“Tonks, who was that man who came to see you this afternoon?” Harriet asks, as I sit at the kitchen table, drumming my fingers on the table top just watching the clock.
“That was my cousin, Draco Malfoy. Did you know him?”
Her eyes widen in surprise. “Only by reputation.”
I nod, only half-listening and look at the clock again. “Yes, well exile has changed him; I’m convinced he’s a different man now.”
She said nothing else on the matter, but retrieved her Wolfsbane and poured it into a glass. She plugged her nose and downed the potion.
I’ve been thinking about Harriet’s baby too. Poor dear. I know Umbridge has meddled, and adopting her, whether she transforms or not, will be difficult if it’s known that she is the daughter of Fenrir Greyback. “I asked Susan Bones to Owl me in the morning and let me know what happened with Darcy tonight- whether she transformed tonight or not. I could pass along the information if you wanted. No pressure.”
She nodded, wringing her hands and looking down at the floor. “Yeah, I’d like to know. I’m going to lie down for a bit before moonrise if that’s OK.”
I force a smile. “Of course.”
She and Ella pass each other on the stairs. “I’m ready for hot chocolate and snacks now, Mummy.” She announced marching into the kitchen.
“Oh you are, are you? How about chocolate biscuits and milk?”
Ella nods in approval. “Yes, that would be quite lovely.”
I smile and get up, going about preparing her snack.
“Why I no go Grammy’s tonight? Why Daddy working? The moon picture is on the number 9,” she says, watching me pour milk into a small glass.
“Because I need your company; I don’t want to be here by myself,” I say. She hasn’t asked about not seeing Mum and Dad this week, and she doesn’t need to know about my argument with my father. “You’re right, I shouldn’t have fibbed earlier, Daddy is going away tonight. The big moon is on the calendar, you’re right.”
“Oh,” she says, her voice a little deflated. I know she worries about Remus when he’s gone. “Can I sleep in the big bed?” she asks, raising her eyebrows high.
I pretend to consider the question and purse my lips, tapping my finger against them. “I suppose,” I sigh and eventually smile as I give her a few biscuits and her cup of milk.
“Can I bring Merlin, and my dolly, and my blanket, and my own pillows because Daddy’s are too fluffy.”
I laugh and sit there with her, watching her dunk her cookies in her milk. The thought of soggy food turns my stomach right now.
When she finishes, her face is dusted with chocolate crumbs. “Hey you, I’m going upstairs to run you a bath. Put your cup in the sink and come upstairs, yeah?”
She rolls her eyes. “All right.”
I smirk and trudge upstairs to draw Ellie her bath. I pass by Remus’ office- the door is shut, but I can see the glow of light underneath the door. I think about disturbing him, but I don’t. I know what he’s doing- stacking his work in a nice neat pile and placing his will on top. I’m sure he’s nervous too; it’s not fair to bother him.
I fill the tub with water, drizzling in some of Ella’s favourite bubble bath before calling downstairs for her.
Suddenly I hear her talking, and I hear another voice accompany her laughter. I freeze with worry and then suddenly launch myself down the stairs, miraculously keeping my balance and faculties.
I thunder down the stairs and find Ella in conversation with my cousin, Draco.
“Draco! Hi! I didn’t hear you come in. Er, come in,” I say nervously, slowly descending the last couple stairs.
“Good evening, Nymphadora, I was just chatting with Ella here about her having to take a bath, and I personally find it a mistake to wash the chocolate off her face. It adds character.”
I let out a breathy, nervous laugh. “Yes, well she doesn’t like being called Smelly Ellie, so she better go upstairs and climb in the tub.”
He smiles and clasps his hands together, shifting his weight uncomfortably. He looks a bit put off. “I came through on my promise,” he says vaguely as Ella glances between us. “The potion has been made to suit my standards.” He got the Wolfsbane.
Hot, stinging tears well up in my eyes and cloud my vision. I grab onto the banister and slump down onto the bottom step. I cover my face with my hands and begin to cry.
I distantly hear Draco gasp and kneel down in front of me. “Nymphadora- are you all right?”
“What’s wrong, Mummy?” Ella cries, prompting Remus’ office door to open.
“Dora?” he says, hurrying down the stairs, sitting down on the step behind me. “Are you all right?” he asks, wrapping an arm around me. “Is it the-” His hand drifts over my stomach before his tone shifts and he speaks to Draco. “What’s happened?”
“I- nothing- I’m not sure, I just said that I came through on my promise- and then this,” my cousin replies nervously.
Remus is silent and I wipe my tears away. “He got it, the Wolfsbane, he got it!” I reply, unable to contain my smiles and sobs any longer. I turn in Remus arms kiss his cheek before I lean forward and take Draco’s hands in mine.
“Thank you, thank you. I can’t say it enough,” I say, as the tension in his face eases slightly. “Is there anything I can do for you?”
He shakes his head and rises off his knees. “Not now, maybe another time.”
I stand as well, and notice Remus sitting nearly dumbfounded on the steps. Sure, we don’t know if the potion is going to work or not, but Draco came through, and went out on a limb for us.
“I- don’t know what to say,” Remus finally offers, running his hands through his hair. “Thank you.”
Draco nods. “It’s not necessary. Nymphadora and Ella love you, I can’t have you go and leave them now, can I? You can’t be replaced in their eyes. If something isn’t quite right- with the potion, please let me know.”
Remus nods, but says nothing.
“Nymphadora, if I can be of any more help this evening, don’t hesitate to ask.” He squeezes my hands briefly and lets go abruptly. “The best of luck to you.”
He sweeps out of the kitchen, his cloak trailing behind him, and I slowly follow him toward the front door. “Goodnight, really, I can’t thank you enough. You’re welcome here anytime.”
He smirks. “Thank you. Good night, cousin, and good night, Princess Ella.”
I close the door behind him and sigh with relief. Now we just wait to see if the potion works.