Disclaimer: This ficlet was written based on characters and places created
by J.K. Rowling.
A/N: Thanks to the
ladies at the SQ Workshop 2 and Molly McGonagall for their encouragement and
blinded her for a moment as Narcissa Black pushed open the heavy doors leading
to the Hogwarts grounds. The brightness
was such a sharp contrast to the Slytherin dungeons that she had to blink a few
times before she could see. A number of
students were already outside, celebrating the end of exams and enjoying
themselves too much to notice her. Once
she’d convinced herself that no one was paying attention, she removed a
crumpled piece of parchment from the pocket of her robes and read the message
After you’ve sat your last O.W.L., meet me
in our old spot. I’ll be waiting.
needed no signature, as Narcissa recognized the handwriting anywhere, though
the timing of the letter had more than sparked her curiosity. It had been over a year since they’d met
there. Moving swiftly but silently, she
slipped behind Hagrid’s hut and approached the edge of the Forbidden
Forest. Continuing into the trees, it became darker
and darker, but she only slowed down when a head of pale-blonde hair swept into
the familiar low ponytail came into sight.
your note,” Narcissa said, trying too hard to sound conversational. “Is something wrong?”
identical faces met one another as Andromeda Black stood and turned to face her
sister. Narcissa could see that she had
summoned fairies and had arranged them to look like her name-sake
constellation, each of them twinkling like miniature stars. It was ironic—her sister usually earned
dismal astronomy marks, but she’d always known every star in that
constellation. Narcissa gave in to a
nostalgic grin. Andromeda smiled
brightly in return, but her eyes betrayed her emotions.
something have to be wrong for us to come here?” Andromeda asked, linking an arm through
Narcissa’s and leading her towards a sitting place. Her voice was shaky. “We used to come here all the time.”
stopped in her place, pulling her arm back with her. “Andromeda, we haven’t been here in two
years. Why now?”
quickly looked away and shrugged as she sat down heavily on a large rock. “Maybe I just wanted to know how your O.W.L.s went.”
have asked me that once we were home.”
The brief moment’s silence confirmed Narcissa’s suspicions. “You’re not coming home, are you? That’s
why you wanted to see me—to say goodbye.”
Narcissa concentrated on the fairy lights assembled like stars against
the steadily darkening forest floor. She
blinked a few times in an attempt to convince her eyes that there was no need
“I can’t go
back, Narcissa.” Andromeda’s voice
was not much more than a whisper. “Ted
asked me to marry him… and I’ve accepted.”
She said this last part with a finality,
suggesting to Narcissa that she had thought long and hard about this. “It’ll be a small ceremony,” she
continued. “No one from our family would
go, except perhaps Sirius, if he was old enough.”
She paused for a moment, as if to muster
courage. “I don’t want Bellatrix to know—at least not while we’re still at
felt her cheeks go hot. “If you don’t
want Mother and Father to know, that’s fine, but don’t ask me to keep secrets
blinked back tears. “Narcissa, you know
how she is,” said Andromeda desperately.
“She takes Mum and Dad’s word as if it came from Salazar himself! She’s been nothing short of horrible to me
ever since the family found out about Ted.”
Andromeda became quiet. “Quite
frankly, she scares me. I’m not sure
what she’s capable of.”
twelve, Andromeda.” Narcissa made no
attempts to conceal the annoyance in her voice.
ever looked into her eyes, Narcissa?
Really looked? I can’t find her
in them. She’s filled with only hate.”
true!” Narcissa shouted. “You don’t
spend as much time with her as I do.
You’re not in the same House. I
know her. She only hates you.”
“Because I’m in love with a Muggle-born, Narcissa! Don’t you see that?” Andromeda stood up suddenly and moved towards
her sister. “I love you, Narcissa. I won’t ask you to choose between me and
Bellatrix. I just wanted you to be happy
As if she
couldn’t take it any longer, Andromeda threw her arms around her younger sister
and let the tears flow unrestrained.
“Because you know that once we get to Hogsmeade tomorrow, we won’t see
each other again. I—I won’t be welcome
around the family any more. Y—you’ll be
forbidden to speak to me.” Narcissa felt
a single tear sneak down her own cheek as her sister sobbed in her arms. “I’m going to m-m-miss you, Narcissa. I only wish we’d spent more time together
while we had the chance.”
standing there embracing one another for several minutes, Andromeda pulled away
with great effort. Her cheeks were wet
with tears. “I really do love him,
Narcissa,” she whispered. “He’s good to
swallowed the lump in her throat. “I’m
sure he is,” she managed.
lifted a slender hand to wipe the tears from her eyes, and for the first time
Narcissa noticed the ring on her sister’s finger. It had several tiny jewels arranged in the
same design as the fairies still assembled just above the forest floor. He certainly did know her well. Narcissa looked away as she tried to compose
herself again. It was true her sister
did not see eye-to-eye with their parents, but did she have to leave? Narcissa didn’t want to choose between her
two sisters either—she loved them both.
But if Andromeda was really going through with this, then Narcissa’s
choice was made for her.
August,” Andromeda continued, hope evident in her voice. “In Hogsmeade. You’re welcome to come, if you can think of a
lie to tell Mum and Dad.”
nodded. “I’ll try to be there, but I’m
not making any promises.” She turned to
leave the forest, glancing one last time at the fairies still vainly in their
decorative places and her sister’s matching ring.
it’s worth, I think he’s good for you,” Narcissa said. “Perhaps one day things will be different,
and we can all be together again.”
“Narcissa?” Andromeda called just as Narcissa was about to
make her escape. “Will…will you tell
Sirius that I love him and that I’ll miss him?”
nodded silently and nearly ran back to Slytherin, stopping only once when she
saw a seventh year Ravenclaw boy waiting near the main entrance. When Narcissa laid her eyes on Ted Tonks, she had to force herself not to hex the boy who was
tearing apart her family. His gave her a hopeful glance, but Narcissa couldn’t
bear to acknowledge her approval of their marriage.
reached her dormitory, drained of all her energy, and crawled into her four
poster bed, drawing the curtains around her.
last, she stared bleakly at the velvet hangings. Unable to hold them back any longer, Narcissa
let tears of injustice consume her.