This is dedicated to the wonderful DobbyRocksSocks. I hope you like it Bex!
Her mocha curls fanned out around them as they lay beneath the night sky. He pulled her closer to his side and placed a kiss against her temple. She turned to him and smiled and he found himself lost in her eyes. "I love you," he whispered, lacing his fingers through hers. He wished he never had to let them go.
"I love you too. I always will." She murmured as she buried her face into his chest. "Please don't leave me."
"Never, not if I can help it." He smiled. He knew he did not deserve her. He was lucky to have Andromeda's love and he hoped to never break his promise.
"Brother, I need your assistance." His brother entered the room, his wife at his heels. Rabastan looked up from his spot near the fire, letting his book rest open on his lap.
"I'm sorry. I'm afraid I can't be of any help to you. I will be going out shortly." He loved his brother, of course, but, sometimes his brother took the things his father had taught them too seriously. Sometimes he scared him, with his blood mania and radical ideas. He only became worse after marrying Bella, who clung to his arm with an eager, hungry look in her eyes that, Rabastan was certain, had little to do with his brother and more to do with whatever activities they had planned for the evening.
"Please, brother, it won't take long at all." Rodolphus insisted.
Rabastan sighed and placed his book on the small stand beside his favorite wing-back chair and stood. "Fine but, I will tell you I am not interested in any of your blood supremacy. So, if you plan to harm anyone tonight I will not be joining in on your festivities."
"I would think not." Rodolphus smirked, one side of his mouth curling upwards as he motioned for his brother to follow them. "Don't worry brother. You will enjoy yourself, I promise."
He was certain he would not enjoy himself in the least but, decided that point was not worth arguing and followed his brother out into the garden where a tall, lanky boy with sandy hair stood waiting for them. Rabastan stood between his brother and the young man. His bother closed his eyes, as did Bella and their friend. He winced as his brother clutched his forearm with brute force and closed his eyes as the familiar surroundings of his home began to fade away.
His brother gripped his arms with bruising force. He tried to turn his head away; he closed his eyes, tried to ignore the screams but, every time he tried to look away his brother whispered in his ear.
"Look at them, Rabastan, look at them. They are paying the price for choosing the wrong side. They have refused to give up the child and his parents and now they will pay the price."
The woman writhing on the floor let out a scream of agony. Rabastan's stomach lurched as his sister-in-law laughed, her wand pointed at the woman, as smile spread across her face. Demented and screaming for answers she jabbed her wand again and the woman cried out.
"Make them stop," Rabastan pleaded. "They are going to kill them."
"No brother, you are." Rodolphus released him from his vice-like grip and pushed him forward with such force he stumbled.
Bella lowered her wand and looked at him. A shiver ran up his spine as their eyes met; his tinged with tears of sympathy and hers alight with excitement.
"No." He stood up. "I refuse. I do not care what you do to me brother, what you say to me. I will not harm these people. They have done nothing to me or those I love. Now I am going home."
His brother seized his wrist as he closed his eyes to apparate. He dared a look into his brother's eyes. "You are a coward. You are weak. You do not understand what needs to be done but, soon you will." Rodolphus looked at him with disgust.
Rabastan jerked his hand away and closed his eyes. He fell to his knees in the front garden of his family's estate, his hands clutched to his midsection. He rose feebly and went inside to sit beside the fire.
What would happen now? Would he find himself in trouble for what they had done? He had not taken any part in the activities that night? Would the aurors believe him if they were caught?
And more importantly, what if Andromeda didn't believe him? What if he lost her?
It was only three days later he found himself being carted off to Azkaban. He begged and pleaded with the auror's to hear him out, to listen to his story, but, they refused. They bound him and drug him back to the ministry to be booked and then delivered them to Azkaban.
Bella screamed her pride as they were dragged to the fortress. Rabastan was stoic. He simply walked with Alastar Moody, his back straight and his shoulder's held high.
The sandy haired boy, whose name he had just found out was Barty, looked anxious. He argued, saying it was a mistake that they knew who his father was and they should release him immediately.
Rabastan, throat raw and voice hoarse from pleading, ended the line. He knew at that moment that everything he had, everything he had worked for, everything he had wanted, everything that he loved, was gone. Gone forever.
There were so many witches and wizards in the high stands it was hard to focus on any one face. They all stared down at him, accusingly, with hate filled eyes. He looked around the room looking for a familiar face, a friendly face.
That was when he saw her, sitting in the back of the room, her eyes wet and puffy with tears. Her face was ashen and her hair was disheveled. She was a woman in mourning and he was man with a million words to say with absolutely no opportunity to say them.
He heard Bella's joyful shrieks and passionate exclamations. He heard Barty Crouch Sr. sentence them to life in Askaban. He heard Barty call out for his father's mercy, for his forgiveness.
"You are no son of mine."
Rabastan watched as Andromeda stood, hands trembling and tears streaming down her cheeks. She moved swiftly toward the exit.
She did not turn around when he called her name.
She gently sat young Teddy in his crib. It had been six months since the final battle. She had finally fallen into a routine caring for Teddy, helping the survivors, and tending to the graves of her husband, daughter and son-in-law.
It wasn't a happy routine. Every time she looked into the deep brown eyes of her grandson she thought of her daughter. Every time she cooked herself dinner and carried the meal to the table she expected to see her husband there, waiting for her. It was comfortable to go about a day to day routine, to not think about what she was doing but simply acting. It wasn't an easy comfort. But it was comfort none the less. Without it she was not sure she would have survived.
She grabbed her cup of tea and her cloak and made her way out into the cool October air. She sat in the rocking chair on her porch and stared up into the sky. She liked to pretend that Ted and Remus and Dora where up there, looking down on her, watching her, and smiling. She sipped her tea and breathed in the damp smell of impending winter.
Like every night since she received news of the loss of her family, she stayed there until the early hours of the morning, clutching her tea cup and listening to the sound of silence.
When the first streaks of light began to kiss the horizon, she stood. That was when she noticed the small, white envelope on the door mat. Her name was scribbled across the back in an untidy scrawl she felt she should recognize but couldn't.
She bent down and picked up the envelope and carried it inside. She sat at the small wooden table and ripped the seal. Inside was a single piece of parchment. She unfolded it. It displayed the same handwriting, her eyes danced over the words:
I am sorry Andromeda. I truly am. I tried to protect her but, I couldn't. I tried to save her for you but, I couldn't. I am sorry I let you down again.
Who was RL? The only RL she knew of was her son-in-law but he had lost his life in the battle beside her daughter, his wife. Who else could it be and why were they writing to her now?
The notes continued to come, week after week. Always short and always signed with the same two letters. RL. It had become another part of her routine, going out to enjoy the stars and finding another secret note on the welcome mat.
On Friday morning she clutched the note and read it with eagers eyes.
My Dearest Andromeda,
I know I have let you down. I know I deserve nothing from you but, I wish to come to you. Wish to speak to you. I have so many things I wish to say. I will come tonight and I want you to know you have nothing to fear from me. If you wish me to leave I will go without question. If you choose to listen, I hope I can somehow explain.
I will be seeing you.
Her heart fluttered in her chest. She dropped the note on table, a million thoughts racing through her mind. She could not possibly be considering having this man at her house, with her grandson? She could not possibly be excited about the idea of finally meeting this mysterious man? She knew nothing of him. She would have to send him away. She could not put her grandson, or herself, in danger.
The day passed quickly and she found herself growing less and less tense as the day progressed. She knew she should be worried. She did not know the man – or woman – who was sending her these letters. They could be dangerous.
But she felt a strange sense of calm at the idea of meeting the person behind the notes. She somehow knew they met her – or Teddy – no harm. Of that she was certain.
She had just put Teddy to bed when the stranger arrived. The gently rapping of fist on wood caught her attention and she closed the door to the nursery before crossing the room.
She flattened the skirt of her dress with her hands and took a deep breath before pulling open the door.
She gasped when she saw the man on the other side. His hair was still as black as ebony and shaggy. His bright blue eyes shone out behind pale skin and in his hand he held a bouquet of white roses. Her favorite.
"It's you?" She stared at him with wide brown eyes. His hands shook and he clutched them, and the bouquet of flowers close to his chest in an attempt to hide his nervousness. He nodded. He had thought he was prepared for this moment, prepared to see her face to face but, standing there, just mere inches from her, he knew he had been wrong. His heart raced, his hands trembled and his palms were sweaty.
"Hello, Andromeda." His voice shook as he thrust the flowers out toward her and silently cursed his own stupidity. "I got these for you. I know they are your favorite."
"Thank you." He could see the confusion in her eyes, the internal struggle to decide whether she should turn him away or find out what he had to say. Andromeda had always been curious, inquisitive and he prayed her curiosity was enough to make her hear him out.
"I just want to talk. May I come in?"
Andromeda nodded and stepped aside. He thanked her and stood just inside as she closed the door. "What is it you want to talk about?"
"I need to explain…" he began.
"No," she cut him off, holding one hand up to silence him. "That was in the past. I moved on. You do not need to explain to me why you made the choice you did. I'm not even entirely sure how you are here right now and not back in Azkaban with the lot of them but, you owe me no explanation about that night. What I want to know is why you have been sending me these letters…"
"I know the past is in the past, Andromeda. I know that you moved on but, I need the chance to explain. To tell you what happened that night; to apologize for ever letting you down." His eyes met hers and though hers burned brightly she did not object. Instead she motioned for him to sit at the table. He sat in one of the wooden chairs and she took the seat across from him. "I did not do it, Andie. I did not hurt those Aurors."
She gaged him, her eyes locked on his. He knew she could always tell when she was lying and when she leaned back in her chair, her brow furrowed in confusion, he knew she believed him.
"I was home that night, reading, waiting to come and pick you up for our date when Rodolphus and Bella came to call. They asked me to go with them and I initially refused. Now, I wish I had been more persistent..." he paused and looked down at his hands, clutched tightly in front of him on the table. He rolled his thumbs and sighed, "I knew what he was but, he was still my brother. I hoped that one day he would realize how wrong he was but, I should have realized that would never happen. When he said that they would not be harming anyone that night I agreed to go with them. I followed them out and Barty Crouch Jr. was there. Then I did not know who he was. They apparated, Rodolphus took me with him, I did not know where we going. When we arrived the couple was having dinner…." He paused again as all the memories flooded his mind once more. His eyes burned with unshed tears and his throat burned. He looked away, ashamed at the idea of Andromeda seeing him that way.
He first felt the warmth of her touch as she grabbed his hand and wrapped it in her own. The sensation reeled him, his stomach dropped and his heart fluttered. "What happened?" she urged.
He nodded, "They didn't even let them eat. Barty and Bella ripped them from his chairs and Rodolphus grabbed me. They threw them to the floor and tortured them, over and over. I pleaded with them to stop but, they refused. Rodolphus told me they were getting what they deserved, that I needed to see what happened to those how disobeyed his master." He paused to wipe a away a stray tear, "They wanted me to do it, Andromeda, they wanted me to kill them. I wouldn't do it. Rodolphus told me I was weak. I left. I went home and went to see you. I know I should have reported it, I should have turned him in but, he was my family. No matter what he was I loved him and I couldn't imagine doing that to him. I suppose that makes Rodolphus right, I am weak. I should have done what was right, not easy."
She squeezed his hand and shook her head, "No. I understand. My sister was the same way. I always hoped she would change too. Then I saw you all there in that courtroom and I accepted she never would. I thought you had gone with them Rabastan, I am sorry."
"No, you have nothing to be sorry about. I wanted to tell you. I wanted to make sure you understood but, I never got the chance. I am so sorry that I let you down. I loved you, I will always love you, and I never wanted to let you down. I promised you I would never leave and I lied. I failed you."
"No, Rabastan. I should have realized you were never capable of doing such a thing. I should have done more to help you. I loved you, I knew you, I should have known you would never hurt anyone, good or bad. I let you down."
He smiled weakly and wiped away the tears streaming down her cheeks, "No. No you didn't. My memories of you kept me alive. This moment, a chance to explain everything to you, gave me a reason to live, a reason to survive that place." He grabbed her hands once more and held them tight. "I am glad you moved on. I am glad you found happiness. I am sorry that you lost your husband and daughter."
"What did you mean by your letters? Why didn't you just come to me?"
"I was afraid. Afraid you would turn me away. I had to work up the courage to meet you. We aren't all born with the heart of a lioness, Andromeda." His smile faded, "I was there. I was at the battle. After the break out I hid. I found an empty hunting cottage in a small village in Ireland and I hid there. When I heard about the final battle I got there as soon as I could. I saw her and I knew she was your daughter. I saw her eyes and smile and courage and I saw you. I tried to stop them but, I didn't make it in time. I am so sorry, Andromeda. "
Andromeda pulled her hands away and buried her face in them, the tears falling freely now. Her shoulders shook with her sobs and his heart broke for her. He moved closer, wrapping an arm around her slender frame to rub her back gently. "I should not have told you. I am sorry. I am so sorry."
Andromeda shook her head, "My daughter died a hero. I could not be more proud of her. My husband as well, I miss them dearly and it aches – there is a whole in my heart that will never heal – but, I know she would want me to be proud."
He nodded and looked to his shoes. His mind reeling, there were a million things he wanted to tell her. A million things he wanted to say but he did not know where to start.
They sat that way for some time, until Andromeda's tears faded and all that remained were the light tear stains upon her cheeks. She broke the silence. "I still have Teddy. I have to be strong for him. I have to tell him all of the amazing things his mother did. What she died for and all of the people his parents saved."
"He will be proud. It will not be easy but he will have you. You are amazing Andromeda, he will grow to be a wonderful man because of you."
Andromeda smiled her thanks, "Would you like to see him?"
He nodded. He had always wanted a family, a family with Andromeda, but, now the opportunity had long passed. She had made her own family.
He followed her down the hall to a white door and she pressed her fingers to her lips before slowly and quietly opening the door. He crept along beside her and stared down at the little boy, fast asleep in his crib. His eyes were closed and his hands were wrapped around a light blue baby blanket. His hair was a vibrant shade of aquamarine and his nose was short, his lips full.
Rabastan smiled as he stared down at the baby, he was truly beautiful.
They stood there for some time, in the quiet, and watched young Teddy Lupin sleep. When they had finally crept back to the living room, closing the door quietly behind them, the sun was just beginning to rise, yellow, pink and orange light mingled in the dark sky.
"I should go." He wanted to stay. He never wanted to be without her again but, this was not his home. This was not his life. Because of his cowardice he now lived a life of solitude. It relieved him to know she knew of his innocence but it did not change the distance that the years had forced between them. He smiled at her and took her hand gently, placing a gentle kiss upon it before making his way to the door.
"Rabastan,' He turned at the sound of her voice. "Will you come back again?"
He smiled, "I would love to Andromeda."
She smiled too. He slipped outside into the cool autumn air with a new outlook. He would see his beloved again and maybe, just maybe, he would not have to be alone after all. Maybe his chance at happiness was not gone forever.
an. I think this is the longest oneshot I have ever written. Even though this is not head canon, this is how I imagine Rodolphus in my mind. I really, really hope you enjoyed it Bex. I had so much fun (and might have teared up a bit) writing this for you.
disclaimer- I own nothing you recognize.
word count: 3,555
Reviews are always appreciated :)