Chapter 1 : Scorches.
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I'll be home safe and tucked away
Well you can't tempt me if I don't see the day
The sickly looking boy stands in front of her. The pale hair is clumped against his forehead, the small eyes lined with harsh grey lines and a frown fixed upon his face. Andromeda wants to laugh at him for he looks like the doll she and Bella used to dress up. She suddenly wishes she hadn’t let Bella give the doll a haircut as it never appeared again after that.
‘Andromeda, come here.’
She shuffles forward under her mother’s command, the boy’s hands trembling as she approaches.
‘This is Lucius, Lucius Malfoy, play with him while I talk to his mother.’
Andromeda stands there until her mother grabs hold of her shoulders and pushes her out of the door, Lucius’s mother toeing him out of the room too. They are left in the hallway, alone, the muted sounds of their mothers talking penetrate slightly through the wall.
‘What do you want to do Lucius?’ Andromeda says, trying to put the boy, two years her junior at six, at ease. ‘We could visit the House Elf’s heads, visit Loxi the House Elf, see my sisters Bella and Cissy...’
He mutters something under his breath about seeing Bella and Cissy, so Andromeda leads him up the stairs to the nursery where she left them. Bella had been taunting Cissy about Hogwarts and its horrors like she usually does, so Andromeda went to her mother for help. She hopes Bella stopped when she left, but Bella doesn’t usually stop until Cissy starts crying so it might take a while longer.
Mother didn’t want to help her with Bella though; instead, she hauled Andromeda into the corridor and told her she was to marry this Lucius boy, no arguments. Andromeda nodded and tried to tell Mother about Bella but she ignored her. She usually ignores anything related to Bella, though, Andromeda notes.
She hears Lucius cough quietly in the background and turns to see the boy who looks close to tears.
‘Cissy is the same age as you but she isn’t much fun,’ Andromeda tells him. ‘She always does what Bella says even though Bella isn’t nice to her. But I prefer Cissy to Bella. Bella’s horrible to me too but I stand up for myself. I tell her that she’s mean.’
Lucius gives a nod of his head while they walk up the stairs and Andromeda smiles. Cissy will cheer him up, Andromeda thinks, she always cheers people up. Apart from Bella who is a lost cause. Father often says that about Bella.
They approach the set of stairs where the House Elf's heads line the wall. Andromeda greets the wrinkly faced Inke and the scowling Abatha with the wave of her hand. They have long been her friends.
‘What is that?’ Lucius calls out, his voice close to whimpering.
‘Loxi’s great-aunt,’ Andromeda replies, taking hold of his hand and leading him up the stairs. ‘They like being hung there; it means they’re still part of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.’
Lucius nods in reply, but he is even quieter after that incident. Andromeda doesn’t think the Blacks are noble people. Father told her it meant having fine personal qualities when he looked it up for her, but she doesn’t think that’s true. They went to see baby Regulus the other day, and he was sick all over Cissy’s frock. That doesn’t seem particularly fine to her.
They reach the top of the stairs and turn right. Grandma Irma and Grandad Pollux's faces turn downwards as she walks past their portrait, so she decides to mimic them for fun.
Reaching the door to the nursery, Andromeda is careful not to touch the scorched areas. Bella made them when she did magic for the first time. Cissy and Andromeda were in the room then, and Mother thought she couldn’t get them out, but Father came and saved them. She tries to rub away the marks but they never fade. Simply ignoring them this time, Andromed pushes the door open to be greeted by Cissy cowering in the corner while Bella taunts her.
‘There are people like us, Cissy, people who have pure blood,’ Bella tells their younger sister. ‘But then there are others, dirty people. Mudbloods we call them. They stole our magic so we can’t be nice to them. They’re different, strange.’
‘But why did they steal it?’ Cissy asks.
‘Because they want to take over the world and kill us all.’
‘Bella, Uncle Alphard says that’s not true. He says that they just have different blood to us, not that they want to kill us.’
Bella turns on her sister, her dark eyes gleaming. ‘Uncle Alphard is a mad man,’ she says decidedly. ‘We cannot trust what he says. Mother told me this so it must be true. Cissy, who do you trust more, Mother or Uncle?’
Cissy lets out a small whimper and shakes her head. Andromeda wants to run to her and say she doesn’t have to decide but when Bella’s like this it’s hard to go against her. Andromeda hopes that Bella is wrong about Mother always telling the truth though, because Mother told her she’s to marry Lucius but she doesn’t really want to.
‘Mother,’ she finally whispers.
Cissy’s fingers have tangled around her blonde curls and tears have begun to fall down her face. Lucius squirms uncomfortably beside her as they begin to create pools of water on the ground.
‘Exactly, so believe me and not Andromeda. She’ll turn into a mad woman soon!’
Bella cackles at this thought, her body shaking back and forth. Andromeda thinks that Bella looks mad.
‘And who’s this? Why are you here?’
Bella turns on Lucius who’s standing beside her. The boy begins to shake so much that Andromeda wonders if he will topple over with fear.
‘I’m Lucius Malfoy… My mother sent me to play with you… she’s talking to your mother.’ Lucius stumbles over so many words it takes an age to get the whole sentence out.
This seems to be good news for Bella who now smiles at him. ‘Mother told me that the Malfoys are a good family, you can stay. Play with Cissy - she’s as scared as you are.’
Andromeda watches Cissy hand Lucius a wooden jigsaw, and he empties it out onto the ground. They both give a little laugh at this, before they sit down and begin to piece it together. Bella frowns at this before walking out of the room.
She lets out a sigh, the task has now been taken from her. Cissy can marry him, and she can marry someone else.
Bella just needs to be nice again, and everything will be fine.
Author's Note: Hi and welcome to my new short story collection! Just so have you a bit more information about it, it will be a collection of one-shots at various stages of Andromeda's life, piecing together what I think of her, as I've always had a soft spot for her.
The title of the story and the quote at the beginning both come from Mumford and Sons amazing song, Broken Crown, so all credit goes to them! ♥
If you want to be lovely let me know what you think in a review, as it would be really great! ♡
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