I DON'T BELONG HERE: SOY UN PERDEDOR
Summary: Petter Pettigrew: Stupid boy, foolish boy, coward, hero-worshipper, and rat. Except there is always so much more. A look into Peter's life, because fanfic authors are quite like Vonnegut's Tralfamadorians - we see in four dimensions. rated for language. COMPLETE
Disclaimer: Yeah, because JKR would ever try and vindicate Pettigrew in any way. as per usual, I own nothing. big surprise!
What this project is: so I have always been absolutely fascinated by the character of Peter Pettigrew and rather pissed off by both his treatment in canon and fandom because it's painfully under-developed and flat. Naturally, then, I spend a lot of time pondering the question "Who was Wormtail?" This is an attempt at that answer, in a way that hopefully depicts the journey of how one character goes from being the best of friends/brothers with some of the most beloved members of the HPverse to emerge as one of the most hated and poorly depicted characters in said 'verse.
In a time of chimpanzees I was a monkey
Butane in my veins,
So I'm out to cut the junkie with the plastic eyeballs,
Spray-paint the vegetables,
Dog food stalls with the beefcake pantyhose.
Kill the headlights and put it in neutral
Stock car flaming with a loser and the cruise control
Once upon a time, there was a young boy named Peter Pettigrew, convinced he had a goddess as a mother who knew all the secrets of life. He listened with rapt attention to every story, every myth, and every tale, all the while keeping them locked up safely inside him.
But April, his mother, is not a goddess, and never was - just an ordinary girl in love with a man named Adam. No, not the one who was foolish and lost, abandoing the utopia of the Garden and the beauty of eternity. Adam Pettigrew, and he was Peter's dad.
Adam was an Auror, brave and strong and proud. He loved his wife, April, so much that it hurt, but he loved something else more: justice. And so on the day his wife found out she was pregnant with their first child, excited and nervous to tell him, there was a man dressed all in black at the door. It was the thing she dreaded the most, from the first moment she began to love Adam, and she knew what it mean: he was gone. Dead.
Death: such a strange concept, isn't it? One day Adam is alive, breathing, full of vitality...and the next he no longer exists. But that is what happens - people die, they stop existing, and the only way to keep them alive is through memories. Those are the memories April shared with her son; the memories of the man who died before Peter Pettigrew ever took his first breath.
And so young Pete never met his father, and only knew him through the stories his mother told. It was always "your dad" this and "your dad" that. In the stories, Adam was a great man, a hero. They inspired him to want to grow up and be him - work for the Ministry as an Auror and save lives, better the world, just like his dad. Maybe one day, he too would meet a nice, pretty woman, and maybe he'd be alive to tell stories to his children himself.
But as time went on, it became increasingly clear that Peter would never be that man.
You see, both April and Adam had been magical. Witches and wizards, as well as the children of other witches, because witches and wizards give birth to magical children. So April waited with baited breath for her son's first sign of magic...and waited, and waited, and waited. For a solid three years, she was terrified he would not be magical at all - a squib. What would she do with a son like that? It was easy to love Peter when she thought his world was full of possibilities, but not so much when she was afraid he would turn out to be a failure. It didn't help that she had to watch her sisters' children become increasingly brilliant and talented, and especially when there was nothing remarkable about her family in the first place except that they were pureblooded.
Pete was a good kid, though, and that made it easier. The way he was so eager to please, so desperate to be loved, tugged at her heartstrings. His obvious excitement over one day going to Hogwarts and learning magic tugged at them even worse. April tried, she really did; she attempted to lay foundations of how things worked in the world of magic, though just the very basics. He seemed to catch on with Potions and Herbology; her son loved to keep her company in the garden, for instance, and she let him enjoy it. But even then, he was never exceptional at it, no matter how much it excited him.
Finally, to her great joy and relief, Peter showed signs of magical talent at age ten, which was just in time.
As most children do, Pete wanted to play with the neighbourhood kids - all magical - and tried again and again to get them to like him, but they snubbed him! He was the weird kid whom all the adults whispered to each other about, the kid they all assumed was a squib- a freak. The kids liked to tease him for it; they would pretend they wanted to play their favourite game, hide and seek, but would leave him as he counted, giggling and laughing. It was more of their favourite game than actual hide and seek, and happened frequently.
Well, one day, Peter had enough.
Let's play hide and seek, they said. It'll be fun, they said. Peter knew they always said those things, just like he was always reluctant... but in the end he believed them. He wanted to believe people, pure and simple; he wanted to believe the other kids liked him. Was that such a terrible thing? Not in theory, maybe, but in practice it never quite worked out well for him. But, that day as he was counting to ten, he could hear them laughing in the background once again. It was just too much and he snapped - the nerve of a ten year-old who was tired of the laughs, of being the butt of everyone else's jokes. Pete stopped mid-count, suddenly shouting "olly-olly-oxen-free!" Except unlike all the other times, he made everyone listen - it was so loud the entire neighbourhood could hear, even his mum three blocks away.
Yes, Peter was magic, and it surprised everyone. The other kids looked at him in a new way because he wasn't a freak anymore, finally! He could be proud, because he was just like the rest of them. Only, he was still Peter Pettigrew, that strange one with the dead dad whose mother was his best friend and who helped her out in the garden every day without even being asked. April was proud of him, too, but none of it mattered. He didn't matter. Why? Because he was ordinary. Nobody whispered about him anymore, but then again, nobody talked about him at all anymore. Peter was not talented, like his cousins, he was shy and he stuttered, and it was clear he wanted friends but didn't know how to make them.
In a nutshell, there was nothing special about him. Nothing at all, not even the bad kind of special. But oh did Peter long to be special. More than anything, he wanted to be special, to be extraordinary, to be remarkable.
Wanted to be his dad.
Here is the thing: we all know kids like Peter while growing up. There's one in every primary class, every high school, sometimes even in every household. This is them: they are small, they are weak, and they feel vulnerable all the time. They don't speak up when they see bullies, and they don't say anything when people, even their friends, bully them. They just want to be liked - to feel like they belong.
Maybe it has nothing to do with other people at all. Maybe, instead, it has to do with what lies deep within us, buried away until we are knocked about just the right way and whatever "it" is falls off the shelf, finally ready to be found.
Or, maybe, kids like Peter Pettigrew are stuck in the vasoline because, at some point, somebody put them there, long before they knew how to get out.
When it comes down to it, Peter is someone uncomfortable in his own skin, desperate to belong, from the very beginning. Even more, he desperately desires to fly. And yet he is stuck in this vasoline with a giant label on it which says "ORDINARY." Commonplace, standard, bearing no special marks or distinctive features; many words which come together to make up one that if you looked it up in the dictionary, there'd likely be a picture of Peter beneath it. Yes, a picture of him, right there in the book, but you've never noticed, have you? It's alright, I suppose, because that's how things have always been, how he has always been.
Ordinary. It's the worst word in the dictionary. It has haunted him all his life because that's what he has always been: commonplace, standard, and bearing no special marks or distinctive features. It is all he can ever be and he can't forget it, not ever. Nobody will let him.
So it goes.