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Chapter 20 : Excommunication
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“Here you go lovely,” said Ted’s mum, “you can have the last of the ice cream from the fridge if it would put a smile on your face.” For his mum, he cracked a pained looking grimace and she jokingly pecked him on the forehead. “Ice cream and the telly, might help get rid of your blues.”
For all his mum’s lovely gestures, Ted was sure he would never get over Andromeda. For years he had longed for her, pined for her even, and now when they were so close to being together they had lost the final battle, and she was going to be Mrs Rabastan Lestrange.
He had broken past that cold frosty exterior to find the warmth within her, but it had taken her a while to stop fearing her feelings for him, and finally embrace her heart. But then once he had finished fighting Andromeda, they had not been strong enough to war with the world, and he had lost her, the first casualty.
“There are plenty more fish in the sea, boy,” said Ted’s dad gruffly, “you’ve got your whole life ahead of you, don’t think too much about this Armada girl. You’ll be fine. You have so much to come, and you’ll find someone else.”
“Her name is Andromeda,” began Ted tersely tucking into his ice cream, “and I’ll never get over her,” he added morosely. His father leant over and gave him a rough pat on the shoulder, and Ted knew that was all he would get from his gruff father to show his deep sympathy and affection.
His mum came and sat next to him, patting him gently on the knee. “Oh, you will,” she smiled warmly, squeezing his hand encouragingly, “I know it hurts now, but everyday it will hurt that little bit less, and soon you will be smiling again, the happy Ted I know. You’ve just got to give it time.”
It had just begun to rain, and there seemed to be a chill in the house. Looking around, Ted thought it seemed darker than usual, and he saw more shadows dancing on the wall. The two comedians on television continued to make funny jokes, but Ted just couldn’t laugh. He just felt too tired, and he ached too much.
One of the comedians on television broke into a very funny song, and Ted felt a smile tug at his lips. However, Andromeda was always going to be there in his mind. He was sure that in years to come, he would see her in Diagon Alley, buying Hogwarts supplies for her children with Rabastan, and he would just catch her eye and that would be the only recognition they had of the love they had once shared.
The rain was getting heavier and heavier, and Ted’s dad turned the volume up on the television. Ted was pretty sure there was going to be a storm, but he wasn’t worried. Nothing could shake his world as much as his confrontation with Andromeda and her parents had.
“Go close the window Ted,” said his dad, “it’s bloody freezing in here.” Putting the very comforting ice cream down, he stomped over to the window and tried to pull it shut. The beam that kept the window open was stuck, and Ted had to pull furiously several times to try and block the weather out.
It was then he heard it. There was a crack like a whip; it was a magical sound. Pricking up his ears, he tried to squint through the darkness. The threatening clouds overhead had obscured the moon, and plunged the street into an angry darkness. Only the street lamp at the end of the lane seemed to have any life to it; it flickered on an off, illuminating the shadows. There was no one there.
Narrowing his eyes suspiciously, he managed to pull the window shut, and trudged back to the sofa to pick up his ice cream again. The two comedians were now dancing along to their song, and the audience were howling with laughter. “Thanks son,” said his dad, as he turned to volume up again. “I know it’s hard.”
He gave Ted a little smile, and for a moment it warmed him. It was now raining very hard, and a roll of thunder almost shook the house. Despite the cold weather, Ted continued to eat the ice cream; nothing could make him feel worse than he already did.
The doorbell clanged several times very loudly, accompanied by a dramatic flash of lightning. Ted nearly jumped out of his skin, and this made Ted’s dad laugh. “Go answer the door, boy, I’m sure it’s not a monster.” Shooting a sour look at his father, he got up again and cross the room to the door, pulling it open uninterestedly.
He almost fainted when he saw who stood at the front porch.
Andromeda, dressed in a fine silk dress, was drenched. Her eye make-up streamed from her eyes, and her brown hair was plastered to her skin by the rain. Her beautiful dress was ruined, but she beamed at him, her eyes brimming with tears.
Ted did not know what to say or do. He had dreamed she would suddenly waltz right back into his life, and here she was. He had never felt like such an idiot in all his life, staring at her like a guppy at feeding time.
“What are you doing here?” he stammered, not taking his hands off the front door. Andromeda had not moved, but she continued to give him a rare, sunny smile. She stepped forward ever so slightly, but that did not tempt him. He was still convinced this was a dream.
She blushed slightly before she spoke, “I think, well, I know that my family have disowned me.” She said this statement flippantly, as if it didn’t matter at all. When Ted answered her with silence, she continued, “I was at my engagement party, and I sort of snapped and told Rabastan that I despised him and I didn’t want to marry him. I ended up dueling my father, and stunning Bella and then I did the body bind curse on Rabastan.” At the mention of her cursing Rabastan, Ted was drawn into a smile.
“But, why?” he said stupidly, still reeling from the shock that Andromeda Black, a scion of a noble and ancient wizarding family, was standing here on his doorstep. “Why did you tell them that? Why have you run away?”
She laughed jovially at this, “because I knew I couldn’t live a lie anymore, Ted. I love you, and want to be with you, and I told them all that, and they just couldn’t accept it. And I’ve realized I don’t want their approval anymore, I just want to live my own life and make my own path. I will not become like my mother; bitter and twisted because she never knew love. I’ve chosen you.”
She continued to gaze at him, her dark eyes wide. Now, when dream and reality had finally collided, he didn’t know what to do with himself. He stared at her for a moment, not sure what to think or say, “I…I…I…” he stammered, but it was at this point that Andromeda took control.
“Oh, for goodness sake, Ted,” she beamed, “just kiss me!” Wrapping her arms around his neck, she pulled him in for a kiss and in a moment he came alive. Pulling her to him, he knew that he never wanted to let go, and that they had finally won.
When they broke apart they stayed close together, the tips of their noses touching. “You won Dromeda,” he smiled, running his finger through her luscious, brown ringlets. “You told your family what you wanted, and have made your own life. You are far braver than I ever could be!”
Andromeda kissed him excitedly again at this phrase. “Don’t be ridiculous Ted, you were the one who risked getting murdered by coming to my house! Bella was going crazy!” They both laughed at this, and Ted kissed her again through his chuckle.
Her hands were running hungrily down his back, and they were both getting drenched, their clothes sticking to their bodies with the rain. When they broke apart, Ted, his lips already swelling from the kissing, mumbled, “you won’t regret this will you? What you’ve done is a very big thing.”
She smiled again, that sweet, angelic smile he had come to love so fervently. Saying nothing, she pulled him into another kiss, and he gave in willingly, groaning at her touch. Breaking apart, she embraced him, leaning her head on his shoulder. “I love you, Ted.”
He couldn’t believe it. After years of dreaming, Andromeda was finally in her arms. “I love you too Andromeda,” he murmured, kissing the top of her head, “and I promise that I will never let you down.”
The Black Family gathered round the family tree. Cissy couldn’t help but bite her lip nervously. She knew this was a necessity; to save their faces, to save their reputation and to save their family. If she ever hoped to have the Malfoy’s agree to her as a daughter-in-law, she knew she had to be present for the symbolic removal of the blood traitor from their collective existence.
The Blood Traitor. The insult tasted foul on her lips; her own sister Andy, who she had loved most of her family, had finally snapped and fled everything that the family stood for, leaving carnage in her wake. Andy had always been kind and sensitive to the needs of others, an outcast in this cruel pureblood society.
Cissy held in her tears. When she thought of Andromeda, she was only reminded of the terrible injustices she had done her in her pursuit of Lucius. It tore her heart in two; she loved Lucius boundlessly, but Andromeda had been an incredibly important part of her life too.
Bella stood beside Cissy, her face fixed into a malicious grin. Cissy tried to hide her disgust at her sister’s insensitivity, but she felt her nose wrinkle. “Bella,” hissed Cissy, “you don’t have to look quite so pleased.” Acting instantly, Bella grasped Cissy’s wrist, and dug her fingernails in.
“That little slut is not my sister anymore, and she’s not yours either! Andromeda Black is dead to us as she has nearly destroyed our family by sleeping with a Mudblood.” Dropping her wrist as quickly as she had taken it, Bella turned to face her Aunt Walburga who was standing rigidly in the centre of the room, her figure silhouetted on the family tree.
Walpurga gazed round the room, looking from her brother Cygnus right down to little Regulus. “We all know why we are here,” she said slowly, her voice clipped. Of everyone in her family, Walpurga had the personality of her niece, Bella. Mad, bad and with an insatiable cruel streak, she clearly took wicked pleasure from Andy’s banishment.
“We are here to purge ourselves of the blood traitor, Andromeda. We must trim our family tree, root out the weeds, burn the dissenters. We have been betrayed by Andromeda, and must bear witness to her shame and extract her from our lives.” Her words were so clinical, but she was swilling them around in her mouth like a fine vintage wine.
Cissy shot a look at her cousin Sirius, whose eyes were cast down on the floor. She felt that like him she did not wish to see Andromeda shamed and made an outcast. Whatever Andromeda had done, she did not deserve this. Her sister was a good person, but Cissy kept her eyes lowered, a small act of rebellion.
Aunt Walpurga lifted her wand and Bella smiled as if she were a child in a sweet shop. Their mother seemed frozen, distant even, and did not dare look at her sister-in-law. However, her father seemed to have his familiar tight smile on his face, and Cissy could not bear to look at him.
The blast came so suddenly and loudly that Cissy jumped. The intricate depiction of Andy’s face on the tapestry was instantly obliterated, and Cissy had to shield her eyes as her sister’s face was burned away. Bella let out a small triumphant laugh. “There,” purred Aunt Walpurga, “she is gone. She is no longer one of us.”
The room stayed silent. Cissy had never witnessed one of these warped family rituals before, and she hoped never to again. It caused too much heartbreak. And in spite of what her sister had done, she still loved her. They were bonded by blood, and that connection was hard to break.
In a moment the adults began to make awkward conversation and Cissy was left to her own thoughts. She knew she would never see Andromeda again, but that would never stop the sisterly bond between them; that link would never break. In spite of the fact that she disapproved heartly of Ted Tonks and his dirty blood, Cissy only wished one thing in all the world at that moment in time.
Wherever Andromeda was, she hoped she had made the right decision and she was happy.
A/N: They are finally together! I hope you are enjoying this story and leave a lovely review! There's only two chapters to go, with the last one being an epilogue. I hope you continue to read! Next time...Ted and Andromeda return to Hogwarts and have to face the whole school and Andromeda's family and friends...
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