For Bex. Much love, darling.
A/N: The lyrics in italics are from "Savior" by Rise Against
But seldom do these words ring true when I'm constantly failing you.
She's waiting for him at the Astronomy Tower. Her chocolate curls gently whip against her face in the cool night breeze, and the moonlight casts a glow upon her that makes her look so much more than human. His heart skips a beat at the sight of her.
"Andi?" he whispers, approaching her.
Her eyes find him, and he stops. Her face is not as kind and carefree as it usually is. There is a darkness in her eyes, something that pains him to see.
"Not that I mind an excuse to see you, but what's this about?" he asks, his confidence draining. "You look like you have a lot on your mind, love."
"Is it true, Rabastan?" she asks, her voice soft but saturated with pain. "I've heard whispers, but I won't believe them unless I hear it from you."
He slumps slightly. He doesn't have to ask what she has heard. The common room has been alive with whispers of the Dark Lord lately, of those who are looking to join him when they leave.
"Tell me it isn't true," she says, desperation in her gentle voice.
She moves closer, cupping his face in her hands, kissing him. "Tell me you aren't. You can't do this."
Guilt is heavy in his chest. When Rodolphus had asked him to join the Dark Lord by his side, Rabastan had agreed without hesitation. He would follow his brother into hell if asked. But now, Andromeda's hands still on his face, her breath tickling across his skin, he almost wishes he could change his mind.
"It's true," he says quietly.
She pulls away, tears in her eyes. "I didn't want to believe it. I had a nightmare, you know. You joined him, and you were in so much pain."
He reaches for her, and he's grateful when she doesn't pull away. "I'm sorry, Andi. But Rodolphus- I couldn't disappoint him."
"So, you'd rather disappoint me?"
"I don't want to disappoint anyone! Merlin, there's no winning for me, is there?"
She rests her head against his chest. "I wish you wouldn't. Please, please change your mind, Rabastan. You can't do this."
"It isn't so bad. Rodolphus has joined him. And Bellatrix. Your sister. You-"
"I'm nothing like my sister," Andromeda says sharply, pulling back. "Bella is heartless. Rodolphus isn't much better. But you… I thought you were different, Rabastan."
"I am different!" he insists.
She shakes her head. "You were always so kind. So gentle. Was that all an act for me? It seems that I don't even know who you are," she whispers, looking at him with accusing eyes.
Rabastan drops his gaze. He can not look at her. "It want an act," he says. "Please, don't hate me."
"Goodnight, Rabastan," she says, pushing past him and disappearing through the door.
That's when she said "I don't hate you. Boy, I just want to save you while there's still something left to save.
The Dark Mark burns against his arm. "Well done," Rodolphus says, smiling at him with adoration. "You've made me proud, little brother."
And once upon a time, those words would be enough to make Rabastan happy. Now, he only feels a sinking weight in his stomach.
"Coming, coming!" Rabastan calls, and the urgent knocking at his door continues, louder. He throws the door open, wand raised. "It's three in the fucking morning! Have some respe- Andi? I- I'm sorry. I wasn't expecting you."
Without waiting for an invitation, she enters the flat.
"Why are you here?" Rabastan asks, and he can't hide the hope in his voice. "I thought you hated me."
She smiles at him, and he can see the old Andromeda that he knows and loves shine through. "I don't hate you. I wish I could. It would make things so much easier," she sighs.
"Then what's so important that you had to come here at three in the morning?" he asks, fighting a yawn. "It's hardly a conventional hour for a visit."
Andromeda sits on the couch, gesturing for Rabastan to join her. He follows.
"It's not too late, Rabastan. You can change your mind."
He draws back his sleeve, revealing the skull and serpent. "I doubt changing my mind would be easy," he says dryly.
"Easy, no. But possible."
Rabastan shakes his head. "Do you know what that would mean for me? For my brother? What do you think would happen to Rodolphus if I just turned and ran?" he demands.
Andromeda's hopeful expression fades. "I just wanted to save you," she says softly.
Rabastan climbs to his feet. "Bit late for that, Andi. Does Ted know that you're still so worried about me?"
He laughs, a dry, bitter sound. "Thought not. You should leave now."
Andromeda starts for the door, hesitating with her hand on the knob. "I do love you, you know," she whispers. "I wish love could be enough."
I told her "I love love you, girl, but I'm not the answer to the questions you still have."
He's surprised to see her at his cell. "Didn't know I could have visitors," he laughs. "Is it my birthday? You know, I've lost track of the days long ago."
Andromeda is silent. Her hand rests on her pregnant belly.
"Well, I see you've moved on," he says, leaning forward, his hands gripping the bars. "Come to gloat? Come to show me the life I might have had if I'd listened to you?"
"I only wanted to see you. To ask… To ask…" Andromeda trails off, shaking her head.
"Doesn't matter why I did it," he says. "The less you know, the better."
She reaches out, touching his hand through the bars. "Rabastan…"
"I can see it in your eyes. You have a big question to ask," he notes in amusement. "I'm surprised you don't already know."
She pulls away with a sigh. Perhaps it might have hurt him once, but now, hollow and cold from the Dementors, he barely even cares.
"I love you, Andi," he says quietly.
"And it wasn't enough," she says. "Was it worth it?"
Rabastan returns to the shadows of his cell without another word. Andromeda waits, watching him. Still, he does not speak.
"Have a nice life," she says at last before turning and walking away.
Rabastan rests his head against the cold wall. He laughs, a twisted, desperate laugh that quickly dissolves into tears.
One thousand miles away. There's nothing left to say.