Author's Notes: Okay. So. This is as much a character study as anything else. I'm always interested in the Black sisters relationships with one another, and I've been experimenting with a couple different ways of looking at it. This is just one of them. I love the idea of Black at Heart!Andromeda, because although I recognize (especially given Deathly Hallows) that of course she has changed and sees the flaws in the old Pureblood traditions, she might also have retained a bit of what she believed originally—such as the good side of a ruling class, or the power of "magic blood".
I also see Narcissa as a sort of naively jaded woman, although that makes little sense outside of my mind and even less on paper.
As for Bellatrix, um, I have a fangirl crush on her and I am totally unashamed. I've always sort of thought that Bellatrix's passion is what drove her crazy; she becomes so consumed by her focus and obsessions that it completely takes over her mind. So if that's love for her sisters, it doesn't hurt her; but when she becomes introduced to the Dark Arts and Voldemort, it simply takes control.
And finally, I don't care what anyone else says, I firmly believe that Bellatrix would not hurt Andromeda. Ted, duh. Tonks, duh. But not her sister, because as much as she feels betrayed by Andromeda she also feels as if she owns her, as if her sister belongs to her, and she can't ever quite give up on the idea of "getting her back".
…Uh. End rant?
Variations on a Theme
Like all Black children, I was raised to believe that being a Pureblood meant being royalty, that the world existed purely to serve me and my sisters. Sometimes, in my weaker moments, I still believe that. It isn't that I don't know that it's wrong, that I'm somehow incapable of recognizing the equality of magic. I am. I do.
But seventeen years of education didn't simply slip out of the backdoor when I met Ted. He makes fun of what he calls my superiority, the way that I can't help but look at the world as if it's been judged and found lacking. But this is the way it was, growing up, for my sisters and I. The only people in the world that were worth attention and affection were each other, Bella, Cissa, and I. They were my sisters, so they were my world.
I am not against oligarchy; I don't hate the idea of an elite ruling class. Perhaps I should, especially since I know I would no longer be welcomed. But a lot of good came from those days when Purebloods were in control—oh, not the wars, of course. We've behaved terribly in the last century or so, and I'm as willing to admit that as the first Muggle-born you see. But back in the beginning, back before anyone noticed that there was a difference, Purebloods ruled the wizarding world simply because they knew magic.
It is a fact, not a prejudice. I have seven centuries worth of magic in my blood, pulsing with every beat of my heart, coating my muscles and my brain and every other part of me. Like many other Purebloods, I was born with knowledge of certain things, born with the understanding of why things could float, born with control over my accidental magic. It does not make me more powerful, it makes me more knowledgeable. Ted's touchy about that, of course, Ravenclaw that he is, but he can't argue, either.
I married a Muggle-born, and I bore a Half-blood child. These people are my world, and without them I am something less than nothing. But I was born into bigotry, and it took seven years of persuasion for Ted to change my mind. This War is an abomination, an embarrassment, proof, perhaps, that stagnant prejudice runs deeper than any running river. But I am standing on a bridge, with people I love on either side.
How can I condemn what I myself once understood? Despite all that they have done, I will love Bella and Cissy until the moment that I die. I will love them even as they are destroying my world, even as they are threatening my husband and my child and my happiness. And if, as perhaps it one day may be, they are to win this war, and I am sentenced along with the other blood-traitors to death or worse … I will love them even then. Despite my anger and, on occasion, my hate, blood is thicker than water and family is stronger than stone, and they are my sisters.
They are my sisters.
I was always everybody's favorite. Mother, Father, Bella, and Meda. I brought up with the understanding that everyone would love me, because I was perfect—I was beautiful and obedient and Pureblooded and because of these things, my life would be a laugh.
This is what I wanted. I wanted the parties that Bella scorned and the shopping that Meda dreaded. I wanted to sit in a room full of older women, knowing they were jealous of me, knowing that they wanted more than anything to be me. I wanted a husband who would love me and shower me with gifts, who would set me up in a stately manor and provide me with everything I could ever imagine.
I wanted men to throw their coats into puddles so that I could walk over them, for rooms to go quiet with respect when I entered, for front-row seats to every social event of the season.
In short, I wanted to be my mother.
Bella and Meda made fun of her when she wasn't paying attention (which was always), called her stupid and stuck-up and a terrible bore. They wondered how she could stand just talking to people all the time. Bella was always too intense, too passionate to ever sit and play the housewife, and Meda's books and fantasies brought her mind far away from the tea parties we were forced to attend.
But I loved it. I love the idea of being a socialite, of being well-known and speculated about just because I was me, because I was rich and beautiful and had exquisite taste.
I realize now, of course, that it was never to be; I was born on the cusp of war, whether or not anyone knew it at the time. I am destined to be a soldier's wife, a soldier's mother, a soldier's sister. Destined to love and lose.
But, oh, it all would have been such a laugh.
The newspapers speculate that I am incapable of love but they are wrong. I am consumed by it. Love burns me up, eating at my heart and my mind until sometimes I cannot tell it from hate. And oh, it is beautiful. It is all so beautiful.
I can watch a Mudblood die without emotion, I can kill without regret. I wasn't always this way, but these days I am, these days I can do anything that I want and many things that I don't. I sometimes wonder if Meda would be impressed by this, because she always said that the world wouldn't be big enough to handle me and so I would have to handle the world, and look, look, look, she was right.
Meda is a blood-traitor and so I hate her, but she is mine, she is part of me and has been since the day she was born. She was born too early, smaller than she was supposed to be, and I knew the second the baby-nurse put her in my crib that she would always belong to me, because she wasn't even her own person, just an extension of my soul.
I will kill Ted Tonks and I will kill his Mudblood daughter but I will never ever ever touch Meda, no matter how dirty she is.
My Lord would not ask it of me. My Lord understand, because he loves me the same way that I love him. Oh, I gave Rodolphus my heart and my body and my mind when I married him, I gave him everything that I had left to give after my Lord was finished taking my soul.
The only part of it that I have left is Meda, and this is why I will never hurt her so matter what happens.
Cissy never joined the cause, but I am glad because she is too innocent. Even these days. even with Lucius right in the middle of it. Cissy will always have to be protected. She will never be able to kill or hurt or maim because she is Cissy, she is the baby, she is the favorite. You cannot ask pure things to dirty their souls because it will kill them.
Andromeda could kill, if she had to. She wouldn't like it, but she would do it, she would raise her wand and say the words and mean them if it meant protecting something she loved. Meda and I would kill for our love, but Cissy wouldn't, Cissy couldn't, all that Cissy could do would be to offer her own life instead. We would kill, and all that she could do would be to die.
The newspapers say that I am incapable of love, but they are wrong, they are wrong. I am consumed by it.