Author's Note: I do not own Harry Potter. This chapter is purely from Andromeda's point of view.
Chapter 5: Meet In the Middle
I start walking your way and you start walking mine
We meet in the middle 'neath that ole Georgia pine
We gain a lot of ground if we both give a little
Ain't no road too long when we meet in the middle!
First year ended faster than I had anticipated. I passed all my classes, though I wouldn't admit that I would have failed Potions had I not bee partnered with Todd Riley. Cecelia was my closest friend, but Caterina was a good fiend too. She was quiet, something I wish Cecelia were. I'll admit, Caterina was also very secretive too and didn't tell us much about herself, but she didn't pry into our lives either so it didn't seem like a big deal.
Ted still tried to talk to me like it was okay and Todd kept playing pranks on us (mostly Cecelia to be honest) and both of us were ready to feed the boys to the Giant Squid by the end of the second term. Cecelia even had it all planned out though I wouldn't allow her to execute it as I didn't want to get expelled.
Uncle Alphard wasn't talking to me. He hadn't since I told him I couldn't be friends with Ted. He was upset that I had broken my promise and it was slowly eating away at me. We had several summer parties, but Uncle Alphard ignored me at all of them. Finally, I cornered him right before the school was to start.
"What gives Uncle Alphard, I get you're upset with me but this is very childish." I snapped. Uncle Alphard didn't reply. He just stared at the sky from his spot on the balcony. I came out, shut the doors for privacy and stood beside him.
"The other day Sirius got in a lot of trouble." He finally said. "He took his brother to the park by their house. They were told to come back if there were any muggles, but Sirius decided not to listen. He wanted to play on the jungle gym even if there were a million Muggles on it. Regulus was reluctant so he went home on his own much to Walburga's anger. She found Sirius playing with a little muggle boy from two blocks over. It took everything she had not to curse the poor boy." He sighed. "Sirius is in temporary lockdown."
"Why are you telling me this?" I asked confused.
"Your seven-year-old cousin is willing to befriend a muggle. A muggle who is, in our family's eyes, filthier than a muggleborn and here you are too afraid to even be kind to a muggleborn who has done nothing to you but tried to help, to be your friend." Uncle Alphard said. "Sirius is a little boy and yet he's a much bigger person than you. It's rather disappointing."
I felt ashamed. He was right of course. Sirius had always been braver than me, but I shouldn't have been cruel to Ted. I could talk civilly to him, that wouldn't kill me.
"I can be nicer to Ted, I suppose," I said aloud. Uncle Alphard looked at me out of the corner of his eye. "But I can't be friends with him. Civil acquaintances, but not friends."
"And why not? Do you honestly thing the teachers would allow other students to attack you for being friends with whoever you wanted to? No one came after me until I was out of school and then it was because I stayed tied to the family too long." Uncle Alphard said finally facing me. "If being Ted as a friend doesn't work out, cut ties with him. If it does, cut ties with the family before you leave school. It's as simple as that. The family will be the only ones who will hate you for it and it's not like that matters much, they don't care about you, just the family honor. I know it's harsh to say, but they don't. I learned that the hard way so you shouldn't have to."
"If the family means so little to you, why are still here?" I asked.
"You and your sisters and cousins need me. I want to help you before it's too late. I lost Bella, but I think you and Sirius are hopeful causes. I may not lose you to the psychopaths I call my brother and sister." Uncle Alphard said. "Please, just think about it, will you?"
I nodded. He sounded so broken. I remembered Gabrielle. If I befriended Ted, would he die at my father's hand? I shook myself mentally. Gabrielle and Uncle Alphard had been in love. I didn't love Ted and he didn't love me. Surely being friends isn't enough to warrant such brutality.
"I'll try; I'll try to be his friend." I whispered. Uncle Alphard smiled and hugged me.
"That's my girl." He whispered.
"I think you're crazy," Cecelia said as we looked for an empty compartment. "Why do you want to be friends with those cats? I mean, we'll be laughed at."
"No we won't, my uncle was friends with a muggleborn girl in school. Nobody cared." I insisted trying to find the boys in question.
"No one but your crazy sister!" Cecelia practically screamed.
"Bella isn't crazy,"
"Have you met your sister?" Cecelia asked sarcastically. I chose to ignore her. We had this argument a lot and it was tiring. Bella wasn't important enough argue over. We had long since stopped telling each other everything, staying up late in the night talking about nothing. School had changed her and it wasn't a good change.
I stopped as I heard Todd laugh. They were in the next compartment and I opened the door. Todd was sitting by the window on the right side. The moment the door opened he stopped laughing and glared. Ted was sitting next to him. He didn't look angry, just surprised. A boy with flaming red hair and horn-rimmed glasses was sitting across from Ted.
"What do you want Black?" Todd asked.
"You could be nicer; I just wanted to know if we could sit with you." I said calmly. The one good thing about my family was that we were all taught to hide our emotions. I'll admit, Bella was awful at it and I wasn't great shakes either, but I could convince non-purebloods well enough. Cissy was the master.
"Why would we let you sit with us?" Todd demanded.
"Because it would prove you really are a gentleman under that mop you call hair." I said. Todd turned red and Ted laughed. So did the redhead.
"I don't see why you can't," Ted said. "There's plenty of room."
I smiled at him and stepped in. I sat on the redhead's right side. Cecelia huffed and plopped down on his other side by the window, her new cat, Phantom, sitting in her lap.
"Have you guys met Arthur Weasley?" Ted asked. "He's a third year Gryffindor."
"Er, no, nice to meet you," I said holding out my hand. Arthur smiled.
"Don't be surprised we've never met. Mum was disowned years ago." He said.
"I beg your pardon?" I asked.
"Of course, you wouldn't know, my mother was a Black." Arthur said.
"Really, that's interesting. Why was she disowned?" I asked.
"She married my father." Arthur said simply. I must have made a strange face because everyone, even Cecelia laughed. "I don't think she was very disappointed. She tells my brothers and I all kinds of horror stories, but maybe your family isn't as bad."
"Who are you grandparents? Maybe I know them." I asked. I was really curious now. I had never met anyone disowned.
"Arcturus and Lysandra," Arthur said. I shrugged.
"I've heard of them but never actually met them. They don't come to the parties."
"Maybe you know my aunts, Callidora and Charis?"
"Oh, yes, Callidora married Harfang Longbottom. You're cousins with Ferdinand and Isabella." I said. "I don't much like Isabella, but Ferdinand's great. Isn't he dating Augusta Sparrow?"
"Yep, that's Ferdinand." Arthur laughed. "He said he's not supposed to talk to me but he doesn't really care. He thinks my brother Billius is a hoot."
"And Barty, Patricia and Samantha are your other cousins, right?" I asked.
"Yup, I don't talk to any of them much. They aren't blood fanatics or anything, they just like politics." He made a face. "Anyway, my turn, who are your parents?"
"They're a lot younger than yours, but they're Cygnus and Druella." I said.
"Not ringing any bells." Arthur said.
"Dad's parents are Pollux and Irma if that helps." I added. His face lit in recognition.
"Mum's cousin Pollux, I remember her telling me about him. They didn't really get along. He's a bit older I believe and he tried to go after Dad."
"Don't worry, my father didn't hurt him…well, his pride maybe…" Arthur laughed.
"It's okay; I don't much like my grandfather."
"Me either," Cecelia said suddenly. "Sorry, just felt someone else needed to talk."
All of us laughed. Once we had stopped, Ted turned to me.
"So why the sudden change of heart? Not that I'm complaining, but you didn't seem to like me much."
"Oh, I didn't dislike you; I just didn't want Bella to come after me or something. My uncle told me he was friends with a muggleborn and no one hurt him so I decided it would be safe to be friends with you too." I said. Ted looked surprised but it was nothing to Todd's expression.
"You wanted to be friends with us?" he asked.
"I said I wanted to be friends with Ted." I corrected. Todd's only use was to help me pass potions. Otherwise, he was an annoying git. Todd frowned.
"Well, you seem nice; I'll be your friend." Arthur said. "After all, we're cousins of sorts."
I smiled. "That's fine by me."
"This is some kind of trick, isn't it?" Todd blurted. "When we get content you'll tie us together and feed us to the Giant Squid!"
"Wow, you're stupider than you look." Cecelia said.
"Cici!" I scolded as Todd turned red.
"What, he's accusing us of kidnapping and murder conspiracy!"
"No, he's being an idiot." Ted said. "It happens every now and then. He has an overactive imagination."
"I do not!" Todd protested. "I heard Caterina telling Melanie about your very well thought out plan!"
"Which I firmly stomped into the ground," I said. "I couldn't let you drown, you were the reason I passed potions."
"Is that all I'm good for? "Todd demanded.
"Yes," I replied. She spotted the magazine on Arthur's lap then. "What's that?"
"Oh, this is the local Muggle magazine," Arthur said.
"Oh," I said. "Um, what's that on the front?"
"It's a record player," Ted said. "I brought one with me. We're going to see if we can get it to work here so that we can play some Muggle music at the meeting."
"Meeting?" I questioned. Ted laughed.
"Oops, I forgot, you've never been. It's for the Muggle Club. You should come. It's a lot of fun and you'll learn loads."
"Absolutely not," Cecelia snapped. "We're already risking being shunned by our House as it is!"
"I'd love to," I said firmly. Cecelia gaped.
Cecelia and I were sitting in the library doing our Charms essays when Bellatrix came in. She slammed her bag on the table nearly upsetting our ink bottles and sat in the seat next to me. Cecelia glared at her.
"Is it true?" Bellatrix hissed.
"You'll have to specify," I said calmly.
"Are you friends with a blood traitor and a Mudblood?"
"No," I said writing another sentence.
"Then why is everyone saying so? Thorfin said he saw you playing chess with them in the courtyard."
"Does that automatically mean we're friends?" I asked. "We played one games and then went to Transfiguration."
"What about Andrea saying she saw you studying with them in here?" Bellatrix demanded.
"Todd is good at Potions so he's been made my tutor." I explained. Bellatrix seemed unconvinced.
"This can't last Annie, we have a reputation to uphold." She hissed. I slammed my quill down and looked her in the eye.
"Is that all you care about? Family honor and reputation?" I asked. "Doesn't family matter to you? Doesn't my happiness matter to you?"
"Of course, but you can't possibly be happy with them. They're filthy," Bellatrix said.
"They shower, they don't smell," I said. Bellatrix glared.
"You know what I mean," she said.
"No, I don't, now leave me alone, I have a Charms essay to finish."
I grabbed my quill and went back to my essay. Bellatrix was breathing heavily. I heard her bag slide off the table.
"Be warned, I'll tolerate this friendship for only so long. If there is a hint of anything more, that Mudblood won't live to see his people's destruction."
"What does that mean? "I asked whipping around. Bellatrix smirked. "I suppose you'll find out one day, if you decide where your loyalties lie." With that she stormed out of the library.
"I told you your sister was crazy." Cecelia said.
"Andromeda!" I slowed down. Cecelia and I had been arguing about what Bellatrix had said all the way down from the library. I smiled.
"You wanted to come to the Muggle Club, right/" he asked when he'd caught up.
"Oh, yes, is that now?" I asked. Ted nodded. Then he frowned.
"Nothing, my sister is just getting on my nerves. She doesn't like me being friends with you," I said. "I said I'd come so I'll go."
"I'll see you in the dormitory, Cici," I said turning away from her and following Ted.
The club was held in any empty classroom on the seventh floor. I could see why. Most of the members seemed to be from Gryffindor. There was scattered among them a few Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws. I must have been the only Slytherin there. When Ted and I entered, most of them stared at me.
"Hey Arthur, I found her." Ted pushed me forward. Arthur smiled.
"Cool, Ted and I are in charge, but you can go sit by Molly Prewett. She's the redhead over there in Gryffindor colors. She's really nice and she won't judge you like most of the others." He said pointing to a girl our age.
"Er, okay, thanks," I said. I made my way over to the girl; all the while stares followed me. "Er, hi, Arthur told me I could sit with you."
Molly smiled. "Of course, here," she moved over slightly and I sat down. "You're Andromeda Black, right?"
"Yes," I said.
"Ted and Arthur talk about you a lot. Is it true that you didn't want to be friends with them before?" she asked a little sternly.
"No, but it may have seemed that way," I said quietly.
"All right everyone, let's get started!" Arthur shouted effectively gaining silence. "We haven't figured out the record player yet, so that won't be for a while, sadly. In the mean time, since we have new members, we're going to play a Muggle game called 'Do You Love Your Neighbor?"' Ted here will explain the rules."
"Okay, everyone grab a seat and put them in a circle," Ted began. Everyone did as they were told. I felt just a little self conscience doing this. Once we were all sitting in a chair in a circle, Ted got in the middle. "Notice I don't have a chair. I'm 'IT.' To get out of the middle I walk up to someone, anyone, in the circle." Ted walked up to me. I gulped. I didn't want to be the example. "So we can get to know each other we'll play it this way the first couple times. When the person in the middle comes up to you, say your name." He looked at me.
"An-Andromeda Black," I said. He grinned and winked.
"The person in the middle will proceed to say 'Andromeda, do you love your neighbor?' The person asked can either answer yes or no." He looked at me. I glanced from side to side.
"Er, yes?" I squeaked.
"If the person says yes, her neighbors switch seats…with a catch of course. If the person in the middle gets the seat of one the neighbors, the neighbor is now in the middle. Go ahead and switch seats." The neighbors on either side of me, Molly and a boy I didn't know, hopped up and switched seats. Ted grinned. "If the person in the middle doesn't get the seat, he goes to another person and tries again. Ted walked over to Todd.
"Todd Riley," Todd said smirking at me.
"Todd, do you love your neighbor?" Ted asked. Todd looked at the two boys on either side of him.
"Now Todd said no, that means he gets to pick a characteristic her does like." Ted looked back at Todd.
"But, I do like brunettes, "he said. I scowled. He was looking right at me. Ted smiled.
"When he says that, everyone with brown hair stands up. I stood reluctantly with about ten other people. "All of you have the chance to be it, if you don't get a new seat. One last rule, you can't sit in the seat you were just sitting in and you can't just hop one over."
"Did I miss anything Arthur?" Ted asked as we sat down again.
"I don't think so," Arthur said. "I say, let the fun begin!"
An hour and a half later we were still playing. I was it. I looked around and spotted a Ravenclaw girl I didn't know. I walked over to her.
"Marlene Kendall," the girl said.
"Marlene, do you love your neighbor?" Marlene looked at her neighbors, Florean Fortesque and Benjy Fenwick.
"No," she finally said. "But I do love Gryffindors."
Half the group leapt up including Benjy. I promptly took his seat and watched everyone run around. Marlene tapped my arm. I looked at her.
"You know, I wasn't so sure about you at first, Andromeda, but you're not half bad." She grinned. I blushed.
"Oh, thanks," I said shyly.
"I hear you're good at Transfiguration," Marlene continued. "Do you think you could tutor me? I'm dead awful and I was afraid my House would laugh at me. I'm a Ravenclaw, I should be the one tutoring, not being tutored."
"Of course I'll help," I smiled. "But in return you have to agree to be my friend."
"Deal," she giggled as Arthur asked Molly if she loved her neighbor.
"Let me get this straight," Cecelia said that night in the dormitory. "You played a Muggle children's game and are now friend's with Molly Prewett, Marlene Kendall, Florean Fortesque, Benjy Fenwick, Caradoc Dearborn, Charity Burbage, and Edgar Bones?"
"In a nutshell," I said getting into my nightgown. "You should come next week. We're going to play Freeze tag."
"Freeze tag?" Cecelia asked.
"I have no idea," I shrugged climbing into bed. Cecelia shook her and climbed into her bed.
"If I didn't like you so much I would have stopped being your friend a long time ago."
"Cici, it's only been a year and like six weeks since we became friends." I said.
"Details," Cecelia said as I blew out the candle between us. "Still, how will it look if you're friends with Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws?"
"I don't see why it should matter. The teachers want us to be friends," I said.
"But they don't have to live in the dorms where everyone is going to judge you," Cecelia said. "They're all old and have forgotten what it was like to be a student."
"Cici, just come to the next meeting, please?" I begged. "If you don't like I won't make you go back, I promise."
Cecelia sighed in resignation. "Fine, I'll go."
I squealed. "You won't regret it!"
The next day during our morning free period, Cecelia went out to the grounds to enjoy the last of summer before fall took over. We were just about to start a game of Exploding snap when Marlene ran over to us. She had a big smile on her face.
"I saw you come outside so I figured you had a free period too and then I laughed because we have the same class next." Marlene said in one breath. "Can I join you?"
"Sure," I said. "When do you want to start the tutoring?"
"You're tutoring a Ravenclaw?" Cecelia asked. I ignored her.
"Er, whenever, I suppose we can start soon though since we already have an essay due Friday." Marlene said.
"Okay, how about after dinner today?" I asked. "In the library of course,"
"I'd love that, thank you so much," Marlene turned to Cecelia. "I don't believe we've met, I'm Marlene Kendall."
"Cecelia Lutokas," Cecelia said shaking Marlene's hand rather reluctantly.
"She's coming to next Wednesday's meeting. "I said happily. Marlene's face lit up.
"You're going to have so much fun! Muggles sure know how to have a good time."
I nodded. "I told her as much,"
"I looked up this Freeze Tag in Muggles For Dummies and it said it was a game where the person who is 'IT' touches people and they must stay still until some taps them back in. It sounds exciting."
"Andromeda Black!" I looked over Cecelia's shoulder. Bellatrix was walking over looking furious. "Common room, NOW!"
I didn't hesitate to follow. Cecelia was glaring; she really didn't like Bellatrix at all .Poor Marlene looked frightened. Bellatrix gave her a dirty look as we left. I tried to look apologetic but I wasn't sure Marlene saw me. Once Bellatrix and I were alone in the common room, she rounded on me.
"Did you go to a Muggle Club?" she demanded. I swallowed. How had she found out?
"Andromeda, have you no self respect?" Bellatrix yelled over me. "First befriending a Mudblood then going to a club all about filthy Muggles? What has gotten into you?"
I glared. Ted was my friend and so were all those Muggle lovers she was bashing. "I was always taught that you need to know the enemy so you can beat them. So I have to pretend to be their friend, big whoop."
Bellatrix calmed down. "Is that all you were doing? "
"Yes," I lied through my teeth. Bellatrix took a few deep breaths.
"I'm sorry I questioned your loyalty Annie. I'm just worried about you, you're my little sister and I only want what's best for you."
Yeah right I thought. Then aloud, "I know."
"Good, I have to get to Ancient Runes, I'll see you at dinner," Bellatrix swept out of the common room. I sighed. This was going to be harder than I thought.
A/N: it was shorter than I intended but it's still pretty good. I'm going to say what said on one of my other fics since I don't know how many people have alerted this, but if you have alerted, please review! I know at least one person wants this story to continue but tips and stuff are always welcome!