Fandom: Harry Potter
Word Count: 1819
Summary: ily wakes up in the night for no reason, after one such event she goes down to the common room where she finds a familiar face. From there things slowly begin to develop into something else. One-shot.
Notes: Inspired by my own lack of sleep, therefore there might be some faults caused by sleep-deprivation.
Despite having been exhausted when she went to sleep that night, Lily still found herself waking up in the middle of the night, staring up at the ceiling as if it might hold the clues as to why she was awake at this hour. Granted she wasn’t quite sure what the hour was, but since she’d gone to bed a little past twelve and it was still dark outside, she figured it was probably around four. It usually was whenever she found herself woken up in the middle of the night. Not so early that she might be able to roll over and go back to sleep, but just late enough that it would take her awhile to find sleep again and when she did the alarm usually woke her up half an hour later.
It had been an ongoing thing for a while now, waking up in the middle of the night and unable to go back to sleep. She wasn’t sure why it happened either, she didn’t wake up panting as if she’d had a nightmare, instead she just woke up. She just opened her eyes and found herself quite awake and unable to get back to sleep without tossing and turning and in the end only getting that half hour of sleep any way.
So she’d stopped trying, in the end she’d found that it was easier, in a way, to simply get up and go down to the common room even if that meant that she would be horribly tired later. Still, she felt better than she did if she got that half hour of sleep, because somehow that half hour just made everything worse and had the habit of ruining her entire day in a way that waking up at four in the morning did not.
It was also how they had begun talking, in the wee hours of the morning when the rest of Gryffindor tower was fast asleep. It had happened by pure accident that she’d gone down to the common room after deciding that she didn’t want to toss and turn, only to find him sitting in an armchair in front of an unlit fire. At first they’d barley acknowledged one another. Both had been content to sit in peace, sometimes reading, sometimes writing and sometimes just staring out into space. Then after some time had passed they had begun to greet one another with small smiles before returning to whatever seemed most interesting, or peaceful, at the time.
She hadn’t been prepared when, after coming down to the common room and finding herself sitting in the corner of the couch reading a book about charms, he suddenly turned towards her, looking at her for a long time until she felt compelled to look up at him and asked what brought her down to the common room in the middle of the night. At first she’d been reluctant to answer, after all, they hardly knew one another, despite their occasional nighttime encounters they hardly spoke during the daytime and had little, if anything, to do with one another besides their occasional meetings.
She’d told him that she couldn’t sleep, and left it at that, and he’d seemed content enough with that at first. However the next night she came down to the common room he began asking her why she couldn’t sleep, what kept her up or for that matter, woke her up? Again she’d been reluctant to answer him and had shrugged casually, saying it was nothing and besides, what was he doing up anyway? He’s shrugged and said he had thoughts that kept him up sometimes, but when she’d tried to get more out of him he’d shrugged again and gone back to his book.
Eventually it became a routine, a few times a week she’d wake up for no reason and walk down to the common room to find him sitting here and it occurred to her that he was always sitting there. He never came down after her; he was always the first one there. When she’d asked him about it he’d shrugged again and said he had a hard time sleeping. She’d arched a brow and asked him if this happened every night and judging by the silence that greeted the question, she’d decided that it probably did.
The precise reason why either of them couldn’t sleep was always something they toed carefully around, but over time they began talking about other things. Things like school, their friends, the people that weren’t their friends and their family. She’d understood then, what kept him up, even though he hadn’t specifically told her. It was something about the way he said that his mother had used to do certain things and how his father hadn’t much liked a certain Quidditch team. She wasn’t quite sure just what happened to them, but she understood one thing, he was alone and the thing that kept him up at night was his memories.
It was odd really, that she knew so little about him. They’d gone to school together for six years, never friends, but never unfriendly either, at least not until he began to taunt her friend. But then, last year, the incident had happened and she’d lost that friend and when she came back to school after the summer, he no longer tried to ask her out and spent most of his time with his friends, still pulling pranks, but no longer laughing as loudly or as lively as he once had.
She hadn’t understood then, didn’t really want to understand either she supposed, but after they began meeting in the common room, she’d begun to realize what had happened over break but she’d also begun to realize how little she knew about any of her housemates. After all, most of her friends weren’t in Gryffindor. It wasn’t a conscious choice on her part, it had just happened, but she’d never realized just how alienated she was from her housemates until she began talking to him in the middle of the night. That was when she understood.
She didn’t tell him she knew, wasn’t sure if she even needed to, but it felt wrong somehow to be the one to bring it up when he hadn’t done so himself. So they kept meeting, kept talking, but always toed around the reason why she was up at night.
At least they had, until one night when she’d woken up again, but this time it actually was a nightmare that jolted her out of sleep and not her simply waking up for no reason. She’d gone down to the common room and unsurprisingly found him there, what was surprising though was that after she’d sat down on the couch, in the corner, like she always did, and he had gotten up from the armchair and walked over to her. And he’d sat down in front of her and watched her for a moment, and she’d watched him too, and then he’d reached out a hand and wiped it gently over her cheek and it was only then she realized that she was crying. It was also then she realized that he understood too, even if she hadn’t said anything.
From that point forward, something changed, she wasn’t sure what, but it felt as though they’d crossed an invisible line because suddenly they began talking during the daytime too. Something they’d never done before and something that had surprised everyone when it happened. He’d simply asked her to pass him the orange juice, she’d done so and asked how he’d slept and from that point on it became more and more usual for them to speak during the daytime until it became quite natural.
They still met during the night though, they still found themselves unable to sleep and it was during the night that they began talking about the scarier things. Things like the war, things like death, like grief and like love, and all the things that seemed to heavy and dark during the daytime they talked about during the night. She told him about her deepest fears and it never even occurred to her that it was something she’d never told anyone else, he’d talked about his deepest desires and she knew he hadn’t told anyone about them before either.
Nighttime became their time and where they’d previously returned to their rooms when the sun began to rise, they now stayed in the common room and talked and talked and Lily felt quite certain she’d never talked so much with anyone in her life, not even her best friends.
It was also how the others in Gryffindor had slowly become accustomed to finding the two sleeping on the couch. Him on his back and she in her corner at first, but eventually they began finding him sleeping on his back with his arm draped around her as she rested her head on his chest and slept. And unbeknownst to both of them at first, his friends would gather a blanket from the dormitory before they went down for breakfast where they’d bring two plates back up to the common room so that they could both eat. She’d wake up because she could hear his stomach grumbling and he’d wake up because he could smell the food on the coffee table. And then they would eat and eventually they’d both return to their respective dormitories and they’d begin with their daytime talking again. However they both knew that once nighttime arrived, that was when they would be doing their proper talking.
And so it was that when Lily found herself awake once again, she only spent a moment lying quietly in her bed, looking at the ceiling, quite lost in thought. Before she got up, found her slippers and trudged down to the common room where she greeted him with a smile before she’d settle into her corner and he’d settle into his armchair and they would talk about the things they didn’t dare say out loud during the daytime. And at some point during the night, he would move to the couch and she’d move to sit next to him, leaning her head against his shoulder and at some point they would shift again and go to sleep. And that was how their housemates would find them in the morning; Lily with her head on his chest and James with his arm around her looking so peaceful that no one wanted to disturb them.