Disclaimer:  I don't own anything you recognise.  It belongs to JK Rowling.

More than a Dream

By Kenaz Astaroth

Chapter 1: Screams and Runaways

Vernon Dursley awoke on November 2nd of 1981 to a loud scream coming from his front porch.  He ran down the stairs to where he could see his wife, Petunia Dursley, standing in the front doorway looking down at a blanketed bundle while holding her left hand tightly to her chest.

"What?  What is it?"  he asked, his voice vaguely panicky.

Petunia spun around sharply and Vernon could see that she was breathing hard, but the expression on her face was angry.  Very angry.  "It's him.  That boy of my sister's."

Vernon scowled, "And why, exactly, would he be here?"  There was a menacing tone to his voice that many people knew could result in being fired, or having your computer thrown from a 15th-story window.

"There's a note," replied Petunia, as she turned her head to glare hatefully at the boy, who lay gazing curiously at her and her husband, "but I haven't had time to read it yet."

"I see."  Vernon looked at the child – Harry was he called? – as if he wished he could incinerate the boy on the spot.  "I suppose you should bring him in," he said grudgingly, "then we'll see what this note says."

Petunia picked the child up roughly and grabbed the note.  Harry squirmed against this new discomfort but stilled when she held him tightly, almost too tightly for him to breathe.  She took him into the dining room, following after her husband.  After setting the boy down on the table, she gave the letter to Vernon, who opened it with the air of one opening a cage to a thousand very, very angry kraits.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Dursley,

I am afraid that I have some bad news.  You see, last night a wizard came to Godric's Hollow where Lily and James were staying.  He was a Dark wizard and responsible for many Deaths, as well as for the war that has gone on in the wizarding world for these past few years.  He came to kill the Potter family.  He succeeded in killing both Lily and James, for which I offer my deepest condolences, but he could not kill Harry.  In the world of magic, there is a curse known as Avada Kedavra, or the Killing curse.  It is absolutely fatal and there is no known way to block it.  However, not only did young Harry block the curse, he somehow managed to reflect it back on its caster.  I am quite happy to say, that Voldemort, the Dark wizard, has been defeated by young Mr. Potter.

Now, the reason I wish for you to know this is because I have now put young Harry into your custody.  He shall be very famous, and I think it is best for him to grow up away from the influences of such things.  I know that you, as his last living relatives, will be more than happy to take him.

Harry will, of course, be attending Hogwarts shortly after his 11th birthday.  As a wizard he will sometimes cause mysterious things to happen when he is angry or upset.  Don't worry, this is perfectly normal.

Vernon snorted derisively at this, as if anything to do with those – those – people could be considered normal.

I trust that you will tell him about his past when you feel he is ready. I am enclosing a further letter, which I would like him to receive, explaining many things that are common knowledge to most wizards.

With thanks and best regards,

Albus Dumbledore

Vernon and Petunia Dursley merely looked at each other for several moments before Vernon made his decision.   He carefully ripped both letters to shreds and threw them in the wastebasket near the kitchen doorway.  "We'll take care of him all right," he said softly, in a menacing tone that Harry would come to dread, "but the boy won't enjoy it, that's for certain."

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Slightly less than 7 years later, a month before Harry's 8th birthday…

Harry was walking home.  It was the last day of school for the year, but while most of the kids around him were celebrating, Harry was doing anything but.  He knew that there was a beating coming.  There always was, as far back as he could remember.  But today's beating would be different.  It was the beginning of summer holidays and Harry would not have to go anywhere for the next couple months.  That meant that Vernon could beat him unreservedly.  As long as Harry was healed before school the next year, then Vernon would get no trouble from anyone.  For as long as Harry didn't have any visible injuries, no one would be able to tell what went on at the Dursley home, and Harry would never tell anyone.  He had learned that lesson early enough.

Flashback…

"Boy!" yelled Vernon, for never would Harry address him as Uncle.  At least, not in his mind he wouldn't.

"Yes?"

"Don't you take that insolent tone with me boy!  You know exactly what I want!"

Harry was, quite frankly, clueless to what Vernon was on about.  He had a feeling though, that whatever it was, wasn't good.

"Guess who called me earlier today, boy."  Harry said nothing and merely continued looking at him blankly, his body tensing in apprehension.  "Answer me, damn it!"

Harry started, "I don't know, Uncle Vernon," he replied meekly.  Even at 4 years old he knew better than to talk back to his uncle.

"Your school nurse called," sneered Vernon coldly.  "Do you have any idea what she said?"

Harry's dread was clear on his face now, "No, sir, Uncle Vernon."

"She said you had bruises.  Now, how would she know if you had them, hmm?"

"I don't know, Uncle Vernon."

"BULLSHIT you don't know!" shouted Vernon.  "You TOLD her didn't you!?  You TOLD her!"  Vernon was holding Harry up against the wall by his neck now.  He couldn't breathe.  His glasses, they had fallen, he couldn't see…  "You will Never. Tell. Anyone. That. We. Beat. You." Vernon was punctuating his blows with punches now.  Harry was small for his age, always had been, and Vernon was no pixie.

"Y-yes, U-uncle V-V-Vernon, s-s-sir," coughed Harry.  He knew he would never be able to tell anyone.  Ever.

Harry shuddered.  That had been one of his worst beatings.  Granted, there had been no broken bones. There never were, since Vernon didn't fancy paying the hospital bills; but every part of his body that could be hidden by clothing had been covered with bruises for days afterward.   He wondered if the same would be true today.  He sighed.  Well, if it was going to be bad then he wasn't going to hurry the process.  Harry dragged his feet slower.

When Harry finally did get home, he was surprised to find that neither his fat cousin nor his Aunt and Uncle were home.  He wondered if they had left a door unlocked.  He doubted it; they never cared if he was locked outside.  They often enjoyed watching him try to find shelter from the rain.  And today was sunny, no reason to worry about being outside.

As it were, the kitchen door was unlocked.  Harry went inside, being sure not to get a speck of dirt inside the house.  He went to his cupboard.  He didn't know when his family, if you could call them that, would be home.  There would be no sense in letting them catch him doing something he shouldn't.  Not that that left him with much to do.  He decided that he would steal one of Dudley's books again.  No one ever noticed when he did that.

He grabbed a book from Dudley's second bedroom, and went into his cupboard to read it.  This was a good one.  Filled with witches and wizards and magic.  He sighed, if only it were real…

There was a loud bang as Vernon threw open the door to let himself and his family inside.  Harry scrambled to put the book under his mattress, making sure it wasn't visible.  He panicked slightly when he heard Vernon's voice call out. Vernon was most definitely not in a good mood.  And when Vernon was in a bad mood, Harry was usually the one to pay for it.

"Boy!  Are you in here, boy?"

Harry crawled out of his cupboard apprehensively.  This was going to be bad.  He flinched when Vernon grabbed him immediately after he exited the cupboard.  Vernon wasted no time, like he usually did.  Harry wondered vaguely as to what he had supposedly done this time.

"I was fired today, boy!  Do you know why that is?  They said that I wasn't working hard enough.  They said that they couldn't afford to have a useless worker."  Harry was whimpering already, Vernon wasn't holding back at all.  He had never been beaten this hard before.  "I don't know how you did it, boy.  But you're going to pay.  I'll make you wish you had never been born."

Petunia and Dudley were watching.  They rarely ever watched when Vernon took his difficulties out on Harry, but today they were apparently in agreement with him.  And they were enjoying the show.

This went on for several minutes.  Vernon continued to hit him much harder than Harry was used to.  And then Vernon hit him just right, a rib cracked.  And apparently, so did Harry's self-control.

Harry didn't understand what happened.  Suddenly, instead of just being beaten and yelled at, he was pulled into a maelstrom of emotions and thoughts, fear, hatred, jealousy, anger, and so many other things besides.  This was too much, he couldn't bear it anymore.  He wanted to get away from it.  He wanted it all to go away.  So he pushed.  The beating stopped and a second later there were three loud thuds as the Dursleys hit the wall across from the side of the sitting room where Harry was leaning against the doorway.

Harry stared at where his relatives lay unconscious.  Then he did the only thing he could think to do.  He ran.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

In Azkaban…

Cold, always cold.  It had been cold for years.  Ever since the public had decided that Sirius must have been the Potter's secret keeper.  And the memories.  All of those awful memories.

Dead… James lay on the ground, his eyes open and glassy…  His glasses, where were his glasses?  James couldn't see without his glasses, where were they?… There, James has his glasses.  Now if only he would stand up.  If only he would start breathing…  He's not dead, can't be dead.  Come on, stand up!  Tell me it was all a joke, James.  Please tell me that it was a joke…

 Lily…  Where's Lily?  There.  She looks like James.  Her eyes, they're clouded.  So green, that brilliant green, glassy in death.  No fear though…  Everyone else he had ever seen who had had Avada Kedavra cast on them had had terror all over their faces.  Not James and Lily though.  No, they look calm… and determined.  Yes, they knew what was coming, but they didn't go down without a fight. 

Crying?  Who's crying?…  Harry?!  Hagrid?  "Hagrid, give Harry to me.  I'm his godfather, I'll take care of him."

"Can't," his voice is cracking.  He's crying.  Why aren't I crying?  They were my friends, I should cry for them, but I can't… not yet.  "Dumbledore's orders.  He's to live with his aunt and uncle."

"But-"

"Freeze!"  Ministry wizards.  Are they talking to me?  I haven't-  NO!  I didn't do it!  It was Peter!  I swear!  I would die before-, "You are under arrest for the betrayal of Lily and James Potter, and for conspiring against the Ministry of Magic as a member of the Death Eaters."

Too much.  I can't…  I didn't…  They believe Peter.  They believe a rat.  Too much.  I'll laugh or I'll cry…  but I can't cry.  Not yet.  Hagrid.  He looks at me, and there is anger and betrayal in his face.  He hates me.  But it was Peter!  Have to laugh, or have to cry.  But I can't cry.  Not yet.  So I'll laugh…

His worst memory.  When he first came to Azkaban, that was all he had seen for weeks, months even.  He hoped Harry was okay.  He hoped he was happy.  He hoped that his godson didn't know about him.  He hoped his godson didn't think him a traitor.  He didn't think that he could stand it if he did.  But if Harry was unhappy…  Sirius had promised himself many times that, if word came to him that Harry was unhappy, he would leave.  He would rescue his godson.  Dementors or no dementors.  Thinking of Harry was the only thing that kept him sane.

On an island near the Orkneys, in a cold prison cell, a large black dog laid his head on his paws and slept.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Harry was tired, and hungry.  It was exactly a week since he had thrown the Dursley family across the room.  A week since he had run away.  He didn't know where he was, only that there were no people for miles.  He had finally figured out what his new abilities were.  Or at least, he had figured out some of what they did.  He could read minds, and sense them for at least two kilometers all the way around.  He could move things with a thought.  And sometimes, if he was really close to someone, a vision would come.   A vision of that person's past.  Naturally he didn't know exactly what these abilities were.  But then again, he was more concerned with being able to walk around people without hearing every single one of their most private thoughts.  There were some things that a seven-year-old boy just did not want to know.

He heard a soft voice by his ankle.  Strangely sibilant, the voice was.  He looked down and was surprised to see a small snake had curled itself around his calf.

Ssspeaker, the snake said, drawing out his – for Harry knew, somehow, that it was a male- esses.

Yes? he asked.   Harry wondered briefly as to why he could understand the snake at all.  Perhaps the loneliness and isolation were finally getting to him.

The snake seemed to smile, then slithered up Harry's body until he was loosely wrapped around Harry's neck.  I am Otean, ssspeaker.

Why do you call me that?

Becaussse that isss what you are, a ssspeaker.  A true born ssspeaker, asss there hasss never been before.

Harry was deeply puzzled.  What was the snake talking about?  What do you mean? he asked carefully.

It'sss not my placcce- Otean started…

Suddenly there were five pops and Harry was surrounded.  He hadn't been near enough to people to hear their thoughts for several days.  Otean's thoughts had not been audible to him, nor had any of the other animals'.  The suddenness of it, and the sheer amount of information now pounding its way through his brain made him collapse, temporarily trapped within his own mind and the minds of others.  He scarcely noticed as Otean slithered carefully into his rather threadbare jacket.

Aurors… Magic.  It's real?  Yes… Hogwarts.  A school… Voldemort…  You-Know-Who, but I don't know who… Death Eaters…  Worried?  About me?… Famous?… defeated Voldemort… Muggles… spells… curses… Floo powder… Ministry of Magic… Diagon Alley… Obliviate…Accio… Sneakoscopes… cauldrons…potions… Albus Dumbledore…  and then a name.  A name that went with the face of one of the Aurors surrounding him.

Peter Pettigrew.

The name brought on more visions than Harry could comprehend at once.  Visions of people.  James, his father.   Lily, his mother.  Remus Lupin?  Werewolf?  Life-bondings?  Animals, a  stag, a rat, a werewolf,  and a dog.  A man called Sirius Black who could turn into a dog and back at will.  His godfather.  Who was innocent in a prison.  The prison was cold, dark.  And hooded creatures, dementors, who sucked happy memories out of one's mind.  And Sirius Black was innocent.  For the very mind of Peter Pettigrew said that it was he that was guilty.

"Peter, we'd like you to be our Secret Keeper."

Peter looked at Lily and James in shock.  Surely, surely they would use Sirius.  Why him?  Of course they didn't know, nobody knew.  Not a thing…….

"Wormtail."

"Yes, Master?"

"Do you have news?"

"Yes."

"And?"  the voice was impatient.  The voice that went to a skeletal black-haired man with crimson eyes…

"They have made me their Secret Keeper, my Lord."

The red-eyed man, Voldemort, smiled.  "Come.  You will show me where they are hiding.  We leave now."

Peter stood up and apparated with his master to a house.  Harry couldn't see the house clearly.  It was too dark.  Voldemort walked inside.  Harry heard voices…

"Lily, it's him!  Take Harry and run.  I'll hold him off."

Bright flash of green light…

"Stand aside you foolish girl!  Stand aside!"

"No please, not Harry.  I'll do anything.  Take me instead."

Another flash of green light.

"Well, now.  Look here.  You're just a child.  Just a miserable little brat.  This will prove those prophecies wrong.  You will never defeat me."

Another flash of green light.  And then a white light.  One that got brighter and brighter until Peter couldn't see, he had to turn away.  And then the screams.  One long pain-filled shriek that sounded as if it was being forcibly torn from a man's throat.  Peter watched as the cosy little house fell apart, brick by brick.  And he watched as a small bubble, which was a standard house protection charm, holding a child, floated to the ground.  Similar bubbles, though larger, pulled the bodies of Lily and James out of the rubble.  There was no sign of his master or his body, however.

Suddenly, Peter could hear the roar of what sounded like Sirius' motorbike coming from the distance.  Peter knew that he shouldn't be found here.  Couldn't be found here.  Sirius would kill him, he knew.  And right now, Peter did not want to die.  So he transformed into a rat and hid in the pile of loose boards and stones that had once been the Potters' house.  And he watched.

He watched as Sirius came in for a landing and stumbled over to where James lay.  He watched Sirius place James' glasses on his face while begging James to get up.  To say that it was all a joke.  He watched as Sirius ran to Lily's body.  And he watched when Hagrid told Sirius that he couldn't have Harry.  And then the Aurors appeared.  They arrested Sirius for the crimes that Peter himself had committed and he inwardly cheered.  Now, he could stay in the world.  Make a respectable living.  And now Sirius, the only other person who knew of his guilt, was to be locked away.  And the rat left.  And if he had been in human form there would have been a satisfied smirk on his face.

Harry opened his eyes and saw the faces of three men and two women looking down at him in concern.  Then he fainted.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Harry woke just as the Aurors reached the Dursleys.   Harry felt the minds of all the people in the neighbourhood pressing into his, and in desperation he envisioned a wall around his mind.  It worked!  Now he couldn't hear anyone's thoughts and he wasn't getting visions from people's memories either.  Harry breathed a sigh of relief before he remembered where they were taking him.

No, no, no!  They couldn't send him back!  Not after what he'd done.  The Dursleys would be furious for sure.  It would be worse than when he was found on the school rooftops and when he turned his teacher's wig blue.  And they were going to send him back?  Harry stifled a whimper.  It would be worse for him if he told, he knew that.  And he really wanted to get away from the man who betrayed his parents.

The Aurors brought him up to the door of number 4 Privet Drive and then they all left except one.  He remembered her mind saying that her name was Tarra.  And that she was an…  Invisibility Primary?  Harry pondered this statement as Tarra rang the Dursley's doorbell.  He didn't want to take down the wall around his mind just to find out what this meant.  Then Vernon answered the door and Harry brought his mind to more pressing matters.

"Ah, yes, you brought him back," Tarra missed the flash of anger and hatred in Vernon's eyes as he said this, though Harry did not, "Thank you so much.  We were very worried about him."

Harry widened his eyes incredulously.  Surely, surely, this woman wouldn't believe him.  The mocking tone and insincerity in Vernon's voice were plain as day!

"You're very welcome, Mr. Dursley.  Now, Harry, you must promise that you won't run away from your uncle again alright?"  she ruffled Harry's hair in a friendly way, while Harry muttered darkly about people always treating him like a two-year-old under his breath.

"Well, boy?  Come on in," said Vernon, still keeping his forcefully polite façade.   Harry stepped inside with a little shudder, and flinched as Vernon shut the door.  He held nothing but dread for what was coming.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Sirius's eyes snapped open and for a moment he was puzzled, why couldn't he feel the cold and sorrow that was Azkaban?  Then he heard it again.

::Sirius!::

A mind call, it must be.  That explained why he didn't feel the dementors.  No one using telepathy was affected by dementors.  But who would want to talk with him?

::Sirius?  Padfoot!::

There were definite overtones of pain in the mind-voice now.  He answered back ::Who are you?::

Sirius imagined that if he were in the presence of the person who was talking to him then he would hear him whimpering in pain.  The answer he got to his question shook him to the core.

::Harry Potter::