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Old November 24th, 2006, 6:52 pm
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Fourth Year
Join Date: 09th October 2005
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Re: True Courage: A Peter Pettigrew Tale

oy! this one's a doozy, so be careful! i hope y'all are up to reading an extra-long chapter!! enjoy!!

Chapter Six

The pop of a cork flying out of a bottle reaches my ears as I awake from uneasy sleep. Groggily I make my way downstairs into the dining room of the Riddle House, wondering what there was to celebrate about. Downstairs there is the sound of merrymaking and celebrating, in the center of it all Snape. He swirls a glass of wine, that smug smile I hate so much playing about his mouth, greasy hair swinging.
“What’s going on?” I ask tiredly. I haven’t slept for days. Several Death Eaters turn to face me, as if amazed that I hadn’t heard the news yet.
“Dumbledore’s dead.” A lumpy woman I recognize as Alecto wipes her nose on her sleeve. “Snape killed him.”
A cold feeling starts in the pit of my stomach. “And Draco?”
“Got cold feet.” Fenrir Greyback smiled, showing filthy yellowing teeth. “Would have killed the old man myself if the others hadn’t held me back…”
I ward off several drunken offers of wine and head back upstairs, thinking. So Dumbledore was dead. The Dark Lord’s greatest enemy…vanquished. Nothing stood in his way now, I mused. Pity.
As the news sinks in my tears flood out, tears I hide from the rest of the world. If they saw them, I would die—literally. The one person I had hoped I might gain redemption from was gone. I am alone in a cold world, with nothing left to live for.
But there was something to live for. The eradication of the very man I served. He isn’t even a man anymore—not really. He is a monster, driven by his own dark, evil purposes. What does that say about me, I ask myself. You serve him. You always have, from a few years after you got out of school. Am I as evil and corrupt as he is…?
If I am, I don’t care. I’ve got to get out of here. But how to do it? I can’t just waltz out—that would be suicide. I can’t lie to him. What can I do?
I go back downstairs. Draco is sitting in a corner, face ashen and pale, hands clenching and unclenching. Where can I go? More importantly, where will he go, if he survives Voldemort’s wrath? This time I accept the wine, down it in one swallow, and think some more. If Harry is destined to end Voldemort’s reign of terror…he will have to have some things that the Dark Lord doesn’t have, mercy key among them. Maybe…if I go bearing information…
No. That’s what got me in this mess in the first place. Knowing more than I should. It’s dangerous. It gets people killed. I won’t do it, I won’t!
But what I know…it could be valuable to Harry, valuable to the destruction of Voldemort…I don’t even know where he is…
But Draco might. And taking him with me could save him…that’s it. I’m going. Tonight. And no one is going to stop me. No one.

It is midnight. The sounds of celebration have long since died, and an eerie silence has settled over the house. Voldemort is out on business tonight, and Draco is still alive. If I don’t move now, I never will. Steeling myself, I slip out into the hallway as a rat with a silver paw, wary of Nagini and late-night walkers. I know where Draco’s room is, having cleaned it to make it ready for him. The boy is still the picture of misery, but a little color has been restored to his cheeks. I morph back into my human form and hold a finger to my lips to tell him to be quiet.
“Do you want to live?” I ask him. He hesitates before nodding. “Then you’d best come with me. Trust me.”
“Where?” he asks warily, if a little tiredly. “If you’re leading me to Him—”
“Believe me when I say I’m not.” I grin slightly. “I want to escape Him as much as you do, and there’s only one place where we can be safe. If you want to survive the war, you’ll need to come with me…please.” I plead, trying to keep my voice low. Draco thinks for a moment before he nods.
“Good.” I produce an old picture frame, its picture’s inhabitants long since gone. “Hold on.”
In a rush of howling winds and uncomfortable stomach-rolling the Portkey transports me and Draco to just outside Hogwarts, where the lights are still glimmering and the Dark Mark is still visible—but only just. Draco is shaking, staring at the Dark Mark as if it were the Devil’s shadow out to get him.
“What now?” he asks, voice laced with emotion. “Where do we go now?”
“Now we’ve got to find out the location of the Order of the Phoenix,” I say, “And offer ourselves up. We possess information they’ll probably want—information that will be vital to gain the upper hand and end this war.”
“Yeah, great plan and all, but have you forgotten that we’re Death Eaters?” Draco crosses his arms. “They know that. And I don’t think they’ll be very keen to see a supposedly dead man and a stupid teenager knocking on their front door.”
“It’s worth a shot.” I tell him. “If we get turned away, then that’s it for me—I’m going to kill myself as soon as possible. But you don’t have to. You can go into hiding until the end, or try again. You’re young. Make something of yourself.” I turn away and start down to the road. “For now I’ve got a place in mind where we can stay until we have an idea where we’re going.”
“You mean you have no idea where they even are?” Draco asks incredulously. “What kind of escapee runs and doesn’t know where the people they’re trying to find is? My father—”
“—is in Azkaban and therefore of no use to us.” I dismiss his complaint immediately. Then an idea strikes me. “You’re seventeen, right?”
“Did your father leave you an inheritance of some kind?”
“Do you have the means to receive that inheritance?”
“Yeah, I was supposed to get it when I turned seventeen, but he was in Azkaban then, so I never formally received it.”
“So it’s yours.”
“Then let’s hope it’s enough. We’re going to need it. Are you good with human transfiguration yet?”
“A little. Why?”
“We’re going to need to change our appearances. By this time, the entire Wizarding World will be looking for you because you were with the Death Eaters, and they won’t exactly be overjoyed to see me either.”
“But you can change into a rat, right?”
“But you can’t. You’re going to need to change your hair color—” his hand instinctively flies to his white-blonde hair, “your eye color, and maybe darken your skin a little. You might even need a new face, if you can get your hands on Polyjuice potion…” I notice Draco’s horrified expression. “It’s do or die now, boy. Pick one.”
“I can change my hair.” He said sullenly. “And I can always get a tan by lying in the sun for an hour or two. I don’t know how to change my eyes.”
“I do.” I hold my hand in front of his face. “Wand.”
After performing the charm and giving him dark brown eyes, he takes his wand back and changes his hair to the same shade of brown. I look and survey him critically.
“It’ll have to do for now. I’m going to change into a rat now; I need you to keep me inside your pocket and call for a Knight bus to either your house or Gringotts. Either one is good.” I transform and let Draco pick me up, a look of disgust crossing his face, and squeak indignantly as he shoves me unceremoniously in his robes’ deep inner pockets. There I curl up and go to sleep.

I wake up when I feel Draco scooping me out of his pocket. “We’re here.” He whispers softly. I look and behold a large and stately mansion, obviously the Malfoy Estate, and nod. He puts me back in his pocket and begins walking towards the door. I hear him open the door hesitantly, then shut it quietly. He seems to be tiptoeing up to some room and opening another door. I poke my head out and see that it’s a kind of study—probably Lucius’—and watch as Draco lifts a portrait of the Malfoy family carefully off the wall, revealing a large safe. He twirls the dial a few times, taps it with his wand, and it clicks open. He stuffs several handfuls of Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts into his pockets, shuts the safe, and returns the picture.
Just as quietly he sneaks back outside, careful not to disturb anything, and pulls me out of his pocket.
“Where to now?” he asks, setting me on the ground. I transform again and straighten out my shabby coat.
“I know a man that might know some things in Knockturn Alley…he’s an old friend, and knows that I’m not dead. He might be able to help.” I look back at the house. “Nice place.”
“Not really.” He scowls at it. “It was better when there was a house-elf there, but…never mind.”
“Is your mother a Death Eater?” I ask quietly.
“No.” he runs a hand through his hair. “She’s just related to…to…” he stops. “My mother might know where we can find the Order.” He runs back to the house. I follow.
“Mother?” he calls when we’re inside again. “Mother?”
“Up here.” A thin, heartbroken voice floats down from upstairs, and we trudge up three flights to reach her. Narcissa Malfoy has let herself go to waste since I last saw her—she has withered down to skin and bone, her hair more white than blonde now. She reaches for her son with shriveled hands.
“Draco?” she takes his face in her hands. “Is that you?”
“I’m in hiding right now, Mother.” He grins slightly. “We both are.”
“Both…?” she looks behind him and sees me. I bow a little. She looks at me as if I were a rat again.
“Mother, we needed to ask you…do you know where the Order is?” Draco asks earnestly, not taking his eyes off his mother’s face. She sags a little.
“Not exactly—but I know the general direction.” She whispers something in his ear, which I can hear faintly: “London. Bella’s house.” She gives a whooping cough, clutching at her chest, and nearly falls. Draco moves to catch her, but she supports herself on the rail.
“Go, my son. Take care.” She smiles weakly at her only child and totters back to wherever she was when we came. We leave quietly.
“Did you understand a word she said?” Draco asks me. “London, Bella’s house?” I have been thinking about it for a while. Then I remember something.
“Bella’s maiden name was Black…the same as Sirius’…and if the headquarters is at Bella’s house, then it must be really the Black family’s house, which is—” I clap a hand to my forehead, “Number twelve, Grimmauld Place!”
“Okay…” Draco stands with is arms behind his back, “Where is that?”
“Just take the Knight Bus to the Leakey Cauldron, I know where it is from there.” I transform again and spend the time on the bus brooding.

Draco sets me on the ground in a deserted lot sometime later, and I make sure no one’s watching before transforming again.
“Right,” I straighten myself up, “I think Grimmauld Place is a few minute’s walk from here—only about half an hour, tops—and then we should be free to plead our case.”
Draco does not look pleased at the prospect of walking, but he stoically trudges on beside me until we reach the street that I remember so well from my school days. We stop in the space between numbers eleven and thirteen.
“If I know Dumbledore, he’ll probably make it like the Room of Requirement—you do know what that is, right?” he nods. “Good. It’ll probably be something like ‘the Order of the Phoenix is at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place’, so concentrate hard on that.”
We do, and a few seconds later Number Twelve blossoms before our eyes. We go up hesitantly. Draco goes to ring the doorbell, but I stop him.
“Sirius’ mother. Just go on in.” I don’t bother to explain myself and open up the door. To my utter surprise it seems pitch-black and empty. Swallowing my fear, I step inside, Draco on my heels, and close the door as quietly as possible. We go a little ways in, treading lightly, until a shaft of light falls on us. Terrified, we stop, fearing we’ve been caught.
But it’s only the light of the guttural gas lamps, automatically coming on to light our way. Barely daring to breathe, we venture in further. There is a wall of house-elves’ heads—I remember it well—before the troll’s leg umbrella stand and the serpentine chandelier. Incredibly, the room that houses these grotesque items is empty.
“Probably on their way to Dumbledore’s funeral.” Draco whispers softly. “A couple of people were talking about it on the bus.”
“We should probably wait here until they come back.” I return. There is an unearthly grumbling from behind me, and I turn to see Draco looking back ruefully, holding his stomach.
“Sorry. The last thing I ate was some of that wine last night.” He notices my strange look. “What?”
“Last night?”
“Yeah. Pathetic, isn’t it?” he shrugged. “Should we raid their kitchen, or what?”
“They probably won’t be back until mid-afternoon at least. Help yourself.” I sit back in a chair that I pulled out from the table. “Just be careful.”
“Of what, dust bunnies and mouse traps?” he asks contemptuously.
“Of traps.” I lean back and close my eyes. “Both for mice and for men.”

After a fitful few hours of sleep Draco shakes me awake.
“They’re coming.” He intones quietly. “We might want to…you know…hide.”
“Upstairs. Quietly and quickly now, and try not to wake the portraits.” We hide ourselves away in a room with a blank canvas on the wall just as someone walks through the front door.
There is the sound of conversation downstairs, and of a great many people entering, then silence. All of a sudden: “What do you see up there, Mad-Eye?”
Sudden panic clutches at my heart—terror I can see mirrored in Draco’s eyes. I forgot about Mad-Eye’s accursed and all-seeing eye.
There’s the sound of Mad-Eye’s wooden leg clumping rapidly up the stairs, then down the corridor. Just as the door opens I pull Draco down, right as a Stunning spell shoots out of the old Auror’s wand. I can hear the sound of Draco yelling “Hold on, don’t—!” before the spell rebounds off the walls and hits me in the back. Blackness closes in, and the last thing I hear is “What the—?”

When I’m finally allowed to come to, I see that Draco and I have been tied up in a very dank and dreary room. Several people stand before us: Remus (who has a look of mixed shock, revulsion, and pity), Mad-Eye (who growls), a young witch with pink hair and a heart-shaped face (who is standing very close to Remus, I notice), a tall, dark-skinned, bald man with a gold earring (who has his wand trained on us), and Professor McGonagall (who is looking more displeased than ever). She’s the one who takes charge and begins asking us questions.
“What are your names?” I look at her, puzzled—she already knows our names—but then I realize that they must have fed us Veritaserum.
“Peter William Pettigrew.” I answer, just as Draco says “Draco Malfoy.”
She seems satisfied. “What are you doing here?” We both start at the same time, and McGonagall holds up her hand. “One at a time, please. Peter first.”
I swallow hard and begin, but I tell more than I wanted them to know. I start from when I first joined the Death Eaters, when I betrayed everyone I knew or cared about, when I went to the Weasleys, when Sirius found me again, when I found the Dark Lord, when I helped him return to glory, when I helped Snape at Spinner’s End. I end with when we came two days ago. By the time I am done several of the people are staring with disgust or shaking their heads. McGonagall nods curtly and goes to Draco. He starts with his initiation, to what he did all last school year, when I came and helped him escape, to when we were Stunned yesterday. She purses her lips.
“What makes you think we really need any of what they know, Professor?” the young woman asks, casting us a glare that was full of hatred. “We could just kill them now. They’re wanted men.”
“None of that, Nymphadora Tonks, or I will personally see to it that you are removed from the Aurors’ society.” McGonagall turns back to us. “She does have a point, though. What makes you think that you know anything we don’t?”
“Do you know where he is?” I ask quietly. “Do you know how he is so powerful, so seemingly immortal? Do you know what he plans to do, with Dumbledore out of the way?” I have her. She hesitates before shaking her head.
“I do. I have eavesdropped and listened and asked questions as other men to find out the answers, and I finally have some of them. I’m sure Draco knows some things, as well. Kill us, and that information is lost. Information you need.” McGonagall hesitates again, clearly thinking hard, before waving her wand. The ropes vanish, and Draco and I stand, rubbing life back into sore limbs. The woman named Nymphadora makes an angry noise.
“You don’t really think they’ll stay harmless, do you?” she asked, fire burning in her eyes. “Sure, they’re under Veritaserum now, but what about later? What about when they have the free will to do and say as they please? They’re Death Eaters, Professor, and they’ll go running back to their master as soon as they learn something that could destroy everything we’ve tried so hard to build!”
“It’s sad,” I begin, “That people are so narrow-minded as to believe that everyone who made a mistake and became something they regret now is basically an evil and backstabbing person.” With that I follow McGonagall out of the room, Draco behind me.
I can hear Remus telling an irate Nymphadora, “He is right, you know. It’s like saying all werewolves are like Fenrir Greyback.” Nymphadora says something back, but I’m too far away to hear her.
“Where are we going, Professor?” I hear Draco ask.
“Someplace safe.” She answers briskly. “Somewhere where we can give you a proper disguise.”
“Polyjuice?” I ask.
“No. Too difficult.” She takes a turn down a corridor and opens up a door. “Transfiguration.”

I haven’t had a full head of hair since I was in my twenties. I look at my reflection in awe, gingerly touching the sandy-colored locks I had when I was a teenager. I look at my face, too, which has been smoothed out of all of the careworn lines and wrinkles I used to have. In short, I look twenty-five again—a time when I was in hiding and no one saw me.
“Almost makes me jealous to look at you, Peter.” A quiet voice issues behind me. I turn and behold my old friend, Remus, who is smiling slightly.
“It does make me jealous to look at you, Remus.” I grin a little. “Was that your daughter?”
“No.” he grimaced. “My girlfriend.”
“Girlfriend?!” I look at him, incredulously. “You look old enough to be her father!”
“Everyone seems to think that way, don’t they?” he crosses his arms. “So. You’re back.”
“Yes.” I clasp my hands behind my back. “I’m back.”
“Finally come around, have you?”
“I suppose.” I look down at the floor. “Sirius here?”
“He’s dead.” He stares at me strangely. “He died a year ago. I thought you would have heard about it, considering…”
“Dead?” I barely manage to choke out. “When did he…? How did he…?”
“The Ministry fiasco.” Remus sighs heavily. “He was dueling Bellatrix Lestrange and fell through the veil.”
I sway and have to grab the dresser to stop myself from falling. I never got to ask him for forgiveness, never got to say goodbye….
“Only two Marauders left, huh, Remus?” I smile weakly. Without quite knowing how it happened I’m hugging Remus, sobbing. “I never meant for anything to happen, for anyone to get hurt, I was just so scared, it’s all my fault, first James and Lily, then Sirius, then Dumbledore…”
Remus is patting my back and saying, “It wasn’t your fault.”
“But it was!” I gulp, fresh tears welling in my eyes. “It was my fault Lily and James died, my fault Sirius was in Azkaban, my fault he had to go into hiding, my fault I wasn’t there when he died, my fault I was on the wrong side when Dumbledore might have needed me, my fault…” the weight of nearly twenty years starts weighing down more heavily. “Dumbledore was the only one who could forgive me for everything!” I sob. “He was the only one who stood in Voldemort’s way! Now he has a clear path to domination and it’s all—my—fault!”
“Peter!” Remus shakes me roughly. “Get a hold of yourself! It wasn’t all your fault that Lily and James died, or that Sirius got sent to Azkaban, or that you weren’t there when he died, or that Dumbledore died! Snape carried information to Voldemort about a prophecy that made him pursue the Potters, Voldemort’s end and the Blacks’ family history is what made the authorities suspect him, Bellatrix killed Sirius, and Snape killed Dumbledore! Don’t you see? Voldemort is the root of all of our problems.” I stare at him, hiccupping slightly.
“And there is hope—Harry is the one that is going to stand up to Voldemort and end his reign of terror! We’re at war, Peter—” I cringe slightly at the word, “And the cavalry has arrived! Even as we speak the Wizarding world is getting ready for an all-or-nothing battle against evil.” His grip on my shoulders tightens. “Are you sure you’re on the side you want to be on?”
I look down, then up in his wheat-colored eyes. “I’m sure.” I smile slightly. “This time around, I’m going to stay on the right side.”
“Good.” He hugs me again. “It’s good to see you again, Peter.”
“You too, Remus.”

good? bad? in between? post your feedback here! as a warning, the next chapter will be the last one...sorry.

i just realized that i said that sirius getting sent to azkaban wasn't peter's now i'm concluding that lupin was trying to make him feel better. sorry.


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Last edited by DixieWitch; April 18th, 2007 at 3:16 am.
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