Big brother

A small whimper woke him. James Sirius Potter woke from his dreams of Quidditch to find a small figure at the side of his bed. James squinted and saw that it was his little brother whom he loved and teased. James sighed. Annoyed, but determined to be gentle, James sat up and pulled the younger boy up his bed, stuffed dragon and all.

"Nightmare?" he asked a teary faced Albus. Four-year-old Al nodded, tears flowing freely from his eyes. A crash of thunder was heard outside before James could ask the next question. Al squeaked and clung to his brother like a lifeline. "It's You-know-who, Jimmy!" Albus whimpered, "I know it is!" Fred, James thought with annoyance, I'm going to kill you. Their cousin, Fred Bilius Weasley, who was named after their dead uncle, had told them a story how the evil wizard, Voldermort would appear at the crash of thunder. James did not believe a word of it, but obviously, Al did.

Although James was only six years old, his maturity, like his father before him, exceeded his age despite his pranks. "Al," said James, "It's just a nightmare, Voldemort is dead, Daddy defeated him, remember?"

"But..." Albus whimpered. James just shook his head in exasperation. He wiped away Al's tears and whispered, "Even if he is alive, I promise I won't let him get you."

"And Lily?"

James grinned. "And Lily."

James then tightened his hold around his younger brother. "I'll protect you both," he promised.

Al leaned against his brother's chest, happy to know that his brother loved him. He felt safe with James, pranks and all. He wished James would never let go of him that night, but he did, saying, "I'm in for bed, you?"

Al hesitated for a moment, "Can I sleep with you tonight?"

"Why do you think I helped you up?" James snorted. "Here," he added tossing his brother a pillow. Both boys settled down in bed. When James heard soft breathing coming from his brother, he shifted his position and an arm around Albus, murmuring sleepily, "Baby brother." Unknown to him, his father was peeking through the crack of his bedroom door. Smiling lovingly at one of the rare special nights his boys shared.

Harry went back to the master bedroom, to find Ginny already in bed after comforting Lily. "Are our boys all right?" she asked. "Yes honey," he assured her, "They are." From the way her husband smiled, Ginny could tell that Al sought comfort from James, and both boys were sharing a rare brotherly relationship.