The usual disclaimers - Jo Rowling's incredible universe, lovely people, and money. The plot is mine and not her fault. I just love thinking about it... and writing it down, for fun. This is... different.

Christmas, 2008
Someplace in Wizarding London

'Yer a wizard, Harry.' … And with that, my life changed. Your Great Uncle Vernon and Great Aunt Petunia were horrified, of course. Uncle Vernon tried to keep me from going, but Hagrid – that's Professor Hagrid to you, James! – would have none of it – especially after Uncle Vernon insulted Headmaster Dumbledore.

'NEVER insult Albus Dumbledore in front of me!' he said. Did I tell you he gave your Uncle Dudley a pig's tail? Yeah – well, he was a git and a bully when he was your age. He got nicer after I saved him from the Dementors, though.

Yeah – Dementors. That was – what was it, Ginny? Between fourth and fifth years – your third and fourth, right? Right before Umbridge came to teach at Hogwarts. Turns out she had sent them to Little Whinging to attack me.

No – they didn't get me! It was a near thing, though, and your Uncle Dudley nearly had his soul sucked out. I – what, Ginny? Oh. You're right – no, too scary, kids. Let's just say Dudley and I got away. Good thing Remus had taught me that Patronus spell!

Yes – Teddy's dad – the very same! He was our Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher one year. I learned a lot from him…

I miss him, too, Ginny… Thanks… yeah… I'm okay. Just… remembering… It's okay.

What, James? Oh – it's a stag – just like your granddad. No – not Granddad Arthur – my father, Granddad James.

Yep – that's him and your Grandmum Lily in that picture. Well – wave back, Lily! Yes, of course you were named for her

I don't know if his Patronus was a stag, James, but he was an animagus – that's a wizard or witch who can take on an animal form. Yes, James – transfiguration, not that you'll be able to so much as transfigure a teacup if you don't do better in Professor McGonagall's class this term!

You'll be fine, Al. It just takes confidence – and focus.

You were named after my dad and my godfather, James – don't change the subject!

You? You were named after the two greatest wizards I ever knew – both headmasters of the school – Albus Dumbledore… and Severus Snape. Both of them were great men. Both of them protected me, taught me. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for them… both of them.

No… your mum is right – that's a tale you can hear in school, first. Just pay attention in Professor Binn's Modern History class, and you'll hear all about it. Yes, James – then we'll tell you more, if you like – and your Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione, too, and maybe even Uncle Neville and Aunt Luna, when she gets back from traveling. Don't pester Uncle Neville about it in Herbology, though, boys, okay?

Yes, they were there, too, Al. They were the best mates I ever had. Yes – of course your mum was there, Lily – weren't you, Ginny, hon? Yes – that is why they come for dinner so often – they're my best – our best – friends.

What about the others? Oh yes, Al. Seamus and Dean and Parvati and all the rest… Yes, Lily, Uncle George and Grandma Molly, and even Uncle Percy.

None of that, James! Your mum is right. Uncle Percy is a very nice man. You just have to get him off of work and he's a right nice fellow!

Yes, Al, of course Hagrid was there, too. And Professors McGonagall and Flintwick and Sprout, and even Professor Trelawney!

That's enough of that, James! She may be a bat, but she's a sweet old bat! And she's right most of the time, just not always in the way you expect, so pay attention and give her some respect! No – you just have her your first year of Divination. Professor Firenze takes second year Divination.

Well, you'll have to ask Sir Cadogan about that. He knows his part of the tale better than I do – and you might want to listen to all the portraits while you're at it. Yes – even the Fat Lady, James, and the ghosts, too.

No, silly – they're not scary at all! They can sit and talk to you just like we are, here. In fact, Sir Nicholas is a good friend of mine, and the Grey Lady was very helpful to me, once. Every house has their own ghosts – which ones are they, James?

That's right – good job! The Fat Friar for Hufflepuff, the Grey Lady for Ravenclaw, the Bloody Baron – no, Lily, he's not really bloody. It's more like silver streaks on his clothing. James – stop trying to scare her!

What, Al? Oh – yeah. Sir Nick for Gryffindor. No, Lily, there are too many portraits for each house to have just one of their own, so they're all over the walls of the school.

Oh! Kreacher! You're here! Thanks. You make the best tea, doesn't he, kids? How is Winky today? Why don't the two of you take a day and go visit your friends at Hogwarts, since school is out for Christmas break? No – it's okay; we're going to the Burrow in a little bit. You can find me there, if you need anything. Please say hello to everyone for me, won't you? And tell Professor McGonagall I'll be owling her shortly with my answer. Thanks. Happy Christmas! Oh – wait! Before you go… where are they, Ginny? Ah – here they are! Christmas presents for you and Winky. Happy Christmas, then!

What, Lily? Yes, of course you can give Kreacher and Winky presents, too. I'm sure they'll love your drawings. I know Kreacher will!

What, Al? Oh – well, we gave them socks. Well, they happen to like socks. It reminds them of a friend of theirs… ours… Well, it's a House Elf thing, James, they happen to like them mismatched. I kinda' like it, too. It reminds me of…

Oops! Thanks, Ginny. Sorry – didn't mean to spill. Tergio!

So where was I? Oh – there's Pigwidgen! Ginny, can you let him in? I've got kids all over me. Let's see… what's Ron got to say?

Uh oh! Grandma Molly is threatening to turn your presents into garden gnomes if we don't get there in time for dinner! We'd better go. Up, everyone. Got everything? Presents for your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins? Scarves? Boots? Gloves? Brooms? Quidditch isn't canceled for just a little snow and cold, you know!

Ok, then. Floo powder, everyone! Lily, you go with mum; Al you're with me. James – behave yourself, or you'll spend Christmas dinner upstairs with the ghoul in Granddad's and Grandmum's attic.

Come on, then, everyone. Almost everyone we love is waiting for us.