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Futures Rather Left Unseen

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The glass hits the ground and shatters, spilling pumpkin juice all over the kitchen floor. Orange liquid stains the light brown tiles and soaks into his socks, but Peter Pettigrew doesn't notice. To an outsider, he would make an unusual picture: Standing in the middle of his kitchen, the radio playing Celestina Warbeck’s newest single, an uneaten and apparently abandoned bowl of cereal next to him on the counter, clothes sprinkled with the spill of his dropped juice, staring unblinking at the wall, seemingly completely unaware of his surroundings.

He looks as if he had been unlucky enough to anger Medusa, or maybe lucky enough to survive a basilisk.

But while his body stands petrified in his apartment, Peter's mind is wide awake and far away.

He blinks and finds himself in a dingy hallway, dimly lit and empty except for the row of doors to his left. As always, when he's trapped in a vision like this, Peter cannot control what his body does. He is here only to observe. The vision takes him to new places he himself has no influence over.

He cannot quite grasp what he's supposed to be observing here though. Just as he finishes that thought he starts to hear voices. The first one is that of a man. His tone is kind but firm.

“Thank you, Ms Trelawny, for your time. Our discussion here has been most enlightening. However, I fear that you may not be the best fit for the position of the Hogwarts Divination teacher. I will of course send you an owl with my final decision shortly. A good day to you, and good luck.”

Slowly Peter drifts closer to the door, just as he sees a dark figure ascend the stairs, he blinks and and finds himself on the other side. The room is slightly brighter than the hallway. Lit by candles and an oil lamp on the windowsill, the room seems even smaller than it actually is. The tall figure of Albus Dumbledore has a hand stretched out towards the door handle and under the low hanging ceiling he looks even taller than usually. There is a woman, covered in scarves and eyes magnified to an enormous size behind her glasses. She stands in the middle of the room, behind her a table full of things Peter easily recognizes. Tarot cards, a tea set, a crystal ball. This woman is a seer, or trying to be.

Peter still doesn’t know why he’s here. Usually if he has a vision, it’s either relevant to him or someone close to him. He has never seen this woman before in his life and while Dumbledore might be the head of the Order and his former headmaster, Peter wouldn’t exactly call him a close friend. Not like James and Remus and Sirius. Not like Lily or even Snape. No, they aren’t friends by any stretch of imagination, not with Snape running around with Voldemort as he does, but they are relevant to each other. Peter has seen short visions of each of them before. Lily finally accepting James’ proposal, a few pranks gone wrong, a detention or two. Normally it’s just helpful little tidbits that he sees. He’s never had a vision this clear or this long before.

And then the woman opens her mouth and say in a raspy voice that doesn’t seem to fit her ethereal appearance: “The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies…” There is a loud thump outside the door and a curse follows it but no one pays it any attention. “...and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…”

Then she closes her mouth and Peter doesn’t get much time to process what just happened, before he’s whisked away.

Colours blend around him, swirling like a tornado. It always feels a bit like traveling with floo powder, only it's the world that's spinning around him, not the other way around.

What happens next is a series of scenes. He jumps between them too fast to hold on to anything.

He sees Snape telling Lord Voldemort about as much of the prophecy as he knows. He sees Voldemort deciding to kill the child as soon as possible.

He sees Snape again, begging Dumbledore to protect Lily, his only true friend, who he once threw away for pride and power.

He sees Lily and James going into hiding, rejecting Dumbledore as their secret keeper and choosing Sirius instead.

He sees a slightly older Sirius telling a slightly older version of himself that they should switch. Sirius will be the diversion and Peter is the best of them at hiding anyway.

He sees himself betray his best friends to the Dark Lord and feels the brand of his mark on his arm as a reward. He wants to scream in denial, wants to rage at whichever entity is responsible for his visions, at fate and magic itself. Wants to say that he would never do this, that this isn’t him but he still has no control over himself.

Then he sees Harry.

He sees James’ and Lily’s son as Voldemort fails to kill him once, twice, thrice. Again and again. Sees the Dark Lord vanquished and and sees him return. He sees his own hand in Voldemort’s second rise. If he had a body right now, he knows he would be sick. He doesn’t get to be. He only gets to watch.

Peter watches the world heal from Voldemort and then break even worse at his return. Suspicion and destruction and death everywhere. It’s familiar. It’s how he lives right now. The second war starts much quicker than the first, but it is no less brutal for it.

There is only one consolation, and his name is Harry.

Voldemort breaks himself on this one child, that shines brighter than all of them, and Peter doesn’t understand any of it until he sees what must be the last stance.

Hogwarts lies in ruins around them. Order members, teachers and students alike are fighting against the Death Eaters. The castle itself seems awake and defending itself and its inhabitants. Severus Snape lies dead in the shrieking shack.

And then Peter sees Harry die and return from the dead.

He looks like James, uncannily so, but when he speaks to Voldemort he doesn’t talk like his father. Peter has never heard this tone of voice from James. It’s neither triumphant nor gloating, even in victory. Harry sounds tired above all else, but there is something more there too, in the set of his shoulders. It’s not confidence, like his father has, but conviction. Determination.

Peter just watched him resurrect himself, by virtue of Lily’s sacrifice.

There is a fight, frightfully short, and by the end of it Voldemort lies dead, for a second, final time.

 

Another swirl of colour and Peter is dropped back in his own body. He stumbles, falls. Pain cuts through his palm where he catches himself in shards of broken glass. A scream tears from his throat but it has little to do with the piece of glass that’s stuck in his hand.

He feels sick, violently so and now that he’s back he can’t help the bile rising in his throat. He vomits all over the already messy kitchen floor and then rolls away, falls onto his back and cries.

He cries because that can’t have been real, even if Peter knows it to be. He has never been wrong before, not once in his life has a vision he had ever not come true. There has only been one time when he tried to prevent something that he had seen. The time when Snape had almost died because of Sirius. He’d tried to stop it. He’d tried to keep them away from each other, tried to remind Sirius how important it was that no one find out about Remus’ “furry little problem”. It had done nothing.

Angry as he had been at the time Sirius had screamed at Snape that if he was so damn curious, he should go and “look at the Whooping Willow a little closer tonight.” The scene had played out as Peter had known it would and in the end all he could do was run to James and hope that he would be able to do what Peter himself couldn’t.

What he had learned then was that the future couldn’t be changed, and it now means that one of his best friends would die, that his wife would die with him, and Peter would be the one to hand them over to their murderer on a platter.

The worst part is that he can see why it has to happen. He doesn’t want it to. Everything inside of him is rebelling against the very idea, but from what he’s seen, Harry would have no chance against Voldemort without Lily’s sacrifice.

And Voldemort needs to die. For the people he killed, for all the damage he has done, all the damage he will do.

But that doesn’t make it any easier. Peter’s body shakes with the force of his sobs as he curls in on himself, arms wrapped around his middle, as if the act of making himself as small as humanly possible would do anything to help him not shatter apart at what he now knows he must do. Because there is nothing else he can do.

He never told anyone about this power, hadn’t even taken Divination at school. James and Sirius had always made fun of subject and even Remus had expressed a certain amount of scepticism. Peter just hadn’t wanted the confrontation, so he’d kept it quiet. Who would believe him if he now suddenly turned around and told them that he was having visions of death and destruction? They’d say it was the stress of working for the Order, or something similarly sensible but utterly wrong.

It takes a long time for him to calm down enough to stop crying and it takes an even longer time for him to get up again. He feels numb when he does, like all emotion has been drained out of him and left him a hollow, empty husk. Outside it’s already getting dark.

He draws his wand, waves it over the mess and mutters “Reparo.” The glass flies back together, missing the piece that’s still stuck in his palm. He’d forgotten about that until now. Now that he’s thinking about it, his hand starts to throb with pain again. It’s a welcome distraction from the gaping, empty abyss that has opened in Peter’s chest.

He pulls the piece out of his palm, then heals the cut and finally vanishes the spill on the tiles. Another wave of his wand clears the air of the pungent smell of vomit. Not a minute has passed and already there is no evidence left of what has happened to him. Magic can sure be great sometimes.

He stares at the light brown tiles for a long time and tries not to think of anything. It’s not working, but it’s a brave attempt anyway.

Eventually, after the sun has fully vanished behind the horizon, he goes to bed. In the morning he will have to start researching ways to hide his thoughts. There are rumors that Voldemort could read minds after all, and if there’s anything he can’t risk, it’s the Dark Lord finding out about what Peter just saw.

A few weeks later there is a knock on his door. Peter isn’t expecting anyone, and therefore has a pretty good idea of who it is he will find behind that door. He steels himself, taking on the mantle of the frightened, self-serving and easily manipulated man that the one on the other side expects him to be. Then shouts at the door.

“Wh-Who’s th-there?!”

“My name is Lucius Malfoy and I have come with a proposal for you, Mr Pettigrew.” Peter closes his eyes in pain. This is it. This is the last day of his life as a Marauder.

He unlocks the door.

“W-What can I do for you, then, Mr Malfoy?”