Molly's Kitchen Chair

'No one knows this but Severus has been to the Burrow before.' Molly's voice was soft.

'Years ago, when he was still just a lad. He was a scrawny young thing then, with that long black hair of his, that beaky nose.'

A faint smile touched her lips as she described him, her eyes distant.

'I found him in Ottery St Catchpole, wandering around near the mill pond. Goodness knows what he was doing there, but he was all dressed up in his robes and people had been talking in the village shop. The village is mainly muggle you see. I brought him back here and sat him at the kitchen table, made him tea. Then he asked if he could use the bathroom and when he stood up.....'

She paused here and took a shaky breath and rubbed her hand across her eyes before continuing.

'When he stood up there was blood on the chair, smeared across the seat. I followed him up then. Upstairs to the bathroom to help, to call through the door.....but he just wouldn't let me in, wouldn't let me help him. He was in there so long but then Arthur came home and I don't know what he said or did but Severus let him in.'

She paused and swiped another hand across her eyes. And when she spoke again, her voice did tremble and finally she raised her eyes to meet Remus's.

'Oh Remus and he was badly hurt, so badly hurt. Severus, that boy with that beautiful pale skin and those beautiful long fingers that you just knew could create magic.'

Remus swallowed dryly. 'What had happened?' He asked.

Molly sighed 'I don't really know Remus. Arthur wouldn't tell me exactly. And that's as it should be. But I've never seen Arthur so shaken except for that time Charlie fell out of the oak in the backyard all the way from the top. But I I know it was bad, really awful. And I kept thinking that if he'd been so badly hurt wouldn't he prefer me to Arthur. Me a mother? A woman. But then I think he just felt safe around Arthur. And Arthur wouldn't fuss, he'd just sort, just do what was needed.'

She fell silent and Remus stayed quiet. Running the story over in his mind, picturing Severus as a child, as a young man.

Then Molly spoke again, her voice firm.

'You know. Arthur always trusted Severus. Always.'

'He's a good man.' Said Remus.

'Severus or Arthur?' Asked Molly wryly.

'Both I think.' Said Remus with a faint smile.

Molly smiled back, and took a sip of her cooling tea.

'Severus is a good man.' She said. 'But whenever I look at that man, I just see that pale skinned boy and blood. Blood smeared across my kitchen chair.'