"I think Mother should do it," Narcissa said.
Andi's cat Allaire rubbed against Bellatrix's ankle, and she kicked it away impatiently. She might have taken her damn cat with her! Sirius, who had tearstains on his cheeks, rescued the tabby and clutched it to his chest.
Druella Black pressed her lips together in a tight line. Her husband, Cygnus, put his hand on his shoulder.
"Sirius, you are the heir," Druella said. "You do it."
"I don't want to!" Sirius protested. "Why doesn't Narcissa? She forgot Andi's birthday."
"Shut up!" Narcissa yelled. She stood up and started for Sirius, as though she was going to hit hm. Bellatrix grabbed her arm and dragged her back down.
"Rodolphus had the least emotional connection to Andromeda," Cygnus said. His voice was utterly expressionless. "It would be easiest for him."
"What?" Rodolphus looked alarmed. "No, I–"
"I'll do it," Bellatrix said.
Everyone looked at her. Her expression was set.
"I found the letter," she said, voice steely. "I am the eldest. I'll do it."
"Bella, you don't have to," Narcissa whispered, taking her sister's hand.
"I want to."
Bellatrix stood up from the couch she had been sharing with her sister and her husband. Swept past her parents, and Sirius, who was still clutching Andi's cat. Pointed her wand at the tapestry.
Watched as Andromeda's name burned away.
Gone from the family tree.
Bellatrix lowered her wand, then turned and left the room.
"Is she okay?" Rodolphus asked, looking after his wife.
"Of course she isn't," Narcissa said. She stood up and followed her sister.
Sirius went after them. He had something to say to his cousins.
The two girls were locked in a tearful embrace. Sirius had never seen Bellatrix cry before, and the sight unnerved him.
"What is it?" Bellatrix asked nastily, seeing him watching them.
"She hated you," he said. "You know that, right? She hated you, so she left."
"How would you know?" Narcissa sniffed.
"She told me."
"She did not!" Bellatrix yelled. She pushed him, and he stumbled back against the wall. "She never told you anything! You barely even talked to her!"
"She did! She told me about Ted Tonks ages and ages ago!"
"You're lying!" Bellatrix shouted. She grabbed him by the front of his shirt and dragged him to the top of the stairs. "You're lying!"
"Bella, don't!" Narcissa screamed.
Sirius began to laugh. "You can push me down the stairs if you want, Bella. It won't change anything. She told me, but she didn't tell you. She loved me, and she hated you! And who could blame her?"
"You know nothing about how she loved me!" Bellatrix snarled. "She–"
"Bellatrix!" Narcissa grabbed the back of her sister's dress and tried to pull her back from the stairs.
Sirius yelled and stumbled, losing his footing on the stairs. Bellatrix watched in horror as her cousin went tumbling.
"Oh!" Narcissa clapped a hand over her mouth. Bellatrix flew down the stairs and Narcissa followed. Sirius lay motionless at the base.
"Sirius, are you okay?" Bellatrix turned him gently onto his back. "Oh God, I didn't mean to…"
Sirius slowly opened his eyes. Bellatrix's horrified face came into focus.
"Oh my God, Sirius, please tell me you're okay," she whispered.
"I'm fine," he said.
"I'm so, so sorry. Please forgive me, Sirius."
"Of course I forgive you," he muttered, putting a hand to his head. "I know you didn't mean to."
She had meant to with all her heart. He knew that perfectly well. But he couldn't stand to lose two cousins in one day.