Characters: Andromeda-centric with some Andromeda/Ted and Remus/Tonks
Warnings: SPOILERS, character deaths
Summary: Andromeda's loves and losses during the Second War.
Notes: This is a fic I just had to get out of my system after reading DH. Thanks to paraboban for pointing me in the direction of this comm. :)
"...I turned in a fury on Minos
and raged about the past we had suffered
together, our quirky moments of grace,
the loved ones, the deaths we had tended,
the work we had made, the desperate charms
we had uttered on behalf of our child,
but the god was indifferent to our terms..."
--Edward Hirsch, "The Asphodel Meadows"
"We're getting married."
Dora was wearing the same I-dare-you expression she'd had when she announced her intention to become an Auror. Andromeda knew there was nothing she could do when Dora dug in her heels like this, not now that her daughter was grown and even more stubborn than Andromeda herself had been at the same age, but still..."I don't like it," she managed to say.
"You just hate him because he's a werewolf."
Andromeda sighed. "Like everyone else in the wizarding world, I was raised to think rather poorly of werewolves..."
"I never thought you would be the one to trot out those dusty old bigotries..."
"Let me finish." To Andromeda's surprise, Dora fell silent. "I was saying, I was raised to think rather poorly of werewolves, but I'm willing to admit I might be wrong. I don't want to be my parents all over again, Dora. I just don't think the two of you will be happy..."
"Why. Not." Dora's face was set, her chin lifted in defiance, and Andromeda knew Dora would fight tooth and nail for Remus Lupin, come what may. But would he fight for her?
Andromeda twisted her hands in her lap. "He's been playing with you all year. Come here. No, go away. No, come here. No, go away. And now he decides he wants to marry you after all, after his old schoolteacher gives him a talking-to? What kind of man..."
"The best man I've ever known," said Dora. "The matter is settled. Now if you don't mind, I've got an appointment at the courthouse."
"If this is what you really want," said Andromeda, "you have my blessing. But if he ever hurts you--"
When, Andromeda corrected herself in her mind.
"--If he ever hurts you, you will always be welcome here."
Ted folded up the Prophet and set it on the breakfast table with a quiet solemnity. "I suppose we'd better be going into hiding, then. If they think for a moment I'm going to register...'Dromeda, this is just like something that happened in the Muggle world fifty years ago. It starts with a registry, and it ends with death. They already know where we live..."
There was a long silence, and Andromeda knew he was thinking, as she was, of the Death Eaters' visit earlier in the fall. Sometimes her bones still ached when the weather was damp, and sometimes Ted screamed in his sleep.
"I'm not going," she said.
"Are you mad? They'll kill you!"
"I'm a pureblood. They won't."
"Andromeda. Please. They hate you as much as they hate me; they hate you for being married to me."
"If they come, I'll tell them we've split up. They ought to leave me alone, then."
Ted's face froze, then seemed to crumple. "Is that...is that what this is, then?"
The look on his face pained her more than the Cruciatus. She could read in it the fear that had festered in him for twenty-five years, the fear that she regretted her choice. "No," she whispered, placing her hands on either side of his face, praying he could see the truth of her love in her eyes. "Never. I'm only staying here in case Dora needs me."
Months later, Andromeda realized that on some level she had known this would be their last night, though she hadn't known which of them would fall. There was nothing of the furtive urgency they'd had when they were young and rebellious, nor of the comfortable ease they'd settled into over the years. It was a sacrament that night. Hushed and reverent, they memorized each other's skin anew.
The night Voldemort attacked Hogwarts, Remus dropped Dora and Teddy at Andromeda's house. He kissed his wife, then his son, and Andromeda watched quietly, trying to decipher Remus's expression. It seemed he was more tender with the baby, but then, he was a reticent man; Andromeda couldn't be sure. She hoped she was wrong and that he loved her daughter as a wife, not only as the mother of his child.
"I may not be back," she heard him say. Dora embraced him one more time, and then he was gone.
Dora whirled around to face Andromeda. "I've got to ask you a favor."
Andromeda felt a sinking sensation in her stomach; she was pretty sure she knew what Dora was going to ask. Sure enough, Dora pressed Teddy into her arms. There were tears on Dora's cheeks, but her chin was lifted in determination.
"I've got to go," she said. "Not to fight, of course. Just to be there. I have to see..."
Andromeda knew Dora was lying even if Dora didn't know it herself; Dora could no more watch her loved ones fighting without pitching in than she could avoid tripping over a loose shoelace. "I can't stop you," she said.
Dora gave Andromeda a sad smile. They embraced, the baby held for a moment in the protective circle of their arms.
"You'll be careful?"
"Yes," said Dora, and this, too, was a lie.
"I love you."
"And I love you, Mum."
The pop of Dora's Disapparation woke Teddy. He raised his voice in an ear-piercing keening, and Andromeda felt the sudden urge to do the same.
Andromeda knew the woman on the doorstep instantly, though she was much changed. The once-silken hair hung in colorless tangles; the rose-petal cheeks were now ashen. The woman's hand trembled as she reached for Andromeda.
Andromeda took a step back. "Cissy. What do you want? Have you come to finish me off, then?"
Narcissa's body trembled with a great sigh. "No. I came because...'Dromeda, have you heard?"
"Minerva owled me this morning," she said. There was no reason to tell Cissy how she had read the note again and again until the letters blurred and swam before finally coalescing again into the same horrible message. "I expect you've come to gloat?"
"I came to say I'm sorry. Your little girl...she was a hero; I wish I'd known her." Narcissa's eyes shimmered with unshed tears.
Andromeda felt something give in her, as if an old, almost forgotten shard of ice in her heart had melted. "And your Draco?"
"He lives," said Narcissa, and Andromeda felt a hot sharp pang--how is that bigoted little brat still alive and my Dora...my Dora...--but this was Cissy, and Cissy was apologizing and it was a hope she'd always carried, hidden, even from herself. Andromeda reached out, clasped Narcissa tightly in her arms.
Neither of them spoke for several minutes. Then--"Bella's gone."
Andromeda sighed. It was relief that the world was safe from her now, and it was regret that she hadn't been stopped sooner, and it was grief, too, not for the woman Bellatrix had become, but for the girl she had been.
"I know," said Narcissa, as though she understood every emotion, every meaning, that had been in that sigh.
"What will you do now?"
"I don't know. There's to be an inquiry, and if we...if we walk out of it free, I expect we'll go abroad for a while."
Andromeda nodded. "Godspeed, Cissy."
"I'm off to the Potters'," announced Teddy, dropping a quick kiss onto the top of Andromeda's head.
Andromeda chuckled. "You were just there last night."
"Wouldn't want them to forget me, Gran!"
"Who can forget a handsome young fellow with turquoise hair, I ask you?"
Teddy laughed, grabbing his backpack and Disapparating.
Andromeda looked wistfully at the spot where he'd just stood. She couldn't blame him, not really, for going off to the Potters' all the time. Their house was a riot of loud children, and there was that pretty daughter of Bill and Fleur's who was always there too...
She glanced across the room at the empty armchair where Ted should be sitting, going gray and stout as she grew gray and gaunt; she smiled sadly at the torchiere lamp that hadn't been knocked over since 1998. While I...I'm an old woman with a head full of ghosts.