I was the only one who said goodbye. The others were too full of passionate rage at what she had done. But I remembered that she was my sister.
It was raining when she left, an irony that I missed at the time. She only took one trunk with her, saying everything else had too many memories. I thought she was silly. Ted Tonks didn't own very much, and she'd need all she could carry. But now I understand the desire to forget, the burning pain that a single memory can bring. She always was the sensible one.
We stood on the pavement, the raindrops lashing down. It seemed fitting, somehow, that our final words would be here, outside the house we had grown up in. Away from the terrible row that had left such deep scars. She embraced me, her long black curls that were so like Bellatrix's plastered to her face. I hugged her back, awkwardly, not used to such displays of affection. In the Black family, emotion was considered a weakness. But Andromeda was no longer a Black. The next day, I would watch as my aunt furiously burnt away Andromeda's name on the family tapestry, until all that was left were a few blackened threads. But then, in that moment, I almost forgot what she had done. I almost forgave her.
She clutched me, her fingers white. 'Cissy", she called me, and I winced at the childish use of my name. I remembered how we'd called her Annie, revelling in our naughty discard of our proper names. It was Bellatrix who'd stopped first, glaring at us anytime we dared to call her Bella, and we'd followed suit, desperate to emulate the glory that Bellatrix enthroned. I wonder if we realised even then how much she would change. And how much she would stay the same.
But on that night, my first thoughts were of Andromeda, and I tried to forget that she was leaving. That it was unlikely I would see her again. I considered hating her. After all, she'd known what she was doing. Known that in her family's eyes she would be dead. That there was no chance she could ever come back to me. But she'd always loved me the most. Or at least, her love had meant the most. Bellatrix had only ever loved me when it suited. And Mother didn't see past my pure-blooded nature. And to Father I was merely someone else to extend the bloodline. Ensure that the Black name survived the generations. And so I didn't hate Andromeda. Not then, at least. And not now, either. But there were moments when all around was chaos and shouting, and I despised her for escaping. For leaving me alone.
'Cissy', she whispered, 'I'll see you soon.' We both knew she was lying, but I took comfort in pretending. And perhaps she did too.
I let go first, knowing that if I didn't, she'd hang on together. It was strange, being the strong one. I'd always been the pet. Whining little Cissy who always got her own way. But now it was Andromeda who seemed small, and it scared me. Perhaps she realised for she looked at me, and said, 'Bella will take care of you.' But I was too old to be taken care of. In those few moments, I'd grown up.
Breaking her gaze, she bent down and picked up her trunk. She kissed me on the cheek, and then began to walk off down the street. I'd thought perhaps that I would want to run after her, beg her to stay. But I didn't. For some reason, I felt content to stand and watch my sister walk away. But when she reached the end of the street, and I heard the faint 'pop' as she apparated, I felt a strange twinge in my stomach. Softly, I whispered 'Goodbye Annie', realising that despite her repulsive action, I would miss her.
Later, I lay on my bed, unable to sleep, plagued by thoughts not so much of my sister as of my family that remained. Father would afterwards insist that we were better without her. Stronger. Purer. But I saw the longing and regret that existed in my mother's eyes, however much she tried to hide it. I would like to say that I forgot my sister easily, wanting nothing to do with such a blood traitor, remaining true to the ideals that I had been brought up with, that I held so highly. But I was not so strong. I remembered her, through all the pain and anger. And even now I still remember her, forgotten though she may think she is. But I never forgave her. And I never cried. Not once.
That night, as I lay there on my bed, it was Bella who cried. Her sobs echoing through the wall, relentlessly, until I fell asleep.