Chapter 2 : Siriusly!?
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Andromeda landed on the threadbare, green rug in the Potion Master's office after her whirlwind trip through the fireplaces of Britain. She stumbled slightly before gently patting down her school robes and removing them of any visible ash and grime that she had accumulated through her journey. She blinked back the tears that she could feel forming in her stormy eyes. She would not cry here, in this office, in front of Professor Slughorn. She was thankful that he seemed too engrossed in his marking that he did not look up at her. Instead, her just waved his hand in a dismissive gesture whilst saying, “I trust everything went well, Miss Black?” and without waiting for a reply added, “Now off to the Common Room as it is well past curfew, the new password is betrayal
Andromeda was speechless at the aptitude of the password to her current situation, and could do nothing more than reply, “Yes sir,” before hurrying out of the office and into the chilling dungeon hallway beyond. As soon as the door closed behind her, she leant against the cold stone wall and sank to the floor, tears running down her pale face.
Everyone will know by tomorrow and I’ll be an outcast in my own House. Who am I kidding? I’ve always been different from them; it was only ever my father’s influence that kept them in line, now I don’t even have that. Regulus probably already knows, she thought bitterly.
She knew that her cousin would also disown her, despite the fact that he didn’t seem to be as power-crazed as her own sister. She would be the Black sheep. She would have laughed at the irony of the Muggle phrase and her own name, if not for her present situation itself. Her thoughts on Regulus soon turned to those of his older brother.
“Sirius,” she whispered.
She knew that she wasn’t alone. Unlike the rest of her family she had never been anything but friendly to him. She had always secretly that she could be like him and now she had her chance. She needed to see him as soon as possible. With her mind focusing on something other than her own self pity, Andromeda wiped her grey eyes on the sleeve of her robe and shakily stood up, using the ancient wall to support her. She glanced at her watch. It was coming up to one in the morning.
I’ve got Transfiguration with McGonagall first thing today. I really hate Tuesdays. Tuesday 4th December 1979, what an awful day and it’s barely begun.
Andromeda slowly made her way out of the dungeons and in to the Entrance Hall. She didn’t really care if she was caught out of bounds after curfew. Sure, she was a Prefect and could be on patrol, but one in the morning was pushing it.
Moving virtually silently, she made her way to the only place her cousin could be, the Gryffindor Common Room. The walk did little to stop her brain from going over not only what had happened that night, but also what she could expect from the other students. More pressing to her however, was what she was going to do come the summer. She was certain that she would be able to stay at Hogwarts for the holidays but what about after her NEWTs?
Doesn’t Sirius have a house after Alphard left him all his gold? Maybe he’ll let me stay with him.
All too soon, Andromeda found herself standing in front of the portrait that was the guardian to Gryffindor Tower.
“This is Gryffindor Tower young Slytherin. You are not welcome here.”
“Please, I need to speak with Sirius Black, it’s an emergency. Can you let him know that his cousin is here to see him?”
“I will do no such thing! Do you know what time it is? If you want to see him then you can just wait,” The Fat Lady announced with the hope of driving Andromeda away.
“Fine then, I’ll wait right here,” Andromeda replied, sitting down in the corridor with her back against the wall. She knew she was being stubborn, but she couldn’t face returning to her own Common Room, not until she had spoken to Sirius. She didn’t have to wait long
* * *
“What a night!”
“You said it, Prongs. Just wished we could have stayed out longer that’s all.”
“But we have Transfiguration with Professor McGonagall first thing!” piped up a small boy with light brown hair.
“Another good reason to stay out later.”
“Come on Padfoot, just think of the things we could do to Snivellus.”
“Excellent! I forgot we have it with the Slytherins,” a tall boy replied, his grey eyes glinting with the promise of mischief.
James Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew continued on towards Gryffindor Tower under the cover of James’ invisibility cloak. It was slow going due to the fact that the cloak was no longer quite big enough to accommodate the three seventh years. Three pairs of wandering feet with no body, even around Hogwarts, was suspicious. No, best to go slowly and avoid trouble, especially during the night of the full moon.
Upon reaching the corridor that led to the entrance to the Gryffindor Common Room, James noticed a figure sitting outside the portrait hole. He motioned for the others to stop. “Why is there a Slytherin sitting outside our portrait hole? You don’t think it’s Snivellus again do you?” James asked his best friend.
“Looks like a girl mate,” Sirius replied
At that moment, a shaft of moonlight filtered through the window above Andromeda’s head, illuminating her features to the three Marauders.
“Sirius, isn’t that…?”
“Yeah James, it’s Andromeda all right. You and Pete carry on in to the Common Room without me. I want to see what she’s doing here.”
Sirius got out from underneath the invisibility cloak and strode silently to where Andromeda was seated, her head in her hands. Sirius stopped in front of her and said in as icy a tone as possible, “What are you doing on the floor, Black?"
Andromeda looked up as she recognised the voice. "Exactly what you did when you left home," she answered, referring to the time that Sirius had sort her out in the library nearly two years previously.
Sirius suddenly put two and two together. "But that would mean..."
"You're not the only Black sheep."
Sirius leant against the same wall, looking down at his cousin. It was ironic perhaps, for both of them had been born on 20th October 1961 and now, it would appear that they were both exiled from their family. The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, the thought of his family being noble almost made him bark out a laugh but he held it in. His cousin clearly needed him and he was determined to do that. After all, she had never abandoned him like his own brother had.
“What the hell happened tonight, Andromeda?”
“He really did it. You know I thought that he was going to tell us something? He did. It was a Will reading Sirius, he’s further along than I thought and he thought it was time that he ‘divided his estate’. I should have known he’d turn it in to another game.”
“So he’s really dying then, and soon? Never thought I’d feel bad for the old fool, but I do. Mainly because of what it’s doing to you,” Sirius said whilst sliding down the wall to sit next to his cousin. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the portrait swing shut silently.
“It wasn’t just the reading he called us for though.”
“Us? Who else was there?”
Andromeda sighed, “Bella, Cissy, Rodolphus, Lucius. Avery turned up afterwards.”
“Avery? As in that wannabe Death Eater?” Sirius asked darkly
Andromeda nodded. “He was there to make it all official. It’s funny, I never really liked him but I’d have done anything for my father, even become Mrs. Andromeda Avery. Things change I suppose.”
Sirius sat there dumbstruck. He had had an inkling that Cygnus would try and marry Andromeda off if she didn’t find a suitable pure-blood to marry. But Avery. Has Cygnus gone insane or something? Why would he give Andromeda over to Voldemort? He finally found his voice after what seemed like several minutes, “You had a lucky escape. Everyone knows about Rodolphus and Bella; Lucius is a creep, although I don’t think he’d go over.”
Andromeda looked him straight in the eye, swallowing hard at what she was bout to reveal, “Sirius, I think Cissy’s pregnant.”
Sirius’ eyes nearly popped out of his head. She's lost to us as well. She’ll do anything to protect a child, even join that murderer. They were now truly on their own. “She’s gone hasn’t she?”
“I think so,” Andromeda whispered in reply.
“Tell me what happened, Andie. How bad is it really?”
Andromeda steeled herself for what she knew would be a hard tale. She had inner reserves of bravery. She wished that she had listened to the Sorting Hat when it had insisted on putting her in the House of Lions, but no, she had wanted to be where Narcissa was, had wanted to make her father proud by following in his footsteps. She had begged the Hat to place her where she didn’t and could never belong.
“It was all just one big game to him. He’d already decided who would get what, but he insisted on playing with us first. Tell me Siri, how much do you love Orion?”
“Because that’s what we had to do Siri,” she said, tears starting to fall, “we had to tell him how much we loved him, like it was some sort of competition. He asked Bella first and you know what she’s like. It sounded so wrong and we knew it was insincere, but she did what he wanted and got given the estate in Yorkshire. Cissy didn’t want to do it but, she’s pregnant so she had no choice. He gave her the Manor in Wiltshire.”
Sirius looked down at the floor and asked the question that he already knew the answer to, “You couldn’t do it could you?”
Andromeda shook her head. “I just couldn’t play along with it. I told him that I loved him as a child should love her father. He wasn’t pleased. It was obvious he’d rather have had a false declaration like the one that Bella gave. I just couldn’t do that to myself, Siri.”
Sirius put his arm around his cousin. He knew exactly what it was like to disappoint your parents, to go against the things that they had taught and wished for you to become. “Andie, you can’t be something you’re not just because Cygnus wishes it.”
“I know,” she whispered, laying her head on Sirius’ shoulder, “it’s just hard to think that I’ll never see him or Cissy again. She’s not like them, not really. I just hope that she stays safe, her and the baby.”
Sirius nodded. Even he could tell that Narcissa was not like Bellatrix. “You know Andie, I’ve got a spare room that you can have.”
Andromeda’s head snapped up, her grey eyes a sparkling silver in the light of the full moon. “Really?”
Sirius nodded, “Yeah, when we finish here you can come stay with me. It’s not too far from Godric’s Hollow.”
They were silent for several moments, each lost in their own thoughts on the matter when Andromeda spoke up about another of her fears that needed assuaging, “Everyone will know by tomorrow won’t they?”
Sirius debated about lying to her but thought better of it. After all, she had never truly fitted in with the other Slytherins. “Probably.”
“I thought so, but we’ve got Transfiguration first so maybe it won’t be so bad. You’ll be there won’t you, Siri?” she asked hopefully.
“You betcha! You know I never miss a chance to hex old Snivellus.”
Andromeda swatted him playfully on the arm
“Alas, I am wounded,” Sirius said dramatically, clutching the spot where Andromeda had hit him in mockery.
Andromeda smiled at her cousins antics. Trust Sirius to make me forget about everything. He’s such a little kid at heart. However, Andromeda’s features soon took on a more serious tone, “Can I ask you something, Sirius?”
“Will you stay out here with me tonight? I just can’t face going back to the dungeons.”
“Let me just go and get something from my dorm. I’ll be right back.”
Sirius got up and walked the few steps to the portrait of the Fat Lady and practically shouted at her, “Loyalty,” before turning around and winking at Andromeda. He silently motioned for her to follow him before disappearing behind the picture.
Giggling at the antics of her cousin, Andromeda walked up to the portrait and whispered, “Loyalty.”
Reluctantly, the Fat Lady opened to admit the Slytherin Prefect and closed behind her.
Andromeda couldn’t help but smile as she entered the infamous Gryffindor Common Room. It was so warm and inviting, unlike the coldness given off by her own Common Room under the lake. She strode over to Sirius who was seated in an armchair by the fire. “You really shouldn’t do that you know.”
“Invite in people from other Houses, but I’m glad you did. Thanks Siri.”
Sirius simply smiled at her, “Don’t mention it. You should be able to sleep here for a bit, but I’ll wake you in time for breakfast.”
“Okay, but I’ve got a Prefect meeting before breakfast.”
“I’ll come wake you up at six-thirty then.”
“Okay,” Andromeda yawned, “night Siri.” Andromeda lay down on one of the couches and closed her eyes.
Sirius watched her for a while before whispering, “Night, Andie.”
A/N: That has to be my fave ending for this chapter and I had about four written before deciding on this one :) Expect plenty more from the Marauders in the next chapter, some Severus action and we finally get to see Ted! Let me know what you think in that little box down there :)