FIC: "Bravery and Ambition" for venturous Recipient: venturous Author:alwaysasnapefan Title: Bravery and Ambition Rating: R Pairings: Amycus Carrow/Peter Pettigrew Word Count: 9,300 Warnings/Content Information (Highlight to View): * mind-altering potions use, brief and inexplicit attraction to a sibling when under the influence of a potion *. Summary: Amycus Carrow falls for a promising Gryffindor named Peter Pettigrew and discovers that bravery and ambition are rarer than he'd thought.
Part 1: Exceeding Expectations
Amycus sat on the cool grass and waited for Peter Pettigrew.
They were about to have their first tutoring session. It was true that Amycus could use the help, but it would also get him just as close to the Gryffindor as he had originally planned. Pettigrew interested Amycus because he seemed like such an afterthought to the untrained eye. He had three friends, also Gryffindors, but he never really seemed to belong to Gryffindor house, much less in James Potter's little crew of exceptionals. There was power in the way he blended in. But, it wasn't a perfect blend.
He was always behind where his friends raced ahead, always unhappy about something his friends didn't see a problem with. He was always out of step. And if Pettigrew was the exception to the exceptional people, did that make him dull or important? How useful was he? Amycus needed to know. If Pettigrew was an outsider, he'd be relatively easy to reach.
"You really believe I could teach you something?" Pettigrew said as he sat down, amusement laced with uncertainty in his eyes. The uncertainty was unsurprising but also illogical—he'd blown Amycus away by turning a piece of parchment into one of the most exquisitely embroidered handkerchiefs Amycus had ever seen.
"Well, you've proved it, yeah?" The statement didn't even pretend to be a question. Amycus flopped down on the ground near Pettigrew and smiled broadly.
Pettigrew chewed at his lip as he began to dig around in his bag distractedly. "I suppose so," he admitted. He finally tugged the handkerchief out of the bag and proffered it. The embroidery was less impressive than it had been upon creation, as was to be expected, and Amycus greedily reached out, rolling over a bit on the grass, propping himself up on one arm.
Pettigrew watched nervously as Amycus examined the handkerchief, turning it this way and that, clucking his tongue. "So, Pettigrew," he asked, eyes still tracing the floral design delicately, "how'd you end up a Gryffindor?" He'd been burning to ask it, ever since he'd started his observation of the other boy.
Pettigrew's body stiffened. "You don't believe I belong there. Is that what you're saying?" His gaze was steady, his face blank.
"'Course not." Pettigrew began to relax. Oh. "No," Amycus clarified, "I mean, you don't, no. I know you don't. You know you don't. You're not simple, like they all wanna think." He eyed him carefully. "There's somethin' more to you, eh?"
"I really am simple. It's my friends you want." Pettigrew's expression was sour. "I don't know anything."
"Let me put it this way. If one of them poncy friends of yours had done this," he said about the handkerchief, "that wouldn't be interesting, now would it?" He nudged Pettigrew. "Would it?"
There was a flash of something like pride in Pettigrew's eyes, and then he turned away. "Why are you bothering with me, really? I'm not interesting," he insisted, the words sounding heavy in his mouth. "Or helpful, for that matter. I'm really not."
"Your notes."Amycus drew his wand and began twiddling it, satisfied when Pettigrew didn't seem very bothered by the action. He shoved the handkerchief in his pocket, and brushed fingers over the coolness of his pocket watch.
"My notes?" Pettigrew asked carefully, slowly. "What about them?"
Amycus shrugged, lying all the way back. "The way you wrote. The penmanship was all hurried-like, but the notes were more thorough than mine—mind, that's not saying much. They reminded me of someone's, actually. Someone intelligent. So," he waved the hand not brushing the watch casually, "interesting, yeah."
Pettigrew swallowed. He went about pulling up a few blades of grass as if they held answers.
Amycus suddenly saw Alecto happily stomping out of the castle toward him and sighed softly. "Hey, that's my sister. I've gotta be off, but I'll see you around?"
"Now?" Pettigrew brushed the broken blades of grass from between his hands.
"Yeah, important stuff," Amycus said with a wink and a lopsided smile. "Unavoidable."
Pettigrew, looking as if he had something to ask, but hesitated and nodded meekly instead."Yeah."
"Sometime before the quiz anyway," Amycus said. He really wasn't great at Transfiguration.
Pettigrew nodded, staring at Amycus as he got up and walked off, watching the siblings meet up and head back to the castle as a unit.
"So I see you finally took the plunge," Alecto said with a snort. "What's he like?"
Amycus reflected upon how things had gone with Pettigrew. "Not as dull as you'd think," he finally said.
"You do have good instincts. Did you teach him much?"
"Well, that's the thing. He doesn't need my help in Charms after all," Amycus said with a curious tilt of his head. "Not sure why he doesn't act like it much, but he's doing alright. And he's actually quite good when it comes to Transfiguration." He pulled the handkerchief out, handing it to her.
"Maybe he's shy," Alecto said with a hopeful curl of her lip. "Vulnerable."
"Yeah, maybe." He nodded to the handkerchief. "That was a scrap of parchment. He did that."
She eyed it, seeming a bit mystified. "Well," she said at last, blatantly placing it in her own pocket, "be careful. You know that Gryffindor lot, how they can be. I just ran into one who thought she could turn me in for the trade. Must've been mad, the dear. But don't worry, I took care of her."
Amycus grinned, well imagining the damage his sister had caused to the nosy little thing. "So what does this one do, then?"
She looked at him slyly. He'd have to wait and see later that evening; she wasn't telling. Only she and Rosier ever knew.
Greyback, Goyle, Rosier, and, of course, Alecto and Amycus were all seated around one of the common room tables, keeping distance from each other. More distance than usual, actually, which was necessary for the current potion of study. They each had a special object in hand that a Reality Reminder spell had been affixed to. Amycus's object was Grandfather Carrow's old pocket watch. Alecto's was a small, carved bird that the same man had fashioned for her.
They were all currently experiencing similar rushes of sensuality in the brain, which was quite the point. Everyone was licking lips, looking about heatedly. Greyback looking at Amycus heatedly was no surprise to anyone, because he habitually looked at Amycus like he wanted him. Amycus knew it, and he'd been clear with Greyback about the one-sidedness of it all. Greyback always seemed fine with it.
"We're gonna push this a bit," said Rosier, looking, well, rosy about the cheeks. He had a healthy glow and an even healthier interest in any potions that could be of use in showing Mudbloods their proper place. The only one who knew more about potions that Rosier was Snape, but he wasn't interested in helping students test potions. He thought Rosier and Amycus and the rest were being stupid about it. He might have been right, at that.
"What do you want us to do?" asked Alecto, looking pleased.
"Well, I say the twins should hold hands a bit and let go of their anchors," he said in a low voice. They were in the common room, and they were going to do this. The location couldn't be helped because Alecto's representation of female reactions to the potions was invaluable, and she rather liked the attention. "We'll be standing right here and won't let anything untoward happen," Rosier added when he saw Amycus's hesitance.
There was an edge to the air as Alecto let go of the little carved bird and Amycus let go of the watch. The air felt heavier, making him feel even more like he should be undressed, should be attending to certain parts of himself he'd rather pretend he didn't even have when it came to his sister, who was very important to him but only in the regular sibling way.
There was a moment, as she bravely flung her hand on top of his, as she linked their fingers, that no one breathed. Amycus shut his eyes against the increase of lust, which Rosier recorded, and Alecto's eyes—Rosier got a bit closer to see—dilated. She clutched her twin's hand, drawing in a shaky breath. They looked as if they only vaguely realized they were brother and sister.
"Enough," Rosier said.
Greyback shot a Stinging Hex at Alecto's pretty hand and said, "Enough." She jerked the hand away, still eyeing Amycus heavily. Goyle, nearest to Alecto, handed her bird to her.
"Powerful stuff," Goyle commented with a laugh. Alecto began to return to herself, smoothing down her hair, not looking left at her brother just yet out of respect, as he remained sitting still with his eyes closed.
Greyback nudged the watch into Amycus's hand as well, careful not to let their fingers do more than brush a bit.
Amycus finally opened his eyes. He sucked in a breath of relief. The urge to do unnatural things was gone. He'd found the watch had a certain kind of safety since he'd received it as a boy, but that association had become irreparably strong after the spell had been placed. He was inclined to taking it out and feeling its effects during the day, which wasn't entirely healthy. "Testing done?" he said a bit dryly to Rosier.
Rosier eyed Greyback and tapped the feather of the quill against closed lips in thought.
Goyle watched him then said, "I think just one more test." He got out his wand. "I'm always up for stinging Fenrir," he joked.
"Might take a bit more than that," Alecto said with a grin, and then Amycus finally caught what they were saying.
"Oh would you, Amycus?" said Rosier. No one had to ask if Greyback would be game—if it was a game, he was game. And even if it wasn't, half the time.
Amycus took a deep breath and steeled himself. He held the watch open. "Give me a minute, yeah?"
They sat in silence, thinking about their experiment mostly, though Amycus tried to make his mind as blank as possible, despite the haze of arousal that still lingered even with the safety of the watch.
After Amycus shut the watch again and gripped it loosely, Greyback reached out, resting two fingers, just two fingers, on Amycus's wrist, and Amycus nearly jolted at the contact. He released the watch, and Greyback let go of his own anchoring object, a wolf carved from bone that Amycus had, in fact, made him for Christmas in Amycus's second year.
The hands wasted little time in coming to hold each other properly, and the two sets of eyes locked hard, and things went on below that everyone else was quite aware of. Finally, as Greyback curled a hand around Amycus's waist, leaned in in a flash, and began to suck at Amycus's neck like a hungry, hungry creature, Goyle raised wand and stung Greyback's ear. He had to sting it harder before the two broke apart to pant.
"Good," Rosier praised, scribbling and smiling.
"Powerful stuff, "Goyle repeated. Greyback rubbed at his ear. Rosier handed him back his carved wolf.
"Right," Amycus finally said, taking a deep breath. "Right." He went back for his watch, then walked rather quickly to the loo, where he paced for a little while before returning, shaking out his nerves best he could.
"I think we have some good data collected," Goyle said, reading Rosier's notes. Despite the embarrassment and the continued arousal, Amycus had to agree.
"Who is it my notes remind you of?" Pettigrew asked as they sat in the library.
Amycus gave a wry smile. "Do you really want to know?"
Pettigrew squared his shoulders. "Yes, actually. I do."
"Severus Snape." Amycus let that sit for a moment, watching disgust and uncertainty pass through Pettigrew's eyes as he slipped his hand into his pocket for the watch, just for a little touch. "He's a bright one, don't you think?"
Pettigrew, face screwed up, said, "Popular opinion, anyway. Not sure if I agree."
Amycus was glad Pettigrew didn't seem too offended. He reached into his school bag to grab a packet of biscuits. Strictly speaking, they were contraband in the library, but Pettigrew was such a distraction from studies to Amycus lately that he surely should have been contraband too. Amycus simply couldn't make sense of him.
"Your sister made a shady deal last night," Pettigrew said casually, watching Amycus.
Amycus sat down hard, fingers tightening on the biscuit's packaging with an audible crunch. He schooled his shocked expression into something more presentable and reached for the watch again."Oh yeah? What kind of deal?"
"Potions trade. My friend told me, after she got herself landed in the infirmary. It's true, isn't it?"
Amycus took a stunned moment to think. He decided to be upfront. "Yeah. Well, we like to run tests, little experiments. You never know when something'll come in useful," he said, and nudged Pettigrew as a reminder he found him useful when others clearly didn't.
Pettigrew chuckled, then thought better of it and glanced nervously at Amycus. Amycus felt heat at the back of his neck as he tried to avoid the thought that he was dealing with someone who was not only interesting but apparently fairly dangerous as well.
Amycus pretended he didn't know what Rosier was hinting at when he leaned over in Transfiguration and said, "There are more interesting things here than just the lesson, if you ask me."
Rosier laughed. "You've paid more attention to him than anything else today. Quiz coming up next lesson and all, too."
"Well, he's a dangerous one," Amycus said. "Wouldn't think so, no, but he knew about the potions trade. I'm trying to figure him out. He'll be tutoring me later anyway, so likely I won't fail. I can watch him. It's okay." Amycus thought maybe he was trying to convince himself of it.
Rosier was very surprised. After a moment, he said, "Remarkable. He might be worth looking into after all, Amycus. Imagine the possibilities in espionage alone."
Oh, Amycus was.
"You were going to teach me a little something about that spell for the quills, weren't you?"
"I'll try, anyway. You might not be capable of picking it up," Pettigrew teased. It was a bit brilliant, the way he searched for Amycus's reaction, saw how far he could push.
Honestly, he could push Amycus pretty far, if he liked. Amycus swallowed. It felt a bit strange, having just barely tapped the force of nature inside the Gryffindor who looked so unassuming.
The verbal portion of the spell, he picked up quickly enough. Then came the wand movement, which he wasn't getting on his own. Pettigrew moved behind him to help with the movements, which he found distracting for a number of reasons. Pettigrew's solid body was pressed behind him, wrapped around him. His hand was wrapped around Amycus's too. Amycus sucked in a breath.
Not only was he attracted to Pettigrew, he wasn't much used to physical contact in general. Amycus's grandfather wasn't much for hugging, although Amycus had to admit that Alecto was. He played as Beater on the Quidditch team, but Quidditch tended not to be a contact sport, or at least not for Beaters.
He imagined Pettigrew could barely see over him as he stood behind. The thought was right sweet. And then, Pettigrew's cheek was pressed against the back of his shoulder and Amycus wanted to lean back, wanted to melt into it, but they'd never exactly talked about that kind of thing, so he managed to fumble for the watch in order to take back control of himself.
Pettigrew finally pulled away, and Amycus felt the room was suddenly too cool. With Pettigrew behind him, he had felt wonderful. He had felt warm and wanted. The watch made things clear, but it didn't make them warm, did it?
He watched as Pettigrew returned to his seat, deciding that Pettigrew had no knowledge of how attractive he could be. He didn't look like much, certainly. Not everyone could, could they? But he had a pull that Amycus couldn't deny.
It was only then that Amycus saw he was being observed by Rosier. He wasn't even very embarrassed, though he figured Rosier's good powers of observation had picked up on his attraction even from halfway across the room. When had Rosier showed up, anyway?
Amycus pulled the watch out and began playing with it a bit, silently telling Rosier that while he could think what he would, it wouldn't get to Amycus.
"I got an E!" Amycus said, brandishing his quiz results. "I exceed expectations." He rested a hand on Pettigrew's shoulder, adding, "Which really meansyou exceed expectations, yeah?" That really was a good way to describe what Pettigrew did, with all his secrets and surprises.
"Well done." Pettigrew smiled, leaning into the touch a bit. "You picked it up pretty quick. I think part of the problem before was thinking that you couldn't do it."
The more Pettigrew said and did to reveal pieces of himself, the more Amycus felt a queer thrill at the depths that remained unearthed. He nodded at Pettigrew's assessment. "Well, now I think I can. We should make a proper thing of this, eh? Have meetings so you can learn me some more spells," he said. "We can go beyond just this quiz."
"Okay." Pettigrew paused, sitting up straight, gaze piercing and strong. "I have a condition, though."
"What is it, then?" Amycus immediately asked.
Pettigrew smiled benignly. "I'd like to be let in on what it is you're doing with the potions." He shifted a bit more toward the hand Amycus had yet to remove from his shoulder. Amycus tightened the grip briefly, then let go, sliding his hand into his pocket.
He traced the cool metal of the old pocket watch with a few deep breaths. Pettigrew was curious about the potions. Okay.
Pettigrew's friend had been suspicious, and now Pettigrew was curious.
Alright, it wasn't unprecedented, bringing someone else in for the potions testing. Mainly, the guests were bored Slytherin girls who'd been bribed to help balance out the male to female student ratio. But Pettigrew actually seemed interested, and that would be a good change of pace.
"I'd have to ask around."
Pettigrew seemed pleased with that answer.
"Then you'll find me at your disposal." Amycus swallowed at that. "When it comes to tutoring, anyway," Pettigrew added.
Amycus thought, for just a moment, that Pettigrew might know how much Amycus wanted him after all.
Alecto had giggled, watching Amycus watching Pettigrew. "Well spotted, Rosier," she praised. She nudged her brother. "You failed to mention any ulterior motives before."
"Well I'd only just met him," Amycus said with a bit of annoyance. The primary motive was finding someone special for the Dark Lord's ranks. It would continue to be the primary motive, Amycus was sure—or at least half sure.
"You should go for it, then," Rosier said. "Make his day, an' all that."
"Well, I might," Amycus said defensively.
"No one's stopping you," Rosier said. "And I know you want to."
"Well what's the worst that could happen?" Amycus said slowly, entertaining the idea. Yeah, it wouldn’t be too bad, the two of them, if Pettigrew was game. He was nice enough, interesting enough. Certainly cute and clever enough.
Alecto quirked a brow, and Amycus thought he knew what she meant by it. "I'll get back to you about that, brother dear," she said with a laugh.
There was a part of Amycus that was ready for her predictions, and a part that wasn't, so he pushed on anyway. "Out with it."
"He's gonna do great things for the cause," she said.
Amycus saw no trace of lying, but she did look to be holding back on him. "And?"
"And he's gonna be not-so-great for you."
Amycus shrugged. "Well, I haven't brought up feelin's anyway. Nothin'll probably come of it, so why worry?"
"Divination stuff ain't written in stone, Amycus," Alecto assured him. Still, she didn't look very certain about that. "Will you go for it anyway? Perhaps you should. See what you learn from it all. You hardly date."
"Yeah, I'll go for it, if he wants. You know what I say about people," Amycus said with amusement.
"Double-edged swords. Might as well cut yourself up a bit,'" she said fondly.
Amycus lowered his voice. "Pettigrew?"
"Are you interested in 'the cause'?" he asked with a swallow. It was, after all, a bold question, particularly for a library setting. "If you need me to clarify," he added quickly, hand connecting with the hidden watch again, "we'll have to get somewhere more private."
Pettigrew began to pack his things back into his bag with a pleased sort of hurry. "I know a place," he said with a smile. Amycus had a feeling they were already on the same page. He followed Pettigrew, focusing on his sister's prediction. Pettigrew would be a good one for the cause, sneaky little thing he appeared to be.
They went downstairs to the third floor, where Pettigrew led them to an empty corridor. There was a large tapestry on the wall that Pettigrew tapped with his wand and whispered, "Dimidio!" to. The tapestry split in two vertically, along with the wall behind, pulling apart slowly until a passageway had opened up.
"A wall's a good place to hide, don't you think? Nexi," Pettigrew said. The wall closed up again.
Amycus was impressed. He lit his wand. "Well, alright then. When I say 'the cause'," he began, "I mean the Dark Lord's cause." He shone his light down the passageway a bit and cursed in astonishment. It went on for quite a ways. Where were they, exactly?
Pettigrew lit his own wand, and they had a bit of a stare in silence. "I'd like to learn more about it all, if that's okay. I promise I won't tell a thing to anyone. I want to know what his supporters do, things like that."
"I can tell you," Amycus said, voice quiet. Again, bold. Maybe he was the Gryffindor. Their words echoed along the empty passageway. It was so dim, like a new world.
Pettigrew reached out in the dimness for Amycus's cheek. He rested his hand there. They felt impossibly close. They continued to stare.
"C'n I kiss you?" Amycus finally breathed at the other boy.
Pettigrew moved his hand delicately, tracing Amycus's cheekbone with his fingertips. "You want to do that?" he asked.
Pettigrew was a short boy, a boy with pudge around his middle and on his cheeks, a boy with shifty little eyes and a face that wasn't made for making people swoon but did the trick for Amycus anyway.
"Yes," said Amycus.
Pettigrew's hand moved down to Amycus's lip, softly tracing it. Amycus had full lips and a crooked smile, had cheekbones that were stark and eyes that were pale. Pettigrew continued to trace the bow of the lip, appreciating the texture, the way Amycus breathed and wanted and stood rather still. He pressed his thumb against the part of the lips, pleased when Amycus yielded to the action, mouth parting.
"We barely know each other," Pettigrew pointed out, a flash of appreciation crossing his face when Amycus chanced a bit of a lick at the tip of the thumb.
"Come test potions with us, then. I'll put in a good word." Amycus's voice was coming out in a strange rasp.
Pettigrew gave the lower lip one last stroke with his thumb. "And maybe a proper date," he added. "Hogsmeade. I've...never been on a proper date before." He bowed his head a bit.
"I don't think I've been on a proper one neither," Amycus admitted freely. "You can be my first." He grinned.
"I think I'd like that." Pettigrew straightened up. "When do you test potions next?"
"When we get one. I'll let you know." Amycus watched as Pettigrew moved back toward the closed entrance they'd come through and repeated the same spell that had split the wall before. They were back in reality, out of that other world. They were away from full lips and the tip of a curious thumb.
Pettigrew grasped Amycus's hand suddenly, and then it didn't seem like the world of the passageway was too far removed from reality after all.
They walked along the corridor a bit with their hands clasped. They came to a stop before they turned the corner. "And Pettigrew?"
Pettigrew's lip quirked slightly. "Peter's fine," he assured Amycus.
Amycus nodded. "Peter, then. Don't forget to bring a small object of high sentimental value, pocket-size."
"You mean the size of a pocket watch?" Peter teased, brushing a fingertip over the pocket that held Amycus's watch. "I'll find something," he assured with a wave as he went round the corner.
Amycus reached for the watch, surprised once again.
"We're all good with this, then?" Amycus asked, gazing particularly at Greyback, who was eyeing Pettigrew with a strangely predatory look.
"Yeah. Any reason why wouldn't we be?" Greyback asked. "There's not somethin' we should know about him, is there?" His grin was, if possible, even wider than before.
Pettigrew, still standing, looked around the Astronomy Tower for a moment before realizing it was possible Greyback wanted an answer from him. He met the rather discomfiting gaze. "Not really, no." He settled next to Amycus. Hardly anyone came by during the day, and the furniture was comfortable.
"You brought an item for anchoring?" Rosier asked.
Pettigrew handed Amycus a small butterfly-shaped brooch and watched in fascination as the Slytherins all cast the spell, adding multiple layers of magic to strengthen it.
"Be careful not to touch it too much, when you don't need to," Alecto warned. As she said this to Pettigrew, she did chance a glance at Amycus.
"Why's that?" He took his brooch, setting it in the palm of his hand and running the fingertips of the other hand over its black, jeweled wings.
"You can get a bit addicted to it, "Amycus admitted.
"I'm not you," Pettigrew teased.
"The potion's not so...nice as last time," Rosier admitted, writing up the header for the potions notes.
"We've got the stuff of nightmares this evening." Alecto said fondly. "Afterward, we should skip out to the pub if we can, yeah? Maybe get some sweets."
"I know a way straight to Honeydukes," Pettigrew said. "Secret passageway." He was eyed critically all around, then praised.
"That's good, then," Alecto said. "Honeydukes and maybe somethin' more?"
By the time the session came to a close, they all needed the chocolate, and they all wanted the alcohol.
Pettigrew decided he'd need to keep his interaction with Amycus and the other Slytherins down to a few times a week if he didn't want to attract James and Sirius's attention. So far, he'd told his friends he was spending time with a group of Hufflepuffs, and he hadn't been challenged.
One evening as the sun began to get low in the sky, he sat under a tree at the edge of the grounds. He was resting his head on Amycus's shoulder as they shared an illicit potions text that Goyle had snuck into his trunk while on Christmas holiday.
Pettigrew straightened up a bit after Amycus turned the page to reveal a potion meant for resurrection of a weakened form. He reached out, tracing the lines of text as he read.
"Useful stuff, that," Amycus commented, yawning a bit. He handed the book over, coaxing Pettigrew into his lap. He enjoyed the warm weight of Pettigrew, how he felt solid when Amycus wrapped his arms around him and nosed the back of his head. "Enjoying yourself, are you?"
"Not as much as you, I'd wager," Pettigrew smirked, and he shifted his hips in a quite dangerous way.
Alecto, a few trees away, unable to hear them, did glance up, but they weren't really doing anything untoward.
"You're a bloody tease," Amycus chuckled. He lowered his hands, resting them on Pettigrew's hips. "I can tell 'Lecto to buzz off?" he murmured, voice breathy. Pettigrew shifted again, and Amycus groaned.
"Proper date first." Amycus could hear the evil little smirk in the tone. He rested his cheek against Pettigrew's shoulder for a moment, taking a deep breath.
"Alright, then let's go through the passageway and have ourselves a proper date," Amycus rasped, stroking fingertips lightly over Pettigrew's side through his jumper.
"Almost. Hang on. There's one more I need to read about."
Amycus shifted against Pettigrew to make his point. "Peter."
"It'll keep," Pettigrew said absently, but his breaths were tellingly shallow, his voice a bit lower than usual.
"You evil Gryffindor, you," Amycus said, and reached into his pocket for the blasted watch, which did help take the edge off a bit.
There was a small little restaurant in the north of Hogsmeade called The Dancing Cat that would do the trick. They did get a few looks, but they didn't see anyone they actually knew—at first. They'd changed into some decent clothes, tried to make themselves a bit presentable. The effect wasn't too bad, actually.
Pettigrew didn't carry his brooch around because he'd taken the warnings about the Reality Reminder spell seriously, but Amycus had his watch. Amycus would probably need it, if Pettigrew was going to be as much a tease as he'd been lately. Pettigrew still wouldn't kiss him, but he was driving Amycus crazy at every opportunity. It was a power thing, Amycus thought. But if you were a Slytherin, you understood power things. And, apparently, even if you weren't, he thought fondly.
Pettigrew did look rather sweet, and he was glowing with the excitement of the date. He leaned over to adjust Amycus's collar. Amycus shivered at the unexpected touch, but he found the gesture amusing. Pettigrew didn't seem to have teasing on his mind, about that anyway. They shared careful smiles as Pettigrew leaned away again.
Pettigrew was actually very serious, not looking to play for power so much as simply enjoy himself and learn about his date. Amycus was pleased with this turn out. He was pleased with The Dancing Cat, too. Amycus had finished with his chicken, but Pettigrew was still doing away with his pasta and cream sauce.
Suddenly, Pettigrew stiffened and sat up a bit straighter, his gaze locking on something past Amycus's shoulder. "Greyback," he said.
Amycus gave a put-upon sigh and an apologetic smile. "I'll take care of it," he said, and turned to stand. Greyback was quicker, and pulled a chair over to sit down with them for a moment.
"Hey! Mind if I join?" he asked, looking from one to the other. "I'm starving." He grabbed a piece of bread.
Amycus shook off the shock after a moment. "Mind? Yeah, a bit. It's...a date, Fenrir."
The surprise seemed to transform Greyback's face. Something about it seemed off, like he wasn't really surprised after all. Maybe...was there any way he could have known?
"Well, then," Greyback said. "I'll leave you to it. Some of us were thinkin' about having a drink in the common room later. You should come. And you too," he added to Pettigrew.
Amycus eyed Greyback a bit. He hadn't been around when Amycus had told Alecto and Rosier, but maybe they'd passed the word on. Or maybe he really hadn't known after all.
"I'll be off," Greyback said. "But really, come. And bring the boyfriend." His usual, feral grin was a purposefully a bit subdued. He left them to their date.
They came out of the passageway with a quickness they hadn't previously, and Pettigrew took care of the statue of the ugly witch with clumsy wandwork. Then, with a single heated glance from Pettigrew, Amycus was reaching out to cup his face. They kissed. It started as a peck, and soon turned searing. Pettigrew was panting heavily, looking up at Amycus with dilated eyes that were half lidded. He wrapped his arms around Amycus's shoulders, leaning in for more of Amycus's mouth on his.
Pettigrew ended up with his back pressed against the cool stone wall, with Amycus caressing his cheek and practically purring against his lips. Amycus curled the other hand around Pettigrew's backside, giving it a squeeze. It was very satisfying to hear him gasp, to feel the gasp right against his lips.
They paused, catching their breath and trying to remember some sense of decorum.
Finally, Amycus grunted, "What about the drinks. Should we?"
Pettigrew shrugged, looking very flushed and quite smug.
Alecto was off somewhere, but Rosier and Greyback and more, including Severus Snape, were gathered round to drink smuggled Firewhiskey and Scotch. Greyback insisted that Pettigrew and Amycus try some of the open bottle of Firewhiskey he had in his hand.
Amycus Conjured two glasses, one for Pettigrew and the other for himself, allowing Greyback to pour their drinks. Catching the calculating look on Pettigrew's face, he asked, "Never had?"
Pettigrew shook his head, smiling gratefully as he took his glass and they found a place to settle in next to each other, snuggling a bit.
"Date went well?" asked Rosier.
"Very." Amycus took a sip, closing his eyes, relishing the burn. He tugged Pettigrew just a bit closer.
A number of drinks later, everyone's tongues were looser. Everyone was feeling a bit fond and silly, though Amycus noticed Greyback wasn't drinking as much as usual.
"Somethin' on your mind?"Amycus asked. He stroked Pettigrew's hair. Pettigrew was leaning against him very heavily, fairly close to falling asleep, or at least it seemed.
Greyback shrugged. He watched Amycus and Pettigrew interact. Amycus, even in his state, could read the jealousy. But there was something else there, something almost like triumph.
It wasn't like Greyback had ever actually asked Amycus out. Actually, he couldn't remember Greyback asking anyone out before. Amycus's fingers were a bit clumsy in Pettigrew's pretty blond hair. He pressed a kiss to the top of his head. Reaching a hand into his pocket for the addictive comfort of the watch, he let his pleasantly heavy eyes close.
Moments later, Amycus woke, hand loosely curled around the watch. Curiously, he could hear Greyback and Snape. He stayed perfectly still, acting as if he were still asleep. His mind was clearer with the watch than it otherwise would have been.
"How come it's not working?" Greyback whispered harshly.
Snape's voice, clearly affected by the alcohol but about as sharp as usual, responded softly. "How do you know it isn't? Maybe it takes a while. You're bollocks at potions," he sneered. Amycus liked Snape. He had snark for miles.
"It better work." There was a shifting of Greyback's body. He was likely looming over Snape as a threat. Maybe he'd actually placed a hand on him.
"Really, Greyback," Snape said disinterestedly. "I told you we couldn't be sure of the effect when it was carried in Firewhiskey, and cheap stuff at that," he chastised.
"I'll blame you."
"Are you really so pathetic?"
Greyback seemed to sit normally again. "Naw," he said.
"Good," said Snape. "Rosier, the experiment is all yours from here. Take notes, observe, do whatever it is you do. And kindly don't bother me in the future. The debt has been repaid, wouldn't you say?"
"In full," Rosier said.
"Yeah," came Greyback's response.
Amycus pretended to be asleep for another few minutes before, hand so tight on the watch that his knuckles were white, he opened his eyes.
"Oi, sleepyhead," Greyback commented. "Nice to see you among the living."
Amycus, through the slight haze of the whiskey, smirked at his old friend who was an apparent saboteur. He stretched lazily, petting Pettigrew's hair a bit more. "Thanks for the drink," he said, casually taking in the way Greyback and Rosier watched him pet the hair. Snape, however, merely watched the liquid in his glass as he turned it in the light from the fire. "Should I stop?" Amycus asked, letting his hand's motions pause. "A bit awkward, yeah?"
Rosier shook his head. "We're alright with it." No one else said anything.
"Okay." Amycus cuddled his boyfriend close while wondering what'd been put in his drink and if it might not start working after all.
"Fenrir, will you help me walk him back?"
Pettigrew groggily sat up a bit. "Where'm I?" he said, looking about. Then, it hit him. "Ah. Slytherin common room."
"You clever thing," Amycus said with a quirk of his lip. "Don't worry. We're takin' you up to Gryffindor. No use navigating the stairs on your own like this."
Pettigrew hesitated, looking at the carpet and going still.
"Black and Lupin hate drunkenness," Snape said, taking a sip, staring at the landscape on the far wall.
Pettigrew stared at Snape. It was true, of course. And Pettigrew already had trouble fitting in. Pettigrew nodded, head swimming a bit.
"Change of plans, then," Amycus said. "Let's take him to the dorm."
Rosier, Snape, Goyle, Amycus, and Finnigan shared the dorm. Greyback was a year above them, to Greyback's current displeasure. Greyback scooped Pettigrew up unceremoniously, being rather sober, and he walked up the stairs, placing the Gryffindor firmly in Amycus's bed.
Goyle placed a silencing spell on the bed and its curtains. "Just in case," he said.
Silently, Snape strengthened the spell, far more skilled than the rest of them, even while under the influence.
Pettigrew blinked up at them all slowly. "Unnecessary," he slurred, but he was grateful all the same.
"Thanks," Amycus said in embarrassment.
Greyback said, "Snape." He caught Snape's gaze. "I expect a report. We can always try again."
Snape nodded calmly, though he did glance at Amycus. "Well, at any rate," he said, "it's bed time. Greyback, out."Snape watched haughtily as Greyback left, and then rounded on Amycus. "Pettigrew, go sit on a different bed for a moment. Amycus, in there," he nodded to the bed with the strong silencing spell on it.
Amycus slipped through the curtains, wary.
"Did you overhear what we were saying in the common room?"
Amycus stared at him. "Er, yeah, I did."
"I thought you might have. Don't let Greyback know you know what I'm going to tell you." The intensity in his fathomless eyes made Amycus nod in agreement. Snape being so serious was not a good sign.
"He tried to slip you two a potion in the Firewhiskey," he sneered. He said it as if Amycus was stupid.
"So, did he or didn't he?"
"He forced my hand, but I made alterations. You might have to evacuate your bladder more often for a little while. That's all."
Amycus sighed in relief. "Well, what did he want you to give us?"
"A Repelling Potion, so that you would stop being together. You know how he is."
"Right."Amycus sighed. Well, if it hadn't happened, no harm no foul. "You know, you really are Class A," he praised.
Snape's hand on his shoulder startled him. "I think he'll try to have Rosier do it next. I don't approve of your choice in partners, but I don't think potions should be used for such petty purposes, do you?"
"No," Amycus said. "I suppose not."
"You must stop Greyback, in any way you can. Teach him a lesson, if possible. Do you promise?"
"Promise," Amycus said. If Snape wanted something, it was both necessary and important.
Pettigrew was warm, Amycus thought after he'd taken off their shoes and gotten into bed next to him. It was very pleasant.
They did snog a bit, as sloppy as it was. Pettigrew pressed closer, running his fingers through Amycus's auburn hair in the dim light of the dorm room. "Don't you want to take your shirt off, Amycus?" Pettigrew murmured from his position on his side, watching Amycus curiously.
"Do you want me to, Peter?" He was flattered when Pettigrew nodded. Pettigrew wanted to see him. Pettigrew unbuttoned Amycus's shirt bit by bit until they rested, holding each other close.
"Do I get to see you too?" Amycus asked.
Pettigrew chuckled. "You wouldn't want to see this," he said. "I don't look half as good as you."
"You're wonderful," Amycus protested.
"That's debatable," Pettigrew said, resting a clumsy hand against Amycus's bare chest.
Part 3: Pressures
"He's a werewolf, you know," he said to Pettigrew as he thought about what he knew of Greyback.
Pettigrew swallowed hard. "He is?"
"Yeah. I'm one of the two who knows."
"Who else knows, Rosier?"
When Amycus wasn't any more forthcoming, Pettigrew said, "Well, I know a werewolf."
Amycus gave an amused smile. "Yes. My werewolf bit yours," he teased, reaching to stroke at his boyfriend's hair.
Pettigrew sat up straight, eyes wide. "Did he really?"
"Yeah. They were very young. Neighbors too, did you know? Mr. Lupin insulted Greyback, and then he did it. He bit Remus. He liked doing it, too," he said with a laugh. "He's a strange one."
Pettigrew looked nervous. "Maybe you shouldn't have told me that."
"I can keep a secret. Can you keep a secret?" he teased.
"I don't know," Pettigrew smirked. "Maybe not."
Not long after Amycus told Pettigrew about the origins of Lupin's affliction, Greyback was attacked by the mishmash animal team of a dog and a rat. Amycus couldn't have made the connection at the time, but he realized it years later. He'd just sat, patting his old friend on the back, comforting him. Pettigrew had asked, strangely, if Greyback had earned any scars from the incident. Greyback hadn't deigned to answer him, which probably meant yes.
Even as his old friend was recovering, Amycus followed through with his plan. He spent the evening creating a big banner for the Entrance Hall. It glittered in bold, red lettering that revealed the secret Greyback had trusted only one student with.
In response, some families pulled their children out of school before the next quiz, but the headmaster did a fair job of calming the situation down. The school had done nothing except protect Amycus and foster his interest in learning. It was a beautiful place, compared to the rest of the world. Amycus was glad the school's reputation was left more or less intact, and he was glad that Greyback's wasn't.
Some people rather liked the new information about Greyback and wanted to gain his favor. He was seen as a novelty by them, a caricature of a human being. He was never quite looked at the same way by anyone but Amycus, who was busy trying not to look at him at all. It was hard, because while Amycus fully expected to pay dearly for his actions, Greyback merely watched him from afar with something like pride in his eyes, in his open stance.
It was true, Amycus found: Greyback, though violent and wrathful on his best days, respected Amycus even more for spilling his secret. He'd never really been ashamed of his lycanthropy like perhaps he should have been. And he'd always been proud of Amycus.
Pettigrew was indeed good news for the cause. The members of Dumbledore's precious Order were trying to build up the self-esteem of a man who was destined to betray them. In hushed, pleased tones he told Amycus stories about attempts to get him to come out of his shell, nights out in honor of his progress in spell casting. The stories made Amycus's lip twitch until he laughed and kissed him.
Pettigrew was cleverer than ever, though he'd only offer up ideas or lend a hand if there was something he would clearly get from it. Others found him a little weaselly, a little sniveling—which he was. But Amycus knew he had an unprecedented sense of self-preservation, and he admired Pettigrew for it.
They came to comfortably share a miniscule flat that was held together with luck and magic. And it was bliss.
"What's gotten into you?" Amycus chuckled.
Mrs. Pettigrew had brought over a loaf of bread and a thickly-iced spice cake that Amycus swore he could practically taste from the scent alone. The air was still cracking with her Apparition when Pettigrew began clinging to him, kissing him.
"You seem a bit desperate, eh?" he teased, pulling Pettigrew onto his lap. "What's on your mind?"
"You," Pettigrew rasped. The force of his gaze made Amycus squirm beneath him. He coaxed him into straddling his lap properly.
The sunlight streamed in from the cracked curtains, giving a fat strip of Pettigrew's hair an angelic glow.
"You need to take me now," Pettigrew huffed against his cheek, giving the cheek a peck. "Or you might regret it," he added, with a high-pitched, breathy giggle.
Amycus carried him to the bed with only a bit of fumbling, setting him down roughly."You're so lovely," he said.
"No, I'm really not," Pettigrew said with a grin. As much as he believed in self-preservation, he did not find his value to society to be terribly high. Amycus was always trying to change that finding.
The passion was very high. They went for a second, and, yes, even a third.
The next morning, Pettigrew begged him to call off work, and he did. It wasn't a common request, after all, and the night before had been wonderful. They sat together in bed, all curled up, reading about potions. He stroked Pettigrew's soft skin, the curve of the stomach he'd fallen desperately in love with.
It was one of the most peaceful days in his life. He couldn't remember feeling quite so cherished. He was still pleased, still warm and happy when Pettigrew went out to spend time with James Potter's old crew. He was such a useful spy, and Amycus was so proud. Just the thought of how useful he was made Amycus want to take him again. He chuckled to himself. It'd have to wait.
An unfamiliar owl tapped at the window. He pulled the letter off its leg, humming to himself. The letter contained word that his boyfriend had died at the hands of Sirius Black. It was a long time before he hummed to himself again.
Along with Alecto, Snape was there for Amycus when he grieved Pettigrew's death after a five year relationship, and so, surprisingly enough, was Greyback. Snape and Greyback spent any time they were together making sarcastic jabs and playing pranks as if they were still fifteen.
Amycus helped tend bar at The Black Nundu in Knockturn alley, where he broke up trouble and served drinks to people who more often stumbled in on a whim than planned their trip around the place. Snape's fingers became stained with ink and potions and he spoke of his work as professor with a faint fondness that often surprised Amycus. Alecto became a cook in a cheap restaurant, and later a seamstress in a low-end dress shop, and was fiercely and rightfully proud of both jobs.
Greyback became the leader of an increasingly large pack. He was proud, but something in the way he cursed humans who didn't have to bear the change or the stigma of the werewolf made Amycus certain that he was a little hurt over his alienation. And Greyback when hurt was an animal who needed to lash out at some point.
Together, the four of them helped further the cause until the fall of the Dark Lord. Together, they waited the time of peace out, acted as normally as possible, blended in like it was favorable to them, though they missed the action of the war time. And when the Dark Lord began to rise again, they were even more prepared than they'd realized, once again a team. Alive again.
And shockingly enough, Pettigrew was alive again too.
Part 4: Reunion
The man was fatter, and more fidgety, and he had less hair than Amycus had ever seen on him, but he was still the man Amycus had fallen for and lived for and grieved for. And he was sitting in the twins' flat, having tea.
Amycus had never pursued anything after Pettigrew, despite an attraction to Snape's steadfastness and strength. He didn't quite find "interesting" as interesting as he'd once found it.
"You might have told me your plan," Amycus teased as they relaxed. "Your family and I...well, I at least deserved to know. Don't you think?"
Pettigrew stared hard at Amycus for a while before saying, "I suppose you're right." He didn't offer anything else on the matter.
Amycus struggled to open a packet of biscuits and avoided Pettigrew's gaze as he did. "Would you like to pursue things again?"
Pettigrew took a sip of tea with steady hands and considered it. "I don't see why not," he said finally. He smiled. "It's good to see you, Amycus."
Pettigrew was supposed to still be dead, and they were still learning morning schedules and unfamiliar scars, so they mainly stayed in rather than went out on dates. They did sneak off to The Black Nundu a few times, but that was about the extent of it.
It didn't take Amycus long to notice, with a mind no longer bombarded by adolescent hormones and insecurities, that Pettigrew wasn't as impressive a figure as he'd once been. Oh, the sex still had him distracted in his thoughts during the day, and the conversation still made his mind whirl, but he found there were places where Pettigrew didn't exceed expectations. Likely, Amycus's expectations had just changed.
He tried a bit of roleplay with Pettigrew, where they played like they were in their old houses, a Gryffindor and a Slytherin. They even put the robes on. That was better; they both seemed to think so. In fact, Amycus had to admit he was a bit wild for it, for that taste of the old days. It didn't last too long, though, that thrill. Then they were left, two men who'd grown apart. They pretended not to notice. They were getting very good at pretending not to notice.
There was a lot of suspicion about Snape. Amycus still had him over for long-time shared interests such as good hunting and fair poetry, but if anything related to the cause came up, Amycus changed the subject without fail. The times of working together about that were far behind them. He didn't blame Snape much. He'd never believed in blind loyalty. But he wasn't going to do anything to jeopardize the cause, now that his life had that deep meaning again.
Pettigrew was helpful for strategizing, even going so far as to duel Amycus to improve their skills. They'd end up panting, hearts beating as one. It was almost better than the uniforms, even if Amycus often ended up worse for wear despite Pettigrew's lack of skill and practice. Amycus preferred not to hurt his once-again boyfriend. He didn't mind that that left him vulnerable. His eyes searched for Pettigrew's knowing smirks, which spurred him on.
Greyback was consistently angrier than he'd been the last time they'd worked under the Dark Lord. He and Amycus had kept in touch, sharing tea and swapping stories about shady characters they'd come across in their work. Mainly, Greyback was busy as the leader of a werewolf pack that was steadily growing. "The wilder the better," Greyback said with a wink once. "You should come check it out."
Amycus hadn't had the wisdom to be afraid of the members of the pack, but he'd had the instinct to be impressed with their success in recruiting. He'd quite enjoyed himself, except for when he was served a piece of meat unlike anything he'd partaken of before. He thought he knew what beast he'd been served, but even then was not afraid. Threats of being bitten or eaten meant nothing when Greyback was next to him, still human enough.
"How's that for wild?" came the low voice in his ear.
Amycus chuckled, though he didn't think it was funny.
Alecto spent a few days putting her old Divination skills to the test for Amycus. He thanked her, but the news weighed heavily on him. He made it a point to keep an eye on his friends for a little while, a task made easy one night when Pettigrew and Snape filed into The Black Nundu.
Amycus was sweeping up a bit when they entered. He didn't immediately think to listen in on the conversation they were having, but his curiosity won out. Thinking of his sister's predictions, which were scribbled on a piece of parchment he had folded up in his pocket, he cast a spell to better hear Pettigrew and Snape. There was only one other patron, who was dozing off at a corner table.
"Well, you know why no one trusts you," Snape pointed out. "You hid in selfish fear."
"I raised the Dark Lord from his pitiful state," Pettigrew protested. "That sounds pretty selfless to me." He flexed his silver hand in the air as a reminder of his sacrifice.
"You don't care for the Dark Lord, nor anyone but yourself. You're heartless." The tone of Snape's voice lilted in a nostalgic way. Snape and Pettigrew had accidently discovered that they liked to recount the past together, even if it mostly left them at each other's throat.
"Coming from you, that's rich. You're a traitor. Does Amycus know?" Amycus looked up from his broom at the mention of his name.
"Oh prove it, Wormtail," Snape said haughtily. "I'd like to see you try." He didn't seem to be denying anything. Something about the tone said the suspicions were all true. Amycus leaned hard against the broom then, suddenly needing the support.
"You would?" Pettigrew said brightly. "You like having my attention, don't you?" That sly tone was very familiar to Amycus. The use of it there almost made it seem like Pettigrew wanted Snape. But he couldn't. They hated each other, right?
"Oh, not this again, you pining, sickening—" Snape suddenly froze, likely registering the lack of sweeping noises. Amycus sighed as Snape turned to look at him questioningly. Amycus didn't think Snape knew about the spell he'd used to hear them, but Snape was suspicious enough to stop the conversation. He waved Amycus over to them. Amycus took their drink orders and tried to ignore the sinking feeling in his gut. Alecto would have been pleased. She liked feeling like her predictions meant something.
Carefully, they began to talk about the Dark Lord's plans for Diagon Alley. This went on until the man in the corner woke up, at which point they began discussing the new law on Portkey restrictions, debating its wisdom and drinking as friends do.
Soon enough, too soon, Snape Flooed back to the school, and Pettigrew popped off for a bit of shopping. When Amycus was alone, he went into the back room to fish his pocket watch out of his bag, holding it, seating himself heavily on the rickety old chair.
He believed Alecto was right. He pulled the predictions from his pocket. Greyback had become a wild thing indeed. He had lost his humanity and was too far gone to regain it. Snape had betrayed them all. He had been more loyal to blood traitors and freaks than to the Dark Lord. And Pettigrew, Amycus's Pettigrew, had no room in his heart for Amycus, not without Amycus having to budge up for people like Snape, and Snape didn't even want Pettigrew. Pettigrew's love for Amycus wasn't a true kind of love, just as his loyalty to the cause wasn't a true kind of loyalty. Self-preservation was his guiding force.
Amycus held his watch, feeling that he might outlive all three of his old friends, but not really caring whether he did or not. He poured himself a drink and put off going home. He would go home eventually, though, to Pettigrew, and they'd probably put on the school robes again and have a go. He'd make to clean up the place some afterward, as they were having Snape for tea.
Amycus took a swig of Firewhiskey from the bottle and recalled Greyback's words, muttering, "The wilder, the better," to himself and not quite believing it. Quite simply, people were double-edged swords, and he'd take his pain.
But he didn't have to like it, not like he once did. Nothing exceeded his expectations anymore.