“Why should you be sorry for that? It’s not your fault. It’s mine. I don’t see how,”sighed Bellatrix.”I should go.I shouldn’t have come in the first place.”Her head was already starting to whisper ideas on how she could convince Andromeda or someone to…She closed her eyes. She needed to leave before one latched on.”I wonder what Kat would say about all this…”
“Maybe not, but I’ve made mistakes too.” She said. “Kat?” She asked. She couldn’t recall if she knew that name or not. “A friend of yours?”
” ‘Live with the choices’?Since I came back that’s all I’ve done.But you don’t understand what that means. The ministry is ignorant of the true number of lives I’ve ruined.I’m not. I might not have the number, but I have the faces and the memories and no one else knows. No one. Not Rodolphus—where ever he is. Not Cissy. Especially not you.”She shook her head. Andromeda wouldn’t. “I waited too long. Maybe that’s why I was screaming when I came back. Not because what I was leaving was so horrible…but because this was. This was my punishment. Living. Living long enough to regret. To hate myself enough to drown out the rest of my hate.”
“No, perhaps I don’t.” Andromeda agreed.” She said. “I’m sorry, Bella. I truly am. I don’t wish for you to suffer. I know I should, but I can’t bring myself to.” She told her. “I wish you could find some happiness somehow, or at least contentment.”
“I will always be hated. If you think people’s hatred for me will die with me…it won’t. You can only seek to be redeemed if there’s something worth saving.Or a chance to be saved.”Bellatrix closed her eyes and shook her head. “Stop, Andy. You think too much of me. I haven’t changed that much. Just because I can feel the guilt now doesn’t make me any less guilty. I regret my actions, but there is still no place for me. Not anymore. And I don’t care that much. I don’t.”She scoffed.”Make peace? I know what my life has meant. But blood cannot be unspilled, lives cannot be regained, decades of pain and suffering at the end of my wand cannot be erased. I’m not going to lie and pretend I’ll have tea with mud—muggleborns to make myself look better.I won’t insult the victims anymore than I already have.”
“I’m your sister.” She repeated. “I can’t just stop caring. I’ve tried. Believe, I’ve tried. But, the girl in this photograph, I believe she still exists. A part of her anyway, and as long as she does, I’ll never stop caring. And you’re right. You can’t undo the past. So, you have to live with the choices you’ve made, and the consequences that have resulted from them. But, I’m not going to kill you.” She told her.
Bellatrix quieted. They’d had this discussion too many times before. You chose him. You left us. But there was still plenty she had never said. Do you think I wanted that? A burned hole next to my name on the tapestry instead of a sister? How was leaving different from disowning? “Cissy needed you more than she needed me.” She didn’t know what to say to Andy’s reasoning for why she wouldn’t grant Bellatrix’s request:
“Killing you would mean killing a part of me. As much as I’ve hated you, and I have, I’ve also loved you.”
Bellatrix believed her, but she didn’t see how Andy could have any affection left for her. Her eyes widened when Andromeda placed the picture in her hands. She hadn’t cried in years. She didn’t know if she still could. Or if she had emptied herself of them along with so many other things. “I stopped being your sister a long time ago. A sister doesnn’t do the things I did. And I’m going to die whether you like it or not. Maybe not today. Or tomorrow. But even if you won’t and I can’t someone else might try.” She placed the picture back on the shelf. She looked away.”And I don’t think they will be kind. Why would they? And I don’t know what I’ll do. If I’ll fight, if I’ll let them, if I’ll hurt someone else. And if they succeed the world will rejoice because it’ll finally be rid of me.”
“No. Somewhere inside, that girl still exists. I know she does.” Andromeda said. “Just like that Andromeda is still buried deep inside of me. I just never let her show. Because she’s not as strong as I am.” She explained. “You’re right, though. You will die someday. We all will. But, you have a choice. You can die hated or you can seek redemption. The choice is yours. Now, I’m not saying everyone is going to instantaneously believe you’ve had a sudden change of heart. Or that you even have one. But, I am saying, if you care that much, then you should try to make peace with the past. Try to right some of the wrongs you’ve made.” She suggested. “Make what time you have worth something. Make your life mean something.”
“Have you ever swatted a fly or squashed a spider? Those are lives. And there are those who don’t consider me much better. All I’ve lived for is gone. All I’ve worked for, everything, my beliefs,my ambitions, my lord—-Cissy has her family. You have your’s. Kat’s daughter—if that is who she is— is better off with whoever they put her with.If you’re a healer then, I’m sick. How many times have I heard that? I have a disease. I’m already wasting away.All my life the people I’ve touched, the people I’ve hated, the people I’ve loved, all I have ever done is hurt. Hurt them. Hurt me. Hurt you. I’m not living, Andy. I died the first time around.I shouldn’t be here.”She scoffed when Andromeda tried to talk about choices.”Some good, some bad? What good have I ever done? Cissy felt compelled to choose between us. If you two didn’t talk much it’s because she was afraid of losing me, too. And I let her think that. Because I wanted her. I needed her. All I have ever done is stood in the way of other people’s happiness. How much sooner do you think Cissy would’ve come to you if I had simply died when I was suppose to?I couldn’t even do that properly. It’s not cruelty if you do this. It’s a kindness. It’s mercy.It spares anyone else from having to deal with me.Let me die.”
She sighed. “Fine. I’ve never taken a human life.” She amended her earlier statement. She looked at Bellatrix and shook her head. “You don’t get it, do you? You disowned me, Bella, but I didn’t disown you. You are my family. No matter what you’ve done. Nothing can change that. We share blood.” She pointed out. “That’s exactly the point. Cissy needed you and you needed her. The two of you needed each other. I was okay. I had Ted.” Andy assured her. “Killing you would mean killing a part of me. As much as I’ve hated you, and I have, I’ve also loved you.” She walked over to a cabinet and opened it. She picked up a frame that was on one of the shelves and handed it to Bellatrix. Inside the frame was a picture of the Black sisters, smiling. It was the last picture the three of them had taken before Andromeda had been burnt off the tapestry. “I don’t want you to die, Bella.” She whispered, softly. “Despite everything, you’re still my big sister.”
“Fine. Then I want something from you. Is that easier to believe?” said Bellatrix. A touch of a growl rumbled in her words.” .I could’ve gone somewhere else, to so many others, but you are the one I’ve hurt the most. And if I can’t do this, if had to be someone, I wanted it to be you. I‘m not here to apologize for the reasons why I did what I did. I can’t take them back and I’ve done nothing to deserve forgiveness. So no, I’m not asking for that. I still don’t understand you. But if you still loathe me, then this should be easy.” Bellatrix inhaled and exhaled deeply. She could feel her heart drumming in her chest. It was what she wanted, but it wasn’t easy to admit. “Kill me.”
Still gripping her wand, she listened to Bellatrix speak. To say she was shocked would be an understatement. She stared at her for several moments, trying to figure out if she was being serious. Upon determining that she wasn’t kidding, she pondered her words. She could easily kill her. After all, here she was telling her to. And no one would miss her, nor was Andy likely to face any consequences, especially if she made it look like self defense, which she could easily do. And Bellatrix had killed Sirius, and Nymphadora, despite the fact that her daughter had been able to return from the dead, though Sirius hadn’t been as fortunate. Still, Andromeda had never forgiven her, and likely never would. But, as she stood there, thinking all of this over, she realised that although she would never forgive Bellatrix she’d made her peace with all of it. She was standing in front of a woman who had let hatred and bitterness consume her and that woman was asking to die. Andy wasn’t going to become that woman. She wasn’t a killer. She wasn’t like her sister. She’d proven that years ago, and she’d continue to do so today. “I’m a healer not a murderer. I’ve never taken a life, and I won’t do so now. Not even yours. You may not feel as though you deserve to live, but I’m not going to be the one to make that decision.” She explained. “We all make choices, Bella. Some are good, some are bad. Some affect us for the rest of our lives. I won’t live with your death on my conscience.”
She’d expected this. Bellatrix kept her fingers curled around her wand, but she did not raise it. “Help.” It was one word, but she wondered if Andromeda understood how strange it was to say it out loud. Bellatrix was proud—everyone had known that. She didn’t ask for help.She hadn’t for years.”I have no right to ask anything of you, but it’s something I can’t do.And I think it’s something you’ve wanted, too.”
Andromeda was surprised when she said she wanted help, but as she continued speaking she had the urge to laugh. “I don’t want anything from you, Bellatrix. What could you possibly need my help with?” She asked. She had to admit, she was curious. She and Bellatrix hadn’t spoken in years, not even to argue.
Bellatrix walked around the ground level of the house. She was a stranger here. She studied the pictures of people she didn’t know and who would never know her. She touched an invisible hand to captured smiles and memories she had never been a part of.She read the titles of the books on the shelves, and stared at the the knick-knacks, the furniture, the pattern of light and shadow.
The door opened and Bellatrix instinctively reached for her wand. It was Andy. She smiled an unseen smile. She hadn’t said her name in years, but in her head she would always be Andy—Andromeda, her lost sister.She watched her for a moment. Watched her enter and glance around and walk into the room. Bellatrix curled her fingers around her wand and silently backed away. She wasn’t sure how she’d react. She lifted the charm and revealed herself. “Andy…”
Andromeda heard a voice that was both familiar and not at the same time. She instantly grabbed her wand and aimed it at Bellatrix when she revealed herself. Though she wasn’t as young as she used to be, she still had quick reflexes. “Bellatrix.” She said, keeping her voice emotionless. “What do you want?” She asked. Though she could pretend her sisters’ presence did not affect her, it wasn’t true.