AN: Well, I'm back, at least sort of. I know I've said it multiple times, and I'm sure you're all sick of it. I'm trying with my other stories, I really am. I'm just working on things. We'll see how things spin out. In any case, enjoy my short little one-shot. I really like it, though I think it might be slightly rough around the edges. And as always, I don't own Harry Potter. If I did, lets just say the movies wouldn't be rated PG.
It was almost painful in a way, watching Moony go through his nightly ritual. His hands pressed together tightly, lips moving fervently, and eyes squeezed shut. He says things that he could never say to me; things that I can only begin to fathom. Remus has an implicit trust in an unknown entity, and he never really has been able to trust easily. Yet, he has never seen this being, has never had any proof besides a book that is older than Hogwarts, and for all he knows he may very well be praying to absolute nothingness, but he still continues this ritual every night.
And every night I watch him.
I watch as he kneels in front of the window. His eyes look desperately towards the stars, and he slowly closes them. He brings his hands together, pressing until his palms turn white. Slowly, his lips start to move. His words, however, are silent, meant only for him and his confidant. Slowly, the movement of his lips increases until he is barely able to keep up with them. And all of the sudden, the prayers stop, and he is silent. A calm peace fills the room, and he stays as he is, basking in the blessing of whatever he prays to. It is the same every night, and every night I am there to witness it.
I am no stranger to religion, after all witches and wizards are not total heathens. The magical community has its own religion too. The Magus Veneficus, or the Church of the Magia for short. The idea of our church really is similar to the muggle church as well. I've always gotten the feeling that most religions are similar in concept. Of course, we don't burn witches at the stake, but that's only for the population's sake.
However, the Church of the Magia is much more of a tradition now. In the past it was as much a religion as Christianity or Judea, but as time has gone on, and the wizarding world has become more secularized, the Church of the Magia has become more of a tradition among purebloods. My family did go to church weekly, though we never were particularly religious. Even when my mother insisted that we read our Holy Scriptures we never even came close to the connection that Remus seems to have with his faith. It's beautiful, in a painfully poetic way.
For as long as I have known him, Remus has prayed every night without fail. At first he would hide it from us. Perhaps he saw it as one more thing that separated him from the rest of us. James and I, both being purebloods, were never raised to have faith, only follow tradition. Peter's father believed that religion was 'the opiate of the masses', so Peter had never been exposed to such ideas. Remus was, as always, different.
His mother was a muggle, and a devoutly Catholic one at that. Remus had been raised to attend Church every Sunday, and to always repent for his sins. Hogwarts has no church; the founders didn't want to bring in even more conflict, so every night Remus would pray. When we finally caught him doing it, we couldn't understand why on earth he would hide it. He told us that it was a private thing, and that he was uncomfortable with others being there. It never occurred to us that he might be preventing us from understanding just what he prayed for. It was only until after Remus started letting me listen to him pray that I realized just how private it is for him.
Remus pours his soul into his prayers. He talks about his hopes and fears, his desires and wants; he speaks about everything. The emotions roll across his face like the most powerful forces in nature. I still remember the first time he let me sit in on his prayers. We had been dating for about six months, and one night, just as I was about to leave the room so he could pray, he grabbed my wrist. Remus led me to the bed and gently sat me down. He then took his place, kneeling in front of the window. His head was thrown back in sheer abandon, and the moonlight illuminated his fine features until his normally pale skin was transformed into that of an ethereal angel. It was tragically beautiful, and though I felt that I should turn away, I couldn't. I was entranced, and from that day on I've been addicted to his prayers. Remus is never so free and never as reckless as he is in prayer. It was the greatest show of trust that Remus could give me, and I will remain eternally grateful.
I have never really been able to understand his attachment to the church. I know that despite his complete and utter trust in God, Remus's religion has caused him pain and suffering. The first time Remus and I made love we both drifted off into a peaceful sleep. Later that afternoon I awoke to mumbling. Remus was praying, his eyes watering, and his words slurred. I stared at him until he was finished, wondering if he regretted what we had done. He glanced up at me, and immediately lowered his head. I knew he was ashamed and probably afraid. Remus has always had abandonment issues. I can remember our conversation clearly to this day.
"Remus, what's wrong?"
"I've sinned Sirius. What we did was wrong. I knew it was wrong. I've always known it was wrong. I still did it, though. Why…"
"I thought you wanted to. I did."
"I did want to. That makes it just as wrong, if not even more wrong."
"I love you Remus. You love me too, right? I don't see the issue with this!"
"You may not, but I do! Do you understand that I could go to hell for this; we both could! We're talking about eternal damnation!"
"Well it isn't like this is anything new! I may not be as holy as you are, but as far as I know, premarital sex has always been a sin, just as homosexuality has been!"
"You don't understand!"
"I'm not arguing with you… have a nice break."
It had been the day before our summer break. We both said hurtful things to each other, and as I whittled away the endless summer days with the Potters my guilt grew and grew. September finally came and not one owl had passed between Remus and I. I was scared to see him again. I didn't want to lose him, but I'm a stubborn person, and though he may not seem like it, Remus is too. I couldn't, for the life of me, understand how what one old book said could affect Remus's emotions so deeply.
I had always rebelled against my family. What I failed to realize was that Remus hadn't. He loved his mother, but being away from her so often, and practically living in two completely separate worlds left Remus missing the woman much more. He wanted a way to stay connected to her, and religion was one of his few ties to his mother.
Sometimes I wondered if Remus only kept his faith because he was afraid of life without it. It's not like his life has been easy, and I must admit, religion does sound like a comforting idea. But Remus is stronger than that. I know that he honestly believes that there is more to life than the physical, and sometimes I'm inclined to believe him. But at that point of time I was more focused on not losing him.
When I finally found him on the Hogwarts Express he looked up at me and smiled timidly. I took it as a good sign, and motioned to James to leave. With an excuse about Evans the room was cleared and Remus and I stared at each other for an awkward amount of time. Finally he spoke. It was the sweetest sound I've ever heard.
"So… how was your summer?" I grunted noncommittally. Remus sighed and looked up at me with his beautifully shining eyes.
"I'm sorry, Sirius."
"I should be the one apologizing. Your religion is a part of you; I can't judge that. If I want you, I want all of you. And I do want all of you."
"No, you still don't get it! My religion says a lot of things; after all, the Bible is a guide to good living. I had to come to terms with not always being a good person. I did."
"I'm saying that I understand now. Jesus died for our sins. He died because we are imperfect. He died so we could continue being imperfect. God is love and God is forgiveness. He created men to be imperfect. If he had wanted us to be perfect he would have made us that way. But we aren't. And we're allowed to not be perfect. Humans sin, and that's exactly how it's meant to be. I'm in love with you, and I am allowed to be!"
It would be a lie to say that I understand Remus's beliefs. At night, after he's finished praying he climbs into bed next to me. I must admit that there are times when I feel so guilty. Like I've taken this beautifully pure and innocent angel and broken his wings, condemning him to life on this sad, dark planet. I feel like I've cheated him out of this perfectly religious life, and though he insists that this is the way that it should be, I often have my doubts.
Remus's religion is something that I will never be able to fathom. It isn't a part of me, as much as it may be a part of him. It scares me at times, and I often wonder how Remus can hold something that damns him so dear. But, it is comfort, and it is ritual. It is beautiful, painfully so at times, but it is the lifeline that threads humanity together and takes us so much farther than we could go alone. Remus is right; religion is love, and Remus is my religion.
AN: Wasn't that uber sweet? Awww… Well, you all shalt review or I shall smite thee. You just got pwnd.