"Absolutely not." Andromeda glares at the sleek, blonde head currently occupying her kitchen hearth.

"I told you what Harry told me because you deserved to know and because he deserves to be remembered" …and because I needed to tell someone and you're the only person left alive who might care, she doesn't finish. "I've asked you not to contact me here," her hand twitches to extinguish the flames.

"Please Meda!"

"Why me? Your husband must have plenty of free time these days."

Narcissa presses her thin lips together, looks down into the grating, "Lucius…hasn't been well lately, not since…."

Andromeda searches her heart and is unsurprised when she fails to locate a scrap of sympathy for Lucius Malfoy.

"Bring Draco then."

Narcissa's eyes grow bright with chill fury. Her words, when they come, drop from her mouth like stones into a cold, black pool, "If you are suggesting that I take my son to that place. If you think he needs to see that. Andromeda, he's eighteen years old."

No, loath as Andromeda is to admit it, Narcissa is right. Andromeda scarcely knows her nephew, but she understands why Narcissa would shelter him from this task. It will probably be dangerous and will certainly be grisly…and he is eighteen years old.

Narcissa must see something of this realization in her eyes, for her anger is immediately cast off as she reverts to pet-names and pleading, "Please Meda, he was the best of us."

Andromeda scoffs. "What about Sirius? Remember that some of us never served your Dark Lord." what about me?

"Please Meda, you're the oldest now. You have a responsibility; think of your duty toward the family."

This is her breaking point. "A responsibility? You're taking to me about responsibility? I'm responsible for my grandson. His parents are dead because some friends of his great-aunts' murdered them. He is six-months old and he needs me. I am all that he has left, so don't you dare talk to me about my duty to my family."

The fire hisses and sputters out.

Andromeda finishes making supper, warms a bottle for Teddy, settles him on her lap as he drinks. His hair is a pleasant sort of lilac today. His eyes are a familiar green—Harry's been visiting quite a lot lately.

With her grandson's weight warm in her lap, she finally thinks of her cousin. He's been lost for so many years; it feels strange these days, gratuitous and almost indecent, to be rubbing away at this old grief when she has so very many that are so much fresher.

He was just a boy when she was cast out, about to start Hogwarts. She never saw him after, so this is how she pictures him, ten years old, slender and shy, incomprehensibly devoted to Aunt Walburga. When she'd heard that he'd joined up it had been hard for her to imagine it. It's not that she was surprised, she knew (or thought she knew) where his loyalties lay, but surely he was still a child, hiding in the shelter of his mother's robes. How quickly he must have gone from presiding over tea parties with the house-elves to running about abetting brutal murders. And then, when Harry told her the end of her cousin's story, that had been hard to imagine too. He must have been so frightened.

Teddy is sleeping now. She lifts him to his crib, settles him in. There are tears drying on her face. She cries so often now, she scarcely notices. Most of the time she does not cry over any one thing, it's just the sea of grief inside of her, sloshing over and out her eye sockets.

She washes her face, returns to the kitchen. Kneels before the fire. "Fine Narcissa, I'll help. I'll help you bring Regulus home. But I'm not doing it for you. I'm doing it for him."


I think relative ages are useful to know for stories about family dynamics, here are the dates I've been using:

Belatrix b. 1951
Andromeda b. ~1953
her daughter is born in 1973, so I'm assuming she was openly in a relationship with Ted Tonks and would have been disowned by 1971.

Narcissa b. 1955
Sirius b. 1959
Regulus b. 1961 d. 1979