Summary: Andromeda starts receiving mysterious letters.
Pairing/Characters: Andromeda/Rabastan and Andromeda/Ted
Notes: Written for Bex (DobbyRocksSocks) for the Gift Giving Extravaganza. I hope you like it.
The first letter came after her daughter was born. There was no return address and no indicator of who sent it. It was just a simple message; one word in fact.
Andromeda showed it to Ted but he seemed completely unconcerned by it.
"It's strange, but I don't think it's anything to worry about." Ted's voice was completely calm and distracted. Holding his new baby girl might have something to do with it but Andromeda wasn't impressed.
She let her frustration and worry go, though. It was only a few days after Nymphadora had been born so she was too tired to fight with him. She wasn't all that worried either after all. It came in the muggle post. If Death Eaters wanted to scare her, they would use owls.
She tucked the letter in her bedside table and forgot about it.
The next letter came almost three years later. Nymphadora picked it up from the letter box and ran towards her mother. Andromeda turned around just as Nymphadora went tumbling.
"Ouch," the three year old said without a hint of tears. It wasn't the first time Nymphadora had fallen over so she barely noticed it anymore.
"Mummy!" she called after pushing herself off the ground.
"What is it?" Andromeda was trying to hide her smile. Nymphadora may be use to falling over but she didn't like it when her mother laughed at her falls.
"You have a letter."
Andromeda frowned and took the letter from her daughter's hands. The moment she looked at the writing on the front she was reminded of the letter she received after giving birth. The writing was the same.
"Thank you, Nymphadora. Please go inside and wash up," Andromeda said looking at her daughter's dirty hands.
Nymphadora scowled at her mother but did as she was told, stomping all the way upstairs and slamming the door shut behind her.
Andromeda rolled her eyes at her daughter before looking down at the letter and turning it over. Just like the last letter, there was no return address and no indicator of who the sender was. Andromeda figured there might be a name in the letter but she doubted it. There wasn't one last time.
The funny thing was the handwriting reminded her of another's hand writing. Someone she tried to forget about nowadays. It can't be him, she thought, ignoring the way her heart jumped at the thought.
Pulling the envelope open she pulled out the small note. It was similar to the last letter as it only had one word on the paper but this time it wasn't a positive one.
Andromeda frowned. The person writing it seemed to think that she knew what they were talking about but she had no idea. It had just been a normal day, a normal week really. The only difference to any other week was the absence of her husband who was currently on an Order mission.
She tried to forget about the letter but it stayed with her for the next three days. It wasn't until Albus Dumbledore arrived and informed her that her husband was currently unconscious in St Mungo's that she finally stopped thinking about the letter.
The third letter came only a month later. Andromeda didn't want to open it. She'd spend almost a week at the hospital with her husband and it was only when she was allowed to bring him home that she remembered the letter.
She didn't know what to think anymore.
Andromeda turned the letter over in her hand a few times. She hadn't shown Ted the letter and he was out today. There was something in her that was telling her to keep them hidden but she didn't like hiding things from her husband. He was the one she loved after all.
The letter stared at her in her hands and she couldn't resist just having a look. Maybe this time there would be a name to go along with the word.
She pulled the letter open and stared at the piece of paper. It wasn't just one word this time, it was four.
I'm happy he's okay.
Andromeda wanted to throw the letter away. She tucked it in the draw with the other two.
The letters came regularly after that. After the full sentence arrived, the sender started writing more and more until full paragraphs were arriving. There were never any details about the sender; rather they were always about something related to her. Andromeda felt like she should be scared; she practically had a stalker after all, but there was something familiar about them. Something she couldn't place.
She found herself anxiously awaiting the next letter, sometimes waiting by the mailbox for the mailman just to see if he'd written again. The letters would usually arrive every second week, but there were some weeks they wouldn't arrive and she would worry. What if something happened to the mysterious sender and she never heard from him again?
She started writing back during a time when she didn't hear from him for almost two months.
Andromeda desperately wanted to know what happened to him and found herself grieving the loss. When the first month went past with no contact, she couldn't handle the lack of contact anymore. She wrote to him for the first time and it made her feel better.
When a letter arrived almost three weeks after that, Andromeda replied to it. She may not be able to send them, but maybe one day she could show them to him.
It was the year her daughter turned eight when the news came about the downfall of the Dark Lord. Andromeda was ecstatic and so was her husband. Nymphadora didn't really understand—they'd tried to keep her away from the war as much as possible—but she could understand that her parents were happier than they'd ever been and was happy because of that.
Andromeda's happiness faded when she received a letter with only three small words. It had been years since the last short letter and it scared her a little.
I love you.
She felt a strange mixture of warmth, guilt and dread well up in her when she read the words she'd only ever heard from her husband before.
Andromeda waited for the next letter but it never came. One month came and went, then two. Soon it had almost been a year and Andromeda had almost given up on ever hearing from him again. Life went on, but she never forgot.
She tried to ignore the timing of the last letter and how in coincided with the Dark Lord's defeat, but she wasn't completely successful. She refused to acknowledge what she already knew about her secret admirer.
"Andy, you're drifting again."
Ted was worried about her. It wasn't like her to be so distracted and unhappy. She should be feeling so much better, but she couldn't bring herself to completely fake it all either.
"Sorry," she muttered to her husband but she didn't miss the worried look he sent her. She ignored that as well.
"What are these?"
Andromeda looked over at her husband who was holding a letter in his hand. She didn't even need to think about what it was; she already knew.
"Andromeda, what are these?"
Her mouth went dry but she cleared her throat and answered as best she could. "They're letters." Andromeda was glad Nymphadora was at Hogwarts now. She didn't want to have this conversation with her daughter in the house.
"Don't be evasive. I know they're letters. What I want to know is why you have letters hidden under the bed and why they read like they're from some sort or boyfriend or something?"
Ted was a usually calm person; almost too calm. It was something that Andromeda liked when they started dating, but she knew he could get mad. She'd only seen it two other times: when Nymphadora ran away through the floo and ended up in Australia and when Rodolphus threatened to hurt Andromeda in the worst possible way.
She'd now seen him angry a third time and this time it was directed at her.
"He's not a boyfriend. I don't have a boyfriend. I have a husband, you." Her words were strong, but she knew they weren't the whole truth. She knew she had feelings for the mysterious letter sender and despite there being almost five years since the last letter, she still had feelings for him.
"Don't lie to me," Ted yelled, throwing the letter he had in his hand to the ground.
Andromeda would have jumped if she hadn't grown up in a Black household. As it was, she just blinked her eyes in shock. "I'm not lying. I don't have a boyfriend. I don't even know his name and I've never sent a letter back." She didn't tell him about the ones she wrote that were hidden in a corner of her wardrobe.
"Then why did you keep the letters?"
Andromeda didn't have an answer to that and Ted quickly noticed. He closed his eyes in obvious pain before disappearing out of their bedroom door.
She followed him out. "Ted—"
"Don't!" he said, turning around to glare at her with wet eyes. "Just, don't."
Ted barely spoke to her after that. When Nymphadora came home they were the perfect happy family but while she was at Hogwarts they lived separate lives. Andromeda figured that she would feel hurt by this and she was, but her grief for her secret admirer was stronger.
It scared her.
When Ted finally came to her in Nymphadora's sixth year and asked to go to marriage counselling, Andromeda wondered if it would just be better if they just ended things there.
She agreed to go. She couldn't grieve for a man with no name forever.
It took a long time but Andromeda was starting to forget about the mysterious letter man. It started on Nymphadora's graduation from Hogwarts. The whole day flew past and Andromeda didn't think about the man and his letters for the whole day.
She felt both proud and sad when she realised.
After that day it became a lot easier to forget about the man that made her feel so alive all those years ago. His letters were never thrown out, although Ted thought otherwise, but there were no longer pulled out and read during Andromeda's free moments.
She no longer wrote to him either.
Before she knew it her life was back to the way it should be. Her and Ted were once again in obvious love and enjoying their time as a married couple without issues. Ted had never forgotten about the letters but he stopped bringing them up about three years ago. Andromeda could honestly say that she was happy with her life. She barely noticed the missing piece.
The letters were back.
Andromeda stared at the letter for almost five minutes when she picked it up from the letter box. Emotions clouded her mind and she couldn't hold onto a single one.
She glanced around the front yard once she came to her senses and shoved the letter into her robe pocket. She didn't want anyone, especially Ted, to see it. She brought it inside locked herself in the bathroom and stared at the letter some more. She couldn't figure out if she should just open it or throw it away.
She didn't open the letter but she didn't throw it away either.
The letters kept coming at the same rate as before. Andromeda hadn't opened a single one but she couldn't bring herself to throw them away either.
It was all too confusing, but she didn't have much time to worry about the letters. Soon the war started up completely. Albus Dumbledore was killed, Hogwarts was taken over, her daughter was fighting against evil witches and wizards and her husband was on the run.
Aurors would knock on her door and ask her questions she didn't know the answer to.
Do you know the location of any Death Eaters?
Do you know where the Lestrange brothers are? You were close to one in school, weren't you?
Where were you on the night of Albus Dumbledore's death?
Andromeda answered all questions as honestly as she could, but she couldn't help the nagging feeling that she was forgetting something important.
Andromeda ignored the insistent knocking on her door. She'd ignored everything since the war ended.
Everything was wrong.
She was alone.
Not completely alone, she thought with guilty relief. Her grandson was still here and alive. He lived with her now, though he was with his Godfather at the moment.
That's why she hadn't got changed today. She didn't have any reason to be presentable.
The knocks were still coming but they barely bothered Andromeda. Nothing bothered her anymore. It was only when there was a soft click and the sound of the door being swung open that she decided to get off the couch and investigate.
She may not have much of a life without her husband or daughter, but her grandson needed her.
"Who's there?" she demanded. Despite her best efforts, her voice was weak with disuse and grief.
"Andromeda, do you remember me?"
Andromeda's breath caught in her throat and she stumbled back. She felt fear fill her but also indescribable desire. She raised her wand high and straightened her back. If he was here to kill her, he was going to have a tough fight.
"Rabastan, what are you doing in my home?"
The man she hadn't seen since her Hogwarts years stepped into the room with his arms raised above his head. "I'm not here to hurt you, Andy."
Andromeda growled when he used her nick name and he took a step back at the sound. "I said what are you doing here not what are you not doing here." She added a sneer to her words and he took another step back.
"I came to talk to you." His words seemed so sincere and innocent that Andromeda flashed back to her third year in Hogwarts and the moment they met.
"What are you doing in the Owlery, firstie?"
"Sending a letter."
"At this time?"
"Are you sure?"
"You don't sound so sure, so are you sure?"
"I'm sending a letter."
"Good. Remember to be sure when answering a question and don't look so innocent, the Slytherins will eat you alive."
"Why?" Andromeda demanded, pulling herself out of her thoughts.
Confusion filled Rabastan's face and he took a slight step forward before stopping when Andromeda raised her wand at his movements. "Didn't you get my letter?"
Andromeda closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "I thought they were from you," she whispered in despair. "The timing was too coincidental."
"Thought it was me? I told you it was me a couple of letters ago. I also told you I was coming today." Rabastan took another step forward and this time Andromeda made no move to stop him. Encouraged, Rabastan took a few more steps forward until he was an arm's length away from Andromeda.
"I haven't read them since they started coming again after you broke out of prison," she said almost regretfully.
Rabastan looked hurt when she opened her eyes again.
"What did you expect," she snapped. "You start sending me letters and then stop suddenly after telling me you love me. I didn't know what to think or what to do then Ted found the letters and our marriage almost ended and once we'd finally fixed everything, he dies because of you and your Death Eater mates." Andromeda could feel anger swell in her and she clenched her hand not holding her wand to prevent casting a spell.
"I. . . I'm sorry," he whispered. "I'm sorry for everything, but I never took part in the second Wizarding war, I promise."
"How am I meant to believe you?" Andromeda collapsed on her couch, now sure that he wasn't here to kill her.
"Why do you think the Aurors were questioning you about me when the Aurors were practically run by the Dark Lord after Dumbledore died?" Rabastan said with a slight sneer as he said Dumbledore's name. He never did like the man.
Andromeda had wondered about that and it made sense. If Rabastan ditched the Dark Lord after he was broken out of Azkaban, the Dark Lord would be searching for him to kill him. "Why should I care?"
"Because I sent you letters through the muggle post on muggle stationary without any magic."
Andromeda blinked at him and then his words made sense. Rabastan Lestrange, muggle hater and pureblood used muggle post to woo her. It may have been something small but for someone like Rabastan, it was a huge commitment.
She could feel something stir within her, but her grief for her broken family was too overwhelming to let it shine through. "I can't," she whispered, burying her head in her hands. "Not yet. It's too soon."
"I know. I just want you to know that I'm here and I'm not going anywhere. Not this time."
Andromeda was surprised by how much that meant to her and she pulled her head out of her hands to smile at him. "Thank you." She pushed herself off the couch and then remembered all the letters she'd written to her not-so-mysterious letter sender. She dashed out of the room and came back with her hand written letters.
"Wait for me," she said, handing over the stack. "Please."
Rabastan looked down at the letters and his eyes widened when he realised what they were. With more hope in his eyes than before, he nodded his head. "Of course I'll wait. I'll wait forever," he said before disappearing back out her front door.
Andromeda went back to her grief, burying herself in blankets on the couch and letting it all out. She let herself forget about Rabastan and his sincere offer, but his words stayed with her and helped her through the grief that threatened to consume her. She had one more thing to look forward to now.