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 (September 1st, 1971)

 

Dorcas looked around the platform of 9 and ¾ uneasily, standing closely to her trolley and watching with wide blue eyes as the other First Years bid farewell to their families. She pursed her lips, and looked behind her to see that her father had not followed her through the barrier.

“Oi!” a tall boy with dark hair said as he shouldered past her with a gaggle of other upperclassmen. Dorcas screwed up her mouth and frowned gently as she bent to pick up her book from the ground. She placed it back in her trolley and pushed forward towards the line forming at the side of the train.

She peeked to her left as another group of taller witches and wizards scuttled past her, and spotted what seemed like a rather large group of Purebloods reprimanding two of their children stoically. She kept moving in the line, but lingered slightly, hoping to pick up some wisdom from these knowledgeable families.

“Sirius you mustn’t fool around this year,” a woman, almost as tall as her own mother, said as she straightened his tie. The boy’s nose twitched slightly, but his mother did not seem to notice.

“Yes mother,” he recited. Dorcas fell forward as she tripped over a crooked stone, and the boy looked over to her automatically. Dorcas watched in slow motion as he attempted to come over to her and assist as his father placed a firm hand on his shoulder and stopped him.

“Sirius she is beneath you. Do not lower yourself to help her,” she heard the man whisper to his son. Dorcas swallowed and pointedly looked to the ground, but continued collecting her books.

“She still dropped her books, father,” Sirius countered, prompting Dorcas to glance up from behind her long, curly hair. “I’m going to help.” Sirius nodded, and smiled crookedly at his father, who simply sighed and waved at his son to go.

“Come on, Marlene!” the boy called brightly, waving for the other girl with his family to help Dorcas. Dorcas smiled privately as the girl with the braided hair skipped away from their family wistfully to help.

“Thank you,” Dorcas granted as Sirius and Marlene finished loading her books into her cart. “You didn’t have to help.”

“I’m Marlene McKinnon,” the girl introduced, shoving her hand forward to Dorcas. She took it and shook the girls hand in a way Dorcas thought was a bit formal.

“I’m Dorcas Meadowes.”

Marlene let go of her hand, and looked back toward the woman who was talking to her before she came running over. Dorcas tapped her foot as Marlene began listening intently to the conversation that Sirius’ mother was having with who seemed to be her mother.

“She can get distracted easily,” the boy explained, stepping forward and sticking his hand out to Dorcas. Dorcas took it, surprised as Sirius shook her hand roughly and then let go. “I’m Sirius, by the way.”

Dorcas felt a little strange, looking up at the boy who so casually had his wand stuck behind his ear in a way she was sure his mother wouldn’t approve. Sirius tilted his head at her and frowned slightly, and she realized she’d been staring at him for too long when the train whistled.

“Time to go!” Marlene jumped back in, grabbing Dorcas cart and pushing it up onto the train without hesitation. Dorcas widened her eyes, but followed Marlene without question.

“G’bye Regulus!” Sirius yelled back at a boy who looked eerily similar to Sirius. He waved at Sirius as the train whistled again, signaling a final warning.

“Merlin, Sirius,” Marlene hissed, hanging off the side of the train and grabbing the back of his jacket. He stumbled onto the train as it blew its final whistle and shrugged innocently at Marlene, who rolled her eyes and headed down train confidently. Dorcas smiled again, hoping that Hogwarts was going to continue to be like this.




 

(June 6th, 1981)

 

“…happy birthday dear Peter,” the Order chorused, slightly off-key, “happy birthday to you!” Peter smirked shyly, and blew out the candles to his cake as his friends cheered him on.

“Yeah, Wormtail!” Sirius jeered, clapping him on the shoulders. Dorcas clapped slowly along with the rest of the crowd, her eyes lingering on Sirius a bit too long.

“Hey,” Emmeline whispered, elbowing Dorcas in the gut. “Stop that it’s pathetic.” Dorcas turned to glare at Emmeline, but a smile reluctantly graced her face as Emmeline raised an eyebrow.

“Thanks,” she grumbled, rolling her eyes, crossing her arms, and sitting back in her chair.

“How about a round for the birthday boy?” Hagrid said gruffly, placing a shot glass in front of Peter as Marlene reached over the dining room table to cut the cake.

“Hey!” James and Remus cried unanimously as Peter threw his head back and slammed the glass back down on the table.

“Merlin, boys, keep it down. We’ve got all the babies down and if you keep screaming like that it won’t stay that way for long,” Elphias Doge said grumpily as he came down James and Lily’s staircase.

“Come on, come on let’s get a picture!” Lily said excitedly, standing and motioning for everyone to join her against the fireplace in the living room. Everyone groaned and Lily tugged at Peter’s arm, pulling him up from his seat.

“Come on, Emmeline!” Lily said as everyone else got up and clustered in front of the mantle. Emmeline shook her head, picking up the camera from the table.

“I can’t Lily. You know I can’t be seen in a photo.” Lily scoffed and smiled sadly at Emmeline.

“Oi, if I’m doing this, so are you,” Dorcas threatened, indicating with a wave of her hand for Emmeline to join them.

“Leave it, Meadowes,” Moody said curtly as he stood behind Marlene.

“Oh, relax Alastor. What’s life without a little risk?” Dorcas asked. Sirius looked to the side and eyed Dorcas slyly. Emmeline scowled at her but got up from the dining room and came into the living room.

 "Who's going to take the picture?" Lily asked suddenly, a frown deepening on her face.

"Lily. Just enchant the camera," Remus whispered into her ear, parting her on the shoulder as Lily smiled up at him in embarrassment. She took her wand out from her pocket and pointed it at the camera, which jumped to life in response.

"Everyone ready?" she asked as the camera hung in the air. "Alright smile!" she said happily, leaning against James.

"Does she know it's not a muggle photo?" Sirius whispered out of the corner of his mouth to James. James shook his head quickly, smiling through it.

"Let it go, Padfoot."

 




(June 10th, 1981)

 

Marlene knocked on the door to Dorcas' flat rather nervously. She felt her palm start sweating, and shook it out erratically.

“Who is it?” Dorcas whispered from the other side of the door.

“It’s me,” Marlene whispered back. Dorcas fumbled with the lock on her side and swung the door open to meet Marlene. She hurried in, and Dorcas walked back over to her kitchen lazily.

“What is it?” she asked, tugging her terry bathrobe around her body tightly. Marlene flipped her hair over her shoulder and sat down across from Dorcas as she poured out another glass of red wine.

“I wanted to talk about it,” Marlene said, taking the glass and sipping on it as Dorcas scoffed and sighed.

“It was nothing Marlene. Can we just drop it?” Dorcas asked casually, flipping through an old magazine.

“Of course, we can’t just drop it!” Marlene cried, ripping away her magazine. Dorcas looked up at Marlene in shock. “You killed your father.”

Dorcas glowered at this and took a gulp of her wine. “So I killed him. Finally.” She raised the glass to her lips again, choking as Marlene slapped her arm roughly.

“It’s not like you skipped a class, Dorcas! You killed someone!” Marlene said angrily. Dorcas tightened her mouth and looked up at Marlene as she slouched over.

“I know, Marlene. But it’s not like I’d never thought about doing it, you know?” Dorcas explained, crossing her arms in front of her on the counter. “We’re lucky he didn’t kill us first and you know it,” she pointed out, stabbing her finger on the table. Marlene clicked her tongue behind her teeth, and cinched her brows together in sympathy.

“But killing someone? How did you even get Dumbledore to let you back in the Order?”

Dorcas shook her head, fluffing her hair out of her face.

“It’s not like you haven’t killed someone before!” She accused Marlene. “Sure, you didn’t know him, but isn’t that worse?” Dorcas said quickly as the rebuttal came to her mind. Marlene opened her mouth, but Dorcas cut her off. “And what, now I’m not good enough to be in the Order? Not so innocent and fluffy and happy like you?”

“Don’t make this about me, Doe.” Marlene took off her jacket and hung it over the back of her chair. “You need to talk about it and you know it! You always do this: you did it when you got kicked out of your house, you did it when Coraline asked to move in, and you’re doing it now,” Marlene breathed out quickly, putting her hand on Dorcas’ shoulder.

“No I don’t do it all the time, Marlene!” Dorcas burst suddenly, throwing Marlene’s hand off. She stood up and paced around the kitchen frantically. “Just because I can’t tell you everything anymore…”

“What does that mean?” Marlene asked defensively, standing up and blocking Dorcas from stalking out of the kitchen.

“It means that you’re completely self-involved lately and you don’t listen to anyone but yourself!” Dorcas said, tilting her head and glaring down at Marlene.

“Stop it!” Marlene repeated as Dorcas pushed past her and threw herself down on the couch in the small living room. “Just tell me how it happened!” Marlene shouted walking towards Dorcas. She stood in front of her, glaring down with her hands on her hips.

“It’s not your business, Leenie!” she cried, tossing a pillow at Marlene and scooching to the other side of the couch. The two locked gazes, Marlene looking down in disappointment and Dorcas pouting viciously.

“Dorcas,” Marlene deadpanned as she ducked from the flying pillow. Dorcas drifted her eyes up to meet Marlene’s softened expression. “Just tell me.”

Dorcas swallowed and rolled her eyes, and Marlene made her way to the other side of the couch to sit with Dorcas. Marlene watched Dorcas fiddle with her thumbnails gently before taking a deep breath.

“Coraline called me,” Dorcas said finally, closing her eyes. “I couldn’t tell what she was saying, but I knew something was wrong,” she continued, her voice wavering. Marlene didn’t move, knowing that sometimes Dorcas just needed to pretend she was alone. “So then I apparated over, and he was there.”

Marlene’s mouth trembled as she heard the familiar angry treble in Dorcas’ voice.

“And they were already dead,” Dorcas said chokily, a tear falling out from under her closed lids. “And then he came out. And it all happened so fast after that,” she said with wonderment. Dorcas blinked her eyes open and wiped her cheeks with the back of her hand. Dorcas suddenly took a deep breath as Marlene twined their fingers together, and began hyperventilating audibly.

“It’s okay,” Marlene comforted as Dorcas hunched over into her lap and started sobbing loudly. “It’s okay, I promise. We’ve all done things we don’t want to face.”

Marlene tightened her fingers around Dorcas as she leaned over onto Marlene’s lap. Marlene bit her lips slightly to stop herself from crying at the sight of her strong friend breaking down.

“I don’t have any family, Mar. No more relatives,” she said bitterly as she cried uncontrollably. “It’s just me!” She cried raggedly.

“Never think that, Dorcas,” Marlene said seriously, grabbing Dorcas’ wrist with her other hand and tugging their bodies closer together. “We are all we need, okay?” she reassured. Dorcas nodded into Marlene’s lap, and the two rocked back and forth in synchronization. “You always have us, I can promise you.”

Dorcas sat up slowly from Marlene’s lap, not letting go of the grip they shared. She leaned her head against Marlene’s shoulder and took another settling breath.

“Until the bitter end?” Dorcas asked quietly, her voice shaky and hoarse. Marlene’s face softened, and she hugged Dorcas around the waist with her free arm.

“The bitterest.”

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