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Chapter 10

Snape limped through an alleyway a few hours later.  He wasn’t sure how to get in touch with Lily now that she was in hiding within the Order so he had started searching the homes of suspected Order members.  He had just left Mad Eye Moody’s place after losing a battle with a pair of rubbish bins that had attacked him as he snuck to the front window.  The lights were off inside the home and nobody came out after the disturbance the bins caused so he assumed Lily wasn’t hiding there.

This time he apparated back to his grandfather’s home to take a break and clean up a few scrapes from the bins.  After he got inside and locked the door, Snape took off his cloak.  With his wand, he murmured the Patronus charm and read a message to the doe as it wafted patiently in front of him.  “We need to talk.  Meet me tonight by 9 pm.”  He then clearly said Lily’s name before the doe nodded her head in understanding and disappeared through the door.  Lily had shown him before the dementor attack that the Order was using the Patronus charm to send urgent messages to each other.  He hoped that she would get it and come to him tonight, before she was unreachable in hiding.

Snape headed toward the bathroom where he peeled his shirt up, dripping in red liquid.  There was a gash across his side from where the rubbish bin had chucked its lid at him.  He used a salve from the medicine cabinet that he had previously stocked.  The Binding Salve should hold the skin together in place of seeing a Healer.  Snape knew better than to seek professional help when he was injured.  With a quick flick of his wand, “Incendio” he burned what was left of the bloodied cloth. 

Lily was just coming from the bedroom where she lay Harry down for his nap when she saw the blue doe trotting toward her.  She heard Severus’ voice saying “We need to talk.  Meet me tonight by 9 pm” before she remembered that she had missed a meeting with him.  He must have been very worried.  Sirius entered the hallway just as the doe stopped speaking.

“Lily, you’re not leaving this house.”

“Oh Sirius, I don’t know what I’m doing anymore” she responded, no energy left to argue with him.  However, she produced her own patronus and sent a message back telling Severus that he could meet with her now and gave Sirius’ address.

She went downstairs and sat in the kitchen.  “James, come into the kitchen” she yelled through the flat.  He entered moments later and she explained that Severus was coming over.  He didn’t have much time to argue before they heard a knock at the door.

“You’ve gotta be kidding me.”  James stared at her as Sirius went to the door.

“It’s him mate, want me to blow him to pieces?”  Sirius asked with a hopeful look in his eye, twirling his wand through his fingers.

“Open the door and be quiet.”  James rolled his eyes at his wife’s demand, but scooted his chair closer and put a protective arm around her.

Sirius let Snape into the home and led him to the kitchen.  The four of them sat at the kitchen table and Sirius put on a pot of tea with the flick of his wand. 

“How much do they know?”  Snape asked Lily, his eyes only meeting hers.

“I’ve told them everything,” she responded.

“Well then I’ll make this short.  I know you have plans to enter into the Fidelius charm tomorrow, but that you’ve decided to make another the secret-keeper.  I implore you to listen to reason and allow me to keep the secret for you.”

James’ eyes nearly popped out of his head.  Here was a death eater, sitting across from him, and telling him that he knew about the Fidelius charm.  James shook with anger as he said, “How could you possibly know that?”

Snape’s eyes flicked toward Potter’s for a moment before going back to Lily’s.  “That’s no matter of yours.  What matters now is that I become the secret keeper so that she can remain safe.”

The tension and fear that James had been holding in for the last few days suddenly soared through his chest.  “Do you think I’m mad?  That I would let a death eater keep the secret…”

“who has probably plotted our death since second year?”  finished Sirius, who also rose to his feet pointing his wand in Snape’s direction.

Snape nearly jumped from his chair and withdrew his wand as well.  In a mere moment, the three men in the room were pointing wands at each other, Sirius and James pointing at Snape’s temple and throat, and Snape’s going back and forth between the two.

“I have never put Lily’s life in danger.  I’ve cared for her long before you ever did.”  Snape shouted at Potter, his wand emitting a bit of smoke.

“You made it clear what you think of mudbloods back when we were in school.  You haven’t been man enough to turn away from that skull faced lunatic yet, so why should you be trusted?”

Snape’s wand shook for a fraction of a second before Sirius reacted with a hex that sent him flying backwards into the wall.  As he bounced from the wall, Snape sent an innocent hex back in Sirius’ direction.  James was beginning to shout a curse before a loud “Expelliarmus” came from the only female in the room.  Three wands zoomed her way.

“How dare you, all three of you.  You’re behaving like school boys.  Is there not enough hate in the world that we have to let it come right into the kitchen?  Can we not sit and talk in a civilized manner?  There are only so few people in this town that we can trust, and you’re going to treat each other like this over nothing!  James, I know you don’t trust Severus, but he has been helping us for weeks without you even knowing.  Sev, keep your temper; you’re here to help just as much as we are.  Sirius, I will ask you to leave your own flat if you don’t behave yourself!”  Tears began to stream down her face as she shouted at the three men that she had been closest to in her life.  “This isn’t even about us.  It’s about keeping Harry safe and whether you two like it or not, I trust Severus.  I will not bring this hatred any closer to Harry no matter who I protect him from.”

James turned from the three others and steadied himself against the sink.  He took a few deep breaths and corralled his anger.  Toward the wall he said, “Listen, I know that you’ve been working with Lily and helping to protect her and in return protect us.  For that, I can only thank you.  The protections that you two placed onto our home saved Harry’s life.  I will forever be grateful for that.”

Sirius looked shocked and his eyes flicked between the two of them.  Lily’s did the same.

“With that being said, and I don’t know how you know about the charm, but we’ve already chosen a secret-keeper and won’t need any more of your protections.”  James walked to the stove where he put tea leaves into the pot.  Lily laid the wands back on the table.

“Lily, you have to know that The Dark Lord will torture anyone he can find who is close to you until they give up the charm.  It makes sense that it be me, he would least expect that.”

Lily looked unsure thinking that it did make sense not to use someone that they are close to.  She also didn’t want to put anyone else in harm’s way.  She turned towards the stove “It does make sense, James.”

“I know it makes sense” he whispered.  He wasn’t a fool.  He knew that he and his friends were infamous and anyone with half a brain would start there.

“Wait.  You’re not seriously considering…” Sirius was cut off when Snape’s head whipped his way.

“It is the best possible protection.  You think that any troll wouldn’t knock on your door first?  You’ve been best mates since first year.”  Snape snarled at Sirius.

“It doesn’t matter who shows up on my doorstep.  Nobody would ever get the secret out of me, if I were the secret-keeper.  James, you’re not going to use Snape, I refuse to allow it.  He’s a bloody death eater!  He’s the entire reason we’re in this mess.  He wouldn’t care if you and Harry were blown to bits tomorrow!”

Sirius and Snape continued to throw insults back and forth as they fought over the subject.  Lily got up and went to her husband, placing her hands around his waist.  He turned toward her, bringing her into his chest as he held her.  He knew that it made sense to use someone that nobody would think of to be their secret- keeper, but he just couldn’t bring himself to use Snape.  They had too long a history.  He and Sirius had been best mates since the day they had met and he trusted no one more with something so important.  It just hurt him because he knew that Sirius would die to protect them.

“Enough.  I appreciate you coming here today, but the decision has been made.  We won’t change our minds now.”  James settled the matter with one look at Lily and her small nod of approval.

Snape asked them what house they would choose to stay in, but Lily offered no answer.  “We won’t be able to continue working together if I don’t know where you are,” he explained to her as it dawned on him that this might be the last chance they had to speak to each other.  “I won’t be able to give you anymore…help after tomorrow.”

Lily looked from Severus to James.  She started to feel her nose burn as tears pricked at her eyes.  She took a step toward Severus and hugged him.  “I can never repay you for what you’ve done.  I’m so happy that you contacted me.  I want you to know that it makes a big difference even if you don’t see it that way.  Not just for me, but for the wizarding world.”  She didn’t want to say goodbye without him knowing that she appreciated him being honest about all of his work as a Death Eater.  The insights he provided will save countless lives.

As Sirius scowled at that with a look of disgust, Snape continued, “We won’t be able to see each other anymore.  I won’t be able to protect you” he ended almost in a whisper.

“I know.  Maybe it won’t have to last too long.  It’s what we can all hope for, a quick ending to this war so that everyone can live in peace again.  Goodbye, Severus.”  She hugged him adding, “I’ll miss you”.

He hugged her back, briefly breathing in the scent of her hair and looking once more into the green eyes that dotted the only happy memories of his childhood.  He told himself it wouldn’t be the last time he looked into those eyes.

James stepped up to him and he stiffened.  What James did next, nobody in the room expected.  He thrust out his hand for Snape to shake and said, “You know, we were all just stupid kids a few years ago.  I know I’ve said…and done some hurtful things to you when we were at school.  I can’t say that I agree with your decisions or hell, that I even like you or trust you, but I meant it when I said that I appreciate what you did these past few weeks.”


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