Chapter 2 : sky blue of loyalty
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Too often, they are broken, flung away and torn apart by the winds of circumstance and chance.
But they are made as if they will last forever. Unbreakable. Untouchable. Unchangeable.
Loyalty is not something that can be forgotten easily.
The last week of August had never seemed so precious.
Before, it had been meaningless. Just another week in a long parade of weeks that stretched into months that stretched into years, passing with little fuss. There was always tomorrow, or next time, or maybe later.
But all that would change soon. Andy could tell, and she wasn’t sure that she liked it. She knew that after the 31st of August, nothing would be the same, and there was simply nothing to be done about it.
For come midday on the first of September, Andy wouldn’t be able to wander outside with her lunch and sit under her favorite tree with Bella. Instead, Bella would be in a train compartment, on her way to her first year at Hogwarts.
Andy knew this day would have to come. She had known it for a while, but it had never truly crossed her mind that one day, Bella would be away from her and they would not be reunited for two whole years.
What was she supposed to do for two years?
Bella was eager to leave; perhaps that was what stung the most. Andy didn’t understand why she would be, but maybe that was the sort of knowledge that was granted to you once you were old and eleven years old. When you were eleven, you suddenly knew all sorts of things that you didn’t at nine or ten.
It was August 29th when Bella finally came to Andy and told her to stop worrying.
“I’m not worrying,” she protested.
Bella rolled her eyes. “Yes, you are.” Her tone left no room for argument, and of course, she was right once again. Bella always could see through Andromeda. Sometimes, it felt as though she knew her better than Andy knew herself.
Andy only shrugged.
Her voice softened a bit. “I won’t forget you, don’t be silly. We’re sisters. I’ll always remember you.”
“Do you promise?” Andy frowned.
Bella rolled her eyes once more. “Of course I promise. Here,” she said after a moment of thought, reaching to her own neck and fiddling with something. She brought her hand back down and opened it, holding her hand in front of Andy.
In her palm was a silver necklace, a sparkling blue pendant hanging off of it. “Turn around,” she said, and Bella attached it to her neck.
Andy looked down, eyes wide, as she admired it. It was far finer than any of her own necklaces, and the blue stone shone as it caught the light. “Your turn,” Bella said, but Andy had already begun to run to her room.
She quickly looked opened her jewelery box, looking for the nicest necklace she had, something that would be worthy to be worn by Bella. Finally, Andy found the one that she had received for her birthday - it was the nicest by far, and best of all, it was a matching blue.
She rushed back, necklace clasped tightly in her hand before she carefully fastened it around Bella’s neck.
There. She stepped back and admired her handiwork.
They stood there facing each other, not quite mirror images, but similar to one another. Bella was a few inches taller, her hair darker, and the necklace she now wore around her neck smaller - but they looked like sisters. Proper sisters.
It was a reminder hanging around both of their necks that they would always be tied to one another. A promise - I won’t forget you. I’ll always come back.
Andy was able to wave Bella off with a smile that first of September, all of the while clutching her necklace in her hand. A promise. She would hold on to that. Bella would not forget her.
It was finally, finally her turn to join Bella on that scarlet steam engine. Andy was nervous, certainly - but mostly excited.
Cissy was less than enthusiastic about the departure of her two sisters, and while Bella rolled her eyes, Andy could remember all too well when she, too, was nine and being left behind for the first time.
“Don’t worry,” she said, kissing her quickly on the head. “It’ll be fine, you’ll see. I’ll write you. It’s only two years.”
“Only,” Cissy sighed. “Only.”
“Chin up. Don’t let anyone see you cry,” Andy reminded her. “Help me put my necklace on?”
With quivering fingers, Cissy still managed to skillfully clasp the blue necklace around her.
“Here, I’ll do your hair.”
Cissy’s hair was beautiful, her pride and joy as well as their mother’s. It was long and the color of spun gold and Andy loved running her fingers through it. Pulling a ribbon out of her pocket, she tied it in her little sister’s hair. “Blue,” she said. “Now we match.”
It was a quick goodbye at the station; Bella wanted to get a good compartment on the train. “Don’t worry,” she said. “I’ll introduce you to everyone, of course.”
Andy waved goodbye before hurrying off with her older sister, but not before she saw Cissy’s face. For the briefest moment, she looked like she was lost, as if she was being resigned to some terrible fate, but then Andy blinked and Cissy’s face was impassive again, a perfect mask of indifference.
“First things first,” Bella said under her breath. “Names. You must call me Bellatrix and I shall call you Andromeda. We can’t have nicknames anymore,” she explained before Andy had a chance to express her confusion. “That’s for children.”
“Can’t I still call you Bella at home?”
“At home,” she allowed. “But you’ll see. You’ll want to sound grown-up.”
There were rules that governed the world of Hogwarts, rules that she was still unfamiliar with. But it was as if from the moment she crossed the barrier to Platform 9 ¾, she had entered a new world, a place unlike her childhood.
She did not yet understand the rules, but Bella - Bellatrix - did. Andy would listen to her.
“There’s everybody,” she said. Bellatrix did not hurry to meet them; instead, she walked slowly, as if she had all the time in the world. Andy understood: she could not seem too eager. They were Blacks, after all. Disappointingly female, but Blacks nonetheless.
Andy recognized the faces of the people Bella was walking towards; she had met them at various times over the years, though she did not know them well. All Purebloods ran into each other at some point, and it was not surprising that these were Bellatrix’s friends.
Still, Bellatrix introduced her, as was polite, and Andy smiled appropriately. They were all polite to her as well, despite that she was two years younger. Perhaps it was the power of her name, though she doubted that. A name was just a name, after all, despite what Bella and her parents might think.
Perhaps it was Bellatrix standing next to her, only a little bit taller than her and imposing. They looked like sisters when they stood together. It wasn’t something as silly as hair colour, but in their faces and the way they held themselves. Sisters. A unit. Unbreakable.
Perhaps it was Andy herself. Who knew?
But Andy understood when Bellatrix did not invite her to sit with her on the train. It wasn’t a cruel dismissal; it was for her own good. Bella’s quick squeeze of her hand assured her of that. She could not expect to ride the coattails of Bellatrix; she had to make her own way. That was part of growing up.
She fingered the chain that hung around her neck, the pendant tucked safely beneath her shirt. It would be okay.
Saying goodbye to her sister, she continued the search down the corridor for a compartment to sit in. Her eyes finally landed upon a girl she faintly recognized from one of her parents’ parties, and so she decided to go in.
“Mind if I sit here?” Andy asked.
“Not at all,” the other girl graciously said, speaking for the others in the compartment, sitting quietly on the benches. “Abigail Burke.”
Andy took a breath, touching the chain of her necklace once more. “Andromeda,” she said, “Andromeda Black.”
Life at Hogwarts was different than it was back home. And yet, there were some things that remained the same.
There were more rules than ever, but it was easy, Andromeda found, to find her place in the school. The girls that she had sat with on the train had become her roommates; they were all pureblood, and naturally, they were all Slytherins.
She wrote to her parents every month or so, taking care to include a note to Cissy, knowing all too well what it felt to be the one left behind.
On the whole, she liked Hogwarts. She liked the girls she lived with, who were, after all, the same girls that she had grown up knowing as their families had mingled in the tightly woven, interconnected web of purebloods. For whatever reason, they seemed to listen to Andromeda, and for the first time, Andromeda felt like she might have found a new home.
It was different, and it was a little frightening, but she still had Bellatrix. Bella had never truly left her, and now here they were, reunited. Because with Bellatrix, Andromeda knew she could do anything.
And in her darkest moments, she would think back to her favorite necklace out of all the ones that she owned, the one with a blue topaz pendant that sat in her jewelery box, the one with a promise held to it.
A/N: I struggled a lot with this chapter, so I'll probably come back and edit this at some point, but I wanted to post it so I can move on with the story. Because I have something exciting to say: I actually planned this out! This is kind of a Big Deal for me, because I'm not a planner. At all.
But yep, I've got the basics of this sketched out and it's looking to be 13 chapters now and will be following a vague timeline. I'm pretty excited to write this, actually! So apologies on a slow update, but hopefully things will go quicker now. Feel free to feed the lonely grey box on the bottom? ;)
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