Chapter 1 : Life and Death
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James sat next to her, reaching for her hand, and Lily was incredibly grateful that Harry was upstairs in his crib, sleeping. It would have done the little boy no good to see her like this and as she glanced at James, realizing just how pale he'd gotten in the last few moments, she felt her heart sink. Clearly James thought that this was a credible threat, from what Lily could see on his face anyway and she sighed heavily before turning to Dumbledore, determination replacing the fear across her face.
“What can we do Professor?” Even with her face masked with determination there was a crack of emotion in Lily's voice as she watched the normally twinkling blue eyes of her professor. This was genuinely bad if he was giving this kind of warning to them. He wanted them dead. You-Know-Who wanted them dead... It was almost absurd. She and James were a young married couple with a little baby. It wasn't like they were really very much danger to him. Sure, they didn't want to join his pack of followers, and they were fighting against him... but that really didn't mean anything did it? It certainly didn't mean that he had to specifically put a hit out on them. At least Lily didn't think that it meant that although apparently that wasn't the case as James squeezed her hand.
Dumbledore looked carefully from her to James and back again before sighing. “We can perform a Fidelius Charm on the household. You can hide here and only a secret keeper would know the location. The secret keeper and anybody else that you were to tell.” That was his solution. A charm that Lily had heard of, one that could possibly work. So long as they had trust in everybody around them.
That was something that she knew without a doubt James did. It would be considered the height of dishonor by her husband for him not to trust his fellow marauders, not to mention the others in the Order. They were all risking their lives, the least they could do was trust each other.
As if he was reading her thoughts James nodded. “I think that that has to be the best idea. Do we just pick anybody to be our secret keeper because we can just do this now... while we're here.” As long as everything went as planned as well Lily thought guiltily as James continued to hold her hand tightly, like he was a drowning man and she was his only protection from the icy water slowly sucking him in.
“I could be your secret keeper.” Dumbledore offered, his eyes regaining a portion of their usual twinkle as he watched the couple although Lily, who had her eyes trained between them noticed the slight look that passed over James' face.
“If you don't mind Professor, could we perhaps ask Sirius? He's been at my side through everything and there is absolutely nobody in the world that I would trust more.” James spoke outright and Lily didn't know whether to smile at how predictable he was or bury her head in her hands at the thought of throwing the fact that he didn't trust the most powerful wizard of their age back in Dumbledore's face. It was just lovely when Dumbledore had always gone out of his way to help Lily her cheeks growing pink as she chose just to sit there, thinking about what was going on.
Surely everybody would expect Padfoot. It was like a default answer for James if he needed help.
That would not be good, for them or for Sirius if it came down to You-Know-Who guessing who to torture. He'd probably be right on the money. Clearing her throat, realizing that James was looking at her, expecting her to agree, Lily sighed. “I actually think that Professor Dumbledore would be a better choice James. No listen...” She interrupted what she was certain was going to be an interesting rant about how Sirius was the most trustworthy person that he knew. “I know that you trust Sirius. I do too. But I also think that everybody is going to expect us to ask him... he's your default guy, the person you ask for help when you can't ask for it from me. Anybody who knows us would know that and I'm assuming that this threat is going to at least try to get hold of us by any means.” Those means could be torture... who knew? It wasn't like You-Know-Who's hands were completely clean of any and everything possible to get what he wanted.
“I think that Sirius would keep our secret even if it killed him.” James argued, almost feebly as he thought about what he was saying before shaking his head stubbornly. “I think that we should at least ask him if he wants to try that position? I would trust him with my life and I think that we should give him the option.” Just like James as Lily eyed him for a long moment before nodding.
“Fine. Ask him. But I really don't think that it's a good idea.” At least that was her opinion of the matter as she glanced at Dumbledore, who seemed to be smiling slightly in amusement at their exchange. James moved across to the fireplace, reaching up and grabbing a handful of floo powder before tossing it into the fireplace. “Sirius Black, Hornbury Flat, London.” Leaning into the green fire James waited until he spotted the inside of the flat before calling Sirius' name loudly. “Can you please come over for a few minutes mate?”
The sooner this was done the sooner Lily was sure that James would feel better. It was his job to protect his family after all.
As soon as Sirius stepped through the fireplace Lily could see the strain that the war was taking on him. He was on the opposite side of the very family he had been born into... Sure he had left them but she was certain that that didn't make it any better when one thought about it.
James glanced at her and Lily shrugged before glancing at Professor Dumbledore, wondering if it was something that was a wise decision even as James plunged into the situation, leaving Lily not listening in the slightest, drifting instead into a world in her mind where nothing was wrong. The perfect world. Or at least a world where nobody wanted to harm her and her family. “What about my parents?” She murmured softly, not even realizing that the words had been said aloud until Sirius and James stopped the slightly animated conversation to look at her.
“My dear Lily. Your parents, as with your sister, should be perfectly fine within the muggle world. Although if you are concerned we can always offer protection to them as well although we cannot force. We would never force.” Dumbledore answered seriously looking at her and Lily sighed softly.
“Tuney would never agree to that.” She murmured, even more softly than she had originally spoken and James was back on the seat next to her in a moment.
“We will be safe and we can only ask for that.” He reasoned. Just because Lily's stuck up sister wouldn't take their help didn't mean that he and Lily and Harry were not going to take the option that they had. “You'll do this right Sirius?” James asked, turning to look at his best friend and watching as the other man nodded slowly.
“If you think I'm the right one for this Prongs I will do it gladly.”
The words started the actions and Dumbledore was on his feet before anything more could be said, performing the charm on all present, on the house surrounding them and the tiny baby sleeping upstairs. Leaving them protected before he turned, his eyes twinkling slightly in what Lily could only describe as relief. Of some kind at least.
“You should be perfectly safe now. Just remember, Sirius has to let everybody you need to come in know where you are. Nobody will be able to see the house.” Which meant that Sirius was going to have a very important job as Lily nodded slowly in agreement with Dumbledore's words. Right. Maybe now was the time to make a list about everybody that would need to be allowed in. Remus, Peter, the other members of the Order. Merlin it was going to be one long list.
Dumbledore left, bidding them goodnight and Lily nodded in reply, standing up and following him to the door. They might have been safe but she was still going to lock the door. At least for right now. It felt like the most basic protection... even if magic basically did away with it.
Turning on her heel to head back to the living room Lily could not help overhearing the raised voices.
“I don't think that I'm the right person Prongs!”
Sirius. But why would he have said that he thought he would be able to do it when Professor Dumbledore was here if he couldn't actually do it? Something didn't make sense and she paused, aware that the conversation would die down if she entered the room.
“I'm being followed. Being trailed! I'm a Black and he has the whole lot in his pocket. Which means that I'm sure he wants me too. Not to mention I'm your best friend. I'm the person that others would expect you to choose.”
Lily would have said she told James so... only now didn't seem like the right time as she heard her husband sigh defeatedly, something telling her that James already had the feeling that she was right.
“Well then. What do we do?” She heard James ask and Lily could stand the conversation going on behind her back no longer, stepping through the door and placing her hands on her hips as she looked between the two suddenly guilty looking men. “How much did you hear Lils?”
“Don't you Lils me James. I did say that Sirius would be too obvious. The question is what are we going to do now that the charm is already done?” She hissed, glaring at her husband for a moment before the fierce look turned on Sirius. “I hope you have some kind of plan Black. Or I don't know what I'm going to do to you.” Hex him probably. It wasn't like she was impressed right now.
Sirius raised his hands. “Don't do anything drastic yet. I have a solution. I know how to transfer the charm or to add a second person into the secret keeper role!” He almost yelped before shrugging. “And I have an idea for a person. Nobody will suspect Peter. I also don't think we should tell Remus about this or let him into the area of the charm.” That last bit was something that had Lily's eyebrow rise before sighing.
“What do you think James?” She muttered, not one hundred percent sure even though she could see the look on her husband's face.
“I think that it's a brilliant plan. Padfoot is right. He could very easily be followed and you're right when you said that You-Know-Who would probably kill him if he thought he would get the information. Peter is perfect... who would ever think that he would have that kind of secret? We'll be perfectly safe!”