For the first time, Peter was alone.
It should have been a fun day at
Hogsmeade; it was the first Hogsmeade weekend that year, and Peter, Sirius,
James and Remus often celebrated by spending all their money at Zonko’s, and
then later checking out girls at The Three Broomsticks. Sometimes they also
climbed the cliff, which was directly outside the village, and went into the
caves. That was where they had made their Animagi Potion, one year ago.
But today was different. Sirius had
run away from home that summer, refusing to go back. He hadn’t wanted to go to
Hogsmeade, in case he ran into Regulus, or, worse, one of his older family
members. James had detention, and Remus was resting from a particularly bad
full moon, which had resulted in many scratches, the previous night. Peter had
offered to stay there with him and Sirius, but neither had seemed to be in the
mood for company. Besides, Peter wanted to buy things at Zonko’s for himself.
“Pettigrew! All alone, I see.”
Peter looked up, startled; Bellatrix
Black was walking towards him, her eyebrows raised at the sight of him.
“Er…” Peter wasn’t sure what to say.
Bellatrix had never been that horrible to him, but she couldn’t be happy with
him now, not when Sirius had just been disowned.
Bellatrix searched the village with
her eyes. “Where are your friends? My cousin?” she asked. “Did they finally
Peter’s eyes narrowed, but inside he
felt nervous. “No, they just-”
“Oh, you don’t have to lie,”
Bellatrix snorted. “I know how they are.”
“Honestly,” Peter insisted. “They
were just tied up.”
“You really believe everything they
say,” Bellatrix remarked.
Peter’s face grew pink. “No, but they
are my friends.”
Bellatrix shrugged. “Doesn’t mean
they are incapable of lying.”
“I guess it doesn’t…” Peter let out a
heavy sigh. “But I trust them, they are my best friends, the only friends I
Bellatrix laughed- but it wasn’t a
normal laugh; it was a high pitched laugh, almost more like a cackle, and it
sent chills down Peter’s spine. Kids his age weren’t supposed to have those
laughs, and Bellatrix wasn’t that much older than he was, just two years older.
Yet, the way she laughed, one would’ve thought her to be a disturbed, middle
aged woman, not a young adult.
“Friends who tease you?” Bellatrix
“They don’t tease me!” Peter
Bellatrix raised an eyebrow. “Oh?
Then what do you call it when they tell you to, say, ‘stop looking at the
Quidditch players like you worship them’? What do you call it when they poke
one another and say, ‘look over at Peter?’ That sounds like teasing to me, and
I can’t see how you call that friendship.”
“They do that to everyone!” Peter
“But you get it the most,” Bellatrix
Peter wasn’t sure why he was wasting
his time, talking to her when he knew there would be an insulting catch to it.
It was just that… well, some of what she was saying was so true. It wasn’t that
he was the joke of the group, but he was the one who didn’t exactly have a lot
of other qualities, and the one that people could tease and get away
with it. The only other person who allowed himself to be teased was James; he
took everything as a joke. But Sirius and Remus always had intelligent retorts-
and in the case of Sirius, sometimes it was just better not to joke.
“They leave you out, don’t they?”
Bellatrix asked. She sounded so sympathetic, and Peter almost felt as though
she really cared.
“Yeah, I guess….” Peter said quietly.
Bellatrix sniffed. “And they don’t
make you feel as if you have much to offer, do they? You’re jealous of them.”
“Why would I be?” Peter asked, even
though he already knew. Once again, she was not far from the truth.
“Because Remus gets the grades, James
is a Quidditch star, and gets the dates, and Sirius is just a charmer,”
Bellatrix replied. “You feel as if you can’t add up- but at the same time, you
like what they have to offer. You have a sense of self
from them, a sense of belonging. But that’s not
“It’s not really like that-” Peter
Bellatrix put her hand up. “I know
what you’re going to say,” she said. “You’re going to say that they really do
respect you, right?”
“Well….” Peter muttered.
“But the thing is, they really don’t
get you,” Bellatrix said.
“Why do you even care?” Peter
blurted. “You’ve only ever insulted me!”
Bellatrix tilted her head. “I have?”
“Well… you have insulted Sirius….”
“Sirius has only told you his point
of view of things, Peter,” Bellatrix said.
Peter blinked. “Meaning?”
Bellatrix looked at him in the eyes.
“Sirius is ashamed of who he is, Peter, and that’s wrong. Only a few people
should be ashamed. He disowned us because we didn’t show shame, and resented me
because his Mother- whom nobody really likes- didn’t treat me as horribly as
she did him. He doesn’t realize how abused I was by that woman emotionally.”
Peter’s eyes widened. “She… abused
“Yes,” Bellatrix said. “Never
physically, not even verbally, like she did to Sirius. However, she made it
clear in her own way that we were not welcome, that if our parents hadn’t been
such fools, my sisters wouldn’t have to be in that place, under her cold care.
I saw it in her eyes, every time she came to pick us up at King’s Cross, and I
felt it every time she pretended to show affection.”
Peter was appalled; he’d never known
this side of Bellatrix Black. “Wow…that’s terrible.”
“It is,” Bellatrix said.
There was a silence, and Bellatrix
continued, “But my point is, Sirius thinks he had it worse off than anyone,
which simply is not true. And Sirius is arrogant in other ways.”
“He is?” Peter asked.
Bellatrix rolled her eyes. “Stop
being in denial…. You’ve seen him at it, playing those pranks on Snape…”
“Snape’s played pranks too,” Peter
Bellatrix shrugged. “Perhaps, but do
two wrongs make a right?”
“Well…” Peter hesitated. She did have
some good points, as much as he hated to admit it.
“Listen, Peter,” Bellatrix said. “I’m
on your side.”
Peter blinked. She is?
Bellatrix laughed. “Don’t look so
shocked. I’ve never thought much of Potter, and Lupin, well, I reckon there’s
something dodgy about him.”
“Remus is one of the best friends I
could have,” Peter said quietly.
Bellatrix surveyed Peter with her
eyes. “And has he ever stood up for you?”
Peter bit his lip. “He does by
leading me away from people, or, when I’m the brunt of the jokes with Sirius
and James, he tells them to stuff it.”
“But not that often.”
Peter shrugged. “Remus and I aren’t
very confrontational. I mean, somebody has to keep Sirius from beating Snape
to a bloody pulp, right?”
“So you do feel sympathy towards
Severus,” Bellatrix mused.
“Maybe just a little,” Peter
admitted. “It’s not like his life is very nice, not if his robes are torn and
he never goes home for the holidays.”
“You don’t,” Bellatrix said quietly.
“Not always, at least.”
Peter shifted his feet uncomfortably.
“There’s really nowhere to go.”
“And why is that?” Bellatrix asked.
Peter felt his face grow hot. “I’d
rather not go into detail.”
Bellatrix smiled kindly- Peter was
sure it had been the first time he’d ever seen her have a genuine look of
benevolence on her face. “That’s quite all right.”
“Look,” Peter blurted, “why are you
being so nice, anyway?”
“Why not? Just because I make my
feelings clear, Peter, does not make me a bad person.”
“You…you called that Evans girl a Mudblood…”
“I was angry at the time, Peter,”
Bellatrix replied. “We’ve all said things we shouldn’t when we’re upset.”
Peter wasn’t sure what to make out of
this; he felt as if he was talking to a friend, someone who really understood
him. A warning voice kept telling him that something was wrong, but he ignored
it. Maybe there really was more to Bellatrix Black; maybe she wasn’t the wicked
girl Sirius had always made her out to be. And
he’d never offered any reasons as to why he or Andromeda had left their homes;
maybe it really had been a misunderstanding, maybe they really were just
envious of the attention Bellatrix got.
Besides, hadn’t Lily said it best,
just a few months ago? That James and Sirius were as bad as Snape? Besides,
they did act reckless… and it wasn’t as if they didn’t treat the Slytherins
badly. Not that Peter didn’t feel Snape deserved it at times -but did the
rest? The hostility between the Houses made both parties seem bad, and James
and Sirius seemed to help maintain the blind heat.
But reason sunk in; no matter what
Bellatrix said, Peter knew Sirius wasn’t a bad person, and neither were the
others. Maybe they did tease the Slytherins, and maybe they made Peter himself
feel bad sometimes, but it wasn’t as if he’d told them to stop, and besides, he
teased James and Sirius all the time. That was part of being friends with
someone - you teased, knowing that there were no hard feelings. Usually. And
as for the Slytherins, they often had it coming to begin with.
Something inside Peter said that it
was time to go after all. “I’d better head back to Hogwarts, though, I think I
see the carriages he said.
Bellatrix looked as if she was truly
disappointed. “That’s too bad,” she said. “But I trust I will see you around?”
Peter paused. “Perhaps,” he said,
smiling slightly. “Yeah, I’ll see you around.”
“Bye, Peter. Don’t forget this talk,”
“I won’t,” Peter said. He headed back
to the castle , more confused than he’d ever been in his entire life.
Bellatrix watched as Peter walked
towards Hogwarts. “Naďve fool,” she muttered. “As if he doesn’t realize I know
he could only have been here a half hour.”
But she had to admire him for his
ability to lie. And besides, his gullibility would make things much easier.
For Bellatrix felt no sorrow for
Peter; as far as she was concerned, he was nothing, so far. But she’d meant it
when she said he was better than his friends. In fact, he could prove very
The Dark Lord had asked her to look
for recruits; she’d joined forces with Voldemort in her sixth year, but nobody
got into the Death Eaters just by holding up their hand and saying, “I want to
kill Mudbloods and blood traitors.” To prove your loyalty, you had to bring
someone with you. And it wasn’t that easy, when it was someone one would never
had expected, like Peter.
But Bellatrix liked the challenge;
she and Rodolphus had already gotten Regulus, her cousin, and Severus Snape
convinced, and Rabastan had recruited with Lucius Malfoy. Recruiting someone
who wasn’t practically born on the list, however, made it all the more fun. It
would show her Master that she was truly powerful, which was a good thing.
Not that he didn’t know. Voldemort
had taught her everything himself; when she was in her fourth year, she had come
into contact with him, with the help of Lucius. He had taught her Dark magic
beyond what anyone could imagine, and he had become something of an authority
figure. With her parents in jail, and her aunt and uncle far from friendly,
Bellatrix needed someone to guide her. Lord Voldemort had shown her what power
really was, and she felt she owed him for it.
As for Peter, she knew he’d come
around; she would make a point of talking to him, and playing the same sorts of
games she had played that afternoon. Eventually, he would realize that she was
right, and find out where he really belonged. And they would both be rewarded
beyond their greatest dreams.
Notes: I would like to thank my friends, as well
as SQ beta reader, Elanor Gamgee, for helping me with this! J