Nothing belongs to me! Everything belongs to the illustrious J.K Rowling, Bloomsbury, etc. Just a little idea I came up with. Have fun reading and please review!

Bargains


For an auror, Nymphadora Tonks is incredibly dense. Perhaps that's not a wonderful thing to think about one's own daughter, but Andromeda has never been able to completely shake her Slytherin way of thinking. Really, she's never wanted to.

Even after becoming one of the elite dark wizard catchers, Nymphadora elected to stay in her parents' home for nearly two years. Even now, she still comes and persuades her mother to do her laundry, her clumsiness extending to her housekeeping skills. Andromeda found it remarkable that in all that time, she never found the Dark Arts materials secreted away in the attic, hidden under layer upon layer of concealing spells she and Ted had spent weeks on. They had done it (understandably) after finding out Andromeda was pregnant. Ted had wanted her to dispose of all her supplies immediately, but Andromeda, fresh with the shock of being disowned and with child, refused to give up her most prized possessions. She appealed to Ted's Ravenclaw tendencies, persuading him to agree to keep her impressive Dark Arts library (solely on the basis of intellectual freedom and preservation, of course). And there was the small fact that unloading so much Dark Arts paraphernalia in the atmosphere of the time would attract unwanted attention from the authorities. After all, she had said, he had an interest in the Dark Arts as well, if a purely academic one. It was how they had met, attending a week long conference on the "Dark Arts and their Place in Modern Society" at Das Zauberkunst Institut von Berlin ( a fact here Ministry-employed daughter was blissfully unaware of).

Ted, of course, relented in the end, and spent the subsequent four weeks laying the concealing spells with Andromeda, covering all traces of her past life. The veritable treasure trove of Dark materials (which Andromeda knew her bosses at Gringotts would have salivated over, if only for their monetary value) sat untouched for nearly 30 years, until Pansy Parkinson, dragging a near unconscious (and somewhat mad) Draco Malfoy, arrived at Andromeda's doorstep.

Andromeda marvels at the girl's fortitude. Not many women would dare to disguise themselves as a Death Easter (much less her own fanatical sister) in order to infiltrate the Dark Lord's dungeons. Not even for love. But there she sits, zealously guarding her nephew, a pale, thin and trembling thing as a result of the nearly four days he has spent in the company of his mad aunt, a consequence of his failure. Andromeda still has her suspicions about the ease with which they escaped. True, they were disguised as Bella and Rodolphus (Death Eaters no sane follower of Voldemort would ever question), but she suspects a certain Potions Master (rather, ex-Potions Master), with his ever-changing loyalties, may have had a hand in that. From what she's heard (and Andromeda makes it her business to hear everything and anything), Severus's betrayal of Dumbledore looked somewhat planned and overly-theatrical in nature. Fortunately for Mrs. Tonks, Alecto never did know how to keep her drunken mouth shut, even at school. Seemingly, the idiot Hufflepuff carried that trait with her into the Death Eaters, feeling secure enough to blab sensitive information to an entire Knockturn Alley club, a dangerous move made even more so by Alecto's implication that the Dark Lord's current favorite was less than loyal. That and the fact the stupid girl did not think to check to see if any undesirables (like Andromeda, for example) had somehow snuck in the private social group known to be sympathetic to one Tom Marvolo Riddle. Andromeda does not think she will mourn the cow's inevitable demise overmuch.

She checks the house again, making sure everything valuable and precious to her is packed in the three trunks standing by the door, next to her poor nephew and his (admirably) vicious girlfriend. Her sister will inevitably track them here, and though she can seal the house through blood magic, eventually one of the Death Eaters will figure out how to break it. They're not stupid; not by any means. Andromeda makes her way to the staircase and mounts the steps, heading towards the attic and the one secret she kept, even from Ted (safely hidden in Germany, as soon as Andromeda understood what Pansy wanted her to do).

She opens the door, located at the top of three flights of stairs, and lights her wand with a whispered "lumos." She whispers the counter-spell to the concealing shields, temporarily bringing them down (a feature she and Ted had spent a full five days on). Everything is unusually pristine, an added benefit of the spell. Andromeda makes her way to a jewelry box (perched atop a stack of deeply dark texts, some dating back to the Middle Ages), a Black family heirloom Andromeda had taken with her from her parents' house, her right as eldest daughter, disowned or no. The box is a dark cherry wood, almost black, and has swirling flower patterns inlaid with ivory. It still holds jewelry, albeit a just a single piece. Andromeda lifts the lid of the box, her fingers shaking oh-so-slightly, and stares at the heavy, serpentine locket reposing indolently on the velvet within. Before she can change her mind, Andromeda snatches up the locket and drops it over her head, making sure the locket is concealed beneath the velvet neckline of her emerald and black robes. She feels a stab of grief, recalling Regulus when he gave her the locket, his face pale, sunken and sweating, resisting her entreaties to stay, not wanting to put her in danger. She had always been his favorite cousin.

Andromeda casts a strong concealment charm on the now-unprotected materials, hardly unbreakable, but the best she can do in these circumstances. She locks the door to the attic behind her, and descends the steps, keeping her composure and her pace, fingering a slip of paper in her left hand, found in the pocket of Nymphandora's robes on laundry day, like so many other trinkets, candy wrappers and scraps. It bears the writing of Andromeda's old transfiguration professor, current Headmistress of Hogwarts and (if the rumors were correct, as they usually were) leader of Albus Dumbledore's little group. Andromeda naturally knows the address on that slip of paper, and thanks the heavens for this stroke of good fortune. No matter how many times she had been to Grimmauld Place as a child, Andromeda knows she would not have been able to get there without permission from the Secret Keeper. Andromeda feels guilty using her own daughter like this, humiliating her in front of her comrades, but it must be done. Andromeda loves her family, all of them (mayhap even the werewolf, once she gets to know Remus Lupin beyond his unfortunate status as a cohort of James Potter).

Pansy Parkinson is starting to get anxious, so Andromeda readies herself for departure, fastening her cloak and pinching a bit of Floo Powder from the pot on the mantle. She clutches her left hand around the heavy locket, momentarily panicked and worried if her plan will succeed. She reassures herself. It will work, it must work. Mr. Potter may be as foolish as his idiot father, but he wants to defeat the Dark Lord, and badly.

The boy will bargain for the horcrux; he has no other choice.