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Valour by blackballet

Format: Novel
Chapters: 45
Word Count: 100,067

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Strong violence, Scenes of a sexual nature, Substance abuse, Sensitive topic/issue/theme

Genres: Drama, Horror/Dark, Romance
Characters: Dumbledore, McGonagall, Lupin, James, Lily, Sirius, Pettigrew, Voldemort, OC
Pairings: James/Lily, Remus/OC, Sirius/OC, Other Pairing

First Published: 08/07/2013
Last Chapter: 06/05/2016
Last Updated: 01/12/2017

banner by me 

Life goes on

But so does death


          Innocence and arrogance combine in a story about eight newly-graduated revolutionaries. 

Chapter 34: The Trick in the Trust

 (March 15th, 1981)


“How have you been getting along?” Dumbledore asked broadly as he leaned over Harry’s hovering bassinet.

Light shone through a patch in the clouds on the rainy March morning. The small piece of light came through the window of the peak in Dumbledore’s office. Lily could hear the students bustling just outside the stone gargoyle from the hallway. That was funny. When she attended Hogwarts, she’d never had any classes on this side of the castle.

Lily spoke for James and herself.

“It’s been…tough.” She placed her hand over James’ and rubbed his knuckles gently3.

“Frank? Alice?” Dumbledore continued as he nodded politely at Lily.

“December was rough, but it’s better now,” Frank said quietly. Harry and Neville were breathing quietly in Dumbledore’s office. They had taken to the same sleeping patterns as the Longbottoms and the Potters had more frequent meetings with their former Headmaster.

“The protection of the Order has made us feel safer,” Alice added, licking her lips as Dumbledore sat back down.

“That’s good news.” James didn’t look up from his lap, but tightened his hand around Lily’s. “I have better news.” Dumbledore folded his hands and sat back behind his desk. “There is something called a Fidelius Charm, have you heard of it?”

Alice and Frank shared a look of confusion, but James looked up from his hands.

“A Fidelius Charm? You think someone in the Order is a traitor?” he asked nastily, glaring at Dumbledore.

“It’s not that I do not have belief in the Order of the Phoenix. It is that I have belief in the power that Voldemort wields.” Dumbledore took a sip of tea from his small cup and James’ breathing eased. “And the charm would provide the extra security that you’ll need as the war continues.”

“Can someone explain the charm to us?” Lily asked curiously, frowning with Alice and Frank.

“My parents had it on the house,” James said before Dumbledore had a chance to respond. James took his hand out of Lily’s and leaned his elbows on his knees. “It hides secrets, making it so the Secret Keeper is the only person who can reveal the secret,” he explained, holding his hands out and thinking about his family. “There can be multiple Secret Keepers, though. My parents and I were the only three who knew the location of our manor.” James clenched his jaw and turned his fingers over each other.

“So someone did betray us. Did you tell anyone in the Order the address of your house?” Lily asked nervously, putting her hand on his arm. “Because there’s no way that the Death Eaters attacked your house by accident.” Lily glared at Dumbledore and pursed her lips. “Someone in the Order must have overheard James saying the address of his house and told the Death Eaters!”

“Not necessarily, Miss Evans.” Dumbledore’s eyes flicked from Lily to James, and back to Lily. “First of all, the address or secret must be heard directly from the original Secret Keeper, meaning a Death Eater would have to be in the Order, something I highly doubt.  Secondly,” he said delicately, clearing his throat, “the Fidelius Charm is broken by the death of the originator of the charm. If your mother created the charm, which is more than likely if I correctly recall her affinity for charms,”

“Then the charm was broken before the attack on the manor even happened,” James finished, shaking his head and licking his lips.

“James is correct. And this situation calls for the same type of protection. Alastor and I have been researching more on the Fidelius Charm since the attack on your house,” he continued, motioning to Alice and Frank, “but when James’ father was killed, we knew that there was not much time left.”

“But what use will this have? Everyone in the Order, even people outside the Order, know our address!” Alice said pleadingly, shaking her head. “What use is it?”

“Anyone who previously knew your address will not able to tell another living soul about it. They will have access to your homes, but will not be able to share it.”

“And why can’t we just keep the address within our family? How come I can’t perform the spell on James?” Lily asked, biting her lip.

“In situations like these, it is unusual that one spouse will survive.” A silence settled over the four of them. It seemed as if even the babies had stopped breathing. “You need someone you trust with your children.”

“So what do we do here?” Frank asked. “Are we supposed to pick a Secret Keeper?”

“Exactly that. So, other than the four of you, who do you trust to hold the key to your lives?”



“It’s got to be Dorcas for us,” Frank said gravely, toying with his wedding ring in a dark booth in the back of the pub just outside Lily and James’ house.

“Why not Molly? She’s not involved. Shouldn’t that be less of a risk?” Alice asked, putting her hand over her husband’s to stop his fiddling. Lily and Frank shared a look.

“You can’t pick someone who has children, Alice,” Lily said gently. “Dorcas is relatively, unattached,” she said with a pause. “There’s less risk that she’ll give you up. Of anyone, she’s got the least to lose.”

“And you know she’d agree,” James added, nodding along with Lily. “Dorcas would do anything to keep you safe. And she’s already Neville’s godmother.” Alice’s eyes filled with tears, and her bottom lip trembled uncontrollably.”

“And what about you?” Frank asked quickly, latching his fingers together with Alice’s as she leaned on his shoulder.

“Sirius,” Lily deadpanned, clenching her jaw and looking at James for assurance. He tightened his mouth and nodded.

“Merlin knows the kind of torture he’s already been through. Sirius would never break no matter what,” James said plainly. “Sirius would do anything for us, too.”    



“Absolutely not,” Sirius said without pause but with a snort. He leaned back on the Potters’ couch, his fingers going against his lips, ghosting the motion of smoking a cigarette.

“Sirius!” Lily gasped, frowning deeply at him. “How could you do this to us? You’re the one we trust the most and you’re being a coward?” she raged suddenly, standing up and throwing down the blanket she had been clutching.

“Lily, calm down already!” Sirius growled back, making Lily sit back down. Her glare did not loosen. “Do you know how much I’m already on their radar?” Lily’s frown broke as she realized what Sirius was getting at.

“You need someone off the map,” he emphasized, looking at James for back-up. “But someone you trust,” he pondered, the tension relaxing from his shoulders. “We really don’t have any low-key friends, do we?” he asked rhetorically.

James scoffed and shook his head, but Lily snapped. Her eyes lit up automatically.

“Remus. It’s got to be Remus! He’s got a heightened tolerance for pain because he’s a werewolf,” Lily said in epiphany. Sirius and James looked at each other, and James simply shook his head. “What? What’s wrong with Remus?”

“It’s not a bad idea, it’s just...” James trailed off aimlessly, looking at Sirius from behind his glasses to finish.

“What?” Lily snapped, looking between the two.

“Well, you know how I’m an unregistered animagus?” James asked carefully, looking at Lily shyly. Lily crossed her arms and scoffed in James’ direction. “Well so is Peter.” Lily’s mouth dropped open, and an eyebrow popped up.

“And so am I,” Sirius said sheepishly, raising a finger guiltily. Lily glared at Sirius in disbelief.

“So what does all this illegal activity have to do with who we want our Secret Keeper to be?” she asked, slamming her hand on the pillow to her right.

“Peter can turn into a rat,” James explained away quickly. Lily rolled her eyes and let out a sarcastic huff of a laugh. “He can escape any torture in a second so long as no one knows he can transform.”

“You lot are too bloody brilliant for your own good, you know?” she said, punching James in the side of the arm. “But that is a good idea,” she agreed reluctantly.

“Yeah, and he’s got no family left so it’s not as if they can threaten anyone close to him!” Sirius said brightly, smirking at James and nodding earnestly.

“Nice way to put it,” Lily mumbled, throwing her body back into the couch and putting a hand to her forehead.

“It’s true. And he’d never betray you anyway.”

“So, Peter?” Lily asked sheepishly, trying to push away her anger.

“Let’s go tell the others,” James said, standing up and heading towards the floo. Lily stood up too and nodded at Sirius with a small smile.

“Thank you, Sirius,” she said sincerely, turning to head in the fireplace to Dumbledore’s office.

“Wait!” Sirius interjected as James picked up the pot above his head. James froze nervously, frowning at Sirius’ outcry. “Just, come sit for a second.” James looked curiously at Sirius, but complied and came back to the couch. Lily followed hesitantly.

The Potters looked at Sirius with waiting eyes as Sirius tapped the heel of his boot on the ground.

“Well?” Sirius swallowed audibly and let out a difficult sigh.

“I think you should tell Dumbledore that I’m your Secret Keeper.” Lily frowned and tilted her head, but James seemed to already know what Sirius was thinking.

“You’re that paranoid?” James asked, raising an eyebrow at his best friend.

“It’s a secret, isn’t it? The less people who know who it really is the better, I say,” he said quickly, glancing at Lily who was staring off blankly. James and Sirius waited in silence for Lily’s reaction. She opened her mouth to say something, but closed it again and let her shoulders drop. She looked shiftily at Sirius and let out a sigh of disbelief.

“It’s Dumbledore!” Lily exclaimed. She threw her hands above her head and let them slap on her thighs. “If we don’t trust him, who do we?”

“It’s not about trust, Lily. It’s about devotion. And if Dumbledore knew it was me you don’t think he wouldn’t give me up in a second if they were torturing him? There’s a reason you didn’t take him up on his offer, James,” Sirius explained quickly to avoid interruption.

“But Dumbledore’s performing the spell. Regardless of how you feel, he’s going to have to know,” Lily countered. Sirius shook his head and swished his hair to the side.

“You didn’t do your research, Evans?”

Lily frowned.

“How very unlike you.”

Lily rolled her eyes, but Sirius continued.

“The caster only has to cast it onto the first Secret Keeper, that being one of you. After that, one of you two can cast it onto Peter. No one will know it’s not me!”

“I still don’t like the idea of not telling Dumbledore the truth,” Lily said, shaking her head. “Lies just get people hurt.”

“Well this lie is going to keep you, and James, and Harry safe. And that’s all that matters right now.” Sirius looked at James and cocked his head towards Lily, trying to get him to help her understand.

“You know something I’ve been thinking a lot about?” Lily looked at James warily as he pulled off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose.  “If Harry or Neville or some other baby is going to defeat Voldemort, how much longer is this war going to be? Because I don’t think I can take another twenty fucking years of this bullshit.”

Lily and Sirius dropped their heads to avoid James’ stern glare. Harry began crying in the other room, and James shot up from his chair without looking to Lily to indicate he was going to get him. Lily swallowed and pushed her hair back away from her face.

“He’s right, you know,” Sirius implored again. Lily nodded as Sirius picked at his fingernails.

“I know.” Her eyes flicked up to meet Sirius’. “Let’s do it.”