Hello! :) Here for our swap, it seems so perfect that on both sides of the swap we're reading stories about Black sister reunions! :P
I think I said the last chapter was my favourite but this one may have eclipsed it. I think Andromeda's voice here has reached a new maturity and beauty which really shows how she's grown throughout the story and seemed loss. The tone of the first section really painted a picture of the funeral and I felt like I was really there: somehow the voice emulated the setting and gave this melancholy, mournful tone which was really well written. :)
I especially loved the descriptions of the Malfoys and think you captured them perfectly. Lucius and how he doesn't feel guilt or regret, and how Andy can see that, and then Draco with his tears. I thought that was a great detail as he's still so young now, and would of course be expressing grief for the grandmother who probably doted on him as the only grandchild she had access to. The reminder of how Druella never met Nymphadora was a great contrast to that, and how Andromeda sort of wished that she could of and regretted it. I also thought the detail of Draco having a monogrammed hankerchief did a good job of showing how the Malfoys are so presumptuous and always putting on a show: indeed, "like royalty" like was said.
It's also interesting how Narcissa has gone to become a Malfoy and be introduced in that way instead of simply being Cissy. I really loved the descriptions of how she looked older than she is, and how the same things which have taken a toll on Andy have equally affected Cissy, though in different ways. It broke my heart a little for both of them. Her haughtiness and anger fit well with my idea of her and her portrayal in canon. I felt like she is one of those people who is extremely loyal to her family and that she can't understand why Andy would forsake that. And then her calling Ted a Mudblood was a great touch as it showed how she isn't entirely redeemable but still carries on the prejudices. I also loved the line about Cissy putting on a haughty mask, and how her identity is projected in a way that she can't escape from.
I noticed a little typo: in the third-to-last paragraph "thanfull" is missing a K. :)
The mentions of Bella and how Cissy felt she was left with her, and how Andy vanished her from their childhood pictures was a great parallel to how Bellatrix is (well, for now) out of the public sphere as it were. I loved how Andy decided she was done with her and could no longer forgive her, but also how she sort of blames herself for not staying and trying to save Bella. It's such a complicated dynamic between the whole family and such an air of regret.
I really enjoy anti-hero Andromeda and how you put her situation in the AN. There's no perfect ending here and although I know Andy made the right choice it feels right that she's still doubtful and haunted by her past. The whole chapter really showed this and was so well-written- looking forward to the next one! :D
Author's Response: Haha, I thought that too, so it made me want to give you this one even more :P
Yes, it was the same with me too because this one just seemed to confront so much of what Andromeda has been dealing with and it was a lot of fun to explore those issues at hand. I'm really glad that you liked the funeral scene though, because even if it's a little morbid, I do love writing them as you can explore so much within them!
Yay for the Malfoys! Even if they do seem to be the same snooty lot at first, when you explore them all they do have rather unique personalities so that was a lot of fun to see here. It is interesting to compare to Draco and Tonks and wonder what it would have been like if they knew one another. If Cissy had been brave enough, his life could have been like hers, but I suppose it's one of those big what ifs we'll never have resolution to.
I'm glad that you picked up on that, because I believe that marriage must have hardened her and exposed her to the real world and thus seen how Andromeda's reactions could have been a little selfish. She's gradually turning into this person who I disliked in the books, and that may have been due to her sister walking out on her life. I'm glad that you also picked up on her loyalty to her family because what she did in DH was so unexpected, that I felt I had to replicate it somehow in here.
Thanks for pointing that out, it's been fixed!
I know what you mean about the web of guilt within the family because Regulus's death must still be hanging over all of them, then whether any of them, parents included, could have done anything for Bella is another interesting aspect which makes exploring this family even more interesting! They just have so many friends and foes within their own family it's often hard to grasp who's allied with who and why.
I think Andy will always be haunted by her past which is a little sad, given that if she had stayed with them she probably would have fared worse as you said, but I suppose we can't do much to help her.
Thanks for such an amazing review, dear!