The street was busy, shoppers enjoying the unseasonably warm weather and taking advantage of day-after sales on Halloween paraphenalia. Most of them were still thinking of last night's costumes. Ghosts, superheroes, witches. They barely registered the unkempt, dark-haired man in the black cloak who stalked through the crowd, seeming to sniff the air, clearly looking for something.
Or possibly, someone.
If they didn't notice this conspicuous figure, they outright ignored the other. Practically running, a short, balding young man pushed his way through, twitching as he did so and looking over his shoulder frequently. He was out of breath, and gave off a slight smell - either he wasn't much for bathing, or it was fear. He occasionally mumbled under his breath, and if someone was watching closely, they would notice how the people in front of this man, in his way, would just veer off their paths before he even touched them.
As stated, though, it was the day after Halloween, and anyone who noticed such a thing would probably chalk it up to a hangover.
Finally, at one point, the man in the cloak vanished. A distinct "pop" could be heard, but was rationalized as something like a car backfiring many blocks away, or poppers left over from the night before. He reappeared five blocks from where he'd been. Right in front of the small, frightened young man who had been running.
"You." The man with the cloak growled. A few passersby slowed down, sensing menace.
"Sirius! Sirius, I...."
"Don't. Just don't. Pull up your sleeve, Peter."
Peter didn't pull up his sleeve, and Sirius grabbed Peter's arm. Peter squeaked, and the passersby who'd stopped were now coming forward a little, to see what was happening.
Sirius pushed Peter's sleeve up, and the faded black mark, which looked like a strange tattoo to the untrained eye, seemed to be what Sirius had been looking for. He dropped Peter's arm and drew out what appeared to be (but surely, couldn't be!) a magic wand from inside the cloak's folds.
"How could you do it, Peter?" The growl was a whisper. Tears poured down the man's face.
"Sirius, how could you? James and Lily! Little Harry!" Peter shouted this, backing away from Sirius. Sirius cocked his head, confused. And then, dawning realization crossed his face.
Peter's hands were clasped behind his back. He yelped, and Sirius came closer, pointing his wand at Peter. The London passersby who had stopped were now shouting, trying to separate the men. Peter closed his eyes and whispered something, just as Sirius yelled "Impedimenta!"
Peter disappeared, and Sirius yelled again, pointing his wand. His words were unintelligible to those around him.
Around a corner, Peter reappeared, behind Sirius' back. He brought out a wand of his own. His hand was bleeding, and it shook as he pointed it at Sirius.
Sirius' cloak caught fire, causing him to whip around and cast a spell to put it out. He spotted Peter and yelled again, "Impedimenta!" At that exact moment, Peter cried out "Avada Kedavra!" The surrounding brick and mortar erupted as their curses collided.
Sirius went down as a piece of debris hit him in the face. Peter disappeared; later, one small bit of him was found.. Screaming, confusion - it was a scene that matched the most gruesome and grisly of any in the war they had been fighting.
When Sirius regained consciousness, the street was littered with bodies, and Peter was nowhere to be found. Men dressed in uniform blue cloaks and robes had arrived, and were casting spells on the people who remained alive and conscious.
"Abracadabra, abracadabra...." One small woman, she may have been just a girl yet, someone else's blood on her face and her hair. She whispered it again. "Abracadabra...."
"Obliviate!" yelled a member of the M.L.E.S. The letters glittered in silver on his black robes.
"There's the man what did it! I heard 'im! 'e yelled and 'e cursed us all!"
"This man?" Another member of the M.L.E.S, this one with the letters in sparkling gold and with three thin stripes on each sleeve, clearly someone in charge. He pointed again to Sirius. "This is the man you mean, Mr...?"
"Smith's the name. My...oh, God, I'll be sick, look at all the blood!" He turned and retched. The wizard in charge waited. Smith looked up, and croaked the words that sealed Sirius Black's fate.
"Abracadabra! 'E was the one, 'e pointed that thing and 'e yelled it...."
Someone cast a binding spell, and Sirius started laughing.
He was done for. Peter had done a damn good job, wherever he was.
"Look, Dawlish! A finger! How...."
The biggest bit they ever found of Peter Pettigrew was his finger.
Remus Lupin had one thing to do before he could properly grieve for his friends. He had to take Peter Pettigrew's finger to Peter's mother.
The details were a bit sketchy, since the only witnesses had been Muggles, but what appeared to have happened was that Sirius found Peter and killed him, and the curse had been powerful enough to kill twelve Muggles and blow up the street. They didn't know why, no one could explain it. Why would Sirius Black, having successfully betrayed his best friend, then go after little Peter?
Remus' throat constricted with the realization that Sirius could have been coming after him next. Only he'd been hit in the head by a brick, and hadn't had the chance to get away. He was going before the Wizengamot even now, and Remus shuddered to think what could have happened.
The last few days had been the worst of Remus' life. He'd lost all of his friends within the space of 24 hours. James dead, Lily dead, Peter dead. And Sirius. Sirius was insane, evil, and bound for Azkaban.
Remus was having trouble wrapping his mind around all of it. The small box in his hand contained the last bit of Peter, and maybe it was wrong to bring it to his mother. Remus couldn't tell. Dumbledore had asked him to do it, seeming to want to keep Remus busy. But this wasn't a good kind of busy.
He walked up to the Pettigrew home, on the outskirts of London in a somewhat dodgy Muggle neighborhood. The Pettigrews weren't nobility, by any stretch of the imagination. Peter's father had left when Peter was small, before he'd gone to Hogwarts, and Peter's mother worked to pay the bills as a seamstress in one of the lower-end wizarding shops. Remus thought of Peter now with regret, because surely they (he, Sirius, and James) could have helped their friend? It didn't do to think of Sirius like that, though, and the thoughts were pushed from Remus' mind.
Lorraine Pettigrew was a mousy, small woman, with liberal streaks of silver grey in her straw-colored hair. She'd never been the kind of jolly, welcoming person James' mother had been, or patient and funny the way Remus' own mother still was. She was shy, and often looked at Peter's friends with a kind of awe, not unlike the way her son regarded them. She let them stay over but didn't go out of her way to welcome them, and she didn't stay in the room with them longer than it took to say hello.
When she opened the door and saw Remus Lupin there, holding the small box and clearly struggling to hold back tears, she screamed and fainted at his feet.
Her son had died a worthy death, and had exposed the most dangerous of all of Voldemort's remaining followers. Not that Remus could say that out loud; not that he could admit it, believe it all quite yet.
Lorraine was revived and given a good amount of strong, hot tea, and began crying in a gulping, heaving way after several minutes of recounting all of Peter's virtues. It was the most Remus had ever heard her talk, and he was glad to let her, not wanting to think too much about his small friend quite yet. Her sobs subsided
after awhile, and Remus poured her more tea. He couldn't stay much longer.
Lorraine's face went hard and pale as she talked of how much Peter had loved his friends. "Especially that Sirius Black," she said with some venom. But she had no fight in her. She dissolved into quiet tears, and remained quiet as Remus got up and took his leave.
She grabbed his arm just as he moved to close the door behind him.
"Justice, Remus Lupin. He deserves justice."
Remus never saw Lorraine Pettigrew again. She was killed less than a week after her son, and though they never knew who did it exactly, the Dark Mark shined in the sky above her home for two days before the Ministry was able to remove it.