Chapter 2 : Dreams
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Harry sat up straight, covered in sweat. His comforter was lying on the ground, as were most of his sheets. His hand flew to his burning forehead, and he grit his teeth to the mind-numbing pain.
"Harry! Harry, you all right?"
Groggily, he reached for his glasses and put them on. Hermione leaned over him, feeling his forehead.
"You're burning up," she muttered. She turned away and started rummaging through her bag.
"What are you doing up, Herm? It's the middle of the night. And what are you doing in my room?"
"Seeing as it's my house, it's more my room." She sent him a small smile as she turned back around.
He rolled his eyes. "All right, but why are you in here? You should be sleeping."
Whatever Harry'd thought to say went out the window as Hermione pressed a damp rag to his forehead, and he jumped back.
"Hold still, will you?"
"Merlin, Hermione, what's on that?"
"Stop being such a baby."
Harry pushed her hand away and sat up a little straighter in bed. "Hermione, you know what this is, and nothing in that bag of yours is going to fix it."
Relenting, Hermione set the rag on the bedside table. "And here I am complaining about nightmares."
Harry forced a small smile. "I'm fine, really. I'm used to it."
Hermione frowned, her I-don't-believe-you-for-a-second frown, but didn't press the point. "What was it this time?"
"Something about a prophecy." Harry furrowed his eyebrows. He couldn't remember much of this one. It was something important, that was sure, but he'd only caught glimpses.
"The prophecy about you?"
"No, this was a new one. One just about him, I think. Anyway, it didn't have anything to do with me."
Hermione bit her lip like she always did when she thought. "That doesn't sound good. Is it at the ministry? Ron and I could—"
"No," Harry said quickly.
"But Harry, it's not safe for you yet, and we want to help—"
"No. Absolutely not. Besides, it's not at the ministry, and I don't think it ever will be. Voldemort killed the clairvoyant that had it."
The young witch sighed. "Great. Another mystery for us to unravel."
Harry took her hand and squeezed it. "We can do it. Aren't you the one always saying that?"
"Yes. But it seems like every day something gets added to the pile of things we have to overcome."
"You got me out of Privet Drive without incident. Isn't that an accomplishment?"
She chuckled slightly. "If you say so."
"And you're sure we're safe here?"
"The Death Eaters would never think to look in a muggle neighborhood to find you. Mum and Dad don't suspect a thing, so no reason to worry about them. And all our neighbors are elderly—even if they wanted to talk about me having visitors, they wouldn't have anyone to talk to. On top of it, the Order's put up plenty of protection spells."
Harry smirked. "Very thorough, Miss Granger. Ten points to Gryffindor."
Hermione laughed half-heartedly. The two of them fell into silence. After a moment, she sighed.
"I can't believe we're not going back this year."
Harry looked out the window. He couldn't believe it either, but it wouldn't be the Hogwarts they'd always known, anyway. Not without Dumbledore.
It was time to change the subject.
"So, why are you in here, Hermione?" Harry raised one eyebrow.
"You were just watching me while I slept? That's a tad creepy."
Hermione's lips quivered into a small smile. "It would be, wouldn't it?"
"So what's the reason?"
She shifted her position. "I was on my way to the kitchen to get a glass of water, and I heard you talking in your sleep. I wanted to make sure you were okay."
"What was I saying?"
"I'm not sure. I think you were speaking parseltongue."
She winced a bit. Harry frowned and leaned closer to her.
"Hermione, what's your nightmare about?"
"Oh, nothing. It's not important anyway."
"You've been having the same one for weeks now." Harry squeezed her hand again. "Tell me."
Hermione ran her fingers through her hair and sighed. "There's—a snake. It wraps itself around me, so tight I can't breathe. And when it speaks, it—I understand it."
"It speaks English?"
"No, but I know what it's saying."
"And what is it saying?"
Hermione stood and pulled her hand out of Harry's grasp. "I think you should get back to sleep."
"You need your rest." She sent him a shaky smile. "Especially with Ron and Gin coming tomorrow."
Harry groaned and lay back down. "I really wish you hadn't invited her."
"I didn't. She invited herself."
Harry groaned again. Hermione laughed as she left the room. There was no way to stop that girl from doing whatever she wanted. She just hoped that when she, Harry, and Ron left to look for horcruxes, they would somehow be able to leave her behind.
Ron. The smile on her face subsided as she grabbed a glass of water. She couldn't wait to see him, but the thought of it made her want to vomit. For the first time in what seemed like forever, they were both unattached—she broke things off for good with Viktor over a year ago, and Lavender was no longer in the picture.
But she knew that if she didn't act now, she would miss her chance.
Don't think about it, she thought, furious with herself. You can't even do anything until he gets here, so what's the point in torturing yourself?
Restless, she climbed back into bed and closed her eyes. Soon, she was back in that same, dark room. Hissing came from somewhere in the darkness. Hermione spun this way and that, searching for the source of the noise. She reached for her wand, but it wasn't there. Without warning, something pulled her legs out from under her, and she landed flat on her back. The snake slithered toward her.
"No!" she stammered. "Get away from me—"
No matter what she did, she couldn't keep the snake from wrapping itself around her, constricting her. She struggled until she couldn't breathe. The snake's tongue flicked her ear, and she shook as it spoke.
"You will win this war for me, Hermione Granger. Because of you, all your friends, everyone you care about, will die."
A/N: I really appreciate feedback! Please review! :)
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