If Your Evil Plan Requires A Worm…
A/N: I've seen a definite, if small, uptick in competent!Wormtail plotlines. We need to extinguish that fire before it really gets started.
Peter Pettigrew had eaten well for ten years. At least as well as a wizard who chose to live in a rat-sized body could.
Let no one ever say that Molly Prewitt couldn't run her wand around a kitchen. She was a master with suet and boiled meat and turning garden cabbage into something to drool over. Peter had never had better mushy peas than what she turned out. Her particular magic might be fecundity or it might be her skill nourishing the folks she loved. Either or both.
A witch of some talent.
In any event, Peter benefited.
However, once he switched owners from the upright Percy to the continually famished Ronald, Pettigrew found his daily intake of food shot heavenward like a drunken wizard trying to ride a broom: up, up, and away.
He went from plump to fat to grotesque even before Ron got off the Hogwarts Express. He'd managed to eat two whole Chocolate Frogs, treats he remembered well from his school years.
He barely noticed that he was a couple feet away from that troublemaker, the Potter boy. He'd brought the good times — you know, fear, murderer, threats of vile torture — to a shattered halt.
Pettigrew was busy working on Bertie Botts when the boys talked that day on the train. He couldn't hear anything over the noise of his own jaws.
Peter settled back into life at Hogwarts. He remembered it well. Ron often returned from the Great Hall with vast quantities of unintentional food lost in his pockets. Peter made an effort to pull everything out. Bits of roast chicken and congealed gravy, roast potatoes and jellies. Puddings of every variety: Peter's favorite was chocolate gateau.
By Halloween, Peter could barely move well enough to make his nightly searches of Ron's day robes. His joints, oh, the pain. It took him a week before he thought through the Pettigrew family tree — and Uncle Randalpot. The man had been famous for succumbing to a particular muggle disease, gout.
Now Peter was similarly distinguished. He was the first rat to ever experience debilitating gout. Well, the first rat to ever know the word for the particular pain. Oh, his joints. The pain was worse than the Cruciatus Curse when it flaired up.
He settled down to soothe his aches with a nice cockroach cluster that he found under the Finnegan boy's bed. Dirty children were just fine for rats.
Two years later.
Peter thought the world was difficult because of his love of sugar and his hatred of gout. That all changed when he was introduced to an orange demon cat. Pettigrew was always running when it was around so he never quite managed to catch its name.
He just thought of it as Demon Cat.
Then things got even worse. Sirius Black had escaped from Azkaban. A long time ago, well before the Demon Cat came to Hogwarts. Had Peter been so busy foraging in the Weasley kitchen he hadn't even noticed? That damnable trip to Egypt had been really hard on him.
Sirius Black. Why now of all times? How was he same enough to get away from the Dementors?
Peter realized he needed to stop eating so much, get in shape, start listening to the gossip and the news.
He had spent so many years as Ron Weasley's overfed rat he looked like a mouldy grapefruit with stubby little legs.
So he rewarded himself with whatever he found in Ron's robe pockets, which was quite a lot. Then he needed a nap. He'd get started on his get-fit program soon. Tomorrow. After breakfast. Definitely before lunch.
Pettigrew waddled out of his spot on Ron's bed. He jumped down to the floor — and don't let anyone convince you it looked more like falling and bouncing. It was jumping. Very padded jumping.
He surveyed the leavings, didn't find anything of interest, and decided to risk a trip down the stairs into the Common Room. There were always bits and bobs left down there. People hauling back little smidgeons of breakfast, not quite finishing them. The house elves didn't come into rooms with windows during the daylight very often.
They preferred night work.
Like Peter should.
Although he also enjoyed a nice long nap. Then a leisurely nap after breakfast. Also the ones after lunch and dinner.
Peter worked his way down the stairs with care. Oh, man, there had better be some excellent edibles. His body felt like it was getting torn apart with every stair.
He slunk from the stairs to under one sofa, then another. He found bits of scrambled egg, dried toast. He was getting a bit snobby in his old age. He'd prefer sausage, but none was on offer so far. He kept searching, darting under something or into a shadow when he heard people moving about. It was a damned inconvenient way to run a buffet.
Then he smelled something.
The thing was fat, monstrously proportioned, but it moved on silent pads. Claws flicked through the air and then teeth and then the thing tried to jump on Peter, pin him down. Well, that he wouldn't stand for. He'd change back.
Assuming he remembered how. It had been an awfully long time. It might take some time. Like minutes. Then Peter might be in pieces.
So he ran instead.
Peter could move when he wanted.
Or so he thought.
He felt the slash to his tail. He could see little drops of blood hitting the carpet. Another swipe almost scalped what little hair remained on his ratly pate.
His joints screamed in agony, like two bags of gravel rubbing up against each other.
He scrambled up the stairs, dodging, weaving, trying to remember if there were worn holes in the stone. Large enough that he might squeeze into them.
The cat was far more nimble. But it would pounce and Peter would get out from underneath it, under its legs or over its back or jumping off its head. Peter almost had time to smile at that one.
The cat got one of Peter's hind feet in its mouth.
Peter turned around and bit with his incisors. Bite, bite, bite everything he could reach.
Demon Cat tasted terrible.
It yowled, hissed, and then fled back down the stairs.
It was at best a draw. The Demon Cat was strong. Peter was a whole heck of a lot weaker than he remembered.
Peter needed to get his strength back. Right after a nap. And some food, assuming the house elves hadn't cleaned out his stash again.
The room was quiet. Peter was rested.
He scrambled into the bathroom and focused on changing back to human. He couldn't have done it while under attack by the Demon Cat.
But as a wizard, he could put paid to any cat.
He tried, he sat on the cold tile and tried. Nothing happened. Peter was a magical rat who had lost his familiarity with his magic.
Bloody bloody blood bloody blood.
Peter was on a diet now. He also obsessively read whatever scraps of news made it back to the boys' dorm. The Demon Cat attacked whenever Peter tried to get as far as the Common Room. Getting out of the Fat-Lady-protected entrance? Suicide.
Peter was a coward. But he wasn't crazy.
He was trying to work out a way past the Demon Cat. If only his magic hadn't gotten extremely comfortable holding his rat form.
Peter noted that someone had left the window open.
He could climb well. Assuming the ledge was wide enough. Wider than for a pigeon. As wide as the Demon Cat would require, if he were honest. Peter no longer fit in the narrow holes that dotted an old castle. When he'd come here with Percy, he really could move around. Now he was a cork that sealed up whatever crumbled passage he tried to use.
He went back to sleep.
It was January before Peter managed to reverse his transformation. His magic suddenly felt like it ripped, like too much posterior in too little fabric. He woke up in pain on the bathroom tile. He pushed himself up. His arms were fairly withered. His middle section was grossly distended. He looked worse as a human than he had as a rat.
Then he made his real mistake. Peter screamed a little when he looked at himself in the mirror. He didn't wake anyone in the dorms up, but he could have. How would he have explained himself in that situation?
He couldn't look away from the mirror.
His skin looked like it had been dipped in iodine. Or maybe it had been formed from particularly cheap wax. It sagged, it bulged, it made him wonder if he could find a couple of potions to reverse the damage. But who would brew them?
His hair — it had gone on a long-term holiday without inviting him. Except the thickets growing from his nostrils and his ears. He could weave those hairs into nauseating rugs and sell them to curio collectors.
His ears had become pointed. Not elf-like. Ratlike.
His teeth hadn't seen a cleansing charm in a decade. His teeth looked like orange slivers of cracked flint.
He finally saw enough.
But it took some doing to get him to focus on anything but the reflection. He wasn't a Narcissus falling in love with himself. If anything he was an anti-Narcissus who hated just about every wrinkle and pore.
His hand. He made the mistake of looking at his hand. Hair everywhere, like a graying pelt. His fingers were curled and in pain. He dug through his robes until he found the several wands he carried. His, his master's, one he'd stolen in the very first days he'd taken up residence with the Weasleys. Then he'd taken some risks. After, he hadn't taken so much as a risk for a decade.
He held his wand between his thumb and forefinger. There was pain at doing something he'd grown unaccustomed to over the years. He cast a Lumos. Nothing happened.
Why not. He'd turned his mind away from magic, so magic might just take some time to warm back up to Peter.
Ten, twelve years. His joints hurt. His body preferred to look like a rat. Even his magic didn't work.
Peter Pettigrew would need some major rehabilitation before he could handle Demon Cat. Before he could stand to look at himself in the mirror. He'd also need to work up his cutting charm. He needed to do something drastic about the tufts of hair everywhere.
Better to revert to form for now.
The transformation hurt, but his body was used to that shape.
Peter had made it out of the Gryffindor Common Room. The Demon Cat had been lax in his duties again. This time, Peter had no plans to go back. Way too dangerous.
The cat had nearly scalped Peter the previous evening. So Peter left some hairs and some of the blood all over Ron's things. Better than a note goodbye, right.
He needed out.
The Demon Cat had followed Peter out of the common room.
Was it a cat or a bloody great snake?
Peter ran. He tried to hide. His body, though, wouldn't fit.
The Demon Cat drove him down the stairs, down the corridors, behind suits of armor.
Eventually Peter burst out of the castle.
The Demon Cat stopped chasing.
Peter's little lungs were working overtime, but also threatening to go on strike permanently.
Peter kept moving, not waiting for the Demon Cat to continue the chase. But it didn't. The Demon Cat took up a vigil at the entrance.
Peter rested near a tree for a moment, looked back at Hogwarts. He'd been forced out finally after, what, fifteen years of residency, more or less, between his own school years and those of the Weasley children.
Peter was slow to recognize the noise.
Yes, there was the smell. Dog.
Peter looked all over. Then he glanced behind him at the treeline and saw the grim. His heart almost stopped. It wasn't a grim. He wasn't in a cemetery. All those wasted hours taking Divination reminded him of one salient fact.
The noisemaker was a giant black dog. A grim-substitute. A familiar, if mangier, creature.
He could hide better outside. In Hagrid's pumpkin patch. Through the broken stones of Hagrid's foundation, into his little hut. He could hide out here, he hoped.
"Woof. Woof, woof."
Another week of this and Peter would be slimmed right down. If not from the exercise, then his nerves.
Some months later.
None of it could get through the skin of a half-giant.
"You shouldn't let your pet loose."
Hagrid caught Peter and handed him back to Ron. The gig was up. Peter hadn't been able to leave the environs of Hagrid's hut for some time. The Demon Cat wouldn't let him back in the castle. The Sirius Grim came after Peter if he got close to the forest to escape.
"You found him. I thought… Well, I didn't think I was going to find him," the Weasley boy said.
Peter knew if he put one paw outside Hagrid's shack that Sirius would be having vermin for a snack.
So Peter bit his former master, the one who had fed him better than any other. Dirty Little Ron. He was considerably less tough than a half-giant.
Peter ran out, the Demon Cat somehow started chasing him, and then there was the Mutt, too.
So down they went underneath the Whomping Willow.
The rest of the story was pitiful.
Getting caught by Sirius, a wizard without a wand. Then unmasked to Remus and James' son and a couple other children. Also Snape.
Peter begged and pleaded and sounded pitiful.
He was almost glad he hadn't trimmed his nose hair. He really must look repulsive. To think, he had once been a bit of a dandy in school. Now the wore the bristles of a broom in each of his ears.
He begged and pleaded and eventually the Potter boy forced the others not to kill him.
Oh, thank Merlin.
He was a rat. He could always wriggle, assuming he was still alive.
Then the rest of the mess happened.
Remus. Poor dumb Remus forgot it was a full moon. Peter had forgotten, too, but he had also spent more than a decade as a rat. What was a full moon to a rat?
So Remus transformed and Peter got loose.
But before he did, he had some advice to give, "Eat the Demon Cat, Remus. Don't even chew, just swallow it down. Eat Padfoot, too, if you're still hungry."
He transformed and made a careful transit of the Forbidden Forest. There were plenty of things in here that ate rats.
He hoped Ron would be fine. The boy had done well keeping Peter fed. That deserved a little loyalty. A little. Too bad he'd expected it from Peter Pettigrew.
"Clack. Clack. Click, clack."
There were plenty of noises in the forest that sounded worse than the werewolf.
"Clack, clack, click."
Like the huge spider that dropped out of a tree and decide to have a murine snack.
Peter lost a chunk of tail.
Later, a snake of monstrous proportions decided to follow Peter. It hissed but made no attempt to swallow down a rat.
Unnerving as all get-out. Worse than NEWTs, worse than failing NEWTs or betraying close friends or even the pain of having a Dark Mark bound into the skin.
Peter had apparently wandered into a thicket filled with little trees and massive spiders. He lost another toe to a spider. The damned snake had to intervene to keep Peter mostly intact. It swallowed the spider whole and then no longer had any interest in following Peter.
Had the stupid creature been using Peter as bait — getting Peter to lure out a spider for it to eat?
The nerve of that thing. Especially now that it was full and no longer playing shield.
Peter needed a protector, something better than a stupid snake.
Peter made it to the edge of the forest by the third day. Then he spent most of another day trying to get his body to return to its human shape. His magic was traumatized or something. It didn't want to turn.
When he managed the task, Peter realized why.
The spot where his tail had been now translated to his rather substantial posterior. He lost a chunk of flush bigger than his flesh which started bleeding at a rapid rate.
Peter was going to die of a several-day-old acromantula bite…which now appeared as a hole in his arse.
He passed out.
He didn't pass on, become a ghost or something worse, maybe a nasty poltergeist. Peter woke that evening with a heartbeat. His lips were blistered and his face felt like someone had put irons down onto it. Domesticated Peter needed some serious help. His body, and his life, was a mess.
He had better return to his master.
His days of finding delicious scraps in the pockets of robes were over.
Peter kept learning new things about himself. For example, he was seasick even in rat form. He'd hitched a ride on a boat to the continent — because he could feel his Master was in that direction — but he regretted it. Exsanguinating had to be a less painful death than vomiting up major organs.
He'd have been better off splinching himself. At least half of him wouldn't be puking on the boat.
He worked his way into a crate and tried to stop rocking and twisting. It helped a little. Except when his stomach rebelled again.
He made it to land, took three days to gorge and feel better, and then got himself a spot on a train. First class, they had the better scraps there. He could feel he was moving in the right direction.
It was three weeks later that Peter, much thinner but still afflicted with gout, arrived in Albania. Damned place was a city, a couple towns, and a whole lot of creepy forests. Peter still felt the damage to his tail keenly. He wasn't fond of forests right now.
He tried to focus on his Dark Mark. Normally it would say go west or go south-east. Whatever. This time the Dark Mark was almost content.
Peter was slow to realize what that meant. In fact, his mark was saying his Master was here.
Not more snakes.
Peter got a fix on that damned thing. It wasn't large. But it might be fast, might be venomous. It might want a rat sandwich…and Peter was running out of fingers and other accessible portions of lunch meat.
Peter ran and got another look at his pursuer. A snake with red eyes was trying to eat Peter.
The snake lunged.
Peter had to pop himself out of his rat form. The snake's fangs still went into Peter's outer thigh.
Peter couldn't rip the snake off his body — because it was the Master — but he needed that pain to cease. Now.
The snake did it itself. It also seemed to be attempting to spit. Peter didn't know snakes could spit, but this one was trying.
"Wormtail?" the snake asked.
A talking snake. A shiver went down Peter's spine.
The snake wriggled around and climbed a tree so that it could stare Pettigrew in the eye.
"You see what I've become."
Never let anyone tell you that a talking snake wasn't a mind trip. It was. Peter wished he could leave, but the Master knew he was here. The Master was alive and wouldn't forgive Wormtail again.
"I should have sent you into the cottage to murder your friends…and their child. That prophecy convinced me to do the work myself. Now I've paid for my hubris. You'll pay for your absence, too."
"Carry me. We have work to do."
Peter would have been better off succumbing to his seasickness in the English Channel. He was pretty sure of it now. He had a small snake as a Master and it sounded more than hungry. It sounded angry.
Peter wasn't just allergic to the sea. Rituals were also fairly nauseating.
The smells of the ingredients. The blood, in particular.
Then there was the kidnapping. Peter wasn't a coward, but he could easily play one on the stage. Kidnapping an infant was probably the most horrible thing Peter had ever done.
The gore. The splashiness of it, the way it spread everywhere. Yuck.
The chanting, surprisingly, he was okay with. A gore-free ritual, he could do that. But any of the smells of burning entrails or blood. Nope, sorry, just no.
Pettigrew wasn't an old family nor a particularly dark one. They had no history of performing rituals or sacrificing small animals to boost their magical potential. Nothing like that.
So Peter didn't enjoy the coming days one bit. He hadn't known anything in advance.
He just set it up the way he was told.
Immediately after, things got worse in two ways.
First, the Master abandoned the snake and became some kind of lumpy baby through a ritual Pettigrew had performed. He wasn't supposed to look lumpy which the Master complained about. Unfortunately, however Peter screwed up, he managed a deformed Master who still had access to his magic. The Master's Crucio was much weaker than it was before, but it still gave Peter the shakes.
Second, Peter had to use his rat form to lure a snake, the longer the better, for one of his Master's projects. So Peter took a gamble and went back to the Forbidden Forest. He caught up to the monstrous snake there within a few days. The longer he took, the more his Dark Mark burned.
So Pettigrew made the decision to return.
He presented the massive snake, accepted one bout of the pain curse for the length of time he required, and then after feeding and changing, Peter was kicked into the street for an evening. Rituals the master chose to perform.
The snake was longer then and smarter.
Peter had a big mouth.
He had capable eyes, but he had a damned big mouth.
After Peter returned from his forced night out — he'd spent it as a rat in a bar-inn in the nearest town — he mentioned that he'd seen a British witch there, someone a couple of years younger than Peter had been at Hogwarts.
"Get her for me."
There was only one acceptable answer. "Yes, Master."
It took him three days to determine where the Jorkins witch was staying. He waited until night and enacted his simple, clever plan. Peter went to her room, knocked on the door, and slipped in rat-sized when she opened it.
She was out in the hall a while. A dim bulb, thankfully.
She came back in and sat down on the bed.
Peter was working out the best way to handle this. Hide in a corner and wait until she fell asleep….
Then she screamed. "Rat, dirty rat."
She threw a shoe at him.
She threw a book at him, black and heavy, with an uncracked spine.
She had a disturbingly accurate eye.
She threw another shoe and clocked Peter in the head with her heel.
She heaved heavy glass bottles that shattered and stunk. Like roses that had molded. The little rat bitterly sneezed and sneezed.
The witch took the opportunity to brain him with a lamp.
Not only was Peter in dire pain, but half the room was essentially dark.
He transformed, bleeding.
She screamed again, louder. She didn't move, though. Her brain had frozen up. Apparently fighting with a rodent was one thing, but she hadn't expected a man.
Peter finally had his expected advantage. He pushed her down on the bed and struggled with her, trying to smother her with a pillow. He'd forgotten how vulnerable he was in his position. The witch didn't and reduced Peter's theoretical fertility to a very low likelihood.
She got free of him.
Peter fell to the floor, curled up amid the stinking smell and the glass shards. The witch ran to the door and down the hall.
There it was Bertha Jorkins made her mistake.
She didn't stay in the well-populated bar on the first floor. She didn't sit at the bar and have people looking at her. Or sit there and call for the police. Being a witch, she probably didn't want to involve muggle authorities.
She ran outside. At night. In a country that had one street lamp for every ten thousand people.
Peter hobbled along after her and eventually stunned her. A weak, pitiful stunner, but sufficient. It took him some time to remember what the incantation for the binding spell was, you know, the one with ropes. He had to try three times to make it work.
Then he apparated both of them to where the Master was. Peter only left behind two fingernails on his non-wand hand. He took the pain and considered it a success.
Peter floated the witch inside the small cabin they had found.
"Any difficulties?" the Master demanded to know.
With the Master, one kept problems silent. Otherwise you had your problems and his anger to deal with.
"You're bleeding and you smell like you were visiting a knocking shop. Also, you took too long. Crucio."
In rapid order, Bertha was brain damaged and then dead. The snake was larger and even smarter. Pettigrew half wondered if the thing could also talk, as the Master-as-snake had once talked. If the snake did talk, it didn't talk to Peter. Thankfully.
Eventually Peter realized the Master had extracted some information from the dead woman. He had a plan. Peter could tell he wasn't going to like it. When the Master had simple plans — smash this, burn this — they usually worked. But then he got fancy sometimes. To all their suffering.
First step, relocating to Little Hangleton, a place Pettigrew had never heard of.
The world was well out of Peter's control. He was tending to the Master-baby, feeding the Master's snake, and now quarreling with a dead man, Barty Crouch Junior. Peter didn't remain surprised for long, after all, he too had been dead for a decade.
Barty had lived blissed out under the Imperius for years, literally years. Peter hadn't yet shaken his gout. But with a couple of days of nagging from the Master they were now supposed to be some kind of uber-wizards. He and Barty were supposed to take on the most paranoid ex-Auror still drawing air.
Peter couldn't even remind the Master what an unlikely plan this was.
It started well. Barty could do a disillusionment spell. So he made both Peter and himself invisible. Then Barty shot a weak banishing charm against the wizard's rubbish bins.
It brought the Auror out of his house. However, his wand was drawn and he was casting. "Homenum revelio."
Then he was casting cutters and exploding spells and withering spells, nasty stuff. He got Peter. He got Barty. They were dodging and hiding and trying to get to cover behind trees or escape into Moody's own house.
He was fast. He was accurate. Why had the Ministry tossed him out? Maybe the hair temper, the insanity, something like that.
Peter was battered and bleeding.
He hadn't seen Barty for a few minutes, but he thought he heard weeping from time to time.
Then Peter heard a thump.
"Buggering holes in my lawn."
There was the sound a snap and then Moody was on the ground. He was still casting.
"Voles. Rats. Damn them."
But Peter could aim a stunner against a downed opponent. Barty did his best too, even when his lower body was covered in his own blood.
They got Moody down. Then the pair of them had to get Moody back into his house. Peter was the first one who saw the trunk. It took a lot of effort to get the crazy ex-Auror inside it.
Only then did they take stock. Peter was once again half scalped, with a broken arm and a concussion and a missing finger. His posterior hadn't taken any more damage, though.
Barty had lost a testicle and his thigh had taken a jagged cut, almost like a lightning bolt. They patched themselves up and agreed on a story to tell the Master.
Obviously the truth wouldn't work. That Alastor Moody had been defeated by his own peg leg, not by anything Peter or Barty did.
Peter left as soon as he could.
Why did he bother though?
The Master listened to Peter's report and saw through it. "You and Barty did poorly. But Barty has already moved on to the next phase. So you get double punishments, Wormtail. Imperio. Stick your hand, your good hand, into the fire. That's a dumb wizard. Maybe we can forge a smarter wizard."
The howl through the crumbling manor house disturbed Peter. He dropped in seven oak leaves, not five, and the potion turned bright orange.
That was his twelfth attempt to get the potion to work.
There was a month left, less than a month. The potion was something Peter would have to make on the day, it couldn't be finished more than two hours before the ritual.
Peter washed off the orange gunk that that splattered up on him. Then he noticed his gums and his nose were bleeding. Another side effect of a wrongly made potion.
Peter hurried up the stairs.
"Where is Barty Crouch Senior?"
Peter looked around. Had a bad feeling. "Oh."
"He was your responsibility."
"I was practicing the potion I have to make."
"Practicing," the Master shouted. Well, as much as a baby-creature could.
"Do you have any value at all? I could feed you to Nagini. Saves on the meat bill at least."
Peter knew better than to saw anything. It was just pique.
"Now the opposition has an idea what we're doing. If you've ruined this, Wormtail, you'll wish for and never receive death."
Courage. Peter needed courage right about now. Unfortunately, it was usually quite a rare commodity.
"Wormtail?" The word held untold menace.
"Ah. Master, could Barty produce the potion?"
If a baby-creature could crinkle his eyes and frown with absolute hatred, that's what the Master looked like. "He'll be busy."
"He got a Potions NEWT."
"You'll get it right. Barty Crouch Senior is no longer a distraction. You won't mess up, will you?"
Failure after failure.
He bit back his bile and started over.
Some days it was rotten ingredients. Some days it was off timing. One day that damned Nagini sat staring at Peter and almost caused the cauldron to explode. A shaking hand over a potion could do that.
Thirty different flavors of failure.
He was out of days.
Then, finally, a success. On the day. Good ingredients, the best reserved for this day. Nagini out of the way. No wind issues. The only thing Peter fought on the day was confidence.
He felt bad for the Potter boy, but today was his last day breathing. The Potter family would end this day.
Peter stood next to the potion he'd brewed without a single mistake. He checked the temperature, got it bubbling the right way for the waiting period. It was ready for the final ingredients, the incanting of the ritual. Peter had already decided to cut off his mangled hand. He had a thumb left and one other finger. Not so useful.
"It's time, Wormtail. Barty just relayed that Potter has entered the maze."
"You can cast the stunner?"
"Knock Potter out. Do not hurt him. That privilege belongs only to me."
He had no affection for James' son. Character defect maybe. Didn't like kids. Nah, it had to be jealousy. Peter had been over the Potter charm for a long time, especially when that charm resulted in a happy family.
They spent the next thirty minutes preparing, waiting, sweating. Boredom was hard to fight in a situation like that.
So he was a bit dazed when the portkey arrived.
Wormtail cleared his head. He swiveled toward where the portkey had arrived. Wormtail was just thirty seconds slow in responding to the portkey activation. A good reaction time for a wizard.
One. Two? Why were there two?
The Master noted that as well.
"Kill the spare," the Master said.
So Wormtail cast the weakest Killing Curse he'd ever seen. He never was so good aiming his spells so it hit a gravestone.
Wormtail managed to get Potter with a stunner. And the other one, too.
He didn't know how long things would last.
He didn't mention that he hadn't killed the spare.
Maybe the Master hadn't noticed. Maybe.
"Bone of the father…"
"Blood of the enemy…"
"Flesh of the servant…"
Pettigrew cut off his badly damaged hand. The Master had promised him a new one.
Then he dumped the Master's temporary body into the simmering glop.
He leaned down to get a better view. Also because he was in tremendous pain. Cutting off a hand was not the nicest feeling.
Pettigrew started mumbling or whispering. Maybe to himself. Maybe to the potion in the cauldron.
"Be kind, Master. Win, Master, but be kind. Give me a new body, repair my skin, give me back my hair. Be kind, Master. Take away my gout and my extra pounds."
By the final request, he was whispering into the cauldron. Very low to the potion, the perfect potion. So low, in fact, that his nose hairs dragged through the glop.
The smell of the potion changed. The volume of magic emanating increased. Then the color changed to a violent magenta.
Pettigrew stood straight up as soon as the fumes starting wafting up.
He collapsed, unconscious. The vapors got him or some funkiness with his Dark Mark.
Timing mattered in a ritual. A bit of armadillo bile too early or too late could cause an explosion. Adding an unrequested ingredient…not so good. Either that or the call for 'flesh of the servant' did not extend to include 'nose hair of the servant.'
Cedric Diggory survived and managed to summon his family elf. The elf summoned help.
He and Harry Potter were declared joint victors.
Barty Crouch Junior fainted about the same time Wormtail did. Also about the same time upstanding citizens with the names of Malfoy and McNair and many others collapsed. Barty went back to his old cell in Azkaban.
It took Dumbledore three days to locate his old friend Alastor Moody. The man was cranky, but alive.
As for the rat, Peter Pettigrew would never receive credit for destroying Voldemort. He was too busy sitting out his life in Azkaban.
Sirius Black, of course, received a full exoneration for crimes he'd never committed.
Never let it be said that Sirius was merciful. He'd once intended to gobble up his old friend in one bite.
This slightly more sane Sirius made it a point to visit Azkaban weekly to have a conversation with his old friend. Sometimes Remus attended. After Harry grew up a bit, he also went on the visits a few times per year. Talking about his career (enchanting), his wife, his many children (eleven, at last count), the ruins belonging to the Potter family he'd rehabilitated, recovering the animated portraits of his parents. He promised to bring the one of James Potter sometime. Things like that. Proper life achievements.
Peter usually said nothing. It would have been better if he'd kept his rat form and his gout and his polite, if dangerous, rivalry with Demon Cat.
He took the visits as another torture. Like the prison food that clogged up his works. (Sitting on a bucket for an hour was genuine torture.) Like the visits from the Dementors.
One thing had improved. Prison was fairly safe. No Cruciatus Curses. No rituals. No being forced to concoct potions. Peter really never should be let around a cauldron.
A/N: Just a bit of silliness. Peter as a skilled wizard boggles the imagination. Feel free to write your own idiotic Pettigrew if the mood strikes. I think it would do the world good.