Chapter 4 : Looking for Peter
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Sirius and Remus walked cautiously through the streets of Hogsmeade. Once their safe haven, a place to escape the monotony of Hogwarts, Hogsmeade was now full of Voldemort’s supporters. The drunken chaos spilled onto the streets in the wee hours of the morn and the two Marauders fought to control their urge to pick a fight with each one.
“I can’t believe we’re doing this now.” Sirius mumbled. “Where the hell could Peter have gotten off to anyway?”
“I summoned him several times.” Remus shrugged. “James thought it was best if we come find him before someone else does.”
“And Hagrid said he saw him here?”
“Not more than an hour ago.” Remus nodded and led Sirius to one of the taverns they had frequented while in school. “Let’s get a drink and sit down before people start taking notice of us.”
Sirius glanced to Remus uncertainly. The only thing Sirius had on his mind was finding Peter and getting back to James and Lily. “Taking time out for a drink is not what I had in mind, Remus.”
“And getting ourselves killed because everyone thinks we’re on a search and rescue mission wasn’t in my plans. Sit down and have a drink. If Peter’s in Hogsmeade, he’ll eventually show up here.”
Sirius nodded reluctantly and, after grabbing their drinks, they sank down at a table in the back of the room. Both men surveyed the tavern in silence, each taking note of the minor changes that had occurred to the place since their last school aged visit. Aside from clientele, little had changed over the years.
“Somehow I thought it would have changed more.” Sirius finally broke the silence.
“That’s because we changed so much.”
“Can you ever have a conversation without getting philosophical? Tonight’s bad enough as it is without all your gloom and doom talk.”
“Why have you chosen not to be the Secret Keeper?”
“Pardon?” Sirius, caught off guard, turned to face Remus.
“You never do anything with some deep seated reason, Sirius. You struggle with things deep inside yourself more than anyone I know. Problem is, you tend to come to the wrong conclusions the majority of the time. Take this decision of yours. No one is better suited to be James and Lily’s Secret Keeper than you.”
“What a non-committal answer.” Remus took another drink as he watched Sirius. “Come, consider this my last request should I die in the coming war. Why are you deserting James?”
“Deserting?” Sirius laughed. “You are the one who failed to appear tonight. Just like Peter. If anything I’m protecting him more by stepping away.”
“Typical Sirius… you believe you have all the answers.”
“No.” Sirius shook his head. “I don’t have any of the answers, Remus. That’s why I’m not the right person to do this. Don’t you think I’ve thought long and hard about this? Do you think I haven’t stayed up nights considering the outcomes either way?”
“So this is not a rash decision you’ve made, then? It’s just one you’ve chose to keep hidden from us all this time. Until the night the secret keeper is invoked. Convenient.”
“Not convenient, Remus. Necessary.”
“But it seems it will not matter. James refuses to see your offer as noble.” Remus coughed. “He’s not going to let you chicken out.”
“That’s what you think I was doing?”
“Perhaps.” Remus gave him a crooked grin. “Although, it certainly wouldn’t fit with what I know of you. Rash, perhaps, but a coward you have never been.”
“I’m not sure if that’s a compliment coming from you.”
“You probably wouldn’t.” Remus nodded to the doorway. “There’s Peter.”
Sirius let out a soft whistle which Peter recognized immediately. He headed their direction and sank down into a chair.
“What are you two doing here?”
“Looking for you, of course.” Sirius frowned. “Did you forget what night it is, Peter?” He asked quietly.
“Dumbledore’s here.” Peter nodded toward the door where Albus Dumbledore has just appeared.
“You were with him?” Remus glanced to Peter then to Dumbledore but Peter didn’t respond.
“Ah, gentlemen.” Dumbledore approached their table with ease. “Rather strange night to find yourselves in a Hogsmeade tavern, wouldn’t you think?”
“We were just leaving.” Peter said, his voice shaking ever so slightly, making the other marauders glance his way.
“I assume everything is still set for tonight, then?” Dumbledore’s voice was quiet and Remus nodded.
“Just a few more things to tend to and everything will be fine.”
“Good. Very glad to hear it.” Dumbledore straightened up. “Then, I shall see you tomorrow?”
“Of course.” Sirius nodded. “We won’t forget.”
“The thought never crossed my mind.” Dumbledore smile faded as quickly as it appeared. “You need to go now. Out the back way. Trouble is coming.”
“Trouble is here.” Remus’ voice held a note of finality that made even Sirius quiver.
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