Near Death

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. J. K. Rowling owns it all.


Andromeda fought against the current with all her strength, but the water refused to release her from its grip. Her head dipped below the surface once again and water filled her lungs as she tried to gasp for air. Her head spun, seeming to get lighter and lighter. Her blurry vision started to black out entirely. She kicked her legs, but her strength was leaving her fast, her muscles numbing down.

She clawed for the surface, but it was a pitiful last attempt to escape. Darkness enveloped her as she sunk down, down, down…

Quite abruptly, the darkness faded away and fresh, crisp air shot into Andromeda's lungs, the water that previously filled them disappearing. Her senses came back full force as she gasped, inhaling deeply. She could feel the stiffness of wet sand beneath her trembling body, feel the waves rushing up the beach and splashing against her bare feet. She could hear seagulls squawking nearby and could see several circling overhead in the dull grey sky. And she could spell the salt in the air.

Andromeda exhaled and closed her eyes, relief sweeping through her. "I'm alive!" she breathed, a smile curving her lips.

"Are you alright?" came a voice from above her.

Her eyes flew open again and she gasped in surprise. A young boy of ten or eleven stood above her, staring down at her worriedly. His eyes were bright, emerald green, and probing. His jet-black hair hung in short, wet locks, sticking to his forehead. His trousers were the same dull grey as the sky and his jumper was a soft brown color, a simple white button-up shirt beneath it. All were as drenched as Andromeda.

"I-I'm fine," Andromeda whispered. "I…think."

The boy stepped back. "Can you sit up?" His voice was smooth and light, not too high-pitched, but not far from a hiss. If Andromeda hadn't been able to see his still worried expression, she'd have thought he was hissing at her.

She wiggled a little, forcing her muscles to move. They tensed painfully before relaxing. A dull ache was settled over every inch of her body, but it was ignorable. Slowly, she pushed herself up into a sitting position. Her head spun and she swayed a little in place.

As soon as she was steady, she turned to look at the boy, who was now crouched down next to her. On closer inspection, he didn't look quite so young. The childish roundness was nearly gone from his face, leaving behind hard and handsomely sculpted features. It was easy to predict that he would grow up to be very attractive and worthy of drooling over.

"What's your name?" he asked after a moment of silence in which they studied each other. This time, his voice was deeper, no trace of a hiss.

"Andromeda," she whispered. "What's your name?"

"Tom," he replied, extending his hand after a moment of hesitation. As Andromeda grasped it lightly and returned his shake, he continued, "Tom Riddle."

Her hand froze mid-shake and her draw dropped a couple fractions, her eyes widening in shock.

No way…Impossible!

His eyes narrowed at her in confusion and suspicion, but just as he was opening his mouth to speak, a voice far off in the distance called his name. His head immediately snapped around, looking for the source.

When he looked back at Andromeda, he stood, pulling her with him. She climbed shakily to her feet, took a moment to gain her balance and brushed off some of the sand covering her.

"Come on," Tom said. "I'll take you up to the orphanage. They'll know what to do with you." There was a faint edge of a hiss in his words again.

Tom Riddle…orphanage…oh shit!

Before she could stop herself, she asked, "What year is it?"

He'd started walking off in the direction of a path that led up a steep bank, but at her question, he froze, looking around at her in confusion. "What year is it?" he repeated, his eyes probing hers as if trying to figure out if she was stupid.

Andromeda gave a short nod of her head and waited for his reply.

"It's 1940." he said simply, hesitating only a second before turning on his heel and striding away.

Andromeda stood in utter shock, doing the math in her head quickly.

That means…he's…in his second year at Hogwarts. Oh…my…God!

"Hurry up!" he called back and Andromeda gave herself a violent shake, running after him.

Okay, I have a few ideas for this, but if I don't get enough reviews as proof that people are reading it, I might not bother.

Oh and just so you don't get confused, I started writing this story quite a while ago, before I found out that Tonks' mothers' name was Andromeda. I couldn't bring myself to change it, though. I love the name so much, so I'm keeping it!

This isn't going to be like other fanfics. Andromeda isn't exactly…normal. In the next chapter, you will find out more about her situation. I had to cut this chapter short because if I kept going, I knew it would probably never end. I'm going to be keeping my chapters fairly short (don't worry, not too short) so I will be able to update more often. Yay.