Summary-They say hindsight is twenty/twenty. No one knows this better than Peter Pettigrew, Marauder-turned-bad and everyoneís favorite traitor. The war is over, and he is minutes away from confronting his biggest fear Ė death. Why are all of these memories coming up?
Heís staring at me. Him, the boy whose life I made a living hell. The boy whose parents I killed.
Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived.
The boy who has just defeated the darkest wizard the Wizarding world had ever known. I tremble in fear. I try to look away, look at anything but the face that bore a visible mark of my cowardice, but I couldnít. And this time, it isnít because fear has paralyzed me. No, itís because I am a prisoner of war. A captive. The only other prisoners are Severus and Bellatrix. Everyone else has been killed; a few escaped. But only a few.
I slump forward a little, rattling the chains that attach me to this cold, cold wall. Itís easy to guess why I am here. The few of us imprisoned in the room have each killed an important person in Harryís life. Bella had killed Sirius, my long-ago friend, Severus had taken Dumbledore, and I had caused the most painful and harming loss, the loss of Lily and James. He was here for revenge.
"Please donít kill me," I whisper.
Death. A thing I have feared my whole life. The reason I had joined Voldemortís ranks in the first place. My whole life had been dominated by the idea that it was better to kill someone else and save yourself than it is to save another person and die. But then again, Iím not the hero in the story. Never have been. James had; Lily had; and now Harry was. They were heroes - people who risk their lives for others. I had envied their courage, the self-sacrifice they possessed.
"Look at me," Harry says coolly, the power in his tone making me obey. I look up obediently, and immediately regret it.
"Admit it, Lily; Iím never going to get this down," I groaned loudly, tossing a text book aside. "Iím going to fail the N.E.W.T.s and be the failure everyone expects me to be." I knew I was acting like a child, but I didnít care.
"You are not going to fail, Peter. But you are if you donít try." Deep under Lilyís patience I could hear a hint of exasperation. That wasnít the first time I had complained, and that wasnít the first time she had responded optimistically.
"Just give it up, Lily. Itís helpless," James commented. He looked bored. Lily had made him come along and help me since he was good at school, but all he had done was watch with glazed eyes and make comments every now and then.
"If you donít have anything nice to say, Potter, donít say anything at all. Or better yet, leave," Lily said, sounding irritated this time. I was a bit surprised, actually. Lily hadnít called James ĎPotterí since they started going out a few months ago.
"Finally. I thought you would never say that." James gathered up his untouched textbooks and left.
"Donít listen to him. It isnít that hard, really. You just need to be optimistic. And concentrate harder. Weíll take it a little at a time," Lily soothed.
I look away. Itís his eyes, eyes that are so like hers, that made that happen. I wonít make that mistake again.
Mistakes; mistakes filled my life. They say that the more mistakes you make, the more you learn, but it seemed to have been the exact opposite for me. The more mistakes I made, the less I learned. Lily had been so patient with me, repeating things using different wording and methods until I understood it, gently correcting me until I got it right. It was because of her I did well on my N.E.W.T.s. Even then, Lily would have made a good mother. But I had denied her that right. It was because of my good score that I was allowed in the Order. I had been happy in the Order. But then, they came.
I was making quesadillas in the kitchen of my flat, humming happily. Life was good. I felt important at last, and I was doing something useful. I was just about to toss my quesadilla onto my plate, chef style, when I heard something move behind me. I squeaked nervously, sounding like the rat I was sometimes, and the quesadilla dropped to the floor. That was the only part I didnít like about being in the Order: the risk. The dangers.
"Hello, Pettigrew," a voice sneered. I flinched. I knew this voice only too well. Oh, Merlin, if I had to be killed by any Death Eater, why did it have to be Bellatrix Lestrange? She was ruthless. It was almost as bad as being killed by Voldemort. "Iíve been meaning to... talk to you for a while."
"T-t-talk?" I stuttered. Torture, you mean. But I didnít say anything. I didnít want to make it any worse than it already was.
"Yes. The Dark Lord seems to think youíll be useful in some ways. I donít exactly see how, but if there is one thing I have learned, it is to never defy the Dark Lord." The last sentence was said like a warning.
I gulped. I should have told Bella no. I should have admitted to her as well as myself I wasnít cut out for that sort of thing.
I should have died that night. I shouldnít have killed Lily. Lily, who did everything for me; look how I repaid her, with betrayal. I can see the many, the infinite mistakes I made now. I wonder if she knew I betrayed her, in the last moments of her life. I wonder if she knew what Iíd done. I wonder if she regretted any of the help that she had given me at all.
"You deserve to die," Harry says after a long pause. Suddenly death, the thing I had feared all my life, didnít seem so bad. How could I live now, knowing what I had done? How can I live, knowing all those people I killed, that all of my friends are gone because of me? And most importantly, how could I live in a world where it was either kill or be killed?
"But Iím not going to kill you," Harry says, interrupting my train of thought. "There is enough blood on my hands already. No, the honor is going to be done by someone who you hurt just as much." Remus Lupin, my only remaining Ďfriendí from my school years, enters the room, wand raised, a determined look on his face. "Ready, Harry?" he says, pointing his wand straight at me. Harry nods, sealing my doom. Strangely, death has never seemed so sweet.
A/N- I have to say, this was one of the hardest things Iíve ever written. I rather like how it turned out though.