A/N: I am back, sorry for the late update if anyone is still reading this. I really got into it this weekend. :) I like this chapter a lot. Thanks for reading!
I woke up from what I promised myself would be the last long night in a long time. After Dumbledore spoke to me, I finished my day with a nice dinner, and headed straight to bed. I haven't gotten out of bed in two days. All I do is sleep, cry, and stare. I wake up in the middle of the night and stare at the deep burgundy curtains that surround me. I don't want Harley to know I know about her. After everything she does to protect her secret, Dumbledore goes and spills it in one shot. My entire life has been a sham up until now. I can't really do anything I wanted to. There's no time for me to become an Unspeakable, like my uncle. I won't even have that much time out of Hogwarts. Mostly I'll just sit by myself, I think. I am going to suck every experience I can out of Hogwarts, and then no one will ever hear from me again. Withering away sounds so cowardly, but it's probably the bravest thing I'll ever do. I have to choose to leave my friends, and maybe Harley. Or maybe I'll just stay in Saint Mungo's, where I can die peacefully. I think I'd like to decide when I'm going to die.
"Dorcas, you have to get up now! It's classes and I won't have you skipping already!" Oh, Lily. How I wasn't ready to leave them as much as I thought. I'm not even prepared to lie to their faces yet. I've been practicing lying to myself in bed. Telling myself that I won't die and seeing if I am believable enough. I might as well get out of bed anyway, as it's the first day of full classes. Boy, am I excited.
"Alright, Lily! I'm getting up, and dressed, and ready to face the day!" Oh God, I really am terrible at lying. She pulled back the curtains and eyed me skeptically.
"You can keep being strange as long as it gets you up, I guess." She slung her bag over her shoulder and walked down the flight of stairs to our common room. I stumbled around and got my uniform out of my trunk. After dressing, I sat down in front of the mirror, appraising my face.
"Is there nothing I can do to my hair?" I asked my reflection helplessly.
"Would you like me to curl it for you?" I focused in on the background of the mirror and saw Hestia twirling the edges of her perfectly set hair. I slumped back in the bathroom chair.
"I guess that would be nice."
"Okay," she said, walking over. Hestia and Marlene weren't really that bad. It's nice to be with people who will just be nice all the time. I still can't understand it, but I appreciate it now. She really was perfect and nice and just really accepting.
"All done, Dorcas." I felt my hair, happy with the results, mad at myself for not being able to do it without help.
"Thank you Hestia, really."
"No problem, let's go though, I don't want to get in trouble with Lily," she said, smiling brightly. We headed down the stairs and out the door of our common room, chatting idly about the few lessons we had together. Not being rude, but Hestia's not really the brightest light on the Christmas tree. We were almost at the doors to breakfast, the holiest time of day, when Sirius fell into step with us.
"Hey there, stranger. Where have you been all weekend?" Oh great, he was addressing me.
"Um, sick," I said, coughing unconvincingly. Although, that couldn't really be counted as a lie.
"Sure, sweetie," he said cheerfully, slinging his arm around my shoulder. He picked up one of my curls and twisted it around his finger. I know everyone says that they would love to have a guy for a best friend, but it's not really all it's cracked up to be. First of all, they're much harder to figure out than girls. I always know how I would handle a situation, so I just assume my girlfriend's would do the same thing. However, I can't just assume Sirius or Remus are going to go read a love story or cry the night away. Like right now, for example. What the hell is he doing with my hair? Can't he see it's done to perfection and touching it will ruin the effect? I tugged my shoulder from under him, dusting his man-scent off.
"You smell nice. You know, for you."
"You too. You know. For you." He and Hestia went into another conversation that didn't include me.
I wish I could live at least until I was married. Some people, well most, lived past into a healthy marriage. Some even get multiple marriages! My mother and father loved each other like nothing I'd ever seen before. She held his hand when they crossed the street in a way my hand had never been held. Their hands were never just that in my mind. When my mother grabbed dad's hand, it was as if she was holding it away from the rest of the world. The way that she would fall into his side and sometimes take a short rest on his shoulder. Then dad would look down at her and smile, not letting on how much his previously broken shoulder really hurt. My favorite part was when they let go like there wasn't a care in the world, which there clearly was. They weren't insecure that someone might hurt them, ever. If anything, I would like to learn to be fearless. Maybe that's why the Sorting Hat put me in Gryffindor anyway. Surrounded by James and Lily, and Sirius and Remus, I could learn how to get these last moments right. I felt a nudge from my left.
"Hestia just went in," Sirius whispered. "I didn't want to say anything to embarrass you, but your hair looks better natural." I stood there with my mouth hanging open. Natural? Does he even know what that means? Clearly not. By the time I went to yell back, tell him that he doesn't look good no matter what he does, he was in and probably seated. Maybe I've put too much stock in the male species.
I went into the Great Hall for breakfast, and the first thing I noticed was that Sirius was sitting with Lily Evans. Alone. And he was still alive! I started running in my attempt to save him before Lily started acting normally again. As I came up closer to the table, I realized they were actually having a serious conversation. I leaned down and grabbed a muffin before sitting down next to Sirius. I punched his arm, and he looked in my direction all of a sudden wary.
"That was for the hair remark. You couldn't possibly like it better natural because believe me, you've never seen it natural." He leaned close and put his lips near my ear.
"I have seen you in all sorts of natural Dorcas." That made me blush. I never blush! I actually don't recall ever having blushed.
"And I think you wouldn't have half as many friends if you left your hair natural every day."
"So true, my love, but all I need is you. Seeing as I'm accepted in your eyes, that's all that matters."
"Oh, shove off, Romeo."
"You're insufferable." I pushed my way back out of the bench and grabbed my things from the floor.
"You're not having anything else, Doe?"
"No Lil, why?"
"You're looking a little bit thinner, lately is all." I swallowed deeply, assuming more side effects were coming into play. I glared at her a little longer than necessary to make my point. Grabbing another muffin, I headed out quickly. Now I know why they were having their little heart-to-heart before I came. I never knew I was such a hot topic of conversation. Slinging my bag diagonally across my shoulder, I tied up my pretty, Hestia-fied hair up into a ponytail. I guess I should eat a bit more, but my stomach was always feeling full. Placing my books down in D.A.D.A, I took out my wand and weighed it gently in my hand. It felt the same, but it really didn't. It was like being detached from a bigger part of myself. The door opened and I threw my wand into my bag quickly.
"Hey, Lily! I thought you'd never show." She looked around slowly.
"We don't have class for another ten minutes, Doe." I tried to talk, but she raised her hand to silence me. "I know why you're so thin now." I wanted to smack myself. How could I already have let the secret slip? Wait a second, I never told anyone. I cleared my face and put on what was hopefully a blank expression.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"We all know you and Sirius can't possibly be over each other, and Emmeline is very tiny. But you shouldn't want to look like her, the little tramp."
"Lily, I am nowhere close to being with Sirius ever again, and you can hold me to that. If it makes you feel any better, I didn't even realize I was getting thinner. I promise I'll be fatter than you again by next week." I knew guilting her into being sorry was wrong, but hey, what could I do?
"Look, that's not it! I don't care how thin I am and neither should you."
"I'm playing Lily, calm yourself." She looked off to the side, turning her nose up indignantly.
"Don't be like that! You are just too emotional for your own good." She rolled her eyes and sat next to me, licking her lips quickly.
"So what are you and the boys doing tonight," she asked, putting on a serious face. "I don't want the common room destroyed again, you know I report directly to the Head Girl. I don't need any more trouble with her."
"Lily Evans in trouble with her superior? Pray tell." This was actually a fun topic. It made Lily all flustered and annoyed, another of my favorite pastimes.
"Well, there's not much to it. It was rumored that I was involved in the marauders' last prank, which I was not!" I smirked childishly to myself. That was partly my fault.
"What do you know that I don't," she asked warily. Polyjuice Potion is never good to use during the school year. I told them she'd find out.
"Nothing. I know nothing." She knew I was lying but waved it off. I guess she hadn't gotten detention, or I really would have had it.
"Well, I don't actually know what we're doing. Haven't spoken to them all week, really."
"So you admit there's a prank!" She liked to be triumphant.
"No. Like I said, I don't know what we're doing." As people began trailing in, we quieted down.
Peter sat down discreetly next to me and Lily pinched my arm in confusion.
"What's the problem, Pete? You're not in this class."
"I know I'm not in this class. James said give this to you, Remus said give this to you, and Sirius said give this to you." I stared at the objects in my hand.
"What nothing from you?"
"Oh, shit. I forgot. Here you go." He placed a key in my hand.
"What is this for?" I leaned in close. "I thought there were no pranks tonight, cause, hey, it's the full moon."
"Hey, I just deliver, I don't get that much information. Just read the notes." He left, scurrying away. I always laughed silently when he acted like the rat he was. Out of all of us, his was the only one I predicted correctly. I always did notice rat-like inflections coming from Peter.
Being a fox was not my ideal choice. My goal was to be a unicorn, but even if I was still a virgin, I wasn't the purest of creatures. Foxes were sneaky and dishonest, not my favorite title. I never wanted to be labeled as that when Sirius got loyal and James got strong. Although I can't complain next to Remus or Peter. Those just suck. I hope I would still be able to transform. It was closer to me than anything I have ever experienced, even magic. If I lost that then it would be as if I lost myself. I placed the key in my bag after studying it a little bit. It was a skeleton key, old-fashioned, rusted on the tiny handle, and looked far too huge to fit in any door. The next was the note from Remus. I opened it and began to read.
It's fine you missed the prank last Friday, the boys aren't mad. James said it was something to do with Dumbledore. I'm hoping you're feeling up to it tonight, as we've changed it up a bit. Meet us in the courtyard behind Transfiguration at 8 o' clock. James' note might explain this a bit more, I don't really know what he wrote. Don't pay attention to whatever Sirius gave you, it's probably nothing.
I closed the note carefully and put it next to me. Lily reached to grab it before pulling back quickly.
"Ouch! what is this, another note from Potter? It's burns like hell." I smirked once again. Good old protective Remus. I opened up James' note and his was quite a bit longer.
Whatever happened last Friday is our secret. You didn't hit your head on a table, or a chair. I don't know what this is, but I hope you make the right choice in either telling us or not. Madame Pomfrey has picked up our little note-burning charm, seeing as she's protected your file with it, something she hasn't even done with Remus' yet. It's not my secret, it's yours so don't worry about my mouth. I don't know what I, what we would do without you. Sirius is hanging on to you more than ever after this summer. Peter relies on you to talk to him when we're doing something else. Remus is very appreciative of your help with his problem and having an intelligent banter while the rest of us are too stupid or too tired. You're like my sister, Dorcas. We love you, just don't shut us out.
I crumpled this one up, and tossed it in my bag. How dare he bring that up right before a big night?
"Dorcas, try the spell. Or at least look like you're paying attention," Lily said, jabbing me with her elbow. I dug around for my wand and blew some collecting dust off of it.
I cracked my neck and blew out some short breaths, mocking Lily. I put down my wand, not wanting to confuse Lily if I wasn't able to pull it off.
"Look, I've known this counter-curse since we were third years. There is nothing I could do then that I can't do now."
"Whatever. At least wave your wand around a couple times." I gestured around the class at all the kids not practicing their spells, finally landing on the teacher.
"Look over there, Lily. Our teacher is sleeping, again. I think I'll squeak by."
"I'll still know the spell better than any of you."
"That doesn't help when you can't ever use it against somebody." Man, have I become bitter.
She picked up her bags and moved over to sit by Severus and I scoffed again, but couldn't help when a little smirk slid onto my mouth. Even though I hated his very soul, my best friend could have been considered in love with this entity. She leaned over him and let giggles slip out of her mouth. Ugh, she was doing it to spite me. I would have to tell her how tacky that was later.
I sat back, taking the last little present out of my bag.
I need you to wear this. Emmeline is still nagging me and you're the only one anyone's afraid of.
I laughed out loud again. How many times I've worn this necklace I don't care to count. The precious Black necklace all the Sirius-followers were enraptured with. It was perfectly stunning. The string was of onyx pearls and in the center was a small, but not too small amethyst stone. Purple, the color of royalty, had to be represented. The girls all know we're not really together. I don't think he's actually given it to any of his real girlfriends. At the beginning of time when Hestia dated Sirius, he came up with the idea of breaking it off with his girlfriends by giving me the necklace. Whenever they saw me wearing it, it was clear the relationship was over. I think it was supposed to be implied that he would rather be dating me than anyone else, a laugh every time. I'm a threat and everyone knows it. I could have any guy I wanted, but the problem was I didn't want any of them. I wanted Nick Weids; alas, he was a dick.
I put on the necklace and now I just had to wait for Emmeline to see me.
Laying on Remus' bed with an ice pack on the side of my face was not the way I had wanted to spend this Thursday night.
"Really, Sirius. It's okay, I've had worse hits." He was pacing back and forth, muttering about how Emmeline was such a bitch. It was just a slap, but I've always bruised easily.
"What we really need to worry about is Remus right now." He looked up from his spot on the floor, his head in his hands.
"Okay, Dorcas. You know how I asked you to meet us in the courtyard?" I nodded yes and he continued.
"Well Dumbledore seems to think he has found a better way for us to handle the moons." My face brightened a little as I propped up on my elbow.
"What do you mean? And why was I trusted with this key," I inquired, holding up the key Peter bestowed on me.
"We gave it to Peter," James said slowly, turning to Peter.
"Hey! I didn't want to be the one to lose it!" We all burst out laughing, because for the first time Peter had thought ahead and was probably right.
"Okay, well there's this underground cabin-like structure in the Forbidden Forest. It should muffle my howls and make it easier to keep me," he swallowed," trapped up, as it were." I clapped my hands together.
"Perfect! When do we go down?" The boys looked around uneasily.
"What? What's the matter," I asked, looking pointedly a James who cast his glance downwards.
"We're going to need to get past the centaurs," James said, once again all their eyes fell on me.
"No! Absolutely not!" I folded my arms and threw down my ice.
"Please! You're the fastest out of all of us, except Moony, but he can't really..."
"I do not need another day of hoof-mark-on-my-face related questions."
"We really need to try this. It would make it easier for everyone and Dumbledore promised he would talk to the centaurs before next full moon."
"Fine, but only for Remus. You better love me for this." He smiled,
"Never anything less my queen." I nodded in approval.
"See? You could all do with a lesson on how to treat me from Remus. And you," I said, flinging the necklace across the room, "take this back, I feel dirty wearing it." He caught it and threw it in the open drawer next to his bed. We were all silent for a couple minutes, contemplating what we needed to do in a little bit.
"Everyone come sit in a circle," I said. They all groaned.
"This isn't another one of your girly talks, is it? Cause I think Lily and Alice are in your room if you need to talk."
"Well, excuse me Pads! I didn't know it was so bad to talk to me." I got off the bed, sat on the floor next to Remus, and closed my eyes. I heard them all get up slowly and reluctantly, and the corner of my mouth couldn't help but tilt up. When I opened my eyes, they were all where they should be. With me.
"I just want you all to know, I love you so much, and I don't know what I'd do without each of you." My eyes traveled across the room, lingering on James for a second longer than everyone else's.
"Since the war has started to crop up in conversations, it's really made me think about my life. You guys are the ones that I would have by my side on the last day." I held Remus' hand and continued.
"I want you to know that I'm here for you whenever, and especially tonight. It's okay to lean on me, I'm not weak. I'm strong and ready to go." I really just wanted to shout this at James, but I was trying to keep it discreet. Sirius grabbed my hand and looked me straight in the eyes. Oh great, it's back. Those blue eyes that nobody can ever get over. That's it, might as well be dead now.
A/N: Did you like it? The full moon scene is coming next chapter. Review and come back for another helping please!
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