Just Old Light

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the stars came falling on our heads
But they're just old light, they're just old light
-Regina Spektor, "Samson"

It is, all the same, a loss. A necessary loss, a right loss, a loss of something she wouldn't want to keep, but still - a loss.

It's part of growing up, Andromeda supposes. Like when you stop believing in Father Christmas or stop being afraid of graveyards. Necessary, timely, but still – you leave a part of yourself behind, buried with your childish beliefs.

The philosophy is wrong, harmful, without any evidence to support it. Blood status, pure or half or mud – it's nothing, just an accident of birth, a matter of luck or chance. There is no difference in ability, no way to tell blood status without examining a family tree. The only people holding onto it are a few inbred families and a megalomaniac who doesn't even fit the philosophy he kills for.

Andromeda has lost what it means to be a Black. Bellatrix accuses of her of forgetting, but she hasn't forgotten – she remembers all too well the feeling, the ramrod straightness of her shoulders, the weight of responsibility with the centuries-old blood in her veins. The pride, the knowledge that she is special, that she is better than everyone else.

She remembers the feeling, but she's lost it with her belief in blood purity. Ted says "rejected," but that implies agency, that she cast it off on purpose. She aches to correct him, but she won't – she'll let him go on thinking that it isn't a loss but a deliberate cleansing, betterment. That she doesn't want it back.

Because she does want it back. Even knowing what she knows, even loving who she loves, she wants it back. She wants to be able to look in the mirror and see herself beautiful and proud and strong, a scion of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. These days her reflection stares back at her scared and uncertain, just another eighteen-year-old girl.

But blood is just blood, cells and plasma and water. And Black is just a name.

Ted doesn't believe in Divination. He thinks the centaurs are ridiculous, that the stars don't set or chart your fate. He believes in free will.

Andromeda doesn't know what she believes. But more and more, stars and fate feel dusty and outdated, like blood purity and the House of Black. She's looked it up – stars are burning balls of gas, far away in dead, dark, empty space. Often they're gone before the light reaches Earth.

Just old light. Forget mysticism, astrology, divination. They're just old, dead light.

Andromeda Black. Old light, old blood. Her beliefs were determined with her name, and now that she's lost them, she's lost herself. If Andromeda is nothing, if Black is nothing, than what is she?

Soon, she will be someone else. A Tonks, not a Black. And Ted hardly ever calls her Andromeda – "a mouthful," he says. He calls her Meda or 'Dromeda, but never Andie – he did once, but Andromeda asked him not to. Only her sisters call her Andie, and Andromeda has lost them too.

It's a right loss, it's a necessary loss, but it's a loss all the same.