Fairytales and Simple Wishes

Andromeda's always been just a little overprotective of Cissy. What can she say? She's the middle child—the oldest, if you count that Bella's always off with the Lestrange brothers sucking up to the grownups—and Cissy's a fragile little flower who needs saving. She's not strong enough to have been born into the Blacks, Andromeda reckons. However much Mother preaches about subordination to your husband and the good of society, Mother is tough as nails, just like Bella and Andromeda herself and every other girl who's survived this family. Not Cissy—all she knows are fairytales and simple wishes, and even at age seven or eight, Andromeda somehow knows, though not in so many words, that Cissy can't endure it if her only ammunition is a breakable fantasy.

--

A few years (or lifetimes) later, Bella makes her take a cheeky little first year under her wing. "The blonde one at the end of the table," she instructs at the Welcome Feast, pointing discreetly. "Show him around the common room for me, all right? Get him situated."

Andromeda gives a quiet groan and protests, "Not that fat one who's got food all over his face and looks like he was raised with hogs and Mudbloods—"

Bella scolds, "Hush, Meda. The Malfoys have a perfectly respectable name, and Mother says she's eyeing him as a potential suitor for you."

"A potential suitor for me, hmm? Should I take that as her blessing to shag an eleven-year-old?" scoffs Andromeda, tearing her eyes away from Malfoy with effort.

"When you're older. Honestly, Meda," Bella adds, rolling her eyes.

She replies, "What, who's she got lined up for you?"

"Rodolphus Lestrange," says Bella proudly, raising her voice and lifting her chin ever so slightly.

"No surprise there," Andromeda mutters.

Bella sighs, her patience evidently running thin. "Just tour him around after dinner, please? For me? His name is Lucius, and his family is nouveau riche," she says, taking Andromeda's silence for acceptance.

And why shouldn't she? When hasn't Andromeda been Mother's good girl, the most dependable in the family when it comes to following orders?

Lucius is like a little Bella in boy form, it turns out, and Andromeda wonders why Mother couldn't have just paired the two of them together and left the Lestranges to her. Rabastan's cute enough, she's always thought, and at least he doesn't try to impress her with an unhealthy interest in "upholding the good and honest statures of our noble hierarchy." Lucius's words, not hers.

"Tell me, Luc, hasn't it ever occurred to you to think all the rules through for yourself for once and not just parrot what your father says to pump up his ego in the face of insecurity?" says Andromeda as she shows him to the first year boys' dormitory.

"It's Lucius," he says, rather affronted, the pout on his face looking especially wrinkled in the harsh glare of green lamplight. "I'm not parroting anyone," he asserts at an afterthought, but the slight puzzlement in his eyes proves to her the opposite.

She hopes to God that she's tough-as-nails enough to match him, because never mind the maturity gap—Andromeda won't stand for having a "suitor" who's that thick. She's just not doing it.

--

Ted Tonks is a pigheaded arsehat Mudblood who didn't deserve to have been Sorted into Slytherin.

And Andromeda's always been a blunt one, so she doesn't see the harm in telling him so. "You're a pigheaded arsehat Mudblood who didn't deserve to have been Sorted into Slytherin," she says through her teeth one night, in a verbal sparring match during prefect rounds.

"Don't be daft," says Ted with a funny little smile. "Slytherin's meant for pigheaded arsehats like you and me, and anyway, I can't exactly help being a Mudblood, can I?"

She knows it's not safe to admit it, but she almost agrees.

(She'd die before admitting it, but maybe the clashing of their personalities makes her a match for him—and his flavor of defiance, the spunky submission to the typecast of his blood, is maybe a little bit sexy.)

--

She has to hand it to Mother—Bella's wedding is beautiful, even if Andromeda can practically feel the Dark Lord lingering between the bride and the groom.

She spends the first half of the reception wishing she weren't at Lucius's side. He dances far too tamely, puts a lot of effort into pretending he's older than fourteen, and keeps introducing her as his fiancée, which she finds half annoying and half unsettling. Fourth years aren't supposed to eagerly jump into arranged marriages. Fourth and sixth years aren't supposed to accept arranged marriages.

For the second half of the reception, she entrusts Lucius to Cissy and gets sloshed on Father's stash of firewhisky. Maybe it's a mistake—she's supposed to be sheltering Cissy, after all, not relying on her—but then, at least now they're both occupied while Andromeda is busy losing her virginity to Rabastan Lestrange. No going back now.

Remember when she used to be the good girl?

--

Nobody believes her, but Andromeda really didn't mean to read Cissy's mail. Besides, she hardly thinks it's a crime to open a letter addressed to her house in her fiancée's handwriting, especially considering its content—a love letter to her sister.

Classy.

"What the hell is wrong with you, Luc?" she demands about ten minutes later—as long as it takes her to procure some Floo powder and send her head over to the Malfoy manor.

"Lucius," he corrects irritably, flicking hair out of his eyes. "Really, Andromeda, if it comes as that much of a shock to you—"

Andromeda's not interested in hearing his excuses. "So what if it's common? Dammit, Luc, you're screwing around with my baby sister; do you have any idea—"

"Oh, so I'm at fault and she's not?" Lucius retorts coolly. "I'm not taking advantage of Narcissa—she knows full well what she's getting into."

"Don't you try to project this onto Cissy," Andromeda threatens. "If marriage is just politics—if our parents only give a damn about preserving the bloodline—couldn't you have just asked to marry Cissy instead and been done with it? Why the hell are you dragging…"

She trails off, stricken. "It doesn't work like that, Andromeda. Feelings complicate marriage too much; it's so much easier to… wait… why are you…?"

But she's long gone—her head halfway back home and her mind miles away.

If Lucius just wants Cissy, and Mother just wants a Malfoy, why even bother keeping her around?

--

Meda?

Ted.

You know where I live?

Never mind that. Listen, how would you feel about doing something crazy?

She's got sweaty palms for the first time in her life, and her heart is just about leaping into her throat, and this is so much better than the time she slept with Rabastan or breaking up with Lucius (if that counted as a breakup) or allowing herself to believe that Mudbloods are people and purity isn't everything.

She hopes to hell that she isn't going to regret this.

--

(and you know what the sad thing is? she thought she was doing cissy a favor, taking a risk and cutting her ties for the sake of a sister's true love—but cissy doesn't thank her, doesn't even speak to her after they burn her off the tapestry. looks like she's not all that breakable after all)