Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

After Andromeda
By Silver Sailor Ganymede

Normally Narcissa would have been livid that the snow was soaking her second-favourite pair of shoes, but frankly she had far more disturbing things on her mind right now. If rumour was correct (and she, as a Slytherin, knew that it usually was) then her beloved sister Andromeda had just eloped with a mudblood.

If an even worse rumour was true then her sister was already pregnant with that mudblood's child, but Narcissa hoped with all her heart that this wasn't true. A mudblood child would be a stain on the purest, most ancient and most noble House of Black, and such a thing just wouldn't do. Mudbloods were freaks, horrific abominations that went against everything the wizarding world had so long stood for. But now people were saying that the perfect Slytherin, Andromeda Druella Black, had run off with mudblood Ted Tonks and was carrying his child before they even married.

Bellatrix had made Narcissa cry enough in the past for her to know what tears felt like – but Andromeda had never been the cause of those tears before. Never. Bellatrix had hurt her and made her cry, yes, but not like this; the pains Bellatrix inflicted were never too long-lasting, but Narcissa was already worried that the wounds Andromeda had made would never heal. For all her madness, Bellatrix had never betrayed her family; she understood the importance of keeping one's blood pure, of not betraying one's family. Andromeda, however, had neglected to learn that lesson, and now she was only a charred blank on the family tree, a traitor who had married a mudblood – so why did Narcissa feel like her heart was breaking now that her sister was gone?

She collapsed by the edge of the Great Lake, not caring now that the snow was soaking her robes as well as her shoes. She wanted to be on her own, she wanted to be far, far away from the jibes and sneers and taunts of her fellows. This was ridiculous, it was absolutely ridiculous: she had to endure their scorn, yet she had done nothing wrong. Nothing!

"Cissy, are you ok?"

Narcissa looked up, ready to insult whomever had been stupid enough to call her by that most hated of childhood nicknames, but then she saw that Sirius of all people was standing next to her, a look of concern on his face. Well, this was interesting: Sirius hadn't deigned to speak to any of them much since he had shamed the family by being sorted into Gryffindor, so why was he talking to her now?

"Cissy," he said again, "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine," she snarled back, but evidently her younger cousin was in no way prepared to accept that answer.

"Of course you're ok," he said, sitting himself down next to her. "I mean everyone knows that Narcissa Black is prone to crying fits and doesn't mind of her shoes and robes get soaked through by snow." The sarcasm in his voice was thick enough to cut through with a severing charm, and Narcissa couldn't help but glare at him with even more venom. "Come off it, Cissy; I know you're not okay. So why?"

"Why do you think?" she said, endeavouring to make her voice even colder than the snow that surrounded them.

"Andromeda?" Sirius asked, and Narcissa found herself involuntarily flinching at the mention of her sister's name.

"Why else?"

"I can't see why you're not just happy for her," Sirius replied, that Gryffindor-temper of his already making itself known. "I mean so what if she didn't marry a pureblood? She loves him and he loves her: what else really ought to matter? I mean it's not like she's killed anyone."

"Yes she has!" Narcissa found herself almost shrieking at him. "By running off with that mudblood she's ruined my chances of ever securing a decent marriage. She may have made her own life better by she's destroyed my chances of ever having a life in the process!"

"Oh come off it, Cissy," Sirius said. "That's totally melodramatic." He looked as though he were about to laugh, but Narcissa's venomous expression stopped him.

"You're a boy, Sirius," Narcissa spat. "You'll never have to worry about this: leastways not so much as we do. All I had to look forward to in life was to be married off to a much older wizard and bear him numerous heirs – and now that she's gone and done this, I don't even have that in my future! What's going to happen to me now? No one's going to want to marry the younger sister of a bloodtraitor."

She could see that Sirius was disgusted by her use of such language, but for once in his life he was more tactful than to say anything about it. Instead he looked at her and grinned slightly, though what he had to be grinning about, Narcissa had no idea.

"If by 'much older' you mean a year, and if by 'no one' you mean Lucius Malfoy," Sirius said, and Narcissa started, confused.

"What are you talking about?"

"I heard our mothers talking about it over Christmas," Sirius replied, and Narcissa for once felt oh-so-glad for her cousin's reckless, Gryffindorish penchant for eavesdropping. "Apparently Lucius has already asked Uncle Cygnus if he can begin courting you this summer, and it seems like its been approved. And this was all after Dromeda had disappeared, so I don't think the Malfoys will be too put off. Dromeda's been disowned now, after all, so no one's going to call you the 'sister of a bloodtraitor' if that's what you're worried about." He spat out the last words as though they had left a disgusting taste in his mouth. "So even though Dromeda's been disowned and she's not technically even your sister anymore, try to by happy for her, ok? I don't think it'd be easy, running away from your entire family like that."

With that Sirius got up and began to walk away into the snow. Narcissa sat there for a few moments, trying to fully process the fact that she had just confided in Sirius of all people, and then realised that she had much more pressing matters on her mind than what Andromeda was doing with her life; the snow was slowing ruining her second-best pair of shoes.