-to-face; Sirius pale, pure-blood skin just centimetres from Adie’s sun-kissed, warm face. His hand reached up, his thumb stroked her cheek almost tentatively. As his hand grazed her face, she shut her eyes, enjoying the feel of his skin against hers. Sirius held his breath as he watched her sooty lashes flutter against those cheeks.

Finally, he did what he had wanted to do for so long now. Sirius pulled up his free hand to tangle it deep in her captivating sunshine hair, damp and heavy from the drizzle still swirling on. Adie’s eyes flickered open as she felt his touch and she did not dare to close them again, for fear of ending this wonderful, but surely impossible, dream.

Adrianna Greengrass refused to close her eyes until that moment came which she could never doubt the reality of. The moment her lips finally collided with Sirius Black’s. Every battle she’d ever fought and every hard time she had endured and would endure in the future, was suddenly worth it, knowing that she would have him by her side to face them.

And Adie knew that with more certainty than she’d ever known anything before.

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