Author's Note: Drabble-ish, I suppose…or at any rate not very long. Not sure where in my mind this came from but it is the first Harry Potter fanfiction I've done (those two crappy Mary Sues when I was twelve? They don't count, let's not talk about them).
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Any Other Name
It used to be, Peter remembered fondly (for he was still Peter, in his own mind), that the name was a joke, a code, a way of proving to himself that, yes, he was a Marauder, and James Potter and Sirius Black and Remus Lupin were his best friends, and he was one of them.
Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs. He had mentally repeated those names to himself when he was still an awkward boy, tripping after Potter and Black as if they were prophets and he their disciple. The names had brought a grin to his face then; he was Wormtail. He was one of those names. Peter recognized now how pathetic he had been—he had so wanted to be liked, to be popular, and of course it didn't really mean anything, for Padfoot and Prongs had been popular, and they were dead now. He wondered what his eleven-year-old self (so awestruck, so impressed, so admiring, so tongue-tied) would have thought if he'd known how things were going to end up.
But there was still a small part of him, a very small part, that was still that fat eleven-year-old who needed Moony and Padfoot and Prongs to tell him which way was up, and who grew confused when his name was called by the wrong voice.
(But it wasn't the wrong voice, Peter reminded himself, it was the right voice, he had finally found the right voice, he had found himself and his place, and it was not at the beck and call of the likes of James Potter and Sirius Black.)
There were times when he shuddered at his Master's hissed, throaty call of "Wormtail", not out of fear, but out of something like revulsion that he tried to quash immediately. It was only natural, he told himself. He had spent years hearing the name spoken only in a boy's secretive undertone, a boy's cheerful laugh, a boy's solemn whisper. He had spent years keeping the name a secret, something with a grave furtiveness that seemed so crucial at the time. Of course it was strange to hear it called by someone else, even if that someone else was his Master. Of course he could not help feeling the difference.
And yet sometimes, stupid as it was, he wanted to tell his Master to call him Peter, or Pettigrew, or anything but that name. Sometimes the significance and the irony and the memories and the dim horror got to be too much and he had to force himself to ignore the weeping, betrayed child within him and obey his Master's call.
Which was ridiculous, Peter reminded himself, because he was not a child anymore; he was a grown man, a Death Eater, Lord Voldemort's most faithful servant. He was beyond the boyish earnestness of his youth; he was beyond the days of nicknames and secret maps and secret selves and illicit voyages to the kitchens under James's invisibility cloak.
It used to be that the name was a joke, a code, a confirmation of something he had wanted more than anything.
Now it had become simply a name.