Well done, Draco, well done

Chapter 3: Peter Pettigrew

He's thinking, it's a terrible shock, Dumbledore is dead, Dumbledore – the only wizard the Dark Lord ever feared - that's closed a door, a door that he hardly even dared to think about opening, lest the Dark Lord read it in his mind: running to Dumbledore for protection, he had valuable information, information about Snape, he's a double-agent, he still belongs to the Dark Lord, Dumbledore could protect him, Dumbledore would protect him – in exchange for that kind of information. And now Dumbledore is dead and his information is valueless, he's made his bed and now he's going to have to lie in it … does the Dark Lord suspect him of disloyalty? Is that why the Dark Lord has sent him back to Spinner's End, to Snape's house, is Snape reporting on him?

Back to Snape's house … to be bullied and threatened and mocked and treated like a house elf … and Snape's a half-blood, Muggle father, witch mother, just like the Dark Lord himself – not that he is ever going to be stupid enough to let that drop. Well, that explains the ghastly Muggle dump Snape lives in, and who would have thought it, the way that he strutted around with all those Slytherin purebloods, Lucius Malfoy and the Black sisters and the rest … it was news to Bellatrix, the way she looked at Snape, and very unwelcome news, too. Oh, it's pretty clear that she's not the favourite any more, Snape is, the daughter of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, toujours pur, has been supplanted by a lowly half-blood.

He wonders how long it will be before Bellatrix Lestrange and Severus Snape are at it, oh that would be a duel to see, that vicious pair at each other's throats. But it's not the Dark Lord's way to waste a useful servant, he must have some scheme, some reason for goading them … and it must be Azkaban. Now that Dumbledore is dead, it will be Azkaban, breaking Lucius Malfoy and the others out of Azkaban. He almost moans with fear, he won't be able to wriggle out of that, and Azkaban will be a dangerous mission, they'll be taking on Aurors, it won't be Muggle-baiting, and if Scrimgeour has any brains at all he'll anticipate the move and strengthen the Azkaban guard, oh yes, not everyone will be coming back alive and in one piece from Azkaban. Bellatrix will fight like a madwoman, trying to win back the Dark Lord's favour, and Snape, well, Snape knows the score, sure, the Dark Lord is pleased with him now, he killed Dumbledore, but the Dark Lord is a "but what have you done for me lately" kind of guy … He thinks bitterly of the graveyard, he gave his right hand for the Dark Lord, and the Dark Lord wouldn't kill him … probably … but he might not stop Bellatrix or Snape from killing him …

Oh yes, he's out of the frying pan and into the fire, that's for sure, he's got away from Bellatrix Lestrange, the crazy bitch, she's like a volcano, always about to erupt, and he knows why she hates him – she envies him, she wanted to be the one to give the flesh of a servant, willingly given! But Snape, he doesn't know why Snape hates him so much …

He listens to Snape telling young Malfoy about the no magic rule, and you'd better believe it, kid. He remembers the time when he made the mistake of sneaking downstairs from his room, very late, his first night at Spinner's End, before he knew what Snape was like, before he knew that Snape was crazy. All he did was use a Heating Charm to heat up some cocoa, for god's sake, and Snape went nuts.

Snape must have sensed the charm, because he'd come stalking into the kitchen, thin-lipped and furious, dressed in a long grey nightshirt, had grabbed his wrist and twisted his wand out of his hand, and he'd thought, snidely, "Why so shitty Snape, it's just a piss-weak Heating Charm, did I interrupt you wanking yourself?" Snape had just looked poisonously at him, and then he'd said, "Stuff you, Snape, I know James and Sirius pranked you a lot when we were all at school, but I never did anything, I only watched, and you owe me, anyhow, I'm the one who got James killed and Sirius put in Azkaban for twelve years." And then Snape had gone completely psycho, wrapped his hands around his throat, thumbs pressing into his windpipe, and hissed, "Just give me a reason, Wormtail, and I swear I'll do it, I'll do it Muggle-style, I don't need a wand to kill you," and he'd looked into those fathomless black eyes and he'd thought, Snape's insane, he's completely fucking insane.

So it's weird, it's really weird that Snape is being … nice … to him, letting him stay in the sitting room, letting him listen to his conversation with the Malfoy kid, has even given him a glass of firewhisky … but Snape never does anything without a reason, for a madman he's pretty sane. Now Snape's questioning the kid on his knowledge of the Unforgiveables, telling him some sick story about Muggle-baiting contests with Lucius Malfoy in the first war, and he thinks, I'm not like that, I'm not really a bad person, I'm not really a Death Eater, I've never killed anyone for fun, hell, I'm only trying to stay alive.

Snape says he's going to start training the kid up, get him some Muggles to practice on, he's telling the kid he's no use if he can't kill a Muggle, he's laying it on the line, warning him not to disappoint the Dark Lord, using that soft, nasty voice that's worse than when he shouts. He thinks, welcome to my world, kid, it's kill or be killed … and if you don't shape up, Snape'll probably do it himself, never mind he's been friends with your dad for years, never mind he was your teacher for six years. Oh, Snape is the Dark Lord's creature through and through, he's one of the Dark Lord's killers, alright.

Snape is talking about Aurors now, yep, it's going to be Azkaban, and soon, very soon. And after Azkaban, it will be something else, it will be all out war now that Dumbledore is dead, maybe an attack on the Ministry itself, or Gringotts, you need money to run a war. He thinks, oh I wouldn't be in Snape's boots, favourite or no favourite, he'll be the Aurors' number one target now, and the Dark Lord won't risk his skin, won't risk his precious new body, not until the Auror Corps has been broken, I know what he's like, he's a user, he'll send Snape up against the Aurors again and again until the war is over – or Snape is dead - and serve him right, the crazy bastard.

His stomach clenches at the thought of the coming battle, he thinks about assuming his Animagus form and running away, but he's lived as a wild rat, and it's a hard life, and he can't live with wizards, his description has been circulated by the Ministry, there isn't a wizarding household in Britain that won't be looking out for a rat with a silver paw … and he dare not try to live with Muggles, even if they didn't notice something funny about his right paw, they cage rats, use them for experiments, they might even fix rats, he doesn't know much about Muggles but he knows they fix their dogs and cats. He thinks, I may never get another shag in my life, but I'd like to hang on to my nuts a little bit longer, thank you very much …

And then he thinks, what is Snape keeping in his bedroom that could be worse than the books in this room, I can't get into his bedroom even in my Animagus form. It must be porn, he thinks, and pretty hot stuff, too, maybe some of those Bloodlust calendars, it would be amazing if Snape didn't look at dirty pictures, from what he can see the guy almost never gets visitors, and he rarely goes out unless the Dark Lord summons him, he lives like a monk, and he wasn't like that at school, shit no, he had a reputation as bad as Sirius Black's after Bertha Jorkins caught him screwing Florence ... Florence … what's-her-name … behind the greenhouses.

The kid is looking pretty sick, too much to drink, and Snape is taking the boy up the bathroom, but the satisfaction he feels at the thought of Lucius Malfoy's stuck up brat spewing all over the place is tempered by the thought that he's the one who's going to have to clean up the mess, and Muggle-fashion, no magic. Snape stands in the doorway, looking back at him, tells him that he's the one sleeping on the couch, and he thinks, whatever … there's still an inch of whisky in the bottle, I'll finish that off.