This fanfiction contains spoilers for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and very minor spoilers for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. All characters contained within belong to J.K. Rowling and her publishing company. No profit has been made off of this, and was written for entertainment purposes only. Do not repost anywhere without the permission of the author!

The Late Night Meeting
Kelly M. Grosskreutz

Peter Pettigrew, also known as Wormtail, walked through the Forbidden Forest. He was on a mission for his master, the dreaded and feared Lord Voldemort, whom most of the wizarding community refused to call by name. He had had intelligence from a reliable source within Hogwarts that one of the most fervent and dedicated supporters of Albus Dumbledore could be found within the forest, and that he would be alone. Voldemort couldn't pass this up, and had entrusted the mission to Peter.

Peter was determined to make sure the mission was a success. He still felt like he had to prove himself to his master. He had disappointed his master and, although Voldemort had appeared to forgive him, making him his second-in-command, Peter knew that Voldemort was still testing him. By successfully bringing in Sirius Black, he would be able to prove his loyalty and devotion to Voldemort beyond a doubt.

He emerged from the Forbidden Forest, found the spot the Hogwarts source had told of, and settled in to wait. Sirius Black was supposed to be showing up at the Whomping Willow at two o'clock in the morning, and it was almost that time now.

By the light of the full moon, Peter could clearly see the Whomping Willow. The tree brought back memories of his school days, of sneaking out with Sirius and James to be with Remus Lupin, their werewolf friend. Of hours spent studying spells and potions with them in their quest to become animagi to be with Lupin. Of James saving Severus Snape from being beaten to death by this very tree...

Of James entrusting his life and that of his family to Peter. Of him betraying James. Of James and his wife Lily being murdered by his new master. Of Sirius going to Azkaban in his place.

He asked himself, as he had asked himself many times before, if he'd do it all over again if given the chance. And his answer was always the same. In a heartbeat. By serving Voldemort, he'd finally become somebody feared and respected. He had power. Yes, sometimes he wished that things could have gone differently, and things could be back like they were when he was a schoolboy but, to him, the rewards had well been worth the cost.

His musings were interrupted by a noise. Was it Sirius? He drew in a deep breath and pulled out his wand.

A four-legged, black shape appeared and walked to stand near the Willow. Then, all of a sudden, the dog-sized shape transformed into that of a man.

Peter drew in a deep breath and tightened his grip on his wand. It was Sirius! Now was the moment he'd been waiting for!

He stepped out of his hiding place and pointed his wand at Sirius. "So, Sirius, we meet again, old friend."

Sirius Black gave him a nasty grin. "Wormtail. What's a rat like you doing in a place like this?"

Peter mirrored Sirius's grin. "It seems you've been sold out, Padfoot."

Sirius, instead of looking concerned or perturbed in any way, only laughed. "I don't know what you have to laugh about, Sirius," Peter said, annoyed. This wasn't how he had pictured this going at all. "You're going to go meet You Know Who, and I don't think you'll like that at all."

"Guess again, Peter."

The next thing Peter knew, he was in his rat form. How did he get into that? He hadn't done it. Sirius didn't even have a wand in his hands, let alone pointed at him. What was going on?

Sirius smiled down at the rat. "You thought I was going to be this easy? Oh, Wormy, you have a lot to learn, and very little time left in which to do it. You see, that 'source' of yours inside Hogwarts? The one that You Know Who thinks is working for him? As you may have begun to figure out, he doesn't. And, although he wasn't exactly thrilled about working with me, he was willing to do so when he heard we'd be up against you. For, you see, he never liked you, either. And we do agree on one thing, Peter. We both feel that your rat form suits you perfectly, so I had him turn you into one."

Peter's stomach began to churn as he realized how badly he'd been set up. Sirius continued, "Wow, you know, I just realized something. We seem to be having a class reunion here. Guess who else from our class is here, Peter?" Peter started to run away, but he heard a cold, familiar voice from the forest say something, and then he couldn't move anymore. Trapped!

"Now, don't run away just yet, Peter," said Sirius in a falsely cheerful voice. "I wouldn't want you to miss our other dear friend. Moony, there you are!" This to a beautiful wolf that had emerged out of the forest. The wolf looked at Peter with pure, unabated hatred and hunger. It looked like it wanted to pounce on Peter, but was holding itself back with a supreme effort of will.

"That's right, Wormtail, it's Remus Lupin. I'm sure you remember him. There should be a fourth member here but, thanks to you, he was unable to attend. Therefore, it is in his name, the name of James Potter, that we do this."

The cold voice snarled from somewhere in the forest, "Don't include me in this, Black. I do this for my own reasons, not for James Potter."

"Figured as much," Sirius muttered under his breath. Then, raising his voice, he said, "Peter Pettigrew, you cower here accused of multiple crimes against mankind. How do you plead?"

Peter tried to beg, plead, cajole, anything to stop this before it could arrive at its final, fatal conclusion. But all that was capable of emerging from his rat form was a pitiful little squeak.

"Didn't think you'd have much to say to that. You know what your crimes are. You also know that you're guilty, and there can be no appeal. A jury of your peers also agrees with you, and deem that your sentence shall be death, to be carried out immediately."

Sirius then turned to the wolf, who had been struggling to maintain a hold on himself throughout these proceedings, although he had inched a few steps closer to the trembling, shivering rat crouched on the ground. "Remus, have at him!"

At those words, the wolf snarled at him and crouched back on his hind legs. Right before Lupin was able to pounce on him, though, Peter found that he was once again in control of his body. He turned and ran as fast as his little rat legs would carry him. The wolf was right behind him, breathing down his back.

The chase seemed to go on forever. Just as it seemed Lupin should have him, Peter was able to find a little more energy and push himself just a little bit faster. A part of his mind whispered that the wolf was toying with him, but he was too panicked and tired to pay much attention to it.

Then he saw his chance. There was a tiny little hole coming up ahead, just big enough for a rat to scurry into, but too small for a wolf to stick his snout. Peter pulled up the last reserves of his energy and made for the hole. He was almost there. He was going to make it...

. . .

Sirius Black stood in the Forbidden Forest near the Whomping Willow, patiently waiting. His patience was well-rewarded when a beautiful wolf bounded into the clearing. There was blood on his forepaws and a very human look of satisfaction in his eyes. There was no blood on his mouth, however. Sirius smiled briefly, then raised his eyes to the heavens.

"We did it, James," he said quietly. "We got the traitor. Now maybe you can rest a little easier."

The wolf also raised its head to the heavens and let out one mournful, triumphant howl.

Copyright November 15, 2000 by Kelly M. Grosskreutz.

Disclaimer: All content is made up, and no profit or lucre is expected, solicited, advocated or paid. This is all just for fun. Any comments, please e-mail the author or Wookiee Hut directly. Flames will be ignored. This story may not be posted anywhere without the author's knowledge, consent, and permission.