My foot tapped angrily as I watched the seconds tick by. I've never ever wanted a class to go by fast, but this lesson was agonizing. It had been almost an entire week since the ball. We weren't allowed to see Dorcas Monday or Tuesday, but Pomfrey finally granted us permission on Wednesday. Even Marlene tried to go once or twice that I know of. We have all been getting up at about five every day to see if we could visit her before we had to get ready.
Of course the boys were trying to act as if it didn't affect them, but it did. Black was the worst I think. He missed Quidditch tryouts on Tuesday. Of course, he'd be on the team. James was captain this year, so he didn't even really need to show up. But it was the principle of the thing, and Sirius is all about principles.
"Flower, I'm going out with the boys tonight, is that okay?" He poked me in the side when I didn't respond. He's going into the forest again, I just know it. I feel like I have to let boys be boys, but I don't think they were just being boys. I think they're doing something dangerous.
"So long as you don't end up in the hospital wing along with Dorcas, I'm fine," I answered. He returned my comment with a weak smile and a tousle of his hair. I would let his noncommittal answer slide, so long as he kept his promise. I turned back to face McGonagall and left James to his own devices with Remus and Peter. Sirius has ditched class once again this week. James thinks it's because he was practicing for Quidditch. I think it was busy practicing for when Dorcas wakes up. Madame Pomfrey said she would, but that's all she told us. That's all we know for sure.
It took me about forty-five minutes to come to the conclusion that I was going home this full moon. Everything was extremely difficult without Dorcas this past week. We haven't even had any pranks since the end of September. My mother still had the room that I could keep myself and others safe in. I haven't exactly spoken to the guys about it, but I'm sure they'll respect my opinion, even if they have some of their own. The thing is, I don't really think we could pull it off without her. I'm too afraid James and Sirius will get too badly injured. And with Lily watching closer than ever, I can't have any mishaps. It's imperative that this weekend go off smoothly, or something a lot worse could happen. I don't think we would be able to handle another friend in the hospital wing.
"Let's go man," James said, slapping me on the back on his way out of the classroom. I picked up my books with one arm and slung my bag over my shoulder with the other. My Transfiguration textbook fell and I stopped to get it.
"Wait up guys!" James and Peter walked ahead to find Sirius. Peter said Sirius mentioned something about the Ravenclaw Tower roof before we left for breakfast. I ran forward and the strap to my bag split again. All of my books fell and I bent to pick them up. James and Peter came over, laughing, but bent to help me out.
"If you don't get a new one soon, reparo won't even work on this thing anymore," said James, trying to hide his laughter for my sake.
"You know, the things I let slide with you three, you'd think you would be a little more appreciative," I answered cynically.
"If you didn't let them slide we'd have to find another Remus! Who's the Hufflepuff prefect this year, Peter?"
"Oh shut it," I responded hastily. I always secretly felt that they would have no reserves in getting rid of me.
"Let's just get to lunch," Peter whined. "I'm hungry!"
"You're always hungry, " I said, James and I exchanging glances.
"We've got to find padfoot first, regardless. McGonagall said if any one of us missed anymore classes we'd all have detention. Yeah, that includes you, mister perfect prefect."
"Well, we definitely can't have detention tonight," Peter said defiantly.
"That's true," James responded. "Good thinking Pete!"
"About that.." I said, trailing off. I really should tell them all at once.
"What, Remus? It's tonight right? I can never get that bloody star chart right."
"Let's just find Sirius first," I said with a sigh. They were not going to take lightly to this.
"No," all three of them said simply as soon as the words came out of my mouth.
"Are you crazy, Moony?"
"No, James, I'm being the most practical one here right now as a matter of fact."
"Really? Explain that one to us Moony," Sirius said, as if he was one to talk.
"First of all, that's almost the first sentence you've said all week, so excuse me if I'm won't listen to your nonsense. Second of all, it's safer!" Sirius looked away and out over the Quidditch field in annoyance. We found him, eventually, on the Ravenclaw roof.
"All I'm saying is, it's a lot harder without her." James sucked in air through his teeth and started playing with his hair at the mention of her. Sirius and Peter both stayed stoic, refusing to acknowledge me.
"It doesn't matter anyway. I already talked to Dumbledore and he's arranged for me to be taken home this afternoon at about three." At this, Sirius finally looked up.
"So this is the solution. Just taking one for the team again, are you Moony? Everything has to come down to you bloody sacrificing yourself, doesn't it?"
"And what about you? Sirius, all you do is take the fall for other people." He snickered quietly, and a cruel smirk rose to his face.
"Don't pretend just because you walk over girls that you don't care about other people. You're a damn martyr for people you don't even know."
"Shut your damn mouth, Remus. We don't need you to talk to us like we're children, alright? Stop overanalyzing us." That hurt, coming from James. He knows I overanalyze when I'm upset.
"I'm doing this for the safety of myself and others. It's not all about you."
"Nice to know you really care, buddy," Sirius growled.
"It would've been nice to know before tonight, mate," Peter inserted. He wasn't trying to put a crease in the schism. He just knew what side would be seen as the good side. And it wasn't mine.
"Why am I the bad guy here, huh?" Sirius looked up at me again solemnly.
"Because you're always trying to be the good guy." He got up with that picked up his broom from the right of him, and zoomed down to the pitch without a look back at us.
"Do you guys think that?"
"Leave me out of it," Peter answered noncommittally.
"You know how he is, Reems. Just let him cool down a bit, it's just Dorcas."
"I know James. But I'm going tonight, I don't care what any of you say."
"We won't stop you."
"I'm doing this for him, you know. If he got hurt, Dorcas would never forgive me."
"I know, Remus, I believe you."
I stalked down the hallway after coming inside from the pitch. It didn't help with my rage as much as I thought it would. I'll deal with Remus on Saturday or Sunday, I don't care right now. The only thing I could think of was going to see Dorcas. She's the only thing that could really calm me down right now.
I knocked on the door to the hospital wing. It's been closed ever since last weekend, and only three visitors were allowed at a time. Madame Pomfrey's small head peeked out from one of the doors and motioned for me to come in. Dorcas' face was thin and guant, even though the large windows were open and the sun was streaming through.You'd never really see her like that, just still. She never just sat and breathed. She was always jumping at the chance to laugh, prank, learn, love. She was restless and it was beautiful, but this was a beauty like no other. Maybe not beauty, maybe eriee, and mostly just rare. I love it all. I love all of her.
I saw her body through the transparent curtain where Remus usually stays. She was completely still, absolutely astonishing in her quietness. I strode quickly over to her and Pomfrey decided smartly to stay out of my way. Her breath came in and out very slowly, but it was steady, and that was better than Monday. Her skin was so pale, so very pale. I stroked her cheek and the movement in her chest cavity gave me false hope about her getting up and talking back to me. Her eyelashes fluttered a bit, telling me that she was dreaming. I smiled at that. At least she might be happy. I sat down on the far end of the bed and held her hand gently.
"Hi Dorcas." I imagined her saying something, anything sarcastic back, and then punching my shoulder like it would actually hurt.
"You know, we need you back," I whispered, squeezing her hand a little tighter.
"Remus is being a little prat," I said, laughing at myself a little bit. I'm such an idiot.
"Come on, Dorcas. Wake up," I whispered again. My smile fell a little bit when I thought of the situation. I twisted my fist in the blanket next to her head, and her curls bounced around as if she was turning to look back at me with her bright eyes.
"Mister Black?" I turned around and saw Pomfrey sticking her head around the corner.
"Class is about to start in five minutes. Professor McGonagall has forbidden that you skip anymore classes here." I nodded, looking back at Dorcas. I squeezed her hand one last time, and stood slowly. Her heels clicked away and beckoned me to follow her to Charms.
"I'll be back Dorcas. Just, just wake up soon, okay?" And for a split second, I swear she nodded in response.