Narcissa Malfoy sat at her dressing room's desk, idly playing with a quill. Her son had sent her a short note, about a question that her cousin's cousin on her maternal side had raised. That wasn't meant to be subtle - it was merely a declaration that this was Family Business, and as such was at least partially shielded from Honor and Duty. In short, by writing this way, her son was asking her to refrain from notifying her husband, or his Dark Lord.
That was easy enough. Nobody read Narcissa Malfoy's mail, as it was full of fripperies sent back and forth between High Society Ladies. They wrote in code half the time anyway, and the crucial length of a hem might actually resolve to whether to poison one's lover before one's husband discovered him. Kinder to kill him than allow him to be tortured (at least that was the Nice Theory. The alternate theory was He's Mine To Kill, Not Yours).
This was a question that more resembled a can of worms. An open can of worms. Severus Snape was a notoriously private man, and to talk about things that he had left well buried (in this case literally) in the past? That would cause trouble. Even if they weren't in the middle of a politicking war, it would cause trouble. Snape wasn't the type to take someone spilling his secrets lightly.
Narcissa badly wanted to know who dared.
Snape moved with feline grace, and was as sadistic as a cat as well. Narcissa knew that someone would pay for spilling a secret. Severus Snape buried his deep, and she wasn't deluded enough to think she knew half of his - and she knew him well.
There was another angle to this as well, and why Narcissa was determined to write back to her son. This was not the sort of question you asked a causal acquaintance. She had thought Potter was not on speaking terms with her son. It would be to her son's advantage to cultivate that... just in case. There were many things that could go wrong with this politickin' war, and Narcissa Malfoy was determined to see her son survive.
In the end, she wrote two notes: One to her son, telling him to pass this note to Harry Potter, and not to open it. He would follow her instruction, even as it drove him crazy. She also asked her son to figure out who had started the rumor.
To Harry Potter? She simply write, "Severus did have a friend in Gryffindor; her name was Lily." Even as she wrote it, she elided off the last name, a habit of concealment that was hard to break, even when it did no good.
[a/n: Narcissa in the Dark Lord's House! (currently residing at Malfoy Manor)
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I adore Narcissa, even if her role in this particular fic is rather limited. Check her out in Mental Quicksand, where she gets a Good Role!]