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Chapter 1 : An Empty House
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The Black mansion stood like a boulder rising out of the blurry landscape. Dark and uninviting, no one dared to approach it. The looming Gothic gates were enough to dissuade any visitors. The black curtains seemed permanently drawn as if whoever lived inside was severely allergic to light.
However, the mistress of the house was not allergic to light, although her surname seemed to suggest otherwise. She stared outside through a chink in the curtains. Her grey eyes had a distant look in them as if she was looking at the bleak scenery but not really seeing it. Her dark hair was scraggly as if it hadn’t been brushed for days. Streaks of grey shot through it, the colour of the clouds outside the windows. Her face was prematurely lined, the scars of her unhappiness and pain. Her slender figure was hunched. Pale fingers clutched a woolen shawl tighter around her shoulders. She was a shell of woman in a shell of a house.
Why someone would want to live in a depressing, isolated household was unfathomable to anyone else, but Andromeda Black was used to it. At least, after years of practice she had convinced herself that she was.
Narcissa had once predicted that out of the three sisters, Andromeda would be the happiest.
“You’ll be the only one who’ll have the guts to have a happy life,” she had insisted when they were teenagers at Hogwarts. “I’m too afraid to disobey our parents. Bellatrix has already convinced herself that she loves the doctrines of our family and continuing the Black legacy. But you? You’re strong and independent. You’ll marry for love. You’ll have a happy family.”
Yet cruel Fate had denied Andromeda this. Narcissa still had her husband and her son. Word had it that a daughter-in-law would soon be joining the family. Bellatrix had joined their parents and the other older members of the family. Andromeda was all alone. Her vacant expression was suddenly exchanged for one filled with loathing. She cursed Fate every night. Fate, which had taken away her beautiful daughter away from her.
Oh, Nymphadora. How her daughter had hated that name. She was so fearless, so brave. Andromeda recounted her daughter’s first letter from Hogwarts. Three roles of parchment covered in her scribbled writing. Lamenting about how the Sorting Hat placed her in Hufflepuff and not Gryffindor. It isn’t fair, Mummy! I told the stupid hat that I was brave but it wouldn’t listen!
Now Dora, Andromeda had written back sternly. You don’t have to be in Gryffindor to be brave. I’m sure that you’ll be just as brave in Hufflepuff.
Unknowingly, Andromeda had introduced Nymphadora to her life’s mission. For the rest of her life Nymphadora was hell bent on proving that she was as brave as any Gryffindor, if not braver. She was always someone who believed in justice. That was why she joined the Aurors. That was why she fought in the War. That was why she died.
Andromeda tasted salt and raised a hand to wipe the tears streaming down her cheeks. Everyone she loved was dead. She was the only one left. She was like her namesake, an ancient maiden chain to a rock as a sacrifice to a monster. She could not leave to join the rest of her family. She was trapped in this world.
And the worst thing was that she did not have her Perseus to save her. The original Andromeda had been luckier, having been rescued by Perseus before the sea monster could kill her.
Andromeda Black’s Perseus had come in the form of Ted Tonks, the one man she loved with all her heart. He had saved her once, when she was trapped in the clutches of her family. He had offered her his heart, his home and eventually his life.
Now it began to rain and for the first time Andromeda realized how lonely the house had become. For months she had masked the pain of losing Ted and Nymphadora, but today it seemed to hit her doubly hard. Death hung heavily in the air. She scuttled over to her bedside radio and, after fiddling with some knobs, managed to turn it on. Ted had given her this radio years ago and had spent hours trying to explain to her how the muggle contraption worked. Static filled the air, occasionally interrupted by bursts of music. Finally, a signal was established and a song began to play.
Andromeda closed her eyes, feeling a wave of nostalgia wash over her. That was the song she and Ted had danced to for the very first time. It was at some muggle charity ball that his parents were attending and Ted had forced Andromeda to come along.
It’ll be fun, he had said and he was right. Andromeda had never felt so alive in her life as she did when Ted swung her across the dance floor. The two of them were laughing, their nervousness quickly turning into joy. That was the moment when she knew that he was the one.
Oh Perseus! How could you leave me all alone? Chained to a rock in the middle of an ocean of memories? At the mercy of a monstrous beast, an overwhelming grief that threatens to crush me?
Andromeda knew that it was futile to wish for Ted to come back, but her heart believed otherwise. She turned the radio off and was about to head over to the kitchens when a strange sound echoed around the house. It took her a moment to realize that someone had rung the doorbell. Smoothening her hair, she ran to the front door, wondering who would come and visit her now.
She opened the door to face none other than Harry Potter. The Savior of the Wizarding World was dripping wet and carried a tiny bundle in his arms.
“Come in, Harry,” she said, and the seventeen-year-old wizard stepped into the house.
“What is it?” Andromeda asked. Harry hesitated for a moment before replying.
“It’s about Teddy,” he said, gesturing towards the tiny bundle. Andromeda peered over it and her eyes softened at the sight of the tiny baby encased inside, barely six months old. It was her grandson, Teddy Lupin.
“Yes?” she asked.
“Remus named me Teddy’s godfather, but Twelve Grimmauld Place is no place to raise a child.”
“Of course not,” Andromeda said, remembering all those summers that she had spent in that dark and dingy house. A child deserved a bright and happy home, not something that closely resembled Azkaban.
“And there’s the fact that I’m joining the Aurors next month. Teddy cannot be left alone. Mrs. Weasley’s hands are already full so I was wondering-”
“Of course I’ll take him in!” Andromeda cried and abruptly lowered her voice so as not to awaken the baby. “I’ve enough experience, you know.”
“I do know,” Harry said, the relief palpable in his voice. “I will visit him every weekend, though!”
“Of course, my dear,” Andromeda said, taking the baby into her arms. “I’ll take him right now, if you don’t mind.”
“Thank you,” Harry said gratefully and with one last look at Teddy, he Apparated away.
Andromeda stared at the bundle in her arms. She was going to have to revamp the house. Refurbish Dora’s old nursery. Brighter curtains would have to be bought, the furniture had to be polished and everything needed a good cleaning.
So much work to be done, Andromeda thought, a smile gracing her features. With a renewed energy, she hauled her wand out of the pocket of her robe. Why not start now?
Perhaps Andromeda no longer needed Perseus to save her. It seemed as though she now had a sufficient alternative.
Author's Note: Welcome to the story! I hope you enjoyed it, especially all you fans of Greek Mythology out there. Feel free to tell me what you think! I really want to thank Lululuna at the forums for agreeing to beta this story and doing a wonderful job of it. Thanks for visiting!
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