It was a warm, sunny day; rare for the month of March. Andromeda was sitting by the shore of the lake, gazing out at the still body of water, pondering the mornings happenings. She had been planning on using this free Saturday morning to work on her Potions essay, but all notions of that had fled clear out the door when she'd received a letter from her parents at breakfast. She sighed quietly, and picked absentmindedly at several blades of grass nearby, uprooting the strands and proceeding to crumble them with her fingers.

"I take it you have heard?" came a cool, drawling voice from behind her.

Andromeda stiffened as Lucius Malfoy, sneering lazily, came into view, standing above her and looking down. He was the very last person she wanted to see right now.

"Of course I heard," she replied coldly. "My parents wrote me a letter this morning detailing my future."

"Mine as well," said Lucius, still sneering in that lazy way. She wanted to smack that sneer right off his pointed face, but thankfully years of a Black had taught her that this was not permitted in the slightest. "And it appears our futures have now been entwined."

She gave him a forced smile. Lucius made to sit down beside her, but she stood up abruptly; so he remained standing, eyeing her mildly.

"We have never really gotten to know each other, I realize," he said, "aside from sharing a few classes and such. But I think now would be as good a time as ever to begin to familiarize ourselves with one another, don't you agree?"

"I suppose," she responded dispassionately, refusing to meet his eyes as she gazed out at the lake.

Lucius seemed to sense her irritation with him, but plowed ahead by saying, "Personally, I think our parents have made a fine arrangement for us. You are a very beautiful and intelligent young woman, and I am honored to be betrothed to you."

Pompous git, she thought. You barely know me. Honored to be betrothed to me and not my wealth, my ass.

"So," said Lucius, stepping towards her. Andromeda automatically took a step backwards. They both frowned slightly, staring into one another's faces directly now.

"So," Lucius said again, keeping his feet firmly planted this time, "shall we visit Hogsmeade together next weekend?"

"Is that an invite, or a demand?" Andromeda asked, her calculating eyes diving back and forth between each of his pupils suspiciously.

"An invite, of course."

"Then I must respectfully decline."

Lucius' gaze on her darkened. "Andy – "

"Do not call me that," she said immediately.

"I have heard it's what you liked to be called," he said defensively.

"By friends and family only," she responded pointedly.

Lucius' mouth thinned, but he said, "Very well. Andromeda, if this relationship is going to work out between us, you're – we're – going to need to make an effort."

Andromeda smiled, her expression stony, but gave no comment.

"For our families," Lucius urged, looking at her beseechingly. "And for us – for our future."

Andromeda considered this for a moment, bunching her mouth together. "All right," she agreed. "There should definitely be effort put into this. You can start," she added, gathering her book bag and slinging the strap over her shoulder, "by dropping your arrogant attitude, removing that strut from your walk, and realizing that not everyone in this world adores you." She looked him up and down. "And cut your hair, while you're at it."

Lucius seethed. "That is not the sort of 'effort' I had in mind – "

"Not to be rude," said Andromeda, though her icy tone suggested nothing but that, "but I do have to be off. Homework, you know. I'll see you later."

She stalked off across the grounds and to the Hufflepuff Common Room. Once there, she pulled out the homework she had due Monday and began working. She found it increasingly difficult to focus on Potions and Transfiguration however, when her mind was teeming with thoughts of her new engagement.

After two hours of (mostly) diligent and productive work, Andromeda put down her books and parchment, and dug out from her pocket the letter written by her parents. She exhaled in a slow manner as she reread it, wondering why her parents had done this to her. Lucius was from a highly respected pureblood family, but couldn't they have foreseen what a miserable match it would be?

She knew her parents cared about her. But sometimes it seemed as though they loved their blood status more than the daughters that would uphold this blood status; and would put their reputation before all else accordingly.

She was aware her parents would not do something to make her deliberately anguished. They must have thought Lucius and she would do well together. Maybe they figured he would stamp out her thoughts of how purebloods were equal to Muggles and half-bloods. That he would turn the family shame into something 'better'.

Good luck with that, Lucius, she thought silently, her lips twisting into an odd smile.

She twirled her quill between her fingers pensively. She did need to make this fixed arrangement work. As a Black, that was her duty. Despite her many reservations (not to mention her earlier rudeness), she had to pull through. For her family. It was not a thought that pleased her, but she knew that she must try to make the betrothal work; she was not looking to stir more trouble than she already had with her family.

She sighed. Duty or not, the prospect of trying to get along with Lucius Malfoy was not particularly inviting. But like the perfect pureblood princess everyone expected her to be, she would follow through.