A/N:  Just a plot bunnie, based on something one of my brothers did, that I stole for James and Rose. In the Prophecy story, Rose alludes to this event, and it shows the extremes that James will go to, to save anything weak or helpless…  even if it's not what most of us would consider weak, or helpless.

Disclaimer:  Wow.  Except for the use of the word Muggle a few times, everything here is mine, or public domain.  Muggles are JKR's… everything else is mine.

Calculated Risk

Somewhere in northern Montana, at the edge of the mountains sits a house.  An observer would notice first the size of the house, and then they might have noticed a few oddities, if they were observant enough.  They could not however, be reasonably expected to miss the two small figures skiing on the mountain behind the house.  Maybe if the pair had merely skied down the hill, they would not have been quite the spectacle.  Muggle skis had never gone up hills quite as swiftly as they came down those same hills.  At least, not until now.  The twosome skiing on the mountain were shooting up the slopes every bit as fast as they went down them, and making ninety-degree turns across the mountain.  Had a muggle stumbled on this scene, they might have written it all off as a vivid hallucination.  They would have been wrong to do so, but how could anyone not familiar with the ways of Wizards and Witches know that you could enchant skis as easily as you could a broomstick.

James Evans slowed as he reached the top of the mountain, waiting for his twin to catch up.  He felt Rose approaching and turned to grin at his sister.  "Getting slow in your old age Sister mine?"

Rose merely cocked her head and watched him.  Finally, she shook her head and spoke.  "Slow is nice sometimes James.  I would like to live long enough to get slow.  You do know the hood of your parka is still back there on that branch don't you?"

James reached for his collar, and surprise ran across his face when he found the jagged rip where his hood had been.  He fingered it for a minute and then grinned at his sister again.  "You could have brought it with you so we could fix it."  James looked back down the mountain and sighed.  "I guess we'd better go back down and get it."

Rose was about to say something when a rumble from the back of the mountain caught their attention.  They listened for a minute, and identified the sound at nearly the same instant.  James started toward the crest of the hill, and Rose went with him.  At the top, they looked down the backside of the mountain watching the avalanche sweeping down the mountain.  They had seen avalanches before, but this was the closest they had even been to one.  The wall of snow was nearly three hundred meters across, and thirty meters high.  It roared down the mountainside, and nothing stood before it.  Trees snapped like twigs, added to the tidal wave of destruction James and Rose watched as the snow reached the bottom of the hill, and spent its fury.  They looked down the mountain, seeing the wide area cleared by the snow.  Rose looked at James, and found him looking at the path of the avalanche with a considering eye.  "James, what are you thinking about?"  She asked, having seen that look before.  Usually, it meant trouble.  James continued to stare at the mountain below as he answered her absently.

"Remember that show we saw, about surfing?  The front of the snow reminded me of the waves, and I was just wondering…"

Rose cut him off.  "Don't even think about it.  I will knock you out myself before letting try to surf an avalanche."  Rose shook her head.  She loved her twin dearly, but James had no sense of personal danger.  Rose tried to keep some semblance of prudence, but even though James listened to her most of the time, he still acted on some of the scariest ideas.

James started down the hill, toward the area of the avalanche and Rose followed him.  "Where are you going?" she asked.

"I want to see if the area is clear enough of stumps and things to ski on."  He sent back.  Rose shook her head, and followed James down the mountain.  About halfway down the mountain, James stopped and shook his head.  Rose felt his emotional spike through their link. 

"What is it?"  she started to ask, but he held up his hand.  As they stood there, she heard it also.  A low whining, the sound of an animal in pain.  James pulled his wand out and cast a spell that showed heat sources.  A glow started to their left and James headed for it.  Rose followed him, but she was thinking, estimating what the mountain had looked like before the avalanche had cleared everything off it.  "James, isn't this where that wolverine has her den?"  James looked around, considering the area.

"Yes, I think so.  So?"  he asked.

Rose stared at him.  "Please tell me you're not planning on going into a wolverine's den, especially a wounded one's den."  James just looked at her.  The twins exchanged looks for a minute and Rose threw up her hands.  "You're nuts James.  She's not going to like what you're doing, and how do you plan on telling her that you're only trying to help?"

"Calculated risk Sister mine.  She sounds hurt enough that I can immobilize her before she gets me."  James used his wand to push the snow away from the area of the glow, and then used it to move the dirt that had covered the entrance to the den.  As the den was exposed, the whining became a snarl.  Rose was pointing her wand at the hole, expecting the wolverine to jump out at any second.  James cast a second spell, defining the heat sources, and Rose groaned at the heat source from the den turned into one large one, and two smaller ones.

"James she's not going to come out of there, she's got cubs."  Rose said.  Should that hypothetical muggle have been watching this scene, he would not have heard a word from either of the two children.  James and Rose had modified their twinbond awhile back, and now they not only felt each other through it, they could speak as clearly as voices with it.  In front of other people, they still spoke aloud to each other, but when they were alone, the only words that they used were mental.

James considered the hole, and the snarling coming from it.  "She's getting weaker Rose.  I don't think she's going to last much longer."  Rose listened to the sounds from the den, and had to concede James was right.

"How are we going to get her out of there?  I don't think we can wait until she actually passes out, can we?"  Rose was getting into the rescue, following the lead of what muggles called the Alpha twin.  "Can we get Joseph Blackwolf to help?"

"I don't think we have time for that.  I'm going to widen the den a bit more, and go in."  James grinned at Rose's expression.  "Don't worry, I'm not going to take any unnecessary chances."  Rose rolled her eyes at that.  She thought the whole idea of going into an injured animal's den, especially one with cubs was unnecessary.  James looked at her as he prepared to move some more dirt.

"Kits."  At Rose's blank look, James elaborated.  "A wolverine's babies are called kits, not cubs."  Rose shook her head.

"Thank you Professor Nature.  Can we save the lessons for after I see how many fingers you have left after this stunt?"  Rose was getting uneasy as the entrance to the den got larger.  The growls echoing out of the den were not helping either.  Injured or not, getting weaker or not, wolverines were pound for pound the most dangerous carnivore in the woods.  If James was even a little slower than the injured animal, he was going to get hurt.

James widened the hole out enough for him to walk into it only slightly crouched over, and sent a small ball of light into the den.  For an instant, they saw the mother wolverine, nearly against the rear wall, with her kits behind her.  Then she lunged, awkward with her left front leg bent in ways Nature never meant it to bend, but still fast enough to snap at, and swallow the glowing light before James could put it out.  James and Rose looked at each other from the outside of the den, and backed up another couple of steps.

"That leg is broken badly, and it's still bleeding.  We're going to have to do something Rose.  She won't make it through the winter that way, and if she doesn't, neither will those kits."  James was walking around the entrance as Rose looked back at the den pointedly. 

"She didn't look that bad to me.  She ate your light quick enough."  Rose sent dryly.  James grinned, but kept walking around the entrance.  Rose watched him, recognizing the look on his face again.  "James, what are you thinking?"

"I'm thinking you have faster reflexes than I do."  James laid out his idea.  "I'll go in there with another light.  You stand out here, and as soon as you can see her, you immobilize her.  I'll get the kits, and we can stop her bleeding before getting Joseph to take care of her."

"James, the last time we saw her, there was about one tenth of a second to cast a spell.  I might be faster than you, but I'm not that fast."  Rose was doubtful.

"If you have a better idea, I'm all ears.  I am not really eager to walk in there, I just can't think of any other way to get her out without hurting her even more.  James waited for a minute, while Rose thought.  When she shrugged he stood before the entrance, and looked back to make sure she was ready.  Rose had her wand out, and was far enough to one side that she wouldn't hit James.  James took a deep breath and lit another light.

James followed the light in, eyes straining to see the wolverine before she saw him, and turned him into the lunch special.  As he edged his way inside the cave, he suddenly had a random thought.  "At least I'm still on the ground."  He sent.

Rose choked as he reminded her of the previous summer.  She didn't say anything though, straining to see the wolverine first.  As it turned out, all three of them saw each other at the same time.

The wolverine lunged, James jumped back and Rose cast an animal version of the full body bind, but the beast was already in the air, and Rose felt the claws that tore at James as he fell under the assault of ninety pounds of muscle and teeth.  "James!"  Rose rushed forward, another spell ready even as James rolled the wolverine over.

"You got her Rose, she only scratched me a little when she landed on me.  Let's get her bleeding stopped."  James was already wrapping his scarf around the long gash that split the wolverine's leg from shoulder to paw.  "We re going to need Joseph also Sister mine, the leg is broken too."

James and Rose took a minute to catch the kits and immobilize them as well, and then set out for home with the three animals on a travois they threw together quickly.  It was not a work of art, nor would it last long, but it would get the injured beast back to the house.  Approaching the house, they saw their father come out and stare in their direction.  He stepped back inside the house, and then out again.  He lifted off the ground, and flew in their direction.  When he arrived, he landed his broomstick and walked over to the travois.  He looked at the injured wolverine and then at James and Rose.  Robert Evans knew his children, and this was not the first time they had brought an injured animal home.  "Is all that blood the animal's?"  was his only question.

"Most of it is, but it scratched me a little."  James admitted.  Robert told them he'd get Joseph, and that the cage was open.  He flew off towards the Cheyenne reservation where Joseph Blackwolf lived as the two children put the animals in the cage that Robert had built after James started bringing animals home.  Mary Evans heard the commotion and came out to see what was going on.  She watched the two of them until James bumped into something and hissed in pain.

"James, come here."  James jumped, and looked around at his mother.  He looked back at the wolverine, and Mary spoke again.  "Now."  James recognized that tone and Rose told him that she could handle it until Robert and Joseph got there.  James went inside with Mary, and when they were in the kitchen, she turned to him.  "Let's see it."  James sighed and opened his parka.  Running down the middle of his chest, from just below his collarbones to his waist were three long claw marks that were oozing blood.  Mary held down the fear that ran through her, and began examining the wounds.  "Tell me what happened."

James told her what had happened in his typical way.  "There was an avalanche on the other side of the mountain.  We went to check the area out for skiing, and heard the mother whining.  We freed her from the den, and brought her back.  Her leg is broken, and she has a bigger cut than I do."  Mary was very familiar with James's versions of things.  She probed for details much the same way she probed the wounds for dirt and the little feathers from the down parka.

By the time she was finished with James's wounds and ready to spread the healing ointment on it, she was certain she had an accurate picture of what had happened.  "So basically, you went into a wounded mother wolverine's den, and used yourself as bait to draw it out so your sister could stun it.  Is that about right?"  James tried to evade a direct answer, but Mary just stared at him.

James sighed.  "I guess you could put it that way yes."  Mary shook her head and checked the wounds on James.  The healing ointment was doing its job, and the wounds were closing up as she watched.  By the next morning, there wouldn't even be a scar there to show he'd been hurt.  Mary pulled him close.  She knew exactly why he did these things, and that she could no more stop him than stop the sun, but every time he came home with blood on him her heart stopped again.

She pulled back from him and looked at him again.  "Would it do me any good to ask you to be careful again?"

James hugged his mother.  "I'm always careful Mom.  I just have a different idea about what careful is than you do."

Rose, Robert and Joseph had entered in time to hear that last exchange, and they all burst out laughing.  Robert grinned at his son.  "James, your idea of careful is not slapping a dragon… unless it's asleep first."  Mary joined the smiles at that, although she privately thought that Robert was not too far off the mark.  James patiently waited for the laughter and smiles to stop, and then turned to Joseph.

"Is the wolverine going to be alright?"  He asked, loftily ignoring the humor at his expense.  Joseph assured him that they could release the animals in the morning.

Joseph stayed for dinner and they had another good laugh as Rose told the story of the rescue with asides about what she'd been thinking along the way.  Even James had to laugh.  As they were relaxing over gooseberry pie and hot chocolate, there was a sudden clatter and noise outside.

Robert and James were the first two outside, and the others were not far behind them.  The cage the wolverine had been in was torn open down one side, and the three wolverines were nowhere to be seen.

James studied the cage, finding where the Mother wolverine had hooked her claws into it and pulled the steel mesh away from the frame.  He looked back at the others.  He rubbed his chest as he thought about those claws again.

"I guess she didn't want to wait for breakfast."

A/N:  The avalanche, wolverine and James are all real.  Rose and the magic are not, and Joseph Blackwolf has had his name changed to protect me.  (Joseph does not like being used in my stories, which is terribly unfair, because after 68 years of living in the Montana mountains he has more stories than I could ever write.)  James did get the wolverine and her kits out, and it only cost him 38 stitches.  Three days later, the wolverine tore out the side of the cage we had the three of them in, and escaped.  None of us have seen any of the three since.  Soon, I think Logan's story about the Eaglet will be another story.  Rose did say something about it also, and I've been thinking about the story and how to write it ever since.  In the mean time, be nice people, read, and then review.  Or, do I have to write a truly gruesome pile of ferret cr*p to get lots of reviews?  (Ever notice the worst stories get the most reviews?  Barking mad that is.)