The incident was soon forgotten about and a month had
quickly passed since Lily and James announced their intention to move. They had
already settled into their new home, a property previously owned by the Order
itself. Adie and Sirius were yet to visit them or their new son, Harry who had
been born just a week ago. However, they had scheduled to travel to Godric’s
Hollow next Saturday. Adie couldn’t wait to meet the newest Potter and was
hopeful that the tension and slight antagonism that the couple had felt towards
her would have disappeared by now. After all, they had chosen Sirius as their
new Secret Keeper; if they really distrusted her, they would not have entrusted
their lives to her soon-to-be husband.
Since then Adie had been mostly busy with wedding plans; the venue was booked, and her dress bought. Now she was thinking about catering. It took her mind off of the world around her, dark and war-filled. She wasn’t employed; no companies were looking to hire in such dangerous times. She was also a high priority target, according to the Order. Death Eaters were starting to pick off blood traitors as well as Muggles. Adie had been advised to stay indoors as much as possible but she hated being cooped up; neither her nor Sirius, however, saw a problem with her popping to Diagon Alley. It was always so busy and a five minute walk from their flat.
As she set off that day, Adie had no particular goal in mind, no task to achieve in the town – she just needed to stretch her legs. After spending some time wandering around the shops, examining books at Flourish and Blotts and looking for potential birthday gifts for Sirius in Quality Quidditch Supplies, Adie ended up at her favourite shop on the street. Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour always managed to entice Adie with its displays of bright and interesting looking sundaes; she would often pick up a cone on her way back to the apartment as her personal little treat. Today the shop seemed deserted and Adie thought it would be rude to leave Florean so lonely, she had better go in and buy something…
However, as the honey blonde woman entered the shop, she soon realised something was wrong. The bell on the door frame rang through the room, echoing in a way that sounds only do when the place is totally empty. Florean was not as his usually post, stationed behind the counter with his ice cream scoop handy. Adie began to feel somewhat nervous and started to back up, towards the door but before she could make her escape from the unknown danger, a familiar voice hissed, “Obscuro!”
Adie’s vision was completely blocked and darkness surrounded her. Soon two sets of hands had grabbed her arms firmly, wrenching her wand from her hand. She heard it clatter to the wooden floor before a swirling sensation hit her stomach, telling her that they had Apparated to a new location. Adie dared not breath as her feet hit the floor once more. They had come for her at last.
Adie was one of the few people in her group of friends who had not yet come face-to-face with Death Eaters. Everyone else she knew had experienced this before, the sudden realisation that you were probably not going to survive this encounter. Logically she should have recognised that as they were still living, her fate was not set in stone. But so many people had died. For the first time, Adie felt truly terrified of Lucius Malfoy, for she knew that was the voice that had obscured her sight.
“Pretty little Greengrass, we’ve let you go unpunished for far too long,” It appeared Bellatrix was aiding Lucius in his task. Her voice still made Adie shiver. She wanted to run, but there was no point, unarmed and blind. As Bellatrix moved closer, the blonde heard a twig snap and a slight rustling of leaves. They must be in a forest – too far from any other human contact.
“If I’d still been at Hogwarts, you would not have gotten away with running off with that blood-traitor Black. Your family were so lenient on you!”
Suddenly a strong pair of hands wrenched Adie’s arms behind her in an excruciating arm lock. The cold metal of Malfoy’s Death Eater mask was touching her cheek as he snarled in her ear, “They offered you a good way out with Regulus and you threw it back in their faces, you ungrateful bitch!”
Pain shot through Adie’s body and she was aware of her limbs flailing and her back arching into impossible contortions. The agony was all-consuming but it seemed Adie had lost her voice again; something about the presence of these people rendered her mute. No shrieks of anguish were heard from her, she simply suffered silently under the pain, as ever.
“Now we’ll make you pay, blood-traitor whore,” Lestrange hissed, her infamous knife pressing against Adie’s flesh, not cutting or stabbing but simple resting there and letting blood trickle down her arm.
At this point, she realised that there was definitely no escape. They were going to kill her as punishment for her actions four years ago. They’d torture her for information that she couldn’t reveal first and then kill her in retribution afterwards. Was this the price her four years of freedom and bliss would cost her? Adie felt it was justifiable.
“Better a blood-traitor whore, than a cold-hearted, disillusioned bitch like you,” Adie spat in what she thought to be Bellatrix’s general direction. “Or a sycophantic coward like you, Lucius!”
Adie yelled the last part, finding her voice again; she would not go down without a fight. If she had believed that there was any chance for her to see Sirius again, to escape alive then she would have taken it. But she would not delude herself – she was a dead woman walking.
This time Bellatrix’s knife was aiming to hurt as it slashed down Adie’s cheek, running from cheek bone to collar bone. She was aware of her own blood rushing down her skin and soaking into her top, the awful metallic stench filling her nose. Lucius’ grip tightened, still pinning her arms behind her brutally.
“Tell us where the Potters are, slut,” he growled.
She could fall back to the truth of, “I don’t know” but by now her aim was to antagonise.
Adie spat out some of the blood that had trickled into her mouth, along with her words, “You continue to underestimate me, guys. You thought I’d never leave, thought I’d never be brave enough to get away from you all – but I was. And now you think I’m just going to cave and betray the best friends that I have fought to keep in my life. Guess what, idiots, I’m not going to stop fighting now.”
The white-hot heat of the Cruciatus curse rocketed through Adie again, leaving her body shaking in agony once more. If it wasn’t for Lucius’ iron hold, she would have collapsed on to the ground by now. Her knees were failing to support her body and Adie hung forward, relying on Lucius’ arms to keep her upright. Bellatrix muttered something that Adie could not hear over the noise of blood rushing in her ears. Suddenly her support was gone and her face came into contact with the grass below her. A sharp kick was aimed at her but the pain of that barely made it through the left over sensation of the Cruciatus.
Bellatrix crouched and grabbed Adie’s sunshine hair, yanking it hard, so her head was level with Bellatrix’s mouth. “Do you love him, are you in love with your precious Black? Because he’s going to be so fucking heart-broken when he finds your dead body.”
Lestrange let go of Adie’s hair, letting her skull crack back down to Earth, before asking her again where the Potters were.
“I… am not telling you, you bitch,” Adie was struggling to speak now, thanks to her physical injuries not mental ones this time. “You can kill me, you can kill Sirius, you can murder the whole lot of us and you still won’t win. Eventually love and good is going to overpower you, because that’s the way life works -”
“So naïve,” Lucius laughed from somewhere above Adie, who was still blinded.
But the girl carried on, “You fight because you can’t love, and you don’t understand it. Ignorance is the root of all downfalls.”
“Spare me the sentimentality, Shakespeare,” Bellatrix’s voice was acidic and bored. Adie knew it was coming soon; the older witch had run out of patience. “I expect you’ll be seeing your boyfriend soon, because you got one thing right, Blondie, we are going to kill the lot of you which means, although we might not “win” this stupid battle of love or whatever you were moaning on about, neither will you.”
It was seconds away now and Adie could only pray that they would not pair the Killing curse with the Cruciatus. With the pain of that curse Adie would not be able to do what she needed to, her dying act. Thankfully Bellatrix killed her with the unforgivable, yet mercifully painful, Avada Kedavra alone. So Adrianna Greengrass died, body and soul concentrated on the one thing that she had given everything for, the one thing that made this pain and sacrifice bearable: Sirius.
He sat motionless, one hand absent-mindedly stroking the cat. It was two in the morning and she was still not home; the note she had stuck on the fridge said that she had left the house at nine the previous morning. Sirius knew that Adie was dead; his whole life, the only woman that he had ever truly loved, the girl who had overcome so much to be with him, was gone. He had never been worthy of having such a radiant and brilliant person in his life, he knew that – but why couldn’t it have been him to have been taken and murdered?
Sirius refused to let himself truly believe it, believe that such a vibrant person could have ceased to exist. Not the person upon whom his whole existence was hinged. But when he heard that knock at the front door, he knew it was time to face up to the truth. However he had not expected the bearer of bad news to be her. Perhaps he would have been able to hold himself together if it had not been his grudgingly affectionate former teacher delivering the awful confirmation.
“I am so sorry, Black,” McGonagall said as he opened the door to her. He simply turned around straight away and sat back down on the sofa. The teacher followed him into the room, shutting the front door behind her.
“Two Muggles found a body in some woods near Aylesbury; it was Adrianna. I am really so, so sorry to tell you this, Sirius.”
It was the first time the professor had ever used his first name to his face. Sirius took a deep breath and closed his eyes; it already felt like she was overwhelmingly everywhere. He could smell her, the scent of her shampoo on himself and the cushions around him, even the cat sitting placidly unaware next to him was a reminder of Adie – it had been her idea to buy the unctuous creature in the first place.
“She had a few cuts to the face and arms; it appears she was subjected to the Cruciatus curse before being murdered with the Killing curse. The Potters are safe and, seeing as you are too, I think it’s safe to assume she did not give anything away.”
“Of course she didn’t,” Sirius spoke for the first time, spitting his words angrily. The idea that anyone would remember Adie as anything less that the good person that she had been revolted him. Not as much as he was revolted by the idea of her having to be remembered at all though. She should be there with him. Hester crawled on to his lap, wondering why his constant petting of her had ceased. This warm presence tipped him over the edge, the hole that had started to form now ripped open to consume him.
The next thing Sirius was aware of, he was crying awful racking sobs and McGonagall had her surprisingly strong arms around his shoulders.
“Adrianna died doing the right thing, protecting and loving you all. That won’t ever be forgotten, and neither will she.”
He did not bother to rouse himself until the day of her funeral; someone else must have made all of the arrangements, Em or Remus most likely. Sirius felt vaguely guilty but that was soon stopped by yet another swing of Firewhiskey, which was all that had been getting him through the days recently. That, and little Harry. Prongs often bought him to Sirius’ apartment, to prevent his friend from getting too lonely and also to do some tidying as Sirius was apt to let the flat fall to disrepair now. James was under instruction to make sure his best friend was remembering to eat and wash, and other such everyday functions which grieving men can forget to do. People did visit him, often, with well-wishes and their own grief – Adie had been popular. And to see that he was not alone in missing her unbearably did help Sirius, but no one else knew just how he felt. She’d been the only person who had ever understood him; every time Adie had looked at him, he had seen that she completely knew and comprehended. That was gone. Everything was gone.
When he arrived at the church, he was taken to the sister chapel where her casket lay, open. Sirius steeled his nerves to see her one last time but when he finally did peer into the coffin, he felt an odd sensation of removal from the body lying there. She looked strangely pale, unlike the sun-kissed girl he had loved and the thin red line running across the right side of her face was unfamiliar. Her eyes were shut so he could not seek that look of clarity and comprehension that he missed so much. Adie had always been such a vivacious person, that death turned her to a complete stranger. Sirius had seen many corpses as an Auror and the worst part was how they looked like the people they had previously been, only sleeping. A cruel illusion. This did not look like Adie.
The only connection her fiancé could find was that irrepressible hair, spread out across the interior of the casket. It lit up the drab cream fabric that she lay on, framing her perfectly. Without stopping to think, his fingertips went to run over her locks; he wasn’t sure if this was allowed but the priest said nothing. It felt the same as ever and finally a tear ran down his cheek. His life was going to be much less bright without Adie. He had once heard the story of a man who, upon opening his wife’s coffin, found it full of her hair which had continued to grow after her death. Sirius was not sure this was scientifically possible, but he found the thought comforting nevertheless. Something as vital and vibrant as that sunshine, honey hair could not cease to be, he knew that.
The ceremony itself passed in a blur. Few things stood out to Sirius that he could remember later on in life (after the Dementors took all his happy memories with Adie away from him, his mind was reduced to dwelling on this day a lot). Yet he could always recall Lily’s face, streaked with tears; it was the only face that came close to expressing the same grief he felt. Of course, everyone else was heartbroken too, but he could see Lily’s pain was more akin to his own than anyone else’s. Sirius also noted the way baby Harry had watched the whole funeral from James’ arms, sitting next to Sirius. He had not cried or moaned, nothing. Until the wake, when James gave him to Sirius to hold (under his own supervision); then Harry had begun to smile, reaching out to his godfather’s face and chuckling quietly. At this, James had tried to take Harry back, worrying that his son’s cheerfulness would upset Sirius, but it hadn’t.
Life would go on, without Adie, without him, without any of them. There was still hope somewhere out there, even if Sirius was too blinded to see it right now.