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Chapter 1 : Christmas Memories
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A/N 2: A big thank you goes out to my beta, mcdash!
The standard disclaimer applies here; I do not own Harry Potter, nor the characters here. Anything you recognize belongs to J.K. Rowling, only my plot is my own!
Before I open my eyes, I smell the bacon cooking in the kitchen, and just for a moment, I am nine years old again. I can almost feel my sisters lying on either side of me, all three of us waking up to the smell of Christmas breakfast.
I open my eyes and look around the empty room. Suddenly, it all comes back to me – I am not nine years old anymore. Instead, I am eighteen years old and will never spend another Christmas with my sisters. The smell of breakfast is not coming from house elves, but from my husband, Ted, cooking in the kitchen. I suppress a sigh at the memory of my sisters, knowing I would not trade a moment of my current life just to have them by my side.
However, as happy as I am, and as much as I love Ted, I cannot help but think back to Christmases growing up in my parents’ house; of presents and snowball fights in the backyard; of family dinners and the grand balls that used to be held at my aunt and uncle’s manor. Of course, not all of my Christmases were wonderful, but the good times outweigh the bad times in my memory.
I am just about to get out of bed when Ted enters the room with a mug of coffee in one hand and a tray of food levitating before him.
“Good morning, Andie,” he says with a smile, placing the mug on the side table and the tray in my lap. “Happy Christmas, my love.”
“Happy Christmas,” I reply, smiling at the tray in front of me; it holds my favorite breakfast foods – fried eggs, bacon and kippers. Then, I notice a small gift-wrapped box sat in the upper corner of the tray. I look up at Ted expectantly, and he smiles.
“Go ahead, open it.”
I pick it up and tear the paper off. I lift out a black velvet jewelry box. Opening it, I gasp in surprise. Inside is a beautiful pair of amethyst teardrop earrings with diamond accents. I couldn’t believe Ted would spend so much on me.
Finally finding my voice, I say, “Oh, Ted, they’re beautiful.”
He leans down for a kiss and replies, “I got them to match your necklace.”
I reach over to my nightstand to touch the necklace in question It was a heart shaped amethyst with diamonds that I had received for my eleventh birthday from my Uncle Alphard, one of the few family members I still spoke to. I rub the gemstone, which has become almost an amulet to me, and think once again of my sisters. They each have a similar necklace with their birthstone on it.
Once again, I’m transported back to an earlier Christmas, my first one home from Hogwarts.
Cissy had mostly ignored me and Bella during our first days at home, but she snuck into my bed on Christmas Eve. When we awoke the next morning to the tantalizing smell of breakfast, I found Cissy sitting in front of my bureau trying on my necklace.
I watched her for a moment as she pulled her hair back and looked at herself in the mirror. I stood quietly and went to stand behind her. After a second, she looked up at me with wide eyes.
“Andie, I want to be eleven. I want to be able to go to Hogwarts with you and Bella. It’s not fair that I have to wait,” she said, dropping the necklace into my outstretched hand.
“Cissy, it’s only another year and a half,” I told her. “Besides, Hogwarts isn’t all wonderful. You’ll have to go to classes and there are piles of homework.”
“But Andie! I still have to work with Ingrid, and I’m alone here,” she said, speaking of our tutor. “At least at Hogwarts I’ll be with you, Bella, and other students. It’s got to be better than being stuck here. It’s not as if I even get to see Mother or Father that often.”
I had to agree with her there. Mother and Father were always so busy; even when we were home we rarely saw them. Besides each other, our only company was the house elves. Biting my lip, I realized there might be a way to cheer my baby sister up.
I picked up my necklace and reached down to clasp it around her neck. “Cissy, what if for today you wear my necklace and pretend to be old enough to attend Hogwarts with Bella and me?”
Her eyes brightened, and she squealed as she jumped up from the vanity chair and gave me a huge hug. “Oh, Andie! Thank you so much! Happy Christmas.” She bounced from the room, no doubt to find a pretty dress to match the necklace.
I giggled, glad to have been able to cheer up my younger sister and turned back towards the bed to see Bella just waking up. “What did I miss?” she mumbled as I ran back to the bed.
“Happy Christmas, Bella!” I said, pulling her into a hug.
Just as the memory began, I’m pulled out of my reverie by Ted’s hand on my shoulder.
“Is everything okay?” he asks.
“Oh, yes,” I respond. “I was just thinking about my sisters.”
Ted just shakes his head. I know my husband doesn’t understand the relationship I have with Bellatrix and Narcissa. Hurrying to change the subject, I take a bite of the eggs and tell him how perfectly he cooked them. After breakfast, I wave my wand and a wrapped box zooms to me. I had agonized for weeks on what to get Ted for Christmas, and I hoped he would like what I had finally decided on.
I hand the box to him and hold my breath as he opens it. Much to my relief, Ted smiles as he pulls out the leather wand sheath I had embroidered with his name.
“This is wonderful, Andie. It’ll come in handy at work,” he says, pulling out his wand to test the fit. He works in the Department of Magical Transportation at the Ministry and while much of his current position is paperwork, he often needs his wand ready to make portkeys or connect fireplaces.
A little later in the morning, we get ready for dinner at Ted’s parents’ house. My mind begins to wander to my last Christmas at home with my sisters.
Tensions had been high in the manor ever since Cissy and I returned home for the Christmas holidays during my seventh year. Bella and her husband, Rodolphus, had arrived on Christmas Eve; they had been married the previous summer. It was the first Christmas morning that I awoke by myself, as Cissy was still upset with me from an argument we had before leaving Hogwarts. Christmas morning was dreary and foggy, and I shuddered as I looked out my bedroom window. I spent the morning trying to avoid my parents, who kept giving me pointers and reminders about that evening’s Christmas Ball.
Over the past few months though, I had questioned the pureblood mentality drilled into my head throughout my life. Ted was a capable Wizard just as any of the purebloods in Slytherin house and in some cases, he was even more capable. In the past two years, our friendship had deepened into something more, and while we had only been dating for a few months, I thought I might be falling in love.
My mind was pre-occupied as I went through that Christmas day and tried to figure out my path. It was that afternoon as I began to dress for the ball when my sisters approached me that my mind was made up. I had just sat down at my vanity and was beginning to brush out my hair when Bellatrix strode into the room with Narcissa trailing hesitantly behind.
Bella marched up behind me and grabbed the hairbrush out of my hand. I looked up into a face I almost didn’t recognize. It was at this moment that I found my sister capable of hatred.
“A mudblood, Andromeda? Have you no shame?” She used my full name, and I shivered.
I bit my tongue to hold back my retort. I should have known word would get back to my sister; Ted and I had been discreet, but I wasn’t surprised someone had seen us together and told Narcissa about it. Instead, I was surprised that my younger sister had betrayed me without even confronting me about it first. I shot Cissy a sharp look and turned back to my older sister.
“Yes, Bellatrix.” My tone was sharp. “Ted may be of Muggle blood, but he is a still a skilled Wizard.”
I should have known Bellatrix would never see things my way, but the slap that resounded around the room still shocked me. I reached up to feel my cheek burning and leaned back away from Bella.
"I will not allow you to tarnish the Black family name. You are a Pureblood Witch, and you will behave as such. This fling with your little mudblood will end, or I will be forced to take more drastic measures,” Bella said, her hand on her wand.
I would not allow Bella to see the tears forming behind my eyes. I nodded, but inside I was seething. I would not allow her to force me into anything. It had not escaped my notice that she had delved deeper into the dark arts over the past few years, but I would never be a part of something like that. In that moment, my path lay before me: I could follow in my sister’s steps and become another pureblood wife, or I could finish off my schooling and find a way to break free of my family’s mentalities.
Little did I know that within a matter of days, I would choose the later option, and I would be leaving the manor for good.
My head snaps up as I hear Ted calling my name from the other room.
“Yes, I’m coming,” I reply, looking in the mirror one last time before hurrying out to meet him.
“Are you alright, my dear?” he asks, looking concerned.
I look around our small flat and know this is where I truly want to be. I may miss my sisters, but they are part of my past. Ted is my future and with him, my Christmas is truly complete.
I look back at my husband and wrap my arms around him. “Yes, I couldn’t be happier.”
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