When he arrives, the body is already cold.
It’s cold and stiff and rigor mortis must have already come and gone because there is no possible way that the body would be that hard and inhuman if it had not. The eyes are perhaps the worst part of it. His glasses had been knocked askew in whatever brief skirmish may have taken place, and those big hazel eyes just stare and stare and stare.
He can feel his heart thumping wildly inside his chest, thrashing violently against his ribcage as if it wishes to do nothing more than join his friend in death.
He can still hear their voices throughout the house. At first he tries to tell himself that James chose to become a ghost. Maybe, just maybe he had stayed behind. But no, it was merely his sanity fleeing with his friend’s soul to leave him alone with his memories. He hears the baby upstairs, crying loudly. The child is just wailing away, and that gives him some hope. If Harry is alive, then perhaps Lily is as well.
But no, if Lily was alive he would hear her shushing Harry, maybe sobbing herself. Lily was dead as well.
Even though his mind cried out that Harry, Lily and James’ Harry, was upstairs in a room alone with his dead mother, he couldn’t tear himself away James just yet.
James looked almost graceful in death. His body had fallen beautifully, his body stretched towards the stairs, lean Quidditch trained body taunt with a futile effort to reach his wife and child, a hand extended towards the stairs as if he had tried to reach them.
And maybe he had. It would be like Voldemort to torture him before killing him. To allow him to believe that he could rescue his family and then killing him swiftly and moving on to Lily. Oh James. James Potter, look what you’ve done now. You’ve gotten yourself killed for her. For him. Why did you have to die Potter?
The muscles in his calves protested violently as he crouched before his friend, running a finger down a cold cheekbone. He could feel his guilt eating away at him, gnawing at his insides until they were sludge oozing along mechanically.
Peter, Peter, Peter. You were always a fool. Always. And you’d gone and provoked the rage of Sirius Black. You’d killed one of the few people who defended you. How could you? James was always so kind to you. And you repay him like this?
Run away, little rat. I will find you.
When he found him hours later, his mind was filled with a numb, blind kind of rage.
He almost failed to grasp the fact that he was being framed as the pudgy man yelled at him, screamed at him for betraying James. Loud enough that all those around him heard every word. When the younger man pulled his wand and blew the street apart, consuming the world in fire and rubble and blood and pain, his rage broke into hysterical amusement.
Perhaps they had not given Peter enough credit, it seemed the boy had been paying attention in class.
When the Aurors came to take him away, all he could do was laugh.
And laugh, and laugh, and laugh.