Security Blanket
by Victoria P.

When Sirius arrived, his face grave, Lily was folding laundry. It was a soothing, mindless task, and it calmed her frazzled nerves. Harry was down for the night, and James and Sirius huddled in a corner of the living room, speaking in hushed tones, their expressions grim.

Lily fingered the blanket, tuning out James and Sirius's talk. It was soft cotton wool, hand-crocheted by her mother just before she'd died. Blue, because Lily had known she was having a boy almost from the moment she'd discovered her pregnancy.

It was a beautiful piece of work, and she'd been glad that magic could get the inevitable stains out. She'd had one of her own in yellow, and had slept with it for years -- until she'd left for Hogwarts, to be truthful, though no one but Petunia knew that. Petunia's had been pink and blue, and had been handed down to Lily to use with her dolls when Petunia had turned eight.

"You can't be serious." James's incredulous voice broke into her thoughts. When Sirius didn't make the requisite joke, she knew something important was being discussed.

"I can't -- we can't be sure, James. And I don't want to take the chance."

"What chance? What are you talking about?"

They looked at her, two young men with eyes too old, shadowed by lack of sleep and knowledge that they were losing this secret war.

"Sirius wants to make Peter the Secret-Keeper."

She felt like she'd been punched in the stomach. "What? Why?"

"No one will ever expect it. He's the perfect decoy," Sirius said.

"But if he's caught, if something happens, he'll break. You know he will," she said, fingers curling in the blanket still clutched in her hands.

"He won't be caught. Everyone will still think I'm the Secret-Keeper. I'll go into hiding like we planned--"

"What about Remus?" she interrupted. "I'd like to hear his opinion." Remus often offered good, solid common sense reasons explaining the logic behind James and Sirius's flights of fancy. He was able to read them and break down their crazy ideas into workable plans, and she appreciated that in him.

James and Sirius exchanged a glance that made Lily's stomach churn.

"Has something happened to Remus?"

"Not exactly," James said, but he dropped his gaze, and Sirius had turned away and was staring at the picture of Harry on the wall, his jaw clenched tight.

"James, please. It's not only our safety at stake here."

She could hear Sirius grinding his teeth in the tense silence that followed. Finally, James said, "Sirius thinks Remus is the spy."

"Are you insane?"

Sirius turned to look at her, and she could see the anguish in his eyes. "I wish I were. But you're right -- it's not just your safety. Harry--" He shook his head.

She moved to sit next to him on the sofa, the blanket now cradled against her chest, the soft scent of Dreft comforting her. "But why?"

"I don't know." Sirius turned away again, and his voice was hoarse when he spoke. "He's just -- he won't let me come over for the full moon anymore. He's not always where he says he's going to be. Peter tells me he's seen him in Knockturn Alley with some unsavory folk. And he won't answer me when I ask. He's secretive--"

"He's always been secretive," Lily interrupted. "And with good reason."

"No one's arguing that. But he's changed. We've changed. But still--" Sirius shivered and she laid a hand on his back, rubbed gently. "He'll want to know where you are. He'll want to help set the defenses. And if he asks me, I--"

She wrapped her arms around him, and laid her head on his shoulder, as she would have for James, who sat across from them, glasses off, rubbing his forehead.

Lily took a deep breath, forced herself not to cry. "Fine. Peter it is, if you think he can handle it."

"It'll work out," Sirius said. "I promise." He plucked at the blanket she still held in her hands, now draped across his chest. "I'm a little old for a security blanket, don't you think?"

"It's Harry's. My mother made it for him." She rose and dropped the blanket in his lap. "We could all use a security blanket these days."

Sirius tucked it into his jacket when he left, earning a choked laugh from James and a hug and kiss from Lily.

"Keep him safe," she whispered as the door closed behind him, "keep them all safe."


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