Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Author's Note: Yes, I know it's been done many times before, but I couldn't help putting my own flare on this scene. I myself have read quite a few accounts of the reunion between Andromeda and Narcissa after the war. I've read some where she forgives Narcissa very quickly, some where it takes time but it eventually happens, and some, two which I particularly remember, where she doesn't forgive her at all. Hopefully, you will enjoy my own account of their reunion, and you will see which out of the three ways I read about that I took the situation in. Please review, I'm dying to know what you think!
The Hardest Road
As Andromeda Tonks laid a bunch of flowers on her daughter Nymphadora's grave, the feeling of barren emptiness she'd had for the last month, ever since the war had ended, threatened to suffocate her once again. She had never imagined she'd feel such a terrible, yawning chasm inside her - the feeling of sorrow, of missing those she'd held so dear to her was swallowing her. Dora, Remus, Ted - it was all too much.
As she gently ran her fingers across her daughter's name, intense regret overwhelmed her as well. The last thing she'd ever said to her daughter, she'd shouted at her in complete anger, fear, and desperation, begging her not to go and lose her life in the Battle of Hogwarts, accusing her of not caring about Teddy and only caring about Remus. She knew now that that hadn't been true at all; she was only saying it because of her desperate need, a mother's fierce longing, for her daughter not to get hurt.
But her brave, strong, rebellious Nymph had gone anyway, and now her body lay six feet beneath the ground, her bones crumbling away into dust. God, it wasn't fair. And Remus Lupin - she now regretted ever having any resentful feelings towards him. Looking back on it now, she'd never disliked him - she'd always known, deep down, that he was a good man, and that he had loved her daughter, loved her so fiercely, in fact, that he'd tried to push her away, to not let her get too close to him for fear that he might hurt her. What he hadn't realized was that his actions had backfired; they had hurt her worse than the alternative would have done. And no mother wanted to see her daughter in such emotional pain.
But no, that wasn't the only reason she'd resented Remus, she reflected as she continued to stare at her angel's headstone. It was also the fact that she'd seen way too much of herself in him. When Ted had originally tried to get close to her, she'd done the exact same thing, not wishing for him to get caught up in all the drama of her insane family. But oh, darling Ted had been just as stubborn, just as damn headstrong, as Dora had been - he'd persisted and persisted until she'd given in. She'd always thought of herself as an independent, strong young woman until he came along and broke her barriers down. She remembered, with a stab of agony, that she'd tried being extremely cruel to him to push him away. In a moment of complete idiocy, she'd called him a filthy, worthless Mudblood, but his reaction hadn't at all been the one she was expecting. Instead of being offended and storming away angrily, he'd simply looked at her with that damned charming smile and said, "You'll have to do better than that to push me away, Dromeda. My blood is made of mud? Come on. We're not six years old, exchanging childish taunts in a playground. You'll have to think of a better insult than that."
And oh, God, that had done it. That comment alone had caused the esteemed Andromeda Black to doubt everything about herself, about her heart, and she'd gone and fallen in love with Theodore Matthew Tonks. And in the years to come, they'd laughed about that day - yes, laughed about it! Ted had made her feel so reckless, so alive, so unlike the girl she'd been brought up to be. Ted was unique in a way that no other boy was.
She remembered the first boy she'd ever dated. His name was Brian Mulciber, a Pureblood, the older brother of Martin Mulciber, who had gone to school the same time as her cousin Sirius. Brian had totally adored her, had followed her around like a faithful puppy dog follows its master. At first Andromeda had found this adorable but after a while, she grew sick of it. She had bluntly told him one day that things weren't working out, and she had felt a pang as she literally watched his heart break through his eyes. Even though she'd felt bad, she knew it was the right thing to do - it wouldn't be fair to string Brian along when she no longer cared for him in that manner. Her sister Narcissa had been furious with her for ages for breaking up with him, even though Andromeda had tried to explain to her many times that she didn't want a boyfriend, or husband, like that. She also knew, though, that Narcissa's anger with her over the incident had mainly been because she'd just been dumped by someone, and she'd been terribly jealous that Andromeda could turn someone away who apparently loved her so much.
Still lost in her thoughts, Andromeda's feet took her away from Dora's grave, and she made her way to the exit of the graveyard. Little was she to know, though, that her entire day was about to change. As she was about to make her exit, she spotted someone else entering the graveyard, someone she had been hoping to avoid ever since the war had ended. It was the same someone who she'd just been thinking about. The relationship she'd used to have with her younger sister had been poisoned by bitterness, anger, and a difference of beliefs.
As Narcissa Malfoy entered the graveyard, carrying some flowers of her own, she hoped she wouldn't notice her, but luck didn't seem to be on her side. Of course it isn't, Andromeda thought bitterly. With the way this war ended for me, how could I expect anything of the sort?
Narcissa stopped dead in her tracks, staring at Andromeda with her mouth gaping open. She still looked as beautiful as ever with her blond hair and blue eyes, but there was a weariness, an exhaustion, in those eyes that Andromeda had never seen before. At the current moment, however, she felt no sympathy - she felt as though Narcissa had reaped what she had sown, and she deserved it.
"Andromeda?" Narcissa whispered, her eyes wide with shock and uncertainty as she stared at her distraught sister.
And all at once, Andromeda flared up. Just hearing her name uttered from Narcissa's lips caused a tumult of feelings to rock through her. "What are you doing here, Narcissa?" she spat, rage overtaking her. "Oh, don't answer that. I already know. You're here to visit the grave of the monster of a sister who murdered my daughter, aren't you? She murdered my Nymphadora, but of course I should have known you don't give a damn!"
"Andie, please ..." Narcissa whispered, her face taking on an even more distraught look. "Please, listen to me. It's not like that. ..."
"Oh, it's not, is it?" Andromeda fumed. "Have the past twenty-seven years only been in my head, then? You were all too willing to disown me like Bellatrix and our parents did, weren't you? You were all too eager to let Bellatrix mock and insult me while you just looked on and said nothing, weren't you? You were perfectly okay with remaining silent when you knew she would murder my Dora, weren't you? And you think you can just say "please," with that look on your face, and stare at me with those eyes of yours, and expect me to forgive you for twenty-seven years of hate? You're insane!"
Tears sprang to Narcissa's eyes as she gazed at her heartbroken sibling, who was shaking with the depths of her rage. "Andie, I don't expect you to forgive me," she said softly. "Just hear me out, please ..."
"Why should I?" Andromeda screamed, looking quite mad. "Why should you even want to talk to me when you still have your family?" She spat the last word as if it were poison. "You still have them, when I have lost everything! You still have your disgusting, spineless, coward of a husband and your evil, foul son ..."
Even though the insult was spoken in the wake of her utter grief, Narcissa couldn't help the anger that filled her. "Don't you dare insult my son!" she screeched. "Leave him out of this, what's he ever done to you? This is between you and me, Andromeda! And leave Lucius out of this too! And contrary to what you think, you have not lost everything. You still have that half-Metamorphmagus, half-werewolf grandson of yours, don't you?"
"You dare ..." Andromeda could hardly get the words out, her face was so contorted with rage. She marched up to Narcissa and glowered right into her beautiful, tearstained face. "You are a disgrace, Narcissa. You are no sister of mine."
"You don't mean that," Narcissa whispered, the rage leaving her as quickly as it had come, replaced by the hollow sorrow she'd felt inside for so long. "Remember when we were younger ..." she continued, her eyes suddenly adopting a faraway look as she disappeared into memories of the past. "We used to be so close, Andie. Remember when I used to hide all the Easter eggs around the house and beg you to look for them, even though our parents disapproved and thought we were being way too childish? Remember when I used to wrap up my stuffed animals in that bright, pretty paper and give them to you as gifts?"
As Narcissa spoke of those memories quietly, wistfully, Andromeda felt a painful tug at her heartstrings. "Stop it," she said, her voice cracking with grief and anguish. "There's no point in reminiscing about the past, Narcissa. We both know we can never go back to the way we were. There's too much anger, too much bitterness there. Face it, we can never be sisters again."
Suddenly, Narcissa sank to the ground, tears streaming down her face. "I'm so sorry, Andie," she managed to choke out between sobs. "I ... was a fool. I should never have ... never have deserted you. But you were always ... always so much stronger than me." She buried her face in her hands, no longer able to speak.
At the sight of her beautiful, proud sister in tears, Andromeda felt sympathy creep into her body no matter how hard she tried to stop it. As she watched her sister cry, her eyes became glazed over as she drowned in the same memories Narcissa had been reminiscing about. God, they had been so close ... how could things have gone so wrong? As she continued to gaze at the sobbing wreck which had once been the proud, aristocratic Narcissa Black, she couldn't help but sink down beside her as tears of her own began to trickle down her face.
And as she took her shattered sister into her arms for the first time in twenty-seven years, she thought that perhaps her earlier words had been wrong. Maybe, someday, she could learn to forgive Narcissa. It would be one of the hardest roads she had ever travelled, but she realized that she couldn't possibly estrange herself forever from the one person she hadn't known, until this moment, that she'd missed so terribly.
Through her sobs, Narcissa kept gasping, "I'm so sorry, Andie, I'm so sorry," and Andromeda, without even realizing it, was saying the exact same thing: "I'm so sorry, Cissy, I'm so sorry."
And so it was, that as the two embraced and wept at the entrance to the graveyard, the journey to healing truly began for the only two children left who once bore the name of Black