Chapter 17 : Separation
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Andromeda held her tears in well. She spent the rest of the dance trying to make uncomfortable conversation with Evan Rosier before going to the girl’s toilet, locking herself in the furthest cubicle from the door and putting her head in her hands. She didn’t cry, but bottled her pain up inside; she had to wait until she was truly alone.
It was hard not to think of Ted at moments like this. Closing her eyes, she could see a life where she was with him; where she wasn’t a pureblood, and he wasn’t a Muggleborn. In these fantasies class and blood didn’t separate them. He was just a boy, and she a girl. They were just people.
Instead, she was here at a snooty ball, dressed in a blancmange of a royal purple dress, destined to be Rabastan’s wife. And Ted was miles away, ready to live a life of love and happiness without her. It seemed so unfair that they had been torn apart, and she screamed in frustration, not caring who heard.
She stayed locked in the loo for as long as possible, until she heard a meek voice; “Andy, we are preparing to go. Are you in here?” For the first time in her life, Cissy sounded sorry, and it coaxed Andromeda out. Holding her head high, she unlocked the bathroom door and walked out, making sure her sister understood the fury she felt towards her.
At this onslaught of anger, Narcissa’s face fell into an impassive look. “I’m not the one you should be angry with,” she whispered, “it’s not me that got you engaged to Rabastan or told you that you can’t be with that Mudblood. It’s what society dictates, and you’ve got to do it or you’ll be an outcast.”
Andromeda supposed this was Cissy’s idea of sisterly advice, so she made sure she shot her the haughtiest look before saying, “well I have to be angry with someone, even if it’s just for my own peace of mind.” Cissy turned away, clearly not wanting to see her sister’s misery.
“Hurry up, or people will be suspicious.”
That night, she washed her make-up off, stowed her dress neatly away in her wardrobe, before getting into her nightgown and lying on her bed. It was only then that she permitted herself to cry. It started as a single tear rolling down her cheek, but it built through quiet, hiccupping sobs into suppressed violent wails.
“Ted,” she wept, “oh God, please let me see him again.” She felt so selfish; she had discarded him, abused him, and broken his heart so many times and yet she ached for him still. Every fibre of her body seemed to call to him. “I want you,” she sobbed, “you and no one else.”
And then it struck her. Her parents had only told her to burn the letters she had, not ones that were yet to be sent or received. Running to her desk, she pulled a quill and parchment from her drawer and wrote Ted a note, suddenly overcome with this feeling that it wouldn’t matter if she wrote to him sometimes, just so there was part of him that she always had.
I just want you to know, I love you. My heart belongs to you and no one else.
The note was quick and brief, and she took her owl, Cassiopeia, out of her cage before tying it around her leg and releasing her into the pitch-black sky. Her heart beat in time with the bird’s wings as she swooped into the distance, becoming a dark spot against the sky.
Falling back on her bed, her heart lifted, she knew she would spend the rest of her life looking forward to Ted’s small confirmations of his love. She imagined herself, years from now, in Diagon Alley with her pureblood Lestrange children, and she would see Ted with his blurry looking wife. They would smile briefly at each other, and that would be all that would remind her of their past love.
Thinking hazy, warm thoughts of Ted, she fell asleep with thoughts of his hot, urgent kisses and adventurous hands, washed away by a vivid romantic dream of being permanently in Ted’s arms.
The next day, father had ordered a sumptuous Sunday Roast in the Dining Room. Tansy had been worked off her feet, and it was made worse when Bella tripped her up in the kitchen, making her drop the steaming bowl of potatoes. But, after a lot of effort on the small house elf’s part, dinner was on the table at five.
As anticipated, there was a level of awkwardness. Andy’s father had drunk two glasses of wine by the time Tansy had totally served dinner, and Bella was grasping her fork with such ferocity that Andy was surprised it didn’t bend. Cissy kept her eyes firmly on her food, while their mother grilled her with details on her time with Augustus.
“So, did he make his intentions known?” their mother inquired, “did he talk to you about his parent’s wealth? About his pedigree? Did you tell him that before her marriage Rowena Ravenclaw was a Black? It’s information like this that he needs to know if he is to pursue you seriously.”
“I am not sure if Augustus is the pureblood for me,” began Narcissa carefully, “but I’ve told you, I may consider Evan Rosier, possibly Gregory Fudge, and most definitely Lucius Malfoy.” With these words, their father put his fork down rather forcefully.
“No Narcissa, we’ve discussed this before. You know how I feel about Malfoy’s father, and there are much more acceptable Purebloods for you to choose from. I have connections at the Ministry, surely one of them would have an appropriate son, fit for your rank and station in life.”
Their mother followed sharply, “I still do not understand what the problem with Augustus Rookwood is. His great-uncle has that huge fortune in that Swiss bank account, and when it dies it could all go to you if you just consider him!” She paused for breath, “I just don’t understand why…”
Suddenly the doorbell rang.
Everyone froze. Nobody ever interrupted a family dinner. The Black Family Banquet was a sacred affair, and their father would not permit anything to disrupt that. He lifted his head, and turned to his daughter’s in turn, narrowing his eyes. “Is anyone expecting a visitor?” Three meek headshakes answered him, so he snapped his fingers.
“Tansy! Go answer the door! Tell them we are busy and have no interest in their purpose here!” Tansy nodded respectfully, while Andromeda turned back to her dinner. It was typical of her father to be so rude first to Tansy and secondly to this unknown guest. She tried to conceal her eye rolling.
Tucking back into her lamb, she listened through the icy silence at the table to the muffled conversation coming from the hall. She couldn’t really hear it and she went back to eating her dinner, which she found far more interesting.
In a moment, Tansy was back with a concerned look on her face. “I’ve told him what you said Master Black,” she mumbled, playing with her pillow case, “but the boy just wouldn’t go. He said he was here to talk to Andromeda.” Every face at the table turned to her.
“Who was it Tansy?” asked Andromeda, her heart hammering.
“A boy, Miss Andy, I don’t know his name,” said Tansy, trembling because all eyes were on her, “he was wearing Muggle clothes Miss, and he said he had a letter from you.” Standing bolt up right, Andy charged out the room, slamming the door behind her to hold her family for a moment longer. She had to tell him to run for his life.
At the door stood Ted, who beamed at the sight of her. “Run Ted, get out of here! Please, please, please you can’t stay here!” His smile didn’t dim, and when he came close he drew her close into a tight embrace, and she couldn’t help but melt into him.
“No. I’m not leaving. I got your letter. I’m not leaving here without you.” She could not help but laugh and cry at his stupid, romantic, reckless bravery. Here he was, willing to fight for her. It was no longer secret promises and stolen kisses; it was an out loud declaration of his love.
“No, Ted. Please, you can’t do this, you can’t do this for me.” Their moment together was through, as her mother, father and sister’s appeared in the corridor. Andromeda pushed Ted away from her; not because she wanted to, but to protect him.
Bella was instantly incandescent, but Narcissa grasped her round the waist, holding her firmly behind their mother and father. Andromeda turned to them, her family, her face rushing with blood. Her father looked at them both quizzically, his lip curling into a snarl.
“Andromeda, will you please inform me who this is?” growled Mr Black, looking Ted up and down as if he were something disgusting on the bottom of his shoe. Andromeda could not help but swell with pride as Ted shot her a quick endearing smile before grasping her hand tightly and pulling her to his side, not breaking eye contact with her formidable father.
“My name is Ted Tonks, sir,” began Ted, his voice steady, “and I am here to tell you that I love your daughter, Andromeda, and I know she loves me. I believe I can make her happy.” His hand grasped hers a little tighter as he spoke, and she had to conceal a grin as she turned to her father, waiting for his reaction.
“Get off her you filthy Mudblood!” bellowed Bella, finally having struggled free of Cissy’s grasp, “you don’t deserve to kiss her feet, let alone hold her hand! You repulsive disgusting arsehole!” At Bella’s words, their mother swooped in to hold her back, while Mr Black’s shoulders tightened in fury.
“Bella be quiet!” snapped their mother, a terrified look on her face; “we don’t want you making a scene on the front doorstep!” The master of the house was fixing Ted with such a repulsed look that Andromeda was surprised Ted didn’t just disintegrate into the ground. Flicking his eyes round to his daughter, he gave her a malicious smile.
“So this is your paramour is it Andromeda?” he gave a mirthless chuckle, “I was expecting your Mudblood to be at least a looker, someone who would catch a silly girl’s eye, but he’s nothing, someone that I do not even need to waste my breathe on.” The way he referred to Ted as if he wasn’t there was the most dismissive and cruel thing her father had ever done.
Andromeda swallowed before making her trembling move, “Father, please, I just want…” But the moment for pleadings and pleasantries had gone. Her father had drawn his wand from his belt as he eyed Ted with such a strong sense of loathing that Andromeda suddenly became terribly scared.
“Who are you to presume you can march into my house, introduce yourself to me and announce your perverted intentions towards my daughter? She is to be married to Rabastan Lestrange, who has Wizarding ancestry stretching back into before you or I were ever dreamed of! You are an upstart, a traitor to the name Wizard!” He had lifted his wand, and it was pointing directly into Ted’s face.
Ted had puffed himself to his fullest size, but Andromeda feared he was doomed to fail; “I disagree respectfully, sir. Rabastan Lestrange may have an ancestry stretching back thousands of years, but does he care for your daughter? No. He has been capable of abusing her, betraying her and making her feel like dirt her whole life. I could make her happy! Isn’t that more important?”
This was clearly too much for Bella. She charged towards Ted like a harpy, and casting the spell before anyone saw her retrieve her belt. “Levicorpus!” Andromeda shoved Ted backwards furiously and he managed to dodge the spell, but it had unleashed carnage.
Crawling backwards, they both ended up in the front garden with Bella and Mr Black bearing down on them. “Reducto!” bellowed Bella wildly, but it missed Ted yet again, and he was able to scrabble to his feet, and withdraw his own wand. Mr Black was a far more experienced wizard, and he shot his spells without a hint of his lips moving.
“Who… Do… You…Think…You…Are?” he screamed as he shot spell after spell in Ted’s direction. All Ted could do was retreat up the lawn and defend himself with shield charm after shield charm. “You don’t even deserve your magic!” Andromeda could do nothing but sob as she looked from one to the other.
“Sectumsempra!” Bella cast that awful spell again and it ripped into Ted’s arm, meaning his shield charm faltered and he was hit by one of her father’s spells, which sent burning red boils bursting across his skin. Ted looked at one of his hands in horror, and it was in that moment that Andromeda picked her side.
Mumbling a quick counter curse, the boils began to recede, but she was too busy to notice. Turning to her father, she shouted, “Expelliarmus!” The wand flew out of her father’s hand and careered across the garden, but she had already focused on Bella, and repeated the same spell on her sister.
“Run Ted!” shrieked Andromeda as tears blurred her eyes, “Run!” Ted did not need to be told twice. Lifting himself of the ground, he picked up his wand and scrambled to the garden gate. His opponents began running around, trying to locate their wands.
“I love you!” he shouted, offering her a weak smile.
“I know!” she called back. At her simple answer he turned on his heel and ran, his figure disappearing down the road and into the evening light. Her family had recovered, and her father looked as if murder was not beyond his future intentions. He lifted his wand, and resolutely, Andromeda prepared to take it.
A/N: Hi guys! I'm really quite pleased with this chapter (for once!) and I hope you enjoyed it! Yet again, I am here to report that I've extended the story AGAIN, I expect it's going to be 22 chapters long now! Seeing as I originally envisioned this as a one-shot, this is quite an achievement!
I don't know how long the next chapter will be. With the Olympics on, I am watching far too much sport, and am getting far too distracted by cheering on Team GBR!!! But hopefully, it will be soon for all my lovely readers!
Next time...Andromeda talks to her mother, who gives her a stern reminder of her duties...
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