Disclaimer: As always I own nothing but the original characters and the situations all said characters are put into by me. Everything else belongs to Rowling and lord only knows what she'd do to me if I tried to take the characters from her. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy, review, and have a great day.
Written In The Stars
Staring up at the night sky Andromeda Black felt totally at peace with herself and the world in general. She stood alone on the turret, the night air whipping her dark brown hair around her head so that it seemed to have a life of its own, while her dark eyes watched the stars above her. It was getting late, and she knew she should be heading back to her dorm, but Andromeda couldn't help linger just a little while longer. Watching the stars was her greatest pleasure, a way of reminding herself that in the grand scheme of things her problems and worries were small and insignificant. However brightly she might shine in her world, she was nothing compared to the white balls of fire that lit up even the darkest of skies. And did she truly shine here on earth? She was Head Girl, first in her year, considered beautiful, talented, and without a flaw. But what would she contribute to this world other than offspring to carry on her family line? Her family had her life all planned out for her, right down to who she would marry at the end of the year. Like her elder sister she would marry for blood and money, for the glory of the great wizarding families that seemed to be dying out faster every year, as their blood was tainted by Muggles and Muggle-borns. But she did not want to be like Bella, especially now that her sister had fallen under the influence of the Dark Lord.
Her whole family seemed to see the pale, snake like man as the answer to their prayers, but Andromeda found him to be creepy, self serving and a hypocrite. As a Black Andromeda knew all the old wizarding families and their bloodlines, she knew that the Dark Lord wasn't one of them. The fanatic was either of mixed blood or a mudblood. He acted like his blood was above reproach, when in reality he preached hatred for the people he either was or who his parents were. No, she was more inclined to believe he was using the blood purity argument to gather followers and support for some bigger purpose. She knew he was also collecting followers of other species, like giants and werewolves, things even lower in the wizarding hierarchy than Mudbloods. Promising them a better life when he intended to wipe out over twenty percent of the wizarding population based on their lack of wizarding lineage. How stupid the creatures were. Their lives were only going to get worse as they were reduced to the Dark Lord's puppets. Like Bella was now his puppet. Fingers clenching into fists, Andromeda didn't even hear the approach of another until he spoke.
"Good evening, Miss Black."
Head whipping around Andromeda looked into the kindly face of her Headmaster, who had snuck up on her while she was unaware. He had an annoying habit of doing that. "Professor Dumbledore. Good evening."
There was something about the man that always unnerved her, a way of looking at people that made them think that not only did he know everything but that encouraged them to want to spill their guts to him. Being a Black, Andromeda was more likely to throw herself off a balcony.
"Rather chilly tonight, wouldn't you say?"
"I suppose it is." Not that she'd noticed, until he'd brought it up. Now she was starting to feel the cold and mentally cursed him out for ruining her private time.
Smiling as though he knew exactly what was going on in her head Dumbledore moved to stand at her side. "I am rather glad I ran into you, actually. I have been meaning to speak with you."
"Is that so? What about, Sir?" Careful to keep the trepidation out of her voice Andromeda none the less went on her guard, ready to analyze every word that came out of his mouth. There was something about his smile that made her think she was really, really not going to like whatever he had to say.
"Are you familiar with a sixth year by the name of Ted Tonks? He's in Hufflepuff."
"No, Sir." Andromeda's tone implied clearly that she thought he was off his rocker to think that she would. She was a Slytherin, a Black. In the school hierarchy the Hufflepuffs were the lowest of the low, the wizards and witches destined to perform manual labor so that their betters didn't have to. She would have to think hard even to picture what the prefects for the house looked like, and she actually had to speak to them occasionally. And even discounting that she was a seventh year to his sixth, which meant no shared classes forcing her to be aware of his existence.
"Ah, I see. Well do you remember last month when there was a contest held to see who could and would eat…shall we say unusual things?"
Oh she remembered all right. She'd given serious thanks to the powers that be that her little cousin Sirius wasn't yet at Hogwarts. He would have definitely entered in it and then she would have been stuck taking care of the little imp. From what she'd heard not a single participant of the contest hadn't ended up in the hospital wing.
"I see you do. Well Ted Tonks was the winner of that contest and has only just arrived back from St. Mungo's today." Dumbledore continued with a smile. "And as he has been gone for a month he is sorely behind on his school work I'm afraid. Of course exceptions have been made but he does have a lot of catching up to do. That's where you come in, my dear."
Seeing where this was going Andromeda felt the color leech from her cheeks. Oh no, no way. Surely he couldn't mean to suggest-
"As Head Girl and first in your year I'm sure you understand why I think you would be the best choice for this assignment. He's a bright enough lad and I'm sure you'll have him caught up in no time." Raising a hand to ward off the many reasons Dumbledore knew she'd come up with to try and get out of it he continued speaking like she wasn't looking at him like she'd like to push him off the turret. "I know you're busy with your own studies but I also know you have an advantage over other students in that you have the ability to commit whatever you learn to memory, thus allowing you to excel without studying overly much, giving you more free time then most."
How the hell does he know that, Andromeda mentally fumed, reluctantly impressed. Was he watching her because of her family, the rumors of their allegiance to the Dark Lord? If so, this was the first she'd caught on to his interest in her. Could this be a test of some sort, Andromeda wondered, eyeing the man cautiously. Was this tutoring assignment his way of judging her character? Was this Ted Tonks one of Dumbledore's spies despite his young age? It could warrant looking into. It was always wise to know your enemies as intimately as you knew yourself.
Watching the calculated look come into the girl's eyes Dumbledore knew he had her interest enough that she would at least show up for a couple tutoring sessions. "As you both have very different schedules I thought two hours after dinner on what nights suit you both would be best. I told him to head straight to the DADA classroom after he's eaten tomorrow. Will that suit you?"
"I will be there." Andromeda agreed after a thoughtful pause. If need be, she would find a way out of it. No one ever made a Black do something they didn't want to do for long. Nobody.
"Very good. I'm sure he'll be thrilled."
"Enjoying your last meal?" Marcus Meyer teased, poking Ted in the side as he watched his friend play with his food rather than eat it. It was hilarious really, seeing just how nervous the other boy was. Though to be honest, who could blame the kid?
"What am I going to say to her?" Ted mumbled, pushing his potatoes around his plate.
"Well I wouldn't tell her you're Muggle-born unless she asks for starters." Not that Marcus thought that Andromeda Black would be remotely interested in having anything resembling a conversation with Ted. The Slytherin princess didn't interact with mere mortals like them. That she'd agreed to tutor Ted at all was earth shattering. Dumbledore must have seriously bribed her.
Setting his fork down Ted gave Marcus a look that said plainly that he wasn't helping. Although he'd never spoken with Andromeda Black he knew enough to know that it would take all his brain power just to form coherent sentences, much less absorb what she'd be trying to teach him. Not only was she the most beautiful girl in school, but she had a presence to her that made him think he should get down on his knees and worship her as she passed by. He was going to be tutored by a living goddess who would probably be all for smiting him if he didn't meet her undoubtedly high expectations. Oh yeah, this was so going to be his last meal. He wasn't stupid, far from it usually, but he had a short attention span on the best of days. Around her, it was bound to only be worse, and drive her to drowning him in the nearest caldron. There were a lot of places to hide a dead body around here.
"Quit looking so worried, she did agree to tutor you after all. She knows how behind you are."
Somehow Ted didn't see that saving him. Looking up from his plate Ted's eyes drifted across the room to the head of the Slytherin table where Andromeda held court. As always he felt frogs erupt into mad hopping in his stomach as he looked over the utter perfection that was the Slytherin goddess. Her hair was bound up as it always was, a French braid with chocolate brown tendrils framing her sculpted face to perfection. Heavy lidded ebony eyes, skin as pale as snow, a living Snow White from the fairy tales he'd loved as a child. He could stare at her face for hours and not even remember there were even prettier areas of her anatomy he could be looking at. Not that he looked in that direction often, as she was liable to kill anyone who dared.
"Dude! She's totally staring at you!"
Eyes wide Ted looked and saw that he was, indeed, being looked over by the woman of his dreams. OH. MY. GOD.
Normally Andromeda wouldn't have noticed a Hufflepuff staring at her, but she had for once been looking in that direction as she speculated as to who she would shortly be stuck with for two hours. She was used to being stared at, admired from afar, but the intensity of this stare caught her attention so that she actually stopped her people scanning and bothered to see who it was.
Average was the first thought that popped into her head. He looked to be about average height and build, with fair hair that wasn't too pale or too dark. His skin tone was a few shades darker than her own but he was too far away for her to get a look at his eyes or bone structure. There was nothing that stood out, nothing that would make him memorable in any way, she mused. Other then the focus and heat of his stare. Reluctantly curious as to what she'd see in those distant eyes if she could, Andromeda looked longer than she normally would have, before turning her attention to her side, where her little sister was trying to gain her attention.
"Why are you staring at him?" Narcissa demanded to know in a hiss as soon as she was sure she had her older sister's attention.
"He was staring first."
Narcissa wasn't buying that for a moment. "A lot of men stare at you. You don't stare back." She didn't like her sister paying attention to someone outside their house, especially a male someone. With Bella acting so… consumed lately, Narcissa counted on her other sister more than ever to be there for her. If their father knew or even thought that Dromeda was remotely interested in a Hufflepuff…
Leaning forward Andromeda made one of her rare shows of public affection, touching her forehead to her sister's as she bestowed on her one of her rare and real smiles. "Don't look so worried, Cissy. I'm only interested in the Hufflepuff I'm going to be stuck tutoring and that's only because I want to know what Dumbledore's up to, sticking his long nose in my life."
"Batty, interfering old man." Narcissa's muttered darkly, hating the man for putting her older sister out. If he meant to cause problems for Andromeda he would have her to deal with.
"Or he just pretends to be." Was Andromeda's opinion, experienced enough in the games of intrigue to know never to judge someone by the front they showed to the outside world. Often the most dangerous of people were those who stayed in the background or played the fool for others. No one ever saw them coming that way. At least almost no one, Andromeda thought as she turned her head to look in the direction of the teacher's table. She was no one's fool, least of all Dumbledore's.
When Andromeda let herself into the DADA room she was not only surprised to see that the Hufflepuff had beaten her to the room, but that he was also the boy she'd seen staring at her earlier. Well that explained his interest in her. His head was bent over a piece of parchment, scribbling away with some sort of writing utensil, showing no sign of awareness of her presence. Not used to being ignored so completely Andromeda was reluctantly intrigued to see what had his attention. Homework? If he had the work ethic to be this absorbed in his work, why would he need a tutor, Amdromeda wondered as she walked up behind him, looking over his shoulder. Eyebrows drawn together Andromeda studied the piece of paper, understanding that it was the early sketches of drawings of some sort, broken up into a bunch of boxes.
"Is this…a comic strip?"
Head whipping around Ted's eyes went to the size of dinner plates under his bangs as he found hi face within a foot of Andromeda's, her front nearly pressed up against his back as she looked at him questioningly.
When he just gapped at her like a landed fish Andromeda snapped her fingers in front of his face, giving serious thought to slapping him when that didn't work. Some of her intent must have got through, because he finally blinked and focused.
"Is that a comic strip?"
Outrageously happy that she would know what he was doing Ted beamed at her as he nodded, pushing aside his messy, overly long bangs from his face so that his view of her was less obstructed.
Blinking, not used to such goodwill being beamed in her direction, Andromeda watched him push aside his too long bangs, blinking again as she caught sight of his eyes. Dark cobalt blue eyes. In such an ordinary setting those eyes would have stood out anyway, but even on their own they were stunningly beautiful in their brilliance.
"Why were you staring at me like that before?" Andromeda asked roughly, wanting to distract them both from her reaction to his eyes. She knew why he stared of course, why all men who weren't blind stared at her. She'd been told she was beautiful all her life after all. Not that she had anything to do with how she looked, which was why she always brushed off such compliments as meaningless. Her looks would fade eventually, so why care what people thought of them?
"Sorry about that." Rubbing the back of his neck Ted gave her a sheepish look, trying not to think about how his cheeks and ears were going red under her stare. "I just looked at you and my mind went to poetryland."
"My mum's an English professor, she specializes in poetry. I've read or heard the stuff all my life. Sometimes I see things that remind me of some lines and then I have to use all my brains to remember what they are or it drives me nutters."
"And I did that?" She'd never met a man who so willingly admitted to reading poetry. Of course he WAS a Hufflepuff.
"Yeah, it took me a minute or two because I'm not a big Lord Bryon fan. My mum is though, which is why I knew it in the first place."
Wanting to seem indifferent Andromeda struggled to hide her interest, desperately wanting to know what piece of poetry her face had reminded him of. She'd never heard of this Lord Bryon person, which meant he must be a Muggle writer. Which meant that not only would getting her hands on any of his works be near to impossible but she wouldn't know which poem it was, assuming the man had wrote a fair body of work in his worthless Muggle life.
Content to stare at her while she struggled not to ask him about the poem Ted marveled at all the little things he'd never noticed about her face, having never been this close before. She had just the faintest hint of freckles on her nose, so pale as to be all but invisible to the naked eye. And she had flecks of brown in her black eyes, like hints of something softer among all the darkness. Hints of something more behind her dark perfection.
"What were the lines?" She finally demanded to know, her voice mistress to servant as her eyes dared him to even think about inciting her wrath by not telling her.
Not looking at her, since he would lose his train of thought if he did that, Ted stared at his work in progress as he softly recited the opening lines to the poem in question.
"She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies."