Author's Note: It was in my head, and I couldn't ignore it. I hope you enjoy. :)
James tightly closed his eyes, trying to block out the emotionally and, almost physically, painful cries coming from his son. He lifted Harry up from the crib, rubbing his back soothingly.
"It's okay," he said softly.
James moved around the room in circles while holding Harry in his arms. His son always seemed to like that. "It's okay," he repeated, but Harry had already started to calm down a bit, whimpering only every few seconds.
James put him back in the crib gently; Harry didn't protest, but when James moved away from the crib, he gave a small cry, reaching his arms up high, as though James would grab his hands from the other side of the room.
James chuckled, taking the chair from the far corner, and moving back with it to sit in front of the crib. Harry still reached his hands up above the crib from his position laying flat on his back. James helped Harry stand up reluctantly. It was Harry's favorite activity, using his father's hand to help him keep himself steady in the crib.
He giggled happily at the feeling of standing on his own, well, almost. James had to smile, though he said through gritted teeth, "You have to sleep now. Mummy won't be pleased if you're up and about."
Harry just smiled cheerfully at him, and James found he couldn't say no. "A few minutes," he said, using his free hand to quickly run his hand through his hair.
Harry reached out longingly for his other hand, trembling as he nearly lost balance. James obliged, slipping his other hand into Harry's, watching as Harry's green eyes lit up with his accomplishment: preventing himself from falling.
James let him have his fun for a while, knowing Harry wouldn't be happy when he told him play time was over, and he had to go back to sleep. James closed his eyes tightly, having no hands to rub at the tired eyes. It was close to two in the morning when Harry had woken up crying. James hadn't wanted to force his wife to get up again.
"Burroo," Harry babbled incomprehensively, but James didn't care what he was talking about. Harry looked happy, and James was too exhausted to wonder if he meant anything. There was no reason to try to figure out what he was saying.
Suddenly, he squealed excitedly, looking towards the doorway, waving at his mother. James turned around guiltily. "He wanted to stand up for a little while."
Lily walked into the room, her long pajama pants dragging as she did so. "Did he?" she asked, smiling at the boy in the crib, jumping in a way that suggested he was trying to launch himself over the bars. "Aren't you sleepy, Harry?" she asked, rolling her eyes.
"Time's up," said James, hardly wanting to spoil Harry's fun even though he knew he had to.
He wasn't sure if Harry knew what he'd said, but he definitely knew that when James started to pull his hands away, that it meant they were done. "Noo," he said sadly, one of the few words he knew well.
Harry shook his head vigorously, holding tightly to his father's hands, refusing to let go. James easily detached himself, and laid Harry down.
Lily leaned over to kiss his forehead. "'Night, love," she said tiredly.
Harry didn't look very pleased with either one of them. He turned on his side, and decided he wasn't going to look at them if they were forcing him to sleep.
Harry didn't like sleep. His parents knew that he awoke because of frightening dreams, and sometimes, like this very night, he'd reach out his hands for them, making sure they were still with him. He wouldn't relax until James or Lily took hold of one of his hands, comforting him.
It also worried his mother that Harry was never calm during his slumber. Even if he didn't have a particular nightmare, he'd toss and turn, and on occasion, he'd even shake. James had managed to convince Lily over time that it was probably nothing to worry about. It was just the only way he slept, and if Harry slept at all, which was looking to be not the case, James was content.
"I'll stay until he falls asleep," said James. "You can go back to bed."
Lily looked as if she was about to protest, but she eventually nodded. "Okay," she said, walking out of the room. "Come get me, though, if you have any trouble."
James rolled his eyes. Sometimes, Lily still didn't believe he could do things like this without her present.
James sat back down in his chair, staring through the bars at his precious son, who had turned back in his direction with an angry pout on his face. "No seep," he insisted.
James smiled knowingly. He couldn't count the number of times Harry had said that, always drifting off not a minute later.
"You have to sleep if you want to grow up nice and strong," he said, finding it difficult to keep his eyes open. "You want to, don't you?"
Harry didn't respond. He put his thumb securely in his mouth, and snuggled into the cushioning. He reached his hand through the bars once more for James. "Daaa," he whined, voice muffled by his thumb.
James, half asleep, shot his head up at the noise. Harry didn't approve of his hand being ignored. James should have known he wouldn't fall asleep without the security of James' fingers in his small, but tight, fist.
James let Harry grab two of his fingers, not unaccustomed to the feeling of Harry holding so firmly, and it didn't bother him at all. Harry liked to make sure he wouldn't leave.
James watched as Harry's eyes stayed focused on him, making sure he was still in the same chair, in the same room. They started to close as he began to doze off. "Night, Harry," said James, but he wasn't planning on moving from his chair.
Harry's eyes open wider, and his grip on his father's hand grew stronger. "No," he said softly.
"I'm staying here," he assured him, rubbing the top of Harry's hand with his thumb. "Relax."
Harry smiled at his father, closing his eyes again to rest. He felt safer with one of his parents in the room with him, as though nothing in his dreams or reality could hurt him.
When Harry's eyes finally shut completely, and his breath steadied, James was relieved. Harry's fist opened a bit, making it easy for James to pull away, but he didn't. Asleep or not, he wouldn't leave Harry alone when he was anxious.
When Harry runs around awake, he resides comfortably in his parents' loving home; no one could take him away. And when he sleeps, he lays protected; no one could cause him harm.
Author's Note: Well…yes, please review. It was rather short, but I hope you still liked it.