It had been a hard and terrible year, when Dora was born, full of crying and dirty diapers and dirty dishes and milk gone off, and Andromeda remembered it in detached and vivid flashes, like pieces of a dream. She had never felt so alone. Her family was -- gone, just like that, and Ted's family was terrified of the baby; if they had friends they were Ted's, and didn't like her, and after three nights in a row up with Dora she had thrown all their plates at the wall one at a time and screamed for a house elf. They couldn't afford one, and Dora had this terrible trick of shrinking her hips to get out of the diaper, and it had taken Andromeda two months to come up with a charm that would keep the damn thing on. Too tired to Apparate she'd gone to Muggle groceries and every time, every single time, held her breath for the person ahead in the queue to turn around and notice something, purple hair, dog ears, anything, and bring down the Ministry, costing both of them their jobs. Ted had laughed at the careful ritual of disillusion she'd taken to performing before every trip outside, until the duckbill.
Three in the morning, she remembered, up rocking the baby, the rented flat so starkly silent, without house elves or portraits or enchanted teacups to murmur to themselves and let you know the house was still breathing. She'd smoothed Dora's fine and flamebright hair and thought, panic in her throat, of how methodically, how thoroughly she had gone about burning all her bridges. Back and forth in the middle of the night, with the baby fussing and no one to help, while the clock flashed its green and silent numerals on the mantelpiece, moving inexorably forward, zero, one, two.
Ted had kissed her on the forehead, in the morning, and made her breakfast. He'd hoisted Dora into his arms, then, and she'd looked over his shoulder, poking a finger up her nose, gurgling, and saying, suddenly, Mama.
This baby was quieter and his hair favoured the green part of the spectrum. She thought, sometimes, he looked like Dora, but she was never sure she would truly be able to tell.
He was crying now. She cradled him in the old rocking chair, moving back and forth in the gentle rhythm her body had never forgotten. It was late afternoon, sunlight slanting lazy and warm into her lap. Her hands were slow with weariness. The clock made noises now, a steady comforting click from second to second, an occasional dull rumble as gears whirred into place; but the photographs on the mantelpiece looked down behind glass, smiling, waving, silent.