Sleep, Food and Safety
It was nice.
He didn't have to move, he didn't have to feel, he didn't have to think…
Sometimes he got nightmares. A monstrous laugh, an accusing face… But he knew it could have been worse. It could have been him that got blasted apart. Yeah, he lost a finger, but what is a finger, really? Nothing. You don't even need one when you're a rat. You don't use it.
Especially not when you're asleep.
Eating was good too. He always loved to eat. They used to call him pudgy. He used to think they did it affectionately, just like they used to call him a mongrel, him an arrogant git and him a know-it-all, but now he wasn't so sure.
He stopped being sure over a decade ago.
But that didn't matter any more. He had a good life.
He was safe now.
That was all that was important.
No one really remembered them anyway.
Sure, people thought of the boy. The family Peter was living with talked about him sometimes.
The parents thought he was a 'poor boy'… nonsense really, he was a lucky boy… he was alive, wasn't he?
The older children wondered where he could be… wondered what the most famous person in the wizarding world was doing at that very second… The younger children played games, pretending to fight off dark wizards and surviving.
But they didn't remember them. Not really.
One of them was dead. He deserved it… right? Yes, he did. Most certainly…
The other was in prison. He definitely deserved it. He tried to blow Peter up for surviving. That wasn't right.
The third believed that Peter was dead. That was good. That meant he would never come looking.
And he never had.
It had been years since it all happened.
Peter was busy being a faithful pet. A good rat.
But he wasn't Peter anymore.
He wasn't Wormtail either. He hadn't thought of himself as Wormtail since the Dark Lord came to him and explained what they were really like…
Peter lasted a little bit longer than Wormtail did.
But not much longer.
Peter died the moment he transformed all those years ago, after he had ruined the life of the man he used to think was his friend.
Now he was Scabbers.
He lived with the Weasley family, sleeping and eating, living in a cage next to Percy Weasley's bed.
That went on for six years.
Then, four years ago, things began to change. Percy went to Hogwarts. It wasn't so different. He ate the food Percy gave him, he slept in the dormitory…
He was very thankful that it wasn't the same dormitory he had shared with them back when he was at school.
He couldn't have stood that.
Not that he missed them, or felt some sort of connection or anything. He just didn't want to be reminded of how he had been betrayed…
Because it wasn't his fault. Not at all. What would he have done, if he were in the same position? He probably would have run and hid. Anyway, Peter had known that he and she would rather they died then have one that they considered their friend die. They – all four of them (but not Peter…) – always said that they would give their life for any of the others. Peter was only giving them the chance to fulfil their promise.
Then he had to go and think that Peter was the traitor! How dare he! Peter had never said he'd be willing to give up his life! It was his idea to switch secret keepers in the first place; if anything, it was his fault.
But that didn't matter anymore, of course.
It was all in the past. It had all been taken care of.
Scabbers had a bed he could sleep in.
Food he could eat.
A Wizarding family he could stay with in case something happened.
He didn't need anything else.
Now, though, he was a little more stressed.
A few months ago, Percy had gotten a Hogwarts letter telling him he was a prefect. Mr and Mrs Weasley were very excited, and had bought Percy an owl.
Percy didn't want Scabbers any more.
Of course, Scabbers had thought this would happen.
Just like they did, Percy was going to throw him away, leave him behind, abandon him. Scabbers would be replaced, just as Peter was replaced with her…
Apparently, there could only be four Marauders. So when one of them gets a girl…
Some one had to leave.
They never said it, but Peter could feel himself being excluded… forgotten…
But that isn't important. Back to the present…
He had thought it would happen, yes, but he had hoped.
The world was a cruel place.
But once again, he was lucky.
He was given to Ronald.
This year, Ron was going to be in his first year at Hogwarts. That was good. It meant that Scabbers would have extra time at the school rather than at the Weasley house, where the food was great but the accommodations were… not so great.
Hogwarts was much better.
However, there was something that Scabbers hadn't banked on.
For the first few years in the Weasley house, Scabbers had kept an eye open and an ear alert… when he wasn't sleeping or eating, of course. He did that so he would know in advance if something was coming for him.
But nothing ever did.
So, his precautions and alertness faded until they were gone all together.
This meant that he had no idea that the boy would be starting school the same year as Ron.
When Scabbers saw the boy on the platform, he just about had a heart attack. He hadn't any warning, because he had been asleep. He only woke up to see if there was any food in the cage he had been put into, then thought that he would go back to sleep. But when he opened his eyes, he heard a boy speak.
"The thing is — the thing is, I don't know how to —"
Instinctively, Scabbers looked up.
He thought he was seeing a ghost.
No, actually, not a ghost – they aren't scary.
Scabbers thought that he had come back from the dead to take his revenge.
Not that Scabbers had done anything wrong, of course. But that didn't stop him from trying to blow Peter sky high.
Scabbers almost forgot sometimes that it was Peter that blew up that street.
It was easier to think that he had done it. It was him that made Peter do it after all… so really, it was his fault.
All that thinking gave Peter a headache. He hadn't had to concentrate in years.
His life was composed completely of sleep, food, and more sleep.
What else did he need?
When Scabbers saw the boy's eyes though, he realized who it was. He had her eyes.
Scabbers closed his own eyes and promptly went back to sleep.
Because why would he want to look at her eyes? She was the one that took Peter's place, after all. She was the one that started the downward spiral of his life.
Or maybe she was the one that enlightened him, the one that showed him how treacherous his friends really were?
Hmm, he'd have to think on this.
Not right now, though.
He was tired.
The next time Scabbers woke up he could smell something amazing.
Something Ron and Percy - and therefore, by default, he as well – had been denied for a while.
He didn't really acknowledge the fact that there was another person aside from Ron in the compartment – or that he was in a compartment at all – he was so eager to get to the food.
He did, however, notice when one of the boy's hands began reaching out to steal some of the Scabbers' chocolate frogs.
He didn't want to share… but something told him that is he didn't let Ron and the boy eat his chocolate, Scabbers wouldn't be allowed any at all. So he let them eat it.
When he had eaten as much as he possibly could, Scabbers curled up on Ron's lap and went to sleep.
Because what else was there to do?
Sleep was good.
The only thing that interrupted sleep was the dreams.
And they didn't come very often.
He almost woke up at one point. He felt like he was in danger, like there was a wand pointing at him or something.
It was instinctual.
Scabbers had always had good instincts. In school, he could always get out of a tricky situation.
Maybe that was why they kept him around… he could lie and keep them out of trouble.
But he didn't wake.
What was there to be scared of on the Hogwarts express?
Scabbers slept on.
Nothing bothered him. He didn't wake when a young girl chattered about the boy. He didn't wake when Ron and the boy talked about Quidditch. He didn't wake when they talked about a break in at Gringotts. He didn't even wake when three nasty boys walked into the compartment and bothered them.
But then they spoke the word. The one word that was powerful enough to break through Scabbers' stupor…
Sure enough, one of his eyes cracked open, and Scabbers took in his surroundings.
There were three new boys in the compartment; one skinny and smallish, two huge and bulky.
They didn't look very nice.
Scabbers wouldn't have minded, but there was something wrong here. Something didn't feel right. Something bad was going to happen.
Then something registered in Scabbers' brain.
It was something small. Not many people would think it was relevant. But it was important.. oh so important…
The context in which the word 'food' had been spoken.
"But we don't feel like leaving, do we, boys? We've eaten all our food and you still seem to have some."
Then Scabbers realized why the world felt so wrong.
A large, pudgy hand was reaching towards him.
No, it wasn't reaching towards him. It was worse.
It was reaching towards the food.
A sudden blast of energy surged through Scabbers' small body and Scabbers made an almighty leap…
Scabbers would have grinned and laughed – well, squeaked – with happiness if his jaws weren't clamped onto the pudgy hand.
It felt strangely satisfying, biting that hand, knowing that he had done something to save the food.
Then he felt like he was flying through the air – it took him a second to realize that the boy whose knuckles he was attached to must have been shaking his hand like crazy.
Scabbers' muscles loosened in fright, and he flew off the hand, hitting the window and falling on the floor.
Scabbers didn't know why people complained about sleeping on the floor. It wasn't too bad after all.
More comfortable than sleeping in a jacket pocket at any rate.
Feeling very tired after his valiant rescue mission and all the effort he had put into flying, Scabbers felt he deserved a rest – so he went back to sleep.
He had done something to be proud of today; he had saved the food, he had gotten some sleep, and surely he had made Ron proud of him. That was important. It would make Ron want to keep him around longer Ron would protect him.
Because that's what's important in life, right?
Nothing else mattered.
And so Scabbers the rat slept on, never once thinking about what he used to be, never once considering that what he did in the past was wrong, and never once realizing that he had just put more effort into preventing an eleven year old boy from eating sweets than he ever put into preventing the most dangerous wizard of all time from killing the people that considered him their friend.