Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Moving Staircases
By Silver Sailor Ganymede

Ted Tonks was beginning to think that he'd picked the wrong enemy when he managed to get on the wrong side of Bellatrix Black almost as soon as he'd stepped on the train. She hadn't been looking where she was going and so had run straight into him and gone flying, much to the amusement of the other Slytherins who were with her.

Bellatrix, however, had not seen the funny side of this. She had accused Ted of having been the one who had run into her and promptly shot a spell at him – though Ted had luckily managed to get out of the way quickly enough that he never found out what the effects of that particular spell were. This, of course, had only served to make the Slytherin boys to laugh even harder and Bellatrix Black's expression to become even darker than her name.

Ted supposed he should have realised from that that Bellatrix Black was going to do everything in her power to make his life an absolute misery during their time at Hogwarts. They weren't even two weeks into the term yet and already she'd managed to set a poltergeist on him repeatedly (said poltergeist having dropped walking sticks, water bombs, pieces of suits of armour, books and even someone's pet cat on him within the space of a day). She had also hexed him more times than he cared to remember (and he had always had to wait for some kind upperclassmen who weren't afraid of Bellatrix's wrath to undo the spell, which often took a while), and had managed to make two of his essays disappear, so he was in his teachers' bad books already.

The only consolation Ted had was that Bellatrix Black was a Slytherin and as such was unable to follow him up to Gryffindor Tower and taunt him there. At least she hadn't come up with a way of doing so yet. Yet being the operative word in that sentence, he was sure.

Alas that Bellatrix Black wasn't his main worry at that moment in time. No, his main worry was finding his way back to Gryffindor Tower before curfew, which didn't seem very likely at the moment. He had been walking up a staircase which he was certain led back to the Tower – and then the staircase in question had moved, leading him to end up in a part of the castle he had had no idea existed. Then, to top it all off the staircase had moved again, leaving Ted with no clue where he was and no way of getting back to where he'd started. All in all, Ted Tonks was confused, annoyed and above all very, very lost.

He sighed and started to make his way down the nearest corridor, but he hadn't gone very far when someone ran straight into him. Ted managed to keep his balance but the other person went flying.

"I'm sorry, are you alri…" he trailed off upon realising whom the other person in question was. He had just managed to knock Bellatrix Black flat on her back for the second time – and this time there was no one around to stop her cursing him senseless.

Instead of cursing him, however, Bellatrix got to her feet and scowled at him, and it was then that he realised that she was only a little taller than he was, and looked far younger than he remembered. Either Bellatrix Black had taken some sort of de-ageing potion or this wasn't Bellatrix Black at all.

"What are you gawping at me for?" the girl snapped, straightening her silver and green Slytherin tie and brushing any dust off her robes. "At least have enough manners to apologise rather than looking terrif… Oh, hang on a minute, you're the Gryffindor my sister's been hexing since the start of term, aren't you?"

"Your sister?" Ted asked, following the girl as she began to walk over to the place where the staircase had been a moment earlier. "You mean you're Bellatrix Black's sister?" Well that explained the disconcerting resemblance between the two.

"Andromeda Black," the girl said shortly. "And I don't know your name, which evidently means you're a mudblood."

Ted didn't know what a mudblood was, but he could guess from her tone of voice that it was something insulting.

"So what if I'm a mudblood?" he shot back. "I've managed to survive your sister's attempts to murder me so far, haven't I?"

Andromeda, however, didn't seem to be listening. She was looking at the empty space where the staircase ought to have been with a murderous expression in her eyes. Suddenly Ted realised that they definitely were related; she couldn't have looked more like her sister if she had tried, he thought, not with that expression on her face.

"Yeah, the staircase disappeared" Ted said.

"I can see that," Andromeda replied tersely.

"Well, I guess we've got nothing else to do other than wait, seeing as the staircase is gone and I don't know where we are," Ted said, sitting down on the floor.

Andromeda looked at him in disgust and remained standing.

"What, frightened to get any more dust on your robes, Princess Black?" Ted teased.

"You're not funny or smart, you know," Andromeda snapped. "You Gryffindors are all arrogant little gits, you realise that?"

"And proud of it, too," Ted replied with a grin. "I'd rather be an arrogant git than a snobby little princess."

"My sister is going to hex you so badly when I tell her about this!"

"Your sister can do as she likes," Ted said, sounding a lot braver than he felt. "I bet I could beat her any day."

Andromeda let out a derisive snort. "You have about as much chance of winning a duel against Bellatrix as I do of marrying a horrible little mudblood like you."

It was then that the staircase decided to reappear and Andromeda stepped onto it quickly for fear of it disappearing again.

"You'll marry me one day, Andromeda Black!" Ted called to the younger Black sister as he hurriedly made his way onto the staircase after her. "Just you wait!"

Andromeda laughed. Her, marry a Gryffindor mudblood? Yeah right – as if that was ever going to happen.