A/N: Hello! This chapter is dedicated to lilypotterfan123! Her lovely reviews gave me the inspiration to write almost this entire chapter in one night, as well as outline the next! So cheers to her, she’s wonderful!
Try as she might, Dorcas couldn’t suppress the feelings of well, excitement as she moved quickly about her flat, getting ready to pick Amber up. She couldn’t remember the last time she had been this happy about something.
She was less happy, however, about the fact that she had to apparate to her mother’s house to pick up Amber. Apparition had never been a strong suit of hers, and she would have much preferred just to Floo over there, but that was entirely unacceptable to her mother, especially if she wasn’t coming from the ministry.
Dorcas’ mother was a muggleborn witch, but she had never been comfortable in the magical world. As soon as she had graduated Hogwarts, she had reverted back into the muggle world and married the only person she could have who could understand both of the worlds she came from, but also respect her decision to live as a muggle: a squib.
To this day she never used her magic, something that Dorcas had a lot of difficulty understanding. Even growing up practically muggle (she didn’t consider her vague knowledge that magic was real a “magical” upbringing), Dorcas knew undoubtedly that her magic was an undeniable part of her. She couldn’t have rejected it if she wanted to.
This of course, just gave her and her mother something different to disagree on. Dorcas was adamant that Amber not be raised the way she was; she was hoping to prevent the culture shock she herself had experienced when arriving at Hogwarts.
Her mother however, completely disagreed. She didn’t want Amber around any magic at all, to the point that during one particularly nasty row she had told Dorcas that she wasn’t even going to send her to Hogwarts. They didn’t speak for weeks afterwards, but there was clearly a line drawn in the sand.
Despite this, Dorcas did everything she could to expose Amber to magic.
It was an unspoken fact that every time Dorcas picked Amber up she took her somewhere magical via a magical form of transportation. Her mother had, for a while, pretended not to know this in the hopes that if it wasn’t mentioned outside of Dorcas’ company, Amber would think it was all a figment of her imagination and forget about magic.
Amber was now far past the point where she would remember things from her childhood, and Mrs. Meadowes had all but given up preventing her from acknowledging magic. She just refused to be a part of her magical education.
That’s how, despite the discomfort of Apparition, Dorcas knew Amber would be ecstatic that that was how they were getting to Diagon Alley that day. Amber loved it there, where all the magic in the air was practically palpable. Plus, it was the only place to purchase an owl.
However, Dorcas’ excitement was marred a bit by anxiety for the day ahead. The wizarding world wasn’t the safest place to be these days, especially considering Amber’s entire existence was supposed to be as secret as possible. Dorcas wasn’t ecstatic about taking her out in public around so much of the wizarding public, especially considering her own notoriety.
She tried to quell her anxiety, however, with the knowledge that she had picked this particular day at Diagon Alley for a reason. Hogwarts letters had gone out yesterday, which meant increased security in Diagon Alley today, for surely many parents were going to take their eager children to fetch their school supplies today. The increased number of people also comforted Dorcas, because with how hectic it was sure to be, there would be less attention placed on her.
Grabbing her knapsack off the table, Dorcas waved her wand to ensure her apartment was locked and her wards were up before apparating into the small alleyway near her parents’ home. Considering her parents muggle lifestyle, Dorcas had placed wards around the entire house preventing anyone from apparating in and out. An inconvenience for her which could mean safety in the long run.
In less than a minute, Dorcas found herself knocking on the door of the modest house she had called home for over 17 years. She couldn’t help but think that perhaps she should have had a bit more of an emotional attachment to it, but all she saw in front of her was a building.
Her mother answered the door, and her expression seemed torn. She was happy to see her oldest daughter, who visited rarely and spent next to none of her time during those infrequent visits with her. However, this excitement couldn’t overwhelm her distaste for magic, and even she wasn’t naïve enough to convince herself that Amber wouldn’t be exposed to any today.
“’ello Mum.” Dorcas mumbled, stepping inside the house. “How’re you doing today?”
“I’m well, thank you.” Mrs. Meadowes said formally, turning on her heel to walk down the hall. Dorcas sighed to herself, wishing that magic around Amber wasn’t such a point of contention between her mother and herself. It would make her life much easier.
“Amber tells me that you have been very busy at work lately.” Mrs. Meadowes stated, almost as if it was a question, and Dorcas nodded in affirmation. “I know she is very excited for your outing today. She’s changed her clothes at least 3 times, and got up at the crack of dawn this morning.”
Dorcas smiled despite herself.
“I’m excited too.” She replied, and watched as her mother’s posture loosened considerably. “I haven’t seen her in ages, I’ve just been working nonstop at the ministry lately because well, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but the wizarding world isn’t in such a good state right now. And people like me, well, we’re in the limelight.”
“I don’t follow the wizarding world.” Mrs. Meadowes said harshly, and Dorcas nodded simply, not wanting to start a fight right now. “I just hope you girls have a good day today regardless of anything that might be going on. Amber has been looking forward to today all week and I would hate for her to be disappointed.”
“She won’t be.” Dorcas promised. “In fact, I think she is going to have a day beyond her wildest dreams.”
Mrs. Meadowes looked only slightly suspicious of Dorcas’ cryptic words, but continued walking into the kitchen. She stood behind the immaculate countertops stiffly for a moment, before grabbing a rag from the sink and beginning to wipe them down.
Dorcas couldn’t help but feel awkward. Cleaning had always been the way her mother had released tension and discomfort. Seeing as she was the source of most of this discomfort, watching her mother clean had never made Dorcas feel particularly good.
The floorboards directly above Dorcas squeaked violently, and she felt the anticipation in her belly grow considerably. She could hear each of Amber’s footsteps on the floor above in the old house, and barely resisted the urge to fidget in excitement.
The infrequent creaks on the floor told Dorcas that Amber definitely didn’t know she was there yet, and was taking her time coming down the stairs, perhaps in an effort to kill time until Dorcas did in fact arrive.
“Muummmmmmmmm!” Dorcas heard Amber call down the stairs, and tried not to smirk at the whine she could hear in her sister’s voice. Her mother rolled her eyes exasperatedly, giving Dorcas the impression that this was not the first time that this had happened today.
“Yes dear?” Mrs. Meadowes yelled back, the patience in her voice managing to disguise her eye roll. Dorcas continued with the effort to wipe the smirk off of her face, and continued to fail.
“Can you please tell me where my sparkly trainers are? I can’t find them and the ones I have on now just don’t look right.” Amber’s voice was serious, and the concern she had for her trainers was evident. This was clearly a very special day for her.
“They’re under your bed! You’d know that if you cleaned your room every once in a while!” Mrs. Meadowes hollered back, any semblance of her patience gone, and Dorcas remembered her mentioning the many outfit changes Amber had already made this morning. Surely this wasn’t the first time a conversation like this one had occurred that day. “Though I don’t really see why it matters! Dorcas won’t care what you look like!”
“Don’t listen to her!” Dorcas called teasingly, momentarily forgetting that she wasn’t supposed to be there yet. “I refuse to take you with me if you look anything less than your best!”
Suddenly, a large crash came from the floor above, and Dorcas winced with the realization that she had revealed herself. Heavy footsteps moved rapidly towards the staircase which let out about 3 feet to Dorcas’ right, and knowing that Amber would appear at the bottom of those stairs momentarily, Dorcas turned to look for her.
The footsteps got louder and louder and before finally they ceased abruptly and were followed quickly by a loud bang. Dorcas sprang into action, launching herself up the stairs and catching a falling Amber quickly, but not before the sickening crunch of Amber’s leg.
The little girl shrieked suddenly in pain, and Dorcas searched her robes pockets frantically for her wand so she could apparate Amber to St. Mungo’s. Before she could find it however, Dorcas heard a sudden end in the screaming and her mother gasped from across the kitchen.
Looking down, Dorcas found herself surprised. Instead of the sickening break that Dorcas had seen moments before, Amber’s leg was healed and perfectly straight. There wasn’t even a mark indicating the break that had been there moments before.
Already knowing the answer, Dorcas turned to look at her mother questioningly, but Mrs. Meadowes shook her head indicating that she didn’t heal the break. Despite the previous severity of the situation, Dorcas found herself beaming at the little girl in her arms.
Amber looked up at Dorcas, wiping the tears away from her eyes. Upon seeing Dorcas’ smile, she mimicked her beam even though she was entirely unsure why her sister was so happy.
“Congratulations Amber!” Dorcas announced happily, and Amber tried to hide the confusion on her face in an attempt to appear not quite as young as she was. “You just performed your first accidental magic! You’re a witch!”
Now Amber’s beam was genuine, and she hugged Dorcas tightly before turning to glance at her mother, as if looking for confirmation that what her older sister had said was in fact true. Mrs. Meadowes nodded tersely, as if unsure if she was happy or upset about her daughter’s magical ability.
“So does this mean that I get to go to Hogwarts like you Dorcas?” Amber questioned eagerly, and Dorcas nodded back cheerfully. This day had taken such a bright turn, and Dorcas couldn’t remember the last time she had such a good day.
Amber jumped from Dorcas’ lap and danced around the kitchen, not even slightly favoring her momentarily broken leg. Mrs. Meadowes smiled ruefully, a sad look in her eyes when she looked at her youngest daughter.
Dorcas couldn’t suppress her own smile, even with the knowledge of the upset that her mother was feeling right now. Truthfully, Dorcas was even pleased with the way that her mother was handling Amber’s first accidental magic. She was expecting a temper tantrum, or even a refusal to acknowledge it, but all in all Mrs. Meadowes was taking it all quite well.
“Well, I do believe that a little girl who performs her first magic does deserve a prize.” Dorcas mock whispered excitedly to Amber, and the little girl clapped with delight.
“But only if she goes and changes her trainers and makes her bed.” Dorcas added on with a slightly stern tone, and Amber merely nodded eagerly, no protest slipping from her small delicate mouth. She hurried up the stairs (though a bit more carefully this time), calling behind her that she would be right back.
“I suppose you are pleased.” Mrs. Meadowes said to Dorcas, who was, quite honestly, unsure why she intentionally created the opportunity for this confrontation in the first place. It was rare that Dorcas felt the need to have a private moment with her mother, but even she knew that needed to talk after what just occurred.
“I’m very proud of Amber.” Dorcas agreed, and Mrs. Meadowes huffed under her breath. “I am sorry, however, that you are upset. I know you didn’t want this.”
Her mother sighed, and ran her fingers through her slightly graying hair. Though still quite young by wizarding standards, Mrs. Meadowes hadn’t had the easiest and least stressful of lives.
“No, I wish I could say I wasn’t expecting it.” Mrs. Meadowes said, and Dorcas couldn’t stop the look of confusion that ran across her features. “Even I knew that she was magical from the day she was born. Just like with you. You both had an aura about you.”
“Mum?” Dorcas said questioningly, and her mother lifted her head and met her eyes. “Why do you hate magic so much?”
“I don’t hate magic.” Mrs. Meadowes said simply. “I respect magic very much. It’s just not my world. You belong in the magical world, despite my very best efforts to prevent it. I don’t.”
“Well then, why didn’t you want me to embrace my magic?” Dorcas asked, and her mother sighed. “My magic is such a part of me; I couldn’t imagine myself without it.”
“I know.” Her mother replied. “I didn’t want you to embrace your magic for a very simple reason Dorcas. I was afraid. I’m not a part of the magical world by choice, and I knew the moment you were you would slip away from me.”
“You were always such a difficult child.” She continued, and Dorcas found herself completely engaged in what her mother had to say for the first time that she could ever remember. “Everything I said you had to question and prove to yourself. You didn’t want friends, and you were never interested in my attention. There was absolutely nothing holding you to this house, to this family, and I knew the moment that you went off to Hogwarts you would be totally enraptured and it would never be the same. To you, I wouldn’t stand a chance against an enchanting different world. For me to embrace your magic would have been me releasing the tentative hold I had on my only child.”
“Mum, I hope you know I love you.” Dorcas stated, and Mrs. Meadowes merely nodded in acknowledgement. “I love you, but I don’t understand you. I don’t think that we understand each other.”
“No, I don’t think so either.” Mrs. Meadowes murmured, and Dorcas couldn’t help but feel that this conversation was most definitely not finished.
“You’re never going to lose Amber, Mum.” Dorcas said, and looking at her mother, saw the tears in her eyes. “She loves you too.”
“I know she does.” Mrs. Meadowes replied. “I just can’t stand the thought of having another daughter I can’t relate to, that’s part of a different world. Amber was my only hope. I know it’s selfish that I hoped she wouldn’t have magic because she wants it so badly, but I knew that she would be just like you and hold nothing back on her venture into the magical world. She’s so like you in some ways Dorcas, that sometimes it is hard for me to remember that she is a different child.”
“Oh, she’s different all right.” Dorcas replied, attempting to lighten the mood a bit and ease some of the burden on her mother. “I was never that cheerful.”
Mrs. Meadowes laughed and shook her head. “No, you’re right, you weren’t. But she can just be so moody sometimes, and in that way I swear you are like her. I was never that moody as a hormonal teenager, never mind as a child!” Dorcas also laughed heartily.
At that moment Amber came back down the stairs, luckily with a bit more grace this time. However, as soon as she got to the bottom, she eyed her mother and sister both warily, not used to such public displays of happiness from the pair when in each other’s company.
Still laughing, Dorcas went over and took Amber by the hand.
“How would you like to apparate to Diagon Alley and get a pet owl for the wizarding world’s newest witch?” Dorcas whispered in Amber’s ear, and the look of pure joy that overtook the child’s face was worth more than anything in the world in Dorcas’ opinion.
“AN OWL?!” Amber shouted excitedly as Dorcas spun on the spot, and just before she disappeared, Dorcas caught the exasperated face of her mother, trying her best to hide the hints of a smile.
When Dorcas arrived at the Ministry for work the next morning, her cheerful demeanor was noticeable to anyone who knew the witch even slightly. She was even seen smiling at a few of her coworkers.
Arriving at her cubicle, Dorcas couldn’t hide her shock when she saw what was on her desk. She had expected a few memos, which were, admittedly, there, but she didn’t expect an actual letter.
She picked the envelope up carefully; even knowing that all the mail the Aurors received was scanned and checked beforehand for Dark Magic. Though not entirely sure why, all Dorcas knew was that something about this letter just wasn’t right.
The parchment was heavy and expensive, the like of which Dorcas hadn’t seen used for anything except for extravagant wedding invitations. The penmanship on the front was beautiful, a skill rarely taught in this day in age.
These clues all pointed towards one common sender: a wealthy pureblood.
Now convinced that the letter contained nothing good that Dorcas desired, she immediately dropped the envelope before she could touch anything inside. Clearly the envelope wasn’t cursed, for it had made it this far, but Dorcas wasn’t willing to be her safety that the contents weren’t positively nasty.
Pulling out her wand, Dorcas pointed it at the envelope and murmured a charm to open it automatically, but not before putting a shield around the letter, preventing anything potentially dangerous inside from escaping into the office. Perhaps her desk would be destroyed, but a desk was an object and easily replaced. Aurors were not.
The letter unfolded itself dramatically, as if the sender knew that it would be opened by magic and orchestrated it. A single black rose petal fell out.
Dorcas leaned in closer to read the careful script written in what she could now see was blood red ink.
Sadly, I realized that we haven’t had a chance to have one of our little chats recently. Not knowing when our next opportunity will be (though you’ll pencil me in won’t you?) I decided a letter was in order to update each other on the events of our lives. You seem to be slacking on maintaining our friendship lately.
Personally, I’m offended that I wasn’t invited on your little lunch date yesterday. I heard from multiple sources that you were having a marvelous time (you didn’t think I would leave you unattended, did you?). I also heard you were accompanied by the most adorable child.
I simply can’t wait to meet her.
All my love,
With the end of the letter, a wizarding photograph fell through the shield and onto the floor.
In the picture, Dorcas and Amber were sitting outside the ice cream parlor, a small, pitch black owl in a cage on the table across from them.
Photo Amber was repeatedly blowing kisses, some to Dorcas and some to the owl. Every time the owl had a kiss blown in its direction, it hooted softly, and Dorcas threw her head back and laughed.
There were people watching her.
Somebody had gotten close enough to take a picture.
Bellatrix knew about Amber.
With that final realization, Dorcas turned to her wastebasket and promptly threw up.
A/N: Please review!