Story Two: Selfishness
The bed was warm and soft and comfortable.
It molded to Peter's body as if by magic. Peter grabbed his pillow tighter
and tried to ignore the sounds of movement and voices around him. It shouldn't
be time to get up yet, surely he had another hour or two. But one of the
voices dropped lower and took on a tone Peter knew too well. It was time
to get up, or he would have to face another of Sirius' unfunny pranks.
With a sigh he pushed the sheets off of him.
"I'm up, I'm up, don't even bother."
"We wouldn't want for you to miss
"Yeah, we're going to need a lot of
energy before Defense Against the Dark Arts today. Defense Against the
Dark Arts. Great. Peter hated Defense Against the Dark Arts. More so than
any of his other classes, even Potions, which he was hopeless at! He just
didn't like the teacher, Professor Groate. He was new this year; Professor
Quincy had left last year, apparently because of an accident involving
Professor Kettleburn, Professor Sinistra, and a wild Chimera. Professor
Quincy hadn't been bad at all, Peter reflected, but this Professor Groate
seemed absolutely out to get him, he way he kept calling on him in class,
a if he was expected to know the answer. His tests were particularly vexing
too. He hadn't even managed to pass the last one, and most of the time
he did pass his tests, even if the grades weren't the best. Remus noticed
the look on his face. "Come on Peter, it won't be so bad. I'll help
you study before the next test, and you'll do fine."
"That would be perfect, if there was
a way we could actually not go to the class too."
"It won't be that bad."
"Yes it will."
They all agreed afterwards that Peter had
been right. Professor Groate had decided that an oral quiz would benefit
the entire class. It wasn't so bad for Remus, who had actually studied,
or James or Sirius, whose questions had been amazingly simple-everyone
favored them! And he could have answered that werewolf question correctly
- but of course, he had received what must have been the hardest question
in the class. The defense curses were hard, and they had just started
learning them this year, it wasn't his fault he had been to tired to start
his reading last night, or the night before.
Walking through the halls after class,
even James and Sirius were subdued, still a little bit in awe of the dressing-down
Groate had given Peter (and James, after he had been caught mouthing the
correct curse when Peter turned to get a better look). A couple of times,
Sirius seemed likely to break the tension, but slouched again after a
look from Remus. Transfiguration was next. Peter's favorite subject, although
that wasn't saying much. But he did do the reading for this one. Most
of the time. Or James and Sirius explained it to him. But in spite of
the fact that he was interested in the material, he still didn't like
Professor McGonagall. She was another one of those that fancied James,
always smiling at him and calling on him. And once, Peter had overheard
her talking to Professor Flitwick about them.
"Can you believe what Black and Potter
did to the Slytherin Quidditch team? I only wish I had some proof to nail
He was still mad about that one. As though
that was all there was to it! As though he and Remus didn't exist. Peter
did hold the bird for that one.
Transfiguration was easy today. There was
no practical applications, just McGonagall talking on and on, and waving
her wand dramatically every once and a while. Peter took this as an invitation
to daydream, although to his credit, his thoughts were Transfiguration-related.
If everything went well, in less than a year, he would be an Animagus.
An unregistered, illegal Animagus. The thought made his stomach turn.
He was so anxious to do it, to prove he could do it, when no one outside
their little group- James' group- had ever tried anything like this. He
would be so special. But the after part, that was what was worrying him.
It would be fun, sure, but also kind of scary. Because Remus was a werewolf.
And when he was an Animagus, he would have to spend time with him when
he was in wolf-form. That was the idea, really, and Peter thought it was
a good one. They hated seeing Remus going alone every month to all that
suffering, and wanted to help. But on the other hand
No, James had assured him there was no
chance he'd get attacked or eaten in animal form, and James was always
right. So he just wouldn't think about that scary snarling beast in the
book in the library, he would just think about pale, harmless Remus. And
what cool kind of animal he could be. Maybe a tiger. Or a lion. Then he
wouldn't be afraid.
Peter always managed to lose Sirius, Remus,
and James during Hogsmeade visits. Somewhere between the owlery, the joke
shop, Honeydukes, meeting friends from other houses, and telling horrific
ghost stories next to the Shrieking Shack (that one was Sirius) they had
decided third year to all just meet at the Three Broomsticks when they
were done. Peter usually spent the time alone in Honeydukes. When he reached
the Three Broomsticks the Saturday after his humiliation in Defense Against
the Dark Arts, James and Sirius were at a corner table looking quite pleased
with themselves. They called Peter over quickly.
"Peter, you'll never guess what I
have!" James sounded very excited. He pilled out a bag from the joke
shop. "They're called Dungbombs."
"Dungbombs? Are they anything like
the Reeking Rags?"
"Better. Much, much better. They're
new! They're experimental, not even on the market yet, but Mr. Realton
said I could buy some." Of course. Mr. Realton liked James. He only
scowled at Peter when he came in, but that was probably because he had
once accidentally dropped a one-of-a-kind fake exploding snitch, and no
one had ever seen it again.
"So they're better than Reeking Rags?"
Peter hated Reeking Rags. Just last month, one of those Slytherins had
put one in his bag, and he hadn't figured it out until after supper.
"Like I said, they're experimental.
I think they explode. Hence the name, you know, bombs." James smiled
and slid the bag over to Peter, who looked at him, surprised. "They're
for you. Just a little don't-get-discouraged-gift. You know that you're
not the only one who got your question wrong yesterday. Defense Against
the Dark Arts is hard." Peter smiled. It was so great having James
as a friend.
"Plus, we know there are a couple
of Slytherins you're dying to test them out on."
"Test what out on?" Remus asked,
coming up to the table. The three seated exchanged wicked grins.
A month later, they were back in Hogsmeade,
and the Dungbombs remained untested. Every time Sirius or James had indicated
to him frantically that it was a good opportunity, he had just not had
the nerve. He supposed they must be getting impatient with him, but he
really did not want to get caught. Professor Groate had given him a detention
just last week for talking in class.
He had only wanted to know the classification
of a Griffin so he didn't look foolish in front of the class again. But
Professor Groate had caught him. Caught him before he could find out the
answer too. He was in deep trouble when it came to that class, and he
knew it. His last homework assignment had been handed in half-finished.
He had tried, he had, but then Aryeh had asked him to play Exploding Snap,
and she was very popular, he couldn't say no. Lily Evans was there too,
but not playing. They had all had a very nice time laughing and talking
and having fun, except they kept asking him questions about James, which
kind of bothered him.
By the time class came the next day, he
had forgotten that he was going to ask one of his friends if he could
copy, and had to hand it in like it was. If that wasn't enough, they had
found out that the next test was going to be this week coming up. Remus
had promised to help him study, but Peter doubted that anything but a
miracle or some very good cheating could save him.
Lost in his thoughts, Peter clutched his
bag of sweets and turned the corner slowly, knowing it was early and none
of the others would probably be there yet. As the Three Broomsticks came
into view, he saw that there was a whole gang of Slytherins huddled in
a corner right next to it. Luckily, none of them saw him, so he was able
to quickly duck back into the side road. He wished fervently that Sirius
or James were here, as he heard them coming closer. Suddenly, he remembered
the bag of Dungbombs, still on him. Thinking of the way they had been
laughing the day of the Reeking Rag, he unexpectedly found his courage.
Acting as quickly as he could, he rounded the corner, threw the package
as hard as he could, and dived back around the side. Did they see him?
Did it work? A most horrific smell hit his nose as agitated shouts
rang out. One voice quickly drowned out all the rest.
"Mister Lestrange! Mister Wilkes!"
It was McGonagall. Merlin's beard, it was
McGonagall. Did they see him?
"Which of you threw this? Just look
at my robes! What is this? What is this smell?"
Peter opened his eyes to see Lawrence rounding
the corner on him.
"You!" he shrieked. He ran up
and grabbed a great bunch of Peter's robes. "Professor! Professor!"
In the meantime, Severus was speaking up against McGonagall. "It
was Potter, Professor! I was in the store when he bought them. The shopkeeper
said they were experimental, and he hadn't sold them to anyone else. You
can ask him." He sounded very pleased with himself.
"Look!" cried Lawrence, dragging
Peter in front of the teacher.
"One of Potter's gang!"
Professor McGonagall fixed her eyes beadily
on Peter. "Did Potter throw this?" she asked.
Of course, they think James threw it
and ran, leaving poor Peter behind, too slow, like always.
McGonagall sighed. "There's no use
in covering up for him, Pettigrew. I'll just add your detentions on top
of his. Now, tell me what happened."
It would be so easy to lie, to say James
did it. He did buy it, after all. I wouldn't have had them to throw if
he didn't buy them.
And he could just see James, running
ahead, leaving him behind, not even looking back, not even bothering to
"That's it, Pettigrew!"
"It was James. James threw it, and
he ran away. I saw him."
"And you didn't run away too?"
"No, I-I tripped." He was bad
at lying, but so easily believed.
"I suppose Black and Lupin were there
"N-no, Professor." Another scowl.
"They didn't throw anything."
"Very well, Pettigrew. He will have
to answer to me when I get back." She brushed her robes, then wrinkled
her nose and headed towards the Three Broomsticks. Peter turned and disappeared
into the ally before any Slytherin could follow. He headed straight back
to the castle.
Sirius was the next one back to their dorm
room later that night.
"Peter!" He went over to Peter's
bed and started to try to pull the covers off his head. "I don't
believe it! McGonagall caught up with us in the Three Broomsticks, and
she had quite an amusing tale to tell." He managed to rip the cover
off, and Peter was surprised to see him grinning. "What a smell she
had on her! You prat, did you know you got her with the Slytherins? You
should have seen her robes! I didn't think they were supposed to stain
like that. I guess they need a little more work." He noticed Peter's
half-horrified and half confused statement, and laughed. "And you'll
never guess what happened! That slimy git Snape told McGonagall they were
James' bombs, so she came right up to us, and started shrieking hysterically.
I can't believe you threw all of those without us there. It must have
been spectacular." Peter still wasn't saying anything, and still
had the same statement, so Sirius rushed on. "Don't worry. We didn't
mention you, she has no idea you really threw them. James took all the
responsibility, and got three detentions out of it. He and I are tied
this week now. But it was worth it, just to see the look on her face-
and that smell!" He laughed again. "I can't wait until those
things go on the market for real."
"But James- he's not mad at me?"
"Don't be stupid Peter, it's Snape's
fault. What were we supposed to do blame you? Well, I might of, but you
know James. Of course he's not mad."
That didn't really make Peter feel any
better, but Sirius had stopped noticing. He grabbed his hand and started
pulling. "Come on. They're waiting for us at supper downstairs."
After a couple of days, his stomach stopped
hurting so much. He had apologized to James, who had waved it off. (What
are friends for?) And James had gotten very easy detentions from McGonagall,
easier than Peter would have. He would have probably gotten more than
three, too. James didn't mind it, so he wouldn't either. It wasn't such
a big deal.
He was very bored, and no one but a bunch
of seventh years were in the common room, so he went to the dorm room
and broke out the Every Flavor Beans he had bought Saturday. First, he
separated all of the brown Beans from the rest and then started trying
each of them out to find a chocolate one. It wasn't until Remus came through
the door much later that he remembered he had studying plans in he library
with every defense book he had neglected to read. Remus gave him a frown
that was more concern than anything else.
"I'm sorry I forgot, Remus."
"Well, I got some studying done at
least. But Peter, what about your defense grade? I don't mind staying
up, if you still want the help."
"I don't think it'll make a difference,"
Peter said, dejectedly.
"Oh, Remus, I don't know
so hard, but I just don't think I can do it."