Rats from a sinking ship

Wormtail has an offer for Tonks. An offer of the kind you don't refuse. Characters belong to Rowling.

"Stop right there! Don't even think of moving.

"Now, this can go the easy way, or the hard way. Just be a smart girl and you'll walk out of this alive and fresh. Doesn't sound that bad, eh? Hey - no need for name-calling. Yeah, I'm a death eater, all right. Do you think I have this tattoo just to look cool?

"What? No, I'm not going to kill you... Well, not if you play along and remain sensible, that is. No heroics, or it will be green killing curses and Morsmordre and all that kind of bullshit. You play nice with me, I play nice with you. As simple as that. I just want to talk to you, believe it or not.

"...OK, now we're getting to the hard part. Since I happen to know that you've been trained by ol' psycho MadEye, you've got your fair share of 'Constant Vigilance'... didn't really help you this time, did it?... Hey, don't get cocky with me, young lady. If you've paid attention to even half of his lectures, you've got your wand at hand. Give it to me. Nice and slowly like a good auror...

"...Yeah, yeah. Sticks and stones. Just give me that damned wand!

"Whoa! You had it hidden there? Not afraid of loosing a buttock, are you? Good. Give it to me nice and slowly... HEY! WHAT THE FU... Protego! ... Expelliarmus! ... Acio wand!

"Ok, dirty trick, that. Lucky for me that you tripped, eh? I should've remember that you're a metamorphmagus. You used to scare the crap out of me when I babysat you as well... Don't remember it? You used to love Uncle Wormtail's bedtime stories, kid... Ouch! That hurts! Uncle Peter was good with children, you know.

"All right, enough of friendly chitchat. I've got a proposition for you Nymphadora... What? Oh, sorry. My bad.

"Anyway, Tonks. Let me tell you something. This is simple enough. There're two kind of people in this fine world - survivors and suckers. And suckers end up dead. You don't wanna be a sucker, do you Tonks? Didn't think so.

"Me, I'm a survivor all right. You can't be squeamish in this trade. Can't always choose your companions yourself. But in this case, I seem to have done a slight miscalculation... Yeah, all right. A rather large one... OK, I screw up big fat time. But hey, a chap's allowed one mistake, right? Besides, how was I expected to know that His brain was blown to little pieces at the same time as his body?

"What I mean? Isn't it obvious. That whole prophesy business was a nice little fiasco wasn't it? Not to mention how he let Harry get away from him again the year before, at the graveyard. Honestly, what does it take? The boy gutted and roasted on a silver platter? Whoa! Easy, girl. Just a joke.

"Yeah, so I've gone and hitched a ride on a ship sinking faster than Titanic... What? Yeah, rats are leaving the ship, alright. That's the whole point to this little friendly conversation. He who turns and run away, lives to run another day, and shit like that.

"Like I said, I'm a survivor. And right now, that means not being anywhere close to that psycho, and not standing in the way of the bloody chosen boy who lived. I'm out of it. Hell, the kid killed a basilisk at the age of twelve, didn't he? And the year before he destroyed the Dark Lord with his bare hands. I lived in Ron's pocket at the time, remember? I had first hand view, and it wasn't pretty.

"I'm quitting. Switching side. Running for it. Yeah, that's what I'm proposing. After we've finished this chat, you'll stroll up to your boss Shacklebolt and tell him the deal. I want him to hide me until it's all over. Until the dust has settled and until the Dark Lord is gone for good. And it'll better be a damned good hiding place. In the meanwhile, I want you, sweetie, to tell them all how you fought the dangerous death eater Pettigrew. I tried to ambush you, no time to call for backup, you tried to disarm me but I gave you no choice, yadayadayada... It'll be a feather in your cap all right. And then, when the excitement has died out and no one is sparing clumsy ol' Peter a thought any longer, no one will notice yet another stow-away rat on a muggle ship on it's way to Australia. We won't see each other again, and we'll all live happily ever after - well except for all the suckers of course, who'll be dead.

"What do you say? Sounds good? What I have to offer in return?

"Well, information of course. I've got names, places, plans, raids, targets, passwords... oh, and I'll toss in a little bonus too! The Dark Lord didn't die back in 1981 because he's hidden a part of his soul. Bet you didn't know that, huh? That's seriously dark magic, you know... I can tell you where he hid it, if Schacklebolt should happen to be cooperative... Of course no one told me where it is! But then, no one seems to remember that rats have ears too...

"Hey! How is it my fault that Padfoot would go play roughly with his dear, psycho cousin? You should've seen them as kids - at each other's throats all the time. I'm surprised they didn't manage to snuff each other in Azkaban... Whoa! Easy!

"Yeah, I betrayed him, and Prongs, and Lily, and about everyone else I ever cared for. So what? That's what I do... No, of course I won't betray you, sweetie. Why not? Because you're special. OK, how about because just by meeting you, I've just written myself on the Dark Lord's death list with big fucking leathers, underlined twice.. I'll damned well have to hope that your pal Schacklebolt makes good use of the information I'll give him. And that you'll pass it on to Harry, because if the kid manages to screw up and get himself killed before he snuffs the Dark Lord, I'm good for nothing more than a quick squak and a small patch of grease on the wall... What do you mean, improvement?

"Of course I'm sorry for James and Lily - yeah, and for Sirius to. And Harry never deserved a third of the shit he was given - but how is that my fault? I never put Prongs on the Dark Lord's list. Snivelius did that job neatly enough by himself, didn't he? And it wasn't my great idea to switch secret keepers, now was it?

"Shoot the messenger, why don't you? I never wanted anyone to die, but like I told you - there are only survivors and suckers in this marvellous world, and you tell me what kind of use it would have been for anyone if I'd kicked the bucket too.. Oh, all right. But what use would it have been for me? I only have this one life, you know, and I'm not done with it yet.

"Alright, sweetie. Time for decisions, because my tattoo's tickling. I'm gonna give you back your wand, and you can vent all that anger you seem to have built up on this fine rat I brought. Yeah, I know. It wasn't easy to find as handsome a rat as magical myself. Look - even a toe is missing. When you've snuffed the poor bastard, you're going straight to Schacklebolt. He'll arrange a hiding place for me, and once there - if it looks secure enough - I'll start spilling the beans. All right? And not a word to anyone. If He doesn't think I'm dead, then He's sure to fix that little detail himself.

"But hey, Tonks. Do me a favour, will you, and tell Remus that I said I was sorry before you got me. Sorry for.. everything, y'know. Didn't want it to end like this. And Harry too. Tell him that we're square now. Right? No more debts between us. Right? But don't tell 'em that I'm alive. Not even when it's all over. This time round, everyone is better off if ol' Peter stays dead.

"All right then, Tonks? Here's your wand then. You're such a smart girl. You know a winning deal when you see one. The rest of them, they're suckers. But you and me, we're survivors, right? Whoa! Watch where you're pointing that thing! We're square, right? Tonks? We understand each other, right? We've got a deal, right?..."