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Author Notes:

I didn't write "All Through the Night."

Chapter 14: The Second Letter

Dear Professor,

As I’m sure you can see from the enclosures, the second birthday party was a hit. Hermione was a little miffed that the birthday boy got to open all the presents, but we managed.

Danger chuckled. Oh, yes, we managed.

Neenie had thrown a screaming fit when they wouldn’t let her rip the interesting paper off even one box.

One well-placed swat fixed that right up, though.

She rubbed the feathery end of the pen thoughtfully, thinking of how to phrase her next sentence.

The gift you gave my good friend was much appreciated and has been put to good use.

She nodded, satisfied. That should tell him what he wants to know. Sirius and Aletha had got married, much as she and Remus had, in a civil Muggle ceremony. Aletha had rather enjoyed the fact that no one at work had noticed her ring for nearly a week.

Nightmares continue for the two afflicted members of the household, but are becoming less frequent.

Danger shivered a little. That doesn’t say nearly enough, but it will have to do.

Harry’s first nightmare had been exactly a week from the night he’d been rescued. His panicked screams had woken everyone — except himself...



Danger snapped awake at the first scream. Harry!

"NOOO!" The little boy’s back was arched, his hands fisted and his eyes still squeezed shut. Sirius snatched Harry up and called his name as Neenie wailed in fright.

Danger, disentangling her legs from the sheet in order to get to her sister, watched as Harry fought his way awake, gasped in relief at seeing who was holding him, and threw his arms around Sirius’ neck. "Pa-foot," he sobbed, clinging to Sirius. "No cubbud, Pa-foot. No cubbud. I good."

"No cupboard, Harry," Sirius said gently. "You’re a good boy. You’re safe now. Ssshhh, it’s all right now."

Remus picked up Neenie to soothe her as Danger finally freed herself from the sheet.

"Here, you go to Letha for a minute," Sirius said, carefully prying Harry’s fingers loose. Aletha held Harry close and hummed something to him as Sirius got up and went into the kitchen. A moment later, there was an almost inaudible crash, followed by several muttered words, most of which Danger suspected were not at all polite.

Sirius returned looking decidedly better. "It was a mug," he said, forestalling Aletha’s question as he sat back down on the mattresses. "And I fixed it."

"Feel better?" Remus asked over the already half-asleep Neenie.

"Yes, actually."

"And do remember," Danger put in, "that Vernon Dursley is in jail for something he didn’t do, and Petunia and Dudley are trying to get by on whatever paltry salary she’s earning, since as far as I know she has no skills besides rumor-mongering."

That made everyone laugh, and the tension in the room slowly ebbed out.


Sirius’ nightmares were both easier and harder to deal with. Easier, because he could understand them and tell what they had been about — harder, because they dealt with more frightening subjects...


"No! Please, James, no! I didn’t, you have to believe me! Please, don’t..."

"Sirius!" Aletha shook him hard. "Sirius, wake up!"

Gasping, Sirius shot upright. "Where’s Harry?"

"Right here," Danger said, showing him the boy, wide-eyed in her arms. "Do you want him?"

"Not now." Sirius ran his hands through his hair. "That was... horrible."

"What was?" Remus asked in that certain tone of his, the one that was so quiet and unassuming on the face of it, but somehow made one really, really want to obey.

Does it? I never knew it worked so well.

Yes, you did.

"Remus, I... I don’t want to talk about it."

"You have to," Remus said, a touch more forcefully than before. "It’s the only way you’ll ever get over it. You can’t deal with this all by yourself — none of us can. It’s why we came together in the first place. We’re here to help you, Sirius. But you have to tell us what’s going on."

Sirius shivered. Hermione scooted herself closer to him and pulled on his sleeve. When he looked down, she held up her arms, and he lifted her into his lap, where she cuddled close to him. "All right. But it’s pretty nasty."

"We’re ready," Remus said simply. Danger nodded in affirmation, and Aletha squeezed Sirius’ hand.

"It was James and Lily. They were here, in this house, but they were... they were dead. They looked as if they’d been dead for months. Their faces, their bodies, they were... rotting."

Danger stroked Harry’s hair, hoping he couldn’t understand any of this.

"They said they were here for Harry, here to take him away with them. I told them, if that meant they were going to kill him, I wouldn’t let them. Lily got mad — you remember how she always used to do, when her eyes and her voice would get so cold you thought you’d just been frozen?"

Remus and Aletha nodded. A memory of Remus’ drifted into Danger’s mind — a delicate red-haired woman, with eyes astoundingly like Harry’s, freezing her husband with one look. I have to find out if they have photographs. I’ve never seen Harry’s parents except through other people’s memories and my dreams...

"She said I had no right to Harry, that they were his parents and they knew what was best for him." Sirius looked haunted. "And then James told me they knew the truth."

"What truth?" Remus asked. "What did he say?"

"He said... he said that I did it on purpose. That I made Peter the Secret-Keeper on purpose. Because I knew he was the traitor and they’d be killed. He said..." Sirius was shaking now. "He said I killed them so I could have Harry."

The room was silent for a moment.

"No," Aletha said firmly. "That is not true and you know it, Sirius Black. If it were, why would you not have taken Harry from Hagrid that night? You were there, with your motorcycle. Why not just take Harry and fly away, if he was all you wanted?"

"Sirius, you would never have betrayed James and Lily," Remus said fervently. "In all the time I’ve known you, you’ve never broken a promise, not even when it meant trouble for you — why would you break the most important promise of your life?"

I guess it’s my turn... "We all wish Harry could have his parents back," Danger said, hoping she was doing right. Remus gave her a mental thumbs-up, and she continued. "But he can’t. So we have to give him the best we can. We’ll make sure he knows their names and faces and what they did, for the world and for him. And we’ll make sure he grows up happy and strong and brave. That’s the best we can do."

"You’re right," Sirius said, looking up, his grey eyes less shadowed now than they had been a few moments before. "All of you. You’re right." He stopped, as if trying to think of what to say next.

"Thank you, everyone," he said finally, but within the simple words Danger could hear all the things he couldn’t say.

Thank you for giving me hope again. Thank you for helping me climb out of this pit life’s dropped me into. Please don’t give up, I will make it. But I’m going to need time and help.

Variations on "You’re welcome" came from each of the others.

We’re here for you, was the silent message. We’re willing to wait for you and give you the help you need. We won’t give up on you. We promise.

Aletha began to sing.

Sleep, my love, and peace attend thee,

All through the night.

Guardian angels God will lend thee,

All through the night.

Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,

Hill and vale in slumber steeping,

Love alone his watch is keeping,

All through the night.

It was exactly what was needed, for everyone.

One by one, the members of the Pack drifted back to sleep.


Ah yes, I should probably put something in about that.

She began a new paragraph.

Incidentally, we’ve come up with a new moniker for ourselves. We are now known as the Pack. Catchy, isn’t it?

Danger smiled again, recalling the night the name had been coined.

Our first full moon together... appropriate somehow.


"If you’re tame, there’s no reason for you not to come to the den tonight," Sirius said, leaning his chair back against the kitchen wall.

Remus looked — and felt, Danger knew — uncomfortable. "I don’t know, Padfoot. I’m just..."

"Shy?" Sirius suggested. "No need to be. You’re kind of cute when you’re a wolf."

Thanks a lot, Remus said sarcastically to Danger.

He’s right.

Oh, not you too.

Yes, me too. And I’ll tell you why.

"I think it’s a good idea," Danger said aloud. "For the children. There’s going to be so much we can’t tell them, and so much we’re going to have to ask of them. Harry’s perfectly comfortable around an Animagus—" She waved at Sirius, who gave a little bow from his chair. "—though I will admit you startled Neenie quite a bit the first time she saw you transform."

Everyone laughed, remembering. Hermione had screamed and run behind the couch when the enormous black dog had appeared. Harry, on the other hand, had screamed with joy and run toward the dog. Neenie had eventually come out, but she was still just a little wary around Sirius in his dog form.

"There’s no reason they can’t accept a werewolf on the same terms. And it’s one less secret we have to keep from them."

Et tu, Pericule?

I think that’s the most convoluted classical allusion I’ve ever heard. How did you even know the vocative of the Latin word for danger?

Never mind. I give up.

"Fine. You win. I’ll come down tonight after moonrise." Remus sighed. "I hope we don’t regret this."

That night, in their bedroom, Remus and Danger made their preparations. Danger sat cross-legged on the floor, and Remus knelt beside her, hands planted on the floor. Danger placed her hands over his. After a quick kiss, they opened their minds to one another, each surrendering to the other, flowing together and joining as one.

Danger could feel the nearness of moonrise with the urgency of the werewolf, but she could also feel her own presence, a mitigating force, keeping the beast leashed and tamed. Remus’ own image for it had been of himself standing on a tiny island, helplessly watching the wave build that would sweep him away inescapably into the merciless ocean, where he would be tossed around for the length of the night before being thrown ashore, battered and exhausted, in the morning.

The wave might be inescapable, but with Danger at his side, Remus had a safety line to the shore. He wouldn’t half-drown or be bashed against the rocks the ocean’s surface concealed. The physical transformation still caused him some pain, but he could deal with it.

As long as I stay human, love, I can deal with just about anything.

She felt his mind’s presence within her own, foreign and yet not, a known quantity, safe and reliable. He smelled of cinnamon, she noticed, cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves...

The moon slid above the horizon, and they both stiffened. Danger pressed her hands down against Remus’ and watched without flinching as her love changed. They bore together the flashes of pain as his body twisted, and talked silently of everyday things until the transformation was over.

Then they went downstairs together, to the den where Sirius and Aletha waited with Harry and Neenie.

The children were slightly hesitant at first, but after Sirius demonstrated again how a person could be an animal too, they accepted the big gray doggie as Moony, and snuggled up against him to listen to Danger read them a bedtime story. By the time the story was over, they were both asleep, holding hands.

"They’re not going to be sure if they’re children or cubs by the time they grow up," Sirius said, brushing Harry’s hair away from his face.

"Is that so bad?" Aletha asked, sitting with her knees drawn up to her chest. "Wolves have good survival instincts, and Harry’s going to need that. Hermione too, if only because she’s associated with him."

"We really are organized more like a wolf pack than a traditional human family," Danger mused aloud. "Four adults, two children... and we really have the children in common, you know. I’ve been watching — they come to all of us about equally if they want something. Neenie’s on your lap every time I turn around, Sirius. You don’t have to pick her up every time she asks you."

Sirius shrugged. "Who am I to refuse a lady?"

"This little hoodlum’s no lady. Maybe in twenty years."

Now, now, no disparaging the cubs.

Danger made a face at her husband. "I’ll disparage my own sister as much as I want to, thank you very much."

"Oh, no, you won’t," Sirius said, striking a brave pose. "I will fight for my lady’s honor."

"Since when is she your lady and not me?" Aletha demanded.

"Well, can’t a man have more than one lady?"

"Not unless one of them is his sister or his daughter," Aletha said firmly.

Sirius shrugged. "She’s close enough, I think. To being my daughter, I mean. That is, if you’ll share," he said to Remus and Danger.

"You want her, you can have her. She’s no prize, I’ll tell you that."

Trade you. Half-share in Harry for half a share in Hermione.

Danger repeated the offer aloud, and Sirius nodded. "Done," he said.

"No, not done," Aletha said, shoving Sirius. "Not until I have my say." She faced Danger. "Done," she said, extending her hand. Danger seized it, and they shook enthusiastically.

The men exchanged bewildered glances. Sirius shrugged, as did Remus, carefully to avoid jostling the children. The statement of "Women..." was as clear as if they had said it aloud.

So, if we’re going to share the children pack-style, why not just go all the way and call ourselves a pack? Remus suggested. Danger relayed the idea.

"I like it," Aletha said. "Makes referring to everyone easier."

"You know my take on it. Dogs are pack animals too." Sirius transformed into Padfoot and rolled over beside Aletha, waving his paws entreatingly.

"Oh, fine," she said in tones of pretend annoyance, and rubbed his belly, making him whine with pleasure.

Behind the ears, please?

Oh, fine.

Remus wolf-grinned at his wife, and Danger couldn’t help smiling back as she scratched his head vigorously.

"Neither of you is allowed to give these children fleas, though," Aletha said, chuckling as she found the spot on Sirius’ stomach that made his leg kick uncontrollably.

That’s the wrong tone for a beta female to use with the alpha male, missy!

Danger burst out laughing.


But he’s entirely right. Remus, for all his gentleness, is our alpha male. Sirius lacks... I guess initiative is the word. He has plenty of good ideas, and the determination to see them through, but he just doesn’t start things easily.

And of course, there’s the fact that Sirius obeys Remus, and not the other way around. Sirius is a good man, intelligent and brave and strong, but he is a follower instead of a leader. Whereas Remus is the best kind of leader — reluctant.

So. Remus as alpha male, which would place me as alpha female, I suppose. Sirius and Aletha as the betas, and Harry and Neenie as our cubs.

She nodded thoughtfully. We make a good Pack. We balance each other’s weaknesses with strengths. And we all love the children.

But all this thinking is not getting my letter written.

She bent over the parchment again, rereading what she already had.

Dear Professor,

As I’m sure you can see from the enclosures, the second birthday party was a hit. Hermione was a little miffed that the birthday boy got to open all the presents, but we managed.

The gift you gave our mutual friend was much appreciated and has been put to good use. Nightmares continue for the two afflicted members of the household, but are becoming less frequent.

Incidentally, we’ve come up with a new moniker for ourselves. We are now known as the Pack. Catchy, isn’t it?

Danger bit her lip, thinking.

Now something about Harry, I think.

She remembered just in time to dip the quill in the ink before she wrote.

The birthday boy is now physically quite healthy. He seems to like his new home very much indeed. We certainly like having him.

Danger chuckled. Hope that’s not too gloaty. "Ha, ha, we have Harry and you don’t..."

She dipped her quill again.

The rest of the Pack is also well. Our alpha male wants to express his thanks for your discreet handling of his affairs.

That sentence should tell Dumbledore who was in general charge of the household. The Headmaster had transferred Remus’ house into his own name, then found a Muggle family in the area in need of a home and sold it to them at a price they could afford. Danger only hoped it wasn’t the Dursleys.

But it won’t be. That would be good luck, something they’ll never have again...

Messages through our mutual friend will eventually reach us, should you ever need to contact us. If not, we’ll be in touch again around Christmas.

Have a good summer and fall,


Danger flipped through the photos. Aletha was shown in one or two of these, due to the subtle hints Dumbledore had been dropping about her ring for the past two months.

Oh, he knows all right.

But still better to be careful.

Let’s see how he takes this. If he doesn’t give anything away, I think at Christmas it’ll be safe to let him see everyone together. She smiled, thinking of the fun they’d have, decorating the tree, baking cookies, getting everyone presents...

As if we’re not having fun now. Every day is an adventure, after all.

She added that as a postscript.

Let him figure that one out.

And more adventure to come, if my dreams are right. More cubs for our Pack, and more danger for us...

You’re enough Danger for me, Remus said from behind her.

She gasped, almost spilling the ink. Don’t DO that!

Sorry, my love, I thought you could hear me. Remus leaned over her shoulder to read the letter. So what does "Every day is an adventure" mean?

As if on cue, there was a smash from the next room, and a little voice said, "Oops."

"Oops." The number one word you do NOT want to hear in conjunction with a crash.

I’ll get it, Remus said.

"I got it," Sirius called from the other room. "Nothing terrible, just the glass on a picture. Hey, Harry, Neenie, watch this. Reparo!"

Danger shook her head, smiling. That’s what.

I see. What about this? Remus turned his face toward hers and leaned closer. There was a pause.

Well, yes, that too, Danger admitted.

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