FIC: "Journey into Reality" for tattooedsappho Recipient: tattooedsappho Author: ??? Title: Journey into Reality Rating: PG-13 Pairings: Ted Tonks/Andromeda Black WordCount: 2714 Warnings/ContentInformation (Highlight to View): *[None.]*. Summary: Andromeda Black doesn’t have many friends and doesn’t interact with many people outside of her own house. Knowing that real life doesn’t work that way, her Ancient Runes teacher changes the seating plan and puts Hufflepuff and Muggleborn Ted Tonks next to Andromeda. Ted is easy going, caring, and nothing like Andromeda could ever have expected. Author's Notes: I tried to go with one of your suggested prompts and look at this pair’s final year at Hogwarts with an important moment from each month. I hope that you like it ♥
Andromeda had not expected her Ancient Runes Professor to change the seating plan around when they entered seventh year. Before, and in previous years, they had been seated by house but now Professor O’Donnell was waving a piece of parchment in front of the class and wearing a sneer on his face,
“You will find that Houses don’t matter so much when you leave Hogwarts. You cannot stay in your ridiculous cliques in the outside world and it is time you got used to that. Tonks, up the back with Black. Lestrange, down the front next to Bones,” he barks, continuing to rearrange the class while Andromeda sits up in bewilderment. It was common knowledge that because of his French mother, Professor O’Donnell had never been to Hogwarts and disapproved of the house system but sitting in classes was just how things were done.
“Hi,” Ted announces, throwing his satchel to the floor and slipping into the seat next to Andromeda as the class chatters around them, “I’m Ted.”
“Andromeda,” the Slytherin replies stiffly, taking in the Hufflepuff’s untidy hair and loosened tie. She isn’t impressed. Professor O’Donnell doesn’t allow a lot of talking so Andromeda hopes that she can avoid interacting with Ted as much as possible and just focus on her work.
Andromeda doesn’t have many friends outside of her own house; it was just easier that way. There were a couple of Ravenclaws from families her parents approved of that she sometimes saw in the library but she had fought not to be sorted in that House for a reason.
She didn’t know much about Ted Tonks but knew that he was a Muggleborn, or Mudblood as her housemates labelled him, and really that was enough. It wasn’t worth imagining how her parents, or Merlin forbid her aunt, would react if they knew she had to work with him. It was best to stay quiet.
Then, Professor O’Donnell announces their new pairs will be doing a project together that will be counted as part of their final marks along with the final exam. Well, what her father doesn’t know surely can’t hurt him, Andromeda decides glumly.
They begin to meet in the library because it is easier, neutral, and conversations that had been stiff and awkward flow more easily between them. Andromeda slowly finds that she doesn’t find Ted so bad. It makes her think about how she didn’t agree with her parents stance on Muggleborns and so on but never really took a stand. Maybe she should because it wasn’t difficult to be Ted’s friend at all and she didn’t have proper friends in Slytherin.
Ted was easy going and funny, very funny, and he didn’t appear to be judging Andromeda on her every word or action. It felt different, nice even. One evening they meet up to work on the project and Ted has a wide grin on his face as he beckons her over to what had become their corner in the library.
“I have something to show you! You know how I’ve been sneaking in sweets under old Madam Mackie’s nose?”
“Yeah? I have to say, I didn’t think students were allowed to bring that many sweets back from the village in one go,” Andromeda teases, easing herself and her heavy satchel into the seat opposite Ted. She had forgot to charm it that morning as she had been in such a hurry to escape her dorm mates. It had somewhat taken her by surprise, how happy Ted had been to share his sweets when he hardly knew her. It had been nice.
“I have a sweet tooth,” Ted states boldly, in defence of himself, “Anyway, that isn’t what I have to show you. I got sent some sweets from home. I figured as a pureblood you wouldn’t have tried them before, so I thought I’d share.”
A red packet is slid across the table and Andromeda looks at it blankly for a few seconds before reaching out and picking it up while Ted beams at her stupidly. A frown creases her forehead as she turns the packet over in her hand and reads the name.
“Maltesers? These are...muggle sweets?”
“Yeah, something different for you to try. I’ve got different ones but I really love me some Maltesers,” Ted states happily while unfolding his rolls of parchment to get ready to work.
“And you’re sure I can have them?”
“Of course. I wouldn’t offer you them if I wasn’t,” Ted laughs, smiling at her softly and then blushing when she nods her head and slips them into her bag.
There was something different about Ted. Something Andromeda liked.
The project is handed in. They get top marks for it but Andromeda misses her time with Ted in the library with the sweets from the village and the strange muggle candy. They still sit together in class, of course, but it isn’t the same.
Eventually she works up the courage to ask Ted to meet with her anyway to do their homework and talk and her stomach flips strangely when he accepts with that easy going smile of his.
In December, there is another trip to the village and Andromeda receives a letter from home reminding her that she will be graduating soon and really ought to seek a young man to date before she leaves school. There were endless paragraphs about setting herself up for her place in society and thinly veiled threats of arranged marriages if Andromeda failed to find her own relationship. It leaves angry bitter tears streaming down her cheeks behind the curtains of her large bed. It wasn’t fair. Her whole life had been about what other people wanted and what about Andromeda?
She didn’t want to date a man like Theodore Nott. He was arrogant, cold hearted and she couldn’t possibly imagine sharing a life with him, even if he was on her parent’s list of approved suitors. She would far rather date a man like Ted. Ted was charming, held doors open for her in corridors when he saw her coming past with a stack of books, shared his sweets, held conversations with her and in general was good company.
It is strange for her to look back now, as she wriggles about frustrated on her bed trying to get comfortable, about how much she had been against her new seating arrangement in September. Now, she wouldn’t imagine her life without Ted Tonks in it. Rebellion sets in. A strange boiling anger in her very bones that makes her want to take a stand and take control of her own life for once. She wasn’t in the House she should be in because of her parents. She didn’t have a lot of friends she could trust not to gossip about her behind her back because of parents circle of peers. She had a letter sitting beside her threatening to control the rest of her life unless she did something about it now.
The following evening, Ted and Andromeda meet in the library as usual and Ted notices the Slytherin spends most of her time chewing on her bottom lip and gazing out of the window instead of working.
“Dromeda? Are you ok?”
“Hmm? What?” she blurts out, staring at him with wide dark eyes.
“You seem distracted,” Ted says slowly, “Is there something wrong?”
“Yes. I mean no. I mean, I don’t know. Ted, would you like to go to Hogsmeade with me on Saturday?” she rambles very quickly, leaving the Hufflepuff staring at her stunned as ink drips onto his notes.
Andromeda fidgets in her seat, feeling her cheeks burning, and curses herself. She was meant to be an adult and now she was blushing like a child.
“Yeah. I’d like that.”
“I said, I would like that. Very much,” Ted repeats, smile on his face, and Andromeda can’t help but smile too.
“Really? I mean, cool,” Andromeda nods, “I will meet you in the entrance hall at 10 then?”
“I’ll be there,” Ted states dramatically, getting a giggle for his efforts.
They go to the Three Broomsticks and make sure that they get there early to grab a booth right at the back and out of sight. They don’t need unwanted attention, and can easily do their shopping in the afternoon when everyone is in the pub.
Ted lets Andromeda buy her own butterbeer after her insisting upon it and she beams the whole time she is drinking it. Anyone on her mother’s list would have said that it wasn’t proper. They talk for hours about all sorts of different things and Andromeda drinks in the information about the muggle world and Ted’s younger sister. In return, she tells him about the home her family has on the French coast and the summer holidays they had taken there. She doesn’t mention their pureblood mania or how they support the ideas of this dangerous new wizard uprising against the government, but she gets the feeling that she doesn’t have to. Ted seems to be smarter than he looks and very perceptive, giving Andromeda the idea that he already knows but appreciates that is her family, not Andromeda herself.
It makes her feel good and she lets him lead her away to quiet corner and kiss her when they get back to school. He asks her to be his girlfriend and everything in her says she should refuse because it will be easier. Of course, she says yes anyway.
Her parents find out of course. Luckily, Andromeda is on her way back to Hogwarts before the gossip chain at the station informs her parents of her date with Ted before the Christmas break. She is pleasantly surprised it had taken that long and had spent the entire holiday season worrying about who would spill the beans to her parents.
“I won’t step seeing him,” she thinks harshly to herself while pulling her trunk along the train, whispers following her from her housemates as she goes. She takes a compartment to herself and pulls out a book for the journey. It wasn’t even about Ted, really. It was about Andromeda finally being her own person and taking a stand for what she believed in.
He joins her in her compartment just as the train is pulling out of the station.
“Hi. I thought you would be with your friends?” Andromeda questions while rising up to meet him.
“I would rather spend my time with my girl,” he murmurs, pulling in his trunk and shoving it up beside hers without another word. She shifts over on the seat and he flops down beside her with a groan.
“I love my family, but I’m so glad to be going back to school. I forgot how loud and annoying and always there that they are,” he moans, ruffling his hair and smiling at Andromeda who puts her book aside and giggles.
“Well, we’re going back now. And, I think everyone is going to know about us. I heard my mother found out on the platform and was most displeased with everything,” she mumbles, and it isn’t like they were trying to hide but she would have liked a little longer without her parents knowing all the same, “I don’t care though. Not really, I guess.”
“Yes, you do,” Ted smiles, “You wouldn’t be my Dromeda if you didn’t. And anyway, it isn’t like they can do anything while you’re at school. I know they won’t approve of me. I never expected them to.”
Andromeda isn’t as sure as Ted but when he lifts his arm, she snuggles into his side all the same and enjoys the journey.
Pulling her cloak closer to her, Andromeda hurries along the Transfiguration corridor before coming to a violent halt at the end of it and listening carefully for any Prefects on patrol before turning the corner and hurrying on. As she had feared, the letters and threats had started to arrive from her parents within the week of her returning to Hogwarts. They simply would not tolerate her dating a non-pureblood and she risked expulsion from the family if she didn’t end what her mother had called her ‘sordid little affair with that animal’.
She doesn’t want to though. She enjoys her time with Ted and the more they try to push her into leaving him the more she finds herself enjoying her time with the Hufflepuff. He makes her happy, and feel carefree. There is no pressure with Ted.
Arriving at the empty classroom, she slips inside and waits for him to arrive. Their secret meetings made her feel alive and she didn’t want to let it go. Not for anyone.
“They want me to leave you.” Andromeda blurts out the minute Ted has slipped into the room.
He looks vaguely bewildered for a second before catching on to what she is talking about and then he frowns, his forehead creasing as he gnaws on his lower lip, “Is that what you want?”
“It isn’t that simple,” she scowls.
“Isn’t it?” he demands, crossing the room and kissing her soundly, “I...I’m in love with you, Dromeda. I don’t want you to leave because of a bunch of letters from your obnoxious racist family. We’re good together. We’re happy and it isn’t any of their business.”
“In love with you, Dromeda,” Ted repeats, pushing a stray piece of hair out of her face and kissing her again, softly this time, his arms slipping around her slim frame to pull her close.
“Oh, well, I mean, I think I love you too,” she rambles, blinking rapidly, as if she isn’t sure that it is really happening and happening to her who had never had a proper boyfriend before.
She sure hopes that it is.
In March, they go to Hogsmeade again and Ted starts to talk about the future and what he wants to do with his life. He uses words like ‘us’ and ‘we’ when talking about choices and homes and Andromeda feels like she is caught up in a dream she might wake up from. It becomes easier to picture the flat Ted talks about and the strange fashions that he insists are taking over the muggle world. She argues with him about what colour they would paint the living room because she wants red and he wants blue and it feels so real.
“Does it matter what they think, Dromeda? When it comes down to it and you see the bigger picture and look at your life down the line and what you want? Does it really matter? Any of it?” Ted demands, holding her hands that tremble slightly in his grasp. There had been another letter; another demand for her to stop seeing Ted because of what it would mean to them, not her, never her. Every time she ended up being reassured by Ted but she still got worked up each time all the same.
“No...no, I suppose it doesn’t,” she mutters, and Ted smiles before pulling her closer.
He proposes out by the lake one afternoon. There is no ring and no flashy outpouring of love.
He just turns to her, cups her face in her hands, and tells her “I love you Andromeda Black. Marry me?”
At first she thinks it is a joke, or that Ted is at least teasing her, but there is a fire in his usually calm eyes that takes her breath away and she nods, knowing it will change everything.
She doesn’t lie when she gets off the train. Instead, she takes Ted over to her family and introduces him. Her father tells her not to come home and only to contact them to give them an address to forward her things onto while her mother seems stunned into silence.
They don’t make a scene because they are in public and Andromeda makes sure that she doesn’t meet her little sister’s eyes as they leave the station. That would be too much. The promise of her things being returned to her was more than she expected and when Ted squeezes her hand she smiles at him.