Harry flung himself to a sitting position gasping for breath. After a moment he was finally able to slow his breathing and then take a couple really deep breaths. Looking around he realized he was back in his bed at the Dursleys. Slowly he lowered his face into his hands and rubbed his eyes and forehead. His hands came away moist with sweat. As silently as he could he swung his legs over the side of the bed and reached for his glasses. The clock came into focus and read 2:00 A.M.
"Wonderful," he muttered. "Time enough for more dreams."
He slowly slid from the bed and made his way to the door, listening closely for any sounds that might indicate he was not the only one awake. He could just make out his uncle's and cousin's snoring so he continued down the hall and into the bathroom. He turned the cold tap on at the sink and winced as it squeaked loudly but the snoring continued. Harry removed his glasses and began to splash the cool water on his face. It helped a bit but not much. Depending on how he considered them, the dreams were either getting worse or better.
It was now the morning of July 30th. When he had first arrived back at Privet Drive, the nightmares had been horrendous. Hodgepodges of two-faced Quirrells, frozen Hermiones, giant spiders, even larger basilisks, dead Ginnys, live Riddles, hideous dementors, snarling werewolves eating Ron, huge Horntail dragons, drowned Hermiones and Rons, giant blast-ended skrewts, dead Cedrics, murderous Moodys, and, of course, evil Voldemorts in all the forms Harry had dealt with him thus far. Harry was near exhaustion after the first few weeks of the summer break. The sleep during the nightmares was certainly not restful and his reluctance to re-visit the horrors each night meant he tried not to sleep at all.
Fear for his sanity, his health, and his uncle's complaints about his screaming in the middle of the night finally caused him to break down and send Madam Pomfrey an owl for some confidential help. She had replied with seven Dreamless Sleep draughts of varying strength. Harry was to start with the strongest and wean his way off the medication. It seemed to do the trick as the rest allowed him to recover his strength and stop the vicious cycle he seemed to be locked into. On the eighth night, he had a wonderful potionless sleep and a rather pleasant dream about The Burrow.
That had been several weeks ago. His dreams had since taken an altogether different turn. At first, he had suspected that the potion had affected him in an unexpected manner and had sent Hedwig back to Madam Pomfrey with his concerns. She replied quickly and assured Harry that any such dreams were not the result of magical elixirs but most likely the product of a normal, healthy teenager's hormones.
Harry had blushed furiously upon reading that letter. Normal?! Over the past few weeks he had snogged and/or shagged half the female population of Hogwarts. Yes, only in his dreams but still… normal?!
He splashed more cold water on his face and then turned the tap off. He dried his hands and face on the hand towel hanging near the sink and hoped that his aunt would not notice that it had been used in the morning. Putting his glasses back on, he returned to his room, again removed his glasses, and climbed back into bed.
Lying back, he put his hands behind his head and stared up at the darkened, fuzzy ceiling. This last dream had been another about Hermione. For some reason, whenever he had one about her, it always involved food. Hermione and butterscotch pudding. Hermione and lime jello. Hermione and peanut butter chocolate crunch ice cream. Hermione and honey. Honey being the featured foodstuff in this night's adventure. Hermione had offered him some in the Great Hall during breakfast for his oatmeal. He had declined but then she smiled and offered it for use with anything else. Her tone had implied ANYTHING else and he had taken her up on it. Harry felt a flood of guilt as he recalled the events in the dream following that point. The ones about Hermione weren't the ones that concerned him the most but they were right near the top. She was his friend, one of his two best friends, and he really did not think of her in "that way," at least when he was awake. Besides, his other best friend would certainly kill him if Harry did start thinking of her in "that way." Harry chuckled at the vision of Ron pummeling him to a bloody pulp while the redhead yelled at the top of his voice that he didn't like Hermione "that way" either but he was still going to kick Harry's arse just because.
Besides Hermione and food, there were other reoccurring dream themes as well. The Patil twins would insist that they weren't totally identical and demand that Harry decide which one was a better kisser. The female members of the Gryffindor Quidditch team would drag him into the showers after a match and insist on help with washing up and whatever else came to their filthy minds. Lavender and Parvati would predict certain things in Divination and then help them come to pass in his dorm room behind the closed curtains of his bed. Thankfully, his hormones seemed to have some mercy and had not (yet) dragged Cho Chang into their seedy meanderings. Harry really didn't think he could handle the guilt of that particular fantasy tryst.
By far though, his most common dream partner was Ginny. It was this pairing that concerned him the most and it concerned him the most because of how much he looked forward to the dreams with her. Yes, he had to admit that he enjoyed the others as well but they were usually followed by some feelings of guilt and emptiness. Maybe there was a twinge of guilt with Ginny too but there was no emptiness, it just felt too right. His Ginny dreams sometimes became as steamy as the dreams he had with the other girls but there was always more to them than the sexual content. They talked and laughed and had great fun as well as snogging each other silly. He had wondered since starting to dream about her if she were that easy to be with in real life. He flashed again on Ron's fist connecting with his face repeatedly if he dared to try and find out. With a sigh, he decided to relax and concentrate on Ginny's face so that maybe he would dream about her for the rest of the night.
He chuckled and whispered to the night, "No offense Hermione. I just don't really care for honey, no matter how naughtily it's served. Perhaps Ginny and I watching clouds go by in a hammock at the Burrow? That'd be just the thing."
Unfortunately, what he got was a naked Pansy Parkinson chasing him around the Potions classroom claiming she could speak parseltongue too and would prove it by making his snake do all sorts of nasty little tricks. Just before she caught him, Harry was awakened by someone kicking the foot of his bed repeatedly and yelling for him to get up and make breakfast. Dudley was quite shocked when instead of giving him any sort of protest, Harry hugged and thanked him profusely before grabbing his robe and glasses and running down to the kitchen.