Chapter 2 : Andromeda
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Andromeda slipped the borrowed key into the keyhole. The old nursery in the East Wing had been locked up once the Black daughters had out grown it. And now a grown nineteen-year-old Andromeda turned the doorknob and the door creaked open.
The same white-painted furniture stood neglected, covered with dust and spider webs. The sisters’ worn-out rocking horse watched Andromeda dejectedly from the corner with reproachful button eyes. The pink wallpaper had faded into a ghostly white and the originally white curtains were gray with abandonment.
She pulled away the musty curtains and opened the glass windows. A young man stood under the balcony waiting for her. “Ted,” she whispered under her breath. They had met in school and fallen in love. Andromeda almost smiled. Father would have a heart attack if he knew a Muggle was standing on his pristine Black Manor lawn.
“Come on, Andromeda. Go out with me.”
Andromeda turned her head the other way. When would Ted ever understand? She couldn’t… no, wouldn’t… go out with him. It was unheard of. “I can’t,” she said softly, knowing she was breaking his heart… again. “You know I can’t…My family…”
She heard him stand up quickly. “Fine,” he said, his voice cracking with anger. She turned around. Never before had she heard him like this before. With dark hair and a fair complexion, Ted Tonks stood before her, brow furrowed with hurt and anger. “Fine,” he repeated, giving a cold laugh.
“You know what’s funny, Black?” It was the first time he had ever called her by her last name. She remained silent.
“I can finally see. Finally goddamn see everything. I’ve been blinded these seven years, and now I finally see. I thought you were different. Andromeda. Not a Black elitist, like your sisters. I saw you with the kind heart, the intelligence, and everything thing else that didn’t make you a Black. I thought you were intelligent enough not to care about blood. But now I finally see that I was wrong. So damn wrong.” He gave another empty laugh. “You’re just like your family; horrible, cruel, and heartless.”
No. She was not heartless. Couldn’t he see the pain she went through every time he asked her out? “You’re wrong,” said Andromeda, standing up this time to defend herself. “I’m nothing like them.”
“Oh really?” Ted watched her, challenging her with his flashing gray eyes. “Then why don’t you prove me wrong?”
Her mind spun. She was not heartless. “Go out with me, Ted. And then I’ll prove you wrong.”
She heard their footsteps approaching; Bellatrix’s firm, determined steps and Narcissa’s lighter, careful steps. The doorknob turned and her two sisters entered. They approached her urgently.
“Is something the matter, Meda?” asked Narcissa, her worried blue eyes searching her sister’s face. “You said it was important.”
Bellatrix said nothing and merely surveyed her sister with her dark eyes. Then she noticed open windows. Andromeda followed her eyes.
“You’re leaving,” whispered Narcissa, realizing what was happening with a swift glance at Bellatrix.
“Why?” asked Bellatrix suddenly. “Why would you leave everything behind?” She raised her arms indicating their home.
Andromeda raised an eyebrow and asked back, “Why would I leave the most noble and regal house of Black behind? Why would I leave this pureblood madness behind?”
Narcissa protested, “It’s not madness. There’s legitimate reason. Mudbloods shouldn’t be allowed to taint our blood.” It was a familiar argument for all the sisters.
Smiling sadly, Andromeda shook her head. “I don’t believe that.”
“Yes, you do,” stated Bellatrix firmly.
“No,” said Andromeda sharply. “I don’t. I have never believed in that, and you know it.” Her sisters stayed silent, shooting her reproachful looks. “And there’s another reason for my leaving...” she paused. Please let them understand, she prayed. “I’m in love.”
“So… we’re finally here,” said Andromeda to Ted who sat across from her in a booth at Three Broomsticks.
The usually bustling pub was close to empty that night, the only other patrons being an elderly witch with a flamboyant purple cape and a wizard with a shining bald head and an enormous girth.
“Yes,” responded Ted. “Finally on our first date.”
After meeting in the Entrance hall, the two had snuck out of Hogwarts through a secret passageway that Ted knew.
“Is it what you imagined it to be after all those years?” she asked curiously.
“Somewhat.” He raised an eyebrow cockily. “Of course, I didn’t expect to be asked out by you.”
They both became awkwardly silent, withdrawn in their thoughts. Their argument, a few days earlier, was still fresh in Andromeda’s mind. How could she have been so horrible to refuse Ted for so many years? And then she remembered her sisters and her blood.
Fortunately, Madame Rosmerta brought them each a foaming mug of butterbeer and banished away her thoughts by sipping her drink. She felt the golden elixir fill her with warmth. But her thoughts persisted. How could she be so mean? Ted was right. A strand of her brown hair fell in front of her eyes. A hand reached out to brush it aside. Andromeda’s face flushed as she looked up and saw Ted’s kind face. Guilt ran into her heart. She burst into apology.
“I’m so sorry for being such a bloody git all these years. I’m sorry for refusing you all those times. I’m sorry for hurting you. And I’m sorry if I’m so much like my sisters.” The words were rushed and her ears burned red. “You’re right. I have acted like them. I have been obsessed with my blood like they are. And I am heartless---“
She saw his face relax. His warm hands covered her much smaller ones as he leaned over the table towards her. Her heart pounded. “No, Andromeda” he said, finally smiling. “I was wrong. You are never heartless.”
Bellatrix laughed. “Not with that Mudblood? You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“You can’t be in love with a Muggle!” Narcissa laughed as well.
“His name is Ted. And he is a wizard,” said Andromeda angrily.
Her voice sobered her sisters’ laughter. Silence fell on the room. A gust of wind burst into the abandoned nursery and swirled around the sisters’ skirts and twirled with their hair as they each thought about what the other said. A tree branch tapped on the window.
“Are you serious, Meda?” asked Narcissa quietly, breaking the awkward silence. “Are you two really in love?” Andromeda saw younger sister’s eyes watching her hopefully.
She softened. “Yes, we are.” Andromeda smiled. “We are in love.”
The former Ravenclaw boy and the former Slytherin girl walked together under the trees. Shafts of sunlight burst through the web of leaves and branches that arched over them. The boy, now a junior assistant at the Ministry, held the girl’s hand. Their feet crunched fallen leaves and she smiled at him.
It was another one of their secret meetings. She would sneak out of her family’s manor and meet him in the woods every other day. He would always be waiting there for her with a grin on his face and a kiss for her. She loved these days.
But sometimes she grew tired of the sneaking and hiding. It had been going on for two years now. If only if he would…
“Marry me, Andromeda.”
She looked up, startled by his demand. Did he read her mind? He looked down at her with loving, aching eyes. His hands pulled her closer to him. Her heart pounded.
“Why?” she asked him softly, her hazel eyes searching his gray ones.
“Because I love you.”
“Love is amazing. He sees me for who I am in the inside. Not for my looks or my blood…but for me. And oh...” She paused, searching for words. Finally she could tell someone how it felt to be in love! “It’s the most wonderful feeling to know that I’ll never be bound again; that I’ll be calmed and my heart will be at peace; that a man loves me enough to set me free--”
“Free?” Bellatrix interrupted. “What do you mean by free?”
“Oh Bella…” Andromeda sighed, suddenly saddened by her sister’s query. “Don’t you see? We’re trapped this family, like birds in cages. Forced into pureblooded marriages for the duty of our family. We’re just pawns.”
Bellatrix drew herself together proudly. “We are not pawns. No one makes us pawns. And we are not trapped. It takes pride and honor to be a Black and I bow to no one nor am I stuck in a cage.”
Narcissa’s cold demeanor returned. “Precisely what Bella said. We are queens in this world. We rule everything. Why would anyone think us to be caged?”
“Exactly why I must leave,” said Andromeda bitterly. Her sisters would never understand. They thought her to be insane. “Ted and I are getting married,” she said matter-of-factly. “Tell Mother and Father what you will. I expect that they’ll disown me and never want to see me again.”
Quickly, Andromeda went to the open window. The night air never smelled so fresh before. She looked back behind her and saw her two sisters standing side by side, so regal, so proud, and so… lost. They would be locked up into their pureblooded lives while she would be free. If only they could all be free. But not every dream comes true.
Whispering a faint goodbye, Andromeda dropped from the balcony and made off into the night with her love and newfound freedom, never looking back.
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