Characters: Andromeda Tonks; Andromeda/Ted
Word Count: 1415
Warnings: Canonical Character Death, Mild Torture
Summary: For the second time within her life, Andromeda loses what is most important to her and this time, she also loses herself.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter characters are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Author’s Notes: Inspired W.H. Auden's Stop All The Clocks and written for the interhouse_fest 2013. Thank you to Fairy for the beta ♥
It sometimes felt as though she were to choke. It sometimes felt as though she were dreaming, dreaming a terrible nightmare that held her captive, that she was unable to wake up from. It sometimes felt as though she had forgotten to laugh, forgotten to cry, forgotten to breathe.
He was dead. All she wanted was to do was shout, to scream out the words as if only then they would become real. But wouldn’t it hurt even more, if it finally became real? Wasn’t it a soothing state of numbness Andromeda found herself in since her husband had fallen? The funeral, the condolences… She could barely remember any of the past weeks’ happenings; it seemed as though she had withdrawn into a world of her own, far away from the war, far away from death, grief and constant worry.
One day, however, she’d be forced to always think of, one day that was burnt into her memory forever. It was the day that changed her life in a cruel, horrible way; the day she lost him.
The glass fell to the floor, bursting into a thousand pieces. She could feel blood billow from her palms, stream down her wrists as she attempted to pick up the shards, shaking her head over and over again, unwilling to believe what she had just heard. There must have been a mistake.
There must have been a mistake! It wasn’t her husband’s name they had just spoken out on the radio; it was impossible, impossible! Perhaps her mind had fooled her, perhaps her ears…
Nothing was impossible in the war. She hadn’t been fooled by her mind; her ears had only heard what was spoken out. Ted Tonks. What she feared the most had come true. They had caught him. He was dead.
All of a sudden, her life had begun to crumble down, burying her beneath the ruins; all of a sudden she was alone, with no one but her daughter left to hold on to. All of a sudden, the world seemed to stand still.
But she couldn’t bother her daughter even more. Nymphadora had her own life now, husband and child, fighting in the war relentlessly and without fear. If only she’d be safe… If only it could be guaranteed that she would be safe, if only she could be sure that she’d not lose Dora, too!
Even the sheer imagination of the danger her daughter constantly put herself in made Andromeda want to scream, to lock her into her room and not let her go until the war was over, but she knew that it was impossible. Nymphadora’s life was no longer within her hands, no matter how desperately she wanted to protect her, no matter how desperately she wanted to save her.
The constant worry seemed to tear her apart from the inside, but how could she distract herself? How could she spend a single second thinking of something else, if the man she loved more than anything else, more than she loved herself, had fallen already? How could she, if her daughter, her most precious daughter, was in danger of losing her life any day now as well?
She was the one to die. Andromeda was the only one to deserve to die. After all, hadn’t she betrayed her family only to pursue her own happiness? She had given up everything for him. Her life, her parents, her sisters… Of course she had cried at first, waking up and finding her pillow wet with tears, of course she still thought about those she had left behind, especially Narcissa, her sweet little sister Narcissa… But she didn’t regret her decision, never had.
Her years with Ted had been the happiest of her life, and it all had ended before she had been able to realise what was going on. It had all ended before she’d had the chance to say goodbye. Was this the price she had to pay for her betrayal? His death, instead of her own?
Andromeda would never forget the day they had broken into her house, surprising her, surprising her husband. She’d not had a chance to refuse when they took her wand, casting the first curse against Ted, then against her. The pain that had suddenly taken possession of her body was excruciating, caused her to gasp for breath, caused tears to uncontrollably stream down her face.
“Where is the boy?” one of the Death Eaters screamed at her, grasping his hands closely around her throat until she became dizzy, close to losing consciousness. This had to be the end. If he were to kill her, it would only take him no longer than a minute. But he let go of her, only to hit her hard in the face, to repeat his words, his voice quiet now, quiet and terrifying.
She wouldn’t reply, though, only closed her eyes as if it would help control her breathing. They had taken Ted away; from far away she could hear his moans, his muffled screams. No… No, she wouldn’t give in, had sworn not to give in!
“You know you’re going to give in sooner or later,” he hissed beneath his mask, again pointing her own wand at her, again releasing a powerful Cruciatus curse that, for a moment, seemed to paralyze her body and mind. “Once a traitor, always a traitor.”
Once a traitor, always a traitor.
Silence. Who was the man standing right in front of her at this moment? Who was it finding so much pleasure in causing her such unspeakable pain? Had they once known each other? Had they danced with one another at one of her parents’ many dinner parties when in society’s eyes everything was still all right? Day by day he fought at her sister’s side, blinded by fanaticism, just like her, just like Bellatrix… If only all this could come to an end! If only they could wake up and see that they only caused sheer destruction, the the man they followed was a liar, nothing but a liar…
He suddenly came close to her, so close, almost as if he had read her mind…
“I should kill you and your filthy husband…” he breathed against her ear as he took her wrist, slowly twisting it until she could hear the cracking sound of bones breaking, until the pain seemed to go beyond endurance. “It’s a pity that someone like you has such precious blood run within her veins… Be thankful to your sisters that you’re still alive!”
Andromeda’s memory broke off soon after she’d heard him speak out these words, soon after she’d felt his hands firmly pressed against her chest.
When she awoke, everything was over.
How much the war had changed her life. How much the warhad changed everything! Nothing would ever be the same again, nothing would be able to close the wounds inflicted on her. They were too severe, too deep to be healed.
It was the uncertainty that hurt the most. The uncertainty of the future, the guilt that she had not been with him when he’d died. They had made a vow never to leave each other, and still she had let him go in the foolish assumption that he would be safe anywhere but with her. Perhaps she could have saved him. Perhaps he’d still be with her, perhaps it all would have come out differently…
He’d been her everything. Her everything… She’d given up her entire existence for him to start anew, had done what for centuries seemed to be impossible. How unspeakably happy had she been… And now? Now, he was gone, and her whole life stood still.
It would be all right, they told her, speaking out the words as though they had a meaning. Everything would be all right, they said. But it was a lie; nothing would be all right, nothing would ever be all right again. How much had she loved to look out of the window with her husband, how much had she loved to look up into the sky and count the stars… But now? Now, she would barely open her curtains anymore, wouldn’t bother looking out any longer, because even if she did, even if daylight flooded her room, it would only burn her eyes. There was no light left inside of her, no life, no happiness. Instead she was drowning in darkness, a darkness that would never again let go of her.