The rat moved in a zig zag fashion across the stone walkway that lead to an old, dilapidated mansion. It squeezed through a hole in the door, and scuttled its up the wooden stair case and into a room at the end of the hall. A fire was the only source of warmth and light, and a lone occupant sat in a large armchair in front of it. No one would have known there was anyone in the room just from looking at it, because the person... thing... sitting in the chair didn't even sit halfway up the back. But the rat knew it was there. Just like the knew the snake was somewhere in the room as well. The rat began to feel frightened. The snake knew it was not supposed to eat the rat. The thing in the chair controlled it and forbade it to eat the rat, at least for now. The rat began to feel more afraid, and twitched it's noise nervously. It came in front of the armchair and looked at the thing in the chair with it's beady black eyes.

"Speak, Wormtail." it said, in a cold, high pitched whisper.

Then the rat suddenly wasn't a rat anymore. He was changing, growing, into a squat little man, with beady, watery eyes and a balding head. He bowed, cowering in front of the thing in the armchair. "I have returned from my journey, My Lord."

"Yes, I can see that, Wormtail," the thing hissed. "What have you discovered?"

The man called Wormtail shuddered. "Yes, of course, forgive me. It seems that..." Wormtail faltered. "I do not wish to displease you, My Lord, but... it seems you were incorrect about Severus' allegiance."


"He went out of his way to save a member of the Weasleys, a Blood Traitor family," Wormtail sputtered. "He was sent to Romania on Dumbledore's orders to prepare for the TriWizard Tournament."

The thing hissed. "So... Bertha Jorkins' information was correct."

"I think... I think Severus has, indeed, returned to the other side. Dumbledore trusts him... the Weasley boy trusted him with his life," Wormtail continued.

The thing said nothing.

"I have done well, My Lord?" Wormtail asked, a small note of pleading in his voice.

The thing did not answer for a moment, but then, said: "Yes, Wormtail. The information has been very helpful. We will see, in the coming year, whether you are correct in your findings."

Wormtail bowed. "Thank you, My Lord."

"Now," the thing continued, and the snake slithered out from behind the door. Wormtail recoiled from the giant serpent. "It is almost time. You must milk Nagini. There is work to be done. And if Severus has indeed betrayed me... he will pay."