Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: One Winged Angel :: 10 :: Dreams

10 • Dreams

“Harry?” The young man didn’t answer, so he tried again. “Harry?”

Harry took a single step closer, then stopped, his eyes firmly fixed on the floor. A minute later—an agony of waiting—he took another step, and fell into his chair. “That was . . . disgusting.”

Tom sighed heavily. “So you did experience it?”

“Just flashes.” Harry looked up and fixed those big green eyes on him. “You had an interesting reaction, Tom.”

“Is that good or bad?”

Harry shrugged. “It isn’t like you were laughing maniacally or bouncing around in glee. Still, I think it means something, don’t you?”

Tom furrowed his brow. Harry was in a very odd mood it seemed, and acting quite like a mystic. “Will you explain?”

“I blocked you, but you came through anyway. Don’t you think that means our bond is getting stronger?”

Tom watched in confusion as Harry rose to his feet and approached him, then gasped softly as Harry crawled onto his lap and slid his fingers into the hair at the back of his neck.

“Is this what you wanted, Tom?” Harry whispered, then leaned in.

Tom sat up straight in bed, breathing heavily.

*

Harry arrived as he always did, materializing into place near the chair he used. After that bizarre dream, Tom felt a little wary of what might happen. Nevertheless he said, “Harry?”

“Hello, Tom.” Harry walked lightly to his chair and flopped into it, letting one leg rest over the arm and slumping into its embrace. Harry looked up at him and smiled. “Was it bad?”

Tom shook his head slightly. “Moderately. Severus went with me to assist. I’m glad that she’s gone.”

“Gone, but not forgotten,” Harry said, raising an imaginary glass in salute with a twist of his lips. Then his expression cleared. “I don’t think I felt anything. Just some uneasiness. Was that yours? Or mine?”

“I don’t know. So, no visions?”

“You don’t know? How did you feel, then, when it was happening?”

Tom shrugged a shoulder. “Some sorrow. They were good people once, in totally the wrong sense. I flirted with the idea, before I set things in motion, of letting her appear to kill Voldemort. But I thought it would seem awfully convenient to others, so I kept going.”

“And you didn’t want to upset me, right?” Harry tilted his head to the side and gazed at him steadily. “But,” he continued, “some satisfaction as well, am I right?”

“Of course,” he admitted. “She was a threat. And her comrades. And, she was bested in the end.”

Harry rose to his feet, causing Tom a moment of uncertainty, then flopped onto the floor in front of the fire, folding his arms back behind his head and drawing one leg up so that his foot rested flat on the floor. “How long do you think. . . ?”

“I don’t know.” Tom snorted and shook his head. “I seem to be saying that a lot lately, don’t I? But, I don’t. I’ll keep checking. I expect the dementors will last much longer.”

“I did dream,” Harry said unexpectedly. Tom thought he had forgotten the question, or was avoiding it. “It was very strange. You and I were in here.”

“And?”

Harry closed his eyes and murmured, “It was nothing important.” Then he wrinkled his nose and looked over at him. “Would you be willing to bring in a nice rug of some kind next time?”

“What? So you can sprawl on the floor in comfort?” he asked, both amused and unsettled by Harry’s behavior.

“Of course! There’s more room down here, and it’s closer to the fire.”

Harry’s grin was infectious, and Tom felt an answering grin stretch his mouth. “As you wish. Though—” He pondered the situation for a moment, then said, “Why don’t you try?”

“Huh?”

“This place is as much yours as mine, Harry. If I can make it appear as I wish, perhaps you can as well. You want a cushy rug, so try.”

Harry frowned thoughtfully, then rolled over and got to his feet. After stepping back he extended one hand dramatically and closed his eyes again. Tom nearly laughed at the picture Harry presented, but didn’t, though he smiled in appreciation as a fluffy, fake-fur rug appeared on the floor. A second later he clapped, causing Harry to open his eyes and look.

Harry grinned, a wicked sparkle coming to his eyes, then flopped onto the rug in the same position as before. “This is much better!” he avowed, wriggling his shoulders.

Tom was struck again by the innocence that radiated off Harry. Was this the same person who had crawled into his lap in the dream? Or, was it actually a dream? Harry was hiding something, but that was all right. He was taken from his musing by the sound of Harry’s voice.

“How do you know when it’s not a dream?”

Coincidence? “This isn’t. Not really.”

“Sure, but. . . .”

“All right.” Tom exhaled, trying to think of the best way to explain, for Harry, and himself. “There are different kinds of dreams, Harry. Like your average, everyday dream. They don’t always make sense, but scientists believe, or maybe I mean quacks, that they’re trying to tell you something. Your subconscious trying to speak to you or work things out, or even just a reflection of your current hopes or fears. Then there’s something called lucid dreaming, where you’re aware that it’s a dream and can control what’s happening.”

“Sounds like my rug,” was Harry’s comment.

“Yes, and no. The difference here is that we’re both fully cognizant of this place. If you were to write down this experience in the morning, and I as well, they’d match, more or less. With a real dream, lucid or otherwise, there would be no basis for comparison.”

Harry dropped his knee and raised the other one. “Okay, that makes sense. It doesn’t entirely answer the question, though.”

“Is the dream you had bothering you for some reason?” he asked shrewdly.

“Maybe. In it, I did something strange. Rather unlike me, actually. Of course, I’m not always sure who me is to be honest. So it made me curious as to how to tell the difference.”

“I assume you’ll tell me what happened if you wish to, so I won’t ask. But, did what happened upset you? Scare you?”

“I’m not sure. Maybe it was just my way of exploring something. So, Snape came along to help?”

“Yes. I wasn’t sure he would.”

“Maybe he’s not so bad after all.”

“He was his usual sarcastic self, Harry.”

The young man laughed softly and rolled over onto his stomach. “The world would probably explode if he wasn’t. I guess some things were just meant to be, huh?”

Harry was silent for so long after that that Tom wondered if he had somehow managed to fall asleep inside their shared dream. When he finally caught the faint sound of snoring Tom smiled indulgently, then released his hold.

*

Harry sat on the rug, pulling one knee up so he could wrap his arms around it. It was a lonely place without Tom, but still cozy. Ever since Tom had explained the difference between dreams he had been curious to try to create this place himself, just to see if he could. Pulling Tom into it would be another matter entirely.

“What is it, Harry?”

He jerked in surprise, his head turning quickly to see Tom sitting in his customary chair. “That’s not very nice, you know. I hadn’t got around to trying to call you, and here you are anyway.”

Tom gave him an odd smile, an upturn at the corners of his mouth. “Yet here I am.”

“That’s okay, this is probably just a dream, as I wanted. You said dreams are odd anyway.” Harry waved his hand in dismissal, then wrapped his arm around his knee again and dropped his chin.

“Yes, just a dream.”

Just a dream. Then there was no harm in being honest, right? “So, dream, what do you see while you sit there?”

“I see a very attractive young man,” was the reply.

“Attractive? Me?” Harry laughed softly. “Now I know this is a dream. I did something the last time. I’m not sure why. I woke up, though.”

“What did you do?”

Harry thought he sounded genuinely curious. “I tried to kiss you. Silly, huh?”

“Why is it silly?”

Harry shrugged. “Silly. It just is. It isn’t like I’d have the courage awake. Not that I had a chance to see what it felt like. But, still, this is a dream, like that was. It isn’t real anyway.”

“So you were curious?”

“Of course I was. I’ve only ever kissed Cho, and that’s not saying much.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t bother in dreams.”

“Why?” Harry almost felt like he was talking to his Devil’s Advocate.

“Because, as you said, it isn’t real. And if it’s not real, neither is your reaction, or his. Wouldn’t it be better to try while you’re awake? Tom said he wouldn’t pressure you. I think it’s going to be up to you to make the first move, Harry.”

“You’re awfully weird for a dream, you know that?”

“If you say so. But I’m a part of you, so shouldn’t that statement be directed at yourself?”

Harry scowled and flicked his fingers. “Whatever. I’m going back to sleep. I’m sure the real you will be calling soon anyway.”

*

Tom sat up in bed, breathing heavily. So it had been real. Harry really had come on to him, or tried. He felt . . . ashamed that he had played along, pretending that he was unreal, a product of Harry’s mind, but he had not wanted Harry to realize the truth and become embarrassed, or draw away from him. It also meant that Harry had actually experienced some of what had happened. Why had he lied? And yet, he had seemed perfectly at ease during their normal session the previous night, mostly.

He ran a hand through his hair and contemplated what to do. Well, initiate another session, surely, but beyond that? He laid back and closed his eyes, sighing, then smiled. Harry was brave. And on that note, he started the process of building their room.

*

“Has there been any change?”

Tom arched a brow, not that Harry could see that with closed eyes. “It’s only been two days. The dementors are still roaming around restlessly.”

“I wonder if that’s all there is. Hunger and survival instinct.”

“Perhaps. There must be some level of intelligence, though, Harry. They couldn’t follow orders otherwise, or even understand them.”

“True, but that doesn’t mean they have feelings like we do. I don’t know if I should feel dirty for what we’re doing, or not.”

“Every cloud has a silver lining?”

Harry snorted and rolled onto his stomach, cradling his head on his folded arms. “This is still difficult.”

“I could let them out,” Tom offered.

“Wouldn’t they come after you?”

“I have no idea. I don’t know if they understand the concept of time, actually.” And he didn’t. It wasn’t as though he had ever bothered to try to talk philosophy with the creatures.

“It’s too risky. It’s done, so leave it.”

“I dared the grounds today. Nothing happened that I could ascertain.”

Harry turned his head to the other side, facing him. “That’s good. And since when is there a couch in here?”

“Since you started sprawling on the floor. If you get to do that, I get to lounge on a sofa.”

“It’s not very big,” Harry said critically.

“Neither am I, presently.”

Harry grinned. “Big, bad Voldemort. In reality, not much taller than I am. Fate must be laughing.”

Tom cracked a smile. “I think Fate is always laughing.”

“With us? Or at our expense?”

“I—”

“—don’t know.”

Tom snorted. “I was going to say, I think both.”

“Two more weeks,” said Harry with a sigh.

“Don’t be like that. Just a minute ago you were smiling. Things have been all right at the house?”

“Sure. They haven’t bothered me at all, just like you promised. Got the usual letter today, sent one out. Ron and Hermione also wrote, but they didn’t have much to say. I can’t decide if this is a repeat of last year, or what.”

Tom let his free arm dangle over the edge of the couch. He was disturbed at how quickly Harry’s mood kept shifting. “What do you mean?” he asked, idly fingering the fake fur Harry was resting on.

“They were told to be very circumspect last summer. They could barely say anything at all. I wonder if their letters were being checked before they were sent. This year, they seem kind of distant. Ron only ever talks about quidditch and Hermione only ever talks about the OWLs and the upcoming year. I’d be willing to bet she’s already planned out a revision schedule for all of us for the next two years.”

Tom smirked. “Do you think they’ll be more open in person?”

“That’s hard to say. The room I was placed in at headquarters has a portrait in it. I guess it’s there so Dumbledore can keep an eye on me. Seems kind of sinister now, actually.” Harry cracked an eye open, then said, “It’s Phineas Nigellus.”

“Quite a bastard at times,” Tom remarked.

“Yeah, but if he’s there to spy. . . .” Harry let out a strangled laugh. “Like Hogwarts itself is safe. I wouldn’t doubt that every portrait and ghost in the place reports to Dumbledore.”

“That reminds me. Severus is willing to have a portrait placed in his quarters that he can speak to. He also suggested that one be placed in Dumbledore’s office. If you’re all right with that, would you ask Dobby to fetch some from me so he can place them?”

“Sure. I don’t know why we didn’t think of that before. I guess, if Dobby can assure that the one I have is invisible to everyone, he can make sure the one for the office is invisible to the headmaster. Elf magic is odd.”

“I quite see what you do in Dobby, Harry. He’s a very interesting little creature. Loyal, intelligent . . . and not without a sense of humor.”

Harry’s eyes fluttered open briefly as a sweet smile crossed his lips. “I don’t think my judgment is so bad.”

“I’ll just have to live up to that myself, right?”

“I think you will,” Harry affirmed. “I wonder,” he said sleepily.

“Don’t fall asleep on me again, Harry,” Tom said sternly. “You might not like how I wake you up.”

Harry’s eyes blinked open, a wary expression on his face which relaxed almost immediately. “Do you ever wonder how much the sorting hat knows?”

“I shall repeat: you have a very strange mind. You also have a point, though. Unless it goes into stasis when it isn’t needed, then I expect it hears everything that goes on in that office. You could always talk to it.”

“About what? Mmm, there’s me walking into Dumbledore’s office saying, ‘Hello, sir, I was hoping I could talk to the sorting hat to see if it can tell me if you’re a complete bastard or not. Would that be okay?’”

Tom narrowed his gaze. “There’s no need to be sarcastic, Harry.”

“Sorry.”

Tom laughed and flicked his fingers at Harry, who had opened his eyes in surprise. “You owe me one now. Aren’t you the one who said no apologies? In any case, I did have an idea, if you wanted to hear it.”

Harry actually flushed slightly. “What is it?”

Tom allowed an innocent look to appear and said, “I know how much it’s eaten away at you, what the sorting hat said all those years ago, Harry. I was thinking that maybe you should talk to it, to try to find out why it felt that way. After all, you’re the very archetype of a Gryffindor, aren’t you? How could it have been so wrong?”

Harry smiled, just barely, his eyes suddenly alight with something mischievous. “I admit, it does keep me awake at night. All that soul searching, the uncertainty.” Then he sobered. “Do you really think Dumbledore would fall for that?”

“As I said, I think you could be an excellent actor if you wanted to be. Wide, scared eyes, so very trusting as they looked at him. So terribly confused and wanting to clear things up.”

Harry did something that Tom never expected to witness; he giggled. “Okay, Tom. Just get me a copy of Oliver Twist so I can refresh my memory, eh?”

*

The first thing Harry did as he appeared was crouch and whip out his wand, staring wildly at the apparition before him. It wasn’t until he heard Tom’s calm voice speak that he relaxed.

“It’s only a mockup, Harry.”

Harry spun around and frowned. “Are you trying to give me a heart attack?” He shook his wand menacingly at Tom, using his other hand to point back at the Dumbledore figure. “What is this about?”

“Don’t you want to practice?”

“Forget about me owing you one, Tom. Get it out of here! This is our place!” A second later the figure exploded soundlessly. Harry stalked over to the rug and sat down, purposely not looking at Tom.

“I suppose that was a bit sudden.”

“It feels like a defilement,” Harry muttered. Tom didn’t respond as he stared at the flickering flames. Once his heart stopped racing he said, “Though, if you were to do that at the house, I could use it for target practice. Better yet, a dartboard.”

“Do you even know how to play?”

“No idea, but I could learn.”

“I made a mistake.”

Harry pushed a hand through his hair. “That’s dangerously close to an apology, Tom. I think I’m going to win this week, don’t you?”

“Oh? That might be so. And what will you want if you win?”

Harry smiled to himself. “You’ll find out.”

*

“Are you coming tomorrow?”

“Of course I am,” Harry said, almost looking offended. “I’ll write out my letter ahead of time and ask Hedwig to delay it a day, that’s all. Nothing to worry about. It’s stupid, you know.”

“The letters?”

Harry shook his head. “Age. According to muggle law, sixteen is more or less adult. If I were a muggle, I could have left school, gone into a job or whatever. But in the wizarding world, I have to be seventeen? Muggle students leave school if they don’t want to bother with A levels, but wizards have to wait an extra year before they can do something else?”

“Perhaps it’s because of how much longer we live. As much as anyone might chafe at the restrictions, it is true that it gives everyone an extra year to simply be childlike. And, no, Harry, I know it’s not like that right now. I am merely pointing out one possible reason in a more normal world.”

“I wasn’t going to protest, Tom. Which law do you adhere to?”

Tom looked at him carefully, wondering what he was getting at. “That depends. But, as you’ve seen, I’m perfectly willing to go against wizarding law on the matter of so called underage magic. I suppose, then, I would have to say muggle, as strange as that sounds.”

“Interesting. Do you ever find it ironic that those same qualities which made humans the dominant life form on the planet are the ones which will, in all likelihood, be the cause of our self-destruction?”

Tom thought, at that moment, that it might not be so very hard to fall for Harry after all.