Chapter 1 : Monster
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"I think you should sit down.”
The Auror waited impatiently for his request to be obeyed.
The man stood silent and still before the table. He didn’t look at the Auror who had given the order; he didn’t really look at anything. To the Auror, it looked as though the man wasn’t really there in the room at all. If he wanted to break him, he would have to change that. He would have to force the man to forget about tomorrows and yesterdays, and believe only in the here and now of the little room.
“I said ‘I think you should sit down’,” he growled.
The Auror reached out for the other man's shoulder and shoved him into the chair he stood in front of. The man dropped hard down onto it, his spine hitting it's metal back, yet his face did not change from its blank look. The Auror found it unnerving.
The man’s lack of emotions was grinding on his nerves. Most people were already pleading at this point. By this time, they had already been arrested in their homes, dragged through the ministry, and slammed into the miniscule interrogation room. It was terrifying, he had been told. But this bloke--nothing.
Either he had seen things far more terrifying than anything the Auror could throw at him.
Or, he just didn't care.
The man was staring listlessly at the floor now, hands still bound behind his back.
There was a loud knock on the door.
Another Auror, younger and slighter of build, walked into the room with a scroll in his arms. His eyes lingered on the motionless man as he walked. He frowned as well. Usually people were pleading by this point, or, at the very least, arguing.
"What's up with this bloke?" He whispered when he reached his compatriot sitting across from the man.
"Not sure...What have you got for me, Jones?"
"File, sir, on our guest."
"Thanks," the older Auror replied, taking the scroll and unrolling it.
"Would you like a hand?" The Auror called Jones inquired, nodding to the still man.
"No...I think I've got it."
"Pity," he replied as he made his way back to the door, "I want to help fry the man who did this—whole department does."
The door clicked shut behind him.
"Hear that, boy," the Auror called to the man.
His companion made no indication that he had in fact heard.
"Oi! I'm talking to you, and in this room, when I talk, you listen!"
The Auror saw the other's eyebrows raise, yet he refused to look up. Fast as lightning, he reached across the table and grabbed the man's chin, forcing him to look at him.
"Understand?" He smiled the wicked toothy grin of a person who enjoys exerting power over others.
"Consider it understood." The man finally replied, the Auror's grip on his chin distorting his voice.
"Good. So, again, did you hear what my friend Jones said?"
"He said the entire department wants to fry me," he replied passively.
The Auror raised an eyebrow. The man raised one in return.
"Believe me, I'm used to the sentiment by now."
The Auror laughed ruthlessly, purposely spraying the man with little drops of spit.
"No," he corrected,"the entire department wants to fry the person responsible for the deaths of James and Lily Potter. Are you saying that's you?"
The man suddenly lost his perfectly controlled look, and his face was pulled into one of immeasurable pain. He tried to breathe very deeply. He dropped his gaze again, which the Auror suddenly realized was his trick for staying calm.
"Are you saying that's you?"
The Auror moved close to the man, keeping his voice low.
The man shook his head, solemnly. "Just...let me be a moment." He swallowed heavily.
"No," the Auror replied, staying in the other man's face. "Not until you answer the question."
The man shook his head again. "I'm begging you to step back, and let me be a moment."
"I will not," the Auror snapped, "this is my room and in my room, when I talk, you--"
"--listen! All right, I got it. But, I'd really suggest stepping away from me."
The Auror's eyes glinted maniacally. A surge of pleasure washed through him to see the man so unnerved.
"And why should I step away from you?"
"Look," the man began, turning his head to face the Auror, "I'm trying really hard not to get angry. No one--no one--likes me when I'm angry."
The Auror stood up straight and looked down upon his prisoner imperiously. "Yes...I hear your kind has a nasty temper."
The man closed his eyes against the insult, attempting to breathe deeply again. "Something like that," he muttered.
The Auror nodded. "So, just tell me if you had anything to do with the murders of Lily and James Potter."
The man’s jaw visibly tensed. Looking closely, he saw a single tear roll down the man's cheek and drop to the floor. Perfect. He loved interrogations when they got to this point.
"Just tell me, and you can go free."
The man looked skeptically at the floor. The bloke was obviously a lot smarter than one would expect from his kind. Still, he did not answer, just shook his head.
"You know they had a son, don't you? A wee baby, a baby who is now motherless and fatherless. An orphan."
"Of course I know that!" The man spat, looking up at the Auror. His eyes burned lividly. "I was their best friend."
"A man who sells his best friends out to you-know-who? Doesn't sound like any friend to--"
"I DIDN'T SELL THEM OUT TO VOLDEMORT!" The man suddenly raged, his voice completely filling the small space. More tears streamed down his cheeks, as his body shook with emotion. "I wouldn't--I couldn't--I'd rather die!"
The Auror flinched at the name, and the man continued to ramble.
"I just want to be left alone...it's too much, I can't--"
The Auror smiled maliciously. "Charming outburst. Too bad, I don't believe you."
"I'm telling you the truth," he protested, though he did not seem surprised at the Auror’s response.
"Yes, well, the word of your kind doesn't count for much, does it?" He moved closer to his prisoner, hoping to unsettle the man even more. Angry and grieving was fine, but he wanted to see him tremble with fear.
"And if I don't get the truth, I'm sure the entire department would be more than happy to see you rot in Azkaban--where you and all of your kind belong."
The man looked at the Auror, squinting as though he was trying hard to read something there. His eyes widened in sudden realization, and the Auror resisted the urge to squirm under the gaze. This was, after all, his interrogation room; he was the one with the power.
"Tell me," the Auror continued, "how does it feel to be a monster?"
Remus Lupin blinked. The last of the tears that had stuck to his eyelashes rolled down his face. "You tell me."
A/N: For the first round of the Writathon over at TGS, we were asked to write a one-shot using the line of dialogue "I think you should sit down." This is what I came up with.