Sleepless Nights

Disclaimer: Do not own Harry Potter series

A/N: Hey all, I know this is a total departure from my normal stories, but the idea hit me a while ago and I couldn't let it go. Basically a trio one-shot.

Year 7: Shell Cottage

Harry's POV:

I woke up with a start, panting heavily. I was covered in sweat and my shirt was glued to my chest. Rubbing a hand over my face I felt the remnants of tears. It was just a dream, I told myself, a stupid dream.

"Harry?" a voice whispered out of the darkness.

I jumped, hands flying for my wand and glasses before a hand came to rest on my shoulder softly with a voice I knew all too well saying, "Calm down Harry, it's just me, Ron."

I instantly relaxed, putting my glasses on and trying to give Ron an apologetic smile, but it came out more as a grimace. Ron nodded at me while taking a seat on the couch next to me. The moonlight hit his face and I noticed how pale he looked. His face was covered in sweat and tears like mine.

We gave each other a look of understanding before standing up and heading upstairs to the girl's room. Maybe it was the fact that we'd been friends for so long, or the many months we had spent alone together, but no matter the cause we both knew that at this moment Hermione needed us and we needed her.

Climbing up the stairs as quietly as we could so as not to wake anyone, we slowly opened the door to the girl's room. Looking in we were unsurprised to find Hermione sitting up in her bed with her arms wrapped around herself. Luna was sitting on the bed with her, patting her shoulder in comfort when they noticed us. Hermione hastily wiped at her tears as Luna gave us a knowing smile.

"I have a sudden urge to go sleep downstairs tonight. It was so thoughtful of you boys to give me your couch. Good night," she said airily before wandering out.

Ron and I gave each other bewildered looks before going to sit on the bed with Hermione. We each took one of her hands into our own, and gave her all the comfort we could.

I could see the faint cut on her neck where Bellatrix had held a knife to her, and looking at her forearm I could see the bandage covering the word, the word that would forever be there as a reminder of what happened. Tears prickled my eyes at the thought. This wasn't fair, this wasn't supposed to happen, I thought angrily. It's me that's supposed to get hurt, me that's supposed to get tortured! Maybe it's the Gryffindor in me, but Hermione was never supposed to suffer this kind of pain. Ron and I were supposed to protect her from this kind of thing, but we had failed. I had failed.

A sudden upsurge of sorrow struck me, and I could not help the silent tears that coursed down my cheeks. What the hell have I been doing? I thought angrily. I've dragged my two best friends, my brother and sister through hell and back, and all we have to show for it is one dead horcrux and too many scars to count. I felt arms wrap around me and I tried to resist but they did not relent. Giving in, I just let it all out.

I cried for the unfairness of it all. Here we were, three seventeen year old kids trying to save the world, and if I had to admit it to myself, we were losing. The impossible lay before us. Breaking into Gringotts to steal Hufflepuff's cup from Bellatrix Lestrange's high security vault was only the start of it. We still had to figure out what the last two horcruxes were, and if we were right, one of them was Nagini and there was no way we would ever be able to get anywhere near the damn snake as she was always by Voldemort's side. And if by some miracle the horcruxes were destroyed, I still had a prophecy to fulfill. Neither can live while the other survives.

It's not fair, I thought in anger, clenching my fists. I don't want to do this anymore, but I'm the only one that can defeat him. Why? What did I do to deserve such a fate? No more did I want to risk my friends' lives. No more did I even want to fight for my own. I just wanted to be normal. I just wanted to crawl into a hole and wait for it all to end. But I knew it never would because I was the bloody Boy-Who-Lived; I was a marked man.

Ron's POV:

I held onto both my friends as we all cried. I couldn't believe the mess we had gotten ourselves into. I had been so naive before to think we would make it through this war unscathed.

I had been so utterly stupid before to have abandoned my friends when they needed me the most because of my petty jealousy and insecurities. I'm so grateful that they accepted me back, but I will never be able to forgive myself. I'm a failure of a friend to them. I should've done more. I should've tried more to help rather than just relying on Harry and Hermione to figure everything out. This wasn't fair. Life was just so unfair to us.

Poor Hermione, I thought despondently as my heart clenched. Her screams will forever be echoing in my mind, and her scar will forever be ingrained. I clenched my fists as a surge of fury coursed through me. Fury at Bellatrix, fury at the Malfoys, fury at Voldemort and all his fucking deatheaters, and fury at Dumbledore for leaving us this impossible mission.

How the bloody hell did he figure we could do this? How the bloody hell did he envision three seventeen year olds saving the bloody world? It's just not fair!

It was all too much, the expectations and the fear at what lay ahead. We had been given an impossible task, and I could see no way out. I wanted to turn my back on it all, but I know I would never forgive myself if I did. I would stand by Harry and Hermione's side to the very end, even if that end meant our deaths.

I hugged my best friends even tighter, giving and taking all the comfort I could.

Hermione's POV:

My boys, I thought while I cried, my poor boys. I could feel their heartache as surely as they could feel mine. I remembered their yells as Bellatrix tortured me, and those yells will forever echo in my mind. I will never forget the looks in their eyes when they saw the damage that bitch had caused.

It isn't fair, it isn't fair at all! What are we doing? Who are we to kid ourselves into thinking we can do this alone? I don't think I can take this anymore. The constant stress of what to do next, and the constant fear that tomorrow could be our last. It was too much for us. It was too much for me. I may be the smartest witch of my age, but that means nothing when you're up against Voldemort and the murderous raving lunatics he calls his followers. I mean we haven't even finished our schooling and here we are trying to save the world. It's too much for anyone to handle, let alone three seventeen year olds.

I feel so helpless and so useless. I don't know what to do anymore. I have no idea how we're going to find a way into Gringotts, and I have no idea how we're going to locate and destroy the other horcruxes since we don't even know what they are. Oh how I miss the days where my biggest worry was completing Snape's impossible essays.

I shake my head. Thinking back now I realize my biggest worries were never so trivial. I have always been worried about Voldemort and Harry and Ron.

Slowly we all begin to get ourselves under control, and when we let go we give each other knowing looks. Just as we knew what the other was feeling, so did we know what the other was thinking, and I knew that at this moment we had all been thinking along the same lines. We were all feeling lost and alone. We were all feeling overwhelmed with the impossible task that lay before us.

I wiped at my eyes, noticing the boys doing the same. I stopped when I heard Ron give a soft chuckle. What could possibly be funny at a time like this, I thought.

"D'you remember first year?" he asked hoarsely. "Do you remember our last night of first year?" he continues when we both gave him blank looks.

Oh, I thought in dawning realization. I chuckle softly, hearing Harry do the same. We look at each other with the same knowing looks augmented with wistful smiles.

First year seemed like so long ago, but I remember that night like it was yesterday. It was one of the greatest nights of my life, and a night that changed my life forever.

Looking at my best friends, I say "I feel 11 years old again."

They nod in agreement with Harry chiming in, "I feel like it's the first time I've seen Voldemort, and that I've just realized that there will always be someone out there who wants me dead." He sighs, running a hand through his unruly hair.

"Thinks were so much simpler then," Ron says softly.

I nod, lost in the memories. I allow the memories to wash over me, and feel as though I've been transported to the Gryffindor Common Room the last night of my first year.

Flashback: Year 1 Gryffindor Common Room

Hermione's POV:

I sat, huddled by the fire with my arms wrapped around myself. I had just woken from a nightmare, and had come down to clear my head. The nightmare had been so horrible, and so real. In my nightmare Ron had been killed by the Queen chess piece, and Voldemort and killed Harry.

I hastily wiped at the tears that were threatening to fall. They were my best friends and I had come so close to losing them both. I had never had friends before, in fact, I thought I didn't need them. But now that I've had friends, I could never see myself living without them. We've been through so much this year, and I love them. I sit up, shocked by my thoughts. It's true though. I love them both, and could not bear losing either one of them.

Tears fell from my eyes once more, and I let them fall.

All of a sudden I felt two people taking my hands in there's and I nearly jumped out of my skin.

"It's just us Hermione, Ron and Harry," Ron's soft voice whispered.

I looked at them, embarrassed to have been caught crying. However, that embarrassment quickly left when I looked into their pale faces, both shining with the remnants of tears. I knew at that moment that it was not just I who had suffered from a nightmare, but them as well. We gave each other knowing looks, and sheepish smiles.

Harry's POV:

I rubbed Hermione's hand comfortingly, inwardly hurting at the thought of my friends' pain. Friends, what a wonderful feeling it gave me. I had never had friends before, and now I knew that I could never survive without them. Hermione and Ron were both my friends and my family. I would do anything for them.

I looked into both their pale faces and couldn't help but wish that I had gone for the stone alone. How close I had come to losing them both. I remembered the way my heart had stopped beating when Ron was struck with the Queen. I remembered the way my throat constricted as Hermione and I parted ways, not knowing whether we would see each other again.

No, my friends didn't deserve to suffer like that. They deserved normal, happy lives. They shouldn't have to worry about trolls, dragons, or protecting some bloody stone from Voldemort. I shuddered as I remembered the pale white face with blood red eyes.

I looked up when I felt an arm wrap around my shoulder and saw Hermione giving me a concerned look. I tried to muster a smile, but I know it probably came out more as a grimace.

"You alright Harry?" Hermione asked in concern.

I shook her arm off me and stood up. Staring into the dying embers of the fireplace I mustered up my courage to do what needed to be done.

"You guys shouldn't be friends with me," I said in an unwavering voice. "I'm not safe, and if you continue to hang out with me I'll get you killed just like my parents," I finished in a soft whisper.

I heard nothing behind me, but I refused to turn around lest they see the tears that were threatening to fall.

"Harry Potter, you bloody arse! What are you talking about?" Ron bellowed, giving me a shove. I stumbled slightly before giving him a startled look.

"Hermione and I aren't gonna stop being your friends just because of this! Besides, you're not to blame for anything. You didn't drag us along anywhere, Harry, we were all in this together!" he yelled.

I looked at his and Hermione's glares and felt my anger rising as well. They didn't understand.

"It was my fault! Don't you see? Voldemort wants me dead! Me, not you!"I cried out, tears beginning to fall. I hastily wiped them away, trying to get myself under control. "He's never going to stop," I whispered quietly, urging them to see reason. "He will always be after me. I don't know why, but he won't stop until I'm dead, and I wouldn't be able to stand it if either one of you died because of me," I finished, finally succumbing to the tears.

Ron opened his mouth looking as though he wanted to start yelling, but then he deflated, and just fell into a chair.

Hermione looked between the two of us before coming over to me and wrapping her arms around me.

"Harry, you are our friend, and it doesn't matter what happens, but we will always be there for you," she said softly.

I shook my head at her.

"No," Ron said, getting up once more. "You don't have the right to tell us to stop being friends with you. You gave us the chance to turn around, remember?" he asked, causing my mind to wander back to right before we went through the trapdoor. I had once more told them that they could still turn back, but they had both disagreed.

"Exactly," continued Hermione. "You gave us a chance to walk away, but we both declined. We're going to be with you, through thick and thin."

"From now until the end," said Ron. "You're stuck with us Harry, so you better get used to it."

Ron's POV:

I watched as Harry sunk to the ground and put his head in his hands. Hermione and I both sat down next to him, laying a comforting hand on his shoulders.

Looking up at us, he gave us a warm smile. "You guys are the best, y'know that?"

I shrugged my shoulders, while Hermione gave him a wide smile.

Going serious, Harry then looked at us with grave eyes; eyes that no eleven year old should have.

"It's never going to end," he said. "I don't know how I know, but this is just the start of things. Things are going to get a whole lot worse before they get better. There may even be a war," he continued in the most serious voice I had ever heard.

Shivers went down my spine as I took in what he said. Looking down, I scolded myself. Buck up Weasley! Now is not the time to be a coward. You are a Gryffindor, and you're friends need you!

Looking back up at my best friends, I gave them a determined look. "Like I said before Harry, you're stuck with us. If You-Know-Who comes after you again, he's going to have to get through me first. No one messes with my friends!"

Harry gave me a hard stare before solemnly nodding his head and putting an arm around my shoulder.

Hermione looked at us with proud eyes before taking a deep breath.

"I know that things will never be easy, but I wouldn't give up this friendship for the world. We're the Golden Trio, right? And together we can do anything!" she said resolutely before putting an arm around Harry.

We hugged each other tightly, not fully realizing what had just happened; not fully realizing how momentous and critical this moment would be to us in the future.

We pulled apart, giving each other weary smiles. Despite our weariness though, our eyes shone brightly with the determination. We were determined to do the right thing, and to protect each other from harm at all costs. We would go to the ends of the earth for each other.

The air sizzled and hummed around us as we made our silent vows. Then, all of a sudden, three bright lights came out of the Gryffindor tapestry that was hung above the fireplace. We gave each other startled looks as the three lights went through each of our hearts and then intertwined in the center of our huddle. A feeling of pride, peace, and confidence spread through me, and I smiled.

Hermione's POV:

I couldn't help but smile as the light went through each one of us. This was something I had never seen nor read about, but I knew that it was good.

We shielded our eyes as the light shone even brighter, and then it was gone.

Looking into Harry and Ron's faces, I knew they had felt exactly what I had.

"I think we've just been bonded," I said in astonishment. Ron gave me a bewildered look, while Harry just smiled widely.

"What do you mean bonded?" Ron asked with wide eyes.

"It means that we're now connected somehow," I explained, hastily trying to remember anything I had read about on bonds.

"It was Hogwarts," Harry suddenly said in an awed voice.

This time it was me giving the bewildered stare as I asked, "How do you know?"

Looking at us with excitement in his eyes Harry responded, "I don't know how I know, but I'm positive it's Hogwarts. It's like she's helping us."

My eyes widened at the thought as a thrill of pleasure went through me.

"I think you're right Harry," Ron said. "I feel it too. Somethings changed about us. I feel, I dunno, closer to you guys than I was before. Does that make sense?" he asked.

I nodded my head as my smile widened. "Yes, I feel the same way."

We three just stood there, giving each other astonished, but content smiles.

As long as we stick together we are strong. As long as we stick together we can overcome any obstacle in our way.

End Flashback

Harry's POV:

I look at my friends, knowing that they too were lost in that old memory of first year.

Looking over at Ron, I was startled when a bright light came out of him and shot through Hermione before coming through me. It was like being hit with a strong dose of confidence, and I relished in the feeling.

Then another bright light shot out of me and went through Ron and then Hermione carrying with it feelings of pride. Pride in ourselves, and pride in all our accomplishments.

Finally, a bright light shot out from Hermione, hitting me before moving through Ron. I sighed in contentment at the feeling of peace. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders, and I was once more ready to take on the world.

The three balls of light intertwined before each one going came back into us.

Breathing heavily, we looked at each others bewildered faces, and we burst into laughter. I don't know why, but I suddenly felt giddy. Happiness and contentment flooded through me, and for the first time in a long while, all felt right in the world.

Voldemort still shone ahead like a dark mass, but I no longer feared nor dreaded the task I must do. I was ready, and with Ron and Hermione at my side I could accomplish anything.

Ron's POV:

I laughed heartily, ignoring Hermione's punches to shut up before I woke the whole household. I had not felt this happy in such a long while. I now knew for sure we were on the right path, and that filled me with contentment.

Guilt no longer gnawed at me as it once had. It was gone, and in its place was a fierce determination to finish what we had started nearly seven years ago. I was ready. I was ready to do what needed to be done. I was ready to fight beside Harry and Hermione to the very end.

Hermione's POV:

I finally gave up trying to shut Ron up because I too gave in to the urge to laugh out loud. The room filled with all three of ours laughter, and I couldn't care less whether we woke up the household.

There was a sense of rightness in this moment. It was a sense that we were doing the right thing, and that we would win. I no longer felt the doubt, fear, or anger. I felt relief, happiness, and determination.

I could sense that the war would be coming to a close soon, and I was ready to face it. I was ready to stand by Harry and Ron and face the impossible.

Together we were strong. Together we could conquer anything because we were the Golden Trio.