A tiny elaboration of a scene from Book One, and a companion piece to "The Healer's Heart". Many thanks to rabbit for her beta-advice.

Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling's characters don't belong to me, and I make no profit from playing in her magical world.


Treasures from the Cart

The boy approached the cart much differently than the usual student, and she studied him more closely. He was pale, as someone who had been raised indoors and rarely saw the sun... and thin, perhaps even underfed. He stared at the cart as if it held the most beautiful, most magical things on earth. The sweets most students took for granted, grabbing this or that with scarcely a glance at her, seemed to this boy treasure beyond his wildest imaginings. She saw longing in his eyes, and the joy of a small child on Christmas morn. The fact that this could only be Harry Potter – the famous scar was clearly visible because of his unruly hair – confused her. His clothes were ill-fitting, his manner shy. Could the most famous child ever to board the Hogwarts Express have grown up with so little, been given so few treats?

The boy pulled coins from his pockets and held them out, hesitating, confused. She nearly refused payment, his eyes and smile were so bright, but these confections, although magical, still needed materials and skill and time to prepare… and love of craft, love for the children and adults who took such delight in them.

"How..." He handled the coins awkwardly. Was this the first time he had been given money of his own to spend? Was it possible? "How much, ma'am? For some of everything? Is this enough?"

"This will do, dear," she said gently, taking the appropriate number of coins. "I hope you enjoy them."

Harry excitedly loaded his arms with chocolates, cakes, and pasties. When he turned back to the compartment, she watched for a moment as he sat down, the treats tumbling from his hands like a waterfall of riches. A lad so appreciative of small and precious things would surely share his bounty with the youngest Weasley boy, another who would enjoy them more than most.

Producing a never-ending supply of new, magical confections was difficult and careful work. Her family was one of a handful perfecting delicious recipes over many hundreds of years -- and justly proud of each and every one. The students rarely even asked her name, but... she smiled and moved on to the next compartment, her heart and step both lighter than before. It didn't really matter, did it? It was all worth it, in the end.