Summary: After a bad dream Harry asks for a bedtime story.
A/U: Written in response to Lady Lanera's "Bedtime Story" challenge on PotionsandSnitches.
"Harry, just take the potion."
"Uh-uh. It makes my tummy feel funny and it tastes yucky."
"Then how will you sleep without having another night terror?"
He contemplated for a few seconds, wheels visibly turning in his small head. "Daddy, tell me a story. A good one, with a happy ending. Then I won't have any more bad dreams!"
"Very well then." Severus said, pulling a stool next to the bed while wracking his brains for a suitable story.
"In a time and place different from our own there was a little prince- his mother was very ill and his father was an evil man."
"Daddy, what's 'evil'?" The little boy asked.
"Bad. Very mean." His reply was patient.
"Oh. Like the man who took mommy?" The question was innocent enough. The wound however was too recent, too new. "Yes Harry. Just like the man who took mommy."
"I miss her, Daddy."
"As do I."
Harry settled a little further under the covers of the large bed, looking expectantly up at his father for the story to continue.
"The little prince was lonely and had no one to play with so he went to the park near his house. There, he saw two girls. One was his age. She had beautiful red hair and green eyes. But the little prince was not like them, and he had to hide his magic.
"Daddy, why would he hide his magic?"
"Because the two girls were muggles."
"One day," he continued "the little prince was watching the two sisters play when he saw it. The younger girl jumped and flew off of her swing! Her sister was frightened but the girl picked a flower and made it blossom in her hand.
"She was magic, just like he was!"
Harry's mouth formed an 'o' shape.
"So the little prince stepped out of the bushes where he was hiding and introduced himself.
"'Your a witch!' He said.
"The little girl was not pleased. 'That's not a nice thing to say!' She replied.
"'No, no! I am too! Magic, I mean. I'm a wizard.'
"She smiled and the two became good friends.
"Time went by and the little prince and his friend went to Hogwarts. The little prince was sorted into Slytherin, and the girl to Gryffindor. Despite the animosity between the houses the two decided to stay friends. They had many adventures and a lot of fun learning about magic and how to do spells. The little prince grew until he was not so little anymore while his friend grew into a beautiful young woman. By the end of their fifth year, however they had started to drift apart." He paused a moment. "The prince called his friend a bad name and made fun of her when she offered to help him when the school bullies were picking on him. He thought that he didn't need any help from a girl.
"He was wrong.
"More time passed and the prince pledged himself into the service of an evil man. A man who wanted to make a perfect world."
"But daddy, isn't that a good thing?"
"Not when the evil man was killing people to make the world a better place."
Harry's eyes widened comically. "But the prince was still a good guy, right?"
"Just listen to the story, Harry.
"While the prince was helping out his new master, the girl married the prince's old bully."
"That's silly daddy. Why would the girl marry the bully?" He asked, yawning.
Choosing not to answer Severus continued.
"The prince was confused by the evil man's promises. He heard a prophecy from a seer about a child who could destroy his master. Thinking it for the best he told the evil man.
"He didn't know that the boy the prophecy would refer to was the child of his friend. When he learned of the evil man's plans he begged him to spare his friend. Only then did the prince realize his mistake. The evil man was only interested in power and he would kill the prince's friend to get it.
"But the prince still loved her. He went to the leader of the good guys and told him he would do anything to save her..."
Harry's breathing had slowed and evened sometime during the story. He was asleep. Perhaps it was for the better, as this particular one did not have a happy ending.
"Good night, Harry." He whispered, looking into the childhood face of his nemesis.