A/N: So I'm not sure if I would qualify this as a song-fic or a one shot. Personally I put it under the category of one shot because the idea popped in my head and it is meant to be a self contained piece but I will admit that the line "you are the piece of me I wish I didn't need" is what caught my imagination. That and the name 'Clarity' just really felt poetic to me.
Anyways, usual disclaimers apply. I own none of the Harry Potter universe; that credit is to the brilliant JK Rowling. Also in no way own any do I have any credit to the song Clarity by Zedd. Also, I am still working on my novel length piece Easy O.
I walked around my dormitory aimlessly listening to the howling of the wind slamming into our windows. Curiously I went back and watched as rain began to pour from the sky. My mood had always been strongly tied to the weather and today was no exception. The raging storm outside was nothing compared to the waves of contradicting and confusing emotions that threatened to tear me apart from inside out. Shame, lust, fear, euphoria. They were empty, meaningless words that I tried attaching to my inner chaos but nothing was able to stick. All these emotions and experiences bombarded me, shaped me and nurtured my soul causing me to become altered. I was no longer the same girl that everyone thought I was but none of them could see the difference. Only he could and he was not pleased.
I rested my face on the cool window as an arc of lightning pealed across the sky. I closed my eyes right when thunder clapped and the rain turned to hail. Normally I would love to turn off all the lights and curl up in one of the blankets my grandma crocheted and watch as nature worked. It was so powerful and elegant to witness as even the most intense storms would eventually lose their power and the grounds became tranquil once more. I longed for something so simple in my life but I knew that it was not meant to be. Once this storm settled and balance returned into my life, he would be back throwing me into the surging madness yet again.
Sighing I tried turning my attention to my nightstand trying to find my only source of comfort and inspiration I had all year. On my nightstand there was a piece of parchment with 67 clear marks in black ink. The other girls had questioned what the marks meant but I never told them because none of them would ever understand. How could they understand when even I couldn’t wrap my own head around it? None of them would believe, let alone understand that I, Dorcas Meadows, had been secretly involved with Regulus Black on and off all of last year.
Dating was too sophomoric to describe what we had. He pursued me so restlessly. His passion consumed me. I was swallowed whole and spat back out so many times. He pulled me in stronger than any physical force known to man and when I was in his grasp he twisted and wrenched my heart in every direction as we tried hiding whatever it was that we had. Every time he called me ‘Mudblood’ in public I died a tiny death. In spite of this he was always the center of all my dreams. He was always the first person I thought of in the morning. When we forgot the world around us we were so different. I never was one to care for gentle caresses and whispered sweet nothings. Yet he always got under my skin and I got under his. How could something so wrong feel so completely right? I had cried and cried over this and vowed to myself that I would cut myself off from him. Yet my resolve used to always falter when he would find me and draw me back in once more.
It was as cyclic as the turning of the seasons or the coming of the rain. This year I promised myself that I was done. Permanently. No matter how much clarity we seemed to find when we were alone, the crashing waves of constantly conflicting emotions had taken their toll. I know better now but the last revelation was too late. The damage was done. The waves had crashed and battered on the shore of my soul too long and I had eroded under the weight of our experiences. I was transformed. Gone were the days of being a carefree school girl. He opened my eyes to a world that I know I could never even begin to fathom. I hated him for doing this to me. He robbed me of my innocence. The worst part was that every day part of me thanked him for doing this to me.
I slowly traced my finger over each mark. Those sixty seven marks represented the number of days that I had been free from him. Seeing them standing there so starkly for the world to see but not understand brought me the only comfort I was able to find in the world anymore.
“You look like crap.” I didn’t bother to turn away from the window as Marlene came marching in and plopped herself on my bed. We used to be the best of friends. There was a time when she knew everything about me and could have read me like an open book. Then my eyes were opened and I was gone.
She had no clue she had been left behind.
Sadly, Marlene was right. I hadn’t had a decent night of sleep in the past sixty seven days and my normally straight blonde hair was currently thrown in a messy bun with more pieces sticking out than in. There was nothing to say about my bright red and gold plaid pajama pants besides the fact that they were definitely not the fashion statement of the century. I had much bigger problems on my mind than looking like a herd of wild Hippogriffs trampled me to death. I could only be fortunate to have such a comic ending to my life.
“And to think you call yourself my best friend.” I shot back at her while still looking out the window and the increasingly dark grounds. I frowned when I realized that I no longer had a clear view of the Black Forest and turned instead to the swaying of the Whomping Willow.
“As your best friend you should be getting down on your knees and thanking me for the major service I just did you!” She declared dramatically, her curly brown hair bouncing around her classic heart shaped face. I scowled as the sheets on my bed were crumpled. There was a reason I told her so many times to not go on my bed.
“What did you do now?” I asked trying to remain neutral. Knowing Marlene it was probably something that she did thinking she was helping me.
“I got you a date for Hogsmade tomorrow.” My stomach dropped and I tore my gaze away from the parchment which had come to define my pride and joy.
“You did what!?” I burst out without any composure. Something about all of this was supposed to be so familiar. Currently it felt like I was reliving a distant memory of a happier time.
“Got. You. A. Date.” She spelled out patronizingly slow as I turned my back on her. I sarcastically rolled my eyes. How could she be so thick? “You aren’t saying anything.” She pointed out sourly after a minute had passed.
“What exactly do you want me to say?” I rolled my eyes as I saw her fake pout reflected in the window. Marlene really was smart but she was just constantly absorbed in the drama
“How about a thank you!” She cried out indignantly. Marlene was all about the theatrics and had such a flair for living that it is infectious. Or rather, it used to be infectious.
“And why exactly am I thankful? Remind me again.” I deadpanned while placing the parchment back on my nightstand and shoved Marlene over so that I could get back on my bed and admired the scarlet fastenings I normally had draped around my bed like a cocoon shutting me out from the world.
“You haven’t dated anyone in ages!” She propped herself up and gave me a pointed look daring me to say something. Of course, she didn’t know about what was going on last year. Nobody had figured out what I had been engaged in and nobody could ever find out.
“That matters because…?” I asked raising my eyebrows suggestively. Marlene, forever prone to the dramatics, sighed and plopped herself back on my bad furthering messing up my sheets.
“Everyone thinks you are a prude!”
“Newsflash Marlene. I am a prude.” I retorted placing careful emphasis on the ‘am’ part of my statement. I could almost practically feel Regulus’ smirk as if he was listening in to this conversation, his presence just behind my eyes. She was lucky I didn’t have my wand on hand or I would have jinxed her tongue to the root of her mouth just to get her to shut up.
“Not anymore. I’m saving you from the social suicide you are actively trying to commit. Think of this as an intervention.” She told me teasingly while kicking off her shoes. I hoped she remembered to move them over to her bed. She always had an unfortunate habit of leaving her stuff on under my bed or in my wardrobe.
“Ok Aphrodite. Tell me who you managed to bribe into taking me out tomorrow?” I asked. Surely it couldn’t be that bad. I mean, she had been rather cozy with Sirius at the house party celebrating our victory. Maybe she set me up with Remus. He certainly wouldn’t be a horrible person to spend the day with at Hogsmade with. The best part was the he wouldn’t expect anything out of me.
“You’re lucky I didn’t have to bribe him or you would so owe me.” She pointed out and I sighed with relief. While Marlene always seemed so bright and cheery you never wanted to be in her debt. She was a ruthless woman to owe favors for. The only other time that I saw that side of her come out is when we studied for our Defense Against the Dark Arts O.W.L and we practiced dueling. Her style was ruthless and so aggressive that it threw me for a loop. My own was style so fluid and reactionary that it painfully reminded me of how I was living my life. “Anyway you’re going to Hogsmade with Regulus Black.”
Time came screeching to a halt as her words registered meaning. Marlene McKinnon had set me up with Regulus Black. Those sixty seven marks which stood out so clearly on my nightstand mocked me. I had tried running away so many times before and he always got me back in his grasp. Why should now be any different? No matter what I did, I could never escape him. How could I escape him when he wouldn’t allow me to leave? He was everywhere. Right when I thought I was finally able to move on with my life, this happened. I swallowed nervously, trying not to feel the slimy, gruel-like helplessness creep back in my life once again.
“You do realize that I can’t actually agree to go on this date?” I asked, throwing the patronizing inflection to my own tone that she so loved using on me when she got the chance. There was too much at stake for me to agree.
I couldn’t go back to him. Not again. Those sixty seven marks wouldn’t allow me to go back. I had made it this long and I was determined to not dive back into the harsh, cold sea of darkness known as Regulus Black.
“Why not!?” She asked incredulously.
“I’m a Mudblood and he’s a pureblood Slytherin!” I screeched at her and she painfully winced upon hearing me call myself ‘Mudblood’. The McKinnon’s were one of the few vocal pureblood families which didn’t have anyone with someone like me attending Hogwarts.
“What have I said about calling yourself that!?” Marlene got off my bed and glared at me pointedly. She used to be able to make me crumble in her wake but she no longer had that power over me.
“That’s not what’s important here.” I stopped her as she was about to open her mouth and continue lecturing me. “I’m not going on that date.”
“I told him that you would meet him at The Three Broomsticks! He’s going to think-” She started pacing around our room restlessly but unlike myself Marlene didn’t pace to sort out her thoughts. Her pacing was a side effect of anxiety. How she let herself get so worked up over something this trivial is so sodding stupid.
“This isn’t about you. If anything Regulus will think that I am a bitch who stood him up. End of discussion.” I interrupted her. She had a dark scowl as I started rummaging through my wardrobe for something more suitable to wear.
I needed to get away from Marlene. I really needed to get away from Regulus. In fact, I would be far better off being away from everyone. There are too many people in Gryffindor tower whose personalities were so flamboyant and so real and alive that it was all too much to take in and be around. Most important, I needed my shoes. Now.
“You wouldn’t happen to know where my shoes are would you?” I turned back to Marlene who smirked holding my shoes smirking at me. She would be the one to nonverbally summon my shoes away while I grabbed my favorite pair of dark blue jeans and a suitable blue and white striped sweater. “How mature.”
“Where exactly do you think you are going? It’s past curfew.” She acted like I cared about that last point. The only awkward part was that both the Head Boy and the Head Girl lived in our tower. While I doubt James Potter would care, there was the force known as Lily Evans that I knew Marlene was banking on.
“If you must know I am going to find Regulus and tell him our date is cancelled.” I lied easily.
There was no way I was ever going to seek out his company. I had tried that once before and learned the hard way what would happen. Even if I could get all the money in the Black family vault for trying to find him just so that I could cancel going on this date I wouldn’t take it. Tonight I would be able to put my sixty eighth tally on my record and tomorrow night I would put the sixty ninth and that would be that.
“Merlin Dorcas, what is your problem? You’re acting so weird tonight.” I cringed when I heard the accusing words but I walked over and snatched the shoes out of her hand when she wasn’t paying attention and walked to the bathroom shutting her out from my world for the time being.
I hated this! All of it. It wasn’t fair! I saw the confusion and the hurt in Marlene’s chocolate brown eyes so painfully clear that it made me want to cry and confess all my secrets to her. Hot tears began to form behind my eyes which I rapidly blinked out of existence. Going down that trail would lead to nothing but disaster not only for me but for Regulus as well. Thinking of him again got my blood surging. All of this was his fault. He was the one I hated more than anyone.
I hated how he used me over and over. Yes, I hated myself for letting him use me. But I hated him more for ever getting interested in me. How I could always get lost in his dark grey eyes? It didn’t matter. Not anymore. I hated how I knew the exact shape his lips would form when he would smirk and sneer. I hated knowing that when he lost the aloof demeanor and genuinely smiled he was alit from the inside. Most of all… I hated the fact that I was the only person who ever saw that side of him. The side of him which I am still in love with.
Pressing my head to the cool tiles on the bathroom floor I counted to ten slowly breathing in and out. Feeling slightly calmer I changed out of the pajamas I had been lounging about in and hastily got dressed. Slipping my shoes on, I walked out of the bathroom and immediately realized that Marlene hadn’t waited for me. I sighed. She was probably with Mary or Alice complaining about what an ungrateful friend I am. Stepping out of the dormitory I heard the general ruckus coming from the common room.
“James you are Head Boy! You cannot transfigure the couch into a camel!” A loud voice yelled out and I couldn’t help but smirk knowing what was waiting for me when I walked down the steps.
Sure enough, several pieces of furniture in the common room had been transfigured into various animals, a camel being amongst our new petting zoo. That was on top of the fact that someone had hexed Sirius Black to have pink hair, had given Remus Lupin a ridiculous handlebar mustache, and caused Marlene and Mary to have been Levicorpused. James was grinning sheepishly at Lily who was trying her best not to burst out laughing at the scene she walked in to find.
“Your boyfriend is barking mad Evans.” Sirius smirked as I started making my way discretely through the crowd. I wasn’t in the mood to see this scene play out. After six years of Marauder pranks and being the butt of several of them myself, I knew how this would end.
The distraction was perfect as nobody realized that I worked my way through the spectacle and left Gryffindor tower. The Fat Lady called something to my retreating form but I had hardly cared to listen to what she said. I could always wake her up and make her peeved at me. Marlene already was, so I might as well get a bewitched portrait to as well.
I let my hair down and retied it into a more suitable bun as I made my way throughout the castle enjoying the silence of solitude. While I did occasionally see a ghost or two down an odd corridor I didn’t pay any mind to them and they returned the favor to me likewise. I lost track of time until I felt a presence. His presence. I just knew he was here. I always knew when he was nearby. When I stopped and looked at where I was I groaned at my own stupidity. I was in a secret hallway that lead to the Astronomy tower that nobody ever used or knew about. It was also where Regulus and I would meet up. He knew that when Marlene would tell me that I would want to leave and go wandering. All he had to do was wait for me to drop my guard. He lured me out and had me trapped. He was here. I just couldn’t see him.
“Let’s not pretend Regulus. We both know that you are here so you might as well show yourself.” I called out to no one in particular.
“I can’t go breaking your rules now Dorcas.” His voice taunted me as it rang down the abandoned corridor. His form was not for me to not see.
“What are you talking about?” I asked tiredly.
“Don’t pretend like you haven’t been keeping track of how many days you’ve gone without seeing me. Remind me, how many has it been now?” Now he was accusing me. Damning me. I felt like he was right in front of me. It was almost like a shadow of a shadow that I could only just make out until the flickering torches caused the illusion to vanish.
“Sixty seven.” I said softly. The number sounded so unreal to me. I had made it so long before finding myself back here.
“That’s right. Sixty seven days. You went that long without seeing me so I figured that by Dissilusioning myself that you could be here without breaking your own sodding pride.” His voice was so smug I knew that he was sneering at me, his lip tugged in the peculiar way it always does when he makes that face.
“You know it’s more than that.” I replied harshly.
“Yet you still came.” The smugness and taunting had vanished. Regulus was finally deciding to lower the façade he enshrouded himself in.
“It’s already too late. You might as well lift the charm yourself.” As soon as I said that he flicked into appearance causing my heart to flutter. His eyes were so soft and I immediately knew that he was afraid of my reaction. His sad smile said everything as I averted my gaze directly away from his eyes. “See that wasn’t so bad.” He tried joking which caused me to grimace.
“No.” I sighed. He really wasn’t so bad when he was like this. The problem was that it took so much effort from me to get him to this point. “But that’s not the point.”
“Then what is your point?’ He asked frustrated, running his pale slender fingers through his hair before massaging the back of your neck.
“We both know that this will never work.” I couldn’t look at him as I uttered the words aloud. I didn’t want to take a sledge hammer to the heart I barely managed to piece and glue back together.
“Why not?” He asked harshly causing me to look at his passionate gaze. His eyes were burning with a consuming fire as his gaze devoured me.
“Because you’re ashamed of me and what you feel for me!” I cried out just as passionately as he poured over my being. I could practically feel the suffocating black waves pulling me under once more back into the depth of his oceans.
“And what exactly do I feel for you Dorcas?” He asked amusingly. I couldn’t help but smile at the playfulness that was there.
“You’re in love with me.” If it were anyone else I would have rolled my eyes but Regulus Black was never anyone else.
“And what about you?” Uncertainty crept in his voice and I sighed. He was standing behind me playing with my hair before we sat down on the ground, his arm around my shoulders drawing me closer to him.
We had gone back and forth on this so many times before. Nobody ever knowing where they stood. Our timing was never right. When I longed for him he remained distant from me and when he wanted me I wanted nothing to do with him. Inevitably one of us would draw the other one back in and for brief periods of time we allowed ourselves to be happy until we had to drift again.
“You already know.” I admitted defeat. The parchment with the sixty seven tallies already needed to be burned as it was a blatant lie now. After all the promises I made I had gone back.
“Say it.” He whispered softly in my ear.
“I…” The words got caught in my throat. “I…” I wanted to say the simple three words. I love you. He sighed irritably as I rested my head on his shoulder. Shortly he shifted and broke the contact.
“Why did you come here tonight Dorcas? What were you looking for?” Regulus had retreated from my side now and started pacing up and down the corridor while I sat on the ground.
I was beneath him once again. I played into his hand and gave him just what he wanted.
“Clarity.” I told him honestly. All I wanted was a sign. A morsel or even a crumble of hope that once we left Hogwarts that things could possibly, maybe, hopefully be different than what they are now.
“You always feel like you never see me for who I am or what I feel for you. Let me give you the clarity you desire.” His voice caused shivers to erupt across my spine which quickly traveled up my back.
Right when he came back into the light I saw the awful truth. Unlike all the other times I had my heart broken, this time the truth came in the form of scarlet irises.