Traitor. Coward. Weak. These were words that traveled with Peter Pettigrew, night and day, day and night. No matter where he was, no matter what he did…they echoed like a song stuck in his head and there was just no way of getting rid of it. He could ignore them, and that was as much as he could do. Distract himself and keep himself busy while the song played in the back of his mind and he would hear it but not listen to it. But at night when he slept he would hear it again, in his dreams. It was louder and clearer, and the people who chanted the song at him were visible. An angry mob of familiar faces; two faces more recurrent than most of the others, and another two faces that would wake him up drenched in sweat.

He would lie on his back breathing hard, moping up the perspiration on his forehead with the sleeve of his robes. He would walk around and pace. He would look out the windows and stare at the stars, but not for long, because he somehow felt as if they were watching him back. It would be hours before he could fall asleep again, maybe days.

Food wasn't as welcome in his stomach as it used to be. Even when he felt most hungry, the sight of food would make him feel ill. His stomach always seemed to be already full – with anxiety and apprehension. He'd lost some weight but his skin mainly sagged. He would look in the mirror, but he often avoided his eyes.

"I'm not a bad guy," he told his reflection without looking at it. He was afraid it would laugh.

He repeatedly tried to convince himself that he wasn't a bad guy. He'd hoped that one day he'd be able to shut the voices out. He'd done what he had to do. To some it might've seemed evil, but what would they have done if the situation had been presented to them? They would've probably done the same thing he had. They would've chosen to save their own lives, just like he had, and since when was there anything wrong with trying to find safety?

But no one could understand that. No one could stop and see that he had found himself having to choose in a matter of life or death. What had happened was bound to happen sooner or later, he simply rushed the timing. And if he hadn't done it someone else might've. He could've been dead along with so many others, but he wasn't and that was because he'd made the decision…one that he would have to live with for the rest of his life.

"Wormtail," said a cold high-pitched voice from the doorway. Peter felt his skin crawl, a reaction he had to that voice no matter how often he heard it.

"Yes, my Lord?" Peter asked turning to face his master, Lord Voldemort, the one for whom he'd given up everything.

"I must go meet with Lucius now. I want you to stay here in case anything happens. Inform me of any changes at once," Voldemort said.

"As you wish, my Lord," replied Peter. Vodemort stepped out of the room and Peter sat on an old, battered wooden chair by the window of the old house and stared outside. There were no stars in the sky and no lights outside. There weren't any houses for at least another twenty miles. There were no signs of life out there. It was pitch black and Peter felt alone…

Peter turned his bed sheets down as he listened intently at the conversation the other two boys were having. They were sitting on the bed of the one with glasses and trading sweets that they had apparently stolen but Peter didn't know from where. His other two roommates had already fallen asleep, or at least one of them had. One with curly brown hair kept telling the two boys trading sweets to be quiet. The other must've been sound asleep because there was not a peep coming from him. He had looked rather pale earlier…perhaps he was sick.

These two however didn't seem to care much about disturbing the other's sleep. He stepped into his bed and watched them for a few seconds before he went to close the hangings around his four-poster bed. He turned his eyes away. He couldn't help feeling slightly jealous that these two were already such good friends, staying up late, talking and sharing sweets. He'd never had a friend like that. There hadn't been that many kids in his neighborhood to play with and the few there had been had been older and bigger than him. And Peter had always been a target for some fun, some one to pick and beat up on. Now he was a Hogwarts, a huge school with tons of kids and he didn't know one single person. Even though he was surrounded he felt alone…so alone in the pitch black of the night…

"Hey kid, you want some chocolate frogs?"

Peter turned to look at the two boys again. Were they talking to him? He looked around the room and saw that the other two were still sleeping. He looked at the kid with glasses then at the one with his hair falling over his eyes.

Peter pointed at himself and squeaked, "Me?"

"No, the other kid behind you," said the kid with his hair in his eyes.
Peter turned to look behind him but once he saw nothing but the wall he understood. He looked back at the two boys thankful for the dark in which they couldn't see his pudgy face turning bright red.

"You're not very bright are you?" the hair kid asked.

"I'm sorry," Peter whispered.

"Come on, have some, there's plenty," the glasses kid said motioning for Peter to come over.

Peter slid off his bed and walked over to the bed on which the other two sat. His eyes widened when he saw the load of sweets piled up in the center of the bed.

"Here have some chocolate frogs and a sugar quills…help yourself," the glasses kid said.

"What's your name again?" the hair kid asked.

"Peter," Peter replied while taking a handful of chocolate frogs. "Peter Pettigrew."

"Peter Pettigrew," the hair kid repeated. "I'm Sirius Black and this here is James Potter."

"Where did you two get all of this from?" Peter asked looking at the two boys in amazement.

James and Sirius exchanged glances and smiled.

"Well, now that is strictly confidential. First, we have to know we can trust you in order to tell you. After all, we wouldn't want you to go spreading our secret all over the school now would we?" Sirius said.

"I won't tell, I promise."

"Raise your right hand," James said and Peter did as he was told. "Now repeat after me."

"I, Peter Pettigrew, hereby swear that I will not reveal to anyone the secret of the stolen sweets to anyone," James began.

"I, Peter Pettigrew, hereby give my word that I will not reveal to anyone the secret of the stolen sweets to anyone," Peter repeated.

"Otherwise I will have to answer to James Potter and Sirius Black and walk around with my underwear on the outside of my pants for a whole week." Sirius finished and James burst into hysterical laughter.

Peter hesitated as he stared in horror at Sirius but repeated the oath nonetheless.
"Good," James said as he moved the sweets aside and made room for Peter to sit. Peter climbed up on the bed and listened intently as Sirius began to explain.

"Well, my cousin Andromeda, who just finished Hogwarts, told me about the secret entrance to the kitchens…"

Peter could hardly contain his excitement. They were talking to him and letting him in on their secret. He was actually making friends! For the first time he felt included. The loneliness he'd felt just moments ago had gone completely and here he was, in the middle of the night, eating chocolate frogs and talking with his two new friends. He didn't think he'd ever felt happier before. And now he had two awesome friends that could steal sweets from the kitchens without getting caught! These two had to be good! And Peter was ecstatic that they had chosen him to talk to. Maybe Hogwarts wouldn't be as bad and scary as he'd pictured it.

Peter's eyes flew open and he looked around the room. He'd dozed off for a few minutes. He blinked several times trying to push the images out of his head. He rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands and stood up. The house was dead silent. There wasn't a single sound made but the one of his own breathing. Bellatrix and Rodolphus Lestrange, who were also staying at the house, would most probably be wherever Voldemort was. The Dark Lord would never ask them to stay and guard the house. They would probably return and give Peter the same look they always did. One of repulsive loathing. It didn't matter that they were on the same side, to them Peter wasn't worth what they were, and he didn't deserve to be a part of them.

To them he was just a coward that had run to Voldemort for safety, and would likely leave him if the tables ever turned. They did not see him as Voldemort's most loyal servant. To them, he wasn't on the same level. But what did he care? He didn't need any of them, he never had. As long as he remained in the position he was in, then everything would be alright. It wasn't even as if they'd helped him get there. No, he'd done it all on his own. He'd left his old life to follow Voldemort on his own. Sure, they might've brought him to the Dark Lord, but the choice had been completely up to Peter. He'd single handedly ratted the Potters to Voldemort. And then later again helped his master restore his body by giving up his own hand. They had never been there to help him. They might think lowly of him, but perhaps it was only jealousy. They had never done as much as he had for the Dark Lord.

Voldemort himself didn't think very highly of Peter. He'd told him so himself, calling him a coward, telling him he knew Peter only followed him because he was afraid, and that had he had the chance to leave to something better and greater he would've. And Peter could not argue. He knew that this was partly true. But since when was it wrong to do something to try and safe your own life? Anyone else in his shoes would have done it, even if they say they wouldn't. When the moment of truth came they would find themselves doing exactly what he did, leaving everything behind to secure their future and their lives. Peter had chosen his own life. That didn't make him a coward. He did it all by himself. That had to count as bravery; he had after all been a Gryffindor. And he had never run to any of the Death Eaters for help. Who knew if someday he would have to, but as far as he knew he'd gotten where he was on his own. He didn't need anyone's help to get what he wanted.

"What's all the secrecy about?" James asked as Sirius pushed them into their dorm while glancing back making sure no one had followed them. Their dorm room was empty except for the three boys. The curtains by the windows had been opened and there was sunlight pouring into the room through every window. Sirius closed the door behind them and motioned for them to join him as he walked towards his bed.

Sirius sat on the edge of it and James sat on the floor accompanied by Peter.

"Well?" James prodded.

"James, I think we're right about Remus' secret," Sirius explained.

James and Peter exchanged glances, both their eyes widened in amazement and curiosity.

"What is it?" Peter asked looking at Sirius once more.

Sirius ran a hand through his hair as he looked at his shoes, then he looked back up at them.

"Well, you know how every month he leaves to visit his sick mum?"

"Yeah," Peter replied.

"And then he returns as has all these new, fresh scars?"


"Well, have you looked outside at the sky on any of the nights that he was gone?"

Peter frowned. What did that have to do with anything? James however seemed to have dawned upon something that Peter hadn't as he stared into space with his mouth slightly opened.

"Noticed a pattern?" Sirius asked raising an eyebrow.

"Oh, you're right, Sirius! I think you're definitely right," James said still looking as if he was in a state of shock.

"I thought maybe I was just imagining things and jumping to conclusions. But I tried my best to recall every night that Remus was gone and looked up the phase of the moon that night on a calendar. They were all full moons. But I still wanted to be sure, so I borrowed this book from the library to get the facts straight."

Sirius searched under his pillow and pulled out a large, leather bound book. James took it from him and Peter leaned over to read the title.

Full Moons: A study On Werewolves
Randy Dimitrov

Peter gasped. "You don't think Remus..."

Suddenly the door opened and the three boys turned to see who'd just walked in. It was Remus, holding a small suitcase in his hand. He frowned and stared back at the three boys as he made his way to his bed.

"What's going on? Why are you all in here by yourselves looking like you're planning something devious?"

"Remus," James began standing up from his spot on the floor. "We need to talk to you."

Remus put his bag slowly down on his bed and Peter could clearly see that his face was fallen. Could it possibly be true? Was Remus really a werewolf? Had he been hanging around a werewolf all this time risking his own life?

If it was true, then that was it for Remus. James and Sirius would probably turn him away. They wouldn't be friends again. Peter took a deep breath. He was thankful to be on James and Sirius's side. If Remus suddenly turned vicious they would probably know what to do. They were the best students in Defense Against the Dark Arts. They would make sure nothing happened to him. He stood up as well and followed James closely behind as they walked towards Remus.

"What about?" Remus asked not looking at them.

"We know what's going on," James added.

Remus looked up and gave them a faint smile. "What are you talking about?"

"You're mum's not really ill is she?" Sirius asked.

Remus frowned. "Y-yes, she is…why would you—"

"You don't have to lie to us, Remus," Sirius said, his tone very calm and understanding. Peter looked at Sirius who looked almost saddened. Were they actually feeling sorry for Remus who had been hiding such a big secret from them? They were supposed to be best friends and all this time he could've hurt them, or worse, killed them!

"We put the clues together," James explained. "The trips once a month…"

"…coincidentally every time there's a full moon…" Sirius added.

"…the scars on your arms and hands…"

"…why you often look so ill when the full moon's nearing…and why Madam Pomfrey led you into a secret tunnel underneath the Whomping Willow the other night…"

Remus had fallen silent as he stared in shock at his friends. His face had lost its color and he didn't seem to be able to speak.

"I was outside and when I saw you leaving with Madam Pomfrey. I wanted to say bye to you because I'd been in detention and hadn't gotten to. Then I saw Madam Pomfrey paralyze the Whomping Willow and you slipped into what was apparently a tunnel under it," explained Sirius.

Peter's heart was beating hard on his chest and he kept his eyes glued to Remus. Why would they tell him they knew the truth? Now he'd have more of an incentive to kill them. Should he leave the room and safe himself?

"I…" Remus began. His hands were shaking and he lowered his head.

"It's alright; we can understand why you did it. I'm sure it isn't easy telling someone what you are without having them go ballistic," said James sitting on the edge of Remus's bed.

Remus looked up at him. "You mean you don't…"

"Hate you?" Sirius finished for him. "How could we? We've been friends for almost two years and we know who you are. We know you'd never hurt anyone intentionally. It's not your fault that you have to live with this condition."

"It just…it happened when I was very young, I was like six years old…my parents didn't know what to do…they thought I wouldn't be able to come to Hogwarts…Then Dumbledore came to see us and said he'd arranged for me to hide in the broken down house at Hogsmeade during my transformations."

"You mean the Shrieking Shack?" Peter blurted out.

"Yes, it isn't really haunted. I'm the one that makes all those scary noises," Remus replied shying his eyes away once more. "I was afraid to tell you guys because I was afraid you wouldn't want to be my friends anymore."

"Remus, are you nuts!" James exclaimed. "We love having you as our friend!"
"Exactly," Sirius said. "And we're going to do whatever it takes to help you get through this!"
Remus smiled faintly. "Thanks, but there's not much that can be done."

"Ahh, apparently you don't know us very well yet…when we say we'll find something to help we meant it. You just wait and see," James assured him grinning widely.

"We're here for ya, mate," said Sirius.

"It's one for all…" James said putting his right hand in the center and looking around at the other three.

Sirius put his right hand over James and Remus laughed and did the same. Truth was Peter wanted to run out of the room and hopefully never come across Remus again. But James and Sirius always seemed to know what they were doing. So maybe it wasn't that bad if they didn't think it was …and if it actually was bad, then they'd be there to help him; that he was sure of.

He put his hand on top of Remus's and they all shouted at the same time, "And all for one!"

Why couldn't he get these thoughts out of his head? He grabbed at the sides of his head and dug his fingers into his scalp as he squeezed his eyes shut and groaned. There wasn't one day that he could live in peace without them. No matter what he did, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't keep them away. He was done with that life. He walked out of it a long time ago, why was it still chasing him? Why did it insist in following him day after day after day…tormenting him…driving him insane. He'd done what he'd done and it was over. He didn't want it anymore. He was tired of the memories…he was tired of it all.

He'd moved on to greater and better things. He'd left that part of him behind. He wasn't that dumb, stupid boy everyone had thought him to be. He'd proven them wrong. He'd showed them he could be as tough as they were. He'd proven it to himself…then why were they still showing up everywhere he went?

Their voices echoed in his head, after years of not seeing them, or not hearing their voices he could still remember them so clearly. The images were so fresh in his mind. He would never forget. Even if he had someone perform a memory charm on him he would never forget. The memories would come back to haunt him. They would always be there to remind him…

All eyes were on Peter, all waiting patiently for him to do his job. He looked at James then at Sirius then at Remus. He raised his wand but brought it back down. He let out an exasperated breath and closed his eyes.

"I really, really don't want to do this…please, can I just not do this?" He pleaded.

"Stop being such a chicken, Peter!" Sirius said.

"Yes, or you'll actually turn into one," James added.

Sirius burst into laughter and James joined him. Remus shook his head in disapproval but smiled nonetheless.

"Could you imagine, if he actually turned into a chicken? A werewolf, a dog, a stag and a chicken!" James exclaimed.

Sirius was laughing so hard there were tears running down the sides of his cheeks. Remus bowed his head and was staring at his hands on his lap but his shoulders were shaking and Peter could see that he was trying hard not to laugh as obnoxiously as Sirius and James. He rolled his eyes and sat down on the edge of the dusty and broken bed at the Shrieking Shack.

Sirius took deep breaths and finally managed to control his laughter. "Come on, Peter, you're the only one that's left. If you don't do it you're going to be missing out on all the fun."

"Besides we've done all the work together, we've helped you with everything. It has to work out. The final step is just up to you," James chimed in.

"If he doesn't want to do it then it's fine," Remus said, and added in his most serious tone. "It can go horribly wrong and I wouldn't want Peter to end up as half chicken, half Peter for the rest of his life."

James and Sirius broke out into hysterical laughter once more. Peter could feel his cheeks burning as he clenched and unclenched his wand in his fist. He hated when James and Sirius picked on him like that. So he wasn't as bright as them, but was all that mocking necessary? At times he wondered if they saw him on the same level they saw Severus Snape. They did nothing but ridicule the greasy git…and it was almost as bad when they made fun of him. Why did he put up with it?

Because they were the best. Because everyone in the school had grown to know them and respect them. If Peter wasn't their friend he would just be another face in the crowd, getting beat up and pushed around by others. And he didn't want that. He didn't think he could stand it again.

"Come on, Peter, let's just see what your animagus form is already!" James insisted. "If anything goes wrong we'll help you."

Peter let out a long deep breath as he raised his wand again. He concentrated on everything he, James and Sirius had worked on so hard for the past two years. He tapped himself in the head and felt his whole body begin to tingle. His legs began to feel as though ants were crawling all over them. He stared down at his legs and saw them suddenly turn into two huge, furry brown paws.

"He's a bear!" Sirius exclaimed pointing at Peter's feet.

"Those aren't bear feet!" James said.

"Why isn't the rest of me changing?" Peter cried.

"I think he's stuck!" Remus said getting to his feet staring at Peter in alarm. His upper body from the waist up was still Peter, but from the waist down he was clearly a furry brown animal resembling a bear with very thin and large feet.

"Help me!"

"Hold on!" Sirius jumped to his feet followed by James.

James grabbed the book that sat on the bed and as Sirius took a step forward to help Peter, the feeling of crawling ants took over Peter's upper body and he felt as though he was suffocating. He took big gulps of air and waved his hands in the air trying to grab on to something as he began to feel as though he was falling.

The next thing he knew he was staring at a pair of large shoes, attached to gigantic legs. He ran backwards as the shoes shifted in place. As he ran he suddenly realized he was much faster than before. What had just happened to him? He crossed his eyes and he could see a long pointy nose, wagging rapidly up and down. He looked down at his hands but they weren't hands anymore. They were tiny, brown, furry and had claws. He was about to gasp but the tingling feeling from before returned to him and he felt his limbs begin to grow at a rapid rate. In a matter of seconds he felt like his old self again, except now he was sprawled out on the dusty Shrieking Shack floor, face down, inhaling the dust.

The shoes were back to being smaller than him and he pushed himself up. He looked up and found himself kneeling in front of his three friends. "What just happened?"

James, Sirius and Remus were all staring at him in obvious shock; all wearing the same expression or incredulity.

"You transformed...the lower part of your body just shrunk and the rest of you transformed…" James began.

"…into a rat…" Sirius finished, although he sounded more like he was still trying to believe it himself.

A rat!

He looked around at the stunned, speechless faces. They didn't know what to say. Clearly, because none of them had been expecting Peter to transform into a rat. They were all embarrassed for him. At this point a chicken wasn't looking that bad.

He'd seen their reactions when Sirius had turned into that huge black dog. James and Sirius had jumped up and down, slapping each other high fives, Remus had grinned from ear to ear and laughed along. Sirius had gone on to transform into a dog over and over, and having each of them throw him a different object in turns while he ran to fetch it. His animagus form suited him… playful, yet fierce.

James's stag for had been unexpected, but they had laughed it out anyway. He'd pranced around and competed with Sirius's dog form too see who could last longer on their two hind legs. He'd even chewed on Remus's hair and pinned Sirius the dog against the wall with his antlers. Stags were a symbol of strength, and firmness.

But Peter had turned into a rat. What was that supposed to say about him?

He knew what it meant now. James must've figured it out right before his death. Sirius had understood it all when word had gotten out that the Potters were dead. And Remus had only come to know a few years ago, but he had understood it as well. He was sure that once the truth was out, they had each made the connection. He was a rat, an animal that symbolized sneakiness and betrayal. So James and Sirius hadn't been quite as smart as they had always thought to be. Had they been smarter they would've seen it coming.

Maybe they should've all known that something big was lurking in the future that day in the Shrieking Shack when Wormtail had first shown his face… his true colors. Peter himself hadn't quite understood it back them either. He'd been too hung up on the fact that his friends must've thought even lower of him. One was a dog, one was a stag, and the other a werewolf - not by choice…and he was nothing more than a dirty and miserable rat.

He was too young to know. He was too naïve to realize that there were bigger things than the Marauders out there… bigger and greater powers. He didn't know that the opportunity would come to him to prove that he was more than just a rat. That a rat, no matter how disgusting or insignificant still could do enough harm to break apart the greatest friendship anyone had ever known. He'd done that all by himself. He'd broken up the bond that had tied James, Sirius and Remus together. No, he wasn't included. He had never been included. They had never really seen him as one of them. He was just the weak little, chubby boy that needed to be protected. The boy who hero worshiped them. They should've never been so arrogant. They should've never been so sure that Peter would turn away from them.

Peter sat by the window once more and stared outside. Only a few stars were out now. But the night was still pitch black. Very much like the night Lucius had shown up at his door and taken him to Voldemort. Peter had been terrified beyond belief. He'd thought that was the end for him. Voldemort would kill him for no apparent reason. He regretted ever becoming part of the Order of the Phoenix, he regretted ever thinking he could fight lord Voldemort. There was no power in the earth greater than his. He was done for; he was as good as dead.

But then instead of killing him, the Dark Lord made him an offer, one Peter could not refuse. He knew Voldemort and his Death Eaters had been after James and his wife Lily, but he had no idea why. Voldemort had explained it all to him and he'd given him the choice…become a spy for Voldemort or die. Peter had not even bothered to think about it twice. Voldemort had promised him great power if he worked for him. He would be able to stand above those that had always stepped over him. Peter knew that no one had greater power than Voldemort. On his side he would be safe, and no one could ever touch him there.

Peter twiddled his thumbs as he watched James pacing up and down the floor of his living room. Lily sat looking distraught, little baby Harry sat on her lap pulling on one of his socks. He could feel beads of sweat begin to form on his forehead but he had to keep calm. He was so close; he couldn't possibly mess up now.

"James, please, sit and calm down. We won't solve anything this way," Lily pleaded.

"Calm down? Lily our lives and our son's life are in danger, how can you ask me to calm down?" James exclaimed.

Sirius was sitting next to Peter, his elbows pressed against his knees, and his hands buried in his hair. His feet were bobbing up and down on the balls of his feet. Peter had to fight the urge to smile. When was the last time the roles had switched like this? Little did they know, but they were all sitting in the palm of his hand at that very moment, including the little one.

"We've got to change secret keepers," Sirius suddenly said.

"What?" James asked pausing to look at Sirius.

Sirius raised his head and looked up at James. "It's the only way. We have to change secret keepers."

"How would that help?" Lily asked pulling Harry up higher on her lap.

"Look, there's a spy, right?…well, a lot of people know I'm your secret keeper, so this spy must now… and they could do anything to me to try and get the information out," Sirius explained.

"Sirius, you wouldn't betray us—" James began.

"Of course I wouldn't!" Sirius exclaimed. "I'd slit my own wrists before betraying either of you! But those Death Eaters, they have strategies, weapons, and all sorts of dark magic, who knows what they would use... and they could force it out of me…I don't know if I could fight it. If they made me tell against my will…"

James finally sat down on a chair across from him. "You're right. I wouldn't want you to be put through that either."

"So we find a new secret keeper?" Lily asked looking from Sirius to James.

Peter's heart was beating fast. He needed to listen closely. If they were really going to change secret keepers then he would have to know who it would be so he could go tell his master. He could not for anything in the world miss out on this, and he was so thankful that he was there to witness it.

"Yes, someone no one but us will know of," Sirius said.

Lily chewed on her lower lip. "But who? Dumbledore?"

"No," James said, "that'd be too obvious."


"No!" James slammed his fist down on the table and glared at Lily.

"Oh, for goodness sake, James!" Lily protested. "You were friends for so long; you're letting it all go down hill because of a stupid argument!"

Peter felt his blood begin to boil. Of course she'd pick Remus. Even when she'd joined their circle of friends she'd been another one to think lowly of him. Peter stared at his hands and took in a slow deep breath. But he'd used Remus' weakness to secretly poison Sirius and James's mind about him. There was rumors of a spy and Peter had to make sure no one suspected him. Remus' feelings for Lily had been the perfect weapon, and Peter had used it wisely to turn James against him. And as Sirius was James' best friend there was only one side he would choose.

"Lily, we have reason to believe Remus could be the spy. He can't be trusted," said Sirius calmly.

"You three are so wrong about him. It's almost as if you had never been friends. You know, Remus, would never do anything to hurt us!"

"I'm not discussing this again, Lily," James said.

"I guess that leaves you, Wormtail," Sirius said raising his eyes to look at him.
Peter blinked. Had he heard right? Was Sirius actually suggesting that he become the secret keeper? He must've heard wrong…that would be entirely too easy…

"Me?" Peter asked pointing at himself.

"Peter?" Lily asked, shooting Peter a quick glance. Peter gritted his teeth.

"Yes, no one would suspect him!" James said, his face lighting up.

"No offence, Peter," Lily began, "but… do you guys really think that's a… good idea? Shouldn't we choose someone… really unexpected?"

"Lily, I promise you…no one would suspect Peter to be the secret keeper. And Peter would never betray us, so were safe with him."

Lily looked skeptical but just then Harry let out a baby giggle as he finally managed to pull his sock off. Lily looked down at him as he pulled his tiny foot into his mouth. She sighed deeply then looked from Peter to James then back to Peter and then to Sirius. She looked down at Harry and sighed again.

"Alright…I guess Peter can be our secret keeper," she finally said, though her tone suggested that she still wasn't too convinced.

"Good, then we can perform the charm right now," James said standing up once again.

"Right now? Aren't we even going to tell Dumbledore?" Lily asked.

"No one but the three of us should know. This shouldn't leave this house; it's too risky with this spy lurking among us. If the moment calls for it, then we'll tell him. But for now we'll keep it under wraps."

"Come on, Wormtail," Sirius said as he too stood up from his seat.

Peter could hardly contain his excitement. The Dark Lord would be so pleased with him when he gave him the news. This would be it; this would secure him a place as Voldemort's right hand. He'd be his most loyal servant, and Voldemort would always be thankful and protect him from everything and everyone else. It was just too good to be true. He couldn't believe he had suddenly gotten so lucky. He couldn't wait to run back to his master and tell him everything he knew. He'd finally be on the strongest side and have the power on his side, and no one would ever suspect him. They would think it'd been Sirius who had betrayed them, because he was right…who could ever doubt foolish and naïve, little Peter Pettigrew?

Peter told Voldemort everything he knew. And so he had betrayed James. He betrayed Lily. He betrayed Sirius and he betrayed Remus. His one and only true friends. He'd betrayed them all for a chance to save his life, for the opportunity to be part of the most powerful force in Europe, and to feel as though no one could step over him again.

He'd betrayed everyone ruthlessly. And when Voldemort's plan failed he ran and left Sirius to pay for the crimes he had committed. And even though everything had worked out for him, Peter had not had one moment of peace since the moment he decided to tell the Dark Lord all he knew. Once again, he'd defied his friends at the Shrieking Shack, this time after Sirius had escaped Azkaban and Harry and Remus knew the real truth, and yet when everything had seemed to have turned ugly for him, once again he managed to escape.

Yet there he was, staring out the window into the pitch black night, clutching the window sill in his hands, breathing hard and fast. He had had it all. He had had everything he could've ever wanted. Did he regret losing it?

At times. There were moments in which he just wanted to get away from it, to change everyone's fate and find out what life would've been like had he not taken the path he had decided to take. But the more he thought about it, the more he was convinced that he would do it all over again. He would always choose to safe his own life, because he was weak, because he was a coward and because he was a traitor.

He realized that no matter how much he tried to convince himself of the contrary, he would never be safe at Voldemort's side. One mistake and Voldemort would not find it in his heart to forgive him. He doubted Voldemort even had a heart. Peter could not have walked away if he wanted to. Voldemort would've killed him, but Peter didn't want to walk out of Voldemort. If he did where would he go? Definitely not to the Order. And he couldn't handle it alone because he had always needed someone there to fight his battles. He'd always needed someone bigger than him to hide behind. Just like he'd done so many times he would always choose to follow those who were greater in power, those who offered a greater protection, and those who could insure him a longer and safer life span. He would never change no matter how much time passed, whether he regretted his mistakes, or whether his guilty consciousness drove him insane. He would always be the same cowardly, weak, backstabbing rat.