Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to JKR. I'm just making his life miserable for my own entertainment.
Thirteen-year-old Harry Potter lay in his bed at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, staring at the ceiling. It had been a long couple of days, he mused, but now he really needed to get some sleep. Tomorrow Gryffindor would be playing Ravenclaw at Quidditch and after their disastrous first game against Hufflepuff they needed to do well if they were going to win the cup. He had to catch the snitch tomorrow, but to do that he had to get to sleep. He turned over, punching the pillow angrily. Damn Oliver, anyway. He was the reason Harry wasn't sleeping. He was putting so much pressure on him to win this game that it was a wonder Harry hadn't exploded.
It was all the Dementors fault, he thought irritably. Because of them he had fallen off his broom, his beloved Nimbus 2000, which had flown right into the Whomping Willow and been smashed to pieces. He sighed. At least he had the Firebolt now. McGonagall had given it back to him the evening before, probably hoping he would use it to bring Gryffindor to victory. Why did everyone act as though he were the only one playing? There were six other people on the team, weren't there? Harry was glad to have the broomstick back. If nothing else it flew like a dream, but it was frustrating to wonder who had sent it to him. Hermione had clearly been wrong, it couldn't have been from Sirius Black, the man who had betrayed his parents to Voldemort, but she had gotten him worried about who had sent it, which was probably what she wanted.
Why couldn't he just sleep? He wasn't worried about Dementors anymore, Professor Lupin had taught him how to cast a Patronus Charm. Even though his wasn't as strong as it could be, he was doing well. He hoped that if the Dementors did decide to show up tomorrow he could at least avoid falling off his broom.
He could hear Ron's loud snores echoing around the dormitory and that wasn't helping him any. He sat up tiredly. Ron and Hermione were fighting again. When weren't they? But it was different this time. He doubted they could make up this time. Hermione's cat, Crookshanks, had most likely eaten Scabbers, Ron's pet rat. The evidence was overwhelming. Unfortunately Hermione was stressed from overwork and Ron still hadn't really forgiven her for telling McGonagall about the Firebolt at Christmas so neither were willing to back down and make friends right now.
Harry threw himself back onto the bed. Then there was Crookshanks himself. Harry found the cat to be slightly obsessive in the way he chased after Scabbers, to the exclusion of all the other pet rats that could be found amongst the students or even the mice that were surely to be found in a castle this size with a lake and forest nearby. He had seen Crookshanks outside earlier, when he and Ron had been returning from Quidditch practise and the cat had given him a fright by staring at him out of the bushes. For a moment he thought it had been the large black dog he had seen around several times now. He grinned despite himself. If Trelawney knew how jumpy he was getting over the dog she would be ecstatic, thinking he was finally taking his impending death seriously if he was truly concerned about the grim.
That was it. His mind was just starting to get silly now. He was going to sleep. He was really nervous about tomorrow's game now. Why couldn't he sleep?
Peter Pettigrew shifted anxiously. If the boy didn't go to sleep soon this would all become a lot harder. He nibbled on an old sock that had slipped under the bed as he waited for the boy on it to drift off.
All his pieces were in place, he thought happily. The day before he had faked his own death rather cleverly by biting a paw and allowing it to bleed on the Weasley boy's sheets. He'd found a couple of stray ginger cat hairs in the common room when the kids had been in class and placed them by the bloodstains. It had worked perfectly. The boy had found the evidence and immediately turned on the mudblood for allowing her cat to eat his beloved rat.
It had almost all gone wrong when the girl had suggested he look under all the beds just to make sure. After faking his death he had immediately hidden under Harry's bed, awaiting the right time. He had wanted to do this the night before, but wanted to wait until the day of the Quidditch match. This way he'd have longer to get away afterwards. No one would realise anything was wrong until it came time for the game to start.
The boy shifted restlessly once more. Would he never sleep? He had taken a good look around the night before, noting where the boy kept his wand and cloak. He would probably have to take a few of the boy's clothes as well. They would probably fit him, he wasn't a tall man after all and the boy had a tendency to wear clothes that were rather large. He would need to stop by the kitchens, too. The elves never asked questions and who would ever think to go and ask the house elves if they'd seen anything suspicious. He would need food for the journey, it wasn't like he could stop off and but anything. He was supposed to be dead after all.
He would have smiled evilly if a rat was capable of such a thing. The journey. Or more specifically, the destination. The Master would be so pleased with him and his cleverness, he would surely be rewarded. It had been a stroke of luck that he had been in the staff room when Remus and McGonagall had been discussing the latest news. Imagine his surprise upon hearing that the Dark Lord was currently hiding in Albania. He contented himself for a few minutes by imagining just how grateful his Master would be and what kind of rewards he would be gifted with. He would be the Master's right-hand man, with women at his beck and call and power- yes he would have power beyond imagining, second only to the Dark Lord himself.
It was the news of the Master's whereabouts that had prompted him to make this drastic move, obviously. It had nothing to do with Sirius' attempts at getting in the tower on Halloween, or the fact that he had seen the grim-like dog running around the grounds with the half-kneazle cat only two nights ago. He shuddered at the thought. No. It had nothing to do with that at all.
He paused. The boy hadn't moved in at least five minutes. Could he finally be asleep? He waited breathlessly for a time before deciding to chance it. He silently moved from under the bed, leaving the chewed sock almost regretfully. Sometimes he thought too much like a rat. He had to focus on the rewards he was soon to receive, not on chewable garments. Next thing you knew, his mouth would be watering at the sight of mouldy cheese. Stupid rat instincts.
Once he had reached an open space he stretched. And stretched and stretched, until he was no longer a rat, but a human. It was the first time he had been human in so long! He moved is shoulders, trying to get the feel for his old body back. It felt foreign after over twelve years as a rat. Wrong, somehow. He caught sight of a mirror and was startled to see how much he'd changed in that time. His hair was grey now and falling out in clumps, his once chubby body was thin and gaunt. He attributed much of that to Sirius' breakout. The thought of his ex-friend filled him with dread and left him with little appetite. He knew the boy that had been talking care of him had been worried about his weight loss and dreading his dying despite the amount of times he had complained about how useless Scabbers was. Stupid boy. Clearly he didn't appreciate greatness. What else could a rat do except eat and sleep? It had been a wonderful life and had granted him this opportunity, though. The boy had doted on him and had ended up in the same dormitory as Harry Potter, so he wasn't entirely worthless.
There. The wand was on the bedside table. Wormtail reached out and took it. It was the first time he'd held a wand in twelve years and it felt good. He needed to use it. Now. He pointed at each bed in turn and whispered, "silencio," in a cracked voice that was no longer used to human sounds. He went first to the boy's trunk. There were a few things he needed. He rifled through and began pulling them out at random. Clothes and other things were strewn across the floor. With a chilly smile he shrank most of them and began piling them into the pockets of the tattered robe he was wearing.
There that was everything he needed. Except for one more thing. With a single motion he reached out and pulled back the curtains on the bed. Glee turned to shock on his face.
The figure lying there was small, even for a thirteen tear old, but that wasn't what alarmed Peter. Tired green eyes were blinking up at him in surprise. Damn, the boy hadn't been asleep after all. Thankfully this had been the first bed he'd charmed or he would have been accosted by the famous Harry Potter already.
He faltered for a moment as the boy sat up. What was he going to do now?
"Who are you?" a suddenly alert voice asked. One hand was reaching for his glasses and the other for his wand.
His wand! Of course. Peter had the advantage here. The boy didn't have a wand, but he did. "Stupefy!" he said quickly, his usurped wand pointed at his victim. The boy fell back onto the bed, his glasses clutched in one hand.
Peter silently berated himself for being an idiot. No, he wasn't an idiot. He was a brilliant example of wizard kind! He'd just forgotten for a moment that he had all the cards here. He wasn't used to being able to just point a wand at a problem. Not any more, but he would be. Next time he would remember that he was a wizard first and a rat second.
He hesitated for just a moment before yanking the glasses from the boy's hand and dropping them on the floor. Without them the boy would have yet another disadvantage he could use against him. With a flourish he picked up the invisibility cloak from the floor and draped it over the boy. Alone, he could hide quickly if anyone was wandering the castle, but not with a floating Harry Potter beside him. He levitated the boy and began to walk from the room before he spotted something that gave him pause. The Firebolt. He could take it with him, surely and make a much faster getaway. The thought made him shudder. He wasn't a good flyer at all. He'd take his chances on the ground. Although…
He removed the broom from the rack and kicked it under Harry's bed. If someone saw it there tomorrow morning they would instantly think he hadn't just left early for the game.
With one last look around the otherwise still dormitory, Peter Pettigrew left, a boy floating behind him, hidden from sight and his pockets half filled with stolen booty.
Ron awoke the next morning to a very quiet room. It seemed that his roommates had already left for breakfast. Fine. He didn't care. He could use a lie-in. He relished that Saturday morning feeling and luxuriated in his bed until a thought struck him. Quidditch! He had to get up and eat before the match. Harry was playing today after all.
The moment he opened his curtains the sound seemed to come back. He could hear Neville snoring lightly from his bed and the sounds of birds singing outside. Weird that. He quickly got up and dressed, stopping by Harry's bed just to make sure that he wasn't sleeping in. Nope, he was already gone and so was his Firebolt. Good. He had an excellent feeling about this match. Harry would be flying the best broom out there. He had to win.
He hurried down to the Great Hall where Hermione was seated at the Gryffindor table eating toast and poring over a huge book. He dropped into a seat opposite her and began to pile his plate high with anything he could reach. "Where's Harry?" he asked between bites.
Hermione frowned at him in disapproval. Possibly because he had just sprayed her book with bits of his breakfast. "Honestly, Ron. Swallow first, then talk."
Ron swallowed forcibly. "Fine. Where's Harry?"
"I haven't seen him," Hermione said, distractedly turning back to her book and wiping the food off it. "You know Harry, he gets nervous before a match. He's probably gone somewhere to calm down." She looked at him, as though just registering that he were there. "I though you weren't talking to me."
Ron's ears reddened in embarrassment. How could he have forgotten that? "Oh yeah," he said and picked up his plate, moving over to where Dean was sitting with Seamus. "Hey mates, looking forward to the game?"
He could see Hermione glaring at him furiously, but ignored her as he got into an exciting conversation about Gryffindor's prospects against Ravenclaw. They were going to win, he could feel it. Harry would catch the snitch and they'd have an awesome party to celebrate.
When they made their way down to the pitch Harry still hadn't appeared. Ron wasn't concerned though. He was probably in the changing rooms by now, listening to Oliver Wood, a pretty amazing keeper, giving his pep talk. Oliver was leaving this year, he remembered thoughtfully. Maybe he would have a shot next year. Then he and Harry could play together. They could practise over the summer, Harry would have to spend a lot of time at the Burrow, but that was the plan anyway. The longer he was away from those nasty relatives of his, the better.
Shouldn't the game be starting now? He could see the Ravenclaw team walking about at their end of the pitch, waiting for their opponents to arrive, but where was Gryffindor? Absently, he noted that the Ravenclaw seeker was quite pretty, in a stuck up kind of way.
He glanced at his watch. The game was ten minutes late starting. Where were they? If they didn't show up soon they'd have to forfeit. He looked around to see many of his housemates looking as nervous as he felt. Quidditch was never late. Especially with the manic Oliver playing. There was a man with his priorities straight and Ron thoroughly approved. But where was he now? Hermione was chewing her lip on the far side of the stands, she was wringing her hands and looking really worked up. Ron sighed to himself. If she'd just apologise for her cat eating Scabbers he'd forgive her, but she wouldn't even admit it was a possibility. Now wasn't the time though. The Gryffindors were being delayed by something and if there was trouble it usually involved Harry in some way. He was their best friend and if something was wrong with him he didn't want it made worse by arguing with his other best friend.
Having made up his mind he went to her and held out his hand. "Come on. Let's see if he's alright."
Hermione looked startled, but took his hand with a grateful smile. "Thanks, Ron."
The two of them headed down the stairs, but barely made it to the pitch before McGonagall's voice echoed around them. "EVEYONE PLEASE MAKE YOUR WAY TO THE GREAT HALL. QUIDDITCH HAS BEEN CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE."
Ron and Hermione exchanged a startled look and hurried to where the transfiguration professor was standing. She looked at them steadily for a moment and Ron was startled to see the worry on her face. "Yes," she said after a moment. "You two may follow me."
She turned abruptly towards the school and led them to her office. She gestured for them to take seats, which they did with some trepidation.
"Professor," Hermione said at last. "Is this about Harry?"
McGonagall took a deep breath before nodding. "I'm afraid so. Have either of you seen him this morning?"
"He was already gone when I got up this morning," Ron said quickly.
"I haven't seen him either, Professor," Hemione concurred. "Is he missing?"
"Yes," McGonagall said simply. "He never showed up to the Quidditch match and no one seems to have seen him. The ghosts and teachers are going to search the castle. If you can think of anywhere he might have gone…"
Ron shook his head and heard Hermione agree. Harry wouldn't have gone anywhere without telling them first,he was sure of that.
They were both dismissed moments later, but neither could face the Great Hall right now. Ron tugged Hermione by the hand towards Gryffindor tower, gave the Fat Lady the password and went on up to Ron's room.
Hermione flung herself on Harry's bed and began to sob. "I'm sorry, Ron. I'm sorry Crookshanks ate Scabbers, I'm sorry I've been a horrible friend."
Ron ignored her and went to Harry's trunk. The Marauder's Map would show them where Harry was and they could sort this whole thing out in no time. He flung it open and gasped. "Hermione, come look at this."
Hermione crawled over to him, tears streaming down her face and looked into Harry's messy trunk. "What is it?"
"Someone's been through Harry's trunk. A load of his stuff is missing, clothes his invisibility cloak, all his books are here though."
"Are you saying Harry ran away?" Hermione asked tearfully. "He wouldn't do that."
"No. He's never this messy, someone else has been here," Ron said, throwing things everywhere. "Ah hah!"
He straightened out the map and tapped it with his wand. "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good." Lines spread out and formed the now familiar map.
"Where is he?" Hermione asked at once, leaning over to see better.
Ron searched desperately. "He's not on here," he said at last, throwing it aside angrily. "He's not in the castle."
Hermione burst into a fresh set of tears, her face buried in her hands. Ron supposed he should comfort her, but wasn't sure how. Harry was always better at that than he was. The thought of Harry made his stomach clench. Where could he be? What had happened to him?
Something caught his eye from under the bed. He moved over to it and pulled it out. It was the Firebolt! "Hermione, his broom. He hasn't taken it!"
"So! If Harry went somewhere he would have taken his broom! This is proof that he's been kidnapped!"
"It's not proof, Ron. It might point that way, but it proves nothing."
"Fine then," Ron snapped, his anger coming back. "What about my bed? When I woke up this morning I couldn't hear anything until I opened the curtains and ten the sound came back. Someone used a silencing charm!"
Hermione wiped her eyes and nodded. "Harry's silencing charms aren't that good, someone else must have done that."
Ron reached over and pulled her to her feet once more. "We'll tell McGonagall what we know. It might help." He stepped back and was surprised by the crunching noise that met his ears. He glanced down in confusion. What he saw made his insides tense up. He felt like he could be sick. "I think we have proof now," he said at last.
Hermione met his gaze and followed it down to see what he had stepped on. What she saw made her eyes well up all over again. There, broken beyond repair, were Harry's glasses.
A/N: Well, what did you think? Those of you waiting for the next chapter of New Life, it will probably be up before next weekend. I had a bit of writer's block and this has been nagging at me for a while, but now I'm halfway through chapter 21, so it shouldn't be much longer.
Please review and let me know what you think.