Summary: In which we find important dreams, post-modern poetry, Albus Dumbledore: Ladies' Man, and a young Tom Riddle doing the Lindy Hop.


Say nighty-night and kiss me
Just hold me tight and tell me you miss me
While I'm alone and blue as can be
Dream a little a dream of me

(from dream a little dream)

The familiar, unknown landscape of a dream stretched before him.

He thought he recognized this place, but, as is so often with dreams, knowledge slipped like water, shimmered like mirage and became something entirely else.

He was at the shore of a lake, barefoot, his toes digging into earth much younger than that he trod everyday. Winter was at an end here and newborn spring struggled, pushing green shoots through the thawing ground and up into the dawn air. He had the sense that there were other people nearby, but he could see no sign of them. The trees were quiet, mist hung low against the very green, young grass. The valley was hushed as a cathedral, the trees overhead like the arched ceiling, the light reflecting on the water of the lake like stained glass.

"There you are. I'd expected you sooner." A woman, dark-haired and also barefoot, laid her hand on his arm, pulling his attention back from the lake. She was very beautiful but grave. "Come now. Follow me."

He did.

They walked to a stand of rowans shrouded in early morning mist. The remnants of a fire were dashed about the ground. A scent, sickly sweet like myrrh, hung on the air.

"You know what to do with this, don't you?" She laid a heavy book in his hands.

And he did.

"Yes, but now? I was sure it would not be now," he said, conscious somehow that when he woke this certainty, this knowing would be gone.

"Yes. Now. It starts with you. It will end with others. But you knew that. The book told you that."

"This book has told me nothing yet." He looked down at its leather face in his hands, and in the deepest corner of his mind something awoke. He turned the book, feeling for the edge in his imagination. With a click like the turning of a lock, felt rather than heard, it opened carefully.

"It has told you. You've merely forgotten." Her voice seemed suddenly as though she spoke from a great height.

And then he was falling.

He fell through a thousand landscapes at once. Flashes of light, snatches of sound and pictures so fast they seemed to stand still assaulted his eyes with the disjointed unreality of the dying and the very young. He saw impossible things for which he had no name. He reached out and grabbed hold of one. A thin tendril of smoke, an idea of a place and time that stayed with him and set him on his feet. He stood then in a valley surrounded by scorched, desolate hills, looking like desert dunes against the moon.

"Surely some revelation is at hand"

The book was gone. Or, rather, the book was in his head.

"Somewhere in the sands of the desert / A shape with lion body and the head of a man / A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun"

Or he was in the book's.

"That twenty centuries of stony sleep / were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle"

A warning, then. Something that would come to pass.

"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last / Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

But he didn't understand.

"You do understand." The woman was with him again. Her hair gleaming like obsidian under the pale moonlight, her skin washed in the light from distant stars. "I told you, you have only forgotten. But you will remember." She put a hand on his arm. "Now wake up. They need you."

And the dream was gone.

It was June 13, 1943. In London a cathedral was burning -- ash like macabre snowflakes in the summer air. Elsewhere rivers ran with unholy salt. A starving child whimpered into the deaf night, coddled by a hollow-eyed skeleton. Across two oceans a young woman held the bloodied hand of a dying soldier. Men met in a secret desert, splitting the stuff of creation asunder with naïve abandon. Prim, nimble-fingered girls with clean hair untangled hidden secrets like carding wool, while quiet men mumbled radio salvation in the language of the mesa. It was a world pretending sleep, the darkness heavy with countless held breaths. Close at hand, surrounded by darkened copper, something foul and poisonous slithered its impatient way toward abandoned rest.

And in the shadow of summer nighttime, Albus Dumbledore woke up.