Chapter 87: Peter’s Memory
The moonlight spread through the windows into the common room of the Gryffindor’s Towers.
In a place where the moonlight could not reach, a small figure was shivering under the chair.
Peter Pettigrew was rubbing his hands, almost out of breath.
The thing he had always feared in the last twelve years has finally happened. His former friend, Sirius Black, escaped from Azkaban. He broke into Hogwarts, and there was just a wall separating them.
Peter knew that because he had sold Potter and his wife out to Voldemort, Black came to seek revenge and wanted to kill him.
He instinctively wanted to run away, but he did not know where to hide. He knew Black too well. Now that he knows that he was still alive, he will never stop.
Even if there were hundreds of Dementors here, even if Hogwarts was entirely turned upside down, Black will not give up. He wouldn’t stop before catching him. This was Sirius Black, a true Gryffindor, a monster who never knew fear or cowardice.
Maybe, it would be the same as twelve years ago, and he would fake death.
This thought had just surfaced in Peter’s mind but he rejected it rapidly.
This was not the Muggle’s Street twelve years ago. This time he was not facing Black alone.
Here is Hogwarts. In the castle, there were Dumbledore, Snape, Lupin, McGonagall, Harry, James and Lily’s son, and the young man named Evan Mason, each one of them was better, smarter, stronger and braver than him.
Even if he can fool Sirius Black, fooling all these people would be impossible!
“Where can I go if I escape again?”
If the surviving Death Eaters found out that he was alive, they would not let him go. After all, the Dark Lord’s defeat came right after Peter gave him the tip.
Until now, Peter did not understand how the man who was so powerful that no one dared to even mention his name, could be defeated by a baby. He felt that he had clearly chosen the strong side. How did it all get to this point?
Everything seemed to return to the starting point, back to the time when he first entered school twenty years ago.
Peter, the little dwarf, still remembers the sorting ceremony that he entered at the school. He was thin and weak as tremblingly moved to the Sorting Hat. He wore it, and the big hat covered his eyes, he couldn’t see the audience at all.
He was too scared. He was like this when he was a child. He did nothing at all. He was weak, not smart enough, and had no talent in magic. He was afraid he would be driven out by the hat. He was afraid to see his mother’s disappointed eyes again.
“Difficult, very difficult!” The Sorting Hat began to speak in his ear. “You are not a brave child. You are not smart enough, you are not determined, and you are not willing to work hard. Although you are pureblood, it will be very difficult to live in Slytherin, and you don’t have the qualities required by Ravenclaw and Gryffindor. Even mediocre, you are not willing to stay in the practical and ordinary Hufflepuff, let me think it over. Where should you go?”
“Yeah, where should I go?”
He lost his father when he was young. Although his family was poor, his mother did her best to buy all the magical tools for him. She had great expectations from him. She was telling him his father’s story before going to bed every night.
Peter still remembered the story of his mother. In her story, his father was a heroic Gryffindor. Even if he was not the strongest, he was fearless, even in the face of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
Peter could hear it from his mother’s tone: She was proud of his father.
“Gryffindor, Gryffindor, Gryffindor. I want to go to Gryffindor. I want to have courage. I’m a brave man!” Peter shouted loudly at the Sorting Hat in his heart. I want to change my cowardice. I want to be a warrior like my father. I want to be admired. I cannot disappoint my mother!”
“Gryffindor?!” The Sorting Hat felt it was weird. “You say you want to go to Gryffindor. Well, this may not be the best choice, but I hope it could be in the future. On your path, find the courage that is buried deep in your heart.”
Peter Pettigrew, above the chair smiled happily. It was the most glorious moment of his life. He seemed to hear again the moment the Sorting Hat shouted his choice to everyone with a loud voice. He’ll finally be able to look at his mother’s satisfied eyes.
But his grin soon settled down and the Sorting Hat was right. He didn’t fit Gryffindor. What he got in this school was only being mocked of.
Everyone mocked him that he was not brave enough. Hogwarts’s studies made him feel pressure. He found that there was nothing he was good at. The professors looked into his eyes and there was no other feeling besides disappointment. He was farther and farther from his mother’s expectation.
He did not find courage in this school, and he found himself becoming more and more ordinary and inferior.
He could not go on like this anymore; he needed someone to help him.
Peter quickly discovered the goal. James Potter, Sirius Black, and Remus Lupin were the best three in his class. The three of them were always shining in their small group, maybe they needed one more member.
“Yes, I can play this role perfectly.”
Fortunately for him, they accepted him. Peter Pettigrew felt hope and happiness because of this. He thought that even if he could not be as good as them, he would at least have a presence and make his mother proud of him!
For this presence and pride, Peter was willing to endure everything.
To outsiders, he was a member of this small group. He was a friend of James, Sirius and Lupin.
But only Peter Pettigrew knew that he was just a follower and nothing more.
James regarded him as an object to show off his Quidditch talent at any time, and he was just there to make Sirius seem braver and stronger. Even in comparison to Lupin, the werewolf, he always looked down on himself.
True, he never saw the three of them as friends. They were just companions at best, but more often, he was just a follower.
With these feelings of cowardice and humbleness, the latter faded eventually, as he was mostly afraid that this was also everyone’s idea of him.
But Peter was contented with it for a while. He did not want to stand in the center-stage and receive attention from everyone.
As long as he was in his humble position in the corner, it was enough for him.
He might not find his courage in this ancient school, but he relied on other ways to find the presence and honor he needed. Although not much, at least he will not let his mother feel disappointed.
He hoped to have just enough of them to go through his years of Hogwarts.
The seven-year Hogwarts career finally allowed Peter to understand that what he needed was not courage, but brute power.
If his father ever had that kind of power, he wouldn’t have died like that and he and his mother’s life would not be so bitter.
Brute power, this was what he had been pursuing.
After graduating, his three companions wanted to join the Order of the Phoenix to fight against Voldemort. Peter originally wanted to refuse because he knew the strength of both sides. But he did not dare. He had become accustomed to obey the orders of the other three.
He did not dare to say “No” to his companions. It also required strong courage. He had never had such a thing. Besides, he was also afraid to disappoint his mother. He knew that she wanted him to join the Order of the Phoenix.
His mother’s expectations had always made Peter under pressure, but it was not until that moment, that he discovered that the pressure had become a heavy burden not allowing him breathe.
Peter Pettigrew remembered the time, when James, Sirius and Lupin were pleased that they defeated Voldemort’s conspiracies again and again,it made him more and more affraid.
He could feel the anger of the Dark Lord, and he could feel his hatred for those four people. It was like a never-ending nightmare.
No longer can this go on, Peter couldn’t see any benefit in fighting against Voldemort himself. Even if he risked his life to do these things, only James, Sirius, and Lupin would get the spotlight.
Not to mention Dumbledore was gradually aging, his power was declining; and Voldemort was in his prime, his power and strength were stronger than ever.
It was time to choose his camp. For a weak person, the most important thing was not to do anything dramatic, but to make a wise choice.
He could not stupidly die for Dumbledore, like his father, in obscurity. This stupid courage had no meaning other than leaving a heavy burden and grief for his wife and children.
He wanted to choose his own destiny. He wanted to gain brute strength.
The Dark Lord has promised him. As long as the magic world was unified, he would gain power, and status that he never imagined before.
Although the method was different, as long as he had these, his mother would certainly feel proud of him.
As for the jealousy and guilt of betraying his companions, Peter never felt that.
In his eyes, he was just a follower. And he would always be.