At night, she dreams. They are dreams of feet on stairs that shake the house until she feels it will come down around her ears, cheerful impermanence and worn things with patches where someone else's name has been removed first. Sometimes she is back at that table and feeling so small next to the flaming red of the twins' heads, the exuberance of their fights, the mock wrestling of Bill and Charlie. She is always five, watching the Hogwarts Express pull away, leaving her on the platform, inside.
Somehow the glow evaporated between those days and her own time to step on the train, the golden shine of dreams realized sucked into the ink of her diary. She burns her letters. Even her diary betrayed her in the end. Harry is still too new and strange for her psyche to grasp, save for the night her dream showed his green eyes going black with a red glitter at the center. That was the night she put on a robe with shaking hands and stared out over the rooftops of London, until dawn came in like a Patronus, glittering ruddy light, and she could sleep again.
Sometimes the dreams are of what was, and what could have been. In her last year of school, she learned more about curses than she ever wanted to, all of it outside the classroom. She can remove hexes in her sleep. During some parts of That Year, she did. She has eaten so much chocolate it nauseates her to think about it, but what else is there? There are childhood memories of her mother whispering of weariness beyond fatigue late at night, not knowing her daughter listened, thinking she would not understand if she did. Like her mother, she goes on, because stopping is worse.
But sometimes there are dreams now of the good times. Bill swings her up on his shoulders and shows her the bird's nest in the tree outside, lets his sister fall asleep in his lap when they are all gathered round the radio, listening to the late news. Her mother re-enchants the bathtub so it doesn't leak while Ginny undresses, and they talk about everything and nothing, and the things that really matter, sometimes without words. And there are dreams of being grown up, of laughter and long, sweet loving, the moments over breakfast where their eyes meet with a smile, the times Harry smiles at her, moves to trap her against the kitchen counter with laughter and kisses, impertinent hands and naughty puns.
She shifts in her sleep, and her brow furrows. Blindly, her hand reaches for his.
At night, he dreams. They sleep with a light on because he says he spent long enough in the dark. His voice hadn't shaken then, he thought. He hoped. He sleeps coiled taut like a cat, ready to waken, hand on his wand. He has hexed the alarm clock so many times that it has become a joke between them, but one with little sharp teeth of truth. He knows the war isn't over in his mind. His dreams are of darkness and harsh voices yelling. They are of chill smiles and cutting comments that make him quiver with impotent rage. They are of green flashes and Sirius falling, always falling, of standing and watching it all fall apart. He shivers in his sleep, calling out, and she strokes him back to sleep with words and tenderness. He dreams of cold laughter, and pain that wakes his body, shivering in the memory. These are the nights he rises and showers to wash the memory of pain from his muscles, the sweat of fear from his skin. These are the nights he remains awake and sees in the dawn.
But sometimes his dreams are of flying, and he relaxes, smiling faintly. In his dreams, the wind whips his hair, and the Snitch is almost within his grasp. He shoulders Malfoy out of the way and grabs it, and the cheer that goes up is intoxicating. He loops the field in pure triumphant joy. Sometimes they are of laughter round a dinner table where the love makes up for the patches. Ron elbows him and the twins eye him with impish ideas rising behind their eyes, and Molly's brisk hug warms places that have been cold too long. They are of warm nights in the common room as a boy, warm evenings in his flat as an adult with Ginny laughing breathless on his lap as he tickles her, tickle turning serious as they kiss. When she lets her hair loose, she is enveloped in flame, and she burns his darkness away.
Her hand reaches for him, and, mostly asleep, he turns towards her, clasps her hand with his, draws her close. The night moves on. They are not alone.
Author's Note: A dream itself is but a shadow. Hamlet. Act ii. Sc. 2.