CHAPTER 4 - A Father's Message
this super gorgeous chapter image of dorcas meadowes is by aphrodite @ tda
"We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone..."
This was honestly the last situation in the world I thought I’d ever find myself in. Actually, the thought never even occurred to me. Why would it? Why would it ever occur to me that I would be crying in Professor McGonagall’s office while the woman tried to awkwardly console me?
It was Friday and Transfiguration was the last class of the afternoon. I was genuinely excited about going to enjoy the beautiful sunny day outside, but just as I was about to leave the room, she called me back. She said nothing, but only to follow her back into her office. I swore I was going to be lectured about punching Sirius and then given a month’s worth of detention.
I might have preferred that actually, but instead, she sat me down and then handed me a letter. The moment she did, it was as if the whole world had just dropped down onto my shoulders. I felt tired and forlorn. I knew who it was from before I even read it. It was Mum. I’d recognise the neat cursive and the cream coloured stationary anywhere. At first, I was thoroughly confused as to why Professor McGonagall would personally hand me a letter rather than just the owl bringing it. Then it dawned on me that Mum must have written her another letter with this one attached. Typical of her to involve others in our family affairs. I could imagine what that letter must have said, “Please take care of Deora.” I don’t need sodding taking care of.
I gingerly opened it.
My baby girl,
I hope things are well with you. I can’t tell you how much I miss you and your brothers. Kieran is out of the country for training now so I haven’t seen him in a week, but Albert comes around every so often. Apparently, he’s found himself a new girlfriend so you should probably write to him and make sure he doesn’t get his heart broken again. Your brother seems to have an affinity for the insane. You and Kieran are much stronger than Albert, but don’t tell him I said that. Anyway, honey, tell me how school is going, okay?
Also, I’ve enclosed in this letter a locket your dad left behind for you. It was in his will, and all was said about it was that it was your turn to live. Very much like your father to be cryptic, isn’t it? Oh and yes, I know, the solicitor
finally came around yesterday. I really wish you kids were there for it, but your Auntie May came to stay with me. If you’re wondering, I’m fine, honey. Please stop worrying about me and start worrying about yourself. It is your last year and I know from the bottom of my heart that your father would wish for you to live it out in style.
I’ve got to go now. Time to feed Binky and Boom. They’re still a bloody menace, but they miss you too.
Then just like that, the tears began streaming down my face. It was my turn
to live? What a load of bollocks, Dad! It wasn’t your bloody time to die yet! You still had so much to live for! You had to go and be the bloody brave one, didn’t you? Go and be the protector, well now who’s going to protect me? Protect Albert from getting his heart broken? Scold Kieran for being a womanizing git? Who? Certainly not Mum. Guess what else? You’ll never get to see me graduate, see me become something… or even get to walk me down the bloody aisle!
My heart clenched itself tightly, the pain and anger wounding its way in the pit of my stomach like a snake. It made me ill that I had to put my head onto the edge of the desk. In that moment, I felt so alone. No one understood how I felt, no one could ever understand. I felt as if no one could ever be there for me like my dad was…
I didn’t know how long I had sat there for, but by the time, I resurfaced from my hands, the sun seemed to have been replaced with dark clouds. Professor McGonagall must have also moved from her previous position by my side back to her seat. It was awkward, but at the same time, I appreciated that she didn’t pry nor felt the need to say something. That was what was great about her. She cared, but she didn’t overdo it.
I wiped the tears away from my face with the back of my hand, and looked up shyly at her. She peered up from the book she had been reading and gave me a soft smile.
“You fell asleep, Miss Grunnion,” she said in her normal tone of voice, but there was definitely a softer lilt to it now. It unnerved me a little.
“Oh, I… I’m so sorry, Professor,” I managed. My throat felt dry and strained.
“It is quite alright, Miss Grunnion,” she smiled back. “But if you are planning on having dinner, I suggest you head to the Great Hall now before the food’s all gone.”
“Oh, yeah, right,” I was tumbling over my words, but if she had notice she made no indication whatsoever. It was strange. Professor McGonagall never made me nervous before, but there was an evident shift in our relationship now. The woman had just seen me bawl my eyes out and now she was looking at me in the way a concerned relative would. Unnerving.
I got up to leave, but she put a hand on my arm before I could turn towards the door. “Oh, before I forget,” she quickly pulled out a small parcel from her robes and placed it in my hand. “The locket.”
“Deeds, what’s up?” Dorcas nudged me, breaking me away from my reverie.
I had been staring at the locket and turning it over in my hand for the past hour, ever since I got back from Professor McGonagall’s office that is. It was a gold heart-shaped locket, but there was nothing inside. No pictures, nothing whatsoever. It made no sense that my dad would send me an empty locket.
“It’s just, why would he send me an empty locket?” I murmured. Dorcas was the only person I had told about the letter and locket. When everyone else asked me about my rendezvous with Professor McGonagall, I just lied and said she lectured me about punching Sirius, who had whooped with joy. Git.
“I don’t know, baby,” she said softly so no one could overhear us. “But there must be a reason why, maybe send your mum an owl and ask if she mixed it up with something else?”
“Yeah, I suppose so,” I agreed.
“Petey, stop making googly eyes at Deora, it’s just plain rude across the dinner table!” cried out James who then burst into giggles. Yes, giggles.
“Leave him be, Prongs! Their love is beautiful,” Sirius said dramatically, waving his arms around. “It is like a ray of sunshine in a dark storm, like a flower growing in a pavement, like a…”
“Knee to your head?” I quipped.
A grimace of pain flashed across his features before he returned my innocent smile. “Now, now, Deora, my dear, don’t be rude. I will soon be like your brother in law.”
“I’d rather snog Avery than be in any way related to you,” I spat back.
“Well, that’s a bit far, isn’t it, Deora?” Remus said, pulling a face of pure disgust, which made me chuckle. “I know Sirius is a right pain in the arse, but really? Snog Avery? That’s… that’s human cruelty.”
Dorcas and I began laughing. “Yeah, that’s true.”
“So when’s the wedding?” James asked earnestly with his hazel eyes. I wanted to bear hug him every time he did that, but however, in this particular case, I’d rather kick his shins. So I did. “Oi! Was asking a legitimate question!”
“Will you lot just give it a rest?” Dorcas sighed exasperatedly. “It stopped being funny by noon.”
“Obviously, we have very different ideas of hilarity then,” Sirius winked.
“Seriously, guys, just shut up,” Peter finally piped up. I was wondering why it took him so long to speak up, but I suppose he rarely did with the boys.
“Well if you
say so, I guess we should,” Sirius said sarcastically. “But when did we ever do anything we were supposed to do, Petey? You should know that by now.”
Peter sighed and gave me an apologetic look. Why must Sirius always act like such a sodding git? Every time I start to think ‘yeah maybe he’s an alright bloke, just a bit of a jokester,’ he goes and puts Peter down like that.
“What a complete and utter arse!” I snarled from under my breath. Dorcas turned to look at me, her expression perplexed. “Sirius picking on Peter like that.”
“He doesn’t mean anything by it, Deeds,” Dorcas assured me.
“Yeah, I’m sure, but it’s such a jerk thing to do!” I replied childishly. It is. He’s a jerk-bully!
“We insult each other all the time, what’s the difference there?” Dorcas asked, arching an eyebrow at me. I hated when she was being sensible.
“Well… I mean… I don’t know,” I fumbled for a response. “Erm, well we’re best friends!”
“So are they.”
“Still different,” I mumbled, feeling defeated.
“Look, you think Peter can’t take care of himself,” Dorcas said. “You think you need to protect him all the time, protect his confidence, whatever, but Deeds, he’s a big boy. He can look out for himself and Sirius is his
best friend too.”
hated when she was being sensible. I didn’t like it one bit. Granted, she may be right, but I can’t help how I feel. Yeah, I’m protective over Peter, but he’s like the little brother I never had. But before I could tell Dorcas this, I felt a tap on my shoulder.
“Deora,” said a familiar voice. I felt my heart drop and my hands instinctively clenched themselves.
“Jeremy,” I replied coldly.
“Look, can we talk for a second?” he asked. I was still facing away from him, refusing to even give him the satisfaction of eye contact.
“What is there to say?” I certainly didn’t have anything to say to him anymore.
“Please, Dee?” he pleaded in that soft voice he used to only reserve just for me. I felt nothing in response. It used to make me weak at the knees leaving me putty in his hands. This time, it made me sick.
However, I’ll humour him. “Fine, you have two minutes. Talk.” I noticed that everyone at the table were now staring and listening in on our exchange. Dorcas looked ready to pounce and kill him if needs be. Mary, who had remained quiet this entire time, even looked irritated.
“Not here, Dee, please,” he said in that same voice. He was starting to sound like a whiney baby.
“Okay, fine,” I grumbled as I reluctantly got up. I followed him towards the far end of the Great Hall near the big oak doors. “What do you want, Jeremy?”
“Well,” he began. “I wanted to apologise for last year. I… I was an absolute arse to you and it was not how I wanted to end things.”
“You were an arse,” I simply said.
“Yeah,” he shuffled his feet. “And I was hoping we could put that behind us. Look, I made a mistake, Dee. I miss you, I really do, and we were great together. I just never realised that till I lost you.”
What the bloody hell?
Since I didn’t respond, he continued, “What I’m trying to say is I think we should give this one more chance. You know?”
I was flabbergasted, to say the least. This is my ex-boyfriend who upped and left without a single bloody word. No explanation. Nothing. Then next thing I knew, he was dating some blonde-haired bimbo. Why in Dumbledore’s sodding name should I give him another chance?
I probably should have handled it better, but the jerk left me so speechless that I just walked away. I walked back to the Gryffindor table and sat down. Of course, I should have known that I would not get peace and quiet here either.
“What happened!” Dorcas demanded.
“Why were you just talking to him?” Lily cried out. Oh, I looked up, Lily was back. I wonder where she had been.
“Deora,” Dorcas said, a bit softer now. “What did he want?”
“To get back together with me,” I said lamely.
“Well you’re not, are you?” James asked roughly.
“It’s none of your business,” I snapped, starting to feel annoyed at everyone’s sudden interest in my life.
“Well when you’re toying with our boy’s feelings then yes, it is our bloody business,” Sirius said angrily.
“We’re just friends, Sirius,” Peter said exasperatedly, but then he turned to me. “But Deora, he’s a prat.”
“Massive prat,” Remus agreed. Everyone else nodded. I guess everyone knew how screwed over I got last year. Well to be fair, I was like a walking zombie for the first week and then when he got that new girl, I was like a basket case. I snapped at everyone. I was moody and angry… kind of like recently. I think that’s why I punched Avery, amongst other reasons.
“Seriously, just leave it alone,” I mumbled.
“What did you say to him though, Deora?” Lily persisted.
“Yeah, I hope you didn’t say you’d consider it!” Dorcas said.
“Merlin, you said yes, didn’t you?” Sirius asked.
“Nothing, okay? I said NOTHING! I just walked away!” I cried out. “Will everyone just fuck off out of my business, please?”
I grabbed my bag and stormed out of the Great Hall. Why was everyone being so bloody nosy in my personal life this year? What ever happened to the good old days when people didn’t care what happened? I miss those days. Merlin, this was just turning into the most bizarre day of my life. First, the crying in Professor McGonagall’s office, the letter and empty locket, Jeremy wanting me back, and now all my friends being utter dickheads.
I didn’t know where I was going, but there was no way I was going back to the common room to be interrogated by them again. I just kept walking, allowing my feet to take me where they want me to go. A few minutes later, I found myself in the Owlery. I suppose my feet wanted me to send a letter to my mum and my brothers. I took out three pieces of parchment from my bag and began to scribble out letters to all three of them. To Kieran, I asked about Quidditch and how the Falcons were doing. To Albert, I asked about his girlfriend and told him to be careful. To Mum, I asked about the locket and told her about school—minus the punching, and moodiness.
The letters had taken less time than I had expected and I still didn’t want to go back yet. I instead found myself a spot in the corner of the Owlery, away from the owl poop. I then pulled out the locket from inside my robes and stared at it one more time. Well even if it was just some pointless locket, at least it was pretty. I unclasped the end, putting it around my neck and admired the way the gold contrasted with my pale skin. I smiled and leaned my head back against the wall. Just a little nap and I’ll go back…
“If you don’t wake up, someone’s going to find you and put you in detention, missy,” a voice rang out, echoing in the Owlery. I peered open an eye to find that no one was there.
Huh. It must have been my subconscious speaking to me. I yawned ungraciously and stretched out my arms. I felt every muscle in my bone ache from the stiff position I was sitting in for… what must have been the past couple hours? Merlin, I can’t believe I slept that long. The sky was a pitch black with only the stars and the crescent moon dotting its vastness. I couldn’t tell what time it was, but I assumed it must be past curfew.
I quickly got up and grabbed my belongings.
“It’s about bloody time,” said the voice.
I froze. “Who’s there?” No answer. Okay, I’m going insane. I really am going insane now!
With much more hastiness, I began to make my way across the Owlery and towards the stairway.
A giggle rang out through the empty room just as I reached the stairway. “Oh, you are just like your father. So flighty and panicky!”
“Okay, who the bloody hell is there?” I yelled out, starting to feel more insane by the second.
“Potty mouth, you are,” said the voice again. Definitely female. “But so are all Grunnions so I suppose I won’t reprimand you for that.”
Okay, panicking now! “I’m dying, aren’t I? And this is me in my final moments on earth going absolutely bonkers.”
Another giggle rang out. “Merlin, you are more dramatic than your father! If you would just stop panicking for one second and listen to where the voice is coming from, you’ll know you’re not going insane.”
I stopped and tried to breathe calmly so I could listen. “Say something else.”
“This place is disgusting,” the voice said, and this time I followed the sound of it to… me. I looked down at my chest and saw the locket was glowing softly.
“From the… locket?” I asked. “How is that possible!”
“Open it,” it demanded.
I held the locket in my hand, a feeling of apprehension coming over me, and my fingers shook as I opened it. I didn’t know what I was expecting, but my jaw dropped in shock. It… It wasn’t
empty anymore. No, instead there was a photo of a beautiful sandy-haired girl, the same age as me… and there was something familiar about her face. Something comforting too… Then I realised, she had Dad’s dark brown eyes.
“Aunt Helena?” I asked.
“Well it took you long enough, dear,” she said.
“But I don’t get it, how are you talking to me?” I asked, completely and utterly confused.
“Well, it’s kind of like a portrait,” she explained. “You know how they can speak to you, but I only appear if someone blood-related wears the locket.”
“Why would Dad send you to me?” I asked, still confused.
“Honey, you’re hiding in an Owlery from your friends,” she laughed. “Need I say more? I’m just here to look out for you.”
“I don’t need looking out for,” I grumbled.
“Blimey, you’re just like Hugh!” cried out Aunt Helena.
I was about to respond to this, when the door to the Owlery swung open, and there standing in the doorway was Sirius Black. I dropped the locket and shut it tightly.
“What are you doing here?” I asked through gritted teeth. Sirius leaned against the doorframe, a poster of absolute ease. I wanted to smack him for loving every second of my irritation.
“I could ask you the same question, love,” he smiled at me. “In any case, I was roaming around the castle when I, through divine insight, realised you were still out and about.”
“Divine insight?” I arched an eyebrow. He talks a load of crap, doesn’t he?
“Yes, divine insight,” he grinned wider. “Anyway, were you talking to yourself again? I heard voices.”
“It’s probably from all the loose kinks in that brain of yours,” I grinned back now.
“Touché,” he chuckled. “But seriously, you should follow me if you want to get out of detention, I know shortcuts plus the girls are worried about you. They wouldn’t stop yapping in my ear about it.”
“Sounds like them,” I laughed. Sirius then turned and started leading the way down the staircase and the silence almost seemed amiable than awkward. However, as the universe would have it today, my luck didn’t last that long.
“Phwoar! What a nice arse!” blurted my aunt from within the locket. I felt the heat rush to my face as Sirius turned around to stare curiously at me.
“Nothing, I didn’t say anything,” I said a little too quickly. He smirked before continuing down the stairs. Oh, sod it to hell! I was going to have to have a word with my deceased aunt once we were alone, what the hell was she doing?
The remaining journey back to the Gryffindor Tower felt awkward and not at all amicable. I bet he thinks I fancy him now! Eww… no, no, I bet he didn’t even hear it! Yeah, he didn’t hear it… I hope.
Needless to say, I kept quiet all the way back to the common room, which as expected, was completely empty of life. We stood awkwardly by the foot of the stairway leading to the girls’ dormitory. Normally, I would have made some quip about how he’s a git, but I was so flipping embarrassed that I had no idea what to say now. I hoped to all that was good in the world that he didn’t hear that!
“Well… uh… night, Sirius,” I mumbled before turning on my heel and bounding up the stairs.
“Night, Deora,” he called out. “Glad to know you like my arse! I won’t tell Peter!”
hey guys sorry this took FOREVER to write! i've been so incredibly busy with uni and essays that i hadn't had time to write or even the inspiration to do so. hopefully, i'll be updating a bit more frequently now that things have calmed down! hope you like this chapter, please leave a review! even if it's just to say you liked it! and constructive criticism is always welcome. again, favourite lines? bits? cheers for reading!!