Chapter 1 : One
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“Cissa?” Medeia responded, blinking the sleep from her eyes and sitting up, wrapping her blanket around her shoulders as she did so to ward off the chill. Narcissa Black stood in the doorway, her pale blonde hair glowing in the moonlight coming through the window.
“I didn’t wake you, did I?” Narcissa asked, an anxious note creeping into her voice.
“No,” Medeia lied. “What’s wrong? It’s past two in the morning.”
Glancing around her sleeping classmates, Narcissa beckoned Medeia out into the corridor. Pulling the door closed behind her, Medeia turned to face her friend.
In the light of the hallway, she could see the tears that streaked Narcissa’s usually perfect face, the puffiness of her eyes and the slight waver in her voice that she hadn’t picked up before.
“It’s Andromeda,” Narcissa whispered, swallowing hard and brushing a tear from her eye. “She’s marrying the Mudblood, Medeia. Ted Tonks – she’s marrying him. Mum’s kicked her out, blasted her from the – the family tree.”
Unsure of what to say, Medeia hugged her as she sobbed in earnest, steering her towards the empty common room to avoid waking others.
“And just before Christmas,” Narcissa continued. “It’ll be insufferable without her there…We’ll never be allowed to see her again and if I do I’ll be disowned as well, I can’t abandon her, Medeia, I can’t…”
Medeia threw her blanket over Narcissa’s shoulders, making her way to the tea station in one corner of the room. They had set it up earlier in the year – Transfiguring various objects into kettles and maintaining a steady supply of stolen, smuggled or gifted tea leaves. More than half of the current stash had come from Professor Slughorn’s private supply, which was, of course, rare, expensive and poorly guarded. Much like the Professor himself.
“What would you do?” Narcissa asked suddenly. “If you were in love with a Muggleborn?”
Medeia froze. Even among best friends, this was a dangerous question. Even though neither of them loved Muggleborns, even though neither of them could imagine a situation where they would, it was still a dangerous question.
“I wouldn’t,” she said finally, stirring two sugars into Narcissa’s tea and one into her own. “Love isn’t some inescapable, uncontrollable force. If you don’t want to fall in love with someone, you don’t.”
“What if it’s not that simple?” Narcissa wriggled sideways to allow Medeia her share of the couch and blanket, lowering her face into the steam of her tea. “What if I suddenly found out that Lucius was a Muggleborn, if his parents adopted him or…”
“There’s no way Lucius Malfoy is a Muggleborn,” Medeia replied. “Otherwise he wouldn’t be in Slytherin, would he?”
“I know, but you know what I mean.” Narcissa exhaled slowly. “He’s going to become a Death Eater soon. He told me last holidays.”
Once again, Medeia didn’t know how to respond to that. She had tried to remain carefully neutral on the topic of the war – not an easy task as a pureblood Slytherin whose parents spoke in hushed, reverential tones about the great Lord Voldemort.
“What does that mean for you?” she asked instead.
“I don’t know. I feel like…well, my family’s made their stance quite clear already, haven’t they? With Andromeda…” She faltered a bit, before taking a gulp of tea and continuing, “With Andromeda, well, gone and Bellatrix fawning over the Dark Lord and Lucius about to join up…there’s not much choice for me, is there? Other people have already made my mind up.”
“Will you take the Mark?”
“I don’t know.” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “To be honest, I…don’t want to. I don’t want to be part of this at all. I just want to bury my head in the sand and pretend none of this is happening.”
“But it is, and you can’t stay neutral. Neither of us can, not with our families being what they are.”
“You think I don’t know that?” Narcissa asked bitterly. “I don’t even want to think about this right now. Thanks for the tea.” She stood hurriedly, striding up the stairs to their dormitory and leaving Medeia to stare into the glowing embers of the fireplace.
Seventh year was supposed to be full of excitement for the future, but for their year group there was only trepidation. Those naïve enough to chatter about flatting and careers were given sideways glances, because finishing Hogwarts meant only one thing: they were no longer under its protection. They couldn’t hide behind a façade of immaturity anymore. Sides had to be taken. Loyalties had to be proven. And while there was never any question of which side Medeia would take, she dreaded the thought of it.
Slytherin was the worst place to be. Her once noble, prestigious house had become ugly; a seething mass of blood purism, intolerance and almost sadistic enthusiasm for the Dark Lord’s cause. The safest option was to keep your head down and avoid the topic, but Medeia hated the idea that one group had the power, in the house of Slytherin, to dictate what the others thought and did. Slytherin, the house of ambition and independence and a hierarchy so subtle that every group and every individual thought they were at the top of it. Reduced to intimidation, bullying and a hierarchy based on blood purity rather than merit. Slytherin had never been tolerant of Muggleborns, but a student’s magical ability, intelligence and resourcefulness had always been of greater value than the purity of their blood. Now, that had been reversed. Slow, untalented brutes with fathers among the Dark Lord’s followers were suddenly the new Slytherin elite. Medeia and Narcissa, once among the most respected of their house, now fell into something like anonymity due to their neutrality on the war.
That was her biggest problem with the war, if it indeed was a war. The mob complex. The idea that one’s ideals and beliefs could be summed up into one extremist side or the other. That you had to choose one person to follow, and one group to belong to. You couldn’t stand alone and be your own person.
That was where she stood. She would rather die than live her life for someone else. And she hated that the day was soon coming where she would have to side with one faction and give her loyalty to one leader.
But, for as long as it was physically possible, Medeia Rosier would stand alone.
A/N: Welcome to my newest project and (hopefully) the end of my hiatus. This is my first attempt at a Marauders era (not to mention a crossover with classical literature, that's a fun new category as well) so I hope I can pull it off. If you haven't read Euripides' Medea, I would highly recommend it (no bias found here, of course!) If you have, I hope you can see the parallels that will be coming through and that I don't completely butcher the story for you. Either way, enjoy and please let me know what you think :)
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