Chapter 9 : As Lovers Go
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The opening rays of that day’s sun shone through the windows in her temporary dormitory - the room with four white, forsaken walls. Well, not completely forsaken. The painting of a lone painter hung serenely to her left. The simply adorned guest-room of the Tonks’ felt comfortable and warm. And even though she didn’t want to admit it to herself, Andromeda felt more at home in that simple room than she had ever been in the Manor. But no matter how much she had hated her final days at the Black Manor, a part of her did miss it. All the memories, burned to ashes - or as good as. But that day was not a day to mourn for the mistreatment and her childhood home. The horizon held promises of a new beginning; a new family. She felt happier than she ever had been.
She lay in bed a long while after awakening, staring at the ceiling, allowing the rather surreal fact to settle over her. September 17 – she was marrying Ted Tonks. Only three weeks had gone by since she had arrived at his home late at night. And as soon as she had settled, or just had realized that she was free, free from the clutches of her family name, they had set a date. The fact that Black was being replaced by Tonks plastered a content smile upon her lips; at long last, people would never have to judge her by her surname. In no more than three hours, Andromeda Black would vanish from the face of the earth and turn into a vague memory of a foggy past.
But despite the fact that she was about to start anew, she couldn’t help wondering how she’d feel when she would scan the rows of guest and unintentionally look for her family. She thought about it, and disappointment suddenly engulfed her, wrenched her heart. And she would hate herself for even thinking of them. It was a silly girl’s dream - to hope for the presence of her parents and sisters, her aunt and uncles and cousins; Sirius. She closed her eyes, the visions of her family fading into a pocket in her brain. They disappeared completely in no time.
Her soft, brown curls framed her beautiful and serene face and at the thought of Ted, at the thought of what was coming, her smile widened and warmth seeped into her body. She knew it had nothing to do with the autumn sun. She closed her eyes and turned her face toward the window, permitting its glow to bathe her. Such an unpredictable life she lived. She would never have guessed four years ago that she was about to get married on the seventeenth of September at the age of eighteen. One would think that it was early, but Andromeda was certain; more certain of anything she’d ever been in her life.
The rather desperate knock on the door startled her and she awoke immediately from her light slumber. She stared stupidly at the door, as if she looked at it intensely enough, it’d open up without her touching it. For a moment, she still thought she was dreaming. But this, she learnt seconds later, was no dream.
“Andromeda, dear! Are you awake? It’s nearly time!”
No, it was three hours to go. But... Three hours? No – two hours left! But two hours weren’t enough to get ready! And there was absolutely no way she could head down the aisle - being late - with a petty apology such as the classical ‘I overslept’ one. So she hurried out of bed with a tiny gasp, grabbed her dressing gown, put it on rapidly, and then hurried over to the door. Beyond stood Grace Tonks, looking distressed. She squealed in horror!
“You’re not even dressed, my dear! We have an hour and a half to get you ready, and the guests will start arriving in one hour!” she exclaimed and entered the room, Andromeda following her around like a lost puppy – eyes unfocused, heart pounding in her ears. Nearly time... It could not be. Realization dawned upon her face and smashed against her brain. She was getting married in an hour and she’d overslept. Thank Merlin I’m a witch, she thought and hurried to the bathroom.
“Grace, I’m off to take a shower. It won’t take long, I can assure you,” she added at the panicked look of her soon-to-be mother-in-law. The expression on her face was glued to her mind’s eye. In return, she smiled apologetically and didn’t return for fifteen minutes. In another five minutes, her hair was perfectly dried and her curls were hanging loosely down her back, and she even had had the time to apply a little amount of makeup.
“I keep forgetting you’re a witch,” muttered Mrs. Tonks, clearly looking a bit shameful, cheeks flushed. Andromeda only smiled at her.
“An easy mistake to make,” she consoled with an understanding look upon her face.
Half an hour later, when Andromeda – who was dressed in a white wedding gown - was alone in the room, another knock came at the door. Feeling nervous for a reason that was unknown to her, she called out in a shaky voice for the visitor to come in. As she looked in to the mirror she saw the door open behind her, and was delighted – and relieved – to see Alice standing there with her face glowing.
For many inexplicable reasons, the sight of her friend standing there sent tears to her eyes. She was overwhelmed, and it seemed that Alice was too. She was smiling happily and her eyes were watery. Andromeda felt the urge to laugh at their silliness but ignored it.
“’Dromeda,” she said and next thing they both knew, they were enclosed in a tight embrace, feeling like they hadn’t seen each other since they’d left school. It felt like forever had passed by. But truthfully, they had seen each other quite recently.
“Alice. You look splendid.”
And she did – she was clad in a silky red dress, her short hair in an elegant bun, and her eyes sparkling. She was, without doubt, the perfect bridesmaid.
“How are you feeling?”
Ah, Alice – always the one to ask questions with obvious answers. Andromeda’s glare was amusing.
“Alright, alright, so I think I can answer that one for myself. Are Edith and Nora coming?” she added, looking joyous. Edith and Nora had ended up being good friends with them both.
“Yes, they will. Can’t wait to see them!” Andromeda said and Alice nodded. Another knock on the door and in what felt like no time, George Tonks was escorting her down the aisle. Every head was turned in their direction and her heart was pounding in her ears. She was happier than she had ever been. Her plain gown suited her perfectly. In her hand, she held a bouquet of scarlet roses, each radiating with life. Her curls were let loose down her shoulders, no veil obscuring her glowing face.
She locked her gaze with Ted’s as soon as she finished scanning the room, no disappointment wrenching her heart. He wore a dazed and happy look upon his face, crystal eyes sparkling beneath his fair-coloured curls. It was perfection; everything from the peaceful-looking backyard to the bride’s groom. But what else could it have been?
The wedding would’ve taken place sooner, had Grace Tonks not insisted on a proper ceremony. And if they wouldn’t do it in the humble chapel, they’d do it in the backyard, which neither Andromeda nor Ted had a problem with. Now, the guests would have been crammed into each other had Alice not decided to do her spell-work in the middle of the night and enlarge the modest garden.
Andromeda was clad in Mrs. Tonks’ own wedding gown, settling for tradition. It was a simple white dress with pearls attached to its hem and embroideries of flowers adorning the skirt. Eyes were wide in wonder; lips displaying a broad smile. Ted was gazing at her with a look that spoke of wonder of having such a beautiful woman standing in front of him.
And in no less than twenty minutes, Miss Andromeda Black became Mrs. Ted Tonks.
The crowd of people cheered in delight at the newlyweds as they drew back from their kiss, and beside the bride, Alice was shedding tears of joy. She hugged Andromeda and whispered in her ears wishes for luck and eternal love. And Andromeda beamed happily, feeling she might burst out crying as well.
The horizon was adorned with pink and gold, vows of a new beginning. It warmed Andromeda’s soul.
Embraces, kisses, and wishes for luck were shared until the feast began and in no time, dinner was served and they ate with ravenous appetite, laughing and joking at the same time. Familiar faces were everywhere, laughing and raising their glasses at the married pair. She was afraid she might burst with happiness. Andromeda loved seeing them there. Not everything from the past was lost.
The toddler in the crib kept miraculously changing her hair -colour in between yawns. Andromeda and Ted Tonks bent over the crib, watching their week-year-old daughter. The mop of hair on top of her soft head was currently yellow; Andromeda guessed that it’d turn purple in five minutes.
The pregnancy had been tiring and being in labour for near twelve hours had not helped Andromeda feel any better. The child, which had been named Nymphadora Tonks (much to Andromeda’s insistence), had been born several weeks earlier than expected, but no complications followed. And Ted, who had been worried beyond measure, felt extremely relieved when Dora had finally been born and Andromeda had survived the ordeal.
The unexpected discovery had been discovered the same day that Nymphadora was born.
“She’s a Metamorphmagus!” the Healers had announced delightfully, while both Ted and Andromeda had looked at them with mildly confused expression on their faces. But indeed, as soon as Dora was placed in her mother’s arms, her hair colour had changed.
A week after the birth – yesterday – Andromeda and Nymphadora had been released from St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and departed for their home in the outskirts of Leeds. The house had been a wedding gift from Ted’s parents and Andromeda could not thank her in-laws enough. After she had run away, her parents had claimed her inheritance and left her with absolutely nothing. According to rumours, she had been removed from the Black Family Tree – in other words, had been disowned – but Andromeda felt no resentment. Even though she would occasionally find herself thinking of her sisters, she did not feel the longing to be in their presence. They would always be her sisters, no matter how much they would try and deny it; but they belonged to the past. Ted and Dora on the other hand... They were her present and her future. They were her everything.
“It’s lovely... We have a Metamorphmagus in the family. Who could’ve guessed?” Andromeda asked light-heartedly, as her daughter’s hair turned from yellow to turquoise. Darn it, no purple then.
“Well, I would never have guessed,” he answered her, a grin playing at the corner of his lips.
Andromeda’s necklace from some summers previously managed to find its way out of her robes and little Dora noticed the vibrant glowing immediately. Trying desperately to capture it with her little fists, she enjoyed herself thoroughly. Andromeda grabbed the necklace and placed it inside her robes once again. Dora ignored it, because sleep was enclosing her as a warm blanket often did.
She yawned again, and this time, her mousy-brown hair appeared for the first time in twelve hours. Both Andromeda and Ted had realized that that was her real hair colour quite late, since her tuft had been red the first time they’d seen her. It had been quite inexplicable and amusing. As for her eyes; Andromeda caught their colour before Dora closed them. They were at the moment a deep blue, darkening every day.
At long last, their daughter was asleep. Hopefully, she would not wake until morning. It wasn’t that important, though; every minute with Nymphadora was a blessing. They turned out the lights and left the door ajar. Just outside, Ted embraced his wife.
“A Metamorphmagus in the family... That’s a first,” he said, and Andromeda laughed and caught Ted’s lips with hers.
After several blissful minutes, they drew apart, Andromeda’s arms around Ted’s neck. They gazed into each other’s eyes and Andromeda felt utterly joyous for having Ted as her husband, friend, and soul-mate. “I love you, you know that, yeah?” she said and never broke eye contact. He nodded subtly, a handsome smile lightening his features.
“And I love you too.”
A/N: One more chapter and then it's goodbye *sniff*. Comments, thoughts, complaints, compliments - anything you like to say, I'd love to hear it. Chapter title and lyrics in chapter summary by Dashboard Confessional. Chapter beta'ed by Adelaide Merrefield. You rock :cool:
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