Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. Rights to JKR.
A/N: This is a challenge response to The Guild of the Fantastic Quill's Valentine's Fanfiction Challenge. Setting is the Valentine's Day post Deathly Hallows.
Paper-thin ice crackled away from the frozen ground below as Narcissa approached the marker. She had apparated to the far east side of the cemetery instead of directly over his plot, a small part of her fearful that another visitor would be at his grave, visiting on this chilly holiday.
She knew such anxiety was misplaced. After all, who visited a tomb on St. Valentine's Day, especially the tomb of a man whose wife was laid to rest beside him? Narcissa smiled at her own rationalization. No. Remus Lupin would have no teary eyed lovers from the past with roses in hand. He was simply not that kind of man. At most, her sister, the other one, the living one, might stop in with little Teddy on her arm. But Narcissa somehow doubted that: Andromeda had her own Valentine to visit, laid to rest in on some other plot of land.
Narcissa pushed thoughts of Andromeda away. She didn't want to go to that place, not yet. Not while Trixie's passing was still at her heels. Maybe later. Perhaps next year she'd be able to approach the other sister, see the child left behind. Perhaps the past would fade a bit lighter by then.
"Lupin," she whispered, reading his name.
His marker was not his own. He shared it with Nymphadora. "My niece," Narcissa commented, the words foreign in her mouth. Had the girl ever been that? "Forgive my intrusion. I need to steal your husband for a moment."
The witch approached the stone, a blush at her pale cheeks. Narcissa loved her own husband very much, or she would never have stayed in such a dark place for so long. She adored her family, no matter how twisted their world had become, and they were hers alone to love. But on this morning, before she prepared for a quaint candle lit evening, she had decided to choose another valentine.
She touched the outer pocket at the front of her gray robes, her slender fingers pulling out a card. Turning it over, she stared down at its yellowed paper, so finely pressed from years within her old school books. The card within slid out onto her hand. The slanted script across its face was not the handwriting of a man.
"I lost the one you sent me," Narcissa announced. "It wasn't the best of cards anyhow. It was sticky and barely together. I think it was the only one you made that year."
She paused in thought. In fact, it had been the only card she'd ever heard of Remus sending out on Valentine's. A frown broke her smooth face. She couldn't remember what it had said, not really. Only that he had, within it, stated his apologies for the dreadful substance that Sirius had spilled into her hair. And asked her if she had a Valentine.
The card had been so strange to her, so out of the blue. She barely knew the Lupin boy, only who he was knew for siding with and his house, of course. But her young self had remembered his kind eyes from nights in the library, and the thought of them had sent her adolescent heart to flutter. A person, a person she didn't know had asked her to be his valentine.
Narcissa refused to read what she'd written in response to his invitation. He'd sent his card that morning, and she'd skipped a class that day so that she could get back to the common room to make her own. And she'd almost sent it. Almost.
It was a good thing that it was never sent, really, she noted. If she'd sent it, she would have been embarrassed beyond belief, she was sure. And Lucius would no doubt have passed her by when his parents invited her family for dinner that spring. She would never have had this life, never known the name of Malfoy.
Still. She had wonder.
"What difference could a Valentine make?" she huffed, a smirk at her lips.
Her eyes reddened, and she closed them against the icy wind slapping her cheeks. When she opened them again, she could only note the length of that square marker and the two names upon it.
She bent down against the stone, drawing out her wand and putting it against the grass at the grave's base. The frozen soil lifted as if air had been pushed out from beneath it. The card slid neatly into the slit of earth. She patted it down with her hand, standing upright again.
The breeze picked up again, hissing as it moved along the many gravestones surrounding her.
"What difference, indeed," she whispered.