It was summer, and the glorious two months between school was easily taken up by a good amount of mischief. But the end of vacation became nothing but work, as it always seemed to. Malcolm managed to get enough of his homework done to appease some of the more rough teachers, but that was hardly his only problem.
With the new rush for the upcoming school year Diagon Alley became crowded with children and adults alike looking for new supplies, and the Second-Hand Shop was bustling with those families who couldn’t scrape enough together to buy new books and robes. His mother had put him in charge during her stock-counting in the back, and he took to unpacking a box of donated books that arrived not long ago, only stopping to call out over his shoulder when the bell rang above the door.
“Welcome, be with you in a bit!”
Having finished all her shopping earlier that morning before the rush, Katrina wandered about the streets of Diagon Alley, glad to enjoy her last bit of freedom before term started in London. In her aimlessness she came across a shop in the south end that she’d never noticed before, a little second-hand shop.
“No worries, I’m just browsing,” she called back in answer to the greeting she received upon entering. She took her time in looking at some of the curious, if slightly shabby objects along the walls. It wasn’t until she reached the books that she gave a start of surprise.
“Malcolm!” she said delightedly. “What are you doing here?” She looked about to see if she could spot his parents.
He grunted in reply, continuing on with the unpacking with the knowledge that his mother would have his hide if he wasn’t quick about it. But at the sudden call of his name he nearly jumped, dropping the stack in his arms and letting his tail stiffen before turning to find Katrina looking at him. The young animagus nearly twitched, however, at the mention of his parents and bent down to pick up what he dropped before stuttering through his next few sentences. “I uh, sorta work here. Well, my parent’s own the place, ya know? I don’t get paid or any of that stuff… ” he mumbled, before clearing his throat. “My moms in the back room and my da-“he began, but was cut off by the sudden sound of multiple people shuffling through the door.
“MAAAAAALCOLM!” Came the call of a high-pitched voice, and Malcolm cringed visibly.
But it wasn’t a girl who appeared first, rather than a man followed by three bustling girls at his heels. The man himself was tall, with a thinness in his body that didn’t seem to meet the fullness of his face, and eyes so easily calm it made his smile that much more comforting. With hair loose and fading grey into black he was an approachable force among the chaos that had entered.
“Malcolm, I-” he stopped short at noting Katrina, and with his free hand -his other arm balancing bags and a couldren full of books- he waved at Katrina in a short turn of his palm. “Oh, hello there! Sorry, didn’t realize you were dealing with a customer,” he said, his voice a bit airy, as if he consistently was thinking of something a bit further ahead in time.
Katrina was nodding understandingly when they were both drawn out of the conversation by the loud noise. She saw Malcolm cringe before turning in the direction of whoever was calling his name. A grin spread across her face then, realizing it must be his family.
She listened politely as who she guessed must be Malcolm’s father spoke. “Oh I’m not a customer, I’m a friend of Malcolm’s, from school,” she glanced at Malcolm with a smirk before sticking a hand out for his father to shake. “Katrina Sloan. You must be Malcolm’s father then?”