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Chapter 5 : Fragments.
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I took the road and I --- it all away
Now in this twilight, how dare you speak of grace
The procession leading the coffin out is a slow one. The large piece of mahogany swarms into Andromeda’s sight, allowing her no escape from it. No escape from the memories.
She doesn’t know why she came today, to her mother’s funeral. Then again, so much of what she thought was true has died in the depths of confusion. Regulus has died. She will never know whether that letter she sent to Narcissa pleading, crying for her to stop him from joining the Death Eaters did something or not. She will never know if she could have prevented his death.
His brother is practically dead to her. She daren’t say his name, it will just make the truth even truer. The truth that he caused the death of his best friends. The truth that he killed his other best friend and thirteen Muggles with no care of being caught in the act. The truth that he is the true Death Eater, not his brother. The truth that he is a lie to her.
At least with her sister, her Cissy, there is a smidgen of truth there. That though their relationship may have seemed fraught, it isn’t fraught enough to prevent her from letting her know when her mother’s funeral is taking place. Then again, her father’s one had gone amiss, so not all can be taken as truth. Andromeda manages to resist adding on whether anything can be taken without questioning its origin.
The coffin is passing her now. The small gold plaque embossed in the middle of it reflects in the light, a beam of it dashing into her eye. Andromeda scrunches them up, trying to deflect the light, and makes out the small imprint of the text while doing so. Druella Lucinder Black, fifty seven years old in her death.
Prickles erupt over her body as the coffin slips past her, out of sight. Her mother never spoke to her after the last Christmas holidays she spent at home, back in seventh year. Her mother never sent her a letter after the final one telling her about the arrangements for their summer holidays, the arrangements Andromeda was never part of.
She never apologised to her mother, never explained to her mother, never tried to make amends with her mother. She will never have the chance to do any of those things now her mother is soon to be buried.
Andromeda looks up for a distraction from her thoughts and sees the Malfoy family begin their slow procession down the aisle; their hair acting as a sign of hopefully better times to follow as the blonde illuminates the room. They are like royalty, Andromeda notes, in their form, in their clothes, in everything.
Lucius goes first, perfect composure, perfect measure. Each step is taken with thought of how it will be displayed. As he passes her, he jerks a little, almost in recognition, before continuing on in his way. His form looks only a little wearier now than before the war. It is clear to see where guilt has fallen upon its victims. Lucius Malfoy is not one of them.
Their son, Draco, follows his father, already mimicking his stance. His head is held high, but as the small boy passes her, Andromeda can see a small collection of tears well up in his eyes. A dainty handkerchief is held in his hand, the D.L.M. stitched into the corner. It's not used to dab away the tears. Andromeda remembers the lessons of a pureblood not showing emotion in public settings well.
Cissy is the last to enter the regal procession, the contrast of the blonde hair and black cloth being the most prominent on her. Andromeda notes her lined face, her apparent age already being far greater than her actual. The deep purple and grey charcoaled under her eyes isn’t a hopeful sign either. Cissy seems as if she's failing.
The only one missing is Bella, though she is often absent in Andromeda’s thoughts now. The death of Regulus and the crime committed against the Longbottoms is the final straw when it comes to her sister. Even in the few photos Andromeda has of them as children, Bella has been obliterated from them. She and Cissy now stand in them alone, their solemn faces aware of the absence.
The trail of people filing out from the pews has slowly come to a halt, signalling that it’s Andromeda’s own time to leave the room. As she walks out, she takes note of the many paintings following her footprints. Even if her mother has gone, she will always be watched.
A silver birch tree masks her mother’s grave, its spindly branches bending over and obscuring the mound which has just been created. The crowd of people has dissipated. They lined it twenty minutes ago; though silent from their mouths, their movements still created sound, something to distract her. Now, there's nothing to hide behind.
All that lies here is Andromeda and her mother. The first time parent and child have been alone together in many years.
‘I’m sorry, Mother,’ Andromeda begins, breathing in as she does so, ‘I’m sorry that I never apologised to you. That I never gave you the opportunity to see Nymphadora. That I never tried to explain why I did what I did. I just couldn’t. I’m sorry for that, for never being strong enough. If I had been strong enough it might have been difference for us. I might have saved Regulus. I might have saved Bella. I might have saved you and me.’
‘But you weren’t, were you?’
Andromeda’s body flinches as Cissy’s words cut through the air, grazing at her skin as they hit. She turns, rising from her squat position, and sees her sister standing a few away. Cissy always had that habit, Andromeda remembers, the habit of creeping up on her so silently she never sees her until the final moment.
‘No, I wasn’t.’
Their stilted jibes and responses remind them both of how their relationship is now nothing more than fragments.
‘Thank you for telling me about today. It meant a lot,’ Andromeda finally says.
Cissy's face tightens at this point. ‘I wasn’t planning on telling you. I didn’t think you would care about her, about any of us. Mother told me to make you come on her last day though. For some reason she thought it might be a good idea. I can’t see why. You never loved us.’
‘Don’t. Don’t say that,’ Andromeda bites back.
‘Don’t what? Speak the truth? You cared more about that Mudblood than us. You didn’t care about leaving me with Bella. You didn’t care about the consequences of what you did. You didn’t care at all.’
‘It’s not all true. Not all of it. I did care about leaving you with Bella. I didn’t want to. I wanted you to come with me, have a better life, but I couldn’t lead you away like that. I didn’t want to be like her, forcing you into something you didn’t want. You had, have, Lucius, I thought he would help you. I knew he would keep you safe.’
Cissy scoffs at that point. ‘Because Lucius isn’t any better than Bella when it comes to murdering? Don’t be shocked that I know what my husband was and what he did. Yes, I am still with him. I still love him. That doesn’t surprise you though. You always thought me the fool.’
The heat of Andromeda’s tears sear at her cheeks; the pain's reinforced with each stab Cissy gives her. ‘I never thought that. I knew you were clever enough to be able to make up your own mind. I’m the fool for not recognising that earlier and trying to help you.’
‘Yes, well, you made the right choice, not like me. Everyone will always forgive you. No one will ever forgive me for mine. You chose the right side.’
Cissy’s body turns away from her, her shoulders pushed backwards as she readies herself to leave. ‘I have to go. Draco needs me right now.'
‘Wait, before you go,’ Andromeda says, hesitating before saying the next part. ‘The letter I sent you all those years ago. The letter asking for help for Regulus. Did you do anything for him?’
As her sister turns to face her, the mask she wears is a haughty one. ‘Yes, unlike you, I do care about my family. I do want to stop them dying preventable deaths. I wrote and spoke to him and Bella. Whether it helped Regulus change his mind is something we will never know, but I did what I could.’
‘Thank you,’ Andromeda whispers. She can never be more thankful for having Cissy as a sister.
‘You’re welcome. It’s what family is meant to do after all.’ Cissy’s eyes glint at her at that point before turning away sharply. ‘I really have to go. I don’t have time for this.’
Andromeda watches her sister walk away; the fragmented bond between them has more chipped out of it than before this meeting. It's more worn away than before. Seeing her sister here, hearing what she said, reminds her of all that she threw away.
Author's Note: As usual, the lyrics at the top are credit to Mumford & Sons and their song, Broken Crown. One of the words is bleeped out due to me being stupid and not realising it was an M rated one, so if you wish to read the full lyrics, there are lots of lyric websites which have them. :)
Again, we see Andromeda in a not so good light towards the end, but I tried to show that by breaking the crown she broke part of herself too. I hoped you liked this chapter as it's one of my favourites so far, and if you want to be lovely, leave a review! ♥
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