Title: Man or Mouse?
Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters: Mostly Peter and Lily
Word Count: 500
Notes: For hermioneluna. Set shortly after Lily, James, Sirius, Remus and Peter have graduated from Hogwarts.
Peter didn't stop shaking. He closed his pale eyes momentarily and opened them again to stare blindly at Lily as she sopped his head with a damp flannel. He repeated the same phrase over and over.
"It will be alright, Peter, it's all going to be okay," Lily assured him. She did not sound confident in her assessment.
"Dead. She's dead. Killed. I saw. Cold. Dead," Peter muttered, over and over.
She began to move away from Peter, thinking he needed a rest. He whimpered and reached out for her arm, holding it tight. She tried not to pull away too sharply. His fingernails were long and clawed into her arm. She sat down beside him again.
Another hour passed. Peter stopped muttering.
The first time Peter had told her, had told the group, Lily had wanted so desperately to cry. She had wanted to mourn the loss of one of her best friends. But the boys had been so pathetic. Even James had been ineffectual in consolation. He'd patted Peter on the shoulder as Peter recounted what had happened, and then practically ran out the room. After the first hour of crying, Sirius had actually had the nerve to ask Peter "what are you, a man or a mouse?" Remus, usually sensitive, was continuing his trend of being most unlike himself. No, Lily had been the one who had to pick up the pieces and help Peter.
Lily stared off into the distance but was startled by Peter's voice once more. He was definitely asleep this time, his breathing shallow, his eyes twitching.
"No you can't go," he slurred. "I won't let you. I love you. Listen to me, Lilian, I love you."
Lily frowned. Poor Peter. Lily felt sorry for herself too, but at least she'd not had to witness her good friend being murdered. At least she did not have the burden of thinking there could have been something she could do to prevent it, to stop it.
A tear trickled down Lily's cheek as she recalled how Peter had described lying there, petrified, watching as a Death Eater tore Lilian apart with the kind of dark magic only a disgrace to humanity would use.
Just thinking about it made Lily resume stroking Peter's head in compassion. She had never really liked Peter, he was not easy to like, but his newfound fierce determination against Voldemort had been so heartbreaking. He had vowed to have vengeance for his love.
And the worst of it, Lily reflected, was that his love did not care for him in the same way he cared for her. Peter would never know that the girl he cared for so deeply, the one he watched being brutally murdered, had been on the verge of dumping him.
Peter awoke again within the next few minutes.
"Sorry, Lily," he murmured. "I'm so sorry."
"It's okay Peter, I understand."
"Yeah, but… like Sirius asked, what am I? A man or a mouse?"
Peter was a rat.