Written by ilene
story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various
publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, and
Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark
infringement is intended.
Chapter Two: Andromeda
Andromeda woke to a sound of some object falling to the
floor with a loud crash. Having grown used to such sounds ever
since Nymphadora was old enough to walk, she did not leap up, but instead,
rolled over and flopped her arm across to Ted's side of the bed.
She was rather surprised to find that her hand touched only
the exposed sheet that seemed, from the coolness of it, to have been left that
way for some time.
How many times do I have to tell him to turn the covers
back when he gets out of bed? Andromeda rubbed her eyes and reached
for her glasses on the nightstand.
Just as she noticed the paper airplane on Ted's pillow, the
bedroom door opened, and she saw a figure casting a tall shadow on the floor.
"No Mummy, it's me!"
Nymphadora walked into the room. She had long straight
hair the color of carrots today. She looked like a normal seven-year-old,
except for the fact that her legs were long enough to elevate her height to
that of a fairly tall adult; her nightgown barely covered her thighs.
"Nymphadora Tonks, what in –"
"I'm sorry, Mummy!" she said. "I knocked
over the stepladder again. It was just there in the hallway, I don't know
"Your father probably left it there," Andromeda
said, not sure whether to laugh or roll her eyes. Sometimes, she thought
it was only a matter of time before some major catastrophe resulted from the
combination of Nymphadora's clumsiness and Ted's inability to put anything back
in its proper place.
"Where is Daddy?" Nymphadora asked.
"Well, actually, he left us a note right here,"
Andromeda said, picking up the paper airplane.
"Ooh, that's a memo, isn't it? Can I see,
"Let Mummy read it first," Andromeda said. The only
reason she could think of for Ted to suddenly leave the house in the middle of
the night was if there was some story that he had to cover. But that
hadn't happened for months, not since he'd been promoted to newsreader.
She felt the hair on the back of her neck rise as she read,
“It's not You-Know-Who's doing, however." Why did he think he
should tell her that?
"Nymphadora," she said, quickly getting out of
bed, "We need to go to the treehouse."
"The treehouse!" Nymphadora said gleefully.
"That means Daddy's in the telly again!"
"On the telly," Andromeda corrected,
automatically. "And why don't you shrink your legs back down? It'll
probably make it easier for you to walk."
"I know, Mummy," Nymphadora said. "But
I had to stretch up so I could see the owl!"
"Owl?" Andromeda said. "You saw
"Uh-huh! It was hitting the window, and waving its
wings like this!” Nymphadora said, flapping her arms. “So I
stretched up to open the window, but I couldn't."
Andromeda stepped up close to her daughter.
"Nymphadora, don't you remember what Mummy told you? We keep all the
doors and windows locked at night."
"Oh, well, I guess the owl didn't know that,"
Nymphadora said. "I think it got mad at me. And it went away."
"Well, if it was really important, the owl will come
back," Andromeda said. "And Mummy can open the window for
"Okay," Nymphadora said. She smiled, then
screwed up her face for a few moments; then her legs suddenly shrunk down to
about half their length. She took a few steps, then shrieked.
"Ow! My hair hurts!"
Andromeda saw that Nymphadora had stepped right onto a long
lock of hair that was now touching the floor.
"Nymphadora, I think your hair is too long for you
now,” she said gently.
"Oh," Nymphadora said. She assumed a
slightly pouting expression, and her hair shrank back to a more manageable
By the time Andromeda had gotten herself and her child into
cloaks, and finally stepped out of the back door leading Nymphadora by the hand,
she had started to think that she might have missed the report. The
"treehouse" that so delighted Nymphadora had been somewhat of a
contentious point between Andromeda and Ted. She still wondered why they
hadn't just built a cottage on the ground to house the television room, where
there was no chance that Nymphadora could tumble out and fall six feet to the
"Andromeda, six feet is nothing! A Muggle
could fall six feet, and he'd only sprain his ankle, or break his wrist, or
something. I had a treehouse when I was a kid, and it was even higher
up...it wasn't even a house, really, just a little shack. I had the time
of my life in there! I only fell once, climbing up, and I only skinned my
"But Ted, you weren't a Muggle."
"Well, Dora isn't a Muggle either, is she,
"Now, Nymphadora, you know the treehouse rules,
"Yes, Mummy. Don't climb up or down by myself,
and no changing."
"Right, no changing." This was a rule that
had been added when Nymphadora was around three years old; until then, her
ability had not created enough of a magical field to disrupt the television to
any great degree.
She helped Nymphadora up into the treehouse, which, being
absolutely devoid of magic, was exactly the same size inside as outside.
It consisted of two tiny rooms. One was a playroom for Nymphadora, with
large windows that offered a picturesque view of the backyard. The other
was just large enough for a small television in one corner, a rug, and two tiny
"Nymphadora, wait her for a minute, okay? Mummy needs
to go set up the television, " Andromeda said, hoping that she didn't
sound too worried. Ted usually sent word about the content of the story
he'd be reporting, so that she could decide whether it was appropriate for
Nymphadora to watch. This time, however, she had no idea what the story
was, except for those unsettling words, "It's not You-Know-Who..."
The moment she turned on the television, she was glad that
her daughter was not there to see it. The scene looked like something out
of a Muggle war zone. The street was filled with rubble, and she could
see smoke rising into the air in the background.
Ted was speaking, trying to look calm and unruffled, but the
strained look on his face was as obvious to Andromeda as the redness of his
eyes and the way his tie was askew, much more than any Muggle fashion would
"Now, as we have been reporting for the past hour, what
appears to be a gas explosion has rocked what started as an ordinary morning in
this neighborhood on the outskirts of London," he said.
"Initial reports are that at least nine people have been killed in the
explosion, with at least fifty injured. However, the official toll is
expected to rise."
Gas explosion. Andromeda sighed, as images
flashed by on the TV screen. A close-up view of a deep crater in the center of
the street. Images of Muggles, some walking around looking dazed, others
being rolled away on stretchers. She shuddered, knowing quite well that
this was no gas explosion.
"We have an eyewitness who was at the scene," Ted
said, as a Muggle woman appeared. There was a bandage around her head.
"Mrs. Grundy, could you please tell me what you
"Well, I didn't see much, really," the Muggle
woman said. "I was just walking down the street, there, rushing to
get to work. I'm totally late now, but I suppose they'll be understanding,
I could have been killed.... Anyway, I was waiting for the light, then
suddenly, there was this giant blast, deafening, really, I think my ears are
still ringing...it made me fly clean off my feet, it did."
"I see," Ted said. "What do you think about
"Well, what am I supposed to think? You said it
was a gas explosion?"
"Yes, that seems to be the cause," Ted said.
"Well, there's been a lot of gas explosions lately,
"Yes, I suppose," Ted said. His face looked
even more strained.
"You suppose? You're the newsman, you should know
better than me. But what I'm starting to think is, it could be
"Oh, yes, maybe it's to do with the Troubles, I don't
know, but I don't think they're all just accidents, either."
"Well, that's a very interesting theory, perhaps
something worth pursuing –"
"You should,” the Muggle woman said. "All of you,
and the Yard, and the Home Office…”
Ted looked distinctly uncomfortable.
"Well, thank you for your thoughts," he
said. "Now, speaking of the police, we're going to go to a press
conference on this matter."
The images on the television shifted to some indoors
location, where a Muggle policeman was
standing at a podium. Andromeda let her mind wander; she knew that
whatever the policeman said about the
situation was meaningless. That Muggle woman had struck much closer to
the truth with her sabotage theory. Someone should send a memo to the
Muggle-Worthy Excuses Committee, she thought. Muggles are starting to
catch on to the gas explosion excuse.
She sighed. Morning was a strange time for an
attack…usually, the Death Eaters preferred to strike from the shadows after
nightfall. Few were brazen enough to strike in broad daylight, even
before the supposed defeat of the Dark Lord...oh, why do I still call him
that? Sirius would be furious with me…he even calls him by his actual
She opened her mouth, and tried to say the name, but could
barely force the first sound from her throat. “Vo…”
Andromeda turned around swiftly to see her daughter.
“Nymphadora! Didn’t I tell you to wait –“
“But Mummy, the owl’s here again!” she said. “It’s
tapping on the window, and it really looks mad this time! It’s hitting
the glass really hard…”
“Okay, Nymphadora,” Andromeda said, already regretting her
initial harsh response. “Daddy’s not on the telly, so we can go back to
the house. I’ll get the owl.”
She quickly turned off the television before the camera
could shift again to that scene of destruction, and, if the numbers regarding
causalities were right, carnage.
She went to the window in the playroom, and found that the
owl was a news-owl, with a rolled up copy of the Daily Prophet in its
beak. From the size of it, the paper appeared to not be the regular
morning edition, but one of those special editions like the ones that had come
in the morning before, about the sudden disappearance of…
As soon as she opened the window, the owl swooped down and
dropped the paper on the floor. Nymphadora quickly knelt down and picked
it up. The owl looked at her with a miffed expression on its face, then
turned its attention to Andromeda, hooting loudly and pecking at the hem of her
Andromeda sighed and began scrounging around in her pockets,
hoping she had enough loose change. She counted out three Knuts, then
“Mummy!” Nymphadora said again, sounding
excited. “Cousin Sirius is in the paper! And he’s laughing! He must
have heard a really funny joke! Maybe he’ll tell it to me when he comes
to see us again!”
Andromeda glanced at the paper, and what she saw there made
her drop all of the coins in her hand. The owl began to hoot again, but
she could barely hear it.
“BLACK ATTACK ON MUGGLE STREET”, the headline read. Under it
was a picture of Sirius, looking as if he’d gone mad.
Author’s Note: I realize that many sources, including
Lexicon, have the Sirius-Peter confrontation taking place on November 1, 1981, the same day that Harry is left with the Dursleys. However, I have
it taking place on November 2, 1981, the morning after Harry is left with the
Dursleys. This is based on the PoA conversation between Fudge,
McGonagall, Hagrid, and Madam Rosmerta, when Hagrid talks about meeting Sirius
when he is collecting Harry from the rubble of the house in Godric’s Hollow,
then Rosmerta says “The Ministry of Magic caught up with him next day!” I
think of Voldemort’s attack on the Potters as occurring after midnight, a few hours before dawn broke on November 1, 1981. So “next day” would be November 2, 1981.