Ghosts in the Interrogation Room
- Story Summary:
- Sometimes something more than the usual interrogation techniques are required to get information out of suspects. Such as is in the case of Peter Pettigrew.
Ghosts in the Interrogation Room
Author's Notes: Big thanks to the wonderful Nathaniel who was a brilliant beta for this fic.
Kingsley Shacklebolt leaned his knuckles on the table before him, purposely towering over the smaller man sitting across the table. He glared at him silently, not flinching while Peter Pettigrew shook like the coward he was, his eyes darting around the small stone room, looking anywhere but at the Auror in front of him.
Finally Kingsley spoke in a deep commanding voice, one he had perfected for just these situations over the years. "I will ask you one last time, where is Voldemort hiding?"
The cowering man flinched again at the mention of his master's name but did not make a sound.
They were having no luck. Veritaserum had no effect on those who would not talk. Magically preventing him from hiding as a rat hadn't helped them. The Aurors on the case though he would be easy to crack. Three days later they were starting to realise that they had underestimated Peter Pettigrew's ability to keep quiet.
He heard a knock on the door. He broke his eye contract with Pettigrew, who promptly rushed into the corner of the room and curled up into a ball. Kingsley knew what was coming; the Aurors had exhausted all their conventional techniques.
Peter Pettigrew felt safe, his arms wrapped around him in the corner. He could not hide as a rat, they had put something in the drinking water, but he could still get smaller, and getting smaller and hiding in a dark place always made him feel better.
Peter listened from his spot in the corner as the Auror left and the door shut behind him.
If he spoke he would die. There was no question about it. He had seen what the Dark Lord was capable of and Peter had decided a long time ago that nothing would be worse than the pain the Dark Lord was capable of inflicting. The Aurors would walk into the room with a piece of paper, justifying extreme measures, allowing them to sink to the level of their opponents. But the Aurors lacked a certain creativity when it came to torture. It was why they were always so unsuccessful.
Peter knew what happened to the Longbottoms. He had always believed that after a certain amount of pain caused by the cruciatus curse, there was suddenly a great peace; it was something all the Death Eaters had to believe.
Peter Pettigrew was no longer averse to losing his mind. He had lived with his for far too long. The Longbottom's no longer felt guilt, alone in their own world there was no pain, there was no sides and no rules. No memory and no war. The insane never complained for they never had reason to do so.
The door opened again. Hiding in his arms he still could not see anything, but the new entrant had lighter footsteps. It was someone smaller than his previous visitors: a woman. She shut the door behind herself.
The wooden chair screeched as she pulled it out from under the table and across the cold stone floor. She said not a word; she didn't move. Neither did Peter.
She continued to watch in silence. He could feel her gaze on his shameful state, but he refused to look up. Pride no longer mattered to Peter.
After some time his fear began to be overcome with a vague sense of curiosity. Why was she just sitting there watching him? She was not yelling at him. She was not threatening him. She was not pacing up and down in front of him like all the others.
Sense got the better of him and Peter remained steadfast. Good servants didn't ask questions. He had learnt that the painful way.
Finally after what seemed like an hour. She spoke.
"Look at me, Peter."
A chill went up his spine and Peter froze, his heart lunged in his chest. There was something about her voice, a familiarity. But she sounded different; something was different. There was resentfulness that had never been present before, a tiredness, and something he did not quite recognise.
No, it wasn't her, he told himself. She sounded different. It was just some female Auror that sounded similar. Or maybe she didn't sound anything like her at all; maybe it was his mind playing tricks.
Maybe this was it. Maybe he had finally cracked.
"Look at me, Peter... I deserve to be able to look you in the eyes.... I deserve that."
Bitterness. It was there. It spiked her voice, creaked in around the edges. Peter became worried, who was this woman who sounded so much like her?
The chair scraped against the stone ground, she had stood up.
"You killed me, Peter."
His heart skipped a beat.
He focused on the darkness he had surrounded himself with. Nothing could hurt him here. She could not touch him. She was dead. Ghosts can't touch, they can't harm, and alone in his darkness the guilt could not touch him.
"You killed me, and you killed James. You betrayed us after we trusted you." She was walking closer to him. He could hear the heel of her shoe come down on the floor, the swish of her robes around her legs. Peter's stomach turned at the thought of her getting slowly closer to him.
No, he was safe, he told himself desperately. She was dead, long gone, away from this plane of existence. She wasn't there. He focused on the darkness, away from memory of her.
"Look at me, Peter." She was getting angrier with him now; he could hear it in her voice, entwined with the bitterness, sadness and despair.
"I was a friend to you. I helped you. I tutored you in potions...Remember that, you would never have gotten your OWL if it weren't for me. Shame you never returned the favour." Of course she sounded angry, it was her right after what he had done.
She was getting closer; he could nearly feel her presence next to him, his mind trying to show him the picture of what he was thinking. He didn't want to see.
"No, no, no, no," he moaned wrapping his arms tighter around his head.
She was dead. This had to be his mind.
Peter began to shake.
This wasn't how it was meant to be. This, her being here with him, was not the way it was supposed to be. It was all going wrong. He was meant to go away from his mind, not further into it, not to be further enchained. To go permanently into the darkness, that was where he could finally be free.
She was standing over him now. "Remember James. He befriended you. Looked after you. Believed in you when all the others laughed."
"And remember Harry? His small hands, his beautiful smile. We all thought he was perfect. I remember Harry, I know you do too, there was a time when I though you loved him, just as much as James and I...Obviously I was wrong."
Peter shook more violently as he pictured the small child he had held in his arms so many years ago. How they had entrusted him to watch over Harry so many times.
"And what did we get in return? You betrayed us and he killed us. I will never see my son grow...and it's all because of you, Peter."
She had wanted to have grandchildren. She had told him that once, after a particularly bad day when they had though that everything was coming to an end. She had wanted to grow old with James. She had wanted to watch her son grow. Had wanted to be the crazy grandma that spoiled her grandchildren rotten.
Peter wanted to forget that.
"Go away, go away, go away," Peter moaned. "Leave me alone."
"I'll never leave, Peter. And right now I want is for you to stop being a coward for two minutes and look me in the eyes!"
"No, no, no, no." His voice made inhuman sounds as the words passed his lips. Peter shut his eyelids tightly and moved his hands to cover his ears, desperately trying to end the noise.
"LOOK AT ME, PETER!" He felt a sudden force lift him up and slam him into the wall, pulling his arms apart.
There she stood. Lily Potter, not a day older, just as she had been when he betrayed her. Her face twisted into a bitter rage. Her mournful green eyes glistening with the tears she had been crying.
Peter could not escape what he had done. The peace of insanity he yearned for was a blessing he would never have bestowed upon him. He would never escape his betrayal; his most heinous act would haunt him for as long as he should live.
There was now only one thing he could do to end it.
He let out a moan, inhuman in nature and he began saying the words he had kept locked up inside for so long. "I'm sorry... I'm so sorry... I didn't want too, but he would hurt me so much.... Please, please, please forgive me," he whimpered. "I'll tell you everything...everything...if you will just please give me peace."
Nymphadora Tonks walked out of the interrogation room two hours later. She handed her notes to Kingsley who could not stop giving her that look, a mixture of curiosity, pity and disgust. She could not blame him; she felt it about herself.
"Will you be alright?" he asked his voice calm and collected despite what was written in his expression.
"I will be," she replied.
"Never let me do that again," she then added determinedly and darkly. She waited for Kingsley to nod before she headed to the bathroom.
Remus was right; she could pull it off. He even believed the voice.
Three days of watching Remus avoid her. Three days of trying to know Lily Potter, of trying to be Lily, but not become her. Three days of trying to distance herself from what she was doing, but at the same time trying to live a mother's pain.
She knew he job would not be easy, that her abilities would lead her into uncomfortable situations, but this was not something she had ever expected to have to do, to raise the dead, breathe life into the ghosts of the past. Today, in a perverted, unnatural way, Tonks had brought Lily Potter back to life.
Harry would never know. But Remus and Kingsley did. And she knew; that was enough.
But in the end, with what he had told her, maybe it was worth it.
Tonks looked at the reference photo she had used. Lily and James Potter were standing in the kitchen of their home, Sirius, Remus and Peter behind them.
The photograph was a lasting monument to happier times, Remus' most precious possession entrusted to her. Its edges frayed from the handling of it over the years.
It was not just Lily - who was smiling and laughing in the photograph - James was dead, cut down before his time. Sirius never received the vindication he deserved in life. He died scared from having lived cruel existence and with nearly the whole world believing him a traitor. Remus forced to re-live his past at her urging.
And Peter, the happy smiling boy in the photograph, was now the shrivelling, guilty mess in the interrogation room, pleading with her for his own death.
Was this what was to happen to her generation? Those not killed were to be maimed from the conflict; incapable of being the whole people they had once been, incapable of going back to the happiness of the way things were. Was this her fate, to be the bitter and empty shell she now felt she was, a living monument to the dead and at best poor imitation of the girl she had once been?
Tonks walked in the nearest toilet, shutting the stall door behind her and carefully placing a silencing charm on the walls. She sat down trying desperately to cry, anything to ease the numbness she felt within.