She was going to make this work between them. It was going to take some effort, she knew, but she was going to do her best to make the arrangement bearable. This man was, after all, her future, and she didn't like the idea of a dismal one.

So she approached him the next day after she had finished breakfast. He was lagging behind at the Slytherin table, talking with some of his friends, but conversation ceased when she approached. It was unusual for Hufflepuffs to come near the Slytherin table in the Great Hall for any reason; it crossed territories that weren't meant to be crossed. She had never understood the House prejudices, and thought them quite silly indeed; although she did have to admit to herself that most of the Slytherins seemed a rather unpleasant lot. Regardless, she was determined to see past these biases, though as Lucius' sneering face turned towards her the task seemed very difficult.

"Can we talk?" she asked him politely.

"Ooooh," said the boy on Lucius' right whom she believed to be called Dolohov, raising his eyebrows at his blonde friend. Several of the other idiots snickered.

Andromeda set her jaw, keeping her gaze single-mindedly on Lucius, who smiled lazily and said, "Of course, darling," as he slid out of his seat. She felt her jaw clench even further; how dare he address her as darling, as though she belonged to him? She smiled tightly at him, then turned on her heel and stalked off, he following. She could her his dim-wit friends still chortling as she left.

When she reached the corridor she stopped, and turned around to face him. "I – I wanted to apologize to you," she said in a rush, before she would lose her nerve and not get all the syllables out.

He raised a rather amused brow at her. "Oh?"

"Yes," she said. "My words to you yesterday were rude and uncalled for, and I wanted to apologize for them."

"That is very considerate of you."

"I try to be so."

"So do I," the Slytherin boy said smoothly. "Would you like to accompany me on the next Hogsmeade visit, in several days time?"

"That would be nice, thank you," she forced herself to say.

Lucius bowed at her, and she couldn't tell if he was mocking her or not. "Until we meet again, then." He reached out and took one of her hands in his own, kissing its surface lightly before releasing it and strolling away leisurely, a self-satisfied smirk on his face. Cursing her parents for putting her in this predicament, Andromeda marched off towards her Common Room.