Chapter 5 : The Choice is Made
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The Choice is Made
“Peter, go with Sirius,” Dumbledore’s voice was commanding. “Remus and I will hold them off.”
“But,” Peter’s meek voice could barely be heard over the chaos.
“Peter,” Remus’ touched his arm lightly. “You have to stay with Sirius. He has to be protected.”
“I can protect myself,” Sirius growled, making Remus and Dumbledore both turn his direction.
“Save the heroics for after the spell has been cast, Sirius. I imagine you’ll need it.”
Sirius took an angry step toward Remus, but Dumbledore blocked his path. “Go to James, Sirius. It’s where you need to be right now.”
Sirius stood facing the men in defiance, unwilling to be bullied into something he didn’t feel was right. Leaving both of them to suffer at the hands of Death Eaters just so he could run away and hide went against every fiber of his being.
“Sirius, please,” Peter’s small voice came from somewhere behind Sirius. “He and Lily are all alone. We have to go.”
Sirius’ anger immediately subsided as visions of Voldemort entering the Potter house filled his mind: Lily sitting quietly, sipping her tea as James ruffled his hair in nervous agitation waiting for their return; and the shock of seeing Voldemort standing in their doorway. Sirius clenched his eyes shut as their imaginary screams from Voldemort’s torture echoed in his mind.
Grabbing Peter’s arm roughly, Sirius pulled him out of the tavern without a second glance to the others. They apparated quickly to the Potter home, Sirius’ mind now filled with dread over what might happen to James and Lily.
“We were beginning to worry,” Lily hugged them warmly as they entered the house.
“Death Eaters in Hogsmeade,” Peter answered quietly.
Sirius took Lily’s arm and glanced meaningfully to James. “They knew where to find us. We need to talk.”
James nodded and led Sirius and Lily into the other room as Peter sank onto the couch to try and calm himself.
“Sirius, we’ve been through this – "
“James, will you just listen to what he has to say?”
“Not you, too?”
Lily touched James’ arm gently. “James, Sirius would never do anything to hurt us. You know he has our best interests at heart. If he truly believes we are in danger by naming him the secret keeper, we owe him the chance to explain.”
“I shouldn’t need to explain,” Sirius mumbled. “You should take my word for it.”
“How did they know where to find you?”
“That’s the big question, isn’t it? Look, we’re running out of time. It’s only a matter of hours before they find your location. We have to do this and we have to do it now.” Sirius looked from one to the other, sadness filling his eyes. “I didn’t want it to be this way.”
“What way?” James eyed him warily.
“The secret keeper has to accept the responsibility willingly…”
“Sirius, you wouldn’t!”
Sirius shook his head slowly, wishing James would have listened to him rather than fight him. “I refuse.”
Sirius’ words hung in heavy in the air. James seemed too angry to speak and tears filled Lily’s green eyes.
After what seemed like an eternity, James turned a pained look Sirius’ direction. “You’ve tied our hands, Sirius.”
“As you did mine.” Sirius whispered.
“Remus – "
“He believes you will never let me back out.”
“Nonetheless, Remus will believe I am the secret keeper.”
Lily hugged Sirius tightly, “Secret keeper or no, Sirius, we owe you our lives.”
Sirius nodded silently and watched as she disappeared to leave the two alone. James sank down at the table and dropped his head into his hands.
“I just want my family safe. I never thought my goal in life would be something as simplistic as that. I just want them safe.”
Sirius dropped down beside him, placing a comforting hand on James’ arm. “You are my family, James, and I want the exact same thing. You have to understand that.”
“Understanding it isn’t the problem,” James said quietly then grinned. “It’s believing you might actually be right about something that I’m having issues with.”
“James – "
“No, stop. I can’t handle any more emotional riptides tonight, Sirius. You are right, we just have to get it over and done with.”
Sirius nodded. “So, I guess that leaves Peter.”
James glanced up at Sirius, a look of miserable acceptance on his face. “Peter it is.”
“He won’t let you down, James.” Sirius clasped James shoulder gruffly as they began walking out of the room. “I’ll rot in Azkaban before that happens.”
“He is a Marauder,” Lily whispered from somewhere behind them. “And Marauders can’t be all bad can they?”
“If you only knew.” James kissed her lovingly and wrapped his arm around her waist as they turned to face Peter. “Peter, my wife and I would like to ask you a favor.”
A/N: I know it seems like a rather abrupt end, but I always intended this to be about the change of the secret keeper and go no further. I want to thank everyone who came along for the story. It’s been wonderful fun and I’ve learned so much! Thanks to each and every one of you!
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