"Well mum" said the eleven-year-old, "I guess this is it." He tried to appear confident with the situation as he stood awkwardly beside the station platform.
"Yes dear," sobbed the round-faced woman. "You'll have to tell me all about the magical world you're now part of. Oh, I wish you weren't a wizard since you have to go to that far away school – but I'm sure it will be absolutely wonderful. Promise you'll write if you can find normal post. I am glad you're a wizard – oh, but I'll miss you…"
"Don't worry mum" said with boy with a false smile, "I'll write often and be home before you know it."
With that, the two finished their goodbyes and the child walked through the wall.
Maybe if his magical powers had comes with a hint of divination he would have chosen to live his life as a muggle and remain oblivious to the wizarding world. Indeed, if he knew has this story would end, no amount of pleading from his parents would have swayed him in asking for the memory and magical-containment charms offered by his new head master. But no one, even the most powerful prophets are given the luxury of knowing their fate. At least not until it is forced upon them.
A/N: I wasn't planning to try writing for a while yet since I'm busy with University, but this story just popped into my head, so I figured I might as well try it. Let me know if you think it's worth continuing or if I should just leave it as a one shot. If I continue I'll attempt to make it all the way to Peter's death and I have ideas that are canon. Anyways, I'll bore you no longer, enjoy.
Disclaimer: All the characters, places and whatever else you recognize belongs to J.K. Rowling and various publishing companies she works with. If I were making money, I wouldn't have this posted on a free site on the internet.
Chapter 1: Magic or Muggle
Peter Pettigrew was a shy, smallish boy at age eleven. So far, his life had been fairly ordinary. He lived with his parents in the suburbs of oxford in a modest house. Although there were a fair number of other children in his neighborhood, he was a solitary child who preferred to play by himself. Occasionally – when he found himself uncomfortable with the people around him – he found that no one could see him and once he even found himself outside a door he had no recollection of opening when a particularly insistent aunt was trying to make him talk. He was content though, thinking little of these moments until that fateful day when an old man with a long beard came calling.
Peter's father answered the door.
"Ah, Mr. Pettigrew I presume," said the eccentric-looking stranger, "allow me to introduce myself."
Peter's father remained silent, although his expression seemed incredulous. Peter, peeking out from behind the banister was confused by the man's odd attire. He ware a buttoned up short-sleeve, collared shirt with a pattern of large, brightly colored flowers on it and loose, bright green trousers that ended a few inches short of a pair of blue trainers, exposing several inches of skinny leg.
After a pause, the stranger continued. "My name is Albus Dumbledore. I am visiting on some unusual business that concerns your son's education." After another pause the man went on, "I believe it is time for you to invite me in."
Mr. Pettigrew merely looked the man up and down before demanding, "What on earth are you wearing?"
An hour later the Pettigrew's sat in their living room raptly listening as Albus Dumbledore explained the studies offered at a wizarding school. It had taken the family a while to get over the shock of the man turning one of Mrs. Pettigrew's coasters into a teacup and then filling it with steaming liquid from the tip of a stick, or wand as he called it. The old man handed Peter a parchment scroll with brief explanations of how the wizarding world works and what to expect coming from a muggle (non-magic) background as the family assembled so he could explain the choices Peter had with his new-found magic.
The choices were simple – Peter could choose to continue his life the way he had, forget about this strange encounter with a little help from the old man, or he could agree to attend a wizard boarding school where he would meet other young wizards and witches (who wants to be called a witch?) and learn how to do magic. Rather than immediately decide, Dumbledore offered to call back in a few hours while the family discussed these choices.
That afternoon Peter was handed his acceptance letter to Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he would be living for most of the next seven years.
Remembering that life-changing afternoon, Peter walked carefully through the platform, crowded with parents, children and luggage. Having read the scroll on wizarding life thoroughly he wasn't even too surprised to see cages with owls in them. Carefully, Peter crossed the platform to a waiting scarlet train, entering a car near the end and walking to the very back in hopes of an empty compartment. He opened the door to the last compartment and saw a much older boy holding a wand and a mirror while straitening his light-blond hair. Quickly Peter moved to shut the door again, but not quick enough – the older boy looked up and pointed his wand at the shy boy.
"What's a firstie like you doing staring at me? Never seen magic before?" Peter was clearly too terrified to respond, so the blond-haired boy continued, "Bet you're a mudblood."
"Leave him alone Lucius," snapped a voice behind Peter, "Otherwise I'll tell Narcissa about those magazines you hide under your pillow.
"Why you little…" snarled the older boy, Lucius, but it was too late, Peter's rescuer was pulling the very scared boy into the compartment across the way, which was empty.
"I'm Sirius," said the boy. Peter now took the time to examine him. He had neat, black hair that looked smooth and elegant. His face was clearly handsome and his eyes were a mysterious grey. Peter wondered if all wizards were supposed to be good looking as he remembered the similarly stunning boy that had scared him. "I'm guessing it's your first year at Hogwarts, it's mine too!" continued Sirius, "Ignore Lucius, he's dating my cousin and he's a git. Anyways, what's your name?"
"Peter Pettigrew," said Peter, a little shyly.
"I don't recognize your name – I'm guessing you're muggle born…" at Peter's nod Sirius smiled, "Yeah, Lucius called you a mudblood, which is an insult that means muggle born. Don't worry about it though, some of us who have been wizards for ages think we're better than others, but we really all started out from muggles."
Peter didn't really understand, but nodded anyways as the door burst open and a messy-haired boy stumbled in. "Mind if I join you chaps?"
Peter shook his head, but Sirius frowned. "You're James Potter aren't you?" James took a closer look at Sirius and suddenly glared, "You're a Black, why're you in here corrupting some poor kid?"
"Why aren't you out defending animal rights?" snapped Sirius.
"I don't want rights for the likes of you," retorted James.
Peter wasn't sure if he should leave the room or try to stop the two boys fighting, but his fears were needless. A sudden commotion in the hallway caught the attention of all three boys. "Lucius" screeched a piercing female voice. James sprinted out of the compartment with Sirius at his heals. There was a scuffling before Peter peered around the door to see Lucius pointing his wand at a small, weak-looking boy on the floor. The boy was a little shorter than Peter and appeared to have run into the girl who must have screamed – her purse was on the floor and she was ranting about idiots who don't watch where they're going. Lucius also seemed to be snarling at the boy for touching his girlfriend. So this must be Narcissa, thought Peter. However, of greater import were James and Sirius, who stood in front of the floored boy protectively.
"What's wrong with you, you're scaring him," yelled James, glaring at Narcissa.
His comment did nothing to stop the older students until Sirius stepped in. "Shut up you scum!" he said clearly rather than shouting, "Did poor Cissy drop her make-up? Whatever will she do to hide her face now?"
That got a reaction.
"How dare you Sirius," screamed Lucius. "You will not treat your cousin with such rudeness or I'll make sure you wake up with a toad in your bed tomorrow morning."
"That won't happen because I'm not going to be in Slytherin with bullies like you!"
To everyone's surprise, this evoked a laugh from Narcissa. "Right Siri. Even a disgrace like yourself can't avoid the house all Blacks have been in since Salazar founded Hogwarts." At these words, Sirius' expression became downcast and James stepped forward.
"Thankfully you don't decide the houses and if you can't leave us alone I'll hex you." Now both of the Slytherins were laughing – until James pulled out his wand and muttered something. Immediately their hair turned an ugly, puke green, eliciting a squeal from Narcissa who ran down the hallway towards the bathroom.
"We aren't finished," snapped Lucius before he sprinted after her.
Sirius and James turned to each other as Peter crept over to the sickly boy who was trying to slide away with his ragged trunk.
"Thanks," breathed Sirius, looking down with discomfort.
"Do you really want to get into a house other than Slytherin?" asked James.
"Any house but that," came the defiant reply.
James grinned. "How about you try to get into Gryffindor like me?" And suddenly the two black-haired boys were laughing and hugging, previous animosity forgotten. After a minute, James turned to Peter and the other boy with a question in his eyes. "Do you want to join us?"
Peter gave a quick nod as a small smile lit his face. Here was someone who met him and immediately thought the best of him. Even though Peter was careful about making friends, he instinctively knew that James would be safe and loyal for all time. The smallest boy was introduced as Remus Lupin, and although he seemed even shyer than Peter, the other boys dragged him into their compartment where introductions were finished and luggage stowed. The remainder of the train ride was spent playing games, eating candy Sirius purchased for them, and generally becoming friends with the ease only children have. Peter found himself comfortable with his first taste of the wizarding world.
The new friends got off the train when the sky was already dark, so their first glimpse of their new home was a patchwork of lights reflected on a black lake where they flickered like stars in the wavy water. A man, bigger than any Peter had ever seen, stood with a lantern calling for the first-years. The shy boy wanted to hide from such a huge person, but Sirius and James seemed undaunted as they all but bounced through the crowd towards the giant. He must be a giant Peter realized, although he couldn't remember reading anything about giants in his wizarding world packet. Soon the four boys were seated in a rickety boat, which moved on its own into the lake. James pretended to push Sirius overboard, but Peter wasn't quite comfortable. He knew they were in Scotland and wondered if the lac they were over contained a monster that wasn't actually a hoax. In a short enough time, the boats entered a watery tunnel beneath the imposing castle. Peter saw Remus shivering and wondered if the boy was afraid or just cold. Perhaps even with wizarding parents Hogwarts was a mystery, which made Peter feel a little better.
A stern-looking woman waited to greet them as they disembarked. She stood straight making the dark robes and tall hat look dangerous. At least to Peter that is, James and Sirius seemed to find her funny as one of them commented about her needing to spit out the lemon she was sucking. She introduced herself as Professor McGonagall before leading the first years up several flights of stairs to a hall of sorts. There she left them for a moment before returning to inform them that all was ready and they would soon be sorted. Sirius flinched a bit and James whispered, "Don't worry, even if we don't all make the same house we can be friends," before the door opened and they were led into a huge room. Four long tables were set for dinner and full of students, although there was no food yet. On the raised end of the room, where a collection of adults that must be teachers sat, was a small stool with a very old black hat on it. Peter frowned at it as McGonagall unfurled a role of parchment and began to call names.
A skinny boy stepped forward and but the hat on his head. Peter was confused – how was this sorting. Suddenly the hat yelled "Ravenclaw" and Peter understood.
Sirius stepped forward with seeming confidence, although Peter guessed he was scared. On the train, Sirius had explained a bit about how pureblooded families worked and how his was known for dark magic. Peter slipped his hands in his robes where he crossed his fingers. He saw Sirius tense as the hat went on and the Slytherin table prepared to applaud, but nothing happened. The students waited a full minute and Sirius started to shake finally the hat straightened itself and dejectedly yelled out "Gryffindor." A collective gasp followed as Sirius stood, carefully removing the hat. Finally, James started clapping, the noise echoing through the silent hall. Then, to everyone's surprise, Remus quit trying to blend in with the wall and applauded with him. Peter joined in and soon one of the long tables burst into cheers as well, smirking at the now glaring Slytherins as the young Black proudly took his seat. Eventually McGonagall cleared her throat and the sorting continued. Remus was the next of the boys from the train to be sorted. The hat paused nearly as long as it had for Sirius before shouting "Gryffindor." A twinkling light caught Peter's eye and he glanced up. The ceiling was covered with stars, almost as if it were the real sky thought Peter, until suddenly a cloud drifted across the expanse
McGonagall's voice startled Peter from his reverie and he stumbled up to the hat. As it covered his head, a funny voice filled his mind: Ah, curious. You're a quiet one but you see much. Yes, an observer. A little afraid of people, but not of much else. Don't get me wrong, you're a deep thinker, but not the intellect for Ravenclaw. And in no way ambitious enough for Slytherin. Hufflepuff is what's expected of you, but I find you balance between bravery and loyalty. Hmmm, when faced with your worst fears I think your loyalty would break first. Yes, you are brave to the end, although in an unusual way…
"Excuse me," thought Peter, "is it bad the way I am?"
No child, of course not. All of us have the potential for good, and although a few consider themselves irreversibly evil, we all have a choice. But now I must make a choice for you and I choose… "Gryffindor"
Peter took off the hat and saw Sirius and Remus clapping loudest of all. Behind him he could hear James' cheers pushing him forward towards his new house table. The next to be sorted was James, who followed him to Gryffindor, completing the year's first-year boys as it turned out. A group to be remembered.