Chapter 1 : Escaping Places
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Ted brushed down his dress pants again, frowning slightly as he looked in the mirror and sighed at the sight of them. They were too short on him – they could have been three-quarter length rather than full length. He supposed it served him right; he hadn’t used them in months, but he had certainly grown since then. He knew his mother would be angry at him for only wearing them once before, this time being the second. He cursed himself for not wearing them more often. At least then he would have been able to know that he needed a new pair.
Of course, it had to be today that he needed them. Today was his first actual date with Andromeda Black, the girl he’d been crushing on for months now. At first he had thought it ridiculous: He knew he’d never have a chance with the perfectly pureblood Slytherin Andromeda Black. After all, he was the messed up Muggle-born (or Mudblood, as the Slytherins preferred to call him) Ted Tonks. Somehow, by some miracle, Andromeda noticed him two months ago. Last week, he’d asked her to Hogsmeade, and she had agreed.
Ted stared at her for a long moment as Andromeda worked on her Charms essay. The two of them were hidden in the very back of the library where no one would have found them, not by chance or even if they were looking for them. In the past two weeks, this spot had become their little hiding spot away from the rest of the student body.
“Ted?” Andromeda asked, bringing Ted back into focus. “You’ve been staring at me for about three minutes now – are you all right?” Ted nodded slightly, forcing himself to look away from Andromeda and closely inspect his blank piece of parchment that should have been his Charms essay. After a minute had passed, he glanced back up at Andromeda to see that she was still watching him. “Tell me what it is.”
“Sorry?” Ted responded. Andromeda sent him a pointed look, and he sighed. “The thing is, Andromeda, I, uh... I really – like, really – really, like you.” He paused to see Andromeda frown slightly. “I know I haven’t got a chance with you, but I have to ask… Will you go to Hogsmeade with me?” He waited for a no, for her to laugh and leave him behind, but instead, she smiled.
“I’d love to, Ted.”
Now he regretted it. He still wanted to go with her – of course he still wanted that – but he was terrified. He knew he wasn’t good enough for her, and he didn’t expect that he ever would be. She knew that as well as he did; he could see it in her eyes when she looked him. If she knew it so well, why did she agree to come with him today? With a sigh, he realised it was probably for the same reason he had asked her in the first place. It was worth a try.
He grabbed the picnic basket that he had asked the house elves to prepare off his bed and left his dormitory behind, not daring to look in the mirror again for fear that he may not leave if he did. The walk down to Hogsmeade was a lonely one, though it wasn’t completely different to what he was used to. His fellow students sent him weird looks as he carried the picnic basket, but this wasn’t really out of the ordinary for him, either. Thankfully, a Gryffindor up ahead of him kept tripping over thin air, which kept the Slytherins’ attentions off him for a while. As the girl took another tumble, he managed to disappear down a hill.
The place he had picked was a little valley, hidden away from Hogsmeade by a hill and a couple of large trees. The quietness reminded him of home and the little place he used to hide in his backyard as a child. That day, it also seemed like the valley knew it was an important day for Ted: Daises had pushed themselves out of the ground and created the perfect little spot for Ted to place the blanket and food.
He had just stood up to admire his work – or, rather, his placement of the house elves’ work – when he heard someone clear their throat behind him. He flipped around quickly, half excepting to see a Slytherin ready to mock him; that was the kind of luck he had. But he noticed Andromeda standing there in a floral summer dress.
“Hello, Ted,” she whispered, a small smile crossing over her features. For a moment, they stood there in silence, Ted unable to form any words, and Andromeda in awe. “Can I sit down?” she asked after a moment, motioning to the picnic blanket.
“Oh! Hi, Andromeda, and yeah – take a seat.” He wanted to hit himself for saying that – he sounded like an absolute idiot – but Andromeda didn’t seem to notice. Instead, she took a seat and glanced over at him. “I wasn’t sure whether you’d come,” he said.
“Neither was I,” she admitted, looking down at her hands for a moment, before she glanced back over at Ted. “I saw you carrying the picnic basket through Hogsmeade while I was with Rabastan. I figured it was what you had planned for us. I thought it was sweet, so I made an excuse and came down here."
“You were with Rabastan Lestrange?”
Andromeda nodded solemnly; she reached over to place her hand calmly on Ted’s arm. “He asked me, and I had to say yes. Otherwise it would have looked suspicious – I think Narcissa has noticed that something is going on. And if she’s noticed, then she will have owled Bellatrix about it.” Ted shivered slightly. Sure, he’d given lots of thought to how the Blacks would rip him apart if they discovered what was going on between him and Andromeda, and something gave him the strong inkling that Bellatrix would be the worst to deal with.
“It’s beautiful here,” she added, clearly noticing the change in Ted’s behaviour.
“I found it a while back. It reminded me instantly of a little place I used to hide in my backyard when I was a child.” A wide smile passed over Andromeda’s face as she picked a few grapes off of the plate that sat between the two of them and popped them into her mouth.
“It was my favourite place in the whole world,” he continued. “It still is – I used to go there and read a book or something, just to escape my family and the rest of the world.”
“I wish I could do that,” Andromeda whispered, with a sad look in her eyes. She tried to smile at Ted, but couldn’t seem to manage more than a little twist at the corner of her lips. “Would you take me there one day?”
“It would be my pleasure,” Ted replied. A real smile passed over Andromeda’s lips, and she leant forward to kiss Ted on the cheek, burying her head into his side.
Authors Note: First of all, I'd like to mention that I've never written anything 'fluff' before nor have I read that much, so I gave it my best go and relied on my friend's for their opinions...therefore I apolgise if this isn't really fluffy at all but I'd like to thank you for reading anyway. Also, please let me know what your thoughts are! Thanks again for reading.