Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters in the series.
A/n: Thanks in advance to all those who take the time to review, and also much appreciation to the people that helped me with this plot. Leave me a comment, and enjoy!
With careful hands and steady concentration, Remus Lupin tended to his thriving crape myrtle. Its gray-brown bark pealed away to surprise him with a pleasant pink, as he moved the soil around while pushing the blooms away gently. The tree was an August bloom and one of Remus' favorites; although he considered the flame eucalyptus something to behold as well. His hands sometimes bothered him, but Remus found nursing his plants worth the slight discomfort. For that was what he did, and he had the shop to prove it.
Remus had owned his flower shop, the Fleur-de-lis, for seven years and he had never been happier. What with the steady stream of customers and botanists, life was a new experience every day for Remus and he had Fleur-de-lis to thank for it.
He hummed a bit as he worked and glanced over at the wisteria that was threatening to tangle across to the doorway. He smiled and his eyes crinkled pleasantly. That particular wisteria had been causing trouble lately, and for what must have been the seventh time, he moved it back on its shelf. His entire shop burst with green; plants wall to wall and happy in their little habitat. Remus was a happy man and his job was his pride and joy. He was sure that nothing could ever deter his path into darkness again.
Perhaps he spoke too soon, or there was a fickle wind in the air, whatever the reason; Remus faced his new trouble with the tinkling of a bell and in the form of a young man. Rebellious wisteria seemed the least of his worries at the moment. For standing tall (though in no way was the young man taller than Remus,) with a ragged backpack over one shoulder and hair that rivaled a wild Aloe--was the most striking person he had ever seen.
Now Remus was a traveled man. He had explored the very soul of South Africa, hiked through the jungle in the Congo, had gazed up at tall oaks in Europe, and observed stunning desert agaves in the Midwest. He was a learned man, having graduated from a private school with extended knowledge of six languages and two dead. Remus had lived long enough to see some pretty wonderful sights, and some not so wonderful. All and all, he considered himself wise and old in a good and wholesome way.
Most who knew Remus would agree that he was kind and impassioned, and very seldom taken by surprise. That is, until one day as he treated his Myrtle and Wisteria, a wonderfully intriguing flower stepped into his shop and into his life. He thought it might have been fate or a strange sort of irony, and the only thoughts that had entered his mind upon first sight, had disappeared when the young man turned and Remus was struck dumb.
He was long and lean, with frayed jeans and scabby shoes. He had lawless, out of control hair that stuck up in the oddest of places. Ruffled, scruffy, and looking like a soul without a home, the young man gave Remus a patient smile as he continued to observe. There were days' of road dust on the man's jeans, and the backpack slung over his shoulder looked to be bound with silver tape. He wasn't muscular, so much as lithe and shaped. He had delicate hands and a delicate disposition. Remus thought that if he fell, he would break.
That long black hair drooped into the young man's eyes, and he made a show of blowing it to the side. Remus was suddenly drawn to the brunette's face and he felt his heart give a little klathump. This young man was beautiful. His face was sculpted, shaped in fragile curves and sensitive cheek bones. He had wide and remarkably green eyes that complemented his handsome features perfectly. Looking at the young man in his entirety, Remus found his beauty almost blinding.
His rapture was broken with a word.
A color to rival the shade of the Myrtle trunk rose in Remus' cheeks, and he stepped behind his counter to seem more professional.
"How," he cleared his throat. "How may I help you?"
The boy shifted his stance nervously.
"I don't need any help really," he said. "I was just wondering about the sign in your window." He jutted a thumb towards the front.
Remus suddenly remembered the newly made sign that now hung in the front of his shop.
"Ah, yes. Would you be interested in applying?"
He mentally scolded himself, of course the boy would want to apply...why would he ask if he didn't?
"Please," he smiled, and then looked about as Remus shuffled for the application. "This is a lovely place. How long have you had it?"
"Seven years," Remus said proudly. "It's been the town's only source of gardening intelligence for seven whole years." He couldn't help the pleasure that leaked into his voice.
"They're lucky. I've never been to a place like this. Oh, thank you."
The boy took the application and started to look at it carefully while Remus fidgeted.
"Do you live in New York?"
Raven hair bounced as he looked up. "No, but I'm considering staying for quite a while. I enjoy the city."
Remus nodded gravely. "I would if it didn't move so quickly here," he chuckled. "Often times I'm left behind."
The young man placed the application on the counter and leaned over to examine it. He spared Remus a little grin. "I know what you mean. Do you have a pen?"
He handed one over and the scribbling started. It lasted for seconds, though Remus could have sworn it was more like hours. He finally cleared his throat.
"Forgive me. I didn't get your name."
Those beryl eyes widened. "God, I'm so rude!" he gave a wide charismatic smile once more, and stretched out a hand. "I'm Harry. Harry Potter."
They shook hands, and Harry pulled away and continued to fill out the job form.
"It says here you don't have to have any experience with plants to work," and Remus nodded.
"Have you had experience?"
Harry shook his bushy head.
"None. Though I did have a very good friend who adored herbology, so chances are I'll know some of what's going on."
Remus pushed back his graying hair. "Well that's certainly an advantage. Is that what made you apply at this particular store?"
Harry grinned wryly. "As you said, things move quickly here. Though…your shop seems to be in a world of its own."
He laughed. "It has been called that."
The bell tinkled and in stepped a walking Azalea. A muffled voice from behind the large plant greeted Remus with a sulky hello.
"Mrs. Figg after the Azaleas again?" Remus teased in good-nature.
The Azalea bounced a bit and Remus knew that his runner, Dennis, was already tired of Arabella Figg. Remus didn't blame him.
"What did she say?"
"She's allergic. This is the eighth plant she has ordered and sent back because she's allergic. She is insane."
Remus bit back a chuckle. "Put them in the back, and then you're off, we've no more house calls today."
The walking Azalea disappeared.
"House calls?" Harry asked, interested. Remus turned his attention back to him.
"We tend to plants on a regular basis. The city is doing a plant project to give the community the chance to improve their land with vegetation. Outside of the big city of course," Remus assured, chuckling. "There's no land left to improve there."
"Anyway, Dennis helps out with the project and delivers the flower arrangements. He's a good worker."
Harry's cheek dimpled a bit until his attention was back on the application. Remus gazed at the him with interest. What on earth was a boy, a boy such as this, doing applying for a job away from home? Did he have a home? Where was he from? If Remus had seen Harry on the street in Manhattan, say, he would have instantly thought him homeless.
"Done." Harry jostled him out of his thoughts. "I'm afraid there isn't any way to contact me. Would it be all right if I came back tomorrow?"
Remus held onto the application and nodded.
"Sure. I just need to check everything over," and he saw that Harry was slinging his backpack up and straightening. Remus offered a hand. "In all probability, you'll get the job."
Harry smiled a very wonderful smile and Remus' heart skipped again.
"See you later."
He side-stepped the silly Wisteria and the bell tinkled merrily as he left. Remus felt a weight lift from his shoulders and his hand tingled pleasantly for a moment. Dennis came back in, brushing his pant legs off and mumbling.
"Who was that?" he grumbled.
"You didn't see him?"
"I was busy with the Azaleas."
Remus laughed as the teen came over and sat on a metal stool behind the counter.
"That was the new worker I'm going to hire…to look after the plants with me. You didn't see him?" Remus asked.
Dennis gave him an odd look. "No, what's he like?"
"I honestly can't say."
"I can't say…he bewildered me."
Dennis spun around on the stool nervously. "Well then why are you hiring him?"
"Because he seems...interesting..."
"Interesting like how? How old is he?"
Remus looked down at the application. "It says nineteen."
"You don't believe him?" Dennis asked, brows rising.
"No, I believe it."
"Whatever. I'm off." Dennis slouched out of the stool and headed for the door, waving a goodbye over his shoulder and Remus was left alone.
His thoughts throughout the day seemed to revolve around the young man no matter what he did. He found the application lacked two things; a phone number and an address. There was a Social Security number and the required information. In the background information it told very little. "I've moved around most of my life, so I don't have a home, exactly." The application had asked if he'd ever had a criminal record. "Any problems in the past have been smoothed over, or served by me. As of now I have no criminal record."
Remus didn't much mind if the young man had a criminal record, since he was rather immune to troublemakers by now. It was the lack of address, phone number and the general state of the young man when he had walked into the shop that worried him. Who was this Harry Potter? Remus didn't know, though he intended find out.
Managing to think about more pressing matters, like the red light blinking on his store answering machine and what he planned on scraping up for dinner, Remus began to close the shop for the day. Before he checked his waiting message, Remus bent down and moved the Wisteria away from the door--smiling.