This story is the result of a plot bunny I just couldn't get out of my head. All of us know the Black sisters. Bellatrix, the oldest and cruelest of the three. Andromeda, the middle child who left her family to join the light. Narcissa, the youngest, destined for a life of wealth and luxury. But how did these three sisters, born from the same parents with the same ideas, end up so different? This is my interpretation on the life of the Blacks.

Black Hearts

Andromeda Black, an eleven year old girl with brunette hair and sparkling green eyes, stood next to her older sister Bellatrix just outside of the Hogwarts Express. Bellatrix had the same sharp facial features as Andromeda, but her hair was long and black, so that it was she who most closely resembled their mother.

"Alright girls," Mrs. Black said while adjusting Andromeda's robes, "Are you sure everything is in order?"

"Yes mother," they replied.

"Good. Bellatrix, I hope you have a wonderful year. Andromeda, I need to speak to you before you leave."

Mrs. Black kissed the eldest sister on the cheek and waved her towards the train. A little girl with long blonde hair peeked out from behind her mother's legs and waved at the departing sister. Bellatrix didn't wave back. Narcissa was heartbroken.

Kneeling at her daughter's feet, Mrs. Black looked Andromeda straight in the eye. "Now you be a good girl at school, won't you dear?"

Andromeda nodded.

"And one last thing-you must get into Slytherin. Our entire family has been in that house for generations now, and you must continue the tradition. Heaven forbid you get into Gryffindor..."

"What if I got into Ravenclaw? I mean... I'm not saying that I won't get into Slytherin... but it's just that... in the off chance... for example..."

Mrs. Black's face contorted in deep thought. "I suppose... oh I suppose Ravenclaw would be alright. After all, you are quite brainy my dear." She ruffled Andromeda's hair. "Go on now. I'll see you at Christmas."

She kissed her daughter on the cheek and began to walk towards the portal to the muggle world. Narcissa, on the other hand, wrapped her arms around her sister's neck before following her mother.

"Bye, Andromeda!" she cried.

Andromeda smiled as she stepped onto the train. "Bye Cissy!"

.o.O.o.

After the train had departed, Andromeda began to look for Bellatrix. It wasn't likely that she would let Andromeda sit with her, but it was worth a try. She finally found her sister in a compartment with three other Slytherin girls.

"Um... Bella, I was wondering..."

"Sorry sis, no room. I think there are a few first years in the compartment behind us, but I think I heard that one of them was a mudblood. I'd be careful."

Andromeda nodded and looked for the first years in the next compartment. She found some; they were all girls. One slightly resembled Narcissa with her long blonde hair and blue eyes. Another was quite plain, with brown hair and eyes of the same color. Finally, there was a girl sitting in the corner with dirty blonde hair and green eyes.

"D'ya mind if I sit with you?" she asked.

"Sure, sit down," said the brown-haired girl. "My name's Vera."

"Andromeda," she replied as she sat down next to the girl, who suddenly looked frightened.

"Sileas," said the green-eyed girl.

"Caitrin," replied the blonde. "You a pureblood? You've got a Black name."

"How can you tell?" asked Andromeda.

"You're all named after stars or constellations. And besides, you look like the Black girl who walked in here a few minutes ago. Nearly hexed Vera into next week."

Andromeda didn't have to ask why. Vera must have been the mudblood Bella had been talking about.

"You a mud... muggleborn?" she asked, quickly catching herself.

"No! Both my parents are halfblood squibs, not muggles." Since learning of Andromeda's family, Vera had suddenly jumped to the defensive.

"Eh, don't worry. I don't care nearly as much as the rest of the Blacks. Just out of curiosity, though..." She turned to the others.

"Pureblood," replied Sileas.

"Mostly pureblood," said Caitrin. "One of my grandparents came from a muggle family, but he died a few years ago."

"Oh," said Andromeda. Technically, Vera wasn't a mudblood, so her parents couldn't get onto her about becoming her friend. Bellatrix might give her a hard time; she thought that squibs were just as bad as muggleborns. "So what house do you want to be in?"

"H... house? What's a house? My parents didn't go to Hogwarts," said Vera.

"What about your grandparents? Y'know, the ones who are wizards?" asked Caitrin.

"Dead."

"Oh. Well in that case, there are four houses at Hogwarts that first years are sorted into. Don't exactly know how though... Anyway, there's Gryffindor for the brave ones (Andromeda could have sworn she heard someone choking in a nearby compartment), Hufflepuff for those who are hard working and loyal, Ravenclaw for the smart ones, and Slytherin for those with cunning. I'm headed for Ravenclaw. Both my parents were in there, and I'm pretty smart, so I figure..."

"It's Slytherin for me," said Sileas. "Being pureblood and all. All my family was either in Slytherin or Ravenclaw, but I'm definitely not smart enough for Ravenclaw."

Oh thank goodness, thought Andromeda. At least I won't be alone. "Me too," she said.

"I don't know. Guess I'll just find out when I get there." Vera turned her head to the window. She may not have known where she was headed, but Andromeda had a pretty good idea.

"Hufflepuff, you think?" she whispered to Sileas. Sileas nodded.

"Seems like it. Muggleborns never get into Slytherin, and squibs are considered nearly as bad, so we can count that one out. She's definitely not very brave; she nearly wet herself when that Black girl came in here..."

Andromeda didn't tell her that even she was scared of her sister.

"...I don't know about Ravenclaw, haven't had a chance to see her smarts, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be Hufflepuff."

The two continued to talk about possible house arrangements, while Caitrin informed Vera about all things Hogwarts. This conversation continued until a Gryffindor prefect interrupted, telling them it was time to put on their robes. The girls nodded and separated, trying to find a place to change.

While wandering around the train, Andromeda heard shouting from a nearby compartment. The door was cracked, so she could hear every word said. There was a voice she didn't recognize, but there was one she did... it was her sister.

"...don't think you can just barge in here to insult me!"

"...you're a blood traitor, dating that filth! Never in all my days would I have thought you of all people..."

"...none of your business who I date! Beside's he's a wonderful..."

The girl's voice was interrupted by an unexpected scream. Andromeda looked through the crack just in time to see an older red-haired girl reach for her bloody nose, but jerked back when Bellatrix stormed out of the compartment. Her sister didn't even notice her as she walked by swearing underneath her breath. Andromeda took one last look into the compartment before running off, to remember what the girl looked like. She was sitting down now, using her wand to clean away the blood and fix her broken nose. Andromeda now saw that she looked a few years older than Bella, but was still the same height. Her face was covered in freckles, and on her robes was the Gryffindor crest. Andromeda made a note to learn more about this girl.

.o.O.o.

The train stopped, and Caitrin, Sileas, Vera, and Andromeda followed the other first years to the lake. A huge, hairy man was in the first boat of many, instructing them all to climb in. The four girls got in a boat together, and a second later, they all lurched forward. Vera seemed most amazed by this feat, and was looking off the sides trying to find oars that were not there.

"You better watch out, mudblood!" called a boy from a nearby boat. "The giant squid drags filth like you into the lake for a midnight snack!"

Andromeda's hand jumped to her wand, but the boats reached the castle before she could cast any kind of spell at the boy. The giant led the students into the castle, where they came face to face with ever-so-strict Professor McGonagall.

"Welcome students, to your first year at Hogwarts. In a few minutes, you will join your classmates for the feast. But first, you must be sorted into your houses. There are Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin." Andromeda thought she spotted a scowl when she mentioned the last house. "Any questions?"

There were none.

"Very well. Please follow me."

McGonagall pushed open two large doors, and the great hall suddenly opened up in front of them. Andromeda could see Bella watching her with anticipation. The students walked until they were standing at the front of the room, facing a stool and an old hat. McGonagall opened a scroll of parchment.

"When I say your name, please step forward and sit on the stool. We will then place the hat on your head for the sorting. The first name I will call... Alexander, Caitrin!"

Caitrin knocked a few students over on her way to the stool. Just as she expected, the hat took no time to call out Ravenclaw's name. The entire table stood up and applauded her as she sprinted to her new house.

"Black, Andromeda!"

Andromeda walked up to the stool and sat down nervously. What if she didn't make Slytherin? What would her mother say? What would Bella say? Suddenly, the brim of the hat covered her eyes, and her world was immersed in darkness.

Hmmm... another Black... but you do not think like a Black... I see courage in you, yes... and cunning also...

Oh please not Gryffindor! I don't belong in Gryffindor!

Are you sure? Alright then... SLYTHERIN!

The hat was lifted off of her head, and Andromeda breathed a sigh of relief when she saw her sister applauding her at the Slytherin table.

.o.O.o.

Not long after, Vera was sent to the Hufflepuff table, just as predicted. Sileas joined Andromeda in Slytherin, along with the boy who had insulted Vera not long before. They did not clap when he was called to their house. After the sorting was finished, Dumbledore stood and cleared his throat.

"Welcome to another year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! Once again I must remind you that the Forbidden Forest is off limits to everyone. Filch wishes to remind you that all Zonko's products have been banned-a list of individual items are posted on the caretaker's office door. Now, let the feast begin!"

Piles of food appeared on the tables in front of Andromeda. As her mouth began to water, all of her troubles were forgotten.

This is going to be a great year, she thought.