The woman appeared with a faint
pop, her blonde hair blowing in front of her face suddenly as a gust of wind
rippled through the air. She pushed it
out of the way impatiently and began examining her surroundings. She’d never been to this place, only heard
her sister’s snide tales of its Muggle-like filth and horrible stench. She’d expected a larger house, in all
honesty. This stone cottage with warm
light falling from the windows hardly seemed like a satisfactory home for a
Black. But then, Andromeda had never
been like her sisters.
paused for a moment, her eyes resting on the window to the right of the dark
blue door. It seemed to look in on the
sitting room, where she could just make out a small boy sitting on the floor,
giggling and clapping his hands as a woman with soft brown hair levitated a top
with her wand and made it spin round and round. A smile crossed Narcissa’s lips as she watched the top,
remembering when her sister had played that game with her.
inside the room glanced up at the window and the top fell to the floor. The little boy began to wail, the sound
audible from outside, as Narcissa’s face flushed. She hadn’t thought through of what to do, what to say if
Andromeda was at the house. Inside the
pocket of her robes, her moist hand clutched the note she had planned to attach
to the door. Why she hadn’t just sent
banged open, and Narcissa stepped back quickly, her foot squelching in the
mud. Andromeda strode out of the house,
her wand pointed forward and her eyes flashing. For a moment, Narcissa was struck at how closely the woman
resembled Bellatrix, in looks and in temper.
“You.” Andromeda spoke in a whisper, barely audible
over her grandson’s screams. She did
not remove her wand.
closed her eyes and nodded. “Yes,” she
said, barely able to keep her voice even.
“It’s me. Cissy.” She kept her eyes shut, unable to look at
her older sister, not wanting to remember their last meeting.
alone,” Andromeda said. Her wand
touched Narcissa’s neck, and the younger woman shuddered, but nodded.
Why? There wasn’t any reason, really, other than
it had seemed like the thing to do.
With Lucius busy talking his way out of Azkaban and Draco unwilling to
leave his bedroom, she had longed for company, longed for conversation. However, these days, few cared to be visited
by the wife of a convicted Death Eater.
over my home, ‘Droma,” she found herself saying. “They came and they told us it was our honor and our duty to
serve him, and gave us no choice. And
they nearly had Draco killed…” Tears shone in her still-shut eyes as she spoke,
her voice barely a whisper. “I didn’t
want it, but I was afraid.”
killed my Nymphadora,” Andromeda said, her voice harsh. “You whine about your home, but they killed
my Nymphadora and my Ted. Your husband
is in Azkaban, but he’ll be back, won’t he?
Well-connected family, the Malfoys.”
She gave a laugh. “He came back
last time. But not my Ted. Not my Nymphadora.”
flowed harder, but still Narcissa did not open her eyes. She could not bear to see the face of her
sister, who had always been stronger and braver than she, who had never
regretted for a moment the path she had chosen.
me.” Andromeda’s voice was soft, almost
kind. Narcissa dared to open her eyes,
and her sister’s face swam in front of her, those familiar brown eyes watching
her. “My husband and my daughter are gone. My son-in-law is gone. Other families have lost members because of
you, because of what you believed in.
Is this what you wanted? To tear
the world apart?”
shook her head wildly, her normally-sleek blonde hair flying in front of her
face and catching on her wet cheeks. “I
didn’t know,” she whispered. “We didn’t
know that he would-”
“It was the
same as last time,” Andromeda said.
“The murders, the torture, the hatred.
Some say it was worse. We lost some of the best witches and wizards
of our time with the flick of a wand and the shout of a curse. Is that fair, Narcissa? Is it?”
Narcissa shook her head. “I don’t know
why I came here,” she said.
smile appeared on Andromeda’s aging face.
bit her lip and looked down. She did,
and knew Andromeda would make her admit it.
With Bellatrix dead, and the war over, there had been a hope that the
two sisters could reunite and forgive each other for their differences. But it seemed that could not happen.
know what she sent me, when Ted and I announced our engagement?”
Narcissa looked back up and shook her head.
wedding invitation that I’d foolishly sent her, with the words “Remember your
blood” scrawled on the back in what could only have been her own blood.” Andromeda laughed, the sound remarkably
similar to the laugh that had so recently cackled through the Hogwarts
halls. “A week later I got a picture of
the family tree and a crushed box of baby teeth. It was her own way of disowning me.”
Narcissa shuddered. Bella had always
been so crude.
Andromeda said, nodding. “Her own
blood. My blood, I suspect she wanted
me to think. Ted asked me if I wanted
to still go on with the wedding, and I told him he was a fool if he thought I
would stop just because of a silly bit of blood. What did it matter, anyway?
His blood was the same color, wasn’t it? If I had stuck a pin in his finger and bled it onto a page of
paper, it would have been as red as Bella’s.”
frightened you, did she?” Narcissa asked, her tone admiring.
laughed once more. “Frighten me? How could she? I knew just as well as she that she could never hurt me, that I
was a far better witch than she was and could have cursed her into oblivion if I’d
cared to. It didn’t stop her from
come…” Narcissa began, “to the wedding, I mean. But Bella…and Mother…I didn’t want…I didn’t want them to-”
off the family tree? Disown you? Send you a curse in a card? Of course not, Narcissa. I wouldn’t have expected any less of
you.” Narcissa dared a glace at
Andromeda’s face and was startled to see a smile.
“We may not
agree when it comes to blood,” Andromeda said, “but I’ll be damned if I ever am
as unforgiving as Bella. She would
never have come here, you know. And you
have. The least I can do is ask you in
for a cup of tea.” She turned toward
the house, pocketing her wand. “Now,
it’s milk with no sugar, right?”
Narcissa began, startled.
turned back to face her. “You’d best
come in before I change my mind, Cissy.
Besides, it looks like it’ll storm soon, and you wouldn’t want to get
your pretty little head wet.”
weakly, Narcissa hurried to join her sister inside just as the rain began to
fall and Teddy’s wails filled house.
Her heart warmed as she sat down at the small kitchen table, happy to
know that at least one person was able to forgive her past.