"Dreaming the Same Dream"
Author's Preface: This fic takes place immediately after the events of Deathly Hallows but COMPLETELY disregards the beyond terrible three pages that were the supposed "Epilogue" which we were tragically left with; yes, the Epilogue (the entitlement we have no choice but to give to it) is nonexistent entirely, without any relation whatsoever to the contexts within this story. That said, please also note that any answers J.K. Rowling has provided about the future of anyone or anything in the HP Universe following DH is in turn void here. Also, as a last important regard, please make note that both the fic's and the first chapter's titles are respectively borrowed from the No Doubt songs of the same name.
Story Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Harry Potter, despite being the celebrated "Chosen One" who'd recently vanquished He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named at last (not to mention his already preceded glory as the "Boy Who Lived", too), suffers greatly in aftermath of it all. A month and a half has so far passed since that final showdown at Hogwarts, yet STILL — the young adult wizard cannot sleep, cannot close his eyes without seeing vivid images of that horrific night jog hauntingly across his mind without end. Nevertheless, as Harry now returns to Hogwarts for his rather "belated" seventh year (if that's what one would call it), a certain most unguessable person seizes a shocking spotlight in Harry's traumatized life, and even proves to be the beginning of a new, unimaginable attraction and interest: Draco Malfoy!
Chapter One: "Home Now"
"If you lived here you'd be home now." - 'Home Now', No Doubt
Harry woke up shrieking as, by sheer reflex at this point, he sat up in petrified-like fear. Turning his startled head all around his surroundings in his usual spare bedroom at the Burrow, his best friend Ron's house, for a second he still almost found rational the thought that Voldemort had truly Apparated before him and was about to commit a blitz attack — just like in his intensely real-like nightmares. It aggravated Harry how his horrified reaction never failed to spook him any less than each time before, equally terrifying in its vividness every single night. And as a matter of fact, that said it was beginning to take a very serious toll on Harry, too, who hadn't had a good night's sleep or the appetite for a healthy meal since that unforgettable night six weeks past.
Nevertheless, it was the night before Harry, alongside Hermione and Ron of course, would return to Hogwarts once again as a pupil, hard to imagine as this somehow seemed to be. Basically, for Harry it just was a matter of great frustration with the aggravating fact that despite full consideration of all he had accomplished (saving the wizarding world and all, notably), none of it merited a suited equivalent to, nor an exemption from, the education he'd receive from Hogwarts as a seventh year ... Not in the slightest, actually. This, whether he liked it or not, had significant meaning for him, particularly where the N.E.W.T.s (the final exam every Hogwarts student took prior to graduating) were concerned, given that his results would be all-deciding in regards to his Auror aspirations. Therefore, whether he liked it or not, when bygones were bygones and reality still insisted to be reality, Harry simply had no other option than to return to Hogwarts. That was all, it was like nothing out of the ordinary at all had happened. He had no say whatsoever in the matter.
So, with such reservations at mind, Harry still hadn't decided whether to be amused or offended that he was subject to the same process of the average Hogwarts student. He supposed it came down to how he simply couldn't understand how basically unthought of, disregarded, maybe even unappreciated (as he so felt in his more prideful moments as of late) his historical defeat of Voldemort seemingly stood from the eyes of Minerva McGonagall, the newly-appointed Hogwarts Headmistress who had taught Transfiguration to Harry for six years. How could his extraordinary legacy in restoring peace and safety to the wizarding world after years of Voldemort's unceasing, growing terror truly be a non-contributing factor in the "bigger picture" of everything here?! But again, essentially McGonagall's reasoning didn't really matter, because all in all what it came down to was pretty simple: Harry had another year of "proper" Hogwarts education right in reach of his horizon.
He just rather wished he had a more optimistic outlook going into it. 'Like that's going to happen,' Harry thought truthfully to himself, taking a long, tired sigh. 'It's bloody ridiculous that I've got to go back when the only reason I didn't go last year was because I was the one who had to go through experiences I reckon worse than most people will have in a lifetime just so I could save everyone from Voldemort! Because I was the "Chosen One", right, isn't that what they like to say? Bloody rubbish...' The discontent teenage boy thought these thoughts as he sat on top Ron's mattress at the Burrow, waiting and listening as Ron scurried from the bathroom to his bedroom back-and-forth in a late scramble to get ready. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were expecting the two, plus Ginny and Hermione, to be ready to head for King's Cross in fifteen minutes sharp, at a quarter to eleven as to arrive at Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters with a safe bit of time to spare. Importantly, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley expected that a chaotic parade of people would try to harass Harry at King's Cross, and thereby had decided to rule on the air of caution and ensure their early arrival to the train. Harry had been slightly bemused by this, often absentminded of his state of large celebrity. Harry and Ron, late birds this morning, hadn't even had time to grab a quick spot of breakfast.
"Harry, mate, are you listening to me?" asked a slightly flustered Ron, who was standing before him.
Startled, Harry blinked out of his upsetting reverie to look up at his friend. "Sorry, I reckon I just went blank for a second. What were you saying, Ron?"
Ron shook his head, looking annoyed. "Ginny says to tell you to come and talk to her now, alone, before we leave," Ron repeated, impatiently emphasizing that yes, he, too, perceived some not-so-good news awaited from this.
Harry's already low spirits dropped even further in the immediate flash of an instant. His face fell; he couldn't help revealing the utter dread consuming him now. His face a solid puzzlement desperate for Ron's greater explanation, Harry begged, "Did she say what it's about? What do you reckon?"
Ron shrugged at him. "I don't know, but I definitely think you better get down there pretty quick," he suggested, again emphatically hinting he had a bad feeling about this.
Viewing his best friend's pale, grim stare, Harry gulped, feeling his heart skip a beat in its motion, and ultimately just conceded to a blank nod. "... Alright. Then I reckon I'd better go see what's the matter with Ginny," Harry said hoarsely, enunciating his delayed response with an enfeebling sense of fear; indeed, as Harry finished replying in but a hollow, half-audible whisper, his tone was only half-masking his vulnerabilities from show. "Well, wish me luck I guess, Ron."
Turning in his step and feeling embarrassed about the noticeable volume of sweat amounting on his forehead, Harry gulped back utter dread. Spacing out more and more into a confused daze, he forced his suddenly stiffened legs down the flight of stairs leading to Ginny's room. A brief moment later Harry was but footsteps from reaching Ginny's bedroom door, which, tilted open a slight bit, emitted golden sunlight from Ginny's windowsill inside. Again gulping back unknowing, intensely-felt dread, alas Harry, fallen abashed, tapped gently on her door. "Err, Ginny, um ... Ron said you wanted to talk to me before we leave?" Harry tried to play off a normal innocent tone in his polite inquiry, but even so still arrived at the instantaneous conclusion that he'd not sounded convincing.
Not surprisingly Harry's heart again leaped an unnatural few beats ahead as he listened to Ginny jump off her bed and alertly call out to him. "Come in!" she automatically said, her tone dry and plainly unreadable.
Harry's heartbeat spontaneously sped fast as light speed, it felt, as he reluctantly poked the door open and received his first impression of Ginny this apparently special morning. Searching her tall, straight up-standing figure for clues, a flash of a half-second and Harry was in face-to-face proximity with Ginny, who stood rigid five or six feet in front of him. Not a trace of warmth or general happiness to see him was at all present from her end. Right away Harry found himself forced to take excruciating regard to the painfully uncomfortable atmosphere here and now inside Ginny's quaint little bedroom; despite the welcoming sunshine laying in from its wide-open window (her Gryffindor-style curtains pulled aside on either end fully to let the day's beautiful morning light pour in), Harry was pierced by a chilling iciness which suddenly subsided the entire room in the immediately-following moment.
This was not going to be good.
Draco Malfoy could hardly be described as happy, or even moderately content for that matter, about having to return to Hogwarts yet again. In fact, in the bluntest possible sense Draco was bloody furious about the whole thing. He hadcompleted his seventh and final year of wizarding education, thank you very much, even if the Potter-smitten masses didn't like how the school had been run this past year. He couldn't give a rat's arse that Mudbloods hadn't been allowed, and he proudly recalled the glorious memory of being taught The Dark Arts, rather than Defense Against the Dark Arts like was normal, by Professor Carrow in the year just past; the best year Hogwarts ever had no doubt, for the Dark Lord's power had reigned first above all else. To minds few and far that were wise, strong-headed, and dignified by the TRUTH on things (minds which also almost always belonged exclusively to pure-bloods, undoubtedly), that such a beautiful, "cleaned-up" education hierarchy had been so short-lived, fallen just as did the Dark Lord himself, was devastating; see, obviously all the opinions which REALLY should matter would unanimously concur that Draco's final year of education had been perfectly adequate. However, it was no surprise the wizarding world remained brainwashed, blind to the wondrous, TRUE glory of both the Dark Lord and his ideas about re-purifying the wizarding race. Therefore his seventh and final year of Hogwarts education was most frowned upon by the general masses, totally refuted and for all official purposes devoid any value.
To make matters many times worse, his father, Lucius Malfoy of course — most nameable as the arguable highest-regarded among the Dark Lord's finest dedicated followers, respectively — had been arrested and incarcerated to Azkaban Prison almost immediately following the night of Potter's little showdown at Hogwarts (wherein he, Potter, "The Chosen One" supposedly, saved the world from He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named). Now Draco would never have his father in his life again. Now because of Potter his father, formerly renowned now newly-defamed Lucius Malfoy, would never be free from the iron bars of his small cell, nor of the far worse torture of the ominous Dementors who guarded the prison … Not for the rest of his life, incredibly. The thought that Potter of all people, Draco's own personal worst enemy, was responsible for this made the whole thing about a thousand times more sickening.
'Potter, bloody famous, Chosen Potter. Good for making life ruddy difficult, not a blasted thing else,' Draco thought resentfully to himself as he packed his bags the night before his forced return to Hogwarts. Shaking his head in disgusted frustration, Draco started at the unexpected sound of three firm knocks at his door; his mum never disturbed him this late — it was forty-five minutes 'till midnight for Salazar's sake! Rather annoyed (things had been a bit 'frosty' between the two of them for a fortnight now, ever since Narcissa Malfoy flat-out ordered him to return to school as prompted), Draco rolled his eyes and gruffly answered, "What? It's late, Mother."
Narcissa Malfoy practically slammed the door open on her son, and by the thin lips of her grimaced face she clearly did not appreciate his disrespectful attitude. Looking testy but as though she were internally willing herself to remain patient, Narcissa, standing terse and remote in front of her disobedient son, sternly then made her peace. "You're going to school tomorrow, Draco. That's it. And I don't want to hear any fuss about it tomorrow either, you hear?" The threatening stare of her flared-up, eagle-eyed expression silently demanded that Draco thereupon voiced his willing obedience.
But the threat wasn't so great it stopped Draco from huffing at her, or from tossing his hands up in outright aggravation, either. "Mum, what the bloody hell do you reckon I'm doing right now? I'm packing, aren't I? Leave me alone," he retorted right back at her, unhesitating hostility attached to his tone. With a sneer he even sarcastically added, "Anything else you wish to torment me with, Mother Dearest?"
Narcissa frowned furiously at his cheeky backtalk. Not at all humored by Draco's surly demeanor, she left it short and sweet with a deafening hardness to her tone that made his ears pop. "Mark my words, Draco. If you are to be uncooperative tomorrow, if you dare give me a hard time and refuse to go, I will expose your dirty little secret to the whole Platform Nine-And-Three-Quarters. So think twice before you decide to provide me with any issues tomorrow morning, hear? HEAR?Draco Malfoy, have I made myself quite clear?!" she explicitly commanded of him, bordering maliciousness with her every exclaimed word.
Draco glared fearlessly at her, a look of spite completely barren of love or half regard for his mother. "Crystal. Now go, woman, I'm going to sleep! GO!"
But Narcissa merely smiled at him, almost as if endeared by Draco's words, turned right around, and left without further pleasantry; she didn't even sense the need to add exclamation to her exit with a slam of the door, shutting it calmly. Her silent, unaffected response to his vicious reply was a purposeful gloat that she'd won the battle, this Draco knew too well. He'd had eighteen years worth of suffering these types of certain "idiosyncrasies" from his Mum, whom he no more than now loved to the utmost, and whom he indeed felt close as two human creatures could be to ...
'NOT!' he laughed guiltlessly to himself. 'My God, I effing hate that goddamn hag.'
Harry unexpectedly found himself jumping right out of his peaceful sleep in the middle of the night, tossing and turning to a startle. Left to breathless gasps, in spite of great alarm he slowly sat up and removed his tangled cover of bedsheets. Harry then froze, suddenly terrified that he may have awoken one of his roommates. But looking around best he could despite fairly constrained night vision (none in his dormitory having used a nightlight of any sort tonight, nor had they once ever in six years at Hogwarts, notably), everyone across the board, from Seamus to Ron alike, remained fast-asleep. Quietly exhaling a sigh filled by deep relief, Harry remained sitting up nonetheless, fidgeting a slight bit; strange as it was, not one bone in his entire body felt the need to return to rest. Based on the moon and its position in the night sky out the colorful stained-glass window by his bed, he guessed it must've been about midnight, which meant he'd been sleeping a grand two hours. But yet still, Harry for whatever reason was wide-awake.
Thinking, he wasn't sure what to do about it. Harry certainly knew the potential danger too well that posed from abandoning one's own Common Room after hours. Needless to say he'd learned THAT the hard way — many, many times, in fact. And yet, it somehow did not feel all too surprising that such an idea was the very first thing on Harry's mental list of practical things of which he could do. It seemed always the natural prospect of Harry's mind to leave the Gryffindor Common Room and go off somewhere whenever confused, indecisive moments like these abruptly surmounted him. And predictable indeed, it was but a solemn few soundless moments before Harry crept sneakily out of his bed, Invisibility Cloak equipped at hand, and descended to the Common Room before exiting into the forbidden passageways of the castle through the trapdoor in the portrait of the Fat Lady.
Safely disillusioned under the protection of his father's cloak, Harry began treading forth quietly in careful, intently subtle steps. After all, he obviously remained too well aware that the Invisibility Cloak would not extend to also make him soundproof. Frustratingly, however, once finished navigating just a short few corridors, Harry found himself nevertheless letting out a long, deep dissatisfied breath of defeat. Where was he to go?! He stared aimlessly down one way, then aimlessly down the next. For a half-moment agitated out of his own directionless frustration, Harry then was spontaneously hit by the urge to ascend to the highest level of the Astronomy Tower, where at he would gaze into the night sky horizon and forget all things else.
Yet again, Harry at once found himself encapsulated by another overwhelming sigh of utter relief tonight, now that he'd finally decided on a plausible plan of action of course, that opposed to continuing his pointless, not to mention very risky, traipse up and down corridors. Shielding far more self-assertion now, thus forth Harry changed directions and, treading softly but certainly, then, of course talented, made his successful move forward ("unnoticeableness" ever running his purpose, no doubt), heading straight thereby for the Astronomy Tower.
And as he prodded forth in direct route for the Astronomy Tower, a swift alteration, he was in fact actually beginning to feel the welcoming buzz of a thrill run through him, the rushing making the hairs on his arm stand up. Sensing nostalgia pour over him, all the countless good 'ol times that he, Ron, and Hermione had dodged purposefully around the castle on one adventure or another, it surprised Harry in how good it felt. The greatness of the flighty-like feeling made him unconsciously speed up a bit in pace, more intent as his newfound excitement grew and grew. Indeed almost reaching the point of rashness in his now-intensified scurry, on a couple of occasions Harry half-tripped in his path. But noisy or not noisy, in end neither Filch nor any Hogwarts staff member at all discovered or halted his excitable new adventure. He seemed to be luckily free to tread as he wanted, immune the fear of the sudden startled look from an unexpected treader ...
But once Harry approached the passageway to the spiraling stairs leading up the tower, the somewhat "surreal" high of his began to majorly recede as he started ascending the staircase. He in all actuality found himself running fast out-of-breath as a matter of fact. And ready and impatient as ever, as he made an anxious race to the top Harry more than itched to reach his final destination ...
And then, just as Harry reached the final step before arriving at the top balcony of the Astronomy Tower, suddenly in the corner of his eyes Draco Malfoy appeared.
Author's Endnote: That's Chapter One! What will happen when Harry and Draco accidentally encounter each other at the top of the Astronomy Tower? Stay tuned ... Please read and review :).