Chapter 10 : Andromeda Tonks: Story Time
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Andromeda Tonks: Story Time
A middle-aged lady sat down on a cushioned chair, catching her breath and taking a moment of relaxation. She pushed her light brown hair behind her back, ignoring the gray strands that were beginning to dominate. She had aged relatively well up until the last six years or so, especially when she compared herself to her sisters, one of whom was now dead, the other of who continued to take care of a son who was not quite as easy or carefree as her own daughter had been.
She didn't like to think of her dwindling looks when she had so much to do and so much life left to live. Years ago she realized she would just have to forget about the looks she had tried to maintain for much of her life. The only person of the male gender she had to impress was a five-year-old child of her own relation. And a dog, but that didn’t count either.
Seeing Teddy’s vibrant face, full of life and full of joy, made her realize just how much she had in life. Most people were only blessed with one set of children to raise, but she had an unexpected child who came to her when she needed him the most. Sure it was difficult at times to care for a child when most people of her age were becoming grandparents, but she enjoyed it most of the time. It gave her pleasure watching him grow up, learning about the world and how special he was. Family was there all the time as well; his godfather especially acted as an angel, making sure he was doing well and that she was doing well too. She had more family than she ever had before, yet she still missed him.
It was at moments when Teddy was acting up and she was tired that she missed him most, her memory clinging to moments past, trying to recall his voice, his face, his beautiful presence. And it was difficult to call out to Teddy, without thinking of her own sweet Ted.
She began to shut her eyes, tired from a long day's work, but she didn't have time for more than a quick nap. Teddy would have to get ready for bed soon and she would have to clean up for the night. She still had about two hours of work before she could really sleep; closing her eyes for a minute wouldn't hurt, though.
Her eyes strained upwards, searching for the voice behind the shout. "Teddy, dear," she answered as soon as the culprit was in her view. "What do you need?"
Her grandson approached her closer, his eyes a light shade of gray for the time being, appropriating the classic Black look. She was happy herself not to have inherited that trait, her eyes a more faded brown.
"I wanna hear a story," he said, his young tongue dragging out the words, especially at the end of the sentence.
"I'm tired, honey," she said, her eyes focused on Teddy. "Not right now."
"Please," he begged. "I wanna hear 'bout you and grandpa. You said you’d tell me." His eyes turned into a delicate dark brown shade, his hair changing from blonde to a medium-length dark brown color. He looked like a miniature version of his grandfather. It was the same trick Teddy's mischievous mother played when she was that age. Both of them knew they could get what they wanted when they flashed the eyes of Ted Tonks in her direction; that was her weakness.
"Okay," Andromeda said, tricked into another story of her past.
“I met your grandfather only a couple of weeks after I left Hogwarts, the wizarding school I was telling you about,” Andromeda began, her eyes fixed upon her grandson. Teddy stared at her, his expression full of wonder, his look intense.
“I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with my life. All I knew was that I wanted to live in a place of my own.”
Andromeda remembered that Hogwarts gave her a kind of freedom she enjoyed, but living on her own was different than living at the dormitories in the school. There was real freedom in that. There were no rules other than ones she created herself and there were no elders telling her exactly how to act. She had wanted that.
“I moved into my own place right away, but it wasn’t exactly what I imagined it to be.”
Andromeda’s youngest sister, Narcissa, was the only one who helped her move, but she still had her parents watching over her at all times. Since she didn’t have a job lined up right away, her parents were still paying for her flat, which meant she was still under their rules mostly.
Without a job, Andromeda was living in an extended version of her parent’s care. She didn’t even know why she hadn’t lined up a job right away. Perhaps it overwhelmed her. Perhaps she wasn’t sure if she’d pass all her N.E.W.T.S. and in that case she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. Most of it probably had to do with the fact that she just wanted some time off after school. She wanted to be a teenager, but being a teenager wasn’t exactly all that she had expected.
Andromeda’s parents didn’t care that she didn’t have a job. What they did care about was that she currently did not have a respectable boyfriend, or any boyfriend for that matter. That was real trouble. Her eldest sister, Bellatrix, was already married and Narcissa was set to marry Lucius Malfoy, a choice approved by both her father and her mother. Her father tried to set Andromeda up with Bertrand Goyle, but that was one thing she resisted. She wanted her own life, not one set up by her parents.
“I wanted to get a job so I could set my own rules,” Andromeda told Teddy. Teddy continued to stare, waiting to hear more.
Andromeda knew she had respectable scores in school. She ended up passing all of her N.E.W.T.S. with average scores. There was no subject in which she stood out as exemplary in, and there was no subject in which she took an extreme interest in.
One of her mates from school, Bridget Beasley, was beginning to train as a mediwitch at St. Mungo’s. She wasn’t best mates with Bridget, most likely because Bridget was a Hufflepuff and her parents would have forbidden that, but they were close acquaintances.
“One night I met a friend and she told me about a job helping out at the hospital.” Andromeda just wanted a job, so as soon as Bridget told her she got the job, she started.
“The next week I began working at St. Mungos. I walked into the hospital every morning just at 8:00AM.”
Andromeda always presented herself with a half smile on her face and a huge sigh before each shift started. She was able to walk past the Welcome Witch without any confrontation each morning, but it usually left her depressed. She was never friendly, and Andromeda was fearful she would turn out that way if she stayed there for too long.
“I didn’t really like my job right away,” Andromeda explained truthfully. She wanted Teddy to fully understand the story. It was important to her, and even though some may have thought it was too much for him to handle, she knew it was okay to tell him most of the facts. He was a smart boy and he would understand. He had already been through so much in his life without his parents guiding him along.
“Why not?” Teddy interrupted.
“I think I just missed my free time,” Andromeda said. “I was used to having lots of time to myself, but I came home tired, overworked, and afraid that I wasn’t exactly learning what I should’ve been learning. I didn’t want to be bad at my job.” Andromeda was afraid of failure, but she was also afraid of her relationship with her coworkers. She and Bridget got along but almost everyone else seemed to be afraid of her. She was a Black sister, after all, and she could be quite intimidating, even if she was nothing like her sisters or the rest of her family.
“You’re not bad at anything,” Teddy said with a smile, illuminating the dimples on his pink cheeks. “You’re good at stories, making potions, spells, cooking…”
“Thank you, Teddy,” Andromeda said, interrupting, “But I really wasn’t good at my job right away. That’s actually how your grandfather and I met… because I was so bad at my job.
“Maybe we should stop here tonight,” Andromeda said, thinking of the memories and knowing the rest of the story would make her emotional. She wasn’t prepared for that now.
“No!” Teddy said, refusing to accept her words. “I wanna hear more!”
Andromeda laughed at her grandson’s interest, but she was a bit upset with him. He was her grandson, but she had to be a bit strict with him. He couldn’t get everything he wanted in life, even if he was a child who had to grow up with a disadvantage.
“Not tonight,” Andromeda persisted. “It’s time for bed.”
Teddy frowned, breaking Andromeda’s heart, but she continued to stay strong. It was difficult when her own daughter had used similar tactics, and it was even more difficult now acting as the sole parent without backup. But since she had gone through it before, Teddy’s pout did not influence Andromeda into resignation.
Andromeda picked Teddy up, holding him tightly within her arms. She kept her eyes focused away from his pain as she walked up the stairs to his bedroom.
His room was immediately to the right of the stairs; the room Nymphadora once occupied. She had trouble encouraging herself to redecorate the room once it was known that Teddy was going to live there permanently, so the true mood of Nymphadora adorned the room with a hint of Teddy’s personality shining through. The walls were plastered in yellow paint with touches of black as well; her Hufflepuff heritage a true part of herself. The Hufflepuff crest lined the middle of the wall and a stuffed badger toy rested upon Teddy’s bed, the young boy taking comfort in the toy his mother left behind. There were posters upon posters of Quidditch teams, and pictures of Nymphadora from several different time periods.
Andromeda’s favourite picture, the one closest to Teddy’s bed was of Nymphadora and Ted. Nymphadora’s smile matched at age seven perfectly with her father’s. In the picture, Ted watched protectively over his daughter as Dora leant down to a pile of autumn leaves and pushed them up into the air. Both child and father laughed as the leaves flew in all directions, one even shooting into Dora’s hair. Ted brushed the leaf away immediately and the two hugged, Nymphadora fitting perfectly into her father’s arms.
Andromeda put Teddy down, telling him to wash up for bed. As he did so, she pulled down the black comforter and the werewolf sheets on the small bed that had been Nymphadora’s. Even knowing his father’s condition, Teddy insisted on the frightening sheets, a reaction that surprised Andromeda. Of course she couldn’t refuse him, though it was his godfather who eventually succumbed to his wishes on the day of his fifth birthday.
Teddy pounded into bed after a disgracefully short time spent washing up. Andromeda tucked him in, kissed him, and told him goodnight before she set to her own duties before going to sleep for the night.
The next morning came all too soon for Andromeda. She had been up late cleaning, a task that was growing systematically longer with each passing day. It didn’t have much to do with her cleaning skills growing rusty, more because Teddy was growing into a more troublesome boy, much like his mother and, she suspected, his father as well.
Teddy woke up early, a habit he liked to save for the weekends and Andromeda knew he would want breakfast right away, but she felt uninspired and fixed a bowl of cereal for the both of them. Teddy did not complain as the bowl was set in front of him, though he immediately requested a continuation of the story.
Andromeda did not protest this morning as she did the night before, as she was already more prepared to go on.
“Where did I leave off yesterday?” Andromeda asked Teddy.
“You were saying that you were bad at your job,” Teddy answered.
Andromeda remembered, immediately diving into the story. “One day, the mediwitch manager pulled me aside and told me that he had to talk to me,” Andromeda continued, as Teddy munched on the cereal, milk running down his chin.
“He didn’t think he was giving me sufficient training in all I needed to be taught. I’m pretty sure that was the day after I gave Ms. Johnson a truth serum instead of a healing potion, but I can’t quite remember.”
Teddy laughed, milk splattering in several directions. Andromeda handed a napkin to Teddy and he took it grudgingly to clean his face. Napkins were not his favourite; it was enough torture that he had to use a spoon when eating.
“So he suggested a tutor and he had someone in mind; someone who had just become a full-time mediwizard.
“I was rather stubborn at that age, and I tried to talk him out of setting me up with one, but it wasn’t easy. If he would have told me who the tutor was, I might have been a little more accepting of it.”
“Who was the tutor?” Teddy asked.
“The person you happen to be named after,” Andromeda said. “Ted Tonks.”
Teddy’s eyes grew wider in anticipation of the rest of the story. He had already finished his cereal and he pushed it aside, eventually relaxing in his seat, waiting for the story to continue.
“I knew Ted briefly in school, but he was several years older than me.”
Ted was the type of boy that Andromeda had been strictly forbidden to befriend. He was a Muggleborn, one of the worst types of people for a Pureblood like herself to associate with. But Andromeda was all for seeing people her parents didn’t accept, especially now that she was out of school. She remembered that Ted was a star Quidditch player for Ravenclaw, most likely a prefect, and a relatively popular student. She was okay being tutored by him, especially because he was quite handsome.
“He walked in to greet me that day, having been told that he was to tutor me. Nothing prepared me for seeing Ted in his lime-green robes. His face lit up and looked full of life. His smile blossomed and he walked with joy. I know it’s probably silly, but I think the green made him even more handsome.”
Andromeda paused, her cheeks turning red with embarrassment, as she watched for Teddy’s reaction. She hadn’t meant to reveal those details to her grandson, but they somehow slipped out. Teddy did not react to the details in any odd way; all he wanted was for her to continue.
“I truly believe some people in this world are meant for each other. Ted was that person for me, and I knew it from the first day we worked together.”
That was as far as she could go for now. Her eyes began to tear up, remembering the moment when she figured out she wanted Ted to be there with her for the rest of her life. It was not love at first sight because she had known him before, but after several days on the job together, she was ready to defy her parents and spend the rest of her life with him. He may not have felt the same way, but she was prepared to show him that she was worthy of him.
“Why don’t you get dressed?” Andromeda said, trying to change the subject.
Teddy shook his head.
Andromeda sighed and wiped away her tears. “How would you like Victoire to come over to play today?” Andromeda asked in hope of distracting Teddy.
“Okay,” Teddy said. “But I still want to hear more.”
“If you go be a big boy and get dressed while I call Victoire’s parents, I’ll continue,” Andromeda said. At least it would give her a break. And if Victoire visited, Teddy would have another distraction and Andromeda would have a chance to calm her emotions.
Teddy dashed up the stairs and Andromeda slowly walked over to the phone, a gadget she wasn’t used to using, but one that Teddy’s godfather helped explain to her. It was a Muggle idea that was much more useful than some of the stuff wizards came up with.
Andromeda dialed the number slowly, and waited patiently as it rang, focusing her attention away from Ted.
“Hi Bill,” Andromeda said. “Would Victoire like to come over to play today? Teddy’s in the mood for a friend.”
“Of course,” Bill answered. “I was just about to call you. Fleur’s at work today and I’m off, so I’ll bring her right over.”
“Thanks,” Andromeda answered. “I’ll see you in a bit.”
As soon as Andromeda replaced the odd-shaped device, Teddy came pounding down the stairs. She laughed at the first sight of him, with his jeans on backwards, wearing a green shirt, just slightly darker than the green of Ted’s robes. At least Andromeda knew she was telling her story for a reason. Teddy was paying attention and getting to know a bit about his grandfather. She owed that much to Ted, even if it was difficult for her.
“What happened on that first day?” Teddy asked, excitedly rushing over to Andromeda. Andromeda helped Teddy put his pants on the correct way and then she walked over with him to the same chair where she started her story yesterday.
“I was impressed by Ted,” Andromeda continued, sitting down in the chair while Teddy sat in her lap and faced her. “Many people were intimidated by my family, but Ted wasn’t at all.”
Andromeda was especially worried about Ted, knowing he was a Muggleborn. Many of her coworkers who were Muggleborns tended to ignore her, but Ted didn’t.
“He didn’t talk down to me. I guess he was more of a coworker than a boss. He knew I needed help, but he treated me as if I knew exactly what I was doing. He treated me with respect.
“The first time Ted was called out that morning, he took me with him. He told me to Apparate to a certain address right away. We had to be quick because there was a woman in need of serious medical attention.” Andromeda appreciated that Ted never babied her. Her old boss would’ve Side-Apparated her to the address, even though Apparition was something she had mastered long ago. Ted worked with her perfectly, setting high expectations that she was motivated to achieve.
“What’s ‘Apparate?”’ Teddy asked, trying to follow the story. Andromeda sometimes forgot that she was talking to a five year old.
“Apparition is a way to travel, somewhat like a Portkey. You can’t learn it until you’re older though,” Andromeda explained, as she watched Teddy’s expression change from excitement to disappointment when he realized he would have to wait to learn about Apparition.
“Our first call was to a witch’s home,” Andromeda continued. “She was an older woman and she was trying to make a complicated potion called the Draught of Peace.”
When Andromeda and Teddy arrived at the witch’s home, she was doubled up on the floor in pain, lying in a fetal position, clutching her stomach, crying out curses.
“Ted immediately ran over to her, concern evident in his eyes. He began to pick her up and looked to me for help. I came to his aid and together we lifted her onto her couch.
“Ted told me that she had been working on the Draught of Peace, and I tried to think what complications could have arisen, but I wasn’t having much luck. Ted asked me to chose a potion from his supplies to heal her, and he expected me to find the correct one. I wasn’t exactly sure what to pick out.”
The phials were all labeled, but Andromeda had never been great at potions. She knew Ted knew which one was needed, but she couldn’t figure it out. Her old boss would have told her exactly what it was without giving her time to even guess, but Ted began to lead her to the answer.
He asked her to think of the ingredients in the Draught of Peace and to figure out which ingredient was the most complicated.
Andromeda remembered making the Draught of Peace in her fifth year, but she couldn’t quite remember the ingredients. She looked at Ted with disappointment. She wanted to show him that she was capable of becoming a mediwitch. He inspired her, but she still didn’t know what potion ingredient he was looking for.
Ted took a phial from the supply box without saying anything to Andromeda. Andromeda realized later that he meant for her to see the label on the phial, so that at least she could guess that ingredient he was trying to teach her.
Suddenly Andromeda remembered it was hellebore that had caused her such difficulty when she made the Draught of Peace. It was a poison if just a bit too much was used and that must have been what the poor witch had done. Ted was giving her a potion that helped counteract the poison’s effect.
Ted was ecstatic with Andromeda’s sudden realization. His teaching method had paid off and Andromeda was grateful that he had taught her something. She was capable of possibly being a mediwitch one day. Ted’s methods gave her the confidence booster she needed.
“Your grandfather helped me figure it out,” Andromeda told Teddy. “He was a great teacher.”
Teddy smiled, his brown eyes looking much like his grandfather’s. Andromeda loved the resemblance. She loved her Ted, and she loved her Teddy as well.
“He continued to help me through tough times like that, and I studied harder for him. I wanted to be the perfect student because of his encouragement, and eventually I was. I learned to love healing and I learned to love him.”
At that point, a knock on the door disturbed both Teddy and Andromeda. Andromeda was not as emotional at that point, and although she wanted to continue the story, it would have to wait.
Teddy jumped out of Andromeda’s lap and she walked over to the door. She opened it to find Bill and Victoire. Victoire was a miniature image of her mother in appearance, but she had more of the Weasley tendencies, not minding getting dirty and not acting like the proper lady as Fleur would prefer. Victoire was the perfect playmate for Teddy.
Victoire ran right into the flat to find Teddy. Bill came in as well, deciding to spend some time with Andromeda. The two had become close friends since Victoire and Teddy were such great friends.
“Could I get you anything, Bill?” Andromeda asked. “Water, tea, coffee?”
“No thanks,” Bill answered. “I just had breakfast and I’m perfectly content.”
“Nana, Nana!” Teddy said, interrupting his elders. “Can you finish telling the story?”
“Oh, I’m not sure Victoire and Bill would want to hear it,” Andromeda said.
“What story?” Bill asked.
“The story of how Ted and I met.”
“I always love hearing that story,” Bill said. “I don’t mind.”
“I’m already towards the end,” Andromeda said. “Maybe another day.”
“You don’t have to start over,” Bill encouraged her. “The end of the story is beautiful.”
“Oh, all right,” Andromeda answered. She walked back to her chair while Bill, Victoire, and Teddy followed. Victoire and Teddy sat on the floor together, facing Andromeda and Bill sat on the couch. They were prepared to listen and Andromeda found she was more emotional now that her audience had increased in size.
“Ted and I continued to work together,” Andromeda started again. “Within a year or so I finished training and we began to work together as full fledged partners. It came as no surprise to anyone but Ted when I asked him on our first date. We had some extra connection, but Ted never said anything about it. I couldn’t hide my love for him, so eventually I made the first move.”
Ted reacted in a way that did surprise Andromeda. He wanted to go out with her, but he was concerned for her welfare. He knew that she would be defying her parents to go out with him, but she didn’t care. As long as she had Ted’s shoulder to lean on, she was okay. Andromeda assured Ted she didn’t care what her parents thought and from that point on their relationship flourished.
“After we were a couple for about a year, Ted proposed,” Andromeda said. “He had flowers and we sat atop St. Mungo’s enjoying a perfect meal together, even if we weren’t supposed to be there. He showed me the cloudy spot in the sky called the Andromeda Galaxy and told me he always thought of me when he looked at that section of the sky because it was the most beautiful part of the sky and I was the most beautiful part of his world.” The words rang through Andromeda’s head as tears welled up in her eyes again. Living without him was difficult, but at least she had so many beautiful memories.
“Then he proposed. Of course, I accepted, defying my parents and even some of my friends.” Andromeda’s relatives had gone so far as to blast her off the family tapestry just for marrying a Muggleborn. “But it was all worth it. I loved your grandfather.”
Teddy jumped up, knowing that the end had come, and Victoire followed his cue. “I wanna be a mediwitch!” he said. “Just like grandpa!”
Andromeda and Bill laughed. “Grandpa was a mediwizard,” Andromeda said.
Teddy blushed, his cheeks red with embarrassment. “That’s what I meant. I wanna be a mediwizard!”
“Me too!” Victoire said. “Just like ‘dromeda!”
Teddy and Victoire started running around the flat, holding hands and dancing and skipping.
Andromeda and Bill watched them, enjoying the children’s delight. Andromeda was amused but still tearful.
“Are you okay?” Bill asked her.
“I just miss him,” Andromeda said. “Every day I think about him and I miss him.”
“I know,” Bill said, taking her hand and wrapping her into his arms for a hug. “But at least he left you Teddy.”
“He left me with a beautiful grandchild,” Andromeda whispered. “Teddy is wonderful.”
AN: It's such an honor to be a part of this collab, and I do hope you guys liked it. I just want to say a quick thanks to everyone at eHPF for making it such a great community and thanks to those who helped me with this story and the doubts I had for it. Thanks to JLHufflepuff and Renny for creating such a fun place to hang out at and creating such an awesome collab. Thanks to norbert1175 for the beautiful chapter image. Finally, thanks to reallyginny for being such an awesome beta, making this story so much better, and making sure that Teddy acted like a five year old and not a two year old.
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