(A/N: Characters, settings, etc, belong to J.K. Rowling, whom I am not.)
Snow blew past the window of the largest bedroom in the house.
"Tell us a story? Please?"
"Please?" echoed the occupants of the other three beds.
The man chuckled. "Aren't you a little old for stories?"
"You told me once, you're never too old for a bedtime story," one of the boys said.
"Oh, all right. What would you like?"
"Tell the one about the great warrior," begged a girl. "The one about how he grew up, and his friends, and his battle."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes," bounced eagerly around the room.
The man glanced at the door. "Don't look at me," said the figure leaning against the door frame. "You thought it up. It's your own fault they keep asking for it."
"All right, here goes..."
In ancient times there lived a great and evil wizard, so great that most feared even to speak his name. His deeds cast a shadow over the land, and it seemed likely that the tiny forces of good would be swamped and overwhelmed by the evil he wielded.
But a prophecy was made of a child to be born, one who would defy and defeat the Dark Lord, and the prophecy came to pass. The Dark Lord came to the child's home, led by a traitor, with murder in his heart. Both the boy's parents gave their lives to protect their son, and the Dark One could not kill the child. He fled, defeated, and the people rejoiced.
But one man sorrowed. He had been a friend to the boy's father, and wished that the child he loved could be with him. But it was not to be. The boy had been hidden, and hidden he must remain, decreed the leader of the forces of good.
The man wept, too, for one friend whom he believed a traitor and another whom he thought dead. Until one day, when he came upon a woman, tending two children, and his heart was moved, for they were like in age to the warrior-boy he had loved.
When he saw their faces, and saw that one of them was, indeed, the very boy he longed for, his joy knew no bounds. He swept the child into his arms and almost wept for joy. He spoke fair to the woman, and they grew to know one another. She, too, cared for the boy, as much as she cared for her own small sister, and hated the people he was hidden with, who spurned him in favor of their own son.
As well, she sought his counsel, for he was a wizard, where she was untaught in magic. Her dreams troubled her, for they showed her things she did not understand—but he did, and he was astounded, for the dreams showed truth, and the truth was not what he had thought. His great friend was imprisoned for the treason of another, whom all thought dead.
Together with the prisoner's lady-love, who had remained true to him despite his supposed wrong, they laid their plan. They would steal forth by night and take the warrior-boy, then free the prisoner, and flee together into a hiding place. There they would live until the boy was grown enough to be trained and taught for his great destiny.
And this plan they carried out. The prisoner and his lady-love, and the savior and the seer, were married, and the boy and the girl were raised as brother and sister and loved by all. Thus the parents of the warrior are four. The savior of the warrior looks weak, but stands strong. His lady-wife, the seer, has power no man truly understands. The man imprisoned wrongly fights for the truth to be told always, and the lady beside him strikes that no other may believe a falsehood of their love.
Over the years, they were sometimes found. The leader of the forces of good knew where they were, and three of his most trusted soldiers also came to know. One evil wizard did find them, and tried to take revenge for the downfall of his master. His lady, though, renounced her evil and helped them, and thus they escaped, taking with them the evil wizard's most precious treasure.
For a time, they traveled, and came back to their homeland to settle anew. The truth of the traitor was finally told to all the world when the warrior-boy, in his first great triumph, captured him and brought him to justice, with the help of his friends.
The friends of the warrior are seven, and many are the gifts they bring to the battle. Three of them are of the warrior's own family, and four are his greatest friends.
The warrior himself is known for his courage, and he is called the wolf. The brother of the warrior is known for his cunning, and he is called the fox. Of the sisters of the warrior, one is known for her knowledge of lore, and she is called the cat. The other is known for her gentleness and healing hands, and she is called the doe.
Of the warrior's friends, one is called the hawk, for his eyes can see the traps and the openings where others cannot. Another is called the owl, for she sees what is dark to others. A third is called the shade, for no one regards him, but he sees much. And the last is called the lynx, for she is small but a mighty warrior. It is she whom the warrior chooses, she out of all the world, to stand at his right hand and fight by his side.
These friends, along with his parents, stood with the wolf at his last great battle with the Dark One, who had returned to threaten the world again. The boy-warrior was a boy no longer. Ten years with his family, and seven years of training, had passed since the time they last met. Twelve strong, the wolf and his pack faced the Dark One, and the Dark One fell.
Another would come—evil is never defeated forever—but for the time being, the warriors had done their duty, and they could rest.
"And now it's time for all of you to rest," the man concluded. "Because you are the warriors, you know."
"Yeah, we know," said the boy who had asked for the story, smiling sleepily. "G'night, Moony."
"Good night, Harry." Remus Lupin leaned over to the next bed. "Good night, Hermione."
"Night, Moony," said his wife's little sister, yawning hugely.
"Good night, Meghan." He stroked the cheek of the younger girl in the third bed, who murmured something as her eyes fluttered closed.
"Good night, D—" He stopped, seeing that the occupant of the fourth bed, who was so sure he wasn't too old for a bedtime story, was already asleep. "Well, good night to you too," he finished.
"Honestly, anyone'd think Meghan was yours instead of mine, the way she listens to you," Sirius Black commented as they made their way downstairs.
"Most people think Neenie's mine," Remus countered. "Or at least they think she's Danger's. It's the whole twenty-years-between-sisters bit. There's no question about Meghan, though. She's the image of Aletha, except the eyes. Your eyes, Padfoot."
"Kind of reverse Harry, isn't it?" Sirius said, smiling with just a tinge of sadness. "He's got James' face and Lily's eyes..."
"At least he knows that," Remus said quietly. "He might not have, if we hadn't taken him."
"Oh, he would have known by now. He's in his second year at Hogwarts, people would surely have told him who he looks like at some point." Sirius rolled his eyes. "Probably everyone. It's only the first thing everyone says when they see him."
Gertrude Granger-Lupin, known to all and sundry as Danger, was waiting for her husband at the bottom of the stairs. Aletha Freeman-Black joined them in the room a few moments later, carrying a tray with four flutes of champagne on it.
"To a Happy New Year," Remus said, lifting his glass.
"To a Happy New Year," toasted the adults of the Pack, welcoming in the year together for the tenth time.
Outside, the snow continued to fall.
(A/N: OK, I tried to make it understandable to those who haven't read "Living with Danger", which is the main story from this world, but I'm not sure how well I succeeded. Let me know? Please? I love reviews! And if you happen to be inspired to read LwD, I'd love that even more!
Note from the year 2013: Yes, people. I did have that much of it planned out, that early in the story.)