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Old October 15th, 2006, 4:24 am
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Join Date: 09th October 2005
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Re: True Courage: A Peter Pettigrew Tale

finally, after many hours and drafts and tears and tearing-hair-out-in-frustration sessions....it's here, chapter four!!!!!

Chapter Four

Voldemort’s scream of rage—at least the tenth one that night—echoes across the graveyard, chilling me to the bone. His pale, snake-like face livid, he swirls his cloak in more of a fury than any of us have ever seen. Very privately I think it may have gone better if any other enemy of the Dark Lord had been used instead of Harry Potter.
He must have heard through Legilimens, for he turns on me, snarling.
“Have you heard nothing tonight?” he hisses. “Were you too busy whimpering and sniveling over your hand to listen?”
“My—my Lord…forgive me, my Lord…it’s just—”
For the second time tonight he slams me up against his father’s tombstone. The Death Eaters around me snicker cruelly.
“Just what, Wormtail?” he whispers softly. I falter, and he turns his back contemptuously. I am once again reduced to sobbing tears again, stroking my new silver hand.
“So.” Voldemort addresses his followers quietly. “Harry Potter has escaped us yet again. How…unfortunate.”
The Death Eaters shuffle uncomfortably—he has already used the Cruciatus curse on us several times in the past hour. A black-robed, white-blonde-haired man steps forward.
“My Lord, if I may speak…?” Lucius Malfoy’s voice, sounding strangled by fear, is odd on such a stately man. Voldemort nods slowly, spider-like fingers clutching his wand.
“As you well know, I am somewhat…influential…in the Ministry, and Fudge has grown very fond of power. With my assistance, we can disprove anything Potter or even Dumbledore may say. Rita Skeeter has been printing stories regarding the state of Potter’s love of attention and Dumbledore’s sanity…perhaps we…perhaps I…could help hide your return…?”
Voldemort has always liked to work in secrecy and black markets, and I can see it as he weighs it out in his mind. Finally he nods.
“Very well, Lucius. You may go.”
He bows and Disapparates.
“The rest of you—out of my sight!” he waves his hand, and the rest disappear.
He turns, slowly, back to face me.
“Wormtail, Wormtail, Wormtail…I thought we had solved your loyalty issues.” I whimper. “Perhaps we must reeducate you…?” he fingers his wand.
“N-no, my Lord! I assure you, it won’t happen again!” I sob. The first time was enough to haunt my nightmares for nearly fifteen years.
“Once a coward always a weak, scrawny, useless coward, eh, Peter?” a cold voice issues from behind the tombs. I gulp. I know that voice.
“Severus.” Voldemort’s eyes flash. “I was wondering whether you would show….”
“Master.” Snape glides smoothly from his hiding place, bent in a low bow.
“Tell me, Severus, how long have you been hiding back there?”
“You know as well as I, Great Lord, but for Wormtail’s sake, I have been here and enduring his sniveling for about ten minutes.”
“Give me a reason why I should not kill you now, Severus.” His voice seems to even be able to lower the temperature. “It would be such a shame…you were faithful, and very useful…once…”
“I am faithful now, Master.” Both men seem to have forgotten me, which suits me just fine. “I have returned, have I not?”
“But not when I called…not when it was the ideal and due time, which makes all the difference.”
“Allow me to explain, Master. I will tell all.”
Voldemort contemplates this for a moment, “Very well.”
“When you…left us, Master, I am shamed to admit that I was among those who believed you dead. However…a small doubt in my mind remained….I secured a position at Hogwarts, to wait and watch. I gained the trust of Albus Dumbledore…surely you can understand how important this is, Master…and therefore resigned myself to watch events unfold.
“Three years ago, Harry Potter was enrolled at Hogwarts. I am not afraid to admit that my hand was evident in thwarting your plans to steal the Sorcerer’s Stone, Master…as you know, I have a life-debt to James Potter…by protecting Harry, I rid myself of that bond and also renewed and ensured Dumbledore’s trust…”
“A brilliant stroke of genius, Severus, but I’m afraid I still feel a very strong inclination to kill you…what use could you serve me now, now that you’re Dumbledore’s lapdog?”
“A lapdog only on the surface, Great Lord.” Snape counters. “Keep me alive, and you have valuable information at your disposal. Keep me alive, and you can find out more about Dumbledore and Harry…and more about the Order of the Phoenix.”
“The Order?” Voldemort sniffs. “The Order was disbanded thirteen years ago.”
“When Potter escaped you, he made sure that Dumbledore knew at once…and Crouch’s story confirmed it. By waiting an hour, just one hour, Dumbledore had the Order reassembled—at least, he made sure that McGonagall and I were on his side, and refounded the Order—and sent me off to you.”
“That still sends awfully lap-doggish, Severus…how do I know that you are not lying to me?”
“I have dropped the defenses around my mind, Lord…look for yourself, if you wish.” Snape drops on one knee, lank hair swinging. For a moment there is silence as the two men stare, locked eye-to-eye; then Voldemort looks over at me in surprise, as if just noticing I was there.
“Portus,” He points at a broken angel’s wing with his wand. It glows blue, rattles for a moment, then stops.
“Take that Portkey, Wormtail, and await my instructions when you reach the house.” He looks at me flatly, expecting to be obeyed, and I oblige.
The moment I land, flat on my back, back at the Riddle house, something sends a curse at me. I turn and yelp—and am hit square in the chest by another Cruciatus. The leering faces of Lucius Malfoy and Theodore Nott loom in front of me, and I squeak in pain and surprise.
“Hello, Wormtail.” Malfoy sneers. Suddenly I am hoisted up into the air by my ankle, kicking and struggling, with Nott’s shrill laughter in my ears. Something heavy slams into my gut, driving the wind out of me, and Nott is drawing back his fist for another hit. This goes on for quite some time, Nott punching and Crucio-ing, Malfoy holding me up by my ankle, until suddenly Malfoy lets go. I crumple to the floor, sobbing.
“Aw, look at the little baby cry!” Nott s*******.
“Coward.” Malfoy hisses. “Worthless, infantile, slimy coward!”
It’s too much. I get up slowly, wiping blood out of the corner of my mouth. Within moments I’m on Nott, silver hand clamping on his throat.
“Do you know what this hand of mine can do?” I ask him quietly. Fear pops in his eyes, and I grin. For once, I have the upper hand, literally. “It can sever ropes with one swing, and crush tree trunks into powder with one squeeze, when I try. Do you think for one second I would hesitate to crush your scrawny neck to dust when I can?” he shakes his head as best he can, gurgling frantically. I let him go. He scrambles up and Disapparates. Malfoy looks at me with just a touch of respect in the corners of his eyes.
“It would appear that you have a bit of Marauder in you after all, Peter.” I gape. How did he know about the Marauders? Lucius Malfoy was already out of school and most likely married when the Marauders were formed…wasn’t he?
Lucius only smiles in that irritatingly mysterious way and Disapparates. I am left alone, gloriously and comfortingly alone, to nurse my wounds and think.
The Order is reformed…and Voldemort is back. I have a feeling that things are going to get much worse before the end, and now I am caught in a fierce tug-of-war. Last time I was an Order member…but they believe me dead, and a traitor (which, I remind myself, I am, to a certain extent, both of those things). But they would have Harry…and wouldn’t I like to get to know James and Lily’s son more? On the other hand, I had seen them both tonight, and even their echoes had put fear into my heart. The Order of the Phoenix had won last time…but what could I do? I am a worthless, slimy coward, and I know it, am ashamed of it…what can I do?
“Wormtail.” The Dark Lord’s calm voice sounds from the fireplace. “I have an assignment for you….”


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Last edited by DixieWitch; October 15th, 2006 at 4:29 am.
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