The Grass Is Always Greener

Chapter 8

Sirius hadn’t exactly watched James and Greengrass’s fight with pleasure however he had been happy to note that his best friend wasn’t about swan off into the sunset with her, exulting her as he went as Remus seemed so inclined to do.

Despite these initial fears being allayed, he could not help but to continue to stare at the pair in the Charms lessons that followed in the next couple of months. McGonagall had stuck to her word and refused to allow anyone to move back to their original seats, much to the class’s dismay.

However, the two stayed silent, both ignoring the other in an attempt not to have another confrontation. Adrianna kept her head down, taking copious notes and shielding herself from James by keeping a curtain of honey hair between them. James, of course, did not spend his time taking notes but rather fidgeting and doodling and staring at Lily.

“Mr Black, if you could turn your eyes towards me and away from Miss Greengrass, that would be much appreciated.” McGonagall’s clipped tones interrupted both of their reveries.

Adie’s head snapped up in confusion to stare at her teacher and Sirius turned away from the girl, clenching his jaw as people snickered quietly. He made a resolution not to stare quite so much next lesson; James seemed to be fending off Greengrass quite admirably without Sirius’s help.

So the next lesson he did not glance over at their table at all. James left the classroom as usual, did not discuss Adrianna as usual; overall he acted very normally. And so Sirius relaxed and actually focused on McGonagall’s lectures for the first time since February (he immediately remembered why he hadn’t been worried about his lack of attention in class; this stuff was easy).

However, as normally as James was acting, he and Adie had recently broken their pact of silence. Things between them were starting to change and James couldn’t stop it.

They class had been instructed by McGonagall to turn the kittens they been given into cushions. It was an example of the type of practical they could get in their OWLs and she would be grading them accordingly; extra points for the prettiness of the cushion.

Adrianna managed to change her kitten on her third attempt, earning Slytherin ten House points. Left with the rest of the lesson with nothing else to do, she decided to carry on enchanting the little animal, trying to make the pattern on the cushion more intricate. Hopefully, she’d get an O on this assignment.

The girl had been repeating the spell for fifteen minutes when she was distracted by James Potter’s growl of frustration. It appeared that he had managed to Transfigure up a cushion, however, it still had tiny little kitten legs…

Adrianna couldn’t help but giggle slightly at the sight of the absurd creature as it scuttled across their desk. To her surprise, James burst out laughing too. They both looked at each other in surprise but neither stopped chuckling.

“It, um, it looks fucking stupid doesn’t it?” James gestured almost helplessly at the kitten-cushion. He had no idea why he was engaging her in conversation; he genuinely didn’t like her, he honestly believed that Sirius was right about her. And yet he couldn’t stop laughing with her.

She giggled. “It’s an appalling excuse for a Transfiguration!” Adrianna waved her wand at the cushion and the tabby kitten appeared once more in front of James.

Adie contemplated the cat for a moment before turning to James. “You ought to be more forceful with your wand movements. Transfigurations are often incomplete because the witch or wizard was too hesitant.”

James tried the incantation again with far more success; now the cushion looked far more normal, except for the whiskers.

“Thanks, Adie.” James grinned at her while ruffling his hair, pleased with his success. He stopped, one hand still in his mess of hair. He had just called her ‘Adie’.

Merlin, Sirius is going to murder me, James thought.

Fortunately for James, the bell rung and he was given a perfect opportunity to flee from Adrianna and her irresistible charm. He was also rather grateful for the fact that it was Friday which meant he wouldn’t have to endure Charms for another four days when Tuesday arrived.

As the weekend passed, James largely forgot the fact that he and Adrianna had shared that odd moment of camaraderie in class. His only reminder was when Remus cut short their game of chess to go and meet the Slytherin; James hoped she wouldn’t mention the encounter as he was planning to continue ignoring her come Tuesday. That shared laugh had been a mistake, he decided.

The next week he entered the Transfiguration classroom, purposefully avoiding her eye and was pleased to note that she didn’t attempt to initiate any contact either. Hopefully, James thought, this will just be forgotten.

All these hopes were abandoned, however, as McGonagall glided up to the pair.

“I see that both of you have managed to successfully Transfigure your kittens, well done. I’m not surprised, I seated you two together as two of my best students.”

Both Adie and James smiled uncomfortably at the compliment.

“As both of you are finished with the work, perhaps you’d like to attempt some human Transfiguration?” She smiled at the pupils as if she had bestowed upon them a huge gift.

Both just reached mutely for their textbooks and began to flick to the necessary page.

“As this is a 6th Year level piece of spell work, you two should probably work together. Also, please do not attempt these incantations with wands just yet. Immerse yourself in the theory first!”

James had to resist the very strong urge to slam his head against the desk; this was exactly why he never concentrated in class! It led to extra-work.

Adie was equally horrified by the prospect of having to partner James. She’d been dreading coming face-to-face with a very angry Sirius all weekend. She had to assume that somehow Black hadn’t seen the incredibly unsettling exchange…

She turned to face James. They’d both just be cool and professional and it’d all be fine. Adrianna worked at masking her face with a neutral smile and was relieve to see James do the same when-

She assumed his elbow must have slipped from where he’d rested it on the desk. The sudden lack of grip on a firm surface sent him falling suddenly off his chair and under the table, his cool façade ruined.

Adrianna gritted her teeth, determined not to laugh and have a repeat of last week’s incident. She leant over and peered under the desk at where the Gryffindor lay in a heap.

“I’m fine.” He mumbled but as he sat up his head smacked against the underside of the desk. Adrianna dissolved into infectious giggles; she couldn’t possibly stop once she saw the look of dazed confusion on James’s face.

He, in return, bit his lip and desperately tried not to join in her laughter. Adrianna had an addictive sort of personality; you just couldn’t help being attracted to her although not in a romantic way. James knew what Remus meant now.

She was just so sunny and warm and friendly. She was incredibly likeable, not anything mind-blowing but just a very nice girl. James supposed that Adie didn’t have had such a profound effect on everyone she met but for him and Remus, she was so far removed from everything they thought she would be.

Yes, James still knew she’d probably marry some future Death Eater and never be able to speak to him or Remus or Lily ever again but what was the point in hating her during the short stretch of freedom she had now? Lily was right; Adie didn’t have any choice in the matter.

He grinned back at her and joined in her laughter loudly. Inside he felt bad, knowing that he and Sirius would probably come to blows over this and they so rarely fought but he was resolved in this matter. He was cool with hating on Severus and Narcissa and Lucius – they were creepy and nasty people who had no problem with following in their parents footsteps. However, Adie did not deserve to be tarred with the same Slytherin brush.

As he sat himself back up, James began to talk to the girl; he was just making light conversation as he would with anyone else. She smiled at his chattering but didn’t join in.

“Sirius will kill you, and then me. You don’t have to talk to me if you don’t want. I don’t mind!” The Slytherin pulled a face and grinned.

James sighed. “Nah, look. You seem alright; sure, you’ll probably end up like the rest of them one day but you’re not a horrendous, elitist freak yet so I figure we can get along civilly.”

“Why, Mr Potter,” Adie laughed. “That might be the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me!”

*

Oh Godric, what have I done now, James thought in despair as he noticed Lily sidling up to him after the lesson. However, as the redhead reached him something very unusual happened: she smiled widely at him, genuine for once.

Today really was an odd day.

“You and Adie were chatting and laughing again.”

“Yes.”

“That’s good.”

“Yep, you were,” James cleared his throat. “right about her.”

Lily grinned delightedly at James and he felt his stomach swirl slightly. “So there is a functioning brain up there after all!” She laughed and rapped him on the head before walking off quickly, still chuckling. James grinned.

His grin lasted all the way through the Entrance Hall, up the stairs and into the Common Room where his friends sat. Here, James’s felicity left him.

Remus was sat on the sofa, his eyes cast downwards and his mouth a tight line. Peter was cracking his knuckles. Sirius was folding a piece of parchment absentmindedly. They all looked up at James as he entered the room.

“Guys.” Sirius spoke and the others waited. “I’m not going to flip my shit, don’t worry. I’ve said my piece and it’s up to you if you want to let yourself be taken in by her. I’ve had far too much experience of people like that and being hurt by them so excuse me if I don’t become her new best friend. But if you three want to be mates with Greengrass, go ahead.”

His voice was calm, and James believed that Sirius would not obstruct the new friendships. However he knew his best friend well enough to realise that despite his calm façade, there would be trouble ahead.


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