“You seem a little skittish today,” Zan panted as Andromeda and her made their way around the lake.
She was right, Andromeda was skittish. She was more than skittish, actually. There were all sorts of emotions flowing through her right now and she couldn’t even differentiate between them anymore.
It was finally Saturday, the day of the first Quidditch match of the year. Since her conversation with Ted last week, she’d been both dreading it and looking forward to it. She hadn’t really spoken with him after the night in the kitchens, but they’d exchanged more glances than usual in the hallways and in classes. In Defense Against the Dark Arts, he’d even thrown a note at her that had been a drawing of him catching the Snitch. She’d shaken her head and stuffed it in her bag before her friends had a chance to see.
“A little,” Andromeda nodded, not sure if she should confide in Zan. She felt horrible for thinking that in the first place after how close they’d become and instantly changed her mind and said, “Actually a lot.”
They slowed down to a quick paced walk as Andromeda continued, “Do you remember that boy last week? The one who dried us?”
“Of course,” Zan chuckled. “The one you blew up on.”
“Yeah that one,” Andromeda smiled nervously. “Well…it’s stupid really but we kind of have this not official bet, if that makes any sense, of who’s going to win the Quidditch match today.”
“A not official bet?” Zan frowned.
“He basically keeps saying he’s going to win,” Andromeda tried to explain. “And I keep saying he’s not. Only…I’m a horrible person for thinking this Zan, but I kind of want Gryffindor to win.”
“Really?” she asked with an amused smile.
“Oh nevermind I take it back,” Andromeda bit her lip. “See I’m a horrible horrible person. I don’t know I don’t want them to win but I kind of do. Let’s just not talk about it anymore.”
“You’re not a horrible person, Andromeda. Everyone wants Gryffindor to win.”
“Yeah everyone except Slytherin.”
Once again Andromeda was reminded of Ted telling her that she wasn’t a true Slytherin. Maybe he was right. She shook her head, no he wasn’t.
“It doesn’t matter, honestly,” Andromeda tried changing the subject. “Enough about me. What have you been doing lately?”
“Nothing really,” Zan shrugged uncomfortably. “Just studying I guess.”
“Oh come on there’s got to be something,” Andromeda egged her on.
“No,” Zan shook her head. “If anything I’ve been trying to stay out of the way.”
“Out of the way?”
“I don’t like being in the way of things. It only causes trouble.”
“In the way of what though?”
Zan sighed before sitting down on a rock beside the lake. Andromeda joined her, retying her hair before turning towards Zan. When she didn’t say anything, Andromeda gently touched her hand and smiled at her, trying to let her know that everything was okay.
“I haven’t exactly told you everything about myself,” Zan started, shifting on the rock.
“I understand,” Andromeda said softly.
Zan sighed again. “Well for starters, I live with my aunt.”
“I know loads of people who live with their aunts,” Andromeda tried to sympathize, but realized she sounded like an idiot. “Sorry I didn’t mean to-”
“No it’s okay. You’re sweet Andromeda, you really are,” she smiled weakly. She seemed hesitant as she slowly said, “My aunt hates me.”
“Yes. It’s complicated but…well two years ago during the summer I was on holiday with my parents. It was just me and my parents and my cousin, Isra. She was my age. My aunt hadn’t come with us because she was sick.”
“Was your cousin a Witch too?”
“No only me. I’m the only one in my entire family. That’s why we were attacked.”
“Attacked? Was it-”
“Death Eaters, yeah. They didn’t kill anyone, but they used enough magic that my parents and my cousin ended up in a mental hospital.” Zan teared up when she said, “The county declared them as legally retarded. We had to tell everyone it was brain damage from an accident. My aunt is my only living relative and she had to take me in so she obviously knows I’m a Witch and she knows what really happened. She blames me for everything.”
“Oh Zan,” Andromeda said, her own voice cracking. “I’m so sorry. It’s not your fault you have to believe that.”
“But it is,” Zan corrected her. “It is my fault. I’m a Witch. If I weren’t a Witch none of this would’ve happened.”
“That’s not fair. You can’t blame yourself. If anything it’s the Death Eaters who are at fault.”
“They never even caught them. And I was too much of a coward to fight them. I was hiding.”
“Zan look at me,” Andromeda took her hands in her own. “It is not your fault. You did nothing wrong.”
Zan wiped her eyes and nodded quickly, trying to hide her pain with a smile. “I’ve tried telling myself that. I suppose you’re right but it’s not easy, you know? I have to live with it everyday, and it doesn’t help that my aunt reminds me every two minutes.”
“Well somebody needs to have a talk with your aunt,” Andromeda said, unable to understand how someone could be so cruel.
“It’s not her fault she hates me. I get why.”
“It’s not okay. Don’t make excuses for her.”
Zan nodded again. Andromeda had a feeling she was just trying to appease her with her nods.
“I want you to know that I am your friend, and I’m here for you if you ever want to talk. You don’t have to hurt yourself.”
This time Zan looked up at her and smiled sincerely. After a few moments she said, “I believe you.”
Afterwards they made their way back to the castle, both of them bidding their good-byes before heading off to their Houses.
Andromeda still couldn’t believe everything that Zan had told her. She hadn’t expected any of it honestly. She wanted to tell her about Miss Faye and how it would be a good idea for her to talk to someone, someone who could offer professional help, but she didn’t want to risk upsetting her even more. Maybe after some time passed she would give her the idea. Then it was up to her really.
Speaking of Miss Faye, Andromeda had been thinking about what she’d said last week. She was still trying to process the fact that Miss Faye had been in Slytherin. She wondered if anyone knew, or if Miss Faye had worked hard to keep it a secret. Naturally, the Slytherin community would disapprove of one of their own offering consolation to Witches and Wizards of all blood status. Regardless of all the ideas she had constructed about it over the past week, she would finally be able to ask her about it face to face tomorrow during their appointment.
Andromeda tried not to think about any of this as she showered, instead allowing her mind to wander to the Quidditch match that was in a few hours. She had actually admitted out loud that a part of her wanted Gryffindor to win. It wasn’t fair to her House. Not to mention it would only give Ted more of a reason to make fun of her. He was going to lose, and she was going to be happy about it and rub it in his face.
With that last thought, she wrapped a towel around herself and left the bathroom, gasping as she came face to face with Rabastan, who was sitting on her bed, obviously waiting for her. He was still in his sweat pants and a t-shirt, probably what he’d worn to bed last night.
“Rabastan!” she shouted, tightening her grip on her towel. “How did you…how did you get up here?”
Before he had a chance to answer, she said, “Nevermind, you’re skilled enough in the Dark Arts to do whatever you want I’m sure.”
“This isn’t a good time, can’t you tell?” she beckoned to her towel.
“I think it’s a great time,” he grinned at her as she rolled her eyes in response.
“What do you want, Rabastan?”
“Are you going to come watch me play today?”
“I was planning to come watch the match, yes,” she tried to answer generally, though he noticed because his face slightly scrunched up. “Why are you really here?”
“I just want to talk. I feel like things haven’t been the same between us since-”
“Everything’s fine, I’ve just been really busy with school,” she cut him off, wanting this conversation to end sooner rather than later.
“Really? Because we haven’t had a decent conversation since we kissed.”
“Well what do you want me to say? That it didn’t make things awkward?”
“I just want things to go back to normal,” he sighed, ruffling his curls with his hand. “Is that too much to ask for?”
“What’s normal?” she frowned, still standing in place as water dripped onto the floor.
“Us,” he said, standing up and moving toward her. “The way we were.”
She went rigid as he brushed his hand on her arm, which was still tightly wrapped around her towel.
“Don’t say anything,” he interrupted her. “You know how I feel about you. And you know how your parents feel about us.”
She stayed frozen in place as he leaned in, his lips suddenly on hers. Before she could react, the door to the dormitory was thrown open and she was thankful when Marcy shouted, “What’s going on here?”
Rabastan seemed unphased as he slowly pulled away, looking Andromeda in the eyes before quietly saying, “Just think about it.”
“Um, hello?” Marcy snapped at him. “What are you doing in here?”
“I was just leaving,” Rabastan stared straight ahead as he left the dormitory, shutting the door behind himself.
“Did you invite him in?” Marcy asked, her hands on her hips.
Andromeda shook her head, still standing in place, her towel as tight as ever around her.
“He let himself in?” Xia asked astonished.
This time Andromeda nodded as the girls all gasped.
“None of us are safe here,” Marcy stated, plopping down on her bed. “Knowing him he’ll sneak in here in the middle of the night and-”
“Marcy!” Pru snapped her out of it, walking over to Andromeda. “What did he say?”
It took Andromeda a few moments to answer. “He said he wants things to go back to normal. And he said I know how he feels about me.”
“Is that when he kissed you?”
Andromeda nodded again. “I-I froze.”
“You should’ve slapped him,” Marcy said, crossing her arms. “I would have slapped him for you.”
“Do you have feelings for him at all, Andromeda?” Pru asked, ignoring Marcy.
“No…” she trailed off. “But if I say no I don’t know what he’ll do.”
“Who cares?” Marcy nearly shouted. “You don’t have to be with him if you don’t want to be.”
“My parents will be disappointed,” Andromeda sighed, her knees giving in. “They love the Lestrange family. Rodolphus and Bellatrix, Rabastan and me…the perfect Pureblood matrimonies.”
“There are other Purebloods, I’m sure,” Xia tried to reassure her. “Look he can’t just waltz in here and pressure you into being with him because your parents think you two are a good match.”
Andromeda ignored them as she walked over to her drawers. She yanked them open, her hands shaking from frustration as she started throwing out her clothes, trying to find something to wear to the Quidditch match. Before she knew it, she was crying, and three pairs of arms were instantly around her, comforting her as she tried to muffle her cries.
“I’m so tired of everything,” Andromeda said, not trying in the slightest to hold herself up. “I just want to go somewhere far away where nobody knows who I am.”
“You’re just upset, Andromeda,” Xia gently brushed her hand against her hair. “Look, I say we get ready for the Quidditch match and pretend this never happened. And next time Rabastan tries to pressure you into being with him-”
“I’ll break his nose,” Marcy finished for her, making Andromeda laugh through her tears.
She sat up and wiped them away, looking at her friends before saying, “Thank you. I don’t know what I’d do without you three.”
They helped her up, her towel still wrapped around her. The four of them spent the next hour getting ready for the Quidditch match.
“I say we dress up, make up and all,” Pru said, curling her hair with her wand. “It’ll make us all feel better and we’ll be showing school spirit.”
“I agree,” Xia said, then added, “but we all know Pru just wants to impress Rowle.”
They all rolled their eyes as Pru tried making excuses for herself. When they finally did leave the dormitory, Andromeda had to admit that she did feel loads better after making an effort with her clothes and make up. It was always therapeutic for her to dress up, especially with her friends.
“Andromeda!” Narcissa called to her when they reached the Common Room. “Are you leaving to the match too?”
“Yeah we are,” Andromeda hugged her sister.
“I don’t care, don’t talk to me,” a voice came from the stairs leading to the boy’s dormitory.
Everyone turned to see Narcissa’s friend, Nixie, walking out with her arms crossed, her boyfriend Drew chasing behind her.
“Nixie I’m sorry, okay, I didn’t mean it. I was just trying to be funny,” he said, obviously frustrated that his joke hadn’t been taken lightly.
“Well it’s not funny to me,” she whipped around, her curls bouncing. “And I don’t want to talk to you so leave me alone.”
Narcissa rolled her eyes and turned to Andromeda before saying, “They’re just having an episode. Ignore them.”
“Yeah they’ll make up by the time we get to the stadium,” Vesper, another of Narcissa’s friends, said as she stood up and shut her book.
“Are you ready to go?” Nixie said as she approached them, her face still red. “Oh, hi Andromeda. I guess we’ll all go together then?”
“Come on,” Narcissa led the way as they exited the Common Room and made their way out of the dungeons.
Drew walked beside Nixie in silence, not paying any attention to her. It seemed now he was the one who was angry. Andromeda watched them with a smile, knowing well that they would definitely make up within the next ten minutes. From what Narcissa told her, they were basically obsessed with each other.
“Did you and Rabastan have a fight?” Narcissa asked as she came up beside Andromeda.
“No,” Andromeda frowned, linking arms with her sister. “Why do you ask?”
“Just wondering,” Narcissa shrugged. “He seemed a bit frustrated when he left the Common Room with Malfoy, Dmitri, and Bruce. So have you made up your mind about him?”
Andromeda shook her head, “There’s nothing to make up my mind about. I don’t feel that way for Rabastan.”
“Does he know that?”
“I mean, I’ve tried to make it obvious. I’ve been avoiding him and when I do talk to him I’m very, um, curt.”
“Very curt?” her sister laughed. “Well, I don’t think he’s gotten the message. You might want to try a bit harder. But you should wait till after we win the Quidditch match.”
“What makes you think we’re going to win?” Andromeda asked, raising her eyebrows at her sister’s confidence.
“We’re Slytherin, duh,” she said matter-of-factly before skipping ahead to walk with Vesper.
By now Drew and Nixie were walking hand in hand, both laughing at something only known to them. Andromeda fell in line with her friends as they reached the Quidditch stadium.
As they started up the stairs, Marcy suddenly gasped and stopped on the first step. Andromeda looked ahead only to see Jamison at the top of the stairs. It seemed he had also stopped upon seeing Marcy and was frozen in place. After a few seconds of awkwardly standing around, he clenched his jaw and walked down the stairs, staring straight past Marcy as if she weren’t even there.
Andromeda stared at her friend knowingly, watching as her shoulders slumped. Marcy could pretend all she wanted, but it was obvious she still had feelings for Jamison.
“I’m sorry,” Andromeda put her hand on Marcy’s shoulder. Marcy shook it off, ignoring her as she continued making her way up the stairs.
Just as they were about to reach the top, Andromeda bit her lip guiltily when she remembered she had to use the bathroom. She always used it before the match because if she didn’t, she ended up having to hold it throughout the match and not enjoy the game at all because of the pain she had to endure by holding her bladder instead.
“I have to use the bathroom,” she said to them as they headed out towards the front of the stands. “I’ll meet you in the front.”
“Hurry,” she heard Marcy say as they got lost in the crowd.
She made her way down the stairs hurriedly, not wanting to miss the beginning of the match, which happened to her a lot actually. She finally found the bathroom after getting lost for five minutes; it was always complicated to locate since the entire Quidditch stadium looked the same from below. As soon as she turned the corner, she nearly ran into a figure before catching herself.
She laughed when she realized it was Sirius and felt herself relax.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, ruffling his hair even though he tried pushing it away. “This is the girl’s bathroom.”
“I know,” he smiled at his cousin, straightening out his Quidditch uniform. “James wanted to play a prank on Lily when she came out of the bathroom. He ended up making her cry and now he’s trying to make her feel better before the match starts.”
“Oh yeah? What prank?”
“He’s stupid,” Sirius started. “He tried to scare her with a packet of fake spiders that he got from home and now she’s crying. Apparently she’s terrified of spiders. I think he’s going to get in a fight with Snape.”
“Snape?” Andromeda frowned, standing up straight. “Why would he get in a fight with Snape?”
“Because Snape is her friend and he’s mad that James made her cry. I’m waiting on him to make a move so I can join in.”
“No one is going to fight anyone,” Andromeda said, grabbing her cousin by the arm. “Where are they?”
“You’re not going to tell on us are you?” he asked, sneering at her like the so-called popular kid he was.
“No I’m not going to tell on you,” she mimicked his tone, making him laugh. “Take me to James and Snape, now.”
Sirius led the way behind the bathroom, where Andromeda could hear Lily’s cries echoing.
“-not my fault you have greasy hair-”
“Sorry I don’t have a mane like yours that sticks out in all directions-” came Snape’s voice.
“Well better than it sticking to my scalp like some sick-”
“What is happening here?” Andromeda interrupted their bickering.
James and Snape looked up at Andromeda as she approached them.
“He started it,” James pointed at Snape. “It’s none of his business.”
“It is my business!” Snape shouted at him. “You made Lily cry! She doesn’t even like you so leave her alone!”
“Whoa whoa,” Andromeda tried to quiet them. “Okay James, scaring a girl with bugs is not okay, even if they’re fake.”
James stared at her with a blank face before shifting his gaze to Sirius. “You told her? You’ve broken my heart Sirius.”
“Yeah yeah I’m sure it’ll heal by the time we get out on the field,” Sirius waved him off.
“Did you at least apologize?” she asked, eyeing the pretty red-haired girl. She wasn’t crying as much anymore, just sniffling and rubbing her eyes.
“No he didn’t, he’s a jerk,” she said quietly, taking Snape’s arm. “Come on, Severus, let’s go up to the stands.”
So this was who Snape had been staring at the other morning at breakfast. She didn’t expect Snape of all people to be friends with a Gryffindor.
Snape nodded and walked away with Lily, but not before turning and giving James a serious glare that said this isn’t over. James returned it childishly before turning to Sirius.
“I didn’t mean to make her cry,” he said, his shoulders slumping. “I was trying to make her laugh.”
“A word of advice, James,” Andromeda said, laughing, “bugs never make a girl laugh. If you really want to make her laugh then make up some funny jokes or something. And I mean funny, not insulting.”
“But insulting is funny,” James frowned confusingly.
Andromeda rolled her eyes before saying, “Just go, and apologize next time you see Lily.”
James nodded before turning to Sirius, who told him he’d join him in a moment. James walked away with his broom over his shoulder, obviously frustrated that his plan hadn’t worked. Andromeda shook her head before looking at Sirius, who shrugged in a don’t-look-at-me kind of way.
“Oh fourth year drama. I miss the good old days.”
“If it isn’t obvious enough yet, I think he likes her,” he said.
“Well I think he hasn’t got a clue,” she laughed, still shaking her head.
“Not talking about me, are you?” a voice came from behind Andromeda.
She turned to see Ted approaching her in his Quidditch uniform, his broom clutched tightly in his hand, his hair gelled to the side. Her eyes widened as he walked up to her. She hadn’t expected to see him before the match. He looked…handsome.
“You-I mean, hi,” she smiled awkwardly, stopping herself from saying the usual ‘You’ she said every time she saw him.
He nodded at her, his eyes lingering on her for a few moments before he turned to her cousin. “Sirius, ready to win?”
“Readier than I’ll ever be. Can’t wait to wipe the look off all those Slytherin’s faces when you catch that Snitch.”
Andromeda frowned as Sirius nudged her knowingly. Ted laughed at Andromeda’s reaction as he said, “Yeah, tell her that.”
“We’re going to win, Andromeda,” Sirius said, patting her on the back.
“Yeah, and I’m going to grow wings by the end of the match,” she snapped at both of them, crossing her arms defensively.
“So what happens when I win?” Ted asked her, leaning on his broom. “What do I get?”
“If you win,” she corrected him. “And obviously you get 150 House points and as you put it, your gold star.”
“You’ve always got a sharp reply, you know that?” He turned to Sirius and asked, “Is she always this defensive?”
“Well I mean she is the smart one in the family,” Sirius said, eyeing them both back and forth.
Ted raised an eyebrow at Andromeda, who was trying her best to avoid his eyes.
“So what do I get?” he asked again, making her gape.
“You get nothing,” she said, narrowing her eyes at him. “And you’re not going to get anything anyway because you’re not going to win.”
He ignored her and turned to Sirius, “Sirius, what do I get when we win the match?”
“Hmm,” Sirius stroked his chin thoughtfully. “How about she does your homework for a month?”
Ted smiled, “I like that.”
“I’m leaving,” she said, turning to walk away. Before she turned the corner, she turned to Ted, who was watching her leave, and sarcastically said, “Good luck.”
She quickly used the bathroom and ran up to the stands where her friends were waiting for her. It took her a few seconds to spot them in the crowd. Luckily for her, they were all bunched up in the very front, which meant Andromeda got to deal with the anxiety of fighting her way through everyone.
When she finally reached them, Andromeda turned to Marcy, who was staring off into space with an empty look in her eyes.
“Still upset about seeing him?” she asked, making Marcy jump.
“What? No, I was just thinking about all the homework I have to finish,” she muttered, turning her head from Andromeda. When Andromeda refused to look away from her, Marcy finally gave in with a groan and said, “Fine, it hurts okay, is that what you wanted to hear?”
“Yes,” Andromeda stated simply, putting her arm around Marcy, who sighed in response.
Before they had a chance to talk about what had happened, the announcer, a Gryffindor named Drake Warren, filled the stadium with his voice.
“Welcome, everyone, to the first Quidditch match of the year between Slytherin and Gryffindor. The tension and competition between these two Houses is what makes this game more than just a game, it makes it a-sorry professor…okay, well here comes the Slytherin team, led by their captain Rowle…”
Andromeda let Drake’s voice fade out in her head as she watched the Slytherin team fly out onto the field. Her eyes were quick to find Rabastan, who wore a dangerous smirk on his face. She knew Rabastan better than most people. She knew he would employ any tactic to get what he wanted. That’s what scared her about him. Drake was right when he said this was more than just a game. It was always more than just a game for Slytherin, especially now more than ever with the war brewing. This was Slytherin’s way of putting Gryffindor into place. This is why Andromeda needed Gryffindor to win.
“And the Gryffindor team flies out onto the field, led by their captain Ted Tonks, who seems to be concentrating hard before the game has even started. I’m definitely looking forward to this match. The Quaffle is released, and the game begins!”
Andromeda held her breath as she watched the Quaffle rise. It was only seconds before one of the Gryffindor chasers had it in his grasp, flying towards the Slytherin rings. It took Andromeda a moment to notice that the Chaser was James. At the same time, she spotted Sirius with his Beaters club, aiming a Bludger at one of the Slytherins who was chasing after James.
She turned her attention to Ted instead, who was busy flying around the field, scanning the air for the Golden Snitch. She could see Lucius on the other side of the field doing the same thing. She couldn’t stop biting her lip from how nervous she was.
Twenty minutes into the game and both Gryffindor and Slytherin had shot two goals, making a tie of twenty points between them. The game continued on for the next ten minutes or so until Gryffindor shot two Quaffles in a row. Andromeda could see the anger building in Rabastan, who had no control over his temperament.
He flew over to Dmitri and grabbed the Beaters club out of his hand, hitting one of the Bludgers towards James, who had the Quaffle again. She was sure it was going to hit him square in the face when suddenly Ted flew in front of it, hitting it with the side of his broom. She was surprised his broom didn’t snap in half. Instead, the Bludger sprang straight for Rabastan’s face, missing him by about a centimeter. He grimaced at Ted, who held his head high, not scared in the slightest by Rabastan’s cruel demeanor.
This routine went on for a while. Rabastan, and other Slytherin players, would try to sabotage Gryffindor players with their typical dirty tricks, and Ted was always one step ahead of them, either blocking their paths or making their plans backfire on them. It seemed to Andromeda as if the Gryffindor team had maybe practiced tactics of how to throw Slytherin’s tricks back in their faces. Or maybe that’s what Ted seemed to be doing every morning by himself for two hours when he was practicing.
By this point, Gryffindor was seventy points ahead of Slytherin. What made tensions rise even more was when both Ted and Lucius spotted the Snitch and started chasing after it. They both smacked into each other a couple of times in their attempts to get the Snitch, and Andromeda thought she was going to go crazy. She just needed the game to end.
She gasped when Rabastan interfered in the competition between Lucius and Ted. He actually flew up behind Ted and grabbed hold of his broomstick, pulling it back and throwing Ted of balance. He wasn’t letting go and it was making Ted more and more frustrated. She could tell that Ted was trying to play fair, but fair never broke it with Slytherin. That’s why it surprised her, and everyone else in the stadium, when Ted threw his leg back, kicking Rabastan straight in the face.
This time, it was Rabastan who fell off balance as Ted boosted himself forward. With one quick smack against Lucius, Ted leaped ahead and closed his hand around the Snitch, tightening his grip as the Snitch’s quick fluttering wings gradually slowed.
“Ted Tonks has caught the Snitch! He’s earned Gryffindor 150 points by catching the Snitch, and along with the rest of the seventy points, Gryffindor has earned a total of 220 points and wins the match! Well done Gryffindor!”
Andromeda was so enthralled by what was happening that she didn’t even notice the disappointed murmurs surrounding her. She felt the same excitement that all of Gryffindor was feeling right now, except she had to hide it in a pool of Slytherin students. She turned to her friends to say something, but before she had the chance, everyone started muttering and pointing down at the field. She looked down to see Rabastan pushing people out of his way, trying to find Ted in the crowd.
Andromeda gasped and began to do some pushing of her own, leaving her friends behind as she ran down the stairs and onto the field. As she came closer to Rabastan, she could see the blood running down his face from his nose.
“Give me that,” he shoved Dmitri aside, taking his Beaters club from him again. “Out of my way. Out of my way! Where’s Tonks?! Where is he?!”
She saw Ted standing a few feet from Rabastan. He had stopped laughing with his friends and was now standing in front of the crowd.
“You filthy Mudblood,” Rabastan growled as he approached Ted, who seemed unphased by Rabastan’s use of vocabulary.
“Sorry Lestrange, crying isn’t going to help you now,” he said with a sneer as the Gryffindors behind him started to laugh. She saw Sirius standing slightly behind Ted, nervous unlike the other players.
“What gives a fucking Mudblood like you the right to think that you can kick me in the face? That was a fucking violation!”
“Rabastan!” Andromeda shouted as he moved towards Ted. Heads turned in her direction as she ran up to Rabastan. She grabbed his arm and tried to pull him back. “Rabastan stop!”
“Get out of here Andromeda,” he said angrily without looking at her, keeping his eyes on Ted. “Go.”
He started walking towards Ted when Andromeda grabbed his arm again, pulling him back harder this time. “Rabastan please, stop!”
“I told you to leave!” he shouted at her, making her jump in fright.
“Don’t talk to her like that,” Ted said angrily, stepping forward, Sirius right behind him.
“What the fuck did you say to me?” Rabastan asked, taking a step as well.
“You heard me. Don’t talk to her like that.”
“Rabastan,” Andromeda whispered, tugging on his arm one more time.
“I said get out of here!” he roared, enraged, pushing her back so fiercely that she was thrown onto the floor.
She gasped as she hit the ground hard. She could feel her arm and her side bruising already from the impact with the ground. Slowly, she sat up and grasped her arm, making eye contact with Ted, who looked furious.
Just as Sirius starting walking forward with his fist clenched, Ted marched up to Rabastan and punched him square in the face, sending him backwards. A few people shouted in surprise as others started to gather around. Andromeda sat on the floor, shocked that this was all actually happening.
Before Ted could do anything, Rabastan flew up off the ground and ran at him, tackling him down. Andromeda heard screams, not realizing that one of them was her own. Her hands were over her mouth as she watched Rabastan pound away at Ted with the Beaters club in his hand. Suddenly, Ted was on top of him, punching him repeatedly, and within seconds, the roles were reversed again.
People around them were chanting for them to go on, but by then there were at least half a dozen teachers with their wands out, levitating the two boys apart from each other.
Andromeda didn’t wait around to see what was going to happen next. She stood up and ran off the field towards the castle, ignoring Sirius as he shouted her name out behind her. She kept running and running, and didn’t stop until she was in the girl’s lavatory on the first floor. When she was finally inside, she ran into the farthest stall and slumped up against the wall, sliding down as her sobs began to fill the bathroom.
She couldn’t stop crying. It felt good to cry, it was gratifying. She couldn’t believe this had all happened. It was all her fault. If she hadn’t involved herself, if she hadn’t tried to pull Rabastan away, then maybe none of this would have happened. She had tried to stop him because she knew how crazy he got when he was angry. She hadn’t realized that she would only be spinning him more out of control.
“Why are you crying?” the soft voice came.
Andromeda ignored her, knowing very well who it was. The reason she had chosen this bathroom was because she knew no one would accidentally walk in on her, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t have any company.
“I’m fine, Myrtle,” Andromeda sobbed, cutting her off. “I just want to be alone.”
“Well it is my toilet,” the ghost said irritated, crossing her arms when Andromeda refused to acknowledge her.
“Well I hope you don’t mind sharing your toilet for the next century because I’m never going to leave.”
Thankfully, Myrtle decided to leave Andromeda alone as she cried away the remainder of the day. Instead, she floated to the top of the bathroom and began humming to herself. As she cried, she fell in and out of small dazed naps against the stall door. She woke up again, noticing that the light outside the window had faded. She didn’t know how long she’d been in here. It was probably night time already.
Andromeda stood up, flinching as the bruises on the left side of her body throbbed. She walked out of the stall and stood in front of the mirror, pulling up her shirt to reveal the dark spots that now marked her skin. She instantly regretted looking and decided she never wanted to see her body again until those marks were gone. She knew if she told Madam Pomfrey she could heal them instantly, but she didn’t want to risk anyone finding out. This wasn’t the first time Rabastan had bruised her when he’d been angry, and it definitely wouldn’t be the last.
“That looks like it hurts,” Myrtle said from beside her.
She washed her smeared make up away before turning to Myrtle with a weak smile and saying, “I”ll be fine, Myrtle.”
She didn’t know what time it was, so she wasn’t sure if she was out past curfew when she left the bathroom. She was scared to go back to her dormitory. What was she supposed to say to her friends, to Rabastan? What if he was still furious with her? Was it wrong of her that she was actually scared of him at this point? Instead, she found herself knocking on the door of the only person she could think of to talk to about this.
After a few moments, the door slowly creaked open to reveal a squinting woman standing in the doorway.
“Andromeda?” she asked, turning the lights on as she slid on her spectacles.
“Miss Faye,” Andromeda said nervously, “I’m sorry. I know it’s late but…well I didn’t mean to bother you I probably woke you up. I should go.”
“Are you alright?”
“I don’t know I just-”
“Come in,” Miss Faye said quietly, opening the door so Andromeda could slide in. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
“What time is it?”
“It’s eleven thirty. Shouldn’t you be in bed?”
Andromeda shook her head. “Did you hear about what happened today? At the match?”
“Yes I did,” Miss Faye wrapped her shawl around herself, sitting down on her sofa. “You look a bit shaken up. Do you want some tea?”
Andromeda shook her head.
“Fine, but I’m going to have some tea.”
Miss Faye went on to pour herself a cup before leaning back on the sofa and crossing her legs.
“It was my fault,” Andromeda dropped onto the armchair. “It was all my fault. I tried to stop Rabastan from confronting Ted and he pushed me. That’s why Ted punched him.”
“Andromeda, it’s not your fault,” Miss Faye tried to reassure her, setting her cup of tea down. “Those two would have gotten into a fight anyway whether you’d been there or not. You had nothing to do with it.”
“You’re wrong. Please, just don’t try to make me feel better by saying it’s not my fault because I know it is.”
Miss Faye stayed quiet this time, staring at Andromeda questioningly. She pushed her spectacles back onto her nose as they slipped off and waited for Andromeda to continue.
Andromeda went on, “Do you know if Ted’s okay?”
Miss Faye sighed before answering, “He’s in the Hospital Wing. He’s going to be fine, but he did have some injuries.”
Andromeda felt her heart fall ten stories. “And Rabastan got out without a scratch didn’t he?”
“No he had a few bruises, but don’t forget Rabastan used a Beaters club to hit Ted.”
Andromeda cringed, “Is Rabastan suspended?”
“They’re both serving a month’s detention for what they did and the school is writing to both their families. I’m surprised they weren’t suspended from Quidditch honestly.”
“It’s all my fault,” Andromeda groaned again, placing her face in her hands. “I want to visit Ted but…he probably hates me. What if he yells at me to leave? I mean I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. I would hate me.”
“I’m sure he doesn’t hate you, Andromeda,” Miss Faye smiled at her. “Ted’s a very sweet boy, and if what you’re saying is true, if he punched Rabastan because Rabastan pushed you, then I’m sure he’ll be happy to see you.”
Andromeda bit her lip, shaking her head at the possibility. “Should I visit him?”
“Well,” Miss Faye leaned back. “As an adult supervisor I’m not supposed to encourage students to wander about after dark. However, you could leave my office and say…get lost on your way back to the Common Room. It happens you know.”
She winked knowingly at Andromeda, who responded with a weak smile. She stood up and walked over to the door, Miss Faye following her.
“I’m so sorry by the way,” Andromeda said guiltily, facing her. “I didn’t know what else to do and-”
“Don’t apologize, please,” Miss Faye said, placing her hand on Andromeda’s shoulder. “I’m glad you came to me.”
Andromeda nodded and left the office, but before the door closed, Miss Faye stuck her head out and said, “And I expect to see you tomorrow in my office, same time as usual.”
Andromeda smiled a real smile this time as she made her way towards the Hospital Wing. She could feel her heart hammering inside her chest. She had never been more nervous in her life and she wasn’t sure she was ready to face Ted after what she’d caused today. If he never wanted to see her again she would understand.
She took a deep breath as she stood outside the door of the Hospital Wing, her hand resting on the doorknob as she slowly turned it. Thankfully, the door opened without a creak and she slipped inside, closing it silently behind herself.
The room was dark as the moon shined in, lighting up the ward. As far as she could tell, all the beds were empty. All of them, except for the third one on her right, where a young boy sat straight up as she entered the room.
He frowned when he recognized her, and she felt her breath catch in her throat. She stood there frozen in place, neither of them saying a word to each other.
“I’m sorry,” she shook her head frantically, stumbling all over her words. “I should go.”
She turned to rush out of the room when he called out, “Wait. Don’t go.”
She slowly stopped, turning again to face him. With another small breath, she counted her steps as she walked over to his bed. The guilt she was feeling tripled when she saw him lying there with a bruised eye, a cut and bloody lip, and a sling around his arm.
He raised his eyebrow at her as she scanned his appearance, interrupting her thoughts with, “I’m fine, really.”
She stared at him with a blank face, knowing he was anything but fine.
“How are you?” he asked when she didn’t say anything.
“Is that a joke?” she finally managed to say, her tone incredulous.
“Do I look like I’m joking?” he asked with another raise of his eyebrow.
“No, you don’t. You look terrible.”
“Gee, thanks,” he said with a small laugh. “I’m fine. It’s not as bad as it looks. I don’t want you to feel bad for me.”
“It’s all my fault,” Andromeda shook her head, sitting down on the chair next to his bed. “If I hadn’t tried to stop Rabastan-”
“We would’ve gone at it anyway,” Ted shrugged, sitting up straighter in his bed. “And I would’ve ended up here either way. If I’d had a Beaters club he would’ve been in the bed right next to me looking worse.”
This made Andromeda smile a little, but she stopped herself when she looked at his injuries again. “I wish you did have a Beaters club.”
He didn’t say anything. He just stared at her, trying to understand her thoughts.
“So are you okay?” he asked after a few moments, and this time Andromeda couldn’t help herself. She burst out crying.
“I-I’m s-sorry,” she sniffled, grabbing a handful of tissues from the table next to her. “Everything is a m-mess and I-I didn’t m-mean to involve y-you.”
“N-no I’m s-sorry,” she cried as she stood up, humiliated that she had broken down in front of him. She hadn’t planned for any of this to happen. “I sh-should go.”
She turned to walk away again when Ted reached out and grabbed her hand, making her stop in her tracks.
“I already told you not to go,” he said softly before letting go of her.
Andromeda stared at him with wide eyes that were still tear stained. She wiped her eyes with the tissues that were crumbled in her hand and sat back down, muttering, “O-okay.”
She managed to collect herself after a few more minutes of sniffling, and she felt more embarrassed than ever.
“I’m sorry for crying,” she said, looking down at the tissues in her lap.
“You don’t have to keep apologizing,” he chuckled. “You didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Are you in pain? I mean, are you really fine or are you just saying that to make me feel better?”
“A little bit of both,” he admitted, leaning back against the wall behind his bed. “I mean it hurts but I’ve been through worse.”
“Really?” This time it was her turn to raise an eyebrow at him. Oh no, she was picking up his habits.
He laughed at her show of concern before grunting as he tried to sit up more. “Well since you’re here you might as well hand me a cigarette from my drawer.”
“Um, I don’t think Madam Pomfrey would appreciate-”
“Yeah well Madam Pomfrey isn’t here is she?” he cut her off, grunting again as he shifted his position. “Top drawer on the right.”
She sighed as she opened the drawer and pulled out the small pack, taking out a slim white cig from the bunch. He took it from her with his functioning hand and plopped it in his mouth.
“Would you mind?” he muffled with the cigarette in his mouth, beckoning with his head at the lighter that was in the drawer. “I’m shit at lighting with my left hand.”
Grudgingly, she picked up the lighter as well and after a few clicks, managed to light the tip of it for him. He leaned back as he took a long drag, blowing the smoke in the opposite direction of Andromeda. He could tell she didn’t like it.
“Smoking is bad for you,” she pointed out, flipping his lighter through her fingers.
He shrugged his shoulders before replying, “We all choose our poison.”
She tried clicking on his lighter a few more times before stuffing it in the drawer with his pack.
“You’re getting better at lighting it,” he teased her before taking another drag.
“Well it’s an interesting device,” she said, coughing purposely at the nasty smell he was emitting with his smoke.
“I’m surprised you didn’t learn about it in Muggle Studies.” When she looked down awkwardly, he added, “You have taken Muggle Studies, haven’t you?”
She looked to find him staring at her skeptically, although there was the hint of a grin on his face.
“You can tell me,” he chuckled again, making her angry.
“What’s the point?” she said, her voice rising. “You’re just going to make fun of me like you always do.”
“I’m not going to make fun of you,” he reassured her with another laugh. “Seriously you can tell me.”
“You’re already laughing,” she said, looking away from him toward the window.
“I think you’re interesting, that’s all.”
“You think I’m interesting?” she asked as he nodded. He was an idiot. He didn’t know how boring she really was. Her life was boring, everything about her was boring. “No, I’ve never taken Muggle Studies.”
“Never?” he asked with a disbelieving smile.
“I, um, took it for a few days my first year. Then Bella found out and told my parents.”
“What did they say?”
She sighed, “They said if I didn’t drop it they would take me out of Hogwarts and homeschool me. They said I had no business concerning myself with that…”
She trailed off, too embarrassed to finish what her parents had said to her.
“With that what?”
She shook her head.
“If you’re worried about hurting my feelings-”
“I am,” she said, folding her legs up under her.
He pivoted more towards her before he said, “Just say it.”
She bit her lip as she quietly muttered, “Filth.”
He nodded his head without saying anything. She was running her fingers through her skirt, not realizing how nervous she was. She cared what Ted thought about her. He was so straightforward in voicing his opinion and she was actually scared that he would say something that would hurt her feelings.
“Don’t you hate it when people say things like that?” she asked, trying to get a reaction out of him.
“I think you hate it more than me, honestly,” he shrugged, his expression unreadable.
“I don’t get it,” she shook her head. “You walk around saying Mudblood so easily like you don’t give a care in the world-”
“Well when you say a word long enough that’s all it becomes, just another word.”
“So Mudblood is just another word to you? All of those insults to Muggles and Muggle-borns are just words to you?”
“Basically,” he said calmly, savoring his last drag before the cigarette died out. He set it down on the table, flicking his fingers free from the bits of ashes. “I know you feel sorry for me every time you hear those words, but I honestly don’t even care. If anything I feel sorry for you.”
She frowned, letting her legs drop before she said, “You feel sorry for me?”
“Yeah. I mean you’re the one trapped. You have to pretend to be this person that everyone else will approve of when you obviously don’t-”
“You don’t know anything about me,” she cut in, angry. She didn’t need him feeling sorry for her. Only she could feel sorry for herself. Everyone else had to think she was perfect. That’s how it all worked. She didn’t want anyone seeing her as weak.
“I didn’t say that,” he replied. “I’m just saying I can be whoever I want to be because I don’t have to worry about hiding. You’re too busy trying to make everyone around you happy.”
“That’s not true,” she said, her voice rising. “You don’t know what it’s like. You have no right to judge me. Besides, I’m a very happy person and I have everything I could possibly want.”
“Yeah, everything starting with a very loving boyfriend,” he laughed sarcastically.
“Rabastan is not my boyfriend,” she said through gritted teeth. She could feel her face turning red. “I can sit here and tell you all the reasons I feel sorry for you if that’s how you want to play. I came here because I was actually worried about you and for you to throw it back in my face…well now I realize what an idiot I was.”
“Andromeda wait,” he said as she stood up. She wanted to walk away so badly. She wanted to flip her hair dramatically and leave him alone in this dark empty room to sulk in his misery, but something in his voice made her stop. “I’m sorry.”
She turned and narrowed her eyes at him, not believing him for a moment.
“I really am sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. I was just trying to get you to understand that I don’t need you to feel sorry for me.”
She crossed her arms and made sure her tone was rude when she retorted, “Yeah because apparently I’m the one who’s miserable right? I get it Ted, you pity me. Thank you for making it so clear.”
“I don’t pity you. I just think there’s a lot about you that people don’t know.”
Her frown softened when he said this, and she let her arms drop to her sides. “I don’t want you to feel sorry for me either.”
“I’ll try not to,” he said with a small grin. “Only if you promise to do the same.”
She sat back down on the chair with a curt nod and a quiet, “Okay.”
“I do feel sorry that you have to do my homework for a month though,” Ted pointed out, grinning widely this time when Andromeda caught his reference.
“I don’t owe you anything for winning the match,” she crossed her arms again. Her tone wasn’t defensive, but there was an edge to it.
“You have to admit that was a beautiful catch though. It was worth getting beat up over. I’d do it again if I had to, honestly.”
“You’re stupid. I can’t believe you kicked Rabastan in the face.”
“You know you liked it,” he said, making her laugh. “Speaking of Rabastan…you kind of do owe me since you’re the reason I’m here.”
“Ted!” she said, flustered.
“I’m just joking. I’m just trying to guilt you.”
“Guilt me into what? Doing your homework?” she asked, quirking her lips.
“Maybe…or if you’re not busy I could help you catch up on the last six years of Muggle Studies.”
Her smile faded at those last few words. If she wasn’t busy? He could help her? Was he trying to get her to spend time with him? He didn’t know what he was saying. He was probably just blabbing from the pain his injuries had caused him or something.
“You said Rabastan’s not your boyfriend,” he cut her off, knowing exactly what she was going to say.
“I know, but it’s not about that. If people find out-”
“Didn’t we just have a conversation about you caring too much about what other people think?”
“I don’t care what other people think,” she tried to explain.
“Then say yes.”
“You don’t understand. If anyone found out, especially about Muggle Studies-”
He burst out laughing at that last part, then immediately stopped himself when he saw her face. “Look no one has to find out.”
“You really want to teach me about Muggles?”
“I’d be honored,” he bowed his head sarcastically.
She smiled at his antics before turning serious again. She thought about it for a moment and noted the nervousness in her voice when she said, “Fine. But no one can know.”
He flashed her a crooked grin before saying, “It’ll be our little secret.”
A/N: First and foremost, SHOUTOUT TO KEYTY FOR THE WONDERFUL REVIEWS! Be sure to check out her story Beneath, it's amazingggg! I'm so sorry it took so long for me to update! I had so much going on and I was also trying to edit my other story at the same time. But I felt bad so I made this chapter extra long and added a lot of spice and drama so I hope you guys like it. I think I'm falling more and more in love with Ted with every chapter that I write. I promise I will try to update as soon as possible, hopefully within the next week. Leave me a review pleaseeeeee if you love me<333
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