Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Harry Potter. They are the property of J. K. Rowling. All right, at the behest of countless reviewers, this has been uploaded once again. Enjoy it!
Endings and Beginnings
'No, stay back!'
'What do you plan to do? You know that you can't stop me; now, give me the child!'
'Never Voldomort, I won't let you have him!'
'Give me the boy, or die, Lily!'
'Kill me then.'
'I love you, Harry; I'm sorry.'
"NOOOOOO!!!" Harry shot up out of the bed. He was covered in a cold sweat, and his body was trembling.
"The same dream again." Harry had been having nightmares every night for almost the last month. It was always the same dream – the night his parents were murdered.
Harry climbed out of bed and went to his dresser. He looked himself in the mirror and wiped his brow.
"Get a hold of yourself, Potter, act like a man!" He was now in his sixth year at Hogwarts, and he refused to act like a crybaby. He had to be strong – no matter what. Harry mentally smacked himself and took a deep breath. Checking his watch, he saw that he still had a few hours left before classes began.
"What's happening to me? Why do I keep remembering the same thing over and over again?" Harry brushed his hair back and looked at his scar. He thought about Voldomort, but his scar had not being acting up for several months now.
"Maybe I'm just being paranoid," Harry said to himself. With a long sigh, he collapsed back into his bed and was asleep before his head hit the pillow.
"Harry, wake up, c'mon!" Ron Weasley nearly shouted.
"Hn. Leave me alone," Harry groaned – his face buried in his pillow.
"No, you're gonna be late!"
"I said leave me be!"
Ron groaned in defeat. When Harry Potter didn't want to get up, it was impossible to change his mind. Nobody could wake him up – with one exception.
"That's it!" Ron dashed out of their room and down to the commons.
Hermione Granger was just about to head for her advanced transfiguration class when Ron burst into the room.
"Hermione, thank God I found you!" he said out of breath.
"Ron, what's wrong?"
"I need your help, Herm. It's Harry…"
"What about him?" Hermione asked worriedly. She jumped at the thought of Harry being in trouble.
"Well…he's got a severe case of 'lazy-bone' syndrome this morning. He won't listen to me so I was hoping…maybe you could get him up." Hermione crossed her arms in annoyance.
"What am I…his personal alarm clock?"
"No, but he'll listen you. If you tell him to get up, I'm sure he'll do it."
"Fine, but he better not make me late!"
Hermione stomped up the stairs and entered Ron and Harry's room. She was somewhat angry at having to play nursemaid for Harry, but in a way, she felt kinda good doing this – like she was there when he needed her. Her anger dwindled as she approached his bed. He was lying on his side; his face still burrowed halfway into the pillow.
'He looks so cute like this,' Hermione said silently. At that point, Harry rolled over, and his comforter fell off him.
"Oh my…" Hermione clamped her hand over her mouth. Harry lay before her in nothing but his boxer shorts; he'd removed his sweat-soaked t-shirt the night before.
Hermione was speechless; all she could do was stare. He'd grown into quite a good-looking young man. Years of quidditch had made his muscles fill out very nicely, and his height had increased to almost six feet. His eyes had remained the same deep emerald that they'd always been, and Hermione remembered how weak-kneed those eyes could make her.
"Harry…maybe…someday…" She stopped her train of thought. No, it would never work. Harry Potter wouldn't want her; she was a bookworm – not like some of the flirts that hung on his every word.
"No!" His sudden outburst caught her attention. Harry's body contorted, and he clenched his fists in his sleep.
"No, not her, please, don't hurt her…please, not Hermione!"
The young woman's eyes widened; he was having a dream about her. But from the looks of it, it was more like a nightmare. Embarrassment aside, she knelt by his bedside and took his clenched fist in her hand.
"Harry, wake up, it's only a dream, please, it's me, Hermione." At the mention of her name, Harry's eyes shot open. Without warning, he reached out and wrapped her in a tight hug. He clutched her to his chest as if his life depended on it.
"Hermione, thank goodness you're all right." Harry was practically panting, and his embrace tightened.
"Harry, relax, it was only a dream, okay?" Hermione blushed as he pressed her up against his chest. She had to admit; it felt good to be held in his arms. He was holding her strongly, but she could still feel the underlying tenderness that he always showed her.
"A dream, are you sure?" Harry asked and looked down at her. His eyes were sick with worry, and Hermione felt her heart melt. She reached up and brushed some of his hair off his sweaty face.
"I'm sure, Harry, everything's all right now." She ran her hand down the side of his face, and a small smile appeared on his lips.
"I…I'm sorry," he said softly and released her.
"It's okay, Harry, we all have nightmares. Now, what do you say you get dressed and let's get to class?" Harry finally realized that all he had on were his shorts.
"Oh my gosh!" He turned as red as a tomato, and Hermione giggled at him. Putting a smug smile on her face, she leaned over and touched his nose with the tip of her finger.
"Don't be embarrassed, I think you look cute like this!" Harry's blush increased ten-fold, and he turned away shyly.
"Hermione…" She smiled at him. He never did have a way with girls – her being the exception.
"Harry, it's okay, I won't say anything all right. Now, let's get going before McGonagall gives up both detention for being late."
Harry and Hermione raced in just as Professor McGonagall stood up from her desk. She looked at the two of them with a stern glare but didn't say anything. The two decided not to ask whether they were late or not and merely sat down. Ron looked over at Hermione and grinned slightly; she just rolled her eyes and opened her book.
"Ron, you owe me one!" Hermione stated as she plopped down next to Harry at the lunch table. The red-haired young man just grinned at her.
"Oh c'mon, Herm, don't be mad; I told you that you could do it."
"Do what?" Harry asked as he reached for a slice of ham. The grin on Ron's face widened.
"I just know that Hermione's the only person that can wake you up!"
"That's not true!" Harry gasped blushing slightly. "I was tired this morning, okay?" He looked down at his hands and set his fork down.
"Harry, are you all right?" Hermione asked and put hand on his shoulder.
"I…I…I don't know…I've been having nightmares every night for the last few weeks, and I guess the loss of sleep is finally catching with me." As proof, Harry let out a soft yawn.
"Everyone has nightmares, Harry," Ron stated.
"Yeah, but do they have the same one night after night?"
"Do you remember any of it?" Hermione asked softly. Harry turned towards her, and she immediately regretted asking. His eyes held a look of pure agony, and she clutched his hand in her own.
"Yeah, I remember it…mostly. It's the night my parent's were killed." Now, Hermione really regretted asking him. She knew how much it hurt Harry to remember what happened to his parents.
"I'm sorry, Harry." He squeezed her hand gently and shook his head.
"It's okay. I've learned to deal with it by now."
Harry suddenly grabbed his head and howled in pain. His head whipped back so hard that his neck nearly broke.
"Harry!" Hermione and Ron gasped at the same time. Harry's body jolted so hard that he fell onto the floor. He began convulsing on the floor screaming 'NO…NO…NO…' over and over again. By now, Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall had noticed what happened and rushed over to check on him.
Hermione was at Harry's side trying to calm him down.
"Harry, please, it's not real. Please, tell me what's wrong!" She was scared out of her mind as she watched his body contort violently.
"Everyone, out of the way!" Dumbledore ordered as he stepped through the mass of students now surrounding Harry. He saw the young man seizing in pain and quickly knelt down by his side.
"Professor, please, help him!" Hermione begged as tears formed in her eyes. Dumbledore placed his hand on Harry's forehead and whispered 'Tranquilos'; his body went limp and passed out.
"There, that will keep him calm for now. Ouch!" Dumbledore drew his hand back as something burned him. Lifting the hair off Harry's forehead, he saw something that made his stomach turn.
"His scar!" Ron gasped. Harry's scar was burning bright red, and the boy's head snapped from side to side.
"No, stop…stop please…don't…Voldomort…" At the mention of the dark wizard's name, Dumbledore knew what was going on.
"Hermione, Ron, move back now!" Dumbledore placed his hands on Harry's head. "Purificas Mentales!" Harry's body slowly stopped twitching, and his head came to a stop on its right side.
"He'll be all right for now," Dumbledore said softly.
"What happened to him?" Hermione nearly demanded as she cradled Harry's head in her hands. The older man smiled at her loyalty.
"Harry's been given a Nightmare Curse."
"A nightmare curse?"
"Yes, Hermione, a nightmare curse is one of the worst. It searches a person's mind for their darkest memory or their deepest fear and turns it into an endless string of nightmares."
"Can it be stopped?" the young woman asked. Dumbledore held up his hand.
"One thing at a time, Miss Granger. Now, if you would Mr. Weasley, help me carry Harry to the infirmary he needs to rest." He turned towards the rest of the student body.
"Everyone, please, return to your classrooms." The students dispersed slowly, many of them casting sideward glances back towards where Harry Potter lay.
"Professor Dumbledore, please, let me come with him?" Hermione asked pleadingly, while stroking Harry's dark hair.
"Of course, Harry needs his friends right now."
Hermione looked up to see Professor McGonagall behind her. She was supposed to present a transfiguration project to McGonagall this afternoon, but with Harry the way he was, she was certain that her concentration wouldn't be anywhere near perfect.
"Um, Professor McGonagall, I know that I have a project due this afternoon, but I…" Hermione couldn't finish her statement. She didn't even know why she asked; McGonagall was as strict as they came; she didn't make exceptions.
"We'll reschedule your presentation, Miss Granger." Hermione's head snapped up.
"Are you serious, ma'am?" She almost thought she saw a smile cross the old woman's face.
don't get any ideas, I expect you to be perfect with the extra time that you're
"Yes ma'am!" Hermione said happily. In the meantime, Ron had lifted Harry up and swung him over his shoulder. He carried his prone friend out of the Great Hall and down to the medical wing; Hermione was not more than half a step behind him.
"What is it, Professor McGonagall?"
"You saw what Harry's scar was doing. 'He'll' be coming soon."
"Yes, I know, but there's nothing than can be done about that."
"Albus, perhaps, it's time that you told the boy." Dumbledore turned towards his colleague with a stern look, but his eyes softened.
"Yes Minerva, I suppose you're right. It's time that Harry understands what's happening to him."