WARNINGS: SUICIDE, SELF HARM, CHARACTER DEATH, BULLYING, DEPRESSION
I'm not a fan of Peter, but he always seemed like a very depressed character and I wondered what would become of him in a world without Voldemort. Tell me what you think
Disclaimer: Look, I don't own Harry Potter. I simply borrow the characters from JK Rowling and thank her profoundly for it. Thank you.
Twenty three year old James Potter strolled into his house, where he kissed his wife, Lily, on the cheek and tickled Harry. But, Lily understood why he wasn't as lively today. Today was the anniversary.
James didn't stay long. He set his briefcase down on the bed, grabbed an old shoebox and a bouquet of flowers, and headed for the graveyard.
Remus and Sirius were already there. Remus was always the first one because he'd been the closest to their friend, and at twenty three, Sirius was still single, so he didn't have to worry about taking care of a wife or a child like James.
As they did every year, they sat cross-legged in the dirt surrounding a grave stone, each with something different in their hands. The three Mauraders each had a shoe box in their lap; James had a bouquet of purple roses; Remus held a piece of paper with writing scribbled upon it; Sirius held a book with a blue cover.
Remus went first. "Hey, old buddy," he whispered to the grave. "I brought a bunch of pictures like always."
He opened the shoebox and showed them to the grave. The first photo was of a little girl holding hands with a slightly older boy.
"Ari misses you. She's almost twenty one now and she told me to tell you that she loves you. She even built a small shrine to you."
The next picture was of the same boy standing alongside two adults in front of a magnificent train.
"Your parents are coming later. They always come to say that they love you and that they're sorry, but I'm sure you know that."
The third photograph was of four boys standing in a line.
"I found this in a scrapbook a few months ago. I'm sure you remember it. Sirius stuck it to his bedroom wall and never got it down," Remus laughed.
James sighed. They did this every year for the past eight years on the same day, but he never stopped asking the question.
Where did things go so wrong, Peter?
It was a sunny day in mid March and most people were outside, including every Gryffindor except for two fifth years.
Peter Pettigrew lay on his bed, his homework scattered across the floor undone. He had always been on the chubby side but near the end of fourth year, he'd started to slim down due to his decrease in appetite. His skin was now a sickly pale and his blue eyes were always sad without a hint of laughter. Despite the harsh weather and fiery rays of the sun, he was wearing long sleeves.
"Peter," the other Gryffindor called as he stepped into the room.
Remus had started to develop this year, growing a few inches and losing the last of his very minimal baby fat. He wore a short sleeved T-shirt with Muggle jeans and worn sneakers. His blonde hair was long but not overly so and his blue eyes held a mixture of curiosity and happiness and worry.
"It's such a nice day out. Why are you all cooped up inside?" Remus asked.
Peter shrugged, refusing to speak.
Remus sighed and sat on the bed beside Peter, who didn't even look away from the ceiling.
"Peter, what's wrong with you? You never eat; you toss and turn all night. You never leave the castle except for Quidditch games and I think that that's out of courtesy to James and Sirius! You always wear long sleeve whether it's perfect temperature or boiling! Please, just tell me!"
Peter stayed silent.
"And that's another thing: you never talk anymore! Everyone's noticed something's off, but we can't help you if you won't tell us," Remus pleaded.
The blonde didn't reply.
Sighing again, Remus stood and walked out of the dorm.
'They don't care about you. If he did, he would have stayed, but he didn't. He hates you. Everyone does.'
Sluggishly sitting up and seating himself at the desk, he grabbed a notebook and began to scribble words across the page.
*END OF FLASHBACK*
Remus was still speaking. "This one is when we all went to your house for your thirteenth birthday, last time I ever saw you smile."
He fumbled with the paper, unfolding it with shaking hands. "Um, Sirius has the letters, but to show how many people care about you, we got the signature of all that miss you."
James examined the paper and saw not one sliver of white. He could see McGonagall's signature, Lily's, Dumbledore's, the Longbottoms, all of the Weasleys (they'd all heard stories of Peter from their parents), and many more.
"A lot of people miss you, Pete."
"Peter!" James shouted as he ran in, whooping and hollering. "I aced my Transfiguration quiz. Where were you? You missed three periods!"
Peter looked up with a half smile and a nod of congratulations, but didn't answer.
James frowned with concern. "McGonagall wants to see you, something about your grades."
Peter nodded and stood to get his book bag and trek down to the Transfiguration classroom.
"Peter, are you alright?" Nod. "Come on, Pete, say something, I'm tired of you being so mute." Shrug. "Peter, what's wrong?"
The blonde marched out of the room without a reply.
Peter strolled towards the Transfiguration classroom, slowly, knowing that this conversation would be about his failing grades.
"Oi, mute!" A voice shouted and he turned to see three Slytherins making their way towards him. "You gonna speak?"
"He's probably too retarded!" Another laughed.
"Nobody likes you! Your so called friends hate you!"
"They only pity you!"
"Why don't you just go and kill yourself, freak?!"
Peter ran away from them without retaliating, knowing better than to do so.
'They're not wrong. You are every single one of those things they called you. James and Sirius barley talk to you and Remus is too nice to tell you to get lost.'
*END OF FLASHBACK*
Sirius had picked up the chain, holding up a photo of Peter in fourth year at Christmas. That was the year Peter had started to lose weight, but the dramatic drop off hadn't occurred yet, so he still had some baby fat. There were dark bruises under his eyes from lack of sleep and he wore a sad smile.
"We've been looking through photos for years and this is when everything went down hill. It was Christmas and your smiles were just so... fake. We all missed your smile."
He withdrew another photo from the box and showed it to the stone. It was a picture of Peter and them on their first day of fifth year, and that was when Peter's grin dropped off entirely, replaced by a permanent frown. His blue eyes were far away and depressed. His weight loss was as evident as ever and his sleeves slid past his finger tips.
"This was the beginning of fifth year when you stopped smiling all together. The year you started wearing long sleeves. The year you stopped talking."
Next picture was a photo of them when James won the first game of the year. Peter was pulled into the hug by Remus, but he seemed to be reluctant to be in it.
"We all wished we could have hugged you more before it happened. Maybe that would have showed you that we loved you so much more than you thought we did."
Everyone loved you, Peter.
Peter opened the heavy door of the Transfiguration classroom and nodded at McGonagall in greeting.
"Hello, Peter, take a seat," she instructed and he obeyed. "I'm here to talk to you about your grade. In less than a year, you went from an EE average to a D."
Peter hung his head in embarrassment but didn't say a word.
"Is something going on that I should know about?"
Peter shook his head.
McGonagall sighed. "I suppose I can't make you talk to me, but know that if you ever need help, my door is always open."
Peter nodded and left, ignoring the concerned glance his teacher sent him as he rushed back to the dorms.
Closing the door behind him, he returned to the desk and continued scribbling away on parchment, a stack of neatly written notes and white envelopes beside him.
*END OF FLASHBACK*
"This was taken a few weeks before the incident on valentine's day when Lily finally thanked James for his valentine after he sent her one every year." Sirius held up a picture of them clapping James on the back as he raised a valentine high in the sky in victory.
"I've got a notebook filled with letters from people that miss you. I'll only read a few." Sirius cracked open the notebook.
We all miss you. We've been telling Neville stories of the brilliant friend that helped us with our problems, regardless of whether he was getting anything in return, since birth. If we could go back and be better friends, we would. We hope you're happy in heaven.
-Alice and Frank"
You were a fantastic student and I wish I could have helped you. It is my job to help my students and I failed you, but I want you to know that we did care. Please, never forget that.
I love you, big brother. I've been telling little Penny about you since she was born. I based her name after your's because you mean so much to me. Thank you for being there for me through the highs and the lows. I wish I had returned the favor.
-Ariana Pettigrew (Ari)"
See, Pete, people care.
This was it. There was no turning back. The letters were written, each folded into an envelope with a name scrawled in red ink.
Peter, fully clothed, lowered himself into the bath water, and rolled up his sleeves. He examined the angry crimson and white scars, shining in the dim lighting, and the fresh cuts that marred his forearms. He aligned the razor blade with the blue vein below his skin and pressed down.
*END OF FLASHBACK*
James had gotten saddled with the hardest job of all: after the incident. He pulled out three envelopes and a small pamphlet with Peter's picture on the front.
"I-I guess I'll start with mine as I usually do."
He carefully opened one of the envelope labeled James and began to read.
Why didn't you ever talk to me? When I was around you, you ignored me like I didn't matter. I admired you, James, for your bravery and your confidence, but apparently, kindness is not your strong suit.
I went to every last one of your games. I congratulated you on passing tests, even when I failed. So why didn't you help me? Why didn't you save me?
I can't hate you because you took me under your wing when I was alone, but that doesn't make us true friends. Maybe we can be in another life, but now... I'm just done.
Why did you hate me? You ignored me; you yelled at me; you left me out in the cold. Why?
You, of all people, should know better, what with your family situation. I admired your ability to laugh and forgive when the whole world of against you, but it hurt so much to hear you talking with James and never once cluing me in on the conversation.
I attended every Quidditch match. I took the blame for your pranks. And what do you do? You turn your back on me when I needed you most.
Maybe we can be true friends in another life time but now... I'm just done.
Out of all of the Mauraders, you were the kindest to me and I will always be thankful. Thank you for being there for me, for talking to me, and all around being my friend. This wasn't you more fault.
I'll see you soon, but not too soon, okay?
Remus screamed when he saw his best friend lying in the bath tub, his wrists bleeding at an alarming rate. James and Sirius lugged him out of the bath tub and they watched as he was levitated to the Infirmary. But, it was too late.
James found the notes on the desk, a stack of neatly placed envelopes, each bearing a name written in red. And on the wood below those was a small sticky note:
I forgive you.
*END OF FLASHBACK*
"Goodbye, Pete," James whispered as he and the other two left the grave yard.
He didn't hear a small voice, nearly lost in the wind, murmur, "Thank you."
So, yes, very dark. Was it good though? I thought it represents the warning signs of depression and suicide well. Although we don't like to talk about it, mental illnesses need more awareness. Read and Review please.