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Dorcas Meadowes' Laundry Service by Chemical_Pixie
Chapter 20: Epilogue
--Alastor Moody to Harry Potter, describing members of the original Order in OotP.
“Now, Colin, promise me that you’ll take lots of pictures,” his father said to him.
Colin, aged eleven, looked bright-eyed up at his father, his blonde hair falling into his eyes. “Of course, Dad! I’ll take pictures of the train, of the castle—the castle, can you believe it?--, of my dorm room and friends—“
“Okay, okay, son, we get it,” laughed Mr. Creevey. He placed his hands on Colin’s tiny shoulders. “Have a good term. And don’t forget to write.”
“Okay,” promised Colin. He turned towards his little brother, who was standing quietly in front of their mother. “I’ll see you at Christmas, okay, Dennis? I’ll get you something especially cool. Maybe they’ll have something better than those jelly beans we had in Digagon Alley—“
“Diagon Alley, dear,” said his mother, Linda. She blinked, surprised at how automatic her response was. She felt out of place amongst a platform of wizards, but this instant in time felt so familiar to her.
“—Diagon Alley. Okay, Dennis?”
“Yes! See if they have any chocolates, will you?” Dennis asked. “And, well, maybe one day I can go to Hogwarts, too. Right, Mum?”
Her youngest son suddenly turned towards her, his bright eyes having an almost pleading shine. Linda’s heart sank at his words; there was a pit in her stomach that felt as if it had been just uncovered, this uncertainty bubbling after years of denying it.
“Of course, dear,” Linda reassured him, patting him on the arm. “Just give it some time. You have to finish learning your maths, first.”
Mr. Creevey laughed. “Well son, it’s about time to get on the train. The other children are doing so, too.”
Colin looked around nervously to make sure that he wasn’t the only student off the train. The platform was extremely crowded, dotted with children saying their final goodbyes. He turned to board the train.
“Wait! Colin! Aren’t you forgetting to say goodbye to your mother?” Linda asked.
Colin’s look of horror made her heart melt. Her first born was now going away to a place to which she would never be able to have access. He was going to a world where she would never be able to understand. Suddenly, Linda Creevey did not want Colin to go to this Hogwarts. But she cast aside her uncertainty after one look at the excitement and anxiety written on his face.
She embraced her son.
“Bye, Mum. I love you,” Colin said.
“I love you, too, Colin,” Linda replied, rubbing his back. She didn’t want him to leave. But he had to. He had to. “Have a good term, sweetheart.”
Colin broke the embrace and leapt onto the train—just in time, too. The whistle blew and the doors closed. With a lurch, the Hogwarts Express began to move.
Linda’s heart also gave a lurch. Her baby was being whisked away from her, from her safe arms. If anything ever happened to Colin, she didn’t know what she would do.
“He’ll have a smashing good time. He is, after all, a wizard!” said Mr. Creevey jovially.
Linda wasn’t convinced, but she didn’t say anything as she watched the scarlet steam engine carry her son away from her. As the train rounded the corner and out of sight, it felt as if Linda were watching a glimpse of her past, and she couldn’t fathom why.
The musty smell of the attic greeted her before she could even see its content. The light bulb had never been changed, but, after some considerable use these past few weeks, Linda was sure that it would need to be soon.
She found the box where she had hastily put the things that had been inside her old trunk from her childhood. Colin had it now, on the Hogwarts Express. Soon it would find residence in a castle with her son as its keeper. Linda was glad that she had been able to see her trunk go to good use. She had had it for as long as she could remember.
There were a few photo albums peeking from the top of the box, along with a few antique tablecloths.
Linda sat on the wooden floor, examining the table cloths. Supposedly they had been her parents’ or her grandparents’. She soon found herself looking at photos in her album, from the time she was studying the cello at university to the time Dennis went to his first day of school.
The box still wasn’t empty. Among the doilies, Linda noticed a blue bottle she had nearly forgotten about. She pulled it out of the box.
Its blue tint was as vivid as ever. It seemed only yesterday that she was using the best laundry detergent she had ever used. Linda remembered trying to find it when she had run out of it. The company who had called her never existed, which made her wonder who the woman selling the detergent had been….
But still, Linda and her family enjoyed wonderful smelling clothes for months. She couldn’t find it in her heart to throw the bottle away. She had to admit that it was a beautiful bottle.
She took off the cap and gave a whiff. To her surprise, she could still smell its contents, though the scent was weak.
With a sigh, Linda put down the detergent and glanced into the box again. There was a picture frame at the bottom, facing down.
Carefully, she lifted the frame and turned it over. There was a lot of dust on the glass, so Linda had to gingerly wipe it off.
“I know you,” she said aloud, squinting down at the girl in the frame. The photograph was aged, but Linda vaguely remembered having this picture in her possession.
The girl looked to be about Colin’s age. She was wearing a blue frock. She had dark hair, and, if Linda looked closely enough, blue eyes. She was standing by some sort of wooden fence, right next to a barn. Linda was suddenly dizzy.
With trembling fingers, she took the back of the frame off and slid the photograph out. On the back of the picture, there was a small inscription.
“Dorcas?” breathed Linda, turning the photograph over.
The girl, presumably named Dorcas, was smiling, but only just. She didn’t look entirely sad, either. She seemed knowledgeable, like she knew a lot about life’s difficulties, even at her young age. But in her expression there was still hope.
Who was this Dorcas? What became of her? Did she become a schoolteacher? Or an accountant? Did she find love? Was she married? Did she have any children?
Nothing in this photograph suggested any answers to her questions. Dorcas only existed in that moment in 1966, aged eleven.
Linda, biting her lip, gently put the photograph back in the frame. She had no idea how she had come across such a picture. She felt obligated to keep it because when Linda looked at the young girl Dorcas, it felt like she was glancing into the foggiest of memories.
Wow. It's complete. I can hardly believe it! I really hoped you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!
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Looking for somehting new to read? Please read my newest fic Birthright. I have the prologue and first chapter already up!
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