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Chapter 12

The sun was bright with a vengeance the following day.  Lily and James arrived at the house a little before noon so that they could inspect the outside.  They saw that their door had been replaced, though there were still signs of the attack seen on the lawn.  The flowers, which had all wilted and died, hung limp through the front garden.  They could see some cracks in the foundation where the blast had caused the home to split in sections.  James knew that he couldn’t put time into fixing these repairs as they went as they wouldn’t be able to spend time outdoors.  He had loved tending the garden with Lily while Harry sat on a blanket in the lawn.  Things would change now.

Harry hadn’t come with the Potters right away at James’ suggestion to check out the neighborhood before having him show up.  Sirius was to bring him along from the flat.  Lily and James walked around the house and checked to make sure nothing seemed off before heading inside.  It was eerie walking through the house with it being so empty.  They had only been gone a few days but it felt different.  Lily described it as feeling like something dirty had come inside and taken away their home’s innocence. 

“I know babe, but it will feel better once we’re settled again,” James reassured her. 

A light knock redirected their attention to the door as Dumbledore walked through.  He was followed by Sirius, holding a smiling toddler.  Harry reached for his parents as soon as he saw them and he giggled as he pushed away from his Godfather.  James walked up to greet them and led them into the living room.

“Well, how do we get this thing started?” he asked.

“Actually,” Sirius looked around, “has anyone seen Wormtail?  He’s supposed to meet us here too.”

Lily looked at Dumbledore with worry on her face, “I thought nobody was supposed to know what we were doing?”  He just shook his head in response as Sirius continued.

“Well, I got to thinking last night and I thought everyone is going to suspect that I’m the secret keeper.  Of course, I’m not afraid to be, I’ll die for you all, mate.  But I thought if I am the secret keeper and they hunt me down first, it will keep them off the trail of the real secret keeper longer!  I talked to Wormtail last night and he’s agreed to meet us here and take over.  Even if they do kill me thinking I’m the secret keeper, at least they will think they’ve lost their chance at you!”  Sirius looked a little proud of himself as he explained his idea.

Lily and James’ eyes met for a brief moment before the door creaked open and Peter stumbled through, looking behind him.

James and Sirius took over the conversation then as they considered the plan in more detail.  Lily couldn’t help but sit back and just observe.  Did Peter look a little thinner? It looked as if he hadn’t shaved in a while.  She’s been seeing these signs more and more recently, that is when she did see him at all.  Lily felt a little uneasy, but couldn’t quite put her finger on why.

Lily excused herself from the room and wandered up to her bedroom.  She looked around as she went and thought about the past few months.  Peter had been disappearing more often than not.  She couldn’t really blame him; lots of wizards were holed up in their homes nowadays.  She herself had been sneaking off for a while to meet with Severus.  As she thought about her meetings with Severus, she had an idea.  Lily pulled a piece of parchment to her.

Sev,

I’ve been thinking about what you said last night and I think it might be a good idea to follow your original instructions.  Time is limited so you need to be here at 12:00.  I hope you make it.

She left the letter unsigned, in case it was intercepted by the wrong group of people.  He would understand the meaning.  Now she just had to hope he showed up, and if he did, she would make sure that he became their secret keeper.

 

 

Severus was in a shop on Knockturn Alley when he heard a light tapping at the window.  He turned to see a brawny owl holding its leg toward him and untied the attached note.  He read it and pocketed it without moving or drawing attention to himself.  Snape paid for his packages and left the shop within moments.  Once on the street, he came to a quiet corner to disapparate straight to Godric’s Hollow.

“Snape, how are you today” a silky voice came from behind him.  He put his hand in his pocket protectively over his note as he looked up at Narcissa Malfoy.

“Hello Narcissa.  Have you brought young Draco out to shop today?”  He kept his face even.

“We’re picking up a few items that my husband needs.  It’s a nice enough day; I thought I would bring him along for some air.”  She replied.

The two exchange pleasantries as Snape counted down the minutes in his mind, waiting to disapparate out of there.  He was afraid he would miss his meeting at noon.  “Well, Draco, enjoy your day out.  Narcissa, I truly must be going.”  He turned from her and switched directions to head up the path toward Diagon Alley.

Once Snape was clear, he checked his pocket watch and saw that it was already 11:50.  He had just ten minutes to make his way to the Potter home.  He turned on the spot and disappeared.

Once Severus apparated into a patch of woods, he knew he had to walk briskly.  He hurried toward the little path that would take him into Godric’s Hollow.  He walked along barely raising his head, hoping to remain unnoticeable.  When he reached the Potter’s home, he opened the front gate and headed toward the front door.  It looked abandoned and he could see patches of damage from the previous attack.  Snape used the lion head door knocker for a few quick raps, but nobody came to the door.  He turned and walked back through the front garden, noticing a skid mark close to the fence.  He turned and peered back at the house, then at his watch.  It was 11:56.  Snape nervously waited until 12:02 before departing up the path again.

 

As Lily descended the stairs again after writing Severus the note, she stopped to look at some photos that he been hastily hung back on the hallway wall.  There were pictures of her parents, her sister, and James’ family.  Then there were a few of her, James and Harry.  She had photos from his birth, his first bath, and a moving photo of him playing with Pandora. 

At that thought, she realized they hadn’t even checked on Pandora since the attack!  She quickly searched the bottom floor of the home and headed back upstairs. 

She came down empty handed a few moments later after searching under the beds and inside of the closets.  The time was nearing for them to place the charm and she hoped Severus would get here soon.  She would have to look for Pandora later.  She entered the living room just as Dumbledore was lowering his wand with a smile on his face.

“What’s wrong dear?”  Dumbledore’s blue eyes pierced through hers as she looked at all the faces in the room with some confusion.

“I was looking for Pandora, I realized we hadn’t seen her since the attack.”  James stepped away from Peter where his hand was resting on his shoulder.  Peter looked nervous and uncomfortable. 

“We’ll come across her.  We can set some food out and I’m sure that will bring her right back in.  She’s probably been over at Batty’s house while we were gone.”  He reassured Lily, but the confusion on her face didn’t clear.

“What were you doing?”  She looked between the four pairs of eyes.

Sirius bounced up from the couch and said, “Well, charm’s set so I’m gonna head off to check in for work.  See ya soon Prongs!”

He handed Harry back over to Lily and the group followed him to the door.  They watched him peel out on his motorcycle, spraying the front gate with gravel as he flew into the sky.  Peter next bowed his head and left the home.  Dumbledore searched Lily’s confused eyes with a questioning look before kissing her hand and taking his leave.  As James closed the door, Lily peered around for Severus.  She turned back toward the hallway and saw that the clock read 11:50 as James stretched and headed toward the kitchen stating that it was time for lunch.  It was too late.

 

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