The inquisitive sound the feeling of something soft nudging her ankle startled her into looking down. It was the Potter’s cat, a calico James had playfully named ‘Snitch’ because of the way baby Harry always seemed to catch him just when it seemed the cat would escape.
“Oh, Snitch.” Narcissa murmured, bending down to pick up the feline. “I thought you were gone, too.” She cuddled the little female in her arms, automatically obliging when the kitten tilted her head up for a scratch around her collar. “What’s this?”
The collar was a Muggle indulgence; white, with little crystals glued on it and a bell charm. The bell came off in her hand when touched it; paper crinkled inside.
“What in the…” she frowned, setting Snitch down and prying the bell open. The parchment kept unfolding in her hands, until it was a full sized page.
It was blank. She tapped it with her wand, but nothing happened.
“Sirius and James and their stupid pranks.” She grumbled, though why they would’ve gone to all the trouble to hide a blank piece of parchment in a cat’s charm was beyond her.
Don’t be daft, Selina. Do you really think that it’s a coincidence that you found this paper?
She gasped as the words appeared, written in familiar pretty script.
No one responded, but after a moment more words appeared.
No, sister. I am not there. This is a charmed parchment, set to activate at your touch and voice.
There isn’t much time. Listen carefully.
A silver stream flowed out of the bell, swirling around Narcissa before taking the form of a little red vixen – Lily’s Patronus.
“Selina. Sometimes things are not always as they appear. Go to the Muggle hospital in London. Seventh floor, room 373. As for Mari at the nurse’s station. She will explain everything.
Tell no one. Not even Dumbledore.”
The Patronus vanished, leaving Narcissa alone in the crypt. She sniffed. “Really, Lilian.” She glared at the redhead encased in the tomb. “Even in death, you’re still dragging me into your schemes. I shouldn’t do it, you know. I won’t, in fact. I’m going to return home, to my son, and forget that this ever happened.”
She raised her chin defiantly, and turned on her heel – only to run straight into a solid wall of muscle.
“Oof,” he grunted, but only rocked back slightly on his heels at the impact. “Hey, careful!” He caught her by the hips, controlling her momentum as she fell into his arms.
Her breath whooshed from her as she registered being pressed chest to chest, hip to hip, knee to knee, with a man. A very fit man, all lean muscle and hard angles. She shoved him away – hard – before he could feel her reaction.
“Whoa! Easy does it, Miss! I just came to pay my respects. You didn’t give me a chance to move out of the way,” he said, holding his hands up defensively.
She glared at him, still off balance but determined not to show it. “This is a private grounds, Remus Lupin. What are you doing here?”