Written for Paula (Exceeds Expectations) as a part of the 2013 Gift-Giving Extravaganza.

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Peter

You fall in love with him before you've spoken a word to him.

You don't need words. You watch him move, and you're trapped. There's this glimmer of power that surrounds him, this confidence. He is a boy who moves like a man who knows that the world will fall at his feet if he asks, and you fall for that.

You have always wanted the world. You are jealous, and you can admit that to yourself, even if you never admit it to him. You are jealous of him. You want the world to respect you, to see a man of power when you move.

All they see, though, is tubby, tagalong Peter. And you hate that.

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He sees you. Nearly a year after you've fallen for him, he sees you, truly sees you for the first time, and you know in that instant that he sees more of you than anyone else ever has. He doesn't just see tubby, tagalong Peter. His silver eyes meet yours, dip down to your feet and back up, and something glimmers in them that might even be approval.

You want to know what makes him different. You want to know why he can see what everyone else is missing.

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One month later, you talk to him for the first time. Late in the library, trying to finish an essay that Remus has been done with for days and James and Sirius are putting off until the deadline — tomorrow, that is. He sits down at your table and there's still that glimmer of something in his beautiful silver eyes, and Merlin, but you've fallen hard, haven't you?

He looks at you and his voice is like spun silk as he says, "Hello, Peter."

"Regulus," you say, and it's the first time you've ever said his name out loud and you love the way it feels on your tongue. You're very proud of the fact that your voice doesn't crack a bit.

You don't remember the conversation any more, but it lasted too long and not long enough. You bolted back to your common room after curfew and you know your face must have been glowing.

.

It's six months after that when he first mentions the Death Eaters. You've heard the name from Sirius and you know you're supposed to be repulsed but his spun silk voice traces words of a powerful elite taking their rightful place and you want to be there when it happens. You want to be at his side, a part of the group that matters. You want to matter. You have always wanted to matter.

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One month later, on the grounds, just before summer, he kisses you for the first time and leaves you starstruck. Your world has never felt so perfect; you have never felt so powerful. You could conquer the world, because you have him on your side.

There's still something in his silver eyes, only you're not so sure it's approval. It's almost predatory, and you can't decide whether to be frightened or flattered so you go for both and kiss him back.

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You graduate two weeks later. You don't see him for too long and you throw away a thousand drafts of letters that are too long, too desperate. You see him at meetings, and the meetings are the only times you feel like you've made the right choice, the right decision — that this is the way that you will matter. In the other times, the in-between times, with him off at school and the rest of your friends moving on with their lives and moving in with each other and living, you doubt. You have always been a doubter. You are so easily swayed by silk-spun words but when the words are gone your conviction fades.

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You meet him over Christmas holidays, just once and it is enough. You kiss him fiercely and he kisses you back with that something in his silver eyes and you fall in love all over again because with him, you always feel like you matter.

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He turns 18 and he graduates and you can tell that something's different. Something's broken in those beautiful silver eyes and you can't bear to see him broken and you try to kiss it and make it better but it doesn't work and you can see him slipping. "I'm sorry," he whispers to you once in the silence of the night and you're not sure he even knows you're awake until you murmur back,

"For what?"

He startles and he doesn't answer and you feel him slipping further away, and so you turn around and kiss him silently, and it's then that you notice he is shaking.

"Reg?" you murmur, your voice a startled whisper but he doesn't respond and you cup his cheek and feel the dampness and it scares you.

"What if I'm wrong?" he whispers brokenly and you know, you know this is the crux of the matter but you don't understand, you don't understand.

"Wrong about what?"

And you know that isn't the right response and he shuts down and silently slips further away.

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Three weeks later you find out he's dead. Just like that. One day he was alive, solid, tangible, and the next day just gone. Gone.

You can't fathom it. He was going to conquer the world, you think, and you can't understand how it possibly could have conquered him. He's 18. Eighteen years old and he's gone.

You feel broken, deflated. He was the reason that you mattered, and now that he's gone you don't and it terrifies you, because that's really all you've ever wanted.

He's dead and you don't matter. He doesn't matter. He can't matter when he's dead.

You cry, but only when you're alone.

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You don't cry when you sell them out. Even though you've finally started to understand what he meant that night, finally started to understand what he was apologising for, you don't cry for them.

You realise that Halloween night that you truly don't matter at all. You never mattered. You were never anything but a pawn to any of them. You were a game piece, a chess move, a calculation. A number.

Not to him. He looked at you and you still don't understand how but he saw you.

No, you don't cry for them. You've used all your tears on him, because he was the one that mattered.