Author: Sunnycouger (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: Peter Pettigrew has always had a bad rep (I'm guilty of it myself) and this is basically just an insight into his character and hopefully will offer a balanced representation of a very complex character.
Author's Notes: I can honestly say that I have never been able to bring myself to forgive Peter after he killed Cedric but he intrigues me and I love younger Peter. Anyway this fic came about due to me thinking about why he would do what he did and how he would feel about his life afterwards. I just think that he is more complex that people (including me) give him credit for. I highly recommend the song that inspired this as it is a wonderful song by a wonderful singer/songwriter. The song is Bloodless by Tom McRae and I urge everyone to listen to it.
Thank you to Zsenya for reading over this. :)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Tell me again, what am I feeling?
You know me so well, so what am I feeling?
And how can you tell?
I've got a feeling, you don't know!
You choose your sides,
But in the fight, I see your blood run white, your blood run white!
And I've seen it all before...
And I see it again.
So what am I feeling?
You know me so well, so what am I feeling?
How can you tell?
I've got a feeling, you don't know...
~ Tom McRae - Bloodless ~
People have told me they hate me before, it's not something new but hearing him say it still hurts. Is that surprising? Didn't you think I could feel pain? Did you think I was too far-gone, that I was some kind of soulless monster who didn't feel anything? Tell you the truth - I wish I were. It would all be easier...all of this, the whole thing would be easier. The fact that there was a dead body at my feet, the fact that there was blood on my hand, the fact that the man in front of me was crying - it would all be easier if I didn't feel anything. But as it is, I do feel it. I feel pain, I feel guilt, I feel regret. But it's too late for that.
It wasn't so long ago that I was their friend. I was a friend with the corpse on the floor. I was a friend with the mad man in front of me and I was at the christening of the boy who is now unconscious in the corner. They are all tied to me and I don't have the luxury of cutting those cords - not yet. For some reason, I still want to hold on to them - for some reason I want the option of being pulled back, I want to believe that I can use the rope to guide me back. Maybe I just want to fit back into my old life. Maybe I just want to find a way out of here, out of this. But, looking at those eyes, the madness and pain shown in them, I'm not sure I'll live long enough to do that.
He screams at me and I swear it looks like he doesn't know whether to curse me or to kill me with his bare hands. His voice is raw with emotion as he begs me to let him past to the boy - something that won't happen if I'm dead. Voldemort concocted a delightful spell for the journey - if only it was as easy as it should have been. They weren't supposed to be there, they shouldn't have had to be hurt and that was the last thing I had wanted. If I had wanted to hurt them then I would have done it before - I would have killed Remus when he was a teacher and didn't know who I was. I would have killed Sirius, the man who is now so broken, when he was hiding in the Shrieking Shack. But I didn't, I couldn't...maybe it was cowardly. Maybe it was just another way for me to leave a link back to a past that I now wish I had never had to leave behind. I don't know. I just know that if I were as evil as I'm supposed to be I should have killed them sooner. I shouldn't care about the past. But I do and I can't help it.
When we were in school I remember that the Slytherins used to make fun of me. "Hanging onto their coattails, Pettigrew?" Or "still trying to fit in with the big boys? Haven't you learned yet that you're a tag-along?" and stuff like that. I see it now, two decades later that they were right. I never fit in and that's why I was picked, chosen, taken by the Dark Lord. I never stood a chance.
Would you believe it if I told you I hated him? Would you believe that I hated him with ever fiber of my being? You don't believe it, do you? No, I didn't think you would - you see the actions and presume to know me. But I am so much more than that. I am so much more than a traitor and a murderer. There's more to my powers than memory charms and no one will ever know it. When my name is written down in the future it will read Peter Pettigrew - traitor, Dark wizard, Animagus. There will be no mention of anything else - no mention of Peter Pettigrew the man, no mention of the friendships I had before, no mention of my family, no mention of why. Of why I lost everything.
I look back at the man and shake my head. He can't get by me. He swears to kill me and I find that it doesn't scare me as much as it should do. Perhaps it's my time. Maybe it's all of our time - maybe the Marauders have come to a natural end. There are only two of us left - maybe the ghosts that have been haunting me and taunting me will be allowed to rest then. Maybe James will stop whispering in my ear about how I will wish I were dead if I hurt Harry again. Maybe Arabella will stop telling me that she wishes that I could have seen our baby before it died because it might have made a difference. Maybe my own imagination will stop the voices at long last. Maybe all I have to do is end it. Maybe...it doesn't carry a lot of weight, does it?
He calls me a heartless murderer and maybe he's right. He clearly knows me that well - maybe he really does know me better than I know myself. I might be the one who's fooling myself. Perhaps I'm trying to pretend that I'm something I'm not.
I taunt him by saying that as heartless as I am I'm not as heartless as the man dead on the floor - I want him to react. And he does - he charges at me and I let him pummel me. He always could beat me and this is no exception. Part of me wonders if he knows what he's doing to his godson with this attack but a larger part doesn't care. He will realise in a moment and when he does he will see what he did to the person he cares most about - the last link he had to James and Lily. He will see and he will hate himself. Sure enough, during the attack he looks up, the madness leaving his eyes as he looks over at the corner and sees the blood pouring from the boy's wounds. He immediately backs off and begs me again to let him past.
I wish I could - but I can't.
"You're evil, what happened to you? You owe him your life. Why have you let this happen?"
I think the question is rhetorical - I don't think he expects an answer. I don't think he believes that I can answer it. What happened to me and why have I let it get this far? What happened? I don't know - it was so quick. I never went out to kill James and Lily. I never intentionally told - I just wanted my family to be safe. I wanted my family to be safe and I didn't want Lily to be a target because of James. He was selfish to get married and he was selfish to expect blind loyalty from the rest of us without even asking. He knew that he was putting us in danger - he should have gone and fought the Dark Lord and left the rest of us out of it. If he had then none of this would have happened. But no, James wanted his own little army, his own little posse to help him. What chance did I have? What chance did my family have against all that? It was okay for Sirius; his family were all soldiers and knew the risks. Remus wasn't in contact with his family so it didn't matter to him. I lost them all. Nearly everyone - my dad, my brothers - they were all lost. I was just left with a heartbroken mother who couldn't understand why it had happened. But I knew why it had happened, I knew who was to blame. It was because of who I was friends with - because James had to be the hero. They had died because of him and no one understood - I don't think I understood but once it was explained to me it seemed so clear. I never set out to betray anyone though. I just wanted the innocents to be safe - I wanted Lily and Harry and Arabella to be safe and there was only one way to do it. I blamed James for killing them and I got my revenge but, after I did it, I realised that in that moment of madness I had given up everything. That I had lost my very soul and that I'd never be able to get it back.
I look at Sirius and inwardly I feel like I want to cry - I never wanted to be like this but there was never going to be a way back after I had done it and no one would ever let me. He was going to kill me because I told a secret. I never raised a wand, I didn't enjoy it and yet I was branded a murderer. It was quite prophetic because that's exactly what I became. I want to apologise to him but I don't know if it means anything - do I want to say sorry because of what I did to him or because what doing that did to me?
I turn and look at the boy in the corner and it's like looking at his father when he was the same age, which is a bit scary. His father's voice echoes in my head that the boy had better live to be older than he got to be. Good old James, he always had a way with words. I turn back to Sirius and ask him if he wants the boy. To his credit he doesn't dignify it with an answer because it's obvious. I walk up to him and look at him. He doesn't even know what he did to me. "You ruined my life - I could have got back if you hadn't chased after me. I could have had a life!"
He looks at me disdainfully, like I'm filth. "No, no one would have forgiven you for it. You wouldn't have had any life because there would have been a queue of wizards all waiting to kill you for what you did. Like the murdering scum that you are."
I punch him hard, causing him to stumble back a few steps but not knocking him from his feet. "And I have outlived all of those wizards who would have queued up to kill me - thanks to you. You will pay for doing this to me, Sirius. It could have been different..."
"If you stop hiding behind an unconscious boy, then come on! Make me pay, if you can do what you could never do in school!"
He dares me because he thinks that my pride will want me to prove to him that I can beat him. I'm not an idiot - I know I could never take him on but he's right. I should make him pay. I lift my wand up and invert it so the tip isn't facing him, but facing me. "Maybe I will make you pay, maybe I'll make you feel what I felt like for thirteen years when I didn't have anyone in the world."
I give him a minute to realise what I'm going to do before walking away from him. I know that in a minute he will rush at me and do anything to make me drop the wand so I take the opportunity to mutter the curse that will free Harry from my bond. I owe him my life and I will do one honourable thing before I die - maybe I will get credit for that in the history books. Peter Pettigrew - traitor, Dark Wizard, Animagus and saviour of the Boy Who Lived. It sounds a bit better anyway.
I feel the blow at the back of my head before I hear the movement - I don't know how he got to be so quick but I react quickly to my credit and change into my Animagus form to escape. I run a bit ahead of him, scooting under his feet before coming out of my rat form and turning back into myself. "Nice try, Padfoot."
I raise my wand - it ends now. The pain, the guilt, the anger, the loneliness, the sadness, and the regret - it all ends. "I'll give you a choice - you or Harry?"
He looks at me and drops his wand as he steps in front of the boy. "Me. Every time."
Not a hesitation - it's impressive. And I never thought he was emotionally stable enough to be a father yet he seems to see Harry as his son. Maybe I don't know him as much as he doesn't know me. I suppose seventeen years of separation will do that to a friendship. Doesn't matter, I need this. "Ask me to save him then. Beg."
I know that he hates me for this but he immediately drops to his knees and begs. This is my victory - this is my revenge for what he took from me. Today I killed his friend, I threatened his godson and I've taken his pride. I don't need anything else because I know that the ropes linking me to the past have been severed. I can never go back and I don't want to go forward. I look at him and I know that he still believes that I'm tied to the boy and that he willl believe that I will have had my revenge - that I have taken the last thing that he cares about from him. I know I should feel bad about making him believe that I have killed Harry, even for a second - sometimes a second's pain can last an eternity. I know, and I don't care. I shake my head as I look at him and sigh. "No, you don't deserve it to be that easy."
I lift the wand and point it under my chin. "Avada Kedavra."
The green light is quick and I know that I have a second before I die. I hear his scream of horror; I feel my own life leave my body. This is it - I'm done and I have no one left to mourn me. I wish I could say that at least I had a good life but I don't have that luxury. I chose my side in the fight and that is what will define me in death no matter what else I could have been. This is me and this is my last second of life and I finally see it all so clearly, how wasted my life became - I just wonder why I couldn't see it earlier when it would have made a difference?