A/N: Love to all reviewers
The quote in the summary is a reference to Emily Dickinson.
Mea Culpa: The quote in the summary of 'Glitter' is a reference to one of the Gospels.
WARNING: Graphicall descibed character death. Kinda gross.
In a dirty little room, in a dirty little house, in a dirty little street ( the sign read Spinner's End), a man called Peter Pettigrew was dying. No, not Peter, Wormtail. Wormtail was dying. He flexed his silver hand, reached for the glass of water on the bedside table. It was slightly too far away. He tried to crane toward it and found himself too weak. He pulled his head up, off his greasy smelling pillow, and whispered "Snape."
Severus Snape blinked once, like a cat, and did nothing. Wormtail tried again. "Snape, please. Water." Snape smiled slowly. It was not a pleasant smile. He cocked his head slightly. "Might've thought I heard something. Hmmm, I wonder what it could be?"
Wormtail sighed, the air tainted with the foul smell of the cancer that was slowly devouring his bowels and stomach. His weight had dropped abruptly because he could not eat; he had the gruesome look of an elephant carcass, half rotten in the hot sun, loose gray skin dropping in places where it has not yet fallen off the bone.
Snape shifted tiredly, crossed his left leg over his right and shook out his robe. "You know Bellatrix is dead?"
"Last night. I got the word from Draco-pardon me, Inquisitor Malfoy—at breakfast. Some kind of aneurysm. Not that I'm surprised."
"What d'you. Mean?"
"Azkaban does that to a person. Destroys them without and within. Of course, with Bellatrix, the within went without saying."
Wormtail said nothing. Then, after a moment he said again, hopefully "Water."
Snape ignored him. "None where you're going. I'd get used to it."
Wormtail tried to sit up, failed, fell back. " Fuck you, Severus."
Snape laughed. "Ahh, Pettigrew. They say I'm bitter about what happened. And I am."
Wormtail lay still, feeling the lashing, clawing agony of the cancer. It was in his lungs now, his prostate, his lymph glands, his blood. Eating him. His spine, his very bones all turned against him in this, his final extremity.
"I'm sorry. About what they—we. Did to you. Your trousers that day. The time with the. Bat entrails. The Willow. Sorry."
"Sorry hardly fixes things, now does it?"
Snape shifted again on the hard chair. "Hurry up and die, won't you? I have better things to do than this." Wormtail said nothing. He had fallen asleep.
A knock sounded at the door. Snape got up and answered, returning with a dark cloaked figure. The smell of wet, expensive lamb's wool, and a dollop of firewhiskey overlaid the poisonous sick fumes.
"How kind of you to join us, Potter. I take it you and Wormtail are well acquainted?"
"Sod off. I'm here to talk to Pettigrew."
"I'd talk quickly, Pettigrew is on his way out. Call me when you decide to leave. Or don't."
When Wormtail woke there was a ghost sitting in the chair. James Potter, dead some forty years, was sitting beside his bed. He opened his mouth to scream but only a stinking whimper emerged. "James?"
James looked at him, forehead wrinkling. Wormtail couldn't make sense of what James was saying. His lips were moving, but the words made no sense.
"I'm. Sorry. So. Sorry."
James looked angry. Wormtail didn't want James to be angry. The room was spinning wildly but Wormtail was determined to say his piece to this, the friend he had betrayed.
"Wish. I'd. Died. Wish. To. God. I. Had. Died."
James was shaking his head. "Told. Me. He'd. Spare. You. Spare. Lily. Could. Have. More. Babies."
Was James crying? His shoulders were shaking. Wormtail reached out a bony claw, trying to put a hand on his friend's arm by way of consolation. James pulled back, still weeping. That hurt.
"Loved. Harry. Called me. Uncle. Peter. Remember?"
James put his face in his hands. Wormtail spoke again, fighting the urge to close his eyes, maybe forever. The room was not so much spinning as it was wavering in and out of existence, sometimes very close, sometimes far away.
"Remus. Sirius. Dead. All. Of. Us. Marauders. Now. Remember?"
James finally sat up. "YOU SHUT UP! THEY'RE DEAD BECAUSE OF YOU!"
Wormtail nodded. "My. Fault. All. My. Fault." His voice was a sorrowful, ghostly whisper. ". So. Happy. Lily. Always. Nice. To. Me."
James was silent, looking at him with some unnamable emotion. Hatred? Grief?
"Why, Pettigrew? Why?"
"Pain. Such. Pain. Was. Weak." He coughed, bringing up vile chunks of his insides. James, looking ashamed, handed him a basin. When Wormtail motioned to the glass, James handed it to him. He drank, knowing it was the last thing he'd ever taste until he drank wine with the ancestors---or else tasted his own frozen tears in the Great Wastelands.
Wormtail laughed rustily. "Still. Weak. Hurts. James. Hurts."
James' face was impassive. "Would. Suffer. This. Forever. If. Would. Fix. What. I. Did."
"You can't. No one can."
Wormtail laughed again. "Snape. Said. Would. Give. Anything….Godric's Hollow. See You. House. Drink. A. Pint. Kiss. Lily. Right. Here' a digit more stick than human finger caressed a withered cheek ' Hold. Harry. Uncle. Peter. Remember? James? Uncle. Peter."
James swallowed hard, seemed to make a choice. "I remember, W-Peter. I remember."
"I—I forgive you. Sleep, all right? I'll stay until you fall asleep." James gently tucked the withered paw under the grimy, cheap wool blanket.
Wormtail relaxed. " See. You. Soon. Lily. Godric's Hollow."
"Yes, very soon."
"Only. People. Ever. Loved. Me."
"It's all right, Peter."
"Soon. James. Very. Soon."
In a dirty little bed, in a dirty little room, a dying man smiled and breathed his last. Harry Potter, the victim of his betrayal, watched as his wasted chest slowed, hitched, stopped. Didn't start again.
Harry rose and turned to leave. Looked back, tucked the blanket over the emaciated face after a second's pause. Went to find Snape and tell him that Peter Pettigrew was dead.