Warnings: implied molestation of a minor
Forgive Me Father
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
Remus Lupin was a werewolf. When he was a child, he was kept in the basement of his family's rickety farmhouse every full moon, in a cage made of steel. It was small and dirty, soiled with blood and excretions.
The day before the night of transformation, the local shaman would come and pray for Remus's soul; that his innocent heart would not be poisoned by the bad spirit of the wolf. Remus gasped, shuddered and sweated through it, naked beyond the bars, his little boy body feeling the onslaught of the monster conversion. Room lighted by candles, the shaman's black robes a blur for Remus to see through hot dry eyes.
Sage Franklin always sat on his unsteady little stool, and chanted from his little book, with Remus's mother hovering in the background. His face was long, lined and gaunt, and Remus hated his skinny body and his rhythmic, deep voice.
"She had brought forth her first born son: and he called his name Jesus.
"And to watch over Jesus and the Lowly, the Lord God formed a man of the dust of the sky, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And into his blood the Lord God poured the magic of the earth; and the man became a living soul.
"And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should watch the Lowly alone; I will make him an help meet for himů.
"And Merlin gave names to all the magical cattle, and to the magical fowl of the air, and to every magical beast of the field."
But it was not always during the full moon that the shaman came. When Remus's tantrums got out of hand, Sage Franklin was often the one to call on. Remus's father would apparate to the town and summon him as quick as he could, as if it were an emergency.
Sage Franklin would close his arms over Remus's chest and pray out loud; Remus crying and screaming and the shaman embracing him forcefully, pushing the demons away. "Leave the child, evil demon of the Wolf!" Bruises marked him all along his chest, and breathing was always difficult in the days the shaman came to stay.
When the shaman asked for the two of them to be alone, he took Remus's clothes off, and rubbed his scar with cold, brittle fingers. Sage Franklin would scowl at his marked skin.
Remus was unsure when it had started, when the shaman's hands would stray from his shoulder and drift down. Remus would squirm, and he would squeal, low in his throat, terrified, his eyes tightly shut. If he told anyone, the wolf would come out again and kill his parents, the shaman told him.
"A werewolf is an evil creature. It must be pushed from you, away, and I will do it."
Sage Franklin told him that Satan was bad, and that he had given both Dracula and Romulus new life. But the life-blood of Satan was tainted, and Romulus had to live with an animal inside him, that only came out during the full moon. The shaman told Remus, that to assassinate the animal, he must push his fingers into Remus's body and find it. Only then, if it is found, can it be destroyed.
"Thank Merlin I am here to do this thing. I'll be doing it frequently in future, dear boy."
Remus Lupin was an evil creature and he was going to Hogwarts. Was he a wizard, like his friends, or something else? And surely, when his new friends found out, they would push into him too, and hate him and leave him naked and shivering.
As soon as he got home from his first year at school, Sage Franklin was already there, manic and muttering prayers under his breath. How could Remus just go and leave his good shaman like that, to a school where no body checked if he prayed to Merlin and God every day? And these new friends - they will be hurt if something is not done. Something must be done.
Remus was dragged into the basement; promises were made to his parents that everything was going to be okay, but they must not be disturbed. Remus convulsed with fear - he would rather indulge in the wolf than undertake Franklin's exorcism. Perhaps he deserved it; the last thing he wanted to do was hurt his friends and family.
The image was a little blurred, and Harry realised he was crying. The eleven-year-old Remus was yelling and choking as the old man moved over his naked form.
Harry turned around and focused. He looked up, wiped his eyes and jumped. He flew up and hit the surface, and pulled himself out the Pensieve.
He stood for a moment, shaking. The Pensieve was on the coffee table, and beside that, the couch. The now adult Remus lay on it, his expression hard and his focus on the ceiling.
Harry took his glasses off and rubbed them clean on his shirt, hesitant.
"So," said Remus finally; they were still not looking at each other. "Is that enough to convict him?"
Harry let out a low, humourless chuckle. "Oh yes. That will get him a life-time sentence in Azkaban." He looked up, concerned, and walked around to kneel by the werewolf. "Look," Harry ventured, because apologizing seemed inappropriate somehow, "they don't need to view the memories. I could tell them I saw them; I could just be a witness. No body needs to see anything."
Remus turned his head and looked at him. Harry was relieved; they had been living with each other platonically for the past year, and never had Remus acted so cold before. "Witnesses are unreliable," said Remus softly, "you know that. They need this evidence."
Harry put a hand on Remus's arm. Remus flinched away immediately and Harry backed off. "You're not the only one; you're not even the first. Another victim will come forward, surely."
Remus shook his head and looked away again. His eyes were sad and his face pale, his lips pressed tight together. Harry felt his heart slowly break. He swallowed and looked down.
Harry cared for his old Professor, more than he was sure he wanted to consciously realise. He was unsure what to do next... if he did that, it could jeopardise the trial.
He found he did not care.
Remus had his eyes closed, and his breathing was slow and even.
With his wand, Harry dipped it into the Pensieve and thought about the memories. He pulled out each bad string of memory one by one. They floated in the air, wiggling around each other, white and wispy.
When Harry knew he had them all, he stared at them for a moment, moving and glowing suspended in front of his eyes. Then he raised his wand.
The strings ceased moving and turned into crispy black strips. Harry raised his wand again and one by one, pulled them from the air and inserted them delicately into Remus's temple.
When they were all returned, he looked into Remus's face and, tentatively, put a hand on his shoulder, and shook him awake.
Remus blinked and tensed when he noticed Harry's hand on him. With a deep breath, he relaxed.
Harry smiled. "Hey."
Remus smiled tiredly back. "Hello, you."
Harry glanced down, then back up again. "May I...?"
Remus shuffled, making room for his friend on the couch. Harry sat on it and lay down.
They looked at each other, a little nervously, before Remus put his arm around Harry's shoulders. This was, Harry realised, the first time Remus had ever hugged him affectionately.
Remus cleared his throat. "There's been something I've been meaning to tell you," he said.
Lips were pressed to Harry's pate. "Yes, at least, I think so. Just that, Harry, it wasn't your fault."
Harry knew what he meant. He meant it was not Harry's fault Sirius fell through the Veil, and maybe, just maybe, Remus had a point.
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