My life was never really my own to live.

As a member of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black it should not have been surprising to me, but the older I got, the more suffocated I felt. I was trapped in the intricate web of my family's status and privilege, as well as their hateful beliefs. "You are superior, Andromeda," my mother would say, based solely on the notion that our name was synonymous with power, authority, and intelligence. I certainly felt the opposite.

The expectation was that I would finish school with high marks, get married by the age of twenty to a suitable pureblood bachelor, and have as many children- preferably sons- as possible. Perhaps I would work for a year or so as a secretary, but after marriage I would be responsible for running my husband's home and socializing with my peers about how much better we all were, discussing the latest fashions over petit fours.

If I could be responsible for my own destiny, I would have chosen a different life. I was lucky to grow up in a home with money and privilege, but my desires lay elsewhere. I wanted a life where I could have some sort of simple job where I could feel useful. I wanted a family who would cherish me for who I was, and where love would not be conditional on however my husband or children felt on any given topic.

I was taught as a child that to be a Black was to be better. We were an old and noble family, with the purest blood. If one's lineage could not be traced back for generations, they were inferior, as were those who had Muggle ancestry. We were not to be bested by muggleborn wizards, who by their nature were crude and stupid. Of course, I quickly realized that this sort of prejudiced thinking was ridiculous. Muggles had never done anything to me, despite what their ancestors may have done to mine, and I was surrounded by muggleborn witches and wizards whenever we went shopping in Diagon Alley and once I started school. They were just as able as I was to make potions and cast charms, and wands had seen fit to choose them. The bigotry and rhetoric of my family spouted made little sense for the latter reason alone.

Naturally, I could not just come out and say what I thought for fear of punishment. The head of our family, Arcturus Black, had punished better wizards than I for less, and I did not think it would be prudent to make enemies of my relatives as a child. No, I was biding my time, pretending to agree with their opinions while hiding my own, for my own benefit. If I behaved, my father would allow me to get a job out of school, and maybe, just maybe, I would be able to use it to avoid an arranged marriage. My Uncle Alphard was a bachelor and my Aunt Cassiopeia was unmarried, so why couldn't I follow that same path?

My father, Cygnus Black, hoped for sons and got three daughters instead, a fact which his sister and brother-in-law- my Aunt Walburga and Uncle Orion- often reminded him. Like the rest of our family, my father did not like muggleborns and viewed them with distaste, however, unlike his sister, he did not outwardly publicize that fact. Gone were the days of Gellert Grindelwald, and it was no longer acceptable to spew vitriolic hatred of Muggles or muggleborns. He would wait until it benefited him most to share what he truly thought.

As a child, it was never clear to me what my father did for a living. I knew that he was no stranger to dark magic, and that he often privately funded government movements and campaigns of known wizards who used it. Based on conversations heard at keyholes and comments made in passing by adults who did not think I would understand, I knew that he appraised the dark objects involved in his work, and that he often went on business trips to the continent.

It was no secret that I was his favorite child, likely due to my interest in reading and consuming knowledge, a trait that my sisters did not share. My father often allowed me to get away with things that my sisters would be reprimanded for, and he trusted that I would not bring shame to our family when unsupervised. He often told us that my older sister Bellatrix was the brawn, my younger sister Narcissa was the beauty, and I, the only one with any sense, was the brains.

By contrast, my mother, the once beautiful Druella Rosier, did not know what to do with me. My mother's only care in the world seemed to be our social standing. She was the embodiment of what a pureblood mother should be- needlessly obsessed with continuing her bloodline by betrothing her daughters to important and influential pureblood families, extraordinarily uptight about appearances, and unmerciful to those who she deemed unequal. Unlike my father, she made it known that muggleborns were the scum of the earth, with blood traitors being not much better. On more than one occasion her mouth had gotten her into trouble at gatherings, and Father often had the unsavory job of cleaning up after her.

My mother seemed to spend every waking moment out of the house socializing with her peers. Often my sisters and I were dragged with her, in the hopes that we would catch the eye of a Gamp or a Malfoy or a Bulstrode who was looking for a potential betrothal for their son. Vain beyond belief, she would insist that we look perfect and act docile, although only my sister Narcissa, our mother in miniature with her platinum blonde waves and clear blue eyes, ever got her approval.

Despite having inherited my father's dark hair and athletic and tall build, my older sister Bellatrix was neither of our parents' favorites. Always seeking their attention and approval, by the time Bella started Hogwarts, three years before me, she had latched on to parroting our mother's most spiteful beliefs about muggleborns and studying dark magic such as what my father interacted with for work. She was a wild child, as crazy as her curly hair, and that in combination with her distaste for muggleborns and love of dark magic led to her very nearly getting expelled from school on more than one occasion.

While I did love my sister, she made my life at school quite difficult. Bella held those she cared about to very high standards and expected them to share her ideals, and I often fell short. Her penchant for hexing and cursing students affected me as well, and very few people outside of Slytherin wanted to associate with me. If Bellatrix was a monster, then I must be too.

By the time she had graduated Hogwarts, I suspected that our parents might try to marry her off to a suitable pureblood as quickly as they could, just so that she would be someone else's responsibility. However, I didn't think that Bella would take to being told who to spend her life with well at all.

I was slightly closer with my other sister, Narcissa, who was only ten months my junior. She was sweet in her own way, but like our mother, she was obsessed with her own vanity and maintaining our image in pureblood society. Narcissa idolized our older sister, but was often afraid of Bellatrix's violence, as was I. The baby of the family, Cissy was spoiled by our mother, a fact which often led to her getting what she wanted at the expense of Bella and myself. She did truly care about us, but there was no question that Narcissa would always put herself before anyone else.

And then there was me, Andromeda, the middle child. Constantly surrounded by my family's hatred for those who were different from us, I wished that it would end and that we could all get along. I was not afraid of muggleborns, and much to my sisters' chagrin, at school I would not shy away from speaking with them and interacting with them if necessary. However, I was afraid of my family's wrath, and I always made sure that I was never overly friendly with them. Despite my curiosity, I kept my distance.

I didn't particularly enjoy the people my family associated with, or their children, who were supposed to be my friends. However, I knew that saying anything even hinting at that would have great repercussions not only on me, but on my sisters and parents as well. Naturally a quiet person anyway, my silence was often taken by my family and peers as approval and agreement of their problematic beliefs. My solace was reading, and I would retreat into the world of mystery novels when I no longer wanted to participate in whatever pureblood supremacy topic was the fad of the week. I threw myself into my schoolwork, desperately hoping that if I did well enough and was able to get a decent job that my father would let me continue working and not marry. I did not want to be a trophy wife.

Regardless, I wouldn't have made a good trophy wife anyway. Unlike my sisters, I wasn't pretty. Instead, I was quite plain. I most resembled Bellatrix, but with muted and softer features. My eyes were a muddy brown instead of Bellatrix's beautiful ebony or Narcissa's clear blue, much less impressive or memorable. Unlike Bella's raven curls, my much straighter hair could never make up its mind about how wavy it wanted to be. Some days it was very straight, other days it resembled Narcissa's perfect waves, and on occasion it decided to curl. Most of the time, my boring, thick hair would be somewhere in the middle, with inconsistent amounts of waves and curls that I was unable to simply brush out without magic. Bellatrix once described my hair as ash brown, but to me it was simply mud.

One summer night when I was fifteen, simple and boring me looked out my window, desperately hoping that this would be the year where I could begin to break free from my parents' expectations to chase a future far beyond the stars.

I did not expect to be guided by the sun.

The world had seen fit to give Ted Tonks everything. He had a loving family, friends, and was lucky to be blessed with both athletic ability and good looks. The world had also seen fit to give Ted magical powers, and as a result, he never quite fit in. As his latent magical abilities would often seep out as a child, Ted and his family always knew he was different. However, even being granted access to the wizarding world did not change Ted's perception that he could never truly belong perfectly anywhere.

While most of the students and teachers at Hogwarts were kind and friendly, Ted frequently ran into cultural miscommunications. Oftentimes, one of his friends would make a reference to some wizarding story or event that was common knowledge that Ted had never heard of, or Ted would use a Muggle expression or cultural reference that was not understood. Although both he and his friends were eager to learn about each other, it was still disheartening every time he made a joke and had to explain it without so much as a thank you after the fact.

And then there were the students who hated him. Ted was a likable guy, or so he thought, and not even his charming smile and personality could convince the pureblood Slytherins that he was worth talking to. Ted was no stranger to Slytherins attempting to hex or curse him in the halls solely because he was muggleborn. He usually was never outright rude to his antagonizers unless they were picking on weaker students, and Ted hoped that by being cheery, kind, and optimistic that he might succeed in convincing them to stop, even though he knew it was futile.

At home, it was the reverse. There was so much that Ted was unable to explain properly about the wizarding world, and his family was often left confused. They had been so close before he had gotten his Hogwarts letter, and ever since then, despite his attempts to allow his family into his world, Ted had felt a rift growing between them. His parents were hoping he would get a scholarship to a good Muggle university and get a high paying job after he graduated and maybe become a doctor or something. In reality, Ted's ambitions were much simpler, and he honestly felt that he would be content with a decent paying wizarding job, a pretty wife, and 2.5 children.

Ted's life was already complicated enough, and at fifteen, he did not feel the need to worry about the future as of yet.

Ted's father, Edward Tonks, Sr. wasn't a doctor or lawyer or anything fancy, but a simple milkman. Ed, as he was known, was proud of all his children, and even if he didn't comprehend what being a wizard meant, Ted knew his father was trying his best. In fact, despite his repeated efforts to convince him otherwise, Ted was pretty sure that his father thought he was attending some sort of academy to become a magician to perform at birthday parties. Ed would always laugh when Ted corrected him, running his hand through his golden hair- a habit which Ted picked up himself. Still, Ted often saw a hint of sadness in his gray-blue eyes- his only son would never be able to follow in his footsteps.

For as exuberant and proud as Ed was, Janet, Ted's mother, was far more skeptical about the existence of magic, still not entirely believing in it even after seeing levitating books in Diagon Alley or the Goblins in Gringotts. A part-time librarian and avid reader of nonfiction, Janet was afraid of things she did not understand and was convinced that magic would get Ted and the rest of the family killed.

His first summer home from Hogwarts, Ted mistakenly mentioned that some of the Slytherin purebloods had been hexing him for being muggleborn. Janet, tears in her clear blue eyes and her light brown hair in disarray, was outraged, begging him to withdraw from Hogwarts and attend the local secondary school instead. She finally backed down when his father got involved, but every summer since then, Janet spent at least a week trying to convince Ted to come back to the Muggle world for good.

Ted didn't feel truly alone though, as there was always one person who wanted to know everything about what was going on in his life. Evangeline, or Eva as everyone called her, was only ten months older than him, but with her athletic build, golden hair, and stormy eyes, she and Ted could have been twins. She was his closest friend and he was hers, and they told each other nearly every detail about their lives. Usually, this meant listening to Eva's tales about whatever swimming competition or track and field event she was training for, her most recent sketches, or about how the guy she was currently dating was currently bothering her. Just like Ted, Eva was ever the optimist, and genuinely was interested and cheerful about all of Ted's doings in the wizarding world.

The other Tonks sibling was Emilia, or Millie, who was ten years younger than Ted. Unlike her siblings, she had dirty blonde curls and their mother's blue eyes. A hyperactive five-year-old, Millie was a baby when Ted started Hogwarts. Even though Millie was aware that he was a wizard, Ted felt that apart from their shared love of candy, the two of them did not really know each other.

Every year when Ted would return home from school, he felt that Millie was a completely different person. It was natural, really, as she had grown from a baby to a child with Ted barely being present. Despite this, Ted knew that Millie adored him and loved spending time with him, and he enjoyed bringing magical candy for her just to see her eyes light up.

If he had been asked, at fifteen Ted would have described himself as a jovial guy who always wanted to see the best in everything. However, deep down he knew that he often relied on his positivity as a mask to hide how he really felt. No matter who he was talking to, he could change the subject to some sort of shared interest, such as Quidditch or the Beatles, or whatever book he had recently read. Once someone was Ted's friend, he would do anything for them, and he wished that people would look past blood purity and bigotry to see that.

It was that same year that Ted decided to step beyond the friends and family he knew, and he found himself chasing the stars.