The Sugar Quill
Author: Jenavira (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Enter Scabbers  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Author's Notes: Well, the Pettigrew saga continues...I had a bit of trouble trying to characterize a four-year-old Percy, so I decided that he couldn't have been a stoic bastard his *whole* life. Here, he's adorably cute. And I like him that way. Weasley ages from the Weasley Timeline composed at Sugarquill; kindly beta-d by Fedora and the unequalled BBennett of the Quill.

Disclaimer: All Rowling's, not mine, sue and get a huge stack of unfinished fanfiction.

Spoilers: Book 3


***

He ran.

The sounds of screaming Muggles and hysterical wizards echoed through the now-open sewer systems, chasing him down through the endless twists and turns.

Panic flooding his mind, he ran.

He could hear his voice again, in his mind. "Lily and James, Sirius, how could you?" How could he? Whatever had possessed him to do such a thing? It was only the shock of the event that had allowed him to escape alive at all.

He ran, from the carnage, from the memories, from himself.

He had been desperate. The Dark Lord had been destroyed, or at least defeated - just after he himself had stopped straddling the fence. There was no way he could escape the justice of the Ministry, or worse, the harsher justice of his old friends. What else could he do?

He ran.

**

Percy Weasley sat on the back stairs of his house, looking out on the lawn that badly needed a de-gnoming. He'd have done it himself, but his mum still insisted that he was too young. Ridiculous, he thought. He was nearly five. He could certainly do anything his brothers could do. But then, his brothers were off at school, and he was too young, and Ron was definitely too young, and the twins were still pretty useless for anything, and his dad hadn't come home again, and so the lawn was full of gnomes.

His dad didn't come home a lot lately. It seemed like months that his hand on the Weasley Family Clock had been pointing unwaveringly to "work" - except for when it jumped to "mortal peril". It had done so again this afternoon, which was why Percy was now sitting on the back step, as far away as his mother would allow from the kitchen and Mrs. Weasley's nervous puttering.

He sat, elbows on his chubby knees, chin in his hands, silently watching the garden gnomes run about the yard. Usually he loved to watch their antics, but today they just seemed silly. His life was getting downright boring, not to mention lonely. So Percy sighed, and sat, and stared.

**

Pettigrew woke up when the afternoon sun finally made its way straight into his eyes. He'd collapsed under a bush the night before, soaked and smelly from his run through the sewers, and breathless and exhausted from his panicked flight. He lay in the same place for several minutes, aching muscles refusing to take any action just yet. His tail felt like it had been used for a whip, and his paw - well, it was mostly healed over, but it would be hell to walk on for a while. Despite most everyone's firm belief that he was useless, he had always been pretty good at healing his own minor cuts and scrapes. A lost finger was a little more than minor, but he hadn't accounted too badly for himself, he thought with a bit of pride.

The rational part of his mind insisted that he should stay hidden at least until cover of darkness. The rat part, on the other hand, insisted that he was hungry, and considering his current condition, the rat part won out. Moving slowly, more out of deference to his aching muscles than to any kind of caution, Pettigrew crept out from under the bush.

He was in a garden, he discovered, full of slightly overgrown but still well-kept beds of flowers that he couldn't identify from this perspective. A number of garden gnomes dashed around the yard, happily oblivious to him.

And then the ground dropped away, and Pettigrew could feel something clasped tightly around his middle...he twisted around frantically and caught a glimpse of a child's face, mouth mimicking the round glasses under neatly trimmed red bangs. Pettigrew wanted desperately to squirm out of the boy's grasp - hunger seemed thoroughly insignificant just now - but he was still too weak to do much. Bugger, he thought to himself, why did I have to be the one to turn into the *small* animal? By the time the boy reached the kitchen, Pettigrew was completely exhausted.

"Mum!" the boy said excitedly. "Look what I found in the garden!"

The large red-headed woman standing elbow-deep in soapy water at the sink turned around to humor her son and shrieked. "Percy Weasley," she cried, pressing a damp, soapy hand to her bosom. "What were you thinking, bringing that horrible creature into this house!"

The boy's face fell. "But look, he's hurt," the boy said, offering Pettigrew's right front paw as evidence. Pettigrew flinched back in pain, but didn't struggle too much - the last thing he needed now was to be killed by a pest-repellant spell. "Can I keep him?"

That blue-eyed stare, even diluted by those absurd spectacles, seemed to have quite an effect on Mrs. Weasley.

"Well..." she said, then frowned, as though reconsidering her second thoughts.

The boy - Percy - however, was looking happily back down at Pettigrew - his new pet, Pettigrew thought dejectedly. "I think I'll call him Scabbers," Percy said. "'Cause of his paw. All scabbed over."

Mrs. Weasley wrinkled her nose at him. "That's hardly a nice name for a pet," she told him, but the boy ignored her.

It could be worse, Pettigrew decided as he was plunked down rather hard on the table. At least they were a wizarding family. He'd be able to keep an eye on the news. But Weasleys...

"Not on the table, dear," said Mrs. Weasley, without turning to look.

"Yes, mum," said Percy obediently, picking up the rat again and looking around speculatively.

And a four year old... he added. Of all the people to go into hiding with.

"And keep it away from our Ron."

"Yes, Mum."

Pettigrew realized that he was likely to spend the better part of his time here asleep. It might, he thought, save him from too much stress.

At least Sirius would never think to look for him here, he decided as he shut his eyes in a last-ditch attempt to escape the world.

//
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