"So, Dorcas, what actually happened?" We were seated, facing each other on my bed.
"Well, like I told everyone else it was exhaustion," I replied laboriously, picking out some feathers from the pillows.
"I know, I know Dorcas. But it couldn't have been that simple! Madame Pomfrey didn't hint at anything else," she asked, her teeth going at her lip furiously.
"Stop biting yourself Lil." Her teeth submerged back into her mouth, and she shrugged in apology. It was a bad habit of hers we were trying to stop. "And, surprisingly no. She didn't even seem all that scared, besides insisting I stay there all weekend. But when isn't she like that?" Lily smiled sincerely, considering that was actually how Madame Pomfrey was.
"You know what was even worse than that," I said, finally bringing up the Sirius thing.
"What could have possibly happened to you within the 48 hours you were confined to the ward?" My head bent again, and I put the pillow down before my bed was too littered with feathers.
"I mean, you know that the boys snuck into see me. It's a given," I said easily. Lily probably would've snuck in with them if she and James weren't having a little fight apparently. She crossed her arms and stuck her nose in the air. Maybe it was more than a little argument.
"Yes, James did mention it once or twice, I think." I shook my head and smiled at her. They were so in love, my Merlin,
"Well Sirius came by himself as well," I said cautiously. Lily liked to jump to conclusions and did so very quickly.
"And?" she inquired, quite confused. Oh man, I really didn't want to say this. But I also didn't want to keep another lie. I took a deep breath and her eyes searched my face in concern.
"-kissed! We bloody kissed, mate." James' hand pushed back his hair and lifted his glasses to top his head.
"Why?" I scoffed at him in annoyance. I hated retelling stories.
"Well I went to see her, alone. Sunday afternoon. We got into this fight how we never have a proper conversation anymore, and I said some pretty nasty shit, I guess. I scared her, mate," I finished silently. I came to the realization that Dorcas had looked genuinely scared of me.
"I just kissed her. I don't know," I rambled on quickly."I just thought it was the right thing to do. I don't bloody know! I don't really feel when I kiss, I just do." This was an embarrassing arse conversation and it was a good thing we were doing it in the privacy of the Room of Requirement.
"You've got some serious emotional issues, mate," he said, laughing and picking up another firewhiskey. I destroyed the bottle with a reducto, and let him continue smiling giddily to himself.
"Moony's right, you're no help drunk."
"I'm sorry, mate," he said pleadingly. "My love life is finally all sorted out and yours isn't! What a strange turn of events," he said, stroking his imaginary beard.
"Shut up, Prongs. Evans won't even talk to you, right now," I said pushing him to the side.
"Listen, I'm being serious with you now," he said, sitting up properly on the couch. "Do you want to know how I feel when I kiss Lily?"
"No! Gross, mate. Keep it to yourself."
"No, no," he said, his face relaxing back from it's smile. "I just want you to compare it, you know? See if you actually fancy her, or if it was just a snog," he said logically.
"You've been spending too much time around Evans," I said contentedly.
"Would I be here on a Monday night if that were true? She hasn't got that strong of a hold on me yet. Anyway, back to the issue at hand," he said seriously.
"Why'd you kiss her," he asked, leaning his chin on his hand.
"I don't know, she was being stupid. She kept asking me what happened when I went back home, and nonsense about Emmeline, and all this shit, and I just had the urge to kiss her."
"You basically said the same thing three minutes ago," he answered bluntly. I was silent. "Listen mate. Forget about your pride for a second and tell me why you did it." I took a deep breath, and began to indulge him.
"It was very tense in the room, I remember that. She looked, sad. We never really see Dorcas when she's sad, I guess." I scratched my face, and tried to avoid James' invested gaze. "It was really, really scary, mate," I said, finally looking up to meet his eyes. "She was so sad, and it was like she was lying through her teeth the entire time. But it was selfish," I exclaimed suddenly. I stood up and walked to the other side of the room. James stayed where he was smartly. "She's messed up, and she doesn't even talk to us anymore. She fucking ditched me for Merlin's sake. I know-"
"-he doesn't want me! I'm such an idiot, Lily!" She put her arm around me, and I almost flinched out of habit, but I just let her stay. I needed some comfort right about now.
"Don't analyze it, Dorcas," she said languidly. I looked at her in complete shock. 'Analyze it' was like Lily's catchphrase.
"I guess I shouldn't," I said, sighing in resignation. "It's just, I wanted to kiss him. Except I wanted to when he didn't want to. That makes feelings complicated" Lily looked confused for a second, and then realized what I meant. Sometimes my sentences were kind of confusing.
"It was probably just all the tension," she said easily.
"Yeah, you're probably right Lily," I said distantly. "Look, I'm going to bed now, so I'll talk to you in the morning."
"Don't do that, Dorcas," she said, even though she had already stood up.
"I swear we'll talk about it another time." Poor Lily was so gullible, but I really didn't know what to say, or want to say anything.
"Alright, sweetie. Get a good night's rest. We've still got classes tomorrow," she called sweetly from the bathroom.
"-bloody hell, Prongs! I don't know what to do." I rubbed my eyes in sleepiness, as it was already one o' clock in the morning.
"I mean, did she want to kiss you?" I thought about that for a second. I don't really know, do I? She asked me to kiss her, but I think she was just sad, and scared, and tired. She didn't want to fight.
"Nah, I don't think so," I said casually.
"Then, it's simple. Leave it up to her, and don't bring it up. This way you don't get in trouble for saying anything."
"You're probably right, mate," I said, appeasing him I think he was just trying to get rid of me, and I was ready to be done with this conversation as well. I did know one thing now, though.
I wouldn't be talking about this anytime soon.
It was white out. That's the only thing I had been able to think of for the past hour. We were supposed to write in a journal for Diviniation about our thoughts over the winter break. The train would leave tomorrow, and break still hadn't technically started, but I wanted to get a start on it. Knowing me, it wouldn't get done until last minute anyway.
Of course, I could think of other things, it's just snow was the only thing I thought of that would be suitable to write down. Lily probably already had her's filled with happy thoughts about James and Alice. I had been, not altogether present lately, needless to say. Tonight was the last full moon we would have in school, and I still didn't know what I was going to do. On a brighter, but slightly dimmed note, I found out when I was supposed to die. It wasn't exact, yet, but it was something. I had until around February of 1979. It was of course a rough estimate, but it was less daunting than I thought it would be. I had a solid two and a quarter years, and that's if I used minimal if any magic.
I sighed again as my eyes scanned over my first semester report that would usually be sent home. I, however, requested to have it given to me before I left. I wanted to be prepared for Harley's reaction, as I hadn't been doing as well as I would have hoped. I didn't get anything lower than a P, but the Poor was in Defense Against the Dark Arts, and that was formerly my strongest subject. It was only a preliminary assessment, and I would do much better on the end of term exam, but it was disappointing. I folded up my paper and threw it in my trunk along with the rest of my clothes.
I heard bright laughter from outside, and glanced out the window again. The boys, Lily, Alice, Marlene, and a couple other people I didn't know very well were having a snowball fight outside. They had asked me to join, but I said I was coming down with something. Again, technically not a lie.
I wish that were the reason I didn't want to go have fun with them. I felt bad, because they were mostly doing it to lift Moony's spirits. I hadn't been able to speak to Sirius properly since the encounter that afternoon. It was a distant memory now, and the details were a little faded, but I had the memories stored away. And I did. Quite literally. Dumbledore thought it would be nice to gift me a pensieve as an early Christmas gift. I got the hidden meaning. Record all your memories so I can show them to your friends after you're dead. Yeah, I got it Dumbledore.
I looked up again as I heard a really loud laugh. It was Lily, I saw. James had lifted her up over his shoulder and was running towards the lake with her. Sirius was still throwing snow at Peter mercilessly, and Alice hadn't stopped glancing towards the tower no matter how much Frank tried to draw her attention.
I should really stop this pitying. I was ruining everyone else's day, and it made my heart sink terribly. I rummaged quickly through my open trunk, searching for some warmer clothes to throw on over my sweater. The sickness would be making me colder and colder, Dumbledore told me. It wasn't safe for me to be out in the harsh conditions.
I tightened my scarf, topping off my bubble of protection that I had built. There was one other thing on my mind. I began outside, not wanting to stall any longer. Nick. He came to me, about three days after the encounter, and showed me that he had my note. I think I would like to believe that the encounter was the thing that was bugging me the most, but this was it. I told Nick everything. Like, everything. It just spilled out, I guess. He's too smart to not have figured it out without me anyway. I wanted the encounter to be the biggest problem in my life desperately. It wasn't fair. I couldn't even properly enjoy freaking out over kissing my best friend because Nick found the damn note that basically said everything I'd been trying to hide.
He mostly left me alone after that, surprisingly. It took some heavy convincing to get him to let me deal with it myself, but he eventually complied. I told him that he couldn't tell anyone, and he promised that easily. I'm sure he wouldn't. He really did care for me deeply, and I'm now grateful that, if anyone had to find it, it was him. It was nice to have someone to talk to about it, and I did frequent the Room of Requirement with him for a nice chat about how everything was unfair with my life. It was, unfortunately, driving an even bigger wedge between all of us. I didn't even want it. I never wanted anyone to know.
"Dorcas!" A smiled crackled onto my face as the cold air hit me and Alice's body slammed into mine unforgivably.
"I'm so glad you came down!"
"Yeah," I said, backing away from the hug slowly. "I had wanted to get a start on the Divination, but I simply couldn't think of anything. You know me, nothing ever going on up here," I said, laughing and pointing to my head. She laughed too, and tugged me to the fort behind which she was hiding with Lily, Marlene, and who I could make out to be Mary. Lily was focused intently on a another fort about twelve meters from ours, one I assumed to be the boys'. I saw a snowball arc from behind the wall of snow, and I rose my hands over my face in defense.
"Dorcas," Lily exclaimed, similarly to Alice, and hugged me tightly. We had too many layers on collectively to feel the hug, but the gesture was nice.
"I'm so glad you came down! We've been losing horribly, and we needed another man." Classic Lily. I rolled my eyes as she focused back on the battlefield, and looked across the way with her to search out prospective enemies. All of a sudden, Peter came stumbling out of the white, and I knew all at once it was a ploy. We always sacrificed Peter.
"Send out one of yours! We want a peace treaty," Sirius yelled from the other fort. I rolled my eyes again, a genuine smile forming on my face. Alice turned to me and a smile like the Cheshire cat bloomed on her face.
"You've got to go, Dorcas! It'll totally surprise them," she said excitedly.
"Alright, alright," I said happily, "Keep your pants on, Ali." I walked out slowly to Peter, knowing fully well we would be pelted with snow the minute I got within one meter of him.
"Hi Pete," I said awkwardly, waiting for the blows to rein upon us.
"Dorcas," he said in mild surprise. The first one hit the back of his head, and I frowned. You'd think they'd have better aim. However, my train of thought was cut off as Peter grabbed my arm and dragged me back towards their territory.
"Nice work, Pete," Sirius said, giving him a high five. "We've got a prisoner of war now," he said, his voice dimming as he saw who I was.
"Hey Doe," he said shakily. He swallowed deeply, and his bravado was set firmly back into place.
"Great work, Peter! We rescued one of our one!" He smiled widely at me and I returned the favor, going to crouch next to him. Peter, James and Remus had gone quiet during our little moment, and we ignored the snow falling on us from all angles.
I picked up a pile of snow, molded it quickly, and threw it over to the girls side.
"My allegiance has changed," I shouted back, and I saw Lily's bright head pop up from behind her wall in confusion.
"Fire," James bellowed upon spotting his girlfriend. I assumed this was an act of vengeance, and took part in the battle. Sirius nudged me as the other three were preoccupied, and I turned to look at him, a smile now permanently stamped on my face.
"We've missed you, Doe." He didn't have to elaborate, because we both knew what he meant. I guess I was really back this time.
"Well?" Dumbledore stared me down in his soft manner that was really eerie and fascinating all at once.
"I don't think you should go tonight, Miss Meadowes." Is that all he had for me? I already knew what he thought.
"That's not going to happen," I said definitely. I had just gotten back to being comfortable around them. I wasn't going to ruin it like this. "I just want to know what will happen if I change." He shook his head, and folded his hands together on the table.
"We don't know, Dorcas." He shifted his glasses slightly as I took in the information.
"You don't know? How can you not?"
"I'm sorry, but no one on our mother's side of the family was ever an animagus. We do not know the exact repercussions of doing this, only that it can't be good for you."
"I understand, Professor," I said, sighing. He wasn't going to give me anymore information, and I guess he deserved to have a nice Christmas without me badgering him.
"Well, Merry Christmas, sir," I said getting up to leave.
"Have you been using your pensieve, Dorcas," he asked, his voice seemingly innocent. I stopped in mid stance, my eyes widening in the reminder of the ghastly present I had received, and why I did receive it.
"I have, professor," I said politely, tuning to face him. "Thank you, again," I said finally, and he let me walk out of the room quickly, not stopping me again. I shut the door, and slid down the back of it slowly. I had been in this same position not four months ago, yet so much had changed since then. But now, believe it or not, I had more to deal with. At least maybe I could finish packing before I had to go out and risk my life again. I guess, technically, my life was always at risk.
The next morning hadn't been much better than the one's in the week prior. It wasn't nearly as bad as the first one of the term year, but doing that is never a treat. We managed to keep Remus pretty occupied and in the room, but that meant more pain for us. I tried to stay out of the way as much as possible, trying not to risk anything; but it was hard. I felt like I was betraying my friends this way. The less I risked the more the other's had to.
We were just boarding the train now, after the ride in on the carriages. Melon was sitting atop my trunk as I rolled it onto the train, her ears sharp and perked up. Poor Melon. She didn't know that she wouldn't have an owner in two years. I think if I would want anyone to know, it would be her. I mean, her life depends on mine. I can't really say that for anyone else.
"Dorcas!" I turned around, and saw Nick waving at me from across the platform, now jogging toward me with his heavy trunk.
"Hi, Nick," I said, leaving my trunk and walking forward to meet him behind a pillar.
"Where have you been," he asked worriedly, embracing me loosely, and only for a second. I hadn't seen him in about a week, and had consistently canceled our meetings.
"Sorry, I've been busy." He looked at me seekingly, waiting for more information. "Thinking," I said, ironically thoughtfully.
"Yeah, sure," he said, in which he thought was a light-hearted tone; but he just looked worried.
"Look, make sure you stay in contact with me over break, okay?" I nodded in agreement, smiling sadly.
"You've got to let me know if, if anything, happens," he said testily, rubbing my shoulder and looking over it, probably for Sirius or James or someone.
"I promise I will. Really, you're the only one I can talk to about it, anyway."
"What about Harley," he asked, maybe thinking back to the story to make sure he was right.
"I'm not going to talk to her about that," I said scoffing. He looked me in the eye this time, really confused and kind of concerned.
"She wouldn't understand, Nick. Just leave it be," I said, crossing my arms and looking back to make sure my trunk was still there.
"Really, just leave it, Nick," I said, raising my hand as he began to speak again. His jaw flexed a couple times before relaxing, and his eyes softened.
"Tell me if you need anything, Doe." He pulled me in to give me a hug, and I gave him a kiss on the cheek before retreating.
"We should go now, Nick," I said strongly, pulling back and heading back to my trunk. He stood there for a couple more seconds, watching me get my trunk onto the train finally. It was pretty heavy.
"Bye Dorcas," I saw him mouth to me. I waved again before Lily came to get me from the doorway. I swallowed deeply, and she tugged my arm again, yelling down the hall to some first years who were running down the train's length.
"Bye Nick," I mouthed back, the corner of my mouth tilting up slightly. This was going to be one strange Christmas.