The Dark Arts
Other Canon Witch/Other Canon Wizard
Other Canon Witch
Drama Wizarding Society
1970-1981 (Including Marauders at Hogwarts)
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Order of the Phoenix
Published: 03/10/2006
Updated: 03/10/2006
Words: 1,462
Chapters: 1
Hits: 1,059

Putting Away Childish Things

La Reine Noire

Story Summary:
Andromeda Tonks reflects, as she visits her family's home for the final time.

Chapter 01

Author's Note:
Written for the

"Are you absolutely sure you want to do this?" Deep brown eyes peered into hers, visibly worried. "Rom, I don't like it."

"Which is why you and Nymphadora will stay behind," she replied firmly. "They won't harm me. Kinslaying is...not recommended."

"If that was meant to reassure me, Andromeda..."

"Ted, I promise you nothing will happen. I have the right to be there. Uncle Arcturus was..." She trailed off. "We were close, once."

They had all loved him, with his ready smile and infectious laughter. Sirius was so like him--Sirius, whom she had not seen since he and James Potter had shown up on her front door during summer holidays. There had even been a time when Andromeda had thought he might understand, and had asked him softly probing questions about Muggles and Muggle-born wizards, and precisely why blood purity was so important.

"Muggles do not trust us, my dear. Our own ancestors were burnt at the stake for trying to help them! Can you possibly imagine a world where Muggles would allow us to live in peace?"

She had wanted to believe him. Every ounce of family loyalty--and she was a Black, after all--demanded that she believe him. And yet, somehow, the boundaries no longer held themselves upright of their own accord.

In the end, it came down to a choice, painful in its very simplicity.


"Blood traitor!"

Andromeda closed her eyes.

"Filthy whore! How dare you befoul my husband's memory with your presence? Get out!"

"He was my uncle. I loved him." She swallowed before repeating almost verbatim what she had said to her husband. "I have a right to be here."

"You forfeited that right two years ago." There was no softness in the woman standing before her, clad in black from head to toe. The only glint of jewellery was the wedding ring on her left hand, a serpent coiled around an emerald. It had been in the family for more generations than anyone cared to count. "I told you to leave this place. You are nothing to me, and nothing to him. You bring shame upon this house by even daring to enter. Now go!"

Andromeda looked around the room, at the faces, all averted from her. She knew them all, had known them all since she was a child. Only one person looked directly at her, through eyes dark and fathomless, ringed with spiky black lashes. A smirk tugged at red-painted lips.

She could not remember when her little sister became this unrecognisable creature. Bella had always been the wild one, the despair of their mother, and openly adored by her two young cousins. Somewhere in the back of Andromeda's memory, Bella chased Sirius down an endless corridor in Cornwall until he turned, laughing as the bat ears given him flapped, to taunt her. You can do better than that!

"Did you hear me, girl?" Lavinia Black's voice cut into her thoughts, and Andromeda forced herself back to the moment.

Just 'girl' now. She no longer even had a name, as far as they were concerned. Just a string of insults, or--possibly even worse--silence. Her mother hadn't spoken a word, even as her aunt screamed and ranted. She merely stared at the ground as if riveted by it, unable or unwilling to look up. Andromeda had been her favourite, she knew.

Sirius seemed on the verge of argument, stalled only by eleven-year-old Regulus clinging to his arm, long-lashed eyes wide and pleading. Don't cause trouble. Please. Not now. Not here. Andromeda smiled, bitterly. He was lucky to be the younger child. The weight of his mother's expectations would have crushed him otherwise. Sirius studied him with visible contempt, but held his peace after he met Andromeda's eyes and heeded her silent warning.

"I asked you if you heard me."

The Minister for Magic can probably hear you from here, Auntie dearest. Instead of saying precisely what was on her mind, Andromeda replied with perfect civility, "Clear as glass, Aunt Lavinia."

Instead of moving, however, she turned her head, eyes lingering on the final member of the mourning Black family. Not even a glance in my direction, 'Cissa?

But no, Narcissa raised her head, her beautiful face devoid of expression. It was the dark smudges beneath her eyes that gave Andromeda pause, and the tight clasp of her gloved hands in front of her. For a second, their gazes met, and Andromeda could have sworn she saw hurt flash across her sister's face.

That nearly broke her resolve, then and there. Nobody could doubt Bella's position as the queen of the household, by virtue of her temper and stubbornness. Narcissa, more often than not, went almost completely unnoticed, a quiet presence in the shadows. When Bella was displeased, the world heard chapter and verse. Narcissa simply told Andromeda once, and left it at that.

Beside her stood Lucius. They did not touch, though they were standing close enough together that the flowing sleeves of their robes brushed lazily against one another. It had been Andromeda, the favoured eldest, who was originally intended for Lucius. But when it was made abundantly clear where his preferences lay, her mother had sighed and agreed.

Though she did not say it aloud, he flinched slightly as her eyes met his. Regardless of what Aunt Lavinia says, I am still a Black. I am still her sister, and if you so much as put a toe out of line, you will regret it. She had heard the stories, that Lucius had taken up with that powerful Dark wizard whose name most feared to speak aloud. Rumours, again. With him, it was difficult to tell where rumour ended and truth began. But he loved Narcissa. That much was certain. Andromeda stepped back slightly, unwilling to be satisfied by that, but aware that it was her only choice in the matter.

All else, as Aunt Lavinia had pointed out, was forfeit.

"If it's so very clear why don't you get ou--"

"She has a name, Lavinia." At the voice, Andromeda's eyes widened. Rising from the front row, Alphard Black addressed his sister-in-law with quiet dignity. "It is you who dishonour the family with this behaviour." Then, with some gentleness, he added, "You're grieving, Lavinia. I understand that, but so are we all. You must not do this."

"She made her choice." Each word was clipped, sharp as cut glass. "She knew the consequences."

"And I am telling you, Lavinia, as head of this family, that Andromeda is still a Black, and she shall remain. What would Arcturus say if he heard you?"

"Nothing." Andromeda's response shocked even her at first, and her aunt and uncle turned to look at her. "That was what he said to me, and to her. She's right. I made my choice. And if you wish to condemn me for it, Aunt Lavinia, then so be it. What I do wish to point out, however, is that you did the same thing, years ago. You fell in love. Your choice just happened to be the appropriate one."

"Because I had self-control," snapped Aunt Lavinia. "Eleanor spoiled you, and this is the result." At that, her mother winced visibly. "Family--bloodline--is what matters. You were a Black once, and proud of it. A pity you chose wrongly."

"Thank you for that enlightening speech, Aunt Lavinia." Andromeda raised her chin. "I merely came here to pay my respects."

Bypassing her furious aunt, she stood for several seconds in front of the open coffin where her uncle lay. The last time she had seen him was nearly two years before, on that day in February when the icy wind whistled shrilly between the gables of Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, and chilled the metal encircling the fourth finger of her left hand. He had said nothing, even as Aunt Lavinia's curses ringed the air. Just looked at her, and the disappointment in his eyes was enough that it had taken all her willpower not to cry.

Nor did she cry now, merely murmured her farewell. There was certainly no need to draw more attention to Uncle Alphard. He'd done enough, something she signified by quickly squeezing his hand as she passed him. As she made her way back up the aisle, she could hear the whispers follow. Eldest daughter, surely you've heard of her...married a Mudblood...insupportable...well, naturally, she was cut off...would have done worse, if it had been my child...

Despite the overwhelming urge to make a snide comment in Evelyn Parkinson's direction, Andromeda forbore. Instead, she paused at the open door, not to take one last look back at the world that had chosen to ostracise her, but to take a breath of air that was no longer oppressive.

Her family was waiting.