Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter!


It was a dark and stormy night. The clouds covered most of the moon's rays but let out just enough to illuminate a small house at the edge of a neighbourhood, where a family of five lay sleeping warm and safe in their beds. As the five bodies lay sleeping, their stomachs slowly rising and falling, the sound of heavy breathing and the occasional snoring were the only sounds to be heard, besides from the clang of thunder here or the flash of lightning there.

Inside a bedroom down the end of the hall, a small boy lay in his bed, sleeping peacefully and clutching his stuffed dragon close to his chest. His black, messy hair moved silently as each breath escaped the boy's nose. A pair of hand-sewn golden snitch pyjamas covered his pale skin, as did a patchwork quilt.

Everything was quiet. Peaceful, even.

Suddenly, the small boy's face contorted into a frown and his breathing became uneven. He clutched his small hands tighter around his dragon and buried his face into the pillow that supported his head.

He shot upright in bed, eyelids opened in a flash to reveal bright green tear-filled eyes and a sweaty forehead and cheeks. He tried to calm his breathing, but nothing his mother had taught him would work.

"It's okay," Albus tried to calm him self. "It was just a dream. It was just a dream."

It was no use. He needed to get out of his room. But where would he go? He couldn't go to his parents with this. He was seven years old, for Christ's sake! He was a 'big boy' after all. No matter what his family told him, he had to keep it up—be strong and independent, and try not to rely on his parents so much anymore.

Another loud clap of thunder was heard and it made Albus jump. He pushed the covers off of his body and silently tiptoed from his room and across the hall into another.

His brother's room.

But, wouldn't James be mad that he had woken him up so early in the morning? Albus knew his brother was a heavy sleeper and liked his sleep, but where else could he go?

Albus silently pushed the door to his brother's bedroom open and stepped inside. It was dark, and Albus could only just make out James's bed in the far corner of his messy room. He slowly edged his way closer to the bed, his eyes welling up with tears with each step he took.

"James?" Albus whispered softly once he reached his older brother's bed. James was snoring, so Al knew it would take a lot more than a soft whisper to wake his brother up. "James?" He said a bit more loudly this time.

James gave a soft grunt and rolled over on his side, pulling the sheets closer to him as he did so.

"James." Albus tried again a bit more loudly. Still nothing. He was starting to get frustrated, so Albus poked his brother in the side and called to him again, only louder than before.

"James!"

James woke with a start. He shot upright in bed, his eyes wide, as he looked frantically about the room. "I didn't do it!"

Albus looked at his brother funny. He must have been having a bad dream too, the seven-year-old boy said in his head. James then caught sight of Albus and sighed.

"Oh. It's only you," he said. James looked over on his bedside table, where a muggle clock sat perched on his desk. "What time is it?" he said through a stifled yawn.

The illuminated clock read 4:35am. Too early to wake up. "Only four in the morning? Go back to bed, Albus." James yawned.

"But—but," Albus said while trying to stop himself from crying again. It was no use. Fresh tears rolled down his already red cheeks as James rolled over in his bed to try and go back to sleep.

Albus sniffed as his brother turned around, pulling the sheets back over his body. He was about to turn around and head back to his bedroom, when suddenly he felt something grab his arm.

Albus couldn't help but shriek and jump as he turned around and saw a hand gripping at his shoulder. James's hand.

"Hold on a sec," James said. He rummage through his bed sheets and found a kids' version of a real wand, where it could only do certain spells such as "Lumos," or, "Alohomora," both of which James had used countless times in his past. "Got it." He muttered.

"Lumos." James whispered, and a small beam of light appeared at the tip of the fake wand. It wasn't very bright as a real one, but it produced enough light for both the boys to see each other clearly.

James did a double take when he saw his little brother's tear stained face and cheeks. Albus hardly ever cried, and when he did, it was always in private where no one could see him.

"Albus," James said, all thoughts of being tired forgotten. He reached out and put a hand on his little brother's shoulder. "Are you okay?"

Albus sniffed and shook his head. "Had a nightmare. Can't get back to sleep."

James mentally slapped himself in the face. He immediately regretted for being hard on his brother earlier. "Oh man, I'm sorry. I didn't know. Do you want to tell me about it?" James scooted over in his bed to make room for Al, hoping his brother would take the invitation to sit down next to him and talk.

Al nodded his head. He sat down next to James and sniffed. "Yes," he said in a small voice.

Albus took deep breaths to calm himself down. He opened his mouth, and it all came out. "Well, it all started when Uncle George came home for the summer holidays and we all decided to play Quidditch."

James nodded his head to encourage his younger brother to keep talking. "You were there, and Mum, and Dad, and Lily and Rosie too." Albus mentioned one of their many cousins, Rosie Weasley.

"Anyway, we were flying, throwing around an old quaffle and playing with a stray bludger we found at the Burrow, and—and—" Albus choked on tears as he tried to hold them back. He was, after all a 'big boy' as his family always called him, and he had to keep it up, right?

James pulled Al close to him and started rubbing soothing circles on his brother's back, trying to get him to calm down so he could continue.

"The bludger hit you!" Albus wailed. "It hit you, and you fell! We were so high, and you just fell!"

James winced and pulled Al even closer to him. So that's what had driven his little brother into tears, thinking James had been hit with a bludger during an innocent Quidditch match against their cousins?

It took a while for Albus to calm down after his second outburst. "I-I called to you, but you didn't respond! And when you hit the ground, there was blood everywhere! Lily was so scared she started crying, so did Rosie. Uncle George hadn't seen you fall, so I flew down on my broom to where you were and tried to talk to you, but you didn't respond! Your clothes were covered in blood, I called your name really loudly but—but—" Albus said shakily, another outburst threatening to pursue.

This time Albus could not continue. James just held his little brother close to him, rubbing soothing circles on his back saying, "Shhh, Al. It's ok. I'm here. It'll be all right," which were doing some good to the little boy.

"I'm sorry," Al said after a while.

James looked very confused. "For what?"

"I got your pyjamas all wet."

James rolled his eyes. "Al, that's the least of my worries right now."

Al managed a small smile, seeing James's brotherly instincts kicking in. The two sat in silence for a few more moments, with James's arm still keeping its tight grip on Al.

"James?" Al asked after a short pause. James looked down at Al.

"Yeah?"

"Can I—can I sleep with you? Just for tonight?"

Normally James would say no way, but something about this situation changed his mind. He would let Al sleep with him. Just for tonight, though. "Sure. It's just for tonight, okay? And you have to swear you won't tell anyone else."

Albus nodded his head. So, James extinguished the fake wand's light and moved over in his bed to make room for his little brother. Al was truly exhausted, because as soon as his head hit the pillow, he was out like a light.

James smiled down at his little brother. It was times like these that James was reminded of just how much he loved Al.

James lay down on his pillow, and put an arm around Albus. He then whispered something that was barley audible over the clash of thunder and lightning overhead.

"I'll always be here for you, Al."