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#7 of 10 for livelongnmarry auction winner heeroluva

Originally Posted: Jul 25, 2008

It's been six years but the nightmares are still present. Rarely does a night pass without one of them waking the others with gasps or whimpers and thrashing limbs. Harry's nightmares are quiet. He rarely makes noise, but he moves. He snuggles closer to Hermione or grips Draco tightly. Draco, on the other hand, is loud. He whines and cries out, talks in his sleep and kicks his legs out. Hermione doesn't know how she is when she's reliving the past or seeing distorted versions of her memories. Harry tells her that she twitches, jerking her arms whenever one of them get too close, and Draco tells her that she makes soft noises, barely above a whisper yet they always wake up when they hear her.

They each have scars. Some are physical while others are mental. They're fucked up people, which might be why they find comfort with each other. Together, they're whole. Harry is marked by Voldemort twice, a scar on his forehead and one on his chest. His breath catches when they kiss his scars, and he looks peaceful when they hold him between them.

Draco is marked by Harry twice, a scar on his chest and another on his hip. One was given during a fight while the other was given by request. His face flushes when they lick his scars, and he relaxes when they hold him between them.

Hermione is marked by Death Eaters twice, a scar on her abdomen and another on her throat. She moans when they brush their lips against her scars, and feels like she's home when they hold her between them.

None of them feel as if they deserve such unconventional happiness. Harry blames himself for not being faster, not saving more people, not doing more as if he possibly could have changed anything. Draco blames himself for being a coward, for Dumbledore and Snape's deaths. But, mostly, he's haunted by faceless Muggles from a nightmare year, people whose suffering deaths he can't forget. As for her, she's responsible for killing her parents. They're alive, but the Grangers are gone and will never come back. She knows she could have figured things out faster, too, but Harry won't share the blame for that despite her knowing it's more her fault than his.

Six years is a long time, and the novelty of their relationship wore off years ago for the community around them. There are few people whose opinions truly matter, and most of them came around, in time. Not Ginny; they don't visit the Burrow when she's around. She glares whenever Harry touches Hermione's face or clasps Draco's hand in his, nearly as much as Draco's mother. They don't visit Malfoy Manor, either; the silences and sneers are dreadful.

However, those aren't the important things, and those who wagered that it would never last are wrong. If anything, their odd little triad is stronger now than ever before. Hermione's tried to figure out how. How do they match? How do they make sense? How do they balance when there are three who shouldn't fit together so well? There are no answers, though, so she always gives up and just accepts.

It isn't always easy to have faith and trust in it, though. There are times when she doesn't even like Draco and when Harry frustrates her to a point of wanting to scream. She knows they feel the same way about her. It's not perfect. They're not perfect. But there's beauty in the imperfection. She'd had her fairy tale, briefly, but it wasn't happily every after. It was bickering and disagreements and realization that what's meant to be isn't always what one thinks it is when one is a teenager. But Ron's happy now, happier than he ever was during their months of dating, and she's more content than she ever expected to be. Probably more than she deserves to be.

Harry tightens his arm around her waist, and she reaches out to stroke his hair as he holds her against him. She likes these quiet moments at night when she can lose herself in thought while watching them sleep. If they need her, she's there, just as she knows they are if she needs them. The mattress dips and Draco's lips brush against her shoulder as he moves behind her. There's a soft whisper in her ear before he settles down for the night. Now that he's joined them, she can close her eyes and sleep.