A/N: This is a fifth year AU featuring Harry growing into his powers, Neville gaining a backbone, Snape finding his family, and lots of bloodshed and despair in between. I started this years ago but recently found an outline for the end so decided to finish.

Disclaimer: All the characters you recognize belong to J. K. Rowling. (I would like to own Snape…but I guess that's another story). The ones you don't come from my head.


The Dream

It was a hot and humid July afternoon when Harry Potter pulled the shade down over the window to his room and lay down on his small bed in the semi-darkness. He concentrated on the thin slices of light jabbing through the edge of the shade, trying to push away all thoughts of the Dursley's earlier quarrel and their ensuing vacation.

When his head was finally as empty as the house around him, he tried once more to call the dream back. Dumbledore and Sirius had both told him to keep them informed if his scar hurt again, but this had been entirely different. Hadn't it? The image of a girl in his dream haunted his waking hours.

He imagined what his friends would say if he sent them an owl. Hermione would no doubt want to consult every medical expert available about the strange variances of curse scars. Telling Ron would even worse as the entire Weasley family would probably all know within five minutes - all nine of them. He could just imagine the amusement Fred and George would share as they sat him down for a "man-to-man" talk, lowering their voices in mock maturity while each took an arm and confided, "Now, Harry, at your age these dreams are to be expected as a natural occurrence…" He could imagine Ginny's red face and even redder hair, ducking out the room in embarrassment and Ron's flustered voice in the background.

Writing to Sirius might be just as bad. If interpreted the wrong way, the dream might encourage an undesired talk about "how it is," a conversation that would no doubt be awkward between a man who had spent twelve years of his young adulthood locked in dreary Azkaban and his trouble-finding teenage godson who less than three years ago had believed the two of them to be mortal enemies.

Harry still didn't know a lot about these dreams he sometimes had. Dumbledore's fishy explanation of sensing only Voldemort's extreme emotions notwithstanding, he knew he was no expert at understanding the nuances of an affliction that not many people had - not any, actually. Although he had spent a large portion of his life with the scar on his forehead, he still cringed at the mere mention of it.

But what Harry did know confused him more than what he didn't: the dream was real.

He shook his head in bewilderment and closed his eyes, bringing back the vivid bright colors of the dream. It had started with his flying around the Quidditch field. He was trying to escape from an unknown team dressed in black. He flew through a swarm of bats, thinking they were also his enemy before he realized too late that they were trying to shield him from the enemy that was now ripping through them.

He passed Dumbledore flying in the opposite direction, who was mumbling, "Just like your father - you'll make the family proud." Harry thought he mumbled more about family trees, but before he could get back in the game he saw something fly overhead.

It looked like a bird, only with enormous wings, a strange mix between a dark magenta and light wine, a unique deep carmine. He wondered briefly if he was making the color up, as he was dreaming. It hit him with a shock that he was dreaming - and knew it. With a new lucidity, he looked back over his shoulder at the game which had frozen in place without his presence.

He followed the colored dot on the horizon over the Forbidden Forest. Finally he caught a glimpse through the trees, a spark of color. He dived down to find himself landing in a clearing, a meadow of sorts whose wild grass was broken only by the several large chunks of rocks scattered as though a giant had haphazardly thrown them down, each being about the size of one or two cars. The slender, dark green grass which came half-way up to his knees swayed hypnotically, as if dancing in the strong breeze that gave the whole clearing a strange underwater or otherworldly look.

What captured his attention, however, was the small figure perched on the edge of a rock on the other side of the meadow. He knew for sure now that he was definitely dreaming because now he was walking in slow-motion as the air thickened and the light pulsed bluer and bluer. The trees in front of the figure dropped away to show a cliff and an expanse of rainbow colored land so far away he couldn't even tell its' color's apart. The figure solidified into a girl, a teenager, he guessed, whose black wavy hair shone in the strange light as the wind whipped it back and forth across the top of her slim shoulder blades. He was close enough now to see the small indentations her spine made against her pale-white skin. He realized she was half-humming, half-singing a small ponderous melody that seemed to pulse in rhythm with the light. It became like a loud drumbeat, a telltale heart, the strong vibrations tickling his chest.

She was naked.

He pulled himself up onto the rock and kneeled down behind her. He had the eerie sense that this was a script that had happened before, every movement precisely as dictated. She slowly turned around to face him.

He stared down into eyes the same color as the wings he had seen before. Suddenly he was pulled into those eyes, not unlike the sensation he experienced falling into Tom Riddle's diary his second year, or Dumbledore Pensieve last year.

He was tumbling through empty space and at the same time surrounded on all sides by a force that pressed closer and closer. An intense vibration started in the top of his forehead and traveled down through his toes. Images knifed through his head in rapid succession, each gone before he could make sense of the preceding one. They sliced through his head, razor-sharp and shockingly violent.

Hands tossed a small red-haired girl in the air; time froze as the picture zoomed in on her wide green eyes.

In another Professor Snape knelt over a nondescript bundle, wailing into the night as the tears streaming down his face shone in the moonlight; the bundle feebly moved and whimpered.

A huge immense blackness suddenly formed a small green crack, the dark pushed up against the green and started to overwhelm it.

A fire burned far across an ocean, a small dot that faded silently away into the rising dawn.

A reptilian figure climbed a tree and tossed out a knife which went straight for a man's throat.

Burned and slashed bodies littered fields stained red in the twilight.

He saw more fires and snakes and railroads and saw countless faces and heard screaming, a flash of images that rushed by so quickly he wasn't sure if they had ever been there at all.

The wailing intensified and reached a new pitch as the pressure became unbearable and it all swirled together into a shrieking mass of bright blue light.

He had woken up screaming.

When he had lain back down, his sweat rolling off him onto the damp bed, a name rolled over his tongue like an after-taste, a name whispered like a kiss: June. He gingerly felt his scar and was surprised that it didn't hurt. Instead there was a kind of tickling burn that wasn't wholly unpleasant. Although it had been 3:42 a.m., he didn't go back to sleep that night.

It had been a week ago from today. His nights since had been a dark void, a dreamless and deep slumber that left him fully refreshed but unsure if he had ever really been asleep. The dream, however, continued to haunt his days.

His reveries were interrupted suddenly by a short scream the duration of a hiccup. He sat up and rubbed his eyes. The clock on his nightstand showed that it was late afternoon, only an hour of so away from when he would trudge down to the kitchen and make dinner with the food the Dursley's had left for him while they went on vacation. For his overbearing family, the food would probably have lasted only a week, but for him it could last almost a month. Besides, he knew his friends would see to it that he didn't starve, with the help of Hedwig.

He pulled up the shade and squinted down into the street. Privet Drive had emptied itself of most its occupants, something Harry was not particularly upset about, but now there were two people in front of #4. Harry could guess from their clothes that they had been running, and although he didn't envy their trek through the afternoon July heat, he automatically felt admiration for them. He was quite good at running himself, which became useful whenever Dudley had the notion to make Harry his private punching bag (back when Dudley could actually swing his arms around the enormous hulk that was his body).

One of the runners sat on the hot concrete, carefully feeling elbows and knees that had apparently been skinned during a rather nasty fall. The second runner leaned over the first. Both their faces were hidden.

In the blink of an eye, Harry was down the stairs and out the door.

"Hey!" he called awkwardly as he jogged down the walk. "I, er, heard you fall and -"

His voice caught in his throat as the second runner straightened. He looked to be about Harry's age, although taller and, if possible, paler beneath the growing sunburn on his shoulders and nose. His shirt was tied around his head, but Harry could see a dark wisps of hair peeking out. With his long, straight nose, despite the running clothes the boy looked exactly like a younger version of Professor Severus Snape.

Harry paused, wondering how to disclose this unsettling bit of information.

"Hi, I'm Llian!" he introduced himself, shaking the hand of a shocked Harry. "Would you mind if we borrowed a couple of bandages to get my sister cleaned up? Huh, June?" He turned back to the other runner, whose knees were bleeding freely onto the pavement. She squinted up at Harry, giving a small polite smile.

Although she wore black oval glasses over her dark charcoal eyes, Harry stiffened in recognition: it was the girl from his dream.