Disclaimer: I am not JKR. Not only can you tell this from my substandard writing, but also by my blatant Americanisms. And, yes, I know this idea has been done before…and better. But I had fun writing it.

Bedtime Stories

"Time for bed."

Upon hearing her absolute favorite words, five year old Rose Weasley rocketed up the stairs. In mere minutes, her face was washed, her teeth were brushed, and she was dressed in her most comfortable nightgown. Fairly bouncing with excitement, she leaned against her pillow and not-so-patiently waited for her parents who were putting her younger brother to bed.

'Hugo's still too little for the good stories,' Rose thought smugly as she snuggled under the covers.

Rose simply adored her parents' stories. They were often short, sweet tales of little bears and ugly ducklings. At other times, they were exciting fairy stories of princesses and evil stepsisters. Sometimes Dad even told funny tales of things his brothers had done when growing up…but he only told that kind if Mum was working late and Rosie promised she'd never, ever try any of those things herself.

The best, however, were the ones that Rose had taken to calling the "Castle Stories." Mum and Dad never seemed to run out of those, and they always featured a clever maiden, a brave knight, and an honorable prince.

The three were best friends, and they got themselves into the most amazing adventures. Together, they faced three-headed dogs, fire-breathing dragons, and even giant spiders! (For some reason, Dad suddenly remembered that he needed to go and work on something very important for the shop whenever Mum mentioned those spiders.)

Sometimes, Rosie admitted (but only to herself) the stories were sort of scary. Once, her Mum had even gotten a little upset when Dad was telling how the knight was poisoned by a rival prince. Even though the story ended happily because the knight's best mate was quick-thinking and saved the day, Rosie noticed that her Dad put a comforting arm 'round her Mum's shoulders and whispered something in her ear. Mum's eyes were shiny, but she'd smiled at Dad. Then she'd finished the night with her own short, funny story about a fair maiden named Periwinkle who had tried to capture the brave knight's heart. Dad had muttered something about liking the spider stories better, and Mum had even laughed out loud.

As she'd watched her parents leave her bedroom arm in arm that night, their heads close together, Rose had fallen asleep thinking how odd her parents could be…and how she was lucky to have them.

Tonight, however, she felt even luckier because her parents had promised a special new story. While she would never admit to eavesdropping, Rose accidentally heard her Mum talking to Aunt Ginny and Uncle Harry about it. And even though she was using the extendable ears Uncle George had given her for her last birthday, Rose had only heard a few bits of the conversation. Before Hugo had started screaming and ruined everything, she'd only made out something about making sure Rose was old enough and a cloak.

The cloak thing had confused her a bit, but Rose was sure her parents wouldn't let her down. She knew tonight's stories would be just as exciting as the ones that came before…maybe even more so. And as she heard footsteps coming down the hallway, she knew she wouldn't have to wait much longer. When her parents stepped insider her door, Rose saw a small, ancient-looking book peeking out of her mother's hands.

Moments later, Rose lay in her bed, her mother on one side and her father on her other. She could feel the magic crackling in the air as her mother began, "Once there were three brothers…"