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Chapter 38 In Godric’s Hollow everyone just assumed that Lily and James Potter were living a life filled with terror. In truth, it was heavenly despite the peril. They never talked about being in danger, there was no need to do so. They both knew it and ever since they had married their lives had been so full of the Order that it almost seemed a vacation. They didn’t feel confined only being together, it was blissful. They slept as late as Harry would allow them to and then would read, talk or sit together for most of the day. Flitwick had managed to extend the protective charms to include their back garden, so they could take Harry out to play there also. “Look James!” Lily said as Harry toddled unsteadily towards a toy. Stumbling and falling onto his bottom twice, but always get up again, smiling. He had a streak of determination in him that was for sure. Lily and James lay on a blanket on the grass together, on their stomachs propped up on their elbows watching their son. “He’s really mastering the toddler phase, isn’t he?” James sounded incredibly enthusiastic. “Don’t even start thinking about broom rides, James Potter.” Lily said with pretend severity. “Oh Evans,” He imitated his voice from long ago, “You just don’t know how to have fun.” They both laughed and Harry reached the toy that he promptly tried to start chewing. Lily got up and walked to him with a teething ring. “Here you go, my smallest darling.” Harry gnawed proudly on the miniature Quidditch hoop. Her husband had followed her and slipped his arms around her waist. “So, what comes after this?” James asked. “He’ll take a nap, silly.” Lily leaned back against him. “No, I meant, what comes after all of this? Do you ever think about it Lily?” James’s voice was low in her ear. “All the time darling, all the time.” Lily Potter felt such happiness surge through her at the thought. “And?” “Well, let’s see, after we move to a bigger house, with stairs that aren’t pitched to kill…” Lily began in a joking tone. “Then we’ll get a massive house somewhere, settle in. Have babies like procreating fiends and watch them grow up.” “Anything else?” James was murmuring against her ear. “Aside from loving each other forever, I can’t think of anything else truly important.” Lily smiled, “At least not at the moment.” “Darling?” “Yes love?” “It’s getting a bit chilly, let’s go in. Put Harry down for a nap.” James was now stroking her hair. “Then we ought to take a nap ourselves, wouldn’t want us to get too tired.” It was odd but true that somehow, despite the fear, Lily, James and even Harry Potter had found a way to be three of the happiest people in the world. It was just as Lily had envisioned her life to be ever since she had fallen in love with James. They were to change secret keepers in a week’s time. ::::::::::::::::: Sirius Black had not been sleeping well for the past few days. He had far too much on his mind. It wasn’t his wedding that was preying on him in fact that was the only thing that eased his mind at the moment. It was what Peter had said in the secret room, that Sirius was the most obvious choice for the James and Lily’s secret keeper. He shifted slightly on the couch so as to ease Megan’s head from his lap. She had fallen asleep there almost as soon as she had sat down and was now dead to the world. Her dark curls were like silk in his fingers as he lifted her head up to put a pillow under then kissed her cheek. She stirred slightly but did not wake. He stood back looking at her. In so many ways she resembled a doll. The curly dark hair and lashes against her fair skin. A bit too fair recently actually. Megan’s color was a bit off and whereas she was always thin, he could swear she was losing a bit of weight. “You really need to go into St. Mungo’s and get checked out, sweetheart.” Sirius had told her just that morning as he looked at her closely. She only eaten a piece of dry toast and washed it down with a gingerale; some odd Muggle drink. That’s all she seemed to have eaten in days, crackers or toast with that ridiculous drink. “I’m fine.” Megan had said quickly, “It’s just nerves before the wedding.” “Sweetheart, you aren’t eating properly and you haven’t been for at least a week.” Sirius had seen quickly that it was no good, her face had begun to set in that stubborn fashion of hers. It was nearly impossible to tell Megan what to do. “All right, but who would have thought the prospect of spending the rest of your life with me would put you off food?” “Well, you’re a handsome devil so you’re easy on the eyes, just not on the stomach.” She’d replied rather absently, then she’d looked at his face, “Oh my love, I’m joking, you have to know that by now. I love you body and soul, you mad thing. But you know that my father’s turned this whole wedding into a huge production, and it’s a little wearing.” It evidently was Sirius thought as he watched her continue to sleep and drew down a blanket from the couch to cover her with. It wasn’t that he had any true fear about being killed, but he had to accept the possibility that he might be. Voldemort might come after him with such force that he’d finally get him. There was no question of Sirius going into hiding that would have made it all the more obvious that he was the secret keeper. If Voldemort got him though it could be disaster for James and Lily because Sirius understood a bit of how the creature’s mind worked, he’d make sure the body wasn’t found for as long as possible. Leaving Lily and James unprotected by the Fidelus charm for as long as he could while he continued his mad search. Sirius thought for a bit longer. His first inclination was honestly Remus but it was true, there could be differences in the mind of a werewolf. It was part of the reason that it was difficult for some of the Order to trust Remus fully, and in a tiny part of his heart Sirius acknowledged that by not asking him it was a way of not trusting him. For a half a second the thought scuttled through his mind, was there any chance that Remus was the double agent in the Order? No, that was madness. Still, there was reason for concern simply because he was a werewolf. Sirius sighed, no it would have to be Peter. Peter made the most sense anyway, he wasn’t a strong fighter, Voldemort would never guess. He went to the fireplace and hunkered down by it, putting in a pinch of dust he stuck his head only into the living room at headquarters. Sliverton, his first choice, was nowhere in sight but Moody saw him. “Alastor, can you come and sit with Megan until I get back?” He called out to the older man. “You need to be out somewhere?” Moody grumbled at him. “Yes.” Sirius didn’t want to tell anyone in the Order about this, it was the best way to prevent the information leaking. “Where you off to Black?” Moody asked as he emerged from the fireplace in Sirius and Megan’s home. “I’ve just got something I need to do at headquarters.” Sirius evaded the question. He threw some powder into the flames and called out the name of headquarters so that Moody couldn’t overhear his destination. Moody’s mind was always so suspicious anyway. Sirius stood and had to decide where to go first, would it be to James? They all knew that they weren’t supposed to visit the Potters much because of the danger. No, it was best to talk to Peter first. There was no one about, so he threw the powder and called out Peter’s destination. He hadn’t seen Atticus Sliverton just coming through the doorway, a book in one hand a cup of coffee in the other. In from a hard night’s fighting, Atticus thought he might relax a bit before bed and as he entered the room, he overheard Sirius calling out Peter’s lodgings before disappearing again. It didn’t strike him as odd at the time but he was his father’s son and he was very clever indeed. :::::::::::::::: “We’re all right Professor,” James smiled at Dumbledore. “Not even close to bored to be truthful.” “Sirius has agreed to be your secret keeper then?” Albus asked. “He is quite certain he wants to take on that responsibility? If he is not, you know that I will gladly do so.” “No, actually, we’re all set. He’s due here tomorrow, ready to take on the duty.” James smiled. Albus Dumbledore left the room and it would be years before his suspicions would be confirmed. There were visitors that night, after him. ::::::::::::::::: “Peter, you’re certain? I feel absolutely rotten asking you but it seemed the best plan to me.” Sirius was sitting on the sofa at Peter’s. It was all Peter could do to keep from trembling with joy. The idiot sitting there, asking him if he would be the secret keeper for the Potters. He would rule beside the Master for this he would become his most trusted servant. But he knew he must not look too eager. “I won’t lie, it’s a bit frightening.” Peter’s face was moist with sweat. His eyes darting around the room. “If you’d rather not…” Sirius was worried about his friend. Perhaps this hadn’t been such a good idea. “No. I should do it. I want to do it.” He made himself smile bravely but with a quaver. “I can do it.” Sirius looked at Peter and felt a surge of affection for him. “You’re a great friend Peter.” “Anything for James and Lily. You know that.” He blinked rather rapidly. “Well, I should go and talk to James about this, I’ll let you know in the morning.” Sirius noticed that Peter was shaking a bit. “Are you sure you’re all right?” “I’m fine. I want to do this for James, for everything that he is in my life. Could you let me know tonight?” “I can but don’t you want to think this over for a bit?” Sirius asked with concern. “It’s no small thing and you should be fully prepared.” “I’ve been thinking about this ever since we all talked,” Peter smiled again and he looked a bit ghastly. “To tell you the truth, I was thinking of offering to switch with you. We aren’t sure if Remus could do it, and I’m fairly certain you shouldn’t. That means I need to.” “You’re a good man, Pettigrew.” Sirius said and clapped Peter’s shoulder. “I’ll look out for you, I promise.” Peter nearly sneered but kept his expression clear, “Let’s do it as soon as possible though. They really do need this.” “Actually, Flamel’s removing the charm tomorrow morning. James is telling Dumbledore tonight that we’re switching tomorrow.” Sirius stepped towards the grate. “So, if James agrees, will you be ready?” “Yes, I can do this.” Peter said and made his voice sound a little weak but resolute. “Oh, Peter? Don’t tell anyone. No one at all.” Sirius turned back. “It’s better that way. No one in the Order must know, it’s safer for all of them.” “I promise you, no one in the Order will know.” ::::::::::::::::::: The dream was the same. She was running through the maze chasing something, she knew it was there. Gasping for breath, feeling like something was after her. Never finding what it was. Hearing mad laughter behind her, she ran even more swiftly than she knew she could. She had to get to Dumbledore, she had to tell him what she knew. Some rules had to broken they had to save them. “Wake up girl, you’re shouting.” Moody was shaking her by the shoulder. Megan sat up unsteadily, “What was I shouting?” “I don’t know.” Moody was in a bad temper, where the blazes was Black? “Something about ‘save them’.” Megan stared at the Auror, yes that had been in the dream. She had to get to Dumbledore to save them, she had to break the rules. But save who? “Oh lord, my damn memory.” Megan groaned. In the dream it felt so important, so urgent but for the life of her she could not remember what it was try though she might. Then she looked around, “Alastor, what in the devil? Why are you here? Where’s Sirius?” “I have no bleeding idea.” Moody huffed. :::::::::::::::: “I don’t know Sirius,” Lily sounded doubtful. “Are you sure he’s up to it?” “I am, I’ve talked to him.” Sirius pushed his hair from his forehead but it promptly flopped back down. “I’ll protect him, I promise you.” “But Voldemort already had him once.” James also looked apprehensive. “That’s actually what makes him perfect for this.” Sirius said. “He wouldn’t think you’d ever entrust someone who had already been captured once.” Lily and James looked at each other. Sirius was bouncing Harry on his knee, smiling at them. “He does have a point, Lily. It would strike Voldemort as being foolhardy, he hates us but he knows we’re not fools.” James said slowly. It was a dangerous game though. “James, are you quite sure you trust Peter?” Lily couldn’t help but ask. James thought about it carefully, he had known Peter as long as all the others. He wasn’t the strongest among them that was true. He’d always been a bit weak. He answered Lily honestly: “He’s weaker than Sirius or Remus, but Sirius is right, Voldemort would guess Sirius first, Remus second.” James hated putting his friends in so much danger. “Peter may not be the strongest, but I know he’s very loyal. I do trust him.” Lily looked at her husband and nearly opened her mouth to speak but stopped. It wasn’t that she disliked Peter, it was just that he had been more difficult to warm towards. James knew him far better than she did and whereas she didn’t know if she could trust Peter, she did know she could trust James. “All right darling.” Lily placed her hand in his and squeezed. “Sirius, are you sure though about tomorrow?” James still felt a tiny bit uneasy. “He should think it over.” “He says he has been.” Sirius smiled and hugged his Godson to him. “We can let Dumbledore know as soon as possible. Come on now, you don’t think I’d suggest this if I wasn’t sure, do you?” “Of course not.” James thought of the many years that they had been friends and how he would have trusted Sirius to protect the lives of his wife and baby if anything had ever happened to him. Sirius would die before he would let anything happen to them, and he’d die before he’d let anything happen to Peter. “If you’re sure Padfoot, then I am too.” “You can trust me, James.” Sirius said and had no idea that he would never be able to forgive himself for what he had just persuaded the man who was his best friend in the world to do. Author's Note: I dink very slightly with Rowling's canon in what is to follow. Obviously we are reaching the end for James and Lily but the story continues long after that, into the present day. Thank you so much for reading.

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