“How about Babbity-Rabbity? You love Babbity-Rabbity.”
Four year old Ron Weasley shook his head resolutely. “No. I wanna new stowy.”
Molly sighed as she smoothed the blanket over her youngest son. “Ronnie, I don’t know any new stories and its way past your bedtime. Can’t we just read one of the old ones for tonight?”
Ron crossed his scrawny arms and shook his head again. “No. I wanna new stowy.”
At that moment, Arthur poked his head through the doorway. “Problem, love?”
Molly looked at him in exasperation. “Ronald would like to hear a new story tonight, but I’m fresh out.”
Arthur crossed the room towards his wife and kissed her gently atop the head. “Well, Ginny is sound asleep and Fred and George are doing an excellent job of feigning sleep themselves, so why don’t I take over here?”
“That would be wonderful, dear,” she replied gratefully, moving over so Arthur could settle himself on the bed next to her. “Now Ron, just one story, and then it’s off to sleep for you.” Ron nodded eagerly as he pulled the covers up to his chin and turned his attention to his father.
“So, Ronnie, what kind of new story would you like to hear?” Arthur asked, realizing that he had no idea what story to tell his son.
“A good one,” Ron replied. “One with a good guy who beats a bad guy and with a little boy like me.”
Arthur thought for a moment, then a grin spread across his face. “Ah, I know just the story, Ronnie. It’s a special story because it really happened. It’s about a little boy named Harry Potter…”
“Arthur…” Molly started, a warning tone in her voice.
“The abridged version of course, Molly dear,” Arthur responded quickly. As she opened her mouth to respond, a loud crash sounded from downstairs.
“Fred and George,” she sighed rolling her eyes and climbing to her feet. “All right Arthur. You finish the story and I’ll go check on the twins. A very abridged version if you please.” She kissed him lightly before bending over to do the same for Ron. He reached his tiny freckled arms around her neck and kissed her wetly on the cheek.
After she had left the room, Ron turned his attention back to his father. Arthur smiled at him and tucked the blankets back around his son. “All right then, Harry Potter, the abridged version,” he began.
“Daddy, I don’t want to hear a story about a bridge.”
“No, no, not ‘a bridge,’ ‘abridged.’ It means…well, it means bedtime story for Ron,” Arthur responded with a chuckle. “So here we go: Harry Potter – The bedtime story for Ron version.” Ron settled back on his pillow, apparently satisfied, so Arthur continued. “Once upon a time, before you were born, there was a very very bad man. He was so bad and so scary that everyone was too afraid to even say his name. Instead, they just called him ‘You-Know-Who.’ Well, You-Know-Who thought that only wizards should be allowed to be happy, so he was very mean to all of the Muggles and all of the wizards who liked Muggles.”
“Like you, Daddy?” Ron interrupted, his eyes wide.
Arthur smiled, “Yes, like me and your mum, because we know that Muggles are just as good as witches and wizards, right Ronnie?” Ron nodded fervently and Arthur patted his head affectionately before continuing. “Well, You-Know-Who thought that wizards and witches should be in charge of the Muggles, and some other wizards and witches started to think that he was right. So soon there was lots of fighting and You-Know Who was making it so lots of people on the good side had to go away. It was very scary. All the good people kept fighting as hard as they could, but You-Know-Who was winning.” Ron gasped and his eyes went wide. He pulled the covers up to his eyes. Arthur smiled and laid a hand comfortingly on his son’s leg. “Then, one day, You-Know-Who decided to go after a little boy named Harry Potter. So he went to Harry’s house on Halloween night. He hurt Harry’s mum and dad and made them go away, but when he tried to hurt Harry, KABOOM!” Arthur yelled, tickling Ron until he squealed with laughter.
“But, what happened, Daddy?” Ron asked, once he had stopped giggling.
“Well, instead of hurting Harry and making him go away, the spell bounced off and hit You-Know-Who, making HIM go away. Little Harry had defeated You-Know-Who, and now he was gone forever and Harry and everyone else could live happily ever after. The end.”
Ron frowned, “But what happened to Harry since his mum and dad went away? Did they come back?”
Arthur frowned, as well. He didn’t have an answer to that. In fact, it wasn’t even a question he had ever considered before. He made a mental note to ask Molly. “Well, no Ronnie. His mum and dad can’t come back, but Harry was taken somewhere that he could be safe and grow up to be a happy, healthy little boy just like you.” He figured that must be the truth, or close enough to it. Certainly his parents had made arrangements in case something happened to them, or if not, there were most certainly a large number of families who would line up to take care of the boy who defeated You-Know-Who.
Ron smiled. “That’s a good story,” he said with a yawn, breaking Arthur away from his thoughts. “Harry’s a hero.”
“That’s right, Ronnie. He beat the bad guy, so we can all be safe and happy. Now, it’s time for bed.” He leaned over and planted a kiss firmly on Ron’s forehead. “G’night, Ronnie.”
“Night, Dad,” Ron mumbled, closing his eyes and curling up to fall asleep. Arthur crossed the room and flipped off the light switch. As he was pulling the door closed, he heard a tiny voice, “Daddy? Do you think I’ll ever get to meet Harry Potter?”
Arthur smiled and pulled the door closed all but a crack, “Someday, Ronnie. Someday.”