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A/N: Hello again, time for the next chapter. This one will be slightly more pointed, and we’ll get somewhere with the plot ^_^ Thank you so much for reading so far!!! Hope you review, too *wink wink, nudge nudge* lol, just kidding. Hope you enjoy….

Chapter 3 Hiding in the Shadows

It was just as it was in stories, in little tales she’d heard from long ago. Every stone was built with such care, every stone was filled with such magic. It loomed above menacingly, yet it was so warm and welcoming it could never be cruel. Little lights burned in most of the windows, towers upon towers reaching up to the skies above.

Walking through the silent corridors it was as if there was a knowing presence. As if, the castle could seek your deepest fears, reveal your darkest secrets. Adromeda Black walked two steps behind Albus Dumbledore. She wore a black cloak, the hood was down at this point. Her black hair was tied up messily. She wondered why she was here. Why had this fool come to ‘save’ her? She did not need saving. Dumbledore lead her to an old staircase, well - a password protected staircase. An old Eagle Owl statue guarded it, changing to accommodate stairs. They walked up and into what could be called a waiting room.

It was red and purple, deep and rich colours. Slight bits of gold were hinted at in various places, cushions and painted wooden objects. They then entered another room. This was tall, the ceiling reached up very high, the ceiling mirroring the sky. It was a circular room, portraits of past headmasters covered the walls. There was a desk, and a large maroon plush chair on which Dumbledore sat. He motioned for Andromeda to sit opposite in a similar chair. Her eyes wondered to the beautiful bird beside them on a perch. It was gold and red, a Phoenix. She watched it in admiration, a virtue she does not usually show.

Albus waited for her to look to him, a small smile on his lips. Andromeda turned her attention to him, though she did not return the smile.

“Miss Black.” he started quietly, his eyes intently watching her. She returned his gaze, her black eyes taking in his every detail. He was growing old, he looked frail, slightly more of an edge to him. She now understood the death eaters words. “How are you?” he asked.

Andromeda frowned. What kind of question was that to a seventeen year old who just got out of Azkaban prison of where she’d been locked away for six years? She couldn’t tell if he was being serious. “Marvellous.” she replied, her tone dripping sarcasm.

Dumbledore chuckled and nodded. Andromeda was disliking this old man, she didn’t understand him.

“You seem slightly confused,” he said softly. Andromeda narrowed her eyes. Was this man stupid?

“I’ve just been locked away in Azkaban for six years, what do you think?” she hissed. Dumbledore had stopped smiling by this point, and was watching Andromeda with a high interest.

“Do you know why they released you?” he asked her. She simply shook her head. “Because I believe you are innocent.”

It was strange, those five words, I believe you are innocent, rang over and over in her mind. Innocent. She didn’t know the meaning of this word. She waited for him to continue, but he didn’t. He just sat there and watched her.

“But I’m not.” she said shortly, not veering her gaze. Albus nodded.

“You shall see.” he said. Andromeda stared at him in disbelief. This man was crazy. Yet this man was her saviour. “Now, we need you to be sorted into a house. I’ve already spoken to the hat, and he’ll be happy to.”

Andromeda raised an eyebrow. “The hat?” she repeated, a bemused expression apparent on her face.

“The hat.” he said once again, firmly. Andromeda’s eyes flitted to the old rugged hat on the shelf behind the headmaster. It was grey and damp looking, torn in some parts. It sat limply on its ledge, lifeless and dull. Albus reached back and brought it forward, sitting it on the table. Andromeda didn’t know if she was being stupid or he was. Is she supposed to know what this hat is about?

She opened her mouth to speak, but Dumbledore spoke first.

“This is the Sorting Hat.” he said, his voice raspy, worn out. “It will decide which house you are best suited to, there is Gryffindor for the brave, Ravenclaw for the witty, Slytherin for the cunning and Hufflepuff for the open-hearted. The hat can see everything about you, your past, your present - sometimes your future.”

Andromeda nodded absently, her eyes on the hat. At the back of her mind, she wondered - did it really know everything? Dumbledore stood from his chair and took the hat. He placed it on Andromeda’s head, and simply stood back, waiting. Andromeda sat for a moment, nothing happening.

Bit then, it began to talk. She looked up to where Dumbledore stood, to see if he seemingly could hear, and he couldn’t.

Andromeda Black? My my, I thought you were dead, excuse me for thinking - but most did. Ahh, but no, you were the girl sent to Azkaban. Eleven years old, yes, that’s right. Murder. How interesting…. Black, a family generation for many years, if I’m not mistaken. Many different house choices, too, I remember well your mothers. Well, I think I have made my decision.

Better be….


Andromeda swallowed. Slytherin. She’d known that. At the back of her mind, she known. She took the hat off her head, and placed it back onto the table casually. She stood, face to face with Dumbledore, he was taller than her, even though she herself was rather tall.

She wanted to say something, anything - but something in Dumbledores eyes stopped her. He seemed… Disappointed? She didn’t know, but she turned away towards the door. She lifted one hand to the door, and as she touched the cold silver he said, ever so quietly,

“The password to the common room is pureblood.”

Andromeda’s eyes were down, to the handle. She took a breath, and opened the door, leaving Dumbledore stood in the middle of his office alone once more.

She walked quickly down the corridors, not wanting to encounter anyone or anything, for that matter. She’d reached the end of one corridor when it dawned on her. Where was she going? She shut her eyes tightly, in annoyance of herself. She opened her eyes and bit her lip, taking in her surroundings. There were paintings of sleeping witches and wizards, lit by the dim candle light which formed an eerie glow around her.

She walked further down the corridor, but stopped prior to hearing very low, very rushed, voices. She stopped dead in her tracks, trying not to breath, as if they may hear her. She pricked her ears trying to hear what they whispered.

“What house is she in?” One voice spoke, it was rushed, yet very harsh - a voice of someone with great power.

“I - I - don’t know yet, Professor. No one does.” another voice whispered, a males. His voice was very timid, and obviously threatened.

“Do you know if she’s arrived yet?” the first voice questioned urgently.

“No, sir. Why, can I ask, is she such an importance to you?” the second voice asked quietly.

There was a silence for a brief moment, and Andromeda knew she couldn’t stay where she was. If they found her, she didn’t know what would happen - this person was obviously intent on finding herself. She looked around where she stood. The only way out was to turn back. There still weren’t any voices, heightening her fears. She crept against the wall, slowly moving back the way she’d come. She turned her eyes to the dark shadow, back the way she’d come, trying to distinguish where she could get to without being quiet.

But she screamed out in pain, as someone had just grabbed her arm fiercely, and was immediately dragging her off. She tried to shout, but a second hand grabbed her mouth and silenced her. Her arm burned and stung, it raked through her body, up from her arm and all over her body. She felt burning tears begin to fall down her cheeks, tears that had stained her cheeks many times before. She tried to struggle from this mans grip, but it was too tight - and the more she pulled, the pain worsened.

He dragged her through a door, slamming it shut, hard. The slam echoed through the walls of the castle, into the darkness of the night. He released her mouth, and she immediately began to scream - but he was faster than her.

“Silencio!” he hissed. There was no light in the room, everything was pitch black. The man still gripped her arm, he seemed to be fussing about with something or other.

“Lumos,” he whispered, and the light glew against his face. His sleek, greasy hair, his pale skin, his crooked nose. Andromeda’s face dropped. She knew this man. She knew him so well. The name on every Death Eaters lips.

“I’m going to take this curse off you, and if you dare speak so much as one word I swear you won’t get to live to see dawn!” he murmured viciously, his grip tightened painfully, causing Andromeda to wince in agony, before loosening entirely. Andromeda took a step back, grasping her wrist in anguish. The man muttered a spell, and Andromeda knew it was the reverse spell to Silencio, yet she did not dare speak.

“Only your first night back and you’re out causing a mess, Black. Well done, I applaud you.” he muttered, stalking over towards a desk. It was layered in thick dust, books were piled up in tens. The man shoved the books off the desk in one fast, sweeping motion - causing them to clash noisily to the floor. The man paid no will to it, and seemed to be hurriedly searching for something on the old wooden desk. Andromeda took the chance to look around the room; it was an abandoned classroom. The walls were hung with old, dead paintings; there was a thick layer of dust over everything. The air was tainted with death and longing.

“Sit down!” the man ordered, pointing to the chair before his desk. He leaned forward against the desk, his hands pushing down on the wood. He looked up at Andromeda; his eyes narrowed - cold and dark.

“I think its time we had a little talk, don’t you agree? Its been long overdue.” he snarled, his short black hair falling around his pale face, outlining his black eyes.

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