Chapter 6 : Peter - Persistence
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It was nearly the end of class, and I glanced nervously to my left at the determined looks on my friend's faces. Well, two of them - James was just staring ahead of him with a dazed look in his eyes. But I had a feeling that the other two were thinking about this competition. I had lost my initial lead and hadn't even begun to ask Lily to go out with James yet. From what I had heard, Remus was now becoming friends with Lily, and Sirius had managed to kidnap her. I wasn't really sure how the kidnapping helped, but I often didn't understand my friends, and they always seemed to be right. I bit my lip. If I didn't one-up them now, I would lose this for sure. I waited anxiously as the Professor erased the board, clearly taking her time. Finally she turned to us and announced that we should head to our next class.
As soon as Professor McGonagall dismissed us, I scurried out of my seat and straight to Lily. Not far behind me, Remus and Sirius looked a little surprised. They obviously hadn't counted me as a serious competitor. Lily looked at me strangely, and I realized I hadn't spoken yet and was just standing there next to her.
"Er… hi, Lily," I greeted her quickly. Did that sound awkward? I hoped not.
"Hi, Peter," she said confusedly, cocking her head to the side slightly. In our six years of going to Hogwarts, I don't think I've ever actually had a conversation with her. Actually, I didn't have conversations with many people at all. I didn't say anything for a few seconds, and she seemed to consider our short conversation to be over. She turned and began packing her things carefully into her bag.
"You should really go out with James," I blurted out. I hadn't meant to come out that directly, but subtlety wasn't my strong suit when it came to talking to people. Uh oh. Was she mad? She looked surprised, there was no doubt about that.
"I think you know my view on the subject," Lily finally replied cooly. "I have no interest in James." She slung her bag over her shoulder and made to walk out of the classroom, but I hastily stepped in front of her.
"Please?" I asked a bit desperately.
She raised an eyebrow. "Why do you care if I go out with Potter or not?"
"Er… because… he's so mopey around us since you won't go on a date with him," I said quickly. Just then, James, Sirius, and Remus walked by, all three laughing their heads off and grinning widely. Why hadn't I thought of a reason for this beforehand? Maybe I was as hopeless as everyone said I was.
"Oh yes, he looks absolutely devastated." Lily rolled her eyes. "Did Potter put you up to this?"
"No, no!" I said quickly, my mind racing for another excuse. I always left excuse-making to the other three, who were very good at it. They were good at everything. Why couldn't I be good at anything? Why had I entered this competition? I couldn't prove I was worthy, I wasn't worthy, I was--
"So then why are you here? Are you feeling okay, Peter? You look a little… conflicted," Lily noted uncertainly.
"Yeah… um, yeah, I'm fine," I mumbled.
"Okay then… I'm going to Potions now," she told me in a voice that suggested she wasn't too keen on the conversation. I sighed. I didn't take Potions. I hadn't passed my OWL in that class, and though I rued it now, I hadn't been too eager to improve back before I took the exam.
"Wait!" I said suddenly. She stopped, clearly getting a bit annoyed now, and turned with a false smile on her face.
"Yes? What is it?" she asked wearily, inching towards the door.
"Go out with James, please!" I cried. She groaned and swept out of the room, leaving me to stare after her and mentally kick myself. I was going to lose for sure.
"Hey, Wormy." I jumped and whipped my head around to the other side of the doorway. Leaning there casually, as though he'd been there for quite some time, was Sirius, surveying me with an almost bored expression on his face.
"Hi, Padfoot," I said nervously. I wasn't sure what he was doing here. He was always tagging along with James, or if he was busy, Remus. He never exactly singled me out to spend time with me. Was he going to try to stop me from winning the competition? Or laugh at my futile attempts so far?
"Listen, Wormtail, we've got a situation," he said in the most serious voice I'd ever heard him use. I was shocked - we? "Remus is using his whole 'diplomacy' method way better than I could have imagined. He's become really good friends with Lily, and who knows what he could do then?" He looked pointedly at me, as though expecting an answer.
He slapped his head. "I'm talking about the competition, Wormtail. He could persuade her to give Prongs a chance, and then we've both lost. The time for drastic action is fast approaching!" He shouted the last part, as though encouraging me to fight in battle. This didn't make me feel confident at all, but I managed to whimper a response.
"Where are you going with this?"
He stared at me for a moment before answering. "Basically, I need your help to get into Slughorn's office. Seems he's charmed it heavily since the last time we stole from him. All you have to do is crawl through as a mouse to the other side of the door, transform into a human again, and open it from the other side. Simple enough?"
I nodded dumbly, trying to process this plan in my head. It certainly seemed easy enough. But…
"Why would I help you if I'm competing against you?" I squeaked. Sirius may have been one of my only friends at Hogwarts, but he intimidated me greatly.
"I'll give you your money back if I win," he offered. I just looked at him, and finally he sighed. "Fine. Your money plus twenty galleons. Fair enough? 'Cause that's the highest I'm going!" he declared.
I considered his offer for a moment. He seemed pretty certain of himself - then again, he was always certain of himself, he was Sirius Black - and he had a very good chance of winning. I had little confidence in my own chance of being the winner here by now, so if I teamed up with him, I would be a partial winner for once - and against the Marauders, too! I nodded eagerly. "Deal," I said happily.
He eyed me for a moment before smiling. "Thanks. Just go there right after our last class gets out. I'll join you a few minutes after to make it less suspicious." With that, he left, and I grinned to myself. I may not be too clever, but I do know how to get best deal for myself.
AN: Just a short chapter about how Peter's doing during all of this. Thanks so much for all of the great reviews! ~WaterLily :)
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by Natalie Rose