Normally, the last day of school would thrill Andromeda- days upon days of no homework, no chores, and doing whatever she wanted. Of course, she had to contend with two miserable excuses for sister and not being able to talk to Ted, but freedom tended to be somewhat worth it. This year being her final year at Hogwarts, the end of the school year should have been especially wonderful, seeing as she never had to worry about homework or classes ever again, Being of the "Noble and Ancient House of Black," all Andy should have worried about was whom her parents were going to arrange for her to marry. Naturally, said parents were quite unaware that she was already married.
Andy really wasn't surprised that she had been able to keep her marriage quiet from her parents. It had been a very small Muggle ceremony with only her in-laws in attendance almost two months ago. For any of the Black girls to have been married in such a manner would have been disgraceful and a natural gossip-causer; Andromeda Black, however, hadn't been considered a Black by her family for almost two months. After she had stormed away from her home at the end of the Easter holidays, Andy had somehow made it to her boyfriend Ted's home in one piece before collapsing from exhaustion and fear. He had proposed to her much later that evening, imagining they would marry during the summer at the earliest. The next morning brought a huge reality check to the pair and they decided that the earlier the wedding, the safer Andy would be.
Sometimes, late at night, Andy regretted marrying the way she did. Both of them had imagined a wedding where at least more than four people were aware of its happening, with a party afterwards, and all the amenities of having a wedding provided. Sometimes she cried, afraid of what would happen to her once her parents found out; the rashness of her decision didn't come leaking in- it hit her with the force of a hurricane. Andy never regretted marrying Ted, because he loved her in spite of the nastier aspects of her personality and in spite of her horrible family, but she worried that she had done him more harm than good in marrying him; he was as much in danger as she was.
As she sat in her compartment on the way home, Andy stared blankly out the window and barely noticed the door slide open. Ted had to sit opposite her, partially blocking her view, call her name loudly, and shake her shoulder before she realized it was him that had entered the door. She gave him a weak smile and held onto his hand before turning to look back out the window. They sat in silence for most of the ride, alternating between sleeping and staring out of the window. Finally, about thirty minutes before they were going to pull into King's Cross, Ted broke the silence.
"Are you going to speak to your parents or are you simply going to walk with me out of the station?"
Shaking her head as if bringing herself back into reality, it took Andy a moment to respond.
"I was hoping to avoid them all together," she admitted, grinning sheepishly, "but I assume some form of confrontation is inevitable."
Ted nodded. "Well, I'll try and get us out of there as fast as possible, okay?"
Andy joined him on the opposite bench, cuddling next to him as she gave him a grateful kiss. "I always knew there was a reason that I loved you."
He laughed and gave her a squeeze before resting his head on top of hers. They remained in silence for the rest of the ride, this time in a contented silence rather that the previous emptiness that had filled the compartment. Andy counted Ted's ability to understand her with so few words her blessing for the day. She tried to close her eyes and relax a bit before the arrival, but her nervousness of seeing her family again refused to leave her alone. With her luck, Narcissa had figured out that Andy was married (after all, quite a few rumors had turned out to be true) and had already informed the Blacks, who were waiting with wands ready. Andy couldn't wait.
The train jolted to a stop much too soon (why oh why couldn't she and Ted have left Hogwarts and proceeded directly home instead of getting on the train?) and Andy took a deep breath before rising and helping Ted pull down their luggage. They walked slowly towards the train exit and he squeezed her hand tightly before they stepped into the inevitable doom.
Mercifully, Andy didn't see her family straightaway and she steered them towards the exit, thanking her lucky stars with every step closer they approached and she didn't hear her mother screeching after her. The noise and confusion seemed to mask them and they had nearly made it to the barrier when all hell broke loose.
"Andromeda Black, where do you think you're going?" The voice belonged to a person much worse than her mother: her father.
Andy gulped audibly and forced herself to turn around. Her mother screaming was much easier to deal with than her angry father, whose temper had been passed down to both Andy and Bellatrix.
"Your sister had some rather amusing news to tell us. Can you imagine what it might be?" Mr. Black hissed, striding quickly over to her side.
"Whether what my sister told you is fact or gossip would help me in better imagining what said news could be," Andy hissed back, taking a step backwards and trying to place herself between her furious family and Ted.
"Don't you think about playing games with us Andromeda!" her father screamed, his face turning the color of a ripe cherry. "You've placed yourself in enough disgrace and trouble as it is!"
"For what? Escaping from my tyrannical family?" she screamed back, her breathing becoming heaver and more forced.
"For shacking up with that Mudblood boyfriend of yours! It's become common knowledge how low your standards are; you've all but announced yourself a whore!"
Andy recoiled, as if she had been hit square in the jaw. This was quickly becoming just as ugly as she had imagined. "You have no answered my question: what has Narcissa said about me?"
"What makes you think it was me?" Narcissa whined from safely behind their father.
"Your smug expression gives it all away. What kind of wife will you be to Lucius if your face betrays everything you've done?" Andy hissed, resisting with difficulty the urge to scream and rip out her sister's hair.
"You keep Lucius out of this!" Both Narcissa and Mr. Black screamed, although Narcissa's ladylike composure had disappeared. Pity the Malfoys weren't there to see their future daughter-in-law behave in such a manner. Mrs. Black, however, was the one to enlighten Andy and confirm her worst fears.
"Narcissa has informed us that you seem to find yourself married to this Mudblood," she hissed, albeit weakly, shaking as she glared at Andy. "I can only pray…."
"That she's right so that you can properly disown me? Well, congratulations Mother, Christmas has come early for you! You get to disown me and never see me again all in one day!" Andy cheerfully interrupted, putting on her best peppy smile.
Mrs. Black let out the most blood-curdling scream that Andy had ever heard and lunged at her daughter with her hands out like claws, as if she intended to scrape off Andy's face. Ted quickly pulled Andy back next to him as Mr. Black grabbed hold of his wife.
"Miranda, have you lost your mind?" Mr. Black yelled, pushing her back behind him. "Have you lost all sense of dignity to behave in such a manner? Andromeda has done enough without you helping her."
Narcissa and Bellatrix stood a few feet behind their screaming parents, both sporting identical evil smirks. Andy could barely look at them; she could barely stand being in her body. Her heart was pounding so loudly that she could hear it perfectly and the blood rushing through her brain was driving her nuts; her entire body was shaking and her jaw hurt from being clenched so tightly. Even Ted's gentle touch on her arm was driving her insane and she threw his arm off, practically pushing him over. She couldn't take it anymore.
"If I'm so disgraceful, why are you even bothering to make me conform? Just squash me like the ants on the porch- it would certainly make life easier for us all! I refuse to leave Ted and I certainly refuse to return back to the hellhole of my childhood! I refuse to be a Black anymore! I REFUSE!"
After that, everything seemed to blur. Andy remembered her parents screaming something and her sisters' smirks, Ted practically running as he pulled her into the Muggle Zone of King's Cross, worried expressions blurring together as she moved. She remembered Ted's parents waiting for them beside a cab with terrified expressions and the soup Mrs. Tonks tried to feed her that evening. She remembered asking Ted when they would move into their new home and not hearing his answer. Andy remembered being unable to stop shaking for weeks and not leaving the house.
Andy remembered to thank her stars for forgetting everything else.