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Stories from the Vault
The Phoenix Reborn - Chapter 5a - Deja vu all over again
Déjà vu all over again
Friends may come and friends may go, but enemies stay for the late show.
L. Norman, I shall survive
She’d been engaged in a silly discussion with Harry when she’d fallen asleep. She slipped into a fretting consciousness several times that night with the niggling sense that something was amiss. She wasn’t sleeping in her room, she was still in her clothes, but it was good to be asleep and she was happy about something, if she could just remember what it was that she was happy about. A voice cried out, but she couldn’t piece together enough energy to figure out who or what, if anything, she needed to do. The sound of Meghan cursing was the next thing to reach her mind.
“Blast it, James, the bleeding chair is not supposed to be here. Bugger all! You’re not James,” Meghan exclaimed as she pushed a sleep mask to the top of her head.
“Meghan, what’s wrong?” Hermione asked as she sat up. With a bit of effort, she was lucid again.
“It’s James; he’s winding up to another of his nightmares. So, where is he?” she asked.
“He said something about sleeping on the couch,” Hermione muttered.
“Oh, right, well, come on then, let me show you what needs to be done,” Meghan said, turning to leave the room in the dark. Hermione ignited her wand with a quiet Lumos. “Thanks,” Meghan said, “that must come in handy.”
Hermione followed after her new acquaintance, noting the very tight, very cropped tee shirt and the thin sleep trousers that had to be held up with one hand to prevent them from falling off of her shapely hips. Meghan stopped before the couch, watching Harry, who was tangled in the covers, muttering indistinctly.
“James, luv, you need to roll over,” Meghan crooned as she kneeled by the bed. When this didn’t gain any response, she pushed on shoulder and hip, forcing him onto his back.
“Why roll him over?” Hermione asked curiously.
“Sometimes if I kiss his scar, I can stop the nightmare in its tracks. It’s always worth a try. James, luv, you’re okay now,” she whispered, pressing her lips to his forehead.
“Ginny, don’t be dead,” Harry moaned in his sleep.
“Oh, shite! Not this one,” Meghan exclaimed. “He goes on and on in that snarly language in this dream. Well, get in,” she said to Hermione.
“I beg your pardon?” Hermione said.
“Do you want to help or not? He spoons best on his left side; either get in bed with him or move out of the way,” she said.
“I can’t do that,” Hermione protested.
“Look do you love him or not? I owe him. I suspect that you do too,” Meghan said.
“I – I’m not ready,” Hermione whispered.
“Then move aside.”
Harry was thrashing again, the sibilant, hissing sound of Parseltongue passing over his lips. Meghan lifted the covers and slid into bed, rolling Harry to his side before she pressed herself against him. Harry coughed once, took a deep breath and was then still, returning to a semblance of normal sleep.
“Shh, James, you’re fine. Meggy’s here,” she murmured as she slid her sleep mask down over her eyes.
“Nox,” Hermione whispered, extinguishing her wand.
She returned to Harry’s room where she sat in darkness for an hour before changing into her nightgown and slipping under the covers. She didn’t sleep well.
She woke at dawn, wandering to the kitchen for a drink of water. On the way back to bed, she glanced at the figures entwined on the bed. Their positions had reversed; Harry was holding Meghan, who appeared to be the picture of contentment, a small smile gracing her lips.
“It’s not about sex, it’s about comfort,” she thought to herself.
She woke to the smell of coffee; a bittersweet memory as her Mum and Dad had been coffee drinkers, but they were both gone now. Breakfast at the Burrow with Molly always started with tea.
“Morning,” Harry said weakly with a froggy voice.
Hermione didn’t say anything in reply, slipping up next to him and squeezing him with a warm hug.
“Miss me, did you?” he asked with a laugh.
“You have no idea,” she said.
“So, you saw the arrangement this morning?” he asked.
“Yeah, it looked sweet, actually,” Hermione answered.
An alarm began to beep in the distance of the flat. “Well, it’s time for Meggy to get up. She needs to keep to a rather strict schedule otherwise her chemistry gets out of whack,” he said.
“Does her condition have a name?” Hermione asked.
Meghan sat up and stretched, pushing her sleep mask back to the top of her head. “Bipolar disorder,” she said. “Bloody pain in the arse is what I call it,” she muttered, holding up her sleep trousers as she padded back to her bedroom. The sound of running water announced that she’d begun the first shower of the day.
“Eggs and toast?” Harry asked.
“That would be lovely,” Hermione said absently.
“Crack me ten eggs, will you?” he asked, sliding the egg carton towards her as he put fresh water in the kettle.
Meghan joined them later, her hair wrapped turban style with a bath towel. “Urgh, I just barely have enough time to eat before I go downstairs and open up,” she said. Looking to Hermione, she asked, “sleep well?”
“Not particularly,” Hermione admitted.
“I’m like my dear departed Dad, I can get back to sleep in a wink. It’s stood me in good stead over the years, especially after falling in with this lug. Lord, I’m going to miss you, James,” she sighed.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“Well, you are going back with her, aren’t you?” Meghan asked.
“Only for a day or two. I need to pay my regards to an old friend.”
“Still, I’m going to miss you,” she said.
“I’ll be right back,” he protested.
“Don’t be a fool, James. You were born for things greater than running a hardware store,” she said.
“Nothing wrong with running a hardware store,” he replied.
Meghan pushed the last scrap of toast in her mouth before she unwrapped her hair, trying to comb out the tangles. Hermione volunteered to assist with a simple grooming and drying charm, which delighted Meghan, who exclaimed her thanks as she passed out the door and down the stairwell.
“Tough commute?” Hermione asked with a smirk.
“Well, there are certain amenities living here,” he said.
“Including the one that just walked out the door?” she asked.
“Jealousy does not become you, Miss Granger,” he said quietly.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t sleep well last night,” she said, pouring another cup of tea.
“You were sleeping just fine when I left you on my bed,” he said with a smirk.
“Yeah, but I woke up when Meghan came to help. So, how bad are they?” she asked.
“Pretty bad – but it’s not every night. October and June are the worst, of course,” he said.
“Getting any help for it?” Hermione asked.
“Meghan helps,” he said firmly.
“Is she anything more than a comely plaster? She’s got it bad for you, you know,” she said gravely.
“You two discuss it?” he asked.
“Not in so many words, but it did come up,” she admitted.
Harry took breakfast dishes from the table to the sink, rinsing them before placing them into the dishwasher. “I can’t give her what she wants,” he said.
“She’s grateful for what she gets,” Hermione countered.
“That still doesn’t make it right,” Harry said.
“Just stop it, Harry,” Hermione snapped. “You’re not responsible for every one and every thing. She says that she was a messed up little bint when you found her, and thanks to you she’s alive, functioning and not trying to kill herself any more.”
“I suppose so, but I still feel bad about it,” he said. “So, changing the subject – what do you say we drive your rental back to the airport and then take a drive to Ottery St. Catchpole after lunch?”
“That would be lovely. Where should I shower?” she asked.
“Meghan’s room has its own shower – stocked with all that girly stuff,” Harry said
“Good enough,” Hermione said, taking a long pull from her tea cup.