One of those stories that haunted me until I wrote it down. Parts written in italics are in the past. Remember to review. Enjoy.
ALL OUR YESTERDAYS
“…That’s Dorcas Meadowes. Voldemort killed her personally…” -The Order of the Phoenix, pg. 174
It’s funny how life changes when you’re looking into the eyes of death.
Love had been effortless for her. Like slipping on a glove. Her heart had been traitorously easy to fool - love in a war. The cliché seems too obvious.
“Do you love me?”
Grey eyes twinkle at her. She must remember to breathe. We are all easy when it concerns love. Even cold, cynical Dorcas Meadowes.
She has always known her way. It isn’t that she is a snob - she is driven.
“You will remember this when you’re lying face down, feeling life sink out of you,” her mother says as she combs her hair. “Life isn’t fair and it’s gone too fast - you do not
Dorcas laughs, “You’re always so chipper, Mother dearest.”
The hair tightens around her skull and she gets this fuzzy feeling between her eyebrows. She crosses her eyes dizzily. She brushes the tear away with the flick of a wrist, trying to stop the gasp. Her mother sighs,
Dumbledore’s eyes seem to look straight through her. She feels somewhat small, even with her towering heights. A glimpse of herself at eleven haunts her mind, pigtails and freckles and a schoolbag in hand. Her mother had kissed her goodbye and her father -
She wonders then if she had known in that moment.
“You have come a long way, Dorcas Meadowes.”
His voice is grave and she has a sudden urge to blink. A glimpse of herself kneeling in her family’s house flashes through her mind, singing and praying for forgiveness. She remembers her mother’s long nails digging into her shoulder whenever she would hesitate. The marks have been erased.
“I pride myself to think so, sir.” She shuffles her feet. Stares at the red carpet. Looks up again.
The wizard looks at her, his face impassive. He nods once, twice.
“You will do.”
Phinneas is waving gleefully from his portrait. She flicks him when Dumbledore isn’t looking.
“Don’t bother lying.”
Her sister’s mouth twists into a bitter smile and the burning look is one that could melt ice-cubes.
“Fine.” Dorcas sighs, “I love being a Gryffindor.”
Elladora sneers, “You – insolent little –“ the rest tumbles off into a low ramble. She picks out shame, Mother
, but never I understand
and she turns away.
“So you joined the Order, did you?”
“So you’re still an arse, are you?”
“Feisty - good; I like that in a person,” Sirius grins at her and she barely blinks.
She has recognized him from the start. Too many dinner parties for pure bloods stand clearly in her mind. The black hair and steel eyes give everything away, even if his colours are red and gold. The reprimands of her mother to stray away from the Blacks still stand ice-clear in her head. She still has the marks on her back to prove them.
There is this remembrance, this nagging little moment playing over and over in her head of summer heat and pretty boys she used to kiss. A similar set of grey eyes she used to love. It slips,
His face is impassive,
“It’s better to please them, really.”
“Please them?” Dorcas snorts and he wrings his hands, reaches for her. He lets a cool finger run tenderly along her temple, picks at her lips and she has to smile.
“We could run away together?”
“We could stay here and survive.”
“You’re such a Slytherin, Regulus,” the words tangle together and she has to remind herself that here this is no offence. His hand slips out of hers,
“Is it so bad to want you alive?”
Her smile is faint,
“I prefer being free to being alive.”
“You know, we don’t have to be enemies even though our families are,”
At the meetings she has done her best to avoid him. She knows he has recognized her from all those parties. She does not need another reminder of a past so shameful that she can barely breathe. Their
stares are enough.
He puts forth his hand; it is huge and turned slightly upwards in greeting. She notes despite herself that it is the same size as his had been. Her hands clasp and unclasp.
“Black - I -“
“I’m Sirius Black,” he ignores her, winking at her, “Current residence at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry - after that, who knows? Going nowhere fast, disowned, irresponsible, charming, handsome - and
my mother’s Satan herself,” He wiggles his fingers at her, and finally she grabs his hand. It swallows her up, warmth enveloping her everywhere. She sighs,
He squeezes her hand again, his eyes steady on her,
“Not discussing family,”
“I can work with that,” Sirius grins, his hand still holding hers. There is something enticing about his grey eyes and the dimples in his cheeks. This boyish charm.
“I’m the disowned bitch of the family,” she says despite herself and shrugs, “or so says my father.”
“Ahh,” Sirius nods knowingly, “and Father always knows best.” The tone is thick with irony and she laughs softly and wholly. She shakes his hand again, smiles,
“Dorcas bitch-extraordinaire, pleasure to meet you.”
His mouth twitches,
“The pleasure is all mine, Dorcas bitch-extraordinaire Meadowes.”
“’The Bitch’ is what people usually call me,” She shrugs and Sirius laughs, his laughter loud and hearty.
There really hadn't been a choice.
“Dorcas Meadowes isn’t any odd girl,”
“Woman, Prongs, she is a woman.”
“That don’t matter, mate - be nice."
“Nah, bugger off, Potter, I’m always nice.”
“You’re not. You’re actually kind of an arse.”
“And here I thought we were friends,”
“We are, I just - I like Dorc.”
“So do I.”
Anger is easier than silence, rage and hatred is simpler than silence – anything
is better than silence. Elladora snaps for air. Their palms press against each other, fingers intertwined. One last touch to last a lifetime.
, Mother writes in her letters, they have made a murderer out of you
“I have a shift in fifteen minutes,” he groans against her mouth, his eyes shut tightly, hands in her back pockets, hips grinding into her. He isn’t letting go of her any time soon. She is still waiting for this insatiable craving to stop - it is not normal
. But then again, nothing is ever normal with Sirius Black.
“We’ll make time…” She sighs into his mouth and unbuttons his jeans, her cold hands skim underneath his white shirt; his skin is scorching hot. He pulls back, their lips separating for a second. His grey eyes meet hers.
“Dor…” He is still standing between her legs, the heat coming off him in great steams. Looking at him - this gorgeous boy who has stolen everything from her - her sanity, her virginity, her lips;
she nods to herself;
Dorcas Meadowes, you have come a long way. She pulls him closer, murmurs stoically,
“We’ll make time.”
The murder of her family comes as no surprise. And really, the Order had no choice. She will tell herself this repeatedly as she washes her face again and again, the water splurging onto the floor. It runs along the creases in the ground. She stares at her reflection. Sinks.
Summer comes and Seventh Year ends. On the morning of their graduation day the Daily Prophet reports fifteen Muggles killed in Manchester. Sirius is kissing her neck as she reads the news.
“Read anything exciting?” he breathes against her skin and she shivers. She closes the paper,
“If you call deaths exciting.”
He shrugs, “My mother used to love reading the death notices - she said it made her happy knowing people were born and died.” He skims across her soft skin and she sighs, listening to the sound as it catches in her throat. She wrinkles her nose,
“Sirius, your mother was a psychopath,”
“True,” he shrugs and smiles in that familiar fashion which almost has her fooled, “it must have been the cutting up our old house elves that got to her…”
She gets invited into this little sphere of people and within the course of a few months it all changes. This fighting for the greater good is new and different to what she has been doing all her life, but she likes the change. She likes the fact that she can fit into this new version of herself. She is good at what she does.
“I think you’re getting too full of yourself, love.”
She shrugs at him, “I am
“Watch out for Nemesis,” He ruffles her hair,
She laughs, “Don’t be daft, Sirius.”
To her teachers;
“I mean, I’ve got plenty of time - it’s not like there’s anything to do
, really. We’re at war.”
“Do you want to come for a ride on my motorbike?”
Puppy eyes. Those grey orbs have come to be her favourite thing in the world. There is a softness within them, urging her to trust him. It goes without saying that she likes this rebel. She must watch out. Riding Muggle-things and acting like she’s sixteen again. She is a fighter
“Only if you’re good,” She smiles up at him, pulling at his collar. He leans closer,
“What if I’m very, very
The heat in his voice makes her shiver and her stomach drop deliciously. He crashes his warm mouth against her, tongue probing, hands grabbing everywhere. A moan catches in the back of her throat as she pulls on his clothes, feelings wild in her stomach. They break apart breathlessly. Sirius nuzzles his nose against her jaw,
“You’ve come a long way, Dorcas Meadowes,”
Remembering, Defense Against the Dark Arts, swishing and flicking, laughing and giggling. As the green light flashes, she kind of expects a drum roll to roll. Death seems subtle. Clean.
Wars have been fought and wars have been both won and lost.
Right now they are all holding out for that savior who is sure to appear in the horizon. Grave tombs are her favourite spot for tea. The dead corps of hundreds of familiar names have become her regular tea party-companions. The green mellow parks bring some sort of closure to her, some sort of peace. Sitting side by side with her relatives makes her feel somewhat at ease, she brings shortbread and discusses her love life with her granny.
Wars have been fought here and wars have been lost. All with their help.
Talking with Lily, it slips,
“Are you scared?”
The redhead looks at her, her eyes dull and her hair a tangle.
“Yes,” she answers, “all the time.”
There is something forbidden about loving someone. Enticing. Heart numbing. She reminds herself to breathe evenly.
Fall is the dryness in her mouth and the hour badly spent. It is her tired eyes and the glass that is always half empty, always missing some of that good old whisky. He will smile and say that whisky is an old sailor’s drink. She will nudge him gently, gesturing to the regular soda in front of him, begging him to drink it. He will laugh. Evenly.
“You need to watch out for that Meadows girl, Padfoot,”
“Weren’t you the one warning her
James’s eyes are steady, “Yeah, mate, but that was before you fell in love with her.”
She still remembers the time of Coming of Age. When her arms were too long and her skin oily. The time before becoming beautiful and realizing her power; the time before love. She washed a lot and fought all the boys; she had been able to beat the burliest guy in the year, Geoffrey Lancaster, in arm wrestling. She can still feel the vicious pride that had tumbled inside of her when his thick arm had hit the table with a dull thump
in the Muggle game.
She does not know whether it was between kissing Sirius in broom closets and getting boobs the size of melons or killing a person that her position changed. Between the sixth and seventh year; between having her entire family killed and losing her virginity, she somewhat feels that the simplicity was lost.
The world used to be divided into good and bad people, passing and failing. It is no longer about who hits the ground the fastest - they are all hitting the ground sooner or later. This war - this heartless slaying
of people has got her at her wit’s end; there is no longer a winner, no longer a purpose to their mission. There is only the raw fear of death - and of survival. She does not know which one she fears the most.
“You know our love’s damned, right?”
Her soft lips are rubbing against his and he stifles a moan. “Yeah,” he replies gruffly, his hold tightening around her waist. “We’re pretty damned.”
She laughs, “Sirius Black and Dorcas Meadowes: purebloods damned for life.”
He snorts, “Our mothers would be so proud.”
Her eyes glimmer up at him and she tugs a stray of hair behind his ear, runs a hand along his jaw, “I think we have been damned since the moment we were born.”
There is this raw truth to the sentence, as if this is what she has been hiding all along. Sirius blinks at her slowly, not saying anything, but then again not telling her off either. They share this dark secret bond of silence - this knowing but not telling - knowing that they are dark and meant for something else. It is strange: feeling like you turned out wrong but somehow right
. They shall treasure this.
Her fingers tug on his lips.
“Still,” she breathes, her soft mouth quirking, “better kill some of our own, then.”
“So, what are you planning on doing for a living, Dorc?” Asks James one too many times at those cute dinner parties Lily is so intent on having. Remus is gray, Peter is silent as always and Sirius is drunk, drawing circles on the small of her back.
“Why, I’m going to save the world of course,” She smiles at him.
“Would you look at that - my very own heroine,” Sirius slurs and pulls her down into a searing kiss, he breaks away and smirks, “please bear with us commoners, love,”
Everyone laughs except for Dorcas.
This constant waiting around should have become habit by now.
She wanders around the apartment, waters their half-dead plants, dusts off, and bakes
- oh, she bakes. She should have - but then again, it is
his duty - she will hate him - she will hate
him if he doesn’t come back. There is this silly childlike thought in her head, and this goes in circles again and again as she stirs the dough again and again, round and round. She must not lose him.
A memory of her father in the streets, holding hands with a blonde woman wearing pearls. His weak, fearful glance around as they had entered a pub. She had pitied him then.
“I love you.”
He pulls her against her, his lips rubbing against her forehead, breath washing across her face. There is whisky in the air. She closes her eyes.
“I just - I love you.” He whispers. She should be angry, she thinks as she stands there, tucked underneath his head. But even that opportunity is lost.
“I love you too.”
Her back is a defense against him as he nears her. She is standing by the window, looking down on the town from their building.
“She was nineteen, Sirius.”
She is looking down at the people, winter is in the air and Christmas has been coming on. She has bought presents and that seems to be the only thought swirling around in her head; what will she do with Marlene’s present? There is this small sound as Sirius puts down his glass of club soda and comes to stand by her side, his face turned towards the light. His hand rests just inches from hers. She stares at his face. He is quite beautiful, she notes not without pride. He meets her eyes,
She turns around to face him, this hollow feeling that he does not understand is tearing on her heart,
nineteen - we’re nineteen, i-it can’t -”
She closes her eyes for a second, her eyes squeezing shut,
“It can’t feel like it’s too late.”
Another one of those endless talks with Lily;
“I - I can’t
- I can’t lose him Lily.”
The mug in her hand is lukewarm and it seems to her that everything in her life is lukewarm, on the verge of freezing, and she gets this silly feeling - this stupid idea that she might just need to warm it all up again. She glances up at the silent redhead again. Blows on her already cold mug. Says then in a collected voice,
“It took me a long time to find him, Lily. I - I won’t lose him.”
“If you must marry, marry of convenience, if you must eat, eat only correctly, if you must love, love only the best, and if you must die, die with meaning.”
Her mother, one of those memories that she can hardly discard as fantasies. The morbid sense to her words fills her even years after her death. She gets this peculiar feeling that her mother may have known all along.
There is this rootlessness, this sense of foreboding and the urge to rid herself of anything belonging to tradition, hope, honour. She cannot belong to anything. Anything is too much.
“I don’t think - I don’t think you ever needed me, Sirius.”
“Don’t be daft, Dorc, I can’t think straight when you’re not here, you know that
“I - I really think it’s all in your head, Sirius. I think - I think you’re so scared to be alone that you took me.” She looks down at her hands, trying to not
think of what could have been resting there.
“I- if this is about the ring, Dor, then -“
He looks frazzled, heartbroken and so vulnerable. She misses him then; that cocky old bastard
who used to taunt her. Not this dark and twisted war-ridden man
who asked her to marry her - and of course she could not - she could not just -
“It’s not about the ring.” She says finally, her hand clasps and unclasps, she clenches it fiercely, “Just - Merlin
- just - I think - I think
you just see me as someone who might look like home.”
“Bollocks.” He spits fiercely and steps forward grabbing her arm. His fingers curl around it and he drags her closer. She whimpers and forces herself to look up into his grey eyes.
“I think you’re scared.” She pushes him away, “you’re - you’re just a boy and I -“
“But I’m your boy -“ Sirius interferes, his arms curling dangerously around her waist, he touches his nose to the side of her head, brushing against her hair, “Don’t do this, love.”
She unhooks his arms and steps further away. His lips are parted and he is staring at her wide-eyed. He looks young, younger even.
“I - I can’t be who you want me to be.” She finally says.
The ever-consistent question in an era with no future:
“What are you going to do for a living?”
“Survive this war.”
A conversation over coffee, one of the regular nights. It has become tradition.
“He loves you, you know,” Remus is sipping his mug with a tired look in his eyes. He has not resorted to these methods before; the mere casual references have been his sort of thing.
Her breath hitches,
“Tell the truth?” Remus raises an eyebrow at her. His face softens.
“You love him too.”
She shakes her head at him, her fingers slipping the mug momentarily,
“Of course I do, Remus - of course
The words are rushed and irritated. There is a sense of nonchalance in the words, of banality. Remus smiles.
One of those little miracles and special moments she wishes to collect in a scrapbook. Lily’s face is blooming. A smile spreads slowly across her face,
“Thanks, Dorc,” Lily’s hands are rubbing circles on her stomach. It’s barely there, but it’s a bump. “It’s all so - I mean - we didn’t really plan
it - but then again, I mean - ahem, when’s a good time, really? And I’m - I’m just so
in love - and scared and - and - happy
Lily looks up at her, “It’s just who we are,”
She nods and congratulates her, squeezing her tightly.
“It’s who we are.” Lily repeats.
The nightmares may steal her nights, but she owns the days. She will not succumb to a force as human as this. With the aid of coffee and pure will she manages. She sits in her chair and tries to ignore its match in front of her. She pushes the sense of longing that coils inside of her away. Sips another bit of coffee.
When Lily comes to see her there are no news, no nothing to tell, (except for the deaths of the Prewetts; she had cried when she heard the news.) There is nothing, only this:
“Talk to him.”
“I’m sure that wouldn’t be a good idea,”
“Of course it would, Dorcas.”
“I’m - I don’t -“
“He needs you - and you - you need him too - you’re like this strange, perfect pair of people meant to be together - he won’t be happy without you.”
A silence passes.
“I’m scared.” Her voice is quiet, reminding her of when she was eleven about to be Sorted, so new to the world. She had thought herself wiser, older - braver
Lily’s eyes are kind.
“We all are.”
“I love him.”
About running faster:
“We have time enough, Remus - I’m twenty - I’ve - I’ve got so much
Remembering one of the cold nights lying on their twin-size bed, his hand rubbing her stomach, him asking stupid questions, one question setting her heart on fire.
“Would you want one some day?”
She looks down at him, “What?” she asks gruffly.
“I mean,” Sirius smiles gently, “Would you like to have a baby one day? You know - a - a mini Dorcas or a mini me?” In his eyes is some sort of vivid hope, a tender desire. As if they can be allowed this dream - Dorcas knows better. She rolls onto her stomach.
“This isn’t a world to bring children into, Sirius.”
Fighting in combat is a great distraction. She could live on in the stretched out moments of fear, as the hexes fly past her head and bounce off the walls. The stars have gone out and the moon has lost its glow.
They are outnumbered. There is a dull ringing in her head; it is a deafness that will not go away. It all slows down as she whips around and raises her wand. The air is thick with spells, painting rainbows in the air. It is poetic beauty at its best.
She sees the others fall around her before she feels her own weightlessness. The bones splinter in her legs, each sharp crack racking through her body. The asphalt is rough against her cheek, slippery with blood.
She may cry out his name.
“So you got yourself a boyfriend, did you?” His voice is slightly hard at the edges but she can handle this.
She straightens her skirt, “That’s really none of your business, Sirius.”
He looks at her, smirks,
“I suppose he was good enough for ya,”
“Stop being an arse, Sirius,” she sighs and tugs a strand of hair behind her ear. They are silent for a while.
“I didn’t come here to fight,” she offers then.
“Then why did you come here?”
“You asked me to come.”
“So? You seemed perfectly fine with abandoning your responsibilities the last time.”
He shrugs, “We need each other. It’s simple. T’is like air.”
He steps forward and she wants to escape as he leans into her, his hips pressing into her side. She is trying to look away and trying to look
She wants to erase that look in his eyes because if she allows herself to look she will never leave. His fingers curl around her elbow. He brushes his lips against hers, she whimpers. Her eyes meet his. He smiles.
“I hate you-“ she whispers, her eyes burning, “I hate
There is this thundering point of no return as they move in together. Things are happening so quickly, all around them people are falling dead one by one. And one of those dark evenings, lying naked on their bed, her fingers drawing invisible figures on his skin, the question slips,
“Do you think they’ll be alright?”
“There is no telling, really.” His answer comes slowly as if he is calculating it all, “Going into hiding is the best action, really.”
She rubs her face, “Did you hear about the Marleys?”
Sirius nods, “Yeah,”
“I think - I think we’re losing.”
His arms are around her in a second, his voice by her ear, “Don’t even think it - it’s not over until we say it is.”
There is the vicious stubbornness that she fell in love with. She kisses him deeply then, their chaste breaths mixing. He grabs hold of her, his fingers digging into her skin, mouth sliding over hers as if she is only here for a moment more, the desperation palpable.
She will cherish this - this sense of time running out.
“Sirius is difficult – he’s –“
“He’s like me, you mean?”
She is blaming, tongue smacking against the roof of her mouth, her body shudders as she utters the words. This is not kindness; this is the ugly side to love. She can be ugly too, she knows. She still belongs among their ranks – there is evil in her blood, if you can ever talk about evil. She tries too often to pass it off as a difference in values. Morals. There is something romantic about being morally irresponsible. But somehow, she knows she ought to stop romanticizing reality.
Something shifts in his face and he looks away.
“I love him.”
His fingers spread across her palm as he trembles, but he will not discuss it. Her mouth finds his, tongue slipping past his lips.
“Despite being a Gryffindor?”
He breaks away, his mouth curving against her throat. He breathes against her skin,
“Despite it all.”
The murmur is low. In time this is what she will remember him for. This clandestine love and forgiveness. Out of the two of them, he had been the better one.
This fear; the eating, all consuming fear of loss is the most numbing one. They can deal with death, deal with losing. Keeping busy is just not cutting it anymore. The fear is constant - brutal even.
“You promised -“ he breathes, ”you promised
Sirius is pacing back and forth inside their apartment. She is pulling on her socks; she pauses for a second,
“We’ll have time to argue when I get home,” Her voice is gentle.
, I’ve got duties with the Order too,”
“Then we’ll make time.”
He looks at her for a moment, it is one of those moments she does not want to face - cannot
“Have you heard?”
There is no question of
what, because these times leave nothing up to imagination. His voice is a monotone.
There is not much he will say, not much he will admit to. She stares at him as he looks away. “It’s – it’s horrible –“
His mouth folds over hers in an instance, like it should, and he caresses her face.
“Purebloods will be purebloods.”
Her smile is faint, calm still, when he breaks away, “And this makes it okay?”
He does not answer.
“We cannot – this can’t go on. We need to take a stand.” She is staring at him, fingers brushing over his mouth. His eyes are calm. There is a shade of life in her voice, yet she has always been about fighting and courage. (This will be the beginning of the end.)
“They kill people, Regulus – innocent people –“
The words are frenzied, tangled together. There is no sound, only the soft shifting of his chest as he breathes. There is more to the silence, words are jumbled in the air. Words she should know because they are scribbled on every surface of every pureblood’s heart. These are truths she should have seen years ago. And suddenly, she understands.
He reaches for her, fingers curling around her elbow,
“Don’t fight. Let’s keep out – grow old - we can create a life together.”
There is a traitorous desire to grab his hand. It comes down to what it has always come down to, him trying to show her, to teach her and she is trying not to scream at him half the time. Her palms are wide against her cheeks, she shakes her head and a gush of air slips,
“And let them be slaughterers?”
He stands, moving slowly towards her. The sense to the air is unmistakable. She counts the seconds, readying to hold the moments accountable.
She is distracted by his movements as she tries to keep affectionate thoughts at bay.
“It isn’t our fight.” Regulus says over the clinks of glasses, over the dinner-party, over their love, over the desperate screams of Muggles. She cannot look at him and says nothing, the anger coiling in the pit of her stomach. She imagines moments, touches and words, but it returns to sensible logic and the words slip on their own:
“I can’t be who you want me to be.”
He says nothing, but his eyes are hers. She allows the sadness to swallow her and her eyes slide shut. His fingers surprise her then, brushing across her jaw.
“Is it so evil of me to want to save your life?”
His voice is soft. She makes a small sound, listening to it as it catches in the back of her throat. Their eyes meet, her gaze heavy as he rubs his fingers across her lips. Her eyes flutter shut as he closes the distance between them. His lips are very gentle.
“Dorcas,” His mouth moves against hers.
She is distracted again by his movements. They break apart and he stands with an arm around her waist, his nose skimming across the side of her face. There are things he could say:
I’m sorry, I love you, marry me, stay, but the words remain unsaid. He will wait and she won’t.
“I cannot be who you want me to be.” She repeats.
She goes back to her old picnic place. The grave tombs have not changed, which is nice compared to everything else in her life that seems to be constantly evolving. She sits down beside Regulus and breathes evenly. Closes her eyes.
She reenacts their last encounter, retraces lines around his mouth, relights the fire in his brown eyes. She lets the words change, lets the no
become a yes
. She erases tomb-stones and broken promises. She infuses his boneless body with life, gives him a wife and kids - a future with or without her, but a future nonetheless. Erases an entire war. Wills the universe to bend. Just for her. For love. Love
It is only when a small pop sounds that she opens her eyes. By then it is too late.
It is funny how life changes when you’re looking into the eyes of death.
The green spell had hit target straight on and in that split second, that moment as her skin goes scorching hot and her mind replays images, people, words and sentences; Lily, James, her mother and father, Hogwarts and the Order, Regulus, Sirius - his deep breathy kisses, love - oh, love
. As the images play through her mind, she cannot help but remember; her mother’s words about sinking into the ground and letting go - time.
She had been right.
“You have come a long way, Dorcas Meadowes.”