For fourteen years, I was the mother of a hero.

I remember the day just too well. I was sitting at the small table in the corner alcove, having my first cup of morning tea, when there was a knock on the door.

The Ministry has special people for this job, I guess. When I saw the black dress robes, I knew. Why does it seem bad news always comes early in the morning or late at night? I started crying before they even told me.

My Peter was gone. My only son, gone.

They stayed for an hour. They told me that he died an honorable death, defending some Muggles from a mad murderer. They told me they had the suspect in custody – one Sirius Black. I could not believe it when they said that name. It was not possible.

You see, Sirius was one of my son's best friends, one of the tight-knit foursome that did everything together. Peter, Sirius, James, and Remus – they were a unit. You hardly ever saw one apart from the others. At first, I was not sure that they were the best influence on my son; a lot of the reckless adventures he told me about did not seem to exactly obey school rules.

I invited them over during the summer after the Second Year, to see who these kids were that my Peter spent so much time with. After that, my fears were laid to rest. I never met brighter, more amiable boys. I actually was quite proud that my son would be included in such a group. The Pettigrews have, truth be told, never amounted to much.

Sirius was my favorite of the bunch. He came from quite an influential family, you know. There isn't a soul in the Wizarding world that doesn't know the Black family. Such a tall, handsome boy, too.

And now he was in a sordid cell in Azkaban. And my Peter was dead. It did not seem possible.

Later, they told me that it was even worse – that bright, shining Sirius, damn him, was not just responsible for the death of my son. The night before, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had killed the Potters.

James and his little bride died because they were betrayed by his friend.

How deceived we all were by the Black boy, by the handsome face and fine-looking figure. It had only been two years since he stood up for James as best man at the wedding, only one year since he was proudly holding the Potter boy at his christening, smiling for the camera. That smiling, happy face in the photographs, now the reason that The-Boy-Who-Lived was the boy who lived without parents, orphaned.

But my Peter, he had tracked down the murderer. He had died valiantly, they said.

They handed me a small package, not even the size of a cigar box. All that was left of my son. One finger – all the explosion had spared that had obliterated his body. I do not wish that on any mother.

I opened it, you know. There was something in me that wanted proof. He always had small hands, my boy. I vomited for days afterwards.

One finger. If you go to the family plot, that is all that is buried there.

A few weeks later, there was a ceremony at the Ministry of Magic. They awarded him the Order of Merlin. I cried, of course, but I was so proud. Everyone shook my hand, told me how sorry they were.

They forgot about me, after a few years, and about my Peter. Until last year, when the murderer escaped from Azkaban. All of a sudden, the story was news once more, my Peter mentioned on the front page again. There was a picture of Sirius there – he didn't look much like a remembered him. The insane, wild look on his face, his ravaged features - they gave me a savage sort of pleasure. It was my prayer every night that the dementors would find him. An unanswered prayer.

For fourteen years, I was the mother of a hero.

Until yesterday. They came again, you know. I was confused when I opened the door, a bad kind of déjà vu. Why had they come this time? I didn't have anyone left to lose...

They sat me down and told me. That it wasn't Sirius who was the villain of the piece. That Peter was alive. They told me the truth about what had happened that night, presented me with the evidence. My Peter, betraying his best friends, faking his own death, serving You-Know-Who, killing many. So many.

I honestly cannot tell you which visit was worse. Fourteen years ago, my son died. The hero died yesterday.

Part of me is glad that my son is still alive, the part of me that still remembers the tow-headed, chubby toddler, the pliable boy, eager to please, the young man with a bright future. It is hard to reconcile those memories with what I have been told. Part of me wishes I could rewind time, wishes Peter had stayed dead.

My son died fourteen years ago. Yesterday, I lost him.


A/N Any review would be much appreciated!