When I was six, another big event happened in the Black family – Sirius Antares Black was born to Aunt Lilith and Uncle Scorpius. It was a huge thing because our family now had an heir, Aunt Lilith and Uncle Scorpius became parents (a thought that scared me because I would hate having Aunt Lilith as a mother) and Bellatrix and I became older cousins.
When it was discovered that Aunt Lilith was pregnant, it seemed as though the child growing in her was all anybody wanted to talk about. For the first time in my life, I felt pushed into the background. My aunt and uncle had nothing better to discuss, it seemed, and my Mother and Father were preoccupied with the pregnancy as well. Mother was constantly helping Lilith out and helping her prepare for the birth of her first child. Father’s actions seriously confused me – he’d tell Uncle Scorpius that he hoped the child was a boy, but would tell Mother that he hoped it wasn’t.
When I inquired as to why he was lying to Uncle Scorpius, I learned how important it was for the Blacks to have an heir, and learned that Father had wanted to be the one to provide that heir. I must admit that hearing Father declare his strong desire for a son made me feel sad and as though I were something unwanted.
During that time, the only person who truly paid me any attention besides Bellatrix was Uncle Alphard, who I had always liked more than Uncle Scorpius, Aunt Lilith or Aunt Elladora. He didn’t seem affected by the pregnancy in the least, and was always playing with me, taking me somewhere or talking to me. I also spent a lot of time watching Tipsy cook, and I came to view the house-elf just as much a friend as a servant.
Bellatrix and I also spent a lot of time together, but she managed to get just as much attention now as before the pregnancy. Of course, Bellatrix refused to get any less attention and would throw a fit if she didn’t get her way.
I was beginning to get jealous of Bellatrix, especially of her relationship with Father. Although he didn’t give her any more than he did me and was just as strict with her, I could just tell he cared more for her. When he looked at her, it was as if he was proud of her even if she didn’t do anything great. The way he acted with her made me feel as if the two were part of some secret club that was impossible for anyone else to join.
Luckily, Mother never made me feel second to Bellatrix. She didn’t have much time anymore, but the time she did have was mostly dedicated to me.
When Sirius finally arrived, the family was even busier. Mother practically lived at the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. Father was at home a lot, but he seemed to be always talking to people or really busy. Uncle Alphard still spent a lot of time with me, though, and even bought me a doll that was more beautiful than any I already had.
After Aunt Lilith recovered from the birth, we had a huge party in celebration of Sirius. Many pureblood families were there, and I was very excited. Although normally I hated parties, we hadn’t held one nor been to one in a while. I was ready to wear my new light blue dress robes, ready to see all the people dressed so nicely and on their best behavior, and ready to spend time with children my own age again. The only friend I’d seen much of was Kalahari Livingstone, and that was only because she lived nearby.
When the day of the party came, I had forgotten all about my feelings of neglect and it was as though everything came from a fairytale. The party was to be held at the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, and all of the decorations made it seem like an actual castle that you could only visit in books. Furthermore, the entire family seemed to be in a better mood and, for once, Aunt Lilith didn’t scare the living daylights out of me.
Bellatrix was the only one unhappy, and she constantly complained about having to wear her dress robes and hated not being able to go outside or do much of anything she considered enjoyable. Father had to bribe her just to get her to wear her dress robes!
“But, Bella, don’t you want to look pretty for all our guests?” he asked her in his first attempt to get her to wear them. (Mother, Tipsy, and I had all failed.)
“Don’t I already look pretty?” she asked while looking at him innocently.
“Yes,” he answered. “But don’t you want to look extra pretty?”
“Not if I have to wear those,” she replied, pointing to the red dress robes Father was holding.
“What if I bought you a box of Chocolate Frogs?”
She stared at him for a moment before responding with an “Okay”.
The first guests to arrive were Abraxas and Stella Malfoy with their children Priscilla and Lucius. I was glad to see Priscilla – although she could get very annoying with her bragging she was enjoyable to be with, at least for a little while.
After the Malfoys, the Lestranges appeared. Until this party, I had never really liked the Lestranges. Nero and Violet Lestrange never smiled, and they didn’t have any children my age. However, their son Rodolphus was the same age as Bellatrix, and their first meeting was very entertaining (or at least entertaining to look back on).
Priscilla, Bellatrix, Lucius, and I were all in my room. Priscilla was showing me a silver necklace that her father bought her, Lucius was looking nervously between the three of us, and Bellatrix was fiddling with some toy of mine.
Mother walked in, leading Rodolphus by the hand, which he was trying desperately to get loose of.
“This is Rodolphus Lestrange,” Mother said, introducing him. “Andi, watch over him. He should enjoy playing with Bella and Lucius, but they are very young and shy.”
“Yes Mother,” I said, wondering what gave her the idea that Bellatrix was shy.
“Trix,” I called over to Bellatrix. Although most people called her Bella, Uncle Alphard and I normally called her “Trix” because she was always getting into so much trouble.
Bellatrix came over obediently. I noticed that Lucius looked over to Rodolphus and also walked over; they probably already knew each other.
“Trix, this is Rodolphus. Rodolphus, this is Bellatrix,” I introduced them to each other and they just stared at each other.
“Bellatrix, shake his hand,” I told her, slightly annoyed that I had to remind her of common courtesy.
Trix extended her hand and Rodolphus stared at a moment before cracking a mischievous grin and extending his hand. Instead of shaking her hand, however, he slapped her.
I was appalled, confused because I didn’t know what to do, and worried that Trix would start crying, but the tears never came. She simply glared at him with as much hate as a two-year-old could muster and then pinched him.
Rodolphus let out a yelp of pain and surprise and, after recovering, he bit her arm. She pushed him away from her before kicking him. I don’t think she knew the effect that kicking him between the legs would have, but I do believe it satisfied her need for revenge. Rodolphus fell to the floor crying and crying hard. Bellatrix simply laughed.
I looked from Rodolphus to Bella, unsure of what to do; I couldn’t go to either of my parents or I’d get into trouble.
Luckily, Uncle Alphard came in right at that moment to see my look of distress, Bellatrix’s glee, Rodolphus’ tears, Priscilla’s shock, and Lucius’ fear.
“What the h-e-double-wands happened here?” he asked me and I told him everything. After hearing the whole story, my favorite uncle was trying to suppress his laughter while looking stern at the same time. This face cheered Rodolphus right up, which got rid of one problem. The next obstacle was getting Bellatrix to apologize, and let me say that it was not an easy task.
We did get her to apologize, but I think it only caused more problems. After she apologized, she and Rodolphus got along for about five minutes, which was when he decided that playing with a wand he had somehow gotten a hold of near one of her toys was a good idea. This time, Trix slapped him and then he pulled her hair. She retaliated by pinching him while he was pulling her hair. The result was two children screaming until Uncle Alphard pulled them apart. We didn’t even attempt to try to make them get along after that.
After we got them both settled down in different rooms, Uncle Alphard said that he bet me two galleons that the two of them would wind up married, or at least would date each other.
I loved my uncle dearly, but there were times I thought that he had lost all of his good sense.
After the party was over, life went back to being normal. Everyone’s lives no longer seemed to revolve around Sirius, and the only problem I had with my parents was that they wouldn’t let me have a puppy or a kitten no matter how much I begged them. My Father said that I was too young and that pets were too much trouble, but I was persistent until one day he told me that he would consider it when I got older and that if he heard one more word about it then I would get all my dolls taken away. Needless to say, I shut up about a pet.
When Sirius learned how to crawl, our lives got busy again. As Bellatrix had been before him, he got into everything he could. He hardly slept, and he wouldn’t ever stay still. Whereas Aunt Lilith was so proud to be a mother, she now seemed to detest it. To keep her from having a nervous breakdown or causing harm to Sirius, Mother offered to watch him a few days a week.
This had a bad effect on Bellatrix, who had always been so spoiled. Sirius took up more of our parents’ time than she expected, and when they had to deal with the trouble Sirius got into in addition to the chaos that Trix often caused, they often punished her more than they had previously. I believe this is why she always resented Sirius, and I also believe that it may be the reason that she reacted so badly to an announcement my parents made one day.
Mother and Father had called us into the living room and we sat down on the couch while they remained standing.
“Bella, Andi,” Mother began, “I have some wonderful news.”
“I’m finally getting a pet?” I asked hopefully and smiled, but stopped when I saw the look Father gave me.
“I’m getting a new toy?” Bella questioned.
“No,” Mother answered.
“What is it then?” we both asked simultaneously.
“You two are going to get a new brother or sister,” Father announced.
I was filled with joy with this news – it was better than a pet! I was going to be an older sister again! Maybe this time I’d get a younger brother, I hoped. And now Trix would know the joy of having a younger sibling! Expecting Bella to be overjoyed as I was, I looked at her.
However, I did not see a look of joy, but a look of shock that turned into one of anger. She then screamed, ran into her room, and slammed her door harder than I thought someone so small was capable of.
For an hour, Mother and I tried to get her to talk to us or at least let us cheer her up, but we had no success. Father finally had enough and talked to her. I have no clue what he said to her, but apparently it was something good, because after that Bellatrix had no problems with the idea of a new baby.
“What will the baby’s name be?” I asked Mother one day.
“It’ll be Orion Aries if it’s a boy,” she answered. I nodded, remembering that would have been Bellatrix’s name if she had been born a boy.
“And if it’s a girl?” I questioned.
“Narcissa Persephone,” She answered. “After my grandmother.”
“I thought her name was Nymphadora?”
“She went by her middle name of Nymphadora, but her first name was Narcissa,” Mother replied. “Your father doesn’t like the name Nymphadora.”
“Why not? I love it,” I said.
“I don’t now,” she said to me while smiling.
After thinking a few minutes, I resolved that I would name my first daughter Nymphadora. When I told Mother that she giggled and said I could if I wanted too.
Mother’s pregnancy flew by fast, and before we knew it, she was in her ninth month.
One night, it was storming. It was storming worse than I could ever remember it storming before. I was scared.
Mother came to my bedroom door to check on me and, after seeing me awake and frightened, she invited me to come into the living room with her and Bellatrix for some hot chocolate. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who was afraid.
We sat on the couch to drink the hot chocolate, and I found myself feeling safe and calm before too long. Bellatrix and I sat on each side of Mother and she stroked my hair with one hand and Trix’s with the other to lull us to sleep. Bella fell to sleep quickly and I was almost asleep when Mother began talking to me.
“Andi,” she addressed me in a soft voice.
“Promise me something.”
I lifted my head off her shoulder and looked at her face, and I was worried about my Mother for the first time in my life. She looked so worried, depressed, in deep thought, and tired. I had never seen her look so weak.
“What?” I asked her curiously.
“Promise me that you’ll always be loyal to only two things: your family and yourself.”
I looked at her, wondering what kind of promise that was. It seemed strange, although I could see no reason not to agree with her.
Seeing my look of confusion, Mother went on. “Andromeda, your happiness is very important to me, and the only way you can be truly happy is to be loyal to your family and yourself, especially the former, since your family can secure your happiness. I learned that lesson the hard way, and I don’t want you to do the same.”
Seeing the look of seriousness and hearing her tone of voice, I agreed, although I still didn’t completely understand her words. She said I’d understand more when I got older, and I couldn’t help but trust her.
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Author’s Notes: Sorry for the wait, but don’t worry – I already have the next chapter written, and I only have to get it betaed before posting. I hope you enjoyed this chapter, and I hope you leave a review whether it is positive or negative.