" Once upon a time, a big black dog, a stag, and a rat had made a boy who was also a wolf extremely happy. The wolf who was also a boy had been very lonely until his animal friends came to keep him company."

Sirius heard Remus' hoarse voice speak gently through the open door of the nursery, and smiled. He quietly made his way into the room, Remus facing the snowy window as he cradled the tiny child in his arms.

" The big, black dog loved him best, and when he saw how happy he had made both wolf and boy, he decided to make it his life's work to see that joy on his friend's face everyday, if he could help it, because before that, he was one morose little bastard," Sirius said, causing Remus to spin around on his heel.

" You scared the hell out me, Padfoot," Remus said. Sirius smiled.

" Only the big, black dog was forever screwing up and making the boy who was also a wolf get cheesed off at him and act like a premenstral woman with a prefect's badge," Sirius said. Remus glared at him, his lips stretching into a thin line of decided unamusement.

" See? Like that!" Sirius said triumphantly. Remus looked back at the baby.

" That's because the big, black dog was extremely thick, and more than a little silly, and the ideas he had were the kinds of things only to be found in the mind of a self-absorbed madman," Remus said wearily, sitting on a rocking chair and lowering the baby onto his lap. Sirius sat at their feet, looking thoroughly insulted as he tossed his hair back over his shoulder in a haughty manner that made Remus lick his lips.

" But the big, black dog, had a big heart, Harry, as big as all outdoors, and he had --"

" Mange?" Remus suggested, receiving a scowl.

" Good intentions," Sirius said firmly. " So he made a list of things that he thought the boy who was also a wolf loved, and set about cunningly --"

" Cluelessly."

" He set about trying to use these things to make the boy happy, like a good dog bringing things to his master," Sirius said with a satisfied wink. Remus cleared his throat.

" But the moronic canine, which has inadvertently replaced the boy as our hero, somehow," Remus said with a glance of irritation, "didn't go with the more sensible things, like slippers, unfortunately."

Harry cooed and chewed on the sleeve of Remus' jumper cheerfully.

" No, slippers weren't on the list. Should've thought of them though. You have the coldest feet on God's green earth. Well, I guess I didn't really know that yet," Sirius said with a smirk.

" Anyway. The ponderously guileless pooch thought it would be an acceptable idea for a boy in the midst of other boys in an extremely crowded setting to receive flowers via owl post. Even though the boy was teased mercilessly for a week and was violently allergic to said nosegay," Remus said.

" There was no way I could've known that ruddy owl would bring them at lunch instead of to the dorm like it was supposed to. Anyway, I thought you'd like them. You said you missed your mum's garden," Sirius said with a pout. Remus shook his head.

" See, but if you had been listening, you'd have heard me say that I missed it like I missed having hay fever," Remus said, his eyes sparkling with mirth.

" That's an outright lie," Sirius said, tickling Harry, who giggled.

" See? Harry doesn't believe you either," Sirius said.

" Then you see, the dog got the idea that the boy must check his pockets before putting on his pants, even though absolutely no one does, and further sabotaged the poor lad's chances for dignity among his peers by allowing him to go to class with melted chocolate staining the seat of his trousers," Remus said.

" S'thought that counts," Sirius said sullenly. " Don't know why you couldn't feel it when you put them on. Those Honeyduke's bars weigh a ton."

" Now the boy was beginning to get rather nervous, as someone was obviously trying to humiliate, perhaps even kill, him," Remus said.

" With flowers and chocolate?" Sirius said incredulously.

" But even with his newfound vigilance, he could not foresee the next trap the dog had laid for him, when he was nearly given a concussion the next day by an enormous volume of French poetry falling on his head when he pulled his school jumper off the top shelf," Remus said.

" Can't help it if you're clumsy," Sirius said defiantly.

" You'd think by now, upon seeing the misery he'd caused, that further attempts upon the boy's life would have ceased, but no, he doggedly -- ahem -- continued with his demented brand of wooing.

The next attack was lulling the poor lad into a sense of false security with his own beloved Gryffindor scarf, charming the garment to constrict and throttle him like a rabid python," Remus said.

" It was supposed to be a warming charm," Sirius said plaintively.

" Still not sure how I cocked that one up."

" A mispronunciation in the Latin, I suppose," Remus murmured, giving Sirius a pat on the head.

" But I did it eventually, didn't I?" Sirius said, looking up. " Find a way to make you happy, that is?" Remus smiled.

" Eventually the boy put two and two together, realizing that, for one thing, the bringer of these misfortunes had to be a dorm mate, and for another, only one of them was stupid enough, unbalanced enough --"

" Hey! I'm getting about sick of this abuse," Sirius said.

" -- and sweet enough to have tried in so many unsuccessful ways to tell me something without just bloody telling me," Remus finished, looking at Sirius lovingly.

" And so the boy that was also a wolf confronted the boy who was also a dog with all his stupidity, and said thank you, if only years later," Remus said quietly, both of them noticing that Harry had fallen asleep.