“‘Is anyone going to bother telling me what the Order of the Phoenix— ?’
‘It’s a secret society,’ said Hermione quickly. ‘Dumbledore’s in charge, he founded it. It’s the people who fought against You-Know-Who last time.’
‘Who’s in it?’ said Harry, coming to a halt with his hands in his pockets.
‘Quite a few people—‘
‘—we’ve met about twenty of them,’ said Ron, ‘but we think there are more….’”
--Harry, Ron and Hermione discussing the Order, OotP, page 67 US paperback.
It had been a year since Dumbledore recruited anybody for the Order of the Phoenix. And Dorcas could tell, from the very brief and seldom appearances he made at the Order meetings, that he was desperately looking for more. And that only meant that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was growing stronger.
Now was such a meeting. Alastor Moody, a brilliant yet terrifying Auror, announced that Dumbledore was to be arriving shortly. In the meantime, someone had brought an entire case of Butterbeer, and it was being passed around.
“Chin up, Meadowes,” Sirius Black called from across the table. Before she knew it, a bottle of Butterbeer was flying her way. She barely caught it.
“Aren’t you supposed to be nursing a battle wound, Black?” Dorcas snapped. “So you can try impressing some bimbo of a witch?”
James Potter chortled, elbowing his best mate in the side. “My wife’s got him patched up good. A bloody wonder, she is.”
“Your wife’s got a name you know,” Lily Potter said lightly. She rolled her eyes as James elbowed Sirius again after he whispered something into the young wizard’s ear. Probably a joke against Lily. Dorcas shrugged and opened her bottle of Butterbeer. Those three, along with two others, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew, had been the last in the Order to be recruited.
And she could see why. Their loyalty towards each other astounded her.
“This seat taken?” A redheaded blur sat down next to her. The voice jolted her out of her thoughts.
“The Fat Friar was going to sit there, Fabian,” Dorcas said, quickly recovering herself. As she took a drink, he winked at her. “Get out of his seat.”
“No. He can sit next to you another time. He’ll live.” Fabian chuckled at his own joke, not taking his eyes off of her.
“Very funny. Nearly wet myself with that one,” came a sarcastic voice on the other side of her. Somehow Gideon had slipped next to her without her noticing, but she was relieved that he did.
“Glad you had enough control. What a bloody mess that’d’ve been,” Fabian retorted. Dorcas rolled her eyes. She had lost count of the number of times she had to sit between the Prewett brothers. Fabian set down his drink, resting his hand on the table, close enough from Dorcas to see his freckles.
She knew that they had taken a keen interest in her ever since they were charged with the task of hunting her down to be recruited. Now, they were hard to shake off. But she was fond of both of them.
“How’s the sister, boys?” she asked.
“She’s doing well. Though the twins look like they’ll be a handful when they’re older,” Gideon replied.
“They’ve got an outstanding uncle to teach them and look up to,” Fabian added proudly.
“You mean Gideon?” Dorcas asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh, Dorcas, I was going to say that.”
“No, you morons. I meant me!” Fabian said indignantly. Gideon and Dorcas laughed, and Fabian soon joined them. Dorcas looked across the table. A pair of gray eyes had been watching them, but now they were engrossed in conversation with the young, married couple.
However, Dumbledore had arrived, looking tired and forlorn, distracting Dorcas. The chatter quickly died down, as it always did these days. Whatever news Dumbledore was bringing to them, it wasn’t good.
There was a knock on her door, but she knew someone was already coming. Her protective spells had warned her of that, giving Dorcas just enough time to pull on her bathrobe and to grab her wand. She lit the cluttered room before standing a few feet away from the door, wand at the ready.
“Who is it?” she called.
“How can I know it’s you?”
“My hair isn’t blonde enough, and a flobberworm’s tail can’t farm igloos,” was the reply.
Dorcas quietly groaned and opened the door, but he was standing in the shadows.
“How do I know it’s you?” he asked her.
“I pickled a pickle until a bowtruckle fell sick from eating bezoars,” Dorcas answered.
“What a sad, little bowtruckle.”
“What a pathetic igloo farm you run,” she countered. Dorcas could make out a smile from the darkness.
“Am I allowed inside?”
“Of course.” Dorcas silently berated herself for being so nonchalant to his face.
She stood aside, and Fabian walked into her little cottage. The candles and lanterns added warmth to the dying fire. Shelves were crammed with books and bottles containing different liquids. Piles of laundry and tailoring orders dominated the dining table.
“Your parlor looks more chaotic every time I come over,” Fabian noted as he handed her his travelling cloak.
“It’s my main workspace. I can’t be doing everything I do at the office you know,” Dorcas replied, locking her door. Then she sighed. “Why are you here, Fabian?”
The redheaded man picked up a bottle from the shelf and swished around its contents. “Can’t we still be in the know of each other’s lives?”
Dorcas marched over to one of two mismatched armchairs. Her cat, Friede, was curled up, sleeping. Without a word, she picked up her pet and sat down, putting the cat in her lap. Friede did not like being woken up, but Dorcas scratched her behind the ears. Almost instantly Friede’s purring filled up the room, giving her owner a sense of grounding.
“Fabian, it’s hard enough to pretend in front of everyone,” she told him.
Fabian’s back was facing her. He was lingering by her shelves, brushing dust off of books and bottles with his index finger. She could tell that he was not happy with her answer.
“Is that really how you view it? You pretend that we are friends? Merlin, Dorcas. Just think how crushed Gideon will be if he ever finds out that you’re only pretending,” he spat. Fabian was refusing to look at her. He took a book off of a shelf and opened it, skimming its contents. Dorcas could tell that he was actually reading it because he was biting the lower left corner of his lip, which he did whenever he was concentrating on reading material.
“That’s not what I meant at all, Fabian. You know that,” she replied coolly. Dorcas took a deep breath.
“Then what did you mean?” he asked, gripping the book hardly.
“You know perfectly well what I mean!” she exclaimed. Dorcas stood. Friede leaped from her lap, giving an angry hiss. The cat then slinked up the stairs, leaving Dorcas alone with Fabian.
“No, I don’t.”
“We’re friends,” Dorcas snapped.
“Then why do you need to pretend in front of other people?” Fabian asked sharply. He turned around, placing the book in the wrong spot on the shelf.
“Do I need to spell it out for you? Apparently.” She paused, trying to remember herself. Dorcas needed to be as neutral as possible. “We are friends—and only friends. We—well, I—pretend in front of everyone that we never had a relationship further than that. No one knows we’ve had…romantic connections in the past.”
“Except Gideon,” Fabian said coldly. “He knows.”
“It’s hard to keep something from a twin,” she said.
“It’s hard to keep something from a sibling. Doesn’t have to be a twin.”
“So does Molly know?” Dorcas demanded.
“Then why sib—oh. I see.”
“I bet you do,” he muttered.
Dorcas clenched her fists. “How dare you! First you come to my house in the middle of the goddamn night. Then you come up with some lame excuse that you just needed to see me. Then you attack everything I say. And now, now
, you bring in Dalia!” she exclaimed. She marched right up to him, swallowing a lump in her throat. “D’you know how hard
it is to not be in contact with my sister? D’you know how difficult it is to have faked her death and made her change her name so she has a chance to be protected from Death Eaters? D’you know what we’re both missing in each other’s lives? D’you know what it feels like erasing her memory, making her into a person she’s not?”
“No, I don’t. But—“ Fabian began.
“Then why bring it up? Don’t you dare attack me for something I did for my sister’s protection!” she shouted.
“Are you sure you didn’t do it for your protection?” Fabian shouted back. “So that you can go on pretending to have neutral relationships with every Merlin forsaken witch or wizard?”
His outburst stunned Dorcas. Her mouth hung open for a moment before she found her footing again.
“I’m in the Order, Fabian! If anyone were to find out that my Squib sister’s alive, I can lose customers, which won’t allow me access to houses to keep an ear out for Death Eater activity. Not only that, but they’ll go after her because those people cannot tolerate anything but pureblood. She’s my only family left. I can’t lose her to—“
“You’ve already lost her, Dorcas,” Fabian interrupted.
“Don’t say that!”
“You’re lying to yourself! If this war ever is over, your relationship with her will be too severed. You both will be different people. Two complete strangers!”
Dorcas hated how her chin wobbled and how her throat was closing and how her vision was blurring. She tried to think of something, anything, to say, but nothing was coming to her. She wanted to hit him, to hex him. But part of her knew that what Fabian was saying had some truth in it.
“And Dalia’s not the only one you’ll be a stranger to,” he went on, taking her silence as an invitation to continue. “Right now, you think you’re on good terms with everyone—or at least you want to be. Once the war’s over, the Order will go separate ways. Those who you serve will either be in ruin or just continue to know you as the reserved, little laundress who would never think of sticking her nose into anyone’s business. No one will know you, and everyone will be too busy to do so.”
“Why are you saying all of these things, Fabian?” Dorcas demanded brutally. “Why come here now? Why even point out my mistakes?”
“Why? Why?! Isn’t it obvious?”
“No, seeing that we’re almost strangers now,” she seethed.
“Because I’m not ready for us to be over!” he shouted. “You doing what you’re doing because you think it that’s best for everyone—but you’re not the only one hurting from cutting yourself off from everyone!”
“Did you imagine that you’d have me with one visit? If so, you’re doing a terrible job of winning me back!” she retorted.
“No. I’m trying to get you to win yourself back. You deserve a chance at life—“
“What about others? I can’t just sit around, doing nothing, when I’m perfectly capable of keeping an eye out for Death Eaters! You-Know-Who is destroying our world, Fabian! Sacrifices need to be made; personal matters must be shoved to the side. It would be extremely dangerous if people found out that their laundress was with a well-known opponent of You-Know-Who!”
“God, Dorcas. I can hardly believe you sometimes. Are you listening to yourself?”
“Of course I’ve been listening to myself. Otherwise I wouldn’t be standing here today,” she spat.
“You think you’re being selfless,” Fabian began darkly. “But you’re only being selfish.”
“How dare you—“
“Yes. I dare,” Fabian said, nodding and stepping closer to her. “I dare to tell you what you’re doing to your face. I dare to say that you’re on a self-destructive path. You don’t want to be hurt in the end, no matter what sides wins. If we win, you think that those who you’re pushing away now will welcome you back with open arms. If they win, then you’ll still have your business to fill your loneliness.”
Dorcas swallowed. In the dim lighting of the parlor, shadows crossed Fabian’s face, giving him a sinister look. She really did not want to start crying. “And why are you telling me these things? So you can have me? That’s being selfish.”
Fabian glared at her and turned away again. His hands gripped the edge of the shelf that had been standing behind him. He said in a small voice, “I’m saying these things because even though you’re being a prat, I still find myself caring for you, worrying about you.”
“You have bigger things to worry about than me. You-Know-Who, for example.”
“Say Voldemort,” Fabian said. Dorcas flinched, taking a step back. She bumped into the coffee table, sending some magazines to the floor. He laughed hollowly, craning his neck in her direction. “It’s only a name.”
“A powerful one. Do you have any idea how frightened people are of him? I see it all the time when witches come to my workshop, hesitant that they need something tailored or needing me to wash some clothes.”
“Yes, I do know how much people are frightened of Voldemort. I see it in you, Dorcas. You’re pushing everyone away. Your sister. Gideon. Me. Even the Order. You’re at every meeting, but your interaction with the members is disconnected. I wonder how you act with your precious customers,” Fabian said.
Dorcas stood up straighter. Her heart was racing, and she couldn’t quite place why. The man she had fallen in love with was standing in front of her, glaring at her, wanting her back, but he seemed so disgusted with what she was doing, which was trying to win the war for the Order, for the good guys.
“If I don’t,” she began, her voice cracking. “If I don’t, then… then…”
“Voldemort’s already won. We’re supposed to be united, Dorcas. Dumbledore even said so himself at tonight’s meeting.”
“So you’ve summoned the courage to come here because of what Dumbledore said?”
“I suppose you can say that,” he told her, smiling wryly. “If it’s not Voldemort you listen to, then it should be Dumbledore.”
“Would you stop saying his name?” Dorcas hissed.
“Whose? Dumbledore’s or Voldemort’s?”
“Sorry, I don’t know who you’re talking about,” Fabian replied in a flat voice. “You need to be more specific.”
Dorcas clenched her fists again. What game was he playing? One moment he was saying he cared for her, the next he was relentless towards her. “Fabian, please.” She sighed, leaning against the armrest of the chair she had earlier occupied.
He pounded his fist against her shelf, sending a few empty bottles to the ground. They shattered; the different color shards gleamed in the candlelight. “Don’t let him win, damn it.”
“I’m trying not to. Why do you think I joined the Order? Why do you think I go sleuthing in other people’s houses? For giggles?”
“Your efforts, Dorcas, are phenomenal. But your lifestyle is not. That’s the trick of it, Dorcas. You can fight and poke around all you want, but it’s the way you live your life that makes your fighting meaningful. You need to have good relationships with others. You need to love, otherwise Voldemort will win.”
“You think I don’t love anyone?”
“I think you do. But you don’t want to lose that love, so you think it’s better to not grow in that love right now. You’re a classic case of a war victim, Dorcas,” Fabian said. He was finally facing her again, but they were about seven feet apart.
“Then is that it then?” she asked, throwing her arms up in the air. “Is that all you’ve come here to say? That I’m a victim of war, pushing everyone I love away, even though I’m risking my neck every hour of the day?”
“No, it’s not.” Fabian quickly closed the gap between them. He made to grab her hands but quickly stopped himself. Her blue eyes stared into his brown ones, which took her breath away, even now when she half-wanted to hex him. “I don’t want you to lose that part of yourself, the ability to love. I believe you can never have it back once you lose it.”
“Of course you can,” Dorcas retorted. But they both heard her uncertainty. She tried changing the subject. “Look, I’m sorry if I hurt you, but we shouldn’t be together.”
“You think that,” he muttered. Dorcas could suddenly see the young child in Fabian, the great Order of the Phoenix warrior. She could suddenly see who he used to be.
“Fabian.” She felt the tears coming. Dorcas wanted to hold the little boy she was seeing in her arms. She wanted to hold the man the little boy became as well
“I should be going,” he said quickly.
Dorcas swallowed her ‘you think that’ retort. She knew it was best that he did. It disturbed her how much she wanted him to stay, even though he came to her place and insulted her. Fabian was waiting for an answer. “Okay,” she said, hating herself for the word’s simplicity, for its lack of emotion.
“Sorry I bothered you, Dorcas. I won’t come by again unless you ask me to.”
Dorcas wanted to cry out against his bitter disappointment, but she could not find anything useful to say. He seemed so defeated, and she was responsible for it.
Fabian reached out his left hand and cupped the side of her face; her heart began racing again. Without a word, he turned and was walking towards the door.
“Wait,” she croaked. “Fabian, wait.”
He paused but didn’t turn around. Neither of them spoke. Fabian hovered between her bookshelves of bottles and books while she stood, glued to her spot, shivering, near the fireplace. A minute passed before Fabian made his way to the door and left her without a goodbye.
Well, that's chapter two for you, as well as the beginning of part two! Actually, I had to cut a scene out of this chapter because it was long enough to mess with the flow of the story. So, as a preview for chapter three, I shall tell you that Regulus Black makes an appearance.
Anyway, please, please, please review. It would be most appreciated!