Disclaimer: Often, my disclaimers are the funniest parts of my stories, or so I'm told, which is slightly disheartening. So I have a choice here: make hilarious jokes throughout the story, or make the disclaimer so boring that no one cares.
The history of disclaimers is a long and boring one. They began long ago in the middle ages when publishers were forced to show that they did not own the work they were... publishing...Zzzzz...zzz
"You know, Padfoot," said Remus, accepting a piece of pie from his... well, Remus didn't quite have an appropriate word for the relationship he shared with Sirius, but "friend" will do for the sake of convenience, "it's more or less traditional to have cake on your birthday."
"Bah," said Sirius. He waved his hand vaguely, as if shaping his dismissal out of some sort of invisible clay. "I like pie. Traditions are meant to be ignored, anyway."
"Doing something just because some dead bugger decided that it was a good idea a few hundred years ago? Where's the originality?" He took a bite of pie. "'n pie's g'd."
"The man makes an excellent point," said Peter, helping himself to another piece. "And an excellent pastry."
"Thank you, Wormtail. You've always been my favorite rodent." Sirius stuck his tongue out at Remus.
"Is that an insult or an invitation?" said Remus, tasting Sirius' pie. He did have to admit that it was an excellent pie. Chocolate creme, but Remus didn't need the creme, or, indeed, the pie. "I like traditions."
"Shout the m-word whenever you get the chance? Kill anything different from you? Marry your not-distant-enough cousin?"
Remus shook his head. "Some of our traditions don't involve genocide and incest, thank you. Like..." Remus struggled for a tradition that might appeal to Sirius. "Well, it's almost Christmas. What about gifts? And birthday gifts, I might add. You're certainly not objecting to the Muggle magazines I got you." Remus had owled his mother and asked her to purchase some magazines centered on Sirius' latest infatuation: motorcycles. He was sure that Sirius would lose interest soon enough.
Sirius nodded. "But that's not just a tradition, that's a good idea. It makes sense, which is why it isn't limited to one time a year. Gifts are good. But what about wearing green on St. Patrick's Day? Or stabbing pumpkins on Halloween? Or putting stuffed elf heads on the wall when they get old?" He became aware of three pairs of eyes staring at him. "What, your families don't do that?"
"So, Prongs," said Remus, quickly changing the subject. "You're being awfully quiet."
"Sorry," replied James. "Thinking. Do you mind if I go offer a piece to Lily?"
"Go ahead," said Sirius. "Waste my perfectly good dessert on someone who'll just throw it at you."
"Thanks." He took a piece of headed down the Gryffindor dining table, presumably towards the redhead sitting at the far end.
"Five Sickles says she puts it in his face," said Peter as soon as James was out of earshot.
"I don't think so," said Remus. "She's been treating him as if he were less disgusting than something on the bottom of her shoe lately."
"So it's a bet then?"
"I'm not that sure." But it would have been a five Sickles well earned, as James sat down across from Lily and apparently began to chat. "Damn, I should have taken the bet."
"I call godfather on any hatchlings they spawn," said Sirius. "Ah, there's another odd tradition. Marriage. Can't see the wife before the wedding? How far back should that go?" Sirius was obviously in one of his "pensive" moods, wherein he picked apart anything that entered his mind. Fortunately, very little ever entered his mind.
"What do you care?" asked Peter. "You'll never have a wife. Not unless Moony wants to dress up in a gown. Ow!" Remus had punched him. "Well, so much for borrowing something from me. I might have helped with the old, new, and blue as well."
"You're an idiot," said Remus. To Sirius, who was also an idiot, he said, "You're not about to let this tradition thing go, are you?"
"No. I think if I get married, I'll have something cold, something red, something stolen, and something... dead."
The discussion was dropped, or rather, knocked away, by a cry from the general vicinity of James and Lily. The former was standing on the table with a fist in the air, whooping, while the latter was doing her best not to be recognized. "Mr. Potter!" they could hear McGonagall say. "Get down from there this instant! This is no way for a sixth-year to behave!"
"She's loud," said Prince Peter of Obviousland.
James got down from off the table and said something to Lily, who by now had placed her head firmly on the table and covered it with her arms in hopes of being swallowed up by something. He then returned to his friends, who had finished the remaining pie. "Anything new?" asked Remus dryly.
"Yep," James grinned. "It's a good day."
With Christmas fast approaching, Hogsmeade was packed with last-minute shoppers and young couples trying to spend as much quality time together before going home for the holidays. Sirius and Peter, however, had purchased all their gifts and were not in any way a couple, so, after the always necessary stop for sweets at Honeydukes, they had gone to The Three Broomsticks and taken a table not far from James and Lily. Various Yuletide decorations hung from wherever they could, giving the place a very holiday feel.
They were doing their best to make James embarrass himself, as any decent friend would do. Remus was recovering from a recent transformation and was not able to go to Hogsmeade, and the reason Sirius was not keeping Remus company was because Remus had threatened his well-being unless he, Remus, was up to his neck in chocolate that evening.
"I don't think he notices you," Peter told Sirius, who was making obscene hand gestures. No one could do obscenity quite like Sirius.
"Oh, he notices me, all right," said Sirius. "He's just good at covering it up." He moved on to obscene facial expressions, and James started twitching slightly.
Peter joined in, and James looked very tortured as he tried to keep his eyes glued to his date. Fortunately for him, something caught her attention, and she turned away. James grabbed the nearest decoration and threw it at Peter and Sirius.
Sirius caught it and laughed. "That's almost mythological." Then, something in his mind not only clicked, but snapped together almost audibly.
"Keep it up," he told Peter, tossing the decoration in his bag. He then put the bag's handle between his teeth and ran out the door. Then he ran back in, mussed James' hair, and ran back out.
Remus rolled over and opened his eyes. A great black dog was staring at him. It then licked him. "Padfoot! Ew."
"Woof." Padfoot sniffed the air, and looked around. Then Sirius stood up and took the bag out of his mouth. "Guess what?"
"You're weird beyond reason?"
"No, something new."
Sirius grinned. "I found a silly tradition I completely agree with." He opened the bag, took out some of the chocolate and handed it to his... "friend."
"Giving me chocolate? Not a tradition, but I approve. Let's make it one."
"No." He then took something else out of the bag, held it over Remus' head, and kissed him. "Mistletoe."
"Mistletoe, eh?" Remus looked at the little plant and smiled. "Fine by me."
"I think I'll keep one on me at all times," Sirius grinned. "Good ideas shouldn't be limited to one time a year."
Many years later, a woman with red hair makes her way through a house that can only be described as haunted with a man who fits the same description. His hair is brown, fading to grey, though he's not very old.
"Remus," says the woman, "I can't believe you still haven't taken down Christmas decorations." She reaches for a sprig of mistletoe on the door of his bedroom.
He catches her arm. "That's not a Christmas decoration, Molly. Sirius always used to say, 'Good ideas shouldn't be limited to one time a year.'" He straightens it slightly and smiles. "So whenever he slept somewhere, he left mistletoe on the doorway. It became..." and here, he laughs the laughter of cosmic irony, "it became a tradition."