He was used to the nightmares. He had them for most of his life, so why where these any different? Harry asked himself one night while sitting in front of the fireplace in the Gryffindor common room. Maybe because they where more real now, maybe because he knew time was running out, maybe it was because he knew that these nightmares could come to life. The Final battle was near. Harry stared intently at the fire he watched the flames play along the logs for a long time. He let out a sigh and ran his hands through his unruly inky black hair. What was he going to do? He knew his time was almost up; soon he would have to face his destiny. Soon he would have to become a murderer or be killed. He wouldn't admit it to anyone, but he was scared.
During the Christmas break of their sixth year Ron and Hermione had cornered him one night and they made Harry tell them what was wrong. Since the beginning of the school year they had noticed Harry was acting different. Harry decided it was as good a time as ever to tell them the truth, so he slowly began to tell them about the prophecy.
Ron didn't believe it; and still wouldn't. He went on about how much of a nut case Professor Trelawney is, that divination is a bunch of rubbish. Harry smiled slightly as he remembered how much Ron sounded like Hermione. At the thought of Hermione his smile faded.
She hadn't been the same since he told her about the prophecy. She cried that night, and did for a week after she found out. Now she doesn't cry, she doesn't show any emotion at all. Over the last two years of school she has drowned herself in books, saying she had to study for NEWTS. He thought Hermione had the right idea, and he began to study more.
Most nights Harry would be found in the library at one of the back tables sitting by himself. He would have books spread around him reading anything he could get him hands on. Most of the time he didn't know what he was reading about, but to him it was better to absorb information that may be helpful to him in the end than to think about what was going on around him. He also became very irritable, his emotions where out of control. The rest of the students at school learned very quickly to stay away from him, even Malfoy and his followers. Harry stopped playing quidditch, stopped going to Hogsmeade weekends, and stopped the DA after Christmas break in sixth year. No one seamed to notice that Harry was pulling away from everyone. He hardly ever talked to anyone, and if he did he usually ended up yelling at the unlucky person. He hated what he had become, and wished he could take most of his behavior back. But he knew it was to late. The one time in his life that he truly needed someone to help, and he didn't have anyone. He had pushed them all away.
Harry was about to go back to his dormitory and try to get a few more hours of sleep when a noise stopped him. He pulled out his wand and began slowly searching the common room. He heard the noise again and turned to the staircase to see Hermione staring wide eyes at him. "You scared me," he said lowering his wand.
"Sorry." she said softly and walked down the rest of the stairs. "I couldn't sleep so I though I could get some more studying done." She said holding up a large potions book.
"I was just going to go back to bed." Harry said looking at her. She hadn't been sleeping well. Over the last few months he had noticed the large dark bags that had taken permanent residence under her eyes.
"Oh." Hermione said looking down at the floor. Harry heard the disappointment in her voice.
"Hermione?" She looked up at him. He was tired as well; it must have been another nightmare. Ron had told her at the beginning of the year his nightmares had been getting worse. "I can stay down here a while longer if you want some company."
"No it's okay, Harry." she said softly.
"You look tired, you should try to get some more sleep." Harry dropped back down on the couch. "I probably won't get back to sleep, and if I do..." he said not finishing his sentence. There wasn't any point. She wouldn't care.
"Are they bad?" She asked sitting down on the couch next to him.
"It doesn't matter."
"Yes it does, Harry. I've been worried about you."
"You sure have a funny way of showing it." He said sarcastically. Hermione closed her eyes. Harry could see that the last comment had hurt her, but he didn't care. She was always the one person who was there for him, and she hadn't been lately. She hadn't notice his silent pleads for her help.
"What would you have done if I had showed that I was worried about you, Harry? Yelled at me like you have to everyone else?" She said standing up from the couch and glaring down at him. "You made Ginny cry yesterday. All she wanted to know is if you where going to be coming to The Burrow after graduation."
Harry glared back at her. "Then she should have just asked, and not started asking me about why I wasn't playing quidditch."
"She just wants to help, Harry." she said folding her arms across her chest.
"Well, maybe I don't want her help! Maybe the one person I've wanted help from has pretty much ignored me since last year." He said staring directly into her brown eyes. Hermione's eyes grew wide, and began to fill with tears.
"Me?" she asked. "You've wanted me to help you?"
"Why do you think I've been spending so much time in the library? I've been hoping you would see me sitting there and talk to me, ask if I needed help, or just once sit down at the same table with me. But I've gotten nothing from you. You started acting I wasn't even alive anymore. You just buried yourself in your bloody books." He said racking his hands through his hair, realizing if he kept shouting like this the whole house of Gryffindor would wake up soon. "Maybe if you took your nose out of the books you would have noticed that I needed you. Do you even know that I am not playing quidditch anymore? I stopped going to my occulmancy lessons too. What about the DA? Did you even care that I stopped it? I could of shot a flare in the air that said 'I need your help' and your wouldn't have noticed." Tears were falling heavily down Hermione's face.
" I did notice." She said. "When you stopped the DA I was furious. I stormed into Dumbledore's office hoping he would get you to start it again, but he didn't. He said that it was to much pressure for you and you had more important things to concentrate on." She said taking a seat back down on the couch. "I knew about quidditch too. I was shocked that you quit the team right before the match against Slytherin. I don't know why you did, but it was probably the stupidest thing you have done Harry. You love that game."
"Things change, Hermione. Why doesn't anyone realize this?" Harry said looking back at the flames in the fire.
"You're right, you did change." Harry's head snapped up and looked at Hermione. "Don't give me that look, Harry. You know you have. So have I, it's a part of life." she said and placed her hand gently on his arm. " I didn't know you stopped your lessons with Snape either."
"They don't work. Nothing he has taught me has. Voldemort still breaks into my mind."
"Then we will find another way."
"It doesn't matter anymore," he said softly looking up at her. "My time here is almost up."
"Don't say that." She said tightening her grip on his arm. "You still have your whole life ahead of you."
"You heard the prophecy, Hermione. You know what I have to do."
"I know Harry," she said as she rubbed her thumb over his skin. "You are going to defeat him, then you can live in peace."
Harry pulled his arm away from her. "Damn it, Hermione" he yelled. "There is no point! I have nothing to live for. I have no one, and the people I care for don't give a bloody hell what I do anymore. I've pushed everyone away. I'm all alone!"
"Harry James Potter!" Hermione yelled at him. "Are you really that stupid! Do you think that no one cares for you?"
"Why should they?" He yelled back.
"I don't understand you Harry!" Hermione yelled jumping up from the couch and began pacing in front of him, "Just a minute ago you wanted my help, and now you are trying to push me away again! Let me help you! I want to be with you in the end, I will be with you at the end."
"No you won't." he said. His green eyes watching her move back and forth across the room. "I need to have all my attention on Voldemort, I can't be out there worrying about you." "I will be fine Harry. I can protect myself."
"There is no point in telling me what to do. I will do what I want, and what I want to do is be there for you when you need someone. You will need someone with you Harry and whether you like it or not it will be me."
"This is for me to do, Hermione. I am the chosen one, not you. This is my fight, if I want to or not I have to do this." Harry said and stood up from the couch and walked to the stairs. He turned around to see Hermione staring at the fire. "I can't lose you." He said softly and turned and walked back up to the boys' dormitory.