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Chapter 2 : Flickers.
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Stifled the choice and the air in my lungs
Better not to breathe than to breathe a lie
‘Ted, are you sure we won’t be caught?’ Andromeda asks, getting up from their table and walking to the end of the aisle. ‘I don’t even want to think about Bella finding out, she would never speak to me again! Then my family will cast me out of the house. I won't have a home, I won't have anything.’
‘Dromeda, all we’re doing is revising together in the library. It’s not that conspicuous. Besides, if one of them does happen to appear, say that a teacher made you come. They can’t argue with that.’
‘Fine,' Andromeda concedes. 'I just feel as if they’re watching me wherever I go. That I can never do anything without my parents finding out.
Andromeda sighs, brushing her fringe out of her face. The History of Magic aisle is always empty so it’s about the only place that they can meet. Their sole companion is the flame flickering on the cobbled wall, the sparks dancing around for their enjoyment.
'Come and sit down instead of running to check if anyone’s there,' Ted says. 'You won’t ever get this essay done otherwise and that will be suspicious.'
She turns to look at the table, taking in all the clutter. Books, quills and ink pots are scattered across it. They’re props in a way, props in case anyone appears. Covering all bases is fast becoming a second nature to her.
As she sits back down at the table, Ted touches her hand. ‘Everything will be fine, Dromeda.’
She smiles at him, her head meeting his. ‘I know. It’s just until my family know about us I’ll never be able to relax.’
Avoiding the fact she’s determined to never tell her family about him so will never be able to relax, she returns to goblin rebellions.
The two of them are by the Ravenclaw tower, an area relatively safe from Andromeda’s relatives and friends. The only Ravenclaw who may tell is Lucetta Greengrass, a first year. She hopes that the age difference will put the blabbering off if Lucetta spots them. If it doesn't, no one will be safe from the wrath of her sister.
‘I told my parents about you,’ Ted announces, a faint pink spreading across his cheeks as he says it. ‘They want to meet you.’
It's Andromeda’s own turn to blush. She finds it hard that a Muggle would want to meet someone like her, someone whose own parents won’t even cross a Muggle in the street without spitting at them. She finds the whole situation strange at times, her and Ted. Even if it’s been happening for three months she still wonders whether she’s dreaming or not. Whether they will even make it to next week let alone another month. Everything in her life seems so precarious right now.
‘I would like to meet them too,’ she finds herself saying.
‘Really? You really would?’ Ted leans in, the gap between them closing, noses touching.
‘Yes, it will be fun to disprove my parents’ theories about Muggles.’
They both laugh and Andromeda leans in for a kiss. Their lips touching, breath dancing across them. If she concentrates hard enough, she can even detect the pulse of blood running through Ted's lips. Andromeda feels Ted’s hands move slowly upwards, pausing on her neck before moving into her hair.
‘My hands could get lost in here, you have so much of it,’ Ted jokes, pulling out a lock of it and tickling Andromeda in the face with it.
‘Don’t remind me of it, I would kill to have hair like Cissy's. Her life must be so much easier.’
‘Yes, but then you would be marrying Lucius and you wouldn’t want that, would you?’
Something shines in Ted’s eye as he asks her that. She merely laughs in response, remembering how that had once been her fate. Even if Cissy is in fourth year, two years below her, her life has already been mapped out, decided. Her mother’s probably done that for her too. Though Andromeda doesn’t have the slightest intention of following it if means marrying someone like Lucius.
Leaning in for one final kiss, Andromeda’s lips only linger for a few seconds. ‘I should be going Ted; Bella will wonder where I am otherwise.’
He sighs, his hands falling to the side, not bothering to argue. Even if it’s only been a few months that they’ve been together, he has quickly learnt the ways of her sister.
‘I’ll see you Dromeda.’
She waves her hand at him while heading down the set of stairs; if her mother finds out about this she’ll have a fit. Most of the people she knows will have a fit if they find out about them, now that she thinks about it. Turning the corner, a stampede of footsteps can be heard heading towards her. The loud bang, bang, bang of them ending only as it reaches its crescendo.
‘I’ll miss you,’ Ted calls out, face red from the running.
‘I’ll miss you too,’ Andromeda replies, laughing at him. ‘But I really have to go.’
He nods his head before turning back down the corridor. He really is an idiot at times, she thinks.
Cissy corners her as soon as she walks into the common room, her blonde hair standing out against the dark setting. ‘Where have you been? I’ve been looking for you for hours!’
‘In the library. I was finishing my History of Magic essay.’
Cissy flicks her hair back before pursing her lips. Andromeda notes that for a fourth year she looks remarkably older at times. ‘I looked there. Several times too, and you were never there. If what I have to tell you didn’t have anything to do with Bella, I would go to her and get her to find out for me.’
Looking around the room, she searches for a distraction from her sister’s announcement. In some ways, Cissy reminds her far too much of Bella. Far too much for her liking. A small circle of chairs are free a few feet away, and Andromeda motions that they go over there. If the subject is relating to Bella privacy will, no doubt, be needed.
They sit in the chairs, Cissy taking extra care to brush down her cloak so there is a not a single crease to be found. ‘What is it that you have to tell me, Cissy?’
She watches her sister flinch at the last part, the spasm echoing from her head to feet.
‘Don’t insist on babying me by calling me Cissy. Bella always does it too, and I won’t tolerate it any longer. It’s Narcissa now.’
‘Yes, but you’ll always be a baby to the two of us.’
They both flinch this time. It’s been a long time since Bella and Andromeda have been mentioned together, as something connected.
‘Yes, but Bella does that to annoy me, and I know she’ll hurt me if I try and challenge her. At least there is a small sign of hope with you.’
Cissy briefly allows a smile to wander onto her face before the mask is replaced. The mask of a sneering air, as if everyone and thing is beneath her. It's sad to see Bella made her like that, Andromeda thinks. It's sad to see that bit by bit Bella is sucking her in, away from her.
‘What do you have to tell me about our delightful sister then?’
‘Don’t joke about her, Andromeda, she can be nice at times.’
‘Fine, I shan’t tell you. I don’t know why I am anyway.’
Andromeda smiles at her and she can see her sister slowly cave before her. Cissy gives a little shake of her head before beginning.
‘Fine. Lucius told me it this morning during Potions, and I couldn’t think of anyone else to tell apart from you. I’m not even sure if I believe it myself. It’s simply absurd! He, he, told me that his father had been talking to this man called Avery last week who had told him some interesting news about Bella…’
Cissy stops herself and begins to breathe in and out.
‘Are you alright, Cissy?’
‘I’m fine, it’s just the next part... I almost don’t want to believe it.’
‘Go on, I might be able to help you with it.’
‘Well, Avery told Lucius’s father that Bella, our Bella, wants to join the Dark Lord’s followers. She actually wants to join them! She’s been owling Avery about it as he has connections with them, and she wondered if he could help her. I just can’t believe it. Our Bella wants to join him and kill people! I understand that they are Mudbloods and not like us so should be treated accordingly, but kill them? I don’t know what to think. That’s just, just, horrific.’
Andromeda gazes around the common room, noting the nearest person is fortunately not within hearing distance and is currently submerged in a book. 'Have you told anyone else about this?’
‘No one except you.’ Cissy turns her face to her, and Andromeda can now see that she’s close to crying. ‘I know we can’t stop her, but we can’t let her become a murderer.’
Andromeda sighs, taking her sister’s hand. She doesn’t want to break the news, break the multiple pieces of news in fact. The piece about how she had always suspected Bella of this, of how she heard other people in her year mutter things about her, how there is nothing they can do for her, how Mother and Father will support her and how even if they were against her joining, they could never make Bella change her mind.
It’s obvious now that Andromeda thinks about it. All those signs and signals culminating to this.
There is nothing to be done. Nothing she can think of. It’s not that she wants to give up on Bella, they are sisters after all. Though in a case like this it’s hard to even decide where to begin.
‘Go to bed, Cissy, we can talk about this in the morning. We might think of something then.’
Her sister nods, stretching her arms out before standing. ‘Thanks Andromeda.’
She watches her sister trail to the back of the common room and down the flight of stairs to their dormitory; her hair being the last thing to fade from sight as she descends downwards.
There are flickers. Flickers like this one. Flickers which give Andromeda some hope that her Cissy can be saved, that she won’t be like Bella, hating Mudbloods and out to get anyone different.
The flickers keep on fading though, too fast too. Too fast to give her something more than a spark.
Soon, she'll fade and never light up again. Soon, she'll be like Bella.
Author's Note: Like last time, the quote at the top is from Broken Crown by Mumford & Sons. Thank you so much for the wonderful response for the first chapter, it means so much to me to hear you all like it! I hope you enjoyed this one too, and I would love to hear your thoughts on it! ♥
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