(Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognize from anyone else's work—anyone else being, say, J.K. Rowling...)


The four children known as the cubs of the Pack gathered at the bottom of the stairs. "Tell," Harry Potter said quietly. "What happened?"

Hermione Granger shivered. "It was Professor Grumpy," she said. "He grabbed me—I screamed—"

Meghan Black hugged her big sister around the waist. "You okay now," she said as comfortingly as a four-year-old could manage. "Moony saved you."

Draco Black shook his head. "No, Neenie saved herself," he corrected. "Moony said so. Wha'd you do?"

Hermione smiled a little. "He was holding me like this," she said, demonstrating with Meghan. "I used my elbow." She jerked her elbow backwards, hard. Both boys winced.

"Wow," Harry said, and meant it. It took a lot for a boy of almost seven to be impressed by his same-age sister.

"And then Moony Disarmed him, and I got his wand and went up the tree with it, and Moony tried to Obliviate him, only I think he got away," Neenie finished.

Draco looked worried. "Did he say where he was going?"

"The Ministry," Neenie said quietly.

The cubs looked at each other. They had always known they might someday have to leave their Den, if someone who was not-Pack found out about it. Professor Grumpy, in their opinion, was about as not-Pack as one could get.

"We better get ready to go, then," Harry said. "Come on."


Hermione lay on her side on the floor of the upstairs hallway, ear pressed to the heating vent. These things conduct sound really good.

She was taking advantage of the talent Draco had discovered in her by accident after Meghan had flushed all his model broomsticks down the toilet—an incredible memory, quite possibly what Moony called "eidetic". Neenie had remembered every single model Draco owned, so he could tell on Meghan with perfect exactness.

The small thumping noises from the other end of the hall were only slightly distracting.


Harry knelt and cupped his hands. Meghan put her foot in them, steadied herself on Harry's shoulder, and swung herself upwards as Harry lifted. Her other foot landed on Draco's shoulder, and Harry lifted her first foot to join it, quickly moving his hands up to hold her around the waist as she took her foot away.

Their Pack-parents kept the key to the attic on a high peg beside the door. Meghan, standing on Draco's shoulders, was just—barely—tall enough to reach it.

The key fell. Harry lifted Meghan off Draco's shoulders and lowered her quickly to the ground. Draco bent down and picked up the key, slid it into the lock, and turned it.

The attic door opened.

"What I do now?" Meghan asked Harry in a quiet murmur.

"Go pick out your favorite toys," Harry said. "We can't take everything." Meghan nodded and went down the hall to the cubs' room.

Harry and Draco went carefully up the attic stairs. Harry flicked on the light, and they looked around. "Trunks," Harry murmured. "Trunks, trunks..."

"There," Draco said, pointing them out. "How many?"

"Two. One for the boys, one for the girls."

Together, the boys lugged two of the large trunks down the stairs, being excruciatingly careful not to bump the wall on the way down. That would be sure to bring an adult to see what the noise was. They got the trunks into the cubs' room and relocked the attic door. Harry pocketed the key.

"We better pick out our favorites too," Draco said. "Won't be much room if we're sharing one."

"Yeah, not with all your clothes," Harry joked. Draco loved to look nice, and always wanted to change his shirt if he got even a little spot on it.

Draco made a face at him and went into the cubs' room, where he started pulling books off the enormous bookshelf that dominated one wall. Harry joined him.

Neenie came in a few moments later. "Nothing too interesting any more," she said. "We're going somewhere else in London for tonight. Then we're going to America in the morning, to visit Letha's aunt. They're just talking about how to do it."

"Okay," Harry said. "Where in London?"

Neenie shrugged. "They said it kind of quiet. I think it was Number Twelve something."

"Doesn't matter," Draco said. "Look, make you a deal. You and Meghan are good at folding clothes. You fold up our clothes, we'll pack up your books. Deal?"

"Deal," Neenie said, after a glance at Meghan.

The cubs worked efficiently, the girls taking shirts and pants from the boys' drawers and shaking them out, looking them over, and either refolding them and dropping them into the trunk or asking the owner's opinion. "Harry, you gonna keep this?" Neenie asked, holding up a shirt which had probably, at one time, been red.

"Nah, you can leave it. What about this one?" Harry showed her the book in his hands.

"Keep that. And anything by that author. She's good."

"Draco?" Meghan asked, holding up a pair of underpants with a big hole in them.

Draco blushed as the rest of the cubs laughed. "Give me those!" He snatched them and stuffed them in his pocket.

The trunks were almost filled when someone knocked on their door.

"Come in," Harry called, sliding a few more books into Hermione's half of the girls' trunk.

Padfoot opened the door. The look on his face made Harry wish he had a camera.

"What are you doing?" he asked in surprise.

"Packing," Neenie said in an "isn't-it-obvious" tone.

"And why are you packing?" Padfoot asked.

"Because we're leaving," Draco said. "Right?"

"Right," Padfoot said with a sigh. "All right, who listened on the stairs?"

"Nobody," Harry said as innocently as he could.

"Who listened at the vent?" Letha put in from behind Padfoot.

Don't lie to the Pack-parents unless you're covering for someone. It was one of the cub-rules. Neenie raised her hand timidly.

"Should have known," Moony said from the hallway. He came past Padfoot into the room and sat down on the bed. "We raised Marauders, Padfoot. Slippery as a greased dragon and twice as fast."

Harry grinned. The Pack-parents appreciate finesse. It was another cub-rule, and it meant that a great deal was tolerated at the Den which would not be tolerated elsewhere. The cubs knew where the absolute boundaries were—no spying on the bedrooms during the night or the bathrooms when they were occupied, no pranking the stove or the fireplace, and never repeat yourself.

"We're almost ready," Draco said. "Where're we going?"

"Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place," Padfoot said. "My family home. It's likely to be quite dirty, so don't touch anything until we get it cleaned up."

"I thought you had a house-elf," Letha said.

"We did—we do—but he probably went mad when my mother died, since I'm the only Black left. Officially," Padfoot added, smiling at Draco and Meghan. "He hated me when I was little, and the feeling was mutual."

"Our own cubs, putting us to shame," Danger said from the door. "We need to pack, Remus. Come on."

"We should get packing too," Padfoot said to Letha. "Behave yourselves," he said to the cubs. "You can come and watch us pack when you're done, if you like."

"We help?" Meghan asked, putting down the shirt she was folding.

"Of course you can help," Letha said, holding out her hand. "Come on, sweetie, Mama Letha's socks need somebody to roll them up nice and neat."

Neenie shook her head. "Harry, can you finish these?" She nodded at the pile of shirts Meghan had abandoned. "They're the last."

"Sure." Harry folded up the shirts and put them on top of his own pile. "All done."

"Me too," Draco said, sticking a few last books into his side. "And Meghan."

"And now me," Hermione said, folding a last shirt onto her pile. "I'm gonna go help Danger and Moony."

"I'll go with you," Draco said, closing the boys' trunk.

Guess I'll help Padfoot and Letha then. Harry followed his siblings into the hall and turned the other way.


Hermione handed her older sister an armload of socks. "Danger, why're people looking for us?" she asked.

"Aren't you supposed to have a perfect memory?" Danger teased, flicking Neenie's nose with a sock. "People are looking for Padfoot because they think he did wrong things, you know that."

"They think he killed people," Neenie said. "Like Wormtail."

"Yes. Like Wormtail."

"But he didn't kill Wormtail," Draco said, wiggling out from under the bed with two of Danger's shoes in his hand. "He didn't kill anyone. Why can't we just tell people that and not hide any more?"

Danger sighed. "I wish it worked that way, little fox."

"So do I," said Moony, coming out of the bathroom with a red leather bag over his shoulder. "I think that's everything from in there, Danger. Don't forget my good shoes, they're in a box in the closet."

"I know where you keep your good shoes, Remus Lupin. Probably better than you do."

"Well, if we're going to use full names, Gertrude Granger-Lupin..."

Hermione and Draco exchanged looks of disgust as Moony and Danger got mushy right in front of them.


Harry sat on Sirius' shoulders, looking at the items from the top shelf of the closet. "Bag full of stuff for shoes?"

"Leave it."

"Purple shiny thing?" Harry said in perplexity, pulling a sequined tank top out of a bag.

"Give me that." Sirius pulled it down and looked at it.

Harry felt his godfather laughing. "What's funny?" he asked.

"We made Prongs wear this for three days straight once. It was wonderful."

"I remember that," Aletha said from where she was sitting with Meghan. "He looked good in purple and sequins. Lily thought so too, but of course she wouldn't say so to his face."

"Let's take it," Sirius said, tossing it into the open trunk. "We'll need some laughs from now on."

"Oops," Aletha said, picking one sock out of the pile Meghan was working on. "This isn't mine. Meghan, whose is this?"

"Dadfoot's!" Meghan giggled, pinching her nose shut with one hand. "Dadfoot's stinky sock!"

"My socks do not stink," Sirius said with dignity.

"Oh, yes, they do," Aletha said with finality. "I married you. I ought to know."

"Tell me more about myself," Sirius said, hands on hips.

"Fine." Aletha got up and started coming across the room, ticking off points on her fingers. "You snore, you hog the covers, you leave your underwear on the floor, and you're an incorrigible prankster." She was right next to Sirius now. "And I love you." She leaned in...

"Ew," Meghan said.

"Can I get down now?" Harry asked.


Number 71, Crozer Street, lay silent and deserted that night. There was very little left to show that for five years, it had been the home of a group of people who called themselves the Pack, who had banded together against a hostile world, caring for one another and the children who needed them—one inherited, one stolen, one born, one given...


(A/N: Hope you liked. Link to "Living with Danger" is on my profile page, in case you haven't read it and would like to know what the heck is going on...)