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 If it is one thing you do not want after a party the night before it is to be woken before your alarm by an over excited 11-year old, which was exactly what happened to Andromeda the night after her sister’s wedding.

“HOGWARTS TIME”

Andromeda’s baby cousin Sirius threw himself onto her bed, waving his new wand around, and not only did this remind her of the fact that she may have had a glass of wine too many the night before, but also that her sister had chosen the day before the start of the school year to hold her wedding, a fact she now slightly resented her for.

“Go away”, she mumbled and kicked him off the bed. She tried to bury her head into her pillow again, but from the corner of her eye she noticed that Sirius’s wild wand waving made sparks fly.

“Whoah there, you crazy little dingbat”, she said and caught his arm. “Take it easy with that stuff, or you’ll set someone on fire.”

Sirius was too excited to even listen. He ran out of the room, wand still waving.

“Coffee, Miss Andromeda?” a small voice said.

Andromeda looked down and saw Blanca the house elf standing there with a cup of fresh coffee in her hands.

“Thank you. What would I do without you, Blanca?”

The little elf smiled her small smile. “Blanca is just happy to help, miss.”

As Andromeda was sipping her coffee she heard a wild exclamation followed by a child’s scream from the outside. She quickly slipped into her robes, brought her coffee cup with her and went out to see what the damage was.

The child screaming appeared to be Regulus, Sirius’s little brother, still too young to go to Hogwarts himself. By the size of his nose and the size of Sirius’s smile Sirius had clearly managed to enlarge the nose of his brother by his incessant wand waving. Andromeda’s mother Druella was desperately trying to keep the two of them apart as Regulus looked like he wanted to avenge his nose.

“Andromeda, you’re awake, good”, she said while still holding one child in either arm. “Breakfast is ready; can you go get your sister?”

Andromeda leaned forward and snatched the wand from Sirius. Her mother gave her a look of thanks and then she let Sirius go.

“I’m already here, what’s all the noise about?” Narcissa walked into the room, looking nothing like she’d had a long night, with her silver blond hair neatly braided down her back and her cheeks as rosy as ever. Andromeda thought of her own mess of brown curls that never stayed in place and could not help but be slightly jealous.

“There has been a war, apparently”, Andromeda nodded to their cousins, who still looked at each other furiously.
“Why are they here, anyway?”
“Cissy, don’t be rude”, their mother said, having now finally made Regulus sit down calmly on a chair so she could check his nose. “Since we are all leaving for Hogwarts today we could just as easily take Sirius with us, and your poor aunt had a headache and needed some rest, so I thought I’d take the boys out of her hands for the day.”

“Old Walburga more likely had one too many fire whiskeys yesterday and is too hungover for screaming boys”, Andromeda whispered to Narcissa who giggled.

They sat down at the table, Andromeda dragging Sirius down onto a chair with the hopes of him calming down. Regulus was howling as he got his nose examined. Sirius looked wildly pleased with himself.

“Oi!” Andromeda prodded him with a fork. “Behave, or we’ll leave you behind when we leave for school. You can start next year instead, when you’ve learned your lesson.”
Sirius pouted.

Breakfast continued somewhat more calmly when Andromeda’s mother took Regulus with her out in the family room to get his nose to swell down to a normal size again.   

“You look like crap”, Cissy said.
“Thanks.”

“Sooo…” Cissy continued. “You danced a lot with Augustus Rockwood yesterday. Is there something going on there that you’re not telling me about?” She gave her older sister a teasing look.

“Ew, no”, Andromeda said quickly. “Why would you think that?”

“Well, maybe because you danced with him four times.

“He asked, and I couldn’t say no, I had to be polite.”

“Polite!” Narcissa scoffed. “That’s a stupid reason for dancing with someone. Now he’s going to think you like him too, and everyone will be uncomfortable.”

“It was a few dances at a wedding, that’s hardly a declaration of love.”

“He’s not very good looking”, Cissy mused, “but I heard aunt Walburga and father discuss him, and apparently they think he is very polite as well, so you suit each other.”

“Augustus Rockwood is extremely full of himself and I wouldn’t go out with him if he was the last person on the planet.”

“I don’t think you should go out with him”, said Sirius in between mouthfuls of cereals. “Did you know he has a squib sister locked up in a cellar?”

“No, Sirius, that’s ridiculous, who told you that?”

“I hear things.”

Narcissa rolled her eyes.

“Make things up more like.”

“Look Cissy, I don’t think it matters, Rockwood only cares about himself so I doubt he thinks of me at all.”

“Still, I would never dance with someone just to be polite.”

“No, you wouldn’t do that.”

“And what’s that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing”, Andromeda said.

“So Lucius Malfoy then?” she continued, deciding to tease her little sister a little bit as well. Narcissa had danced with Malfoy for a large part of the evening and stared at him for the rest of it.

“Maybe.” Narcissa’s cheeks became a little flushed, but her smile was pleased. “He’s Head Boy this year, you know.”

“I know”, Andromeda said. “And he comes with a mansion.”

“Ew, Andi, I would never go out with someone just because they have a mansion, I already live in a mansion who cares about mansions?”

Andromeda laughed.

“No seriously. I wouldn’t care if I had to live in rags in the forest, if it meant being with my true love.”

“That’s ridiculous, Cissy.”

“Just because you don’t have a romantic bone in your body doesn’t mean we’re all that way. It’s like in Tonight and Forever, the book I’m reading, where Anna falls for Sebastian whose blood is pure and true but his family have lost all and to be with him she has to give up her riches and…”
Sirius made gagging noises, and Narcissa hit him over the head with a spoon.

“Well”, she said, suddenly more business-like. “If you had to choose – Rockwood or a Mudblood?”

“Do we have to call them Mudbloods?”

“What does it matter what we call them?”

“It’s just a really nasty word.”

“You’re just trying to avoid answering.”

“I don’t know, no one?”

“Woah, so you would consider a Mudblood?”

“I didn’t say that, I just don’t see why I have to make this choice at all, and please can we not use that word.”

Cissy rolled her eyes.

“Fine. But Lucius says that Muggle Borns have no place in our society and that if we do not…”

But at that moment the girls’ mother re-entered the kitchen with Regulus, whose nose now was down to a normal size.

“Are you all done soon? We need to get going if we want to be in time for the train.”

 

An hour later they all found themselves standing at Platform 9 ¾, ready to board the Hogwarts Express. Regulus was howling again, now overcome with emotion as he realised he would be the only one left behind.

“You’ll go next year”, Druella Black said desperately, while giving her youngest daughter a goodbye hug. Narcissa saw some of her fellow fifth-year Slytherins and disappeared. Andromeda had a handful trying to keep Sirius still as they loaded their luggage onto the train. It seemed as if he could not get away quick enough.

“Sirius!” Andromeda’s mother shouted his name to get his attention. “Your mother wants me to tell you to behave yourself, and to make sure to get into Slytherin like the rest of your family.”

Sirius made a face.

“What if I don’t want to be a Slytherin? And it’s not like I get to choose for myself.”

“You will do as you’re told, and you will not behave as you did this morning with your brother. We won’t stand for any misbehaving or detentions.”

“Whatever. Can I leave now?”

And he wrestled himself free from Andromeda’s grip on him and disappeared onto the train.

“I got to go too, or I’ll be late for the Prefects meeting”, Andromeda said to her mother, who nodded and gave her a hug.

“Oh, my little girl, going off to her last year at Hogwarts”, she said. “I’m so proud of you, and so is your father. I know he wishes he could be here to see you off.”

“Give him my love. And tell Aunt Walburga I’ll try to keep my eye on her little troublemaker.”

Andromeda’s mother smiled, and after one last hug they parted.

She hurried through the corridors of the Hogwarts Express, feeling stressed. A look at her watch had showed her that she would only barely make it to the meeting in time – it was almost eleven already, and it was hard trying to make your way through the sea of students trying to find a compartment. True, it probably wouldn’t matter if she missed the beginning of the meeting – this would be her third year as a prefect, and there could hardly be anything new to discuss. Now, if she had received the Head Girl position however… For a moment Andromeda felt a sense of annoyance and resentment thinking of the Ravenclaw girl who had been chosen instead of her, but then she shook it off. She would have enough to deal with during her seventh year at Hogwarts even without the Head Girl duties, so she might as well be grateful that she did not have to deal with that.

She suddenly found her way blocked by a large trunk lying on its side in the train’s corridor, it’s content falling out of it. Next to it she found a brown haired Hufflepuff boy from her own year hurrying to put everything back in to it. He stood up when he saw her.

“Sorry”, he said “dropped my trunk as I was putting it on the luggage rack.”

“And you’re putting it all back by hand?” Andromeda asked in an exasperated voice. She waved her wand and the trunk stood up on its right side again and its content restored inside. With a final flick of her wrist she even made the socks fold themselves. There was laughter from inside the compartment next to them.

“Should have thought of that maybe, Ted. Nice job, princess.”

Andromeda scowled. Sure, there were worse things than to be called princess by everyone at school who wanted to tease her, but she still didn’t like it. At least Ted had the decency to look ashamed of himself and the disembodied voice from inside the compartment.

“Sorry about that”, he said. “And thank you. I’m Ted Tonks I’m in...:”

“I know, we’re in the same year and have several classes together”

“Yes, I know, I just, we’ve never actually…”

“Look, I’m actually in a bit of a hurry, this has been lovely, but I need to go.”

And she hurried along the corridor only to be interrupted again by a voice that yelled her name.

“Andromeda!”

She turned around to see Augustus Rockwood and Alecto and Amycus Carrow standing outside a compartment and waving.

“Do you want to come and sit with us?”

“I need to go – prefect meeting” she said.

“Oh. Later then?”

“Maybe.”

She cringed as she turned around and continued on her path to the prefect carriage. Perhaps her sister had been right regarding Augustus Rockwood, and if that was true, what would she do? It was really not what she needed at the moment.

She slipped into the prefect compartment just in time to hear Head Girl Petronella Heathcliff start a lecture on the duties of a prefect, caught a disapproving glance from Gryffindor prefect Molly Prewett, and then remained silent for the entire meeting, contemplating how she would get rid of Rockwood.

When the meeting was over she and Lucius Malfoy made their way to their Slytherin companions. Malfoy had some things to say about Petronella Heathcliff as head girl and Andromeda let out vague noises of agreement without really listening.

She found her friend Dana Greengrass sitting in a compartment with two other girls from their year and Malfoys friends Yaxley and Goyle. Andromeda drew a sigh of relief when she realised Rockwood and his Carrow friends was not there

“Shouldn’t you be patrolling the corridors or something, mr Head Boy?” Dana said as they entered the compartment.

“That”, Malfoy said, “is what fifth year prefects are for.”

They all laughed.

“I really don’t understand why you weren’t made Head Girl though”, Dana said. “You really should have been.”
“They can’t have both from Slytherin, I guess”, Andromeda said. “It will look like favouritism.”

Malfoy let out a snort.

“As if Dumbledore would ever play favourites with Slytherin. You know, I have a great deal of ideas for improving this school and when I graduate I plan to…”

“Here he goes again”, Andromeda said quietly to Dana who rolled her eyes.

“Seriously though,” Dana continued. “You are so much better than Petronella Heathcliff, you deserved that position.”

Andromeda smiled. So typical of Dana to be angry for her sake.

“It really doesn’t bother me, Dana”, she insisted. It wasn’t entirely true, but she didn’t want to make a big deal out of it.

Dana gave in and they spent the rest of the train ride listening to Malfoy’s grand plans for Hogwarts.

 

As they made their way off the train Andromeda tried to keep a lookout for Sirius, but couldn’t find him.
“Don’t worry, you’ll see him later”, Dana said.

And she did. As the Sorting Hat sang its song Andromeda saw her cousin clearly, standing among a group of boys whom he had apparently already befriended.  She tried to catch his eye and wave but Sirius was looking anywhere but at the Slytherin table.

There were not many students ahead of him and when Professor McGonagall called “Black, Sirius”, Andromeda made herself ready to welcome him to Slytherin house.

Sirius leapt on top of the chair and put the hat on his head.

“Gryffindor!”

Andromeda let out a cry of surprise.

This was not good.

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