“Aw, c’mon Uncle Remus! Just a short visit? I won’t tell Dad!”
The shop was small enough that she could see the lively mischief and humor in his gaze and hear it in his voice. It made her smile, though there was a sheen of tears in her eyes.
“Harry James, no!” His uncle laughed. “We are not going to look at brooms. Your dad would kill me, for one – mostly because he wants to be the one to buy you your first broom- and you can’t have a broom until next year, no matter how much you hint, whine, or beg!” He tapped his nephew on the nose. “I dare you to try that that face on Professor McGonagall. You’ll have about as much success as your dad did.”
Harry stuck his tongue out at his uncle in reply, making him throw his head back and laugh, the sound joyous and echoing through the shop and causing the other patrons to look up with a smile.
Except for Narcissa. The amused smile she had worn during the byplay disappeared, and her eyes narrowed at the pair.
Remus Lupin had been a Gryffindor and close friend of both James and Lily, so there had not been much cause for formal interaction with him, at Hogwarts or after. But she remembered him; a quiet, intelligent boy with an easy smile and tired amber eyes. He had been a prefect, Narcissa remembered, along with Lily – prefect to Lucius’s Head Boy. She remembered working on the patrol schedule for Lucius, who felt that it was beneath him to attend to such menial duties. Lupin had always thanked her when she played errand girl and delivered the schedule to him, and offered that quiet smile, but she couldn’t ever remember hearing him laugh so exuberantly.
A certain best friend of his, however…but no. James was dead, just as Lily was, murdered by the Dark Lord, who was in turn vanquished by the boy currently still in animated conversation with his uncle. Brushing aside her thoughts, she continued to watch the duo, but the nagging sense of familiarity only remained and grew.
Remus Lupin had been contained energy, quiet intensity on the surface but a volcano underneath. Narcissa wasn’t dumb or blind; Lupin had been one of the cutest boys in Hogwarts in her year, and even the Slytherin girls had held discussions about what was really behind his hard control and easy demeanor. He caught their attention because of all that control, of which most of the girls in the school admitted (by secret, anonymous poll) that they had tried, and failed to break. Granted, over a decade had passed since she had seen him last, but this Lupin was so opposite of her mental image of him that it was almost off-putting; happy, animated, openly affectionate as he ruffled Harry’s hair. The complete 180 in personality and mannerisms was too much of a coincidence to ignore.
Narcissa sat in thought for a moment, then asked a passing clerk for a cup of tea, which was soon delivered. Glancing automatically first at Draco to make sure he was still doing fine, she made her way casually across the room to where Harry and his uncle were at the cash register to check out, ‘accidentally’ bumping into Lupin and spilling her tea all over him.