Title: Order of Merlin, First Class

Characters: Patience and Peter Pettigrew.

Notes: This is a short one-shot about what Patience Pettigrew truly thought of her son's supposed "death." I hope you enjoy!

Patience Pettigrew didn't want to accept her son's medal.

Order of Merlin, First Class - a great honour, they told her. The only thing worthy of her son's sacrifice. Patience did not agree.

Because Patience - true to her name - was a Hufflepuff, and she could never for the life of her fathom why Peter was not. He was not Gryffindor material, she had always secretly mused.

He had a face only a mother could love; and love it she did, of course.

He was more likely to be the geeky acquaintance of the hero, not even the sidekick, and he, bless his slightly-Slytherin soul, had a healthy sense of self-preservation.

Peter Pettigrew was not brave.

And so, when Patience received a finger - just that, a finger - in return for her son's life, she did not cry. She accepted it, and his Order of Merlin, First Class, graciously, and quietly, and retreated back into her country home.

She loved her son, of that there was never any doubt in her mind, but somehow, she could not imagine Peter facing up to Sirius Black on a Muggle street at night.

Something wasn't right.

Of course, nobody believed her. Grief, they said sadly. Denial. Patience was a strong, level-headed woman, but even she could succumb to crackpot theories in light of her young son's recent death. It was only natural, they told her soothingly.

But Sirius Black loved his friends. Sirius Black had life in him, a spark, and, his kindred spirit being James Potter, Patience didn't understand why he'd want to kill it.

Peter, however, tolerated his friends. Of course, he enjoyed their company and his view of them was something akin to hero worship, but he did not love them. He loved the power they bought him, the popularity, the security, and Patience had a feeling that not even Peter knew this, really.

And, of course, he was travelling slowly through life - a cursed life, really.

He wasn't going to be anything special.

But like that cashier at the counter or the guy on the subway in those cheap Muggle films, people like Peter sometimes ended up changing the whole plot.

People like Peter weren't protagonists, though, or martyrs, or saints, or, or, people who held an Order of Merlin, First Class to their name.

People like Peter didn't stand up to people like Sirius, and people like Sirius didn't kill people like James. But people like Patience? People like Patience watched people like Peter, and people like Sirius, and people like James, and drew their own conclusions.

Too bad they were the right ones.

Yes, while denial, anger, bargaining, depression and overall grief featured in Patience's everyday life, acceptance was like a warm bed she could crawl into when things got too much.

Because her son was in a cold bed six feet under her high heeled, sharp toed shoes, and for some reason, that made her smile a little wider, because Peter, darling Peter, finally got what he wanted, what he deserved; safety.

That was if she accepted the lies they fed her, and if he was there at all, of course, because Patience Pettigrew was not the type to just be paranoid.

They told her that her son was dead. But she knew her son.

Peter, no matter how powerless or cowardly or stupid people assumed him to be, took after his lying, cheating, brilliant Muggle doctor of a father. Because Peter was loyal; just to the wrong side.

However, if her baby really was dead... maybe it was better than what was waiting for him.

Because service to the Dark Lord - of course, she didn't know how far deep he was in, but she knew he was struggling to breathe - was not something you could just escape, and Sirius Black, for all his faults and madness, truly was brilliant, and a petty thing like Azkaban wouldn't keep him from Peter.

So Patience waited for his return, for her son to come back to her. And waited. And waited.

The only comfort she had was the Order of Merlin, First Class sitting on the mantelpiece - it didn't bring much comfort. Because Patience realised, painfully, that Peter was not Gryffindor, nor was he Hufflepuff.

He was Slytherin.

And only true Slytherins could trick the Hat.