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Chapter Five:



                             







Prongs-- can I please come to your house? We talked about it a lot in school and I know you’re away for a while but I can’t stay here for much longer. I need you to rescue me. My boredom is making me result to drastic measures- I don’t mean to scare you, but sometimes I even find myself wandering around and looking for Solene.
Padfoot

*~*~*~*~*~*


Regulus did have the courtesy to attempt to kiss Solene goodbye with an empty apology before he left for London the next morning. She had pushed him off and submerged herself deeper within the covers. She’d written to Cissy the previous day and was anticipating her answer. 



It was beautiful outside. Her icy eyes squinted in the blinding morning sun as she lay herself down in the cool, damp grass. Over and over these days she’d been contemplating how she would react if while kissing down Regulus’ arm she’d come across the burn of a Dark Mark etched into his skin. Solene sighed and covered her eyes- who was she kidding? She could sulk and protest about attention and her boyfriend’s petty offences but in matters so serious she wasn’t allowed an opinion. She would either have to ignore it, or praise his bravery. She didn’t have the right to disagree. 


Solene, with lack of anything better to do, dozed off and remained asleep for hours. Even Sirius’ distractions would have been welcomed, she was so bored, but he was nowhere to be found. 


Stupid muggle-lover has a better social life than I do, she groaned. 


A day of silence passed. 


Another followed. Solene took to tennis, to sewing, to painting. Nothing could keep her entranced for more than a few hours. She was queen of a tremendous, empty castle. 


Day three. No letters, no life, no Sirius… not that she cared. 


Solene finally did receive Narcissa’s reply on the fifth morning since Regulus’ departure. 


My poor Solene alone at the dark Chateau! I’m going to have to have a chat with Regulus about being such a poor host. When he gets back, refrain from fulfilling your girlfriend-like duties in punishment. I must say Solene, though it may be a bore now, I’m sure you will find something to do eventually. You have always been able to entertain yourself. 
I have so much to tell you! You’ll never guess who stopped by our house three days ago. The Malfoys! I’ll fill you in on everything when we next meet. I can’t leave for the Chateau now, Lucius would be very disappointed. –Your Cissy.
 


Solene ripped the paper in annoyance. What was wrong with everyone? Since when was she not a priority? 


Solene was stomping through the sitting room, about to cast the fragment of her best friend’s parchment in the fire, when she intruded upon a very smug Sirius, leaning back in an armchair, flipping through a photo album. 


They continued without acknowledging each other, though both felt the shift in the atmosphere. Solene couldn’t admit to herself that she had been hoping to bump into him all day, his presence was never short of exciting. But Sirius did not slink up to her, wrap his arms around her waist and attempt to seduce her once again. In fact, he did not do anything. He simply stared at the old album’s thick pages. 


Solene casually flittered through the liquor cabinet, waiting for him to speak, finally deciding on a dusty bottle of what she assumed was very expensive white rum, and walked very slowly to the door and out into the hall. Nothing. 


“You can’t just try to kiss me one day and then completely ignore me the next,” Solene snapped, stepping boldly back into the sitting room. 


“I didn’t really want to kiss you. I was drunk and thought it would be a funny idea. I wanted to see your reaction,” he shrugged. 


“Just testing me my ass,” she rolled her eyes disbelievingly. 


“Yep. Sorry if you were hoping for something more romantic. That it was the manifestation of a long, pent-up infatuation with you, perhaps.” 


”Or perhaps an expression of your hope that someone of your social ranking could ever be involved with someone of mine.” 


Sirius refrained from pointing out her blood was no purer than his and that if he had wished it, his reputation could have remained untarnished. He had chosen his life.  


“I’m going to town,” he said suddenly and stood up, walking towards where she stood by the exit. 


“So?” Solene faked nonchalance as his figure drifted farther down the hall. Sirius stopped. 


“Come with me,” he said. 


Solene laughed sharply and turned back to face the sitting room. 


“I’m not joking,” Sirius sighed and approached her. 


“Why would I ever want to do that?” she rolled her eyes. 


“Because you are lonely. And because you are bored and because though you don’t want to admit it, you’re dying to get out of this house,” he stated plainly and dared her to deny it. 


”You think you’re so clever.” 


“You’ll have fun. Sulking doesn’t suit you.” 


“Piss off, I’d rather sulk than accompany you to muggle trash towns. Can you imagine if—” And suddenly it clicked. 


If Regulus found out it would be far worse than a stupid sex strike. Poor Solene manipulated? Her brow scrunched and she tapped her perfectly filed, oval nails upon the bottle’s glass. She didn’t want to go to some disgusting muggle town, but she certainly didn’t want to spend another day all alone getting a sunburn and reading romance novels. And it definitely would be a well deserved blow to her boyfriend; Regulus running off with Death Eaters while his girlfriend gallivanted around muggle towns with his blood-traitor brother. Regulus would have to keep quiet from shame. That would be what he deserved. 


Just imagine, Solene thought to herself, the trouble Sirius would be in if Regulus found out. Solene wouldn’t be blamed, it wasn’t her fault she’d been deceived by the notorious older brother. And what immense amounts of problems Sirius would dig himself into. She could act so innocent—get him to like her even, then turn Regulus (in all his stupid Death Eater splendor) against him. Solene smirked wickedly to herself and raised her eyebrows, lifting her chin to face the handsome, naïve boy in front of her. 


Sirius is being kind to you, a small voice protested, but she pushed it away. That didn’t compensate for what he had done--she would never forgive him. 


She would “find ways to entertain herself” alright: she could get Sirius to trust her and then ruin his muggle-loving summer.


“Alright,” she said sighed with a shrug, “I guess I’ll come with you.”
*



Solene followed cautiously as Sirius weaved through the crowd. To all sides of her muggles were chatting and laughing and selling and buying. The market was full of odd contraptions that Solene had to resist from going to examine. Children were running by at her waist and the sun was beating down on her shoulders. Everything was buzzing with life, not with the eerie silence and lonesome air she was accustom to at the chateau. The gravel was covered with sand and everything smelled of ice-cream and butter. Bright awnings occasionally shielded the sun, and men, women and children paraded around, hugging each other and yelling at each other in bathing suits and white summer dresses. Solene passed by a little shop on the corner and eyed a pair of gorgeous gold sandals. 


“Sirius,” Solene smiled and pointed to the window, “do you have any muggle money?”
“Some,” he chuckled, “not enough for those. There is a place we can exchange your wizarding coins though.” Solene nodded and remembered the shop’s name. 


Everything was just too much to absorb. Solene wandered off to a jewelry stand and slipped a jade ring upon her finger, slipped it off and back on again. There were so many things she wanted. 


“Come, I have somewhere to show you,” Sirius said and took her hand in his own, directing her through the throng. They strolled up a steep grassy hill and towards a quaint café overlooking the sea. Small wooden tables were scattered across the lawn and a bar under the shade of trees was serving coffee and juice and croissants. It was the most charming place she had ever seen. Solene squealed softly with delight and Sirius laughed as she seated herself at the table closest to the beach. 


“What shall it be?” he asked. 


Brioche and a café crème,” she replied and watched the water lapping up the rocks as Sirius disappeared to fetch them cakes and coffee. 


Sirius felt the grass beneath his feet as he approached the stand. He never wore shoes in this town, he much rather enjoyed the sand and the gravel and the earth. The café was small and quaint, just the type he knew Solene would melt for. He wasn’t quite sure why he had chosen this place and not his favorite bar by the sand, her preference shouldn’t have mattered at all. He shrugged it off and approached the stand waiting his turn behind a woman with long red hair and a huge white hat. She ordered and stepped to the side as Sirius took his turn. 


Merci monsieur,” she smiled and balanced the two coffee saucers she received in her hands. Her wrists and fingers where decorated with gold and jewels. Her voice was soft and deep with maturity, she had to be at least forty years old. A loose fitting blue and white dress hung weightlessly from her figure and her skin was very bronzed from having been out in the sun all summer. She was wearing a silver necklace from which a diamond ring was hanging. Sirius knew that ring. Her voice was familiar. 


“Excuse me,” he said and she lifted her chin to stare into his eyes. The shadow of her hat was removed from her face and Sirius smiled in recognition, “Mme. Richis?” 


She smiled, though hers of confusion, and replied, “yes?” 


“You probably don’t remember me, I used to come over and play with Charlotte when I was younger.” 


Non!” she laughed, placed her drinks down upon the counter and lifted her hands up to him, “little Sirius Black?” 


Sirius nodded and she took his hand, “My Lord you have gotten big! You’re taller than I am now!” 


“Yes well it’s been almost ten years,” he responded smiling. 


Mon Dieu, I don’t believe it. You’ve become so handsome. You should see Charlotte, she is taller than me as well,” Mme. Richis continued dumfounded. 


“Is she here?” Sirius asked. 


“Well for the summer yes, not at this café, she is off somewhere with her friends,” she waved her hand to signify an ‘as always’. 


“Another time then,” Sirius shrugged. 


“Why don’t you come over later? Around eight or so for dinner.” 


Sirius nodded and took the drinks from the bar. 


“Oh, is the other one here too?” Mme. Richis asked as she saw Sirius was holding breakfast for two, “Solene, yes?” 


“Yeah,” Sirius laughed, “she’s over there.” 


“She was such a darling girl,” Mme. Richis sighed and Sirius tried to control his laughter. He could tell even from where he was standing that Solene was glaring at him dangerously for taking so long and for chatting with some mystery muggle. 


“I’ll bring her over to your table,” Sirius said and headed over to Solene. 


“Took you long enough!” she snapped, her eyes narrowed. 


“You’ll never guess who I was just talking to,” he handed her the brioche. 


“Probably right. I don’t care much either,” Solene replied nonchalantly and sipped her coffee. 


“Mme. Richis. Charlottes mother.” 


“Oh!” Solene said excited and then dropped her voice again in embarrassment, “that’s nice.” 


“Come off it, you loved her,” Sirius rolled his eyes at Solene trying to cover her real sentiments. Mme. Richis used to allow Solene to do everything Solene’s own mother wouldn’t. Solene would pull off her stockings and run through the grass and sand in her little white dresses and then Mme. Richis would throw all her delicate clothes in the wash before Solene returned home. Solene, Sirius and Charlotte would roll around in the mud and chase each other in the rain. They would jump from cliffs into the sea and scab up their knees and elbows climbing trees. 


Solene would always be loudly and thoroughly reproved for her wild antics, her parents didn’t even know it was with a muggle girl. Sirius used to try his hardest to defend Solene, shout through her parents cold scorns that they were just trying to have fun. The Rosiers and Blacks would quiet him and say, “Sirius, you are free to run around as you please. Solene is a young lady, we can not permit her to forget that.”



Solene would nod her head bravely and listen to her parents as they’d discipline, but the second they’d brush out shaking their heads, her eyes would glow a clear blue and burst into tears. She’d break Sirius’ heart. He’d kiss her smooth, red, blotchy cheeks and tell her he was sorry. Her hair would stick to her face and Sirius would brush it away and tell her he would run away with her, while Regulus would smirk in the background. 


“She wants to see you,” Sirius said and Solene shook her head. 


“Absolutely not,” she laughed and took a sip of her coffee. Sirius sighed and did not sit down. 


“Why not. That woman was incredibly nice to us, she deserves our respect.” 


Solene shrugged nonchalantly and avoided his gaze. Sirius finally did sit down across from her and looked over to Mme. Richis who had already made her way to the beach to sit with her husband, figuring she’d see both children at dinner. 


“You are unbelievable,” Sirius said flatly.
*


The next morning Solene agreed without much reluctance to accompany Sirius to a beach father along the coast than the one which rested along the Chateau. The weather was ideal: hot, sunny, light breeze. 


Sirius smiled with his shining, white teeth as Solene lagged behind, weaving her fingers through wild strawberry bushes and bluebells. She slipped her sandals off and felt the earth beneath her feet as Sirius had the previous day. 


The air was sweet and spicy like cinnamon and Solene found it a lot easier being nice to Sirius than she would have expected. He was funny, clever and courteous and drifted around with the appearance of someone possessing every fortune. Sirius was blessed with the ability to hide his troubles and fears, to act like if the world were to crumble from beneath his bare feet, he would still lay comfortably, arms behind his head, a content smile drawn across his handsome face. 


Solene knew of what raged beneath his surface. Anger, betrayal, a family that didn’t love him- but those clear gray eyes, so completely void of a discontent mist, almost convinced her otherwise. How well he learned to hide his thoughts, his life, from others. 


They walked farther and farther along the beach, Solene occasionally whining her “are we there yet”s. She was curious to ask him if he had gone to dine with the Richis' the previous night, since she had certainly ate alone and he had been nowhere to be found, but she kept her mouth shut. What did she care anyway?


Sirius pushed on, away from the beach now, and up a wooden trail for about a quarter of an hour until the trees opened to a clearing and what seemed to be the edge of a small cliff, a good 15meters above the crashing sea water. 


Solene was suddenly gripped by a fear that surpassed her vertigo; he would kill her! Push her off the cliff and leave her to drown. She backed away. 


“What are we doing here?” she asked in the bravest voice she could muster. 


“What do you think?” he laughed. 


“I don’t know. Are you going to push me off?” she questioned, her face stern. 


“Maybe,” his eyebrows raised but a smile quickly cracked at the sight of absolute dread crossing her face. 


“What is this hang up with me killing you, Solene?” he sighed, “I don’t want to hurt you.” 


Solene suddenly felt very stupid, but was still wary to trust. He had no idea she was deceiving him, how could she be so sure he wasn’t doing the same? She remained silent. 


“Plus, this could hardly kill you. We are going to jump off it. I found this place a few days back and the feeling is great, I promise.” 


Jump? Solene chuckled to herself. He had to be completely mad. Perhaps she had been a bit dramatic, the fall wouldn’t be likely to kill her. But how could plummeting into cold, salty water, dangerously close to sharp, slippery rocks, be anything but extremely stupid and unpleasant? 


“Fine. I’ll go first. But you have to follow.” 


“Yes, yes,” she said.


“Promise.” 


“I promise.” She rolled her eyes. 


“No,” he said and took her hands, “swear you will follow me.” 


“I swear I’ll follow you, Sirius.” 


He released her hands and they fell back to her side clammy and uncomfortable. Sirius winked, backed up a few paces and sprinted forward. He threw himself into the air without a second thought, was suspended for a moment in blinding summer sunlight, and then plunged downwards, quickly disappearing beneath the surface of foam and cerulean waves. 


Solene peered over, struck with panic, until his dark head emerged from the surface and his bark-like laughter floated up, even to where she stood. 


“Your turn,” he yelled and she looked down nervously.



She backed away and he cried, “Solene you swore!” 



“So?” she whined from the peak and he laughed again. 



“Once again I find the Queen Rosier scared out of her wits?” 



“I’m not scared!” she retaliated obstinately, “I’ll be down in a moment. I’m just preparing myself.” 


Solene huffed and kicked a twig off the cliff, loosing sight of it as it tumbled to the water. Perhaps it wasn’t so high, but from the peak it certainly looked a bone-crushing distance to the bottom. Solene squinted irritated from the sun and turned to walk her way back down the dirt road when she heard a soft voice-


“Excusez-moi.” 


And then again, louder, “Excusez-moi.” 


Solene turned around confused until she set her eyes upon the origin of the bustle. A little boy around the age of seven stood before her, holding on to his even younger brother tightly. 


“Vous êtes un ange?” he asked softly, averting his eyes to the floor. 


“Speak up,” Solene snapped sharply in French and the young boy asked again, bolder this time. 


“Are you an angel?” 


Solene blinked. 


What was this muggle child going on about? 


“Un ange?” 



The boy bit his lip and faced her bravely, the sun in his eyes, his freckles overpowering his round face. “My mommy is sick and I’ve heard that there are angels around here. People who can work magic. We need your help to make my mommy better,” his voice trembled. 


“I can’t help you,” Solene said and looked away from the young boys, the older one clutching his little brother. Solene was unmoved, they were muggles, they did not deserve her pity.


“Please. You look like an angel and my little brother here says he saw you with the magic folk.” 


Solene turned away, “I can’t help you,” she repeated. 


The sun was bearing down on her- “Solene!” Sirius still cried from the water.


She felt the boys anticipating her answer upon the cliff but couldn’t bring herself to face them again. She couldn’t allow them to effect her, she couldn’t allow herself to forget they were muggle filth. 


“S’il vous plaît,” the boy murmured, she could hear the desperation in his voice. 


“No. Go home,” she replied without turning back to face them and suddenly the jump seemed like a much welcomed escape. The crushing of the waves would be nothing to the crushing of her conscience. And without turning back to face them again, she took a step forward, her toes curling on the rock, and jumped. 


She was flying. Her lungs snapped shut, her hair fluttered above her, air weaved through her body. And then those wonderful suspended seconds ended and she felt the clean, fresh water, first at the tips of her toes and then enveloping her whole being as she rocketed downwards under the sea. Solene released herself and she floated upwards in a symphony of bubbles and then her head broke the surface, sun on her face, Sirius an arms length away. He had a questioning look on his face, not sure of what to expect from her. 


And suddenly she was laughing. And he was laughing. They were laughing together and her arms wrapped around his neck, disoriented from the plummet, and they smiled at each other in a way only old friends could.


“What took you so long?” he teased and she pulled away from him, a bit embarrassed that she had needed to hold on.


“What? Did you miss me?” she smirked and began to swim back to the shore.


Their bodies collapsed on the land and sand clung to their skin and hair. It was midday now and the sun was its strongest. Solene moved her arm in front of her eyes.


“So this is what you do all day if you don’t have any friends,” Solene taunted and Sirius sat up.


“You're as alone as I am,” he remarked and Solene fell silent. She didn’t like to be placed in any category alongside Sirius. He didn’t say more and they lay on the shore in quiet for half an hour, their bodies drying.


“Ready for round two?” Sirius asked when the heat became too unbearable.


As long as those eerie muggle boys are gone, Solene thought but simply nodded and pranced alongside Sirius up the cliff, the dust clouding at their feet.







A/N: Yes, I'm horrible, I'm awful I know. That took a long time! Sorry!! Please review ;)
I'll be coming back to change a few things in this chapter I think.

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