a / n ;; So, today, is the official end of my spur-of-the-moment two month internet hiatus (which was both the best and hardest thing I've done in a loooonnng time) and as such, I thought I'd post this little piece I've had sitting on my desktop for the past six weeks. It's not much and I have quite a bit of requests that are overdue and littered about my desktop in various states of not-quite-finished-ness --forgive me?

the gospel of choking on glass
Peter / Lily

i. Peter knows what regret looks like.

--like red hair and green eyes and petals floating on water.


ii. Peter knows what regret smells like.

--like parchment and ink drying and lavender shampoo, and maybe he could smell it for himself if he didn't stutter and stare and turn scarlet at the very idea of it, but it's Alice thumbing through notes and practicing wrist movements and laughing at something she's said.

Not him. (and it makes knots form in his intestines to think he'd been so close).

The truth of the matter is he's always been dreadful at charms, and this wouldn't mean anything except that she's been brilliant at it since she cracked open the textbook, and probably before then anyway, he thinks, if she hadn't been raised the way she had. But, she'd asked him ever so genially if he'd very much like her to tutor him on summoning charms in the library at seven o'clock sharp, so don't be late, okay.

He hides behind a shelf and watches her sit patiently until she finally beckons that Hufflepuff, Alice something-or-another-and-who-cares-anyway, over instead.

iii. Peter knows what regret feels like.

--like hearts sinking and false smiles and Hortensia Hopkirk.

He's probably loved her since forever which is more than James can say and less than she deserves. But he never had the nerve and James had more than anyone should, and things might have ended differently if he had only found his voice.

He remembers the day she finally says yes and James bursts into the dormitory bowing and bragging, and they all congratulate him and grin and Peter's is the sort that threatens to split his face and heart wide open.

They catch him snogging Hortensia Hopkirk the next day, and it's less like daring and more like dead on his feet. She's a nice girl really, but she's too wide, too short, and her lips are chapped like Lily's never were.

iv. Peter knows what regret sounds like.

--like grass swaying and James laughing and "Marry me, Evans," and "Alright."

When James comes to them with a velvet-lined boxed and butterflies in his stomach, it's all Peter can do to keep himself from punching him, only not really because he never had the nerve to stand up to anyone or pick a fight he couldn't win. But, he thinks about it, and this is the point of no return, though he hasn't realized it yet.

They do get married, and he can name a thousand and one reasons to object, but he can barely remember how to breathe, and the only memory he takes away is that regret sounds a lot like silence.

v. Peter knows what regret tastes like.

--like fear and betrayal and tears crusting the corners of his mouth.

And he never would have said it, but it was his life or theirs, and they were damned regardless. So, he tells him, and when he's gone he curls up in a ball and sobs because this is a mistake he can't get away from.

vi. Peter knows what regret looks like.

--like broken charms and empty eyes and polished granite and dead girls with maggots writhing in their ribcages.