Disclaimers: The characters do not belong to me, no matter how hard I wish. sighs To actually own Harry and Draco... XDDD Well, that would be the day, wouldn't it? Arrg!! wishes very, very hard

Summary: AU. A "faerie" tale with elves, vampires, and reincarnation. Draco's a transfer student who arrives at Hogwarts during Harry's seventh year, trying to fulfill a promise made nearly a hundred years ago. But what is this promise and does it have to do with Harry? D/H!

Last Enchantment

Harry and the others raced into the darkened hallway, fear clinging to the edge of his senses. Although his eyesight seemed to have miraculously improved, it didn't help the fact that there was still little to see in the darkness. He could hear the footfalls of his friends behind him, Draco especially as the vampire was so close that Harry could feel the tiny wisps of breath tickling the back of his neck.

He wondered where Luna was. Harry had thought that she would have been part of the fray outside, but Tonks had mentioned that Luna was gone. Perhaps into the castle? Perhaps somewhere safe where the Death Eaters couldn't have gotten to her?

It didn't matter. He had his own mission to complete. He had to think of a way to get past the dragon so that he would be able to get to the throne before Voldemort did.

There was a light at the end of the corridor where it curved off into a doorway.

"Hey, maybe there's no dragon here after all!" Ron exclaimed when they all saw the light. He sounded relieved, but just a trifle cautious in case what he said came back to taunt them.

The sounds of the statement bounced off the walls of the hallway, much louder than their own footsteps had been, and rumbled deep into the doorway and corridor which they were in. The three others turned briefly to glare at Ron, making the redhead take a few steps back, but then widen his eyes as a giant shadow started to show up.

It was the snorting sounds that first all Harry's attention.

The shadows on the wall were huge, with sharp teeth gnashing at each other and bat-like wings, flapping every once in a while as claws slashed in the air. Ron gulped audibly, grabbing on tightly to Hermione's hand and his wand despite knowing that his magic wouldn't help him much. But despite the horrendous warning on the wall, all four of them only looked at each other before resigning themselves to go forward and not turn back for the Death Eaters.

"If we don't come out of this alive," Ron said nervously, "then I need to proclaim for a last time that I love Hermione and that if Malfoy ever hurts Harry, I will haunt him forever."

"Don't be melodramatic," Hermione muttered. "We'll all be fine." But even she was eyeing the shadow wearily, edging back from the gigantic proportions of the teeth.

"I'm not being melodramatic," Ron protested halfheartedly. "Everyone knows that Harry's the hero, and Draco's the significant other, so it's always the sidekick that gets it."

"That's not funny, Ron." Hermione insisted, but her heart wasn't in it as her eyes stayed steadfastedly fixed on the silhouette on the wall.

The four of them almost audibly gulped, before Harry dared a look at the others, trying to put on a brave face while he thought furiously of how to defeat their recent obstacle. A dragon that wouldn't be influenced by their magics, but instead followed faerie magic… how were they supposed to defeat that?

A gigantic roar drew their attention towards the shadow on the wall, and their eyes remained glued on the end of the corridor as the shadow drew nearer… and nearer…

"Is it just me, or is the shadow getting smaller?" Ron stage-whispered. Hermione nudged him sharply in the ribs, but held up her wand in an offensive position, jaw set in a way that didn't allow for her to respond.

Harry didn't want to get his hopes up either, and brandished his wand as well, taking a brave step forward, determined that they would get through whatever they were facing. Draco made a disgruntled noise as Harry surpassed him, reaching out to grab at the dark-haired boy's robe.

"If we can't affect the dragon directly, maybe we can charm items around to help us." Harry muttered, as the dragon gave another roar. "We could always make use of the conjuring charms Professor Flitwick taught us…"

They all visibly tensed as the dragon first came into view, snarling and snapping its jaws together irritably. The dragon was a scaly grey, with near glistening bat wings that stretched out at least twice its length.

But that wasn't saying much, considering that the length of the dragon wasn't very great to begin with.

Ron made a noise in the back of his throat. "This… THIS is what we've been afraid of? It's no bigger than a hatchling! Is this the dragon we were supposed to pass?"

The dragon snarled its answer, huffing small puffs of fire. Hermione nearly cooed as the dragon shook its head vigorously, as if trying to dislodge something stuck in its throat. The small thing was perhaps two feet long, with tiny teeth that while sharp, wouldn't do much damage against them.

They took a moment to look at the dragon, who was still huffing the breaths of smoke but not as violently now, looking for all the world like it was about to sneeze. Draco was the first to break out of their trace as he grabbed for Harry's hand, proclaiming, "Let's not discount this blessing and just go past it."

Harry bit his lip and nodded his agreement, eyes still on the tiny dragon standing in their way. He took a step forward, expecting even that small thing to fight back and try to burn him alive, when to his surprise- the dragon ducked its head, looking rather sheepish.

"What's happening?" He could hear Hermione whisper behind him to Ron, and could almost feel Ron's shrug in response.

"Come on," Harry said, his voice hardly louder than a whisper for fear of gaining the dragon's attentions again. But instead, the grey-scaled dragon was looking at him passively as he passed, pulling his companions along with him.

It took a moment before Harry was able to turn the bend of the corridor, and was greeted by gigantic doors before him, curved from a form of wood that he had never seem before, silvery-white in its brilliance and detailed with images of forest creatures and creatures of myth. He paused for a moment before reaching out a hand to touch the cool wood lightly, feeling the grooves and indents under his fingertips and wondering at the workmanship that would be involved in the making of this simple door.

Draco didn't seem to have the same reservations about intruding past this door, though, and reached over Harry's shoulder to push over the doors, giving the small boy a nudge to go inside. They were at the very end now. They were here in the throne room, and the Death Eaters would be too late to stop them from waking the faerie kingdom.

Inside was a cavernous room, airy and filled with not so much as a speck of dusk to diminish its brilliance. The same silvery-white wood that had been used to make the door also made up the simple, yet elegant, throne in the center of the room, lighted by an open window up high to let in the weak sunlight. Dark green vines seemed to appear from the middle of nowhere to curve itself around the arms and back of the throne, making it look beautiful and wild in a classy and tamed room.

"Is that it?" Harry asked, not knowing what else to say. Is this the end? Have we won?

"Yeah." Draco breathed behind him, the wisp of air making its way to Harry and making him shiver. "This is it."

Harry took a few steps towards the throne, reaching out a hand to touch the silvery-white wood of the armrests, and sucked in a breath when he felt a… presence brush against the edge of his mind. It was almost a reverent touch, which pushed against his senses and welcomed him.

A crash and roar in the not-so-far distance caught their attentions again, and Harry spun around to see the shadow of the small dragon which had guarded the corridor roar and strike at something in the distance, and sounds of curses and spells that were shouted ineffectively.

"They're here!" Draco cried, and pushed Harry towards the throne. Ron was backing up slightly towards then and away from the doors of the room, taking Hermione with him. "Hurry!"

He wasn't sure what to do, but Harry scrambled into the seat of the throne, settling himself down in the cool wood and placing his arms on the rests, suddenly feeling very stupid. If this didn't work, then what would they do?

As soon as his arms, settled on the rests, Harry's world became a blur.


The tall woman standing with her back to him stilled for a moment in the middle of her talk with someone else, and then turned her head to glance back over her shoulder, offering a gentle smile. For a moment, Harry was sure that he was seeing Lily Evans-Potter, with her waves of red hair and those sharp green eyes.

In another moment, though, the vision seemed to dull and it look to be someone else standing where his mother should be- someone with hair more brown than red, eyes more amber than green. The features of the woman looked similar to his mothers, but something was still wrong- something was off. Harry was sure that his mother never had that careful posture and stance, one that spoke of elegance and glamour and nobility.

That strange image seemed to disappear again as Harry blinked, toddling his way over to his mother, watching the beautiful smile and those kind green eyes as she opened her arms to him. He barely reached her waist level, but still must have been too heavy for her to pick up so easily like that, too heavy for her to balance so carefully on her hips.

"What is it, sweetheart?" she asked, those eyes checking him over once not only to make sure that nothing was wrong, but that he was also immaculately dressed. It would not do for the prince of the Seelie Faeries to have mud stains on his sleeves and grass stains on his posterior, after all, Harry knew. He had to resist the urge to stick a finger in his mouth, knowing that he was far too old to be behaving so childishly now.

"Father didn't want me in the study, so he told me to bother you instead."

Lily (or was it Lily?) laughed lightly, her eyes twinkling as she smoothed the bangs away from Harry's face. It was in that moment that Harry saw her to be wearing a long, elegant dress and tiara, and couldn't understand what she would be doing wearing that. Was there a costume party that he didn't know about?

"Have you finished your lessons for the day, then?" she asked Harry, and watched as he nodded enthusiastically, grinning at her in expectation of playtime. "Everything?" she asked again, this time teasing. "You're sure of that?"

Harry opened his mouth to give her a detailed summary of what he had done that day, only to falter as something finally hit him.

His parents had died before he was old enough to study anything. Before he was this big, and before he could talk so well.

As that thought came to him, the image of the smiling Lily-who-was-not-Lily started to fade away, the feeling of her arms holding him in such a motherly embrace turning cold as Harry realized that his mother wouldn't be wearing a dress and tiara. His mother didn't have the amber eyes or reddish-brown hair.

The background of the faux memory he had was also starting to fade, leaving him immersed in darkness, but still able to see himself.

He looked down at his hands, and then realized that those hands did not belong to a child anymore, not the child he had been just a few moments ago. Those hands were those of a hardened teenager's, one who had seen the housework for the Dursleys for many years. Gone was the light clothing he had been wearing, the ones he had given thought of when he was running and playing, because he was not supposed to get the clothing dirty.

But I never had clothing like that before, Harry thought dazedly. I've never played with other children like I had in these memories.

"Maybe not in this life, you haven't."

Harry whirled around, all the fuzzy feelings clouding his thoughts disappearing as he realized that he wasn't alone in this darkness at all. His eyes narrowed as he tried to find where the voice had come from, in this infinite darkness of his mind.

"Who's there?" He demanded, mild nervousness growing into a full-blown paranoia as a light chuckle answered his question, sounding like it had come from all the directions and nowhere at all.

Biting his lip against the onslaught of adrenaline that coursed through his bloodstream, Harry stretched out his arms, feeling for anything around him. He didn't have his wand with him here, and there were no weapons to use that he could perceive.

"You shouldn't get worked up over me. I'm not dangerous."

"Who are you?"

There was a brief silence that answered the next question, before light was suddenly flooded into the world again, and Harry cried out as he covered his eyes with both arms, trying to dispel the sting and brightness that seeped through his lids.

"Do you recognize this place?"

It took a few moments before the stinging in his eyes reduced, and Harry allowed himself to peek from the safety of his arms, and was suddenly assailed with all his other senses.

There was the distant music of birds chirping in the blue sky, of leaves whistling as the wind swept past and gave Harry goose bumps as he shivered slightly in the cold. The sun was shining brightly, half concealed by the cover of dense storm clouds, promising a light shower sometime later in the day. For the most part, the sky was still blue and the grass beneath him so green that it could only be spring.

The smell of damp earth and new flowers hit his nose as the breeze picked up again, and Harry brought down his arms as he realized he was now dressed in his usual Gryffindor school robes. It was a beautiful area, yes, and felt familiar to him as his spot at the Hogwarts Lake.

But he had never seen this place before.

"What is this place?" He asked airily as he crouched down to brush his fingertips against the green grass and the dampness that was already gathering dew on the leaves and weeds around him. Standing up again, Harry turned in a full circle to make sure that he was still the only one there in his mind, seeing that the beauty of the scenery surrounded him from all sides. There was the sound of a distant rushing river now, and the small noises that certain insects out in the forests made.

The air had a crisp feel to it, a cold sharpness that made him feel more alert than he had the entire time he was dreaming.

"Don't you know?"

Of course not. He had never been somewhere so… natural before, someplace so completely untouched by signs of humanity and their ideas of technological progression. Even Hogwarts and the Forbidden Forest had signs of being touched by the people who lived around- faded footsteps and smoke in the sky from Hagrid's hut, some patches of plants gone missing because it had been gathered for a certain potion or otherwise.

"Who are you?" He asked again, much more calmly this time. The scenery had helped calm his nerves, and the crisp allowed made him feel more coherent.

"You know who I am."

There was a prickle of irritation as Harry gritted his teeth, and took a few steps forward, and then turned around to lean his back against one of the trees present. It was easily to feel more secure knowing that at least no one could sneak up from behind him this way, or at least that he would be able to hear them if they tried to sneak up from behind him.

"If I knew, I wouldn't be asking." He snapped, not knowing why he was so irritated with that voice beside the fact that it sounded much too calm in face of his questions. He pressed himself harder against the trunk of the large tree that shaded him, feeling the rough bark through the thickness of his robes. "You can at least show your face!"

"I can't. You don't want to see me."

"You shouldn't assume things, you know. This is my dream."

There was a short hesitation. "Do you really think that you're dreaming?"

Of course he was dreaming. He had certainly never seen a place like this in his life, and didn't know how he ended up there- especially where the blackness had come from. The only explanation was that he was dreaming this. And if he was dreaming and aware of it, he wasn't going to give his control to some unknown variable hiding in his subconscious.

Deciding to ignore the obvious answer to that, Harry demanded, "Show yourself!"

"I'm up here."

Harry startled and craned his neck up where the voice had come from in the tree above him, up in the thick branches mostly hidden by the downfall of leaves. There was a silhouette sitting there, its face and body mostly covered in the shadow of the said leaves, one hand pushing against the base trunk to hold its position there.

Harry squinted as he looked up, and suddenly wished desperately for his glasses despite the fact that he didn't seem to need them anymore. It didn't help that the person was sitting against the still bright sunlight.

He pulled back a few steps so that he wouldn't have to crane his neck so, and also to get some distance between himself and the figure that had suddenly shown up, covering his eyes from the sun with one hand.

"Who are you?" He asked again suspiciously.

"Who could appear in your dreams so casually?" the figure responded mockingly, then shifted so that it wasn't completely in shadow anymore. Harry's eyes narrowed as he saw someone who looked remarkably like himself, but not quite. Somehow, he wasn't surprised at all at the similarity between the figure and him.

"You're right in that we're the same person… and not." The figured continued to say, green eyes eerie in the way it was watching Harry. Had his eyes been that frightening? "I am the part of you that was so quick to respond to anger when you thought that Sirius had killed your parents. I am the part of you that could not kill Lestrange. I am the part of you that couldn't believe how Dumbledore had been keeping secrets, and was furious. I am the part of you that went down into the Chamber of Secrets to save Ginny."

That made absolutely no sense at all to Harry. "What are you talking about?"

The almost-doppelganger tilted his head and leaned against the trunk of the tree comfortably, and Harry realized that the person was wearing a Hogwarts uniform as well.

"You keep trying to delude yourself about being a normal teenager, Harry." The person responded, voice barely heard over the wind as the storm clouds were gathering, the sky's pale blue darkening to that of a dusty grey. "Yet at the same time you think that you are not normal- that you are a hero and must live up to a hero's status. That's what always gets you into trouble. You have a hero-complex about saving people, and tell yourself that you are nothing but an ordinary teen."

Harry opened his mouth to retort, but was cut off before he could begin.

"Heroes don't live very long, Harry. That's why ordinary people don't always do heroic deeds. They have their own lives to worry about- and for the average person, that's all the worry they can handle." The almost-doppelganger held out a hand, palm up. "But you have two prophecies concerning you, Harry, and you can't die on those prophecies even if you want to play hero. That's where I come in."

Harry thought about those words, then asked carefully, "Are you Emerald, then?"

It would make sense, Harry thought, since he was supposed to be the reincarnation of Emerald. It would make sense that Emerald was the reason Harry had survived so long against such odds.

"No. I'm not." The figure closed his hand into a fist, as if grabbing onto something tightly, afraid of letting go. "You should know that. I'm you.

"I am the part of you that is meticulous. I make the plans while you charge blindly ahead. I make sure you don't get yourself in a situation where the consequences will be too much to handle. I get scared just as you do, and I have the same temper as you. I am the same person as you, but I am the one whom almost got you sorted into Slytherin."

Well, Harry thought to himself calmly (too calm, almost), he had once heard that everyone had an evil twin. He should feel honored that he got to talk to said twin.

"I'm not evil, you know." The Slytherin side of him said, sounding very annoyed as he glared down at Harry. "I told you- I'm you. I am what keep you alive."

"Excuse me if I don't quite believe that." Harry retorted, crossing his arms before him and glaring up at the almost-doppelganger sitting in the tree. The sky was darkening at an alarming rate, and the distant rolls of thunder could be heard over the mountains. It would be mere minutes before rain.

"You don't have to believe it." The figure said irritably. "But I've been keeping you alive, and I brought you here because there's something you need to figure out."

"And what the hell do I need to figure out?" Harry asked. He really didn't want to believe this was his alter-self… especially since said self was annoying and talked in riddles as much as Dumbledore.

"Why you can't access the throne, of course."

"Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckfuckfuck-"

"Ron, shut up." Hermione hissed.

"We're all going to die." Ron mourned, shoulders slumped as he plopped down onto the grimy ground. "There were so many things I still wanted to do with my life…"

Hermione sighed as Ron continued to mutter to himself, this time having the decency to at least bury his face in his arms so that she couldn't hear him properly. Some of his life goals? She really hadn't wanted to know.

Grasping the bars of their small cell tightly between her hands, Hermione tried to push and pull at them, hoping fruitlessly that perhaps for some strange reason, she would be able to contort the metal bars enough that they could maybe escape.

It had seriously frightened her to see that they only had one cell left to put all four of them in, although she would never admit that aloud to Ron while he was in this state. It was bad enough that he was bemoaning their imminent demise, she didn't want to add the fact that anyone who could help them were also locked up as well.

Damn it. How had things gotten that bad?

Hermione gave up of the bars as the cold metal bit at her hands, and dropped her arms back down to her sides in frustration. The light in the cell was weak at best, barely letting in some filtered sunlight to illuminate the two unconscious figures of Harry and Draco lay out in the corner where Hermione had arranged them.

Growling, Hermione grasped the bars again, pushing at them as hard as she could despite knowing that it wouldn't do anything. She leaned as far as she could out the cell, knowing that her head wouldn't be able to fit between the bars, and tried to peer as far down the corridor as she could.

There was no one there, although she suspected that all the other cells she could see were full with unconscious Aurors and Elven fighters alike.

It wasn't fair, Hermione despaired childishly. They got to the throne first. Yet for some reason, when Harry had sat down on the throne, nothing had happened. She had panicked at first, thinking that her best friend might have been hurt, only for Draco to catch Harry, reassuring her and Ron that he was merely unconscious.

Of course, that wasn't good for them since the Death Eaters had been on the heels in the first place.

It was mere moments after Harry fell unconscious that the fighting outside came into the throne room, having gotten past the dragon easily enough (although, now that Hermione had time to think about it, there were quite a few burned robes and claw marks that were dripping blood) and storming the room.

Luckily, they had the element of surprise over the Death Eaters and had managed to stupefy quite a few of them before the Death Eaters started fighting back. DA had really paid off for them, Hermione thought for a moment with pride, even though she felt quite exasperated with how Ron had taken out a few Death Eaters with a dancing charm. (But at least he took them out, right?)

All that had changed with the arrival of Voldemort.

Hermione shuddered. She knew that being friends with Harry meant that she would have to be at the front lines of the war because she wasn't going to let him go off fighting alone. But so far, each year, Harry had always been the one to face Voldemort while both she and Ron had never even seen him before.

She leaned back into the cell, her hands still gripping the bars and feeling the years of grime and rust give way as her grip chafed the metal. The smell that came off the rust wafted to her nose and made her grimace.

She had never imagined the Dark Lord to physically look so much like a monster. Yes, she had known all his evil deeds and had heard recounts from Harry about how snake-like the Dark Lord was, including how physically twisted he might be. But she had never thought that anyone who looked so animal-like and twisted could even be alive, must less human.

But maybe he's not human, Hermione thought grimly. Maybe he's not human at all.

"We have to find a way to get out of here before he remembers about us again." Ron finally spoke up, cutting through Hermione's thoughts. She glanced back at him, at where he was perched against the back of the cell.

"We have to get Harry and Malfoy out, too. Before You-Know-Who comes back."

He sounded determined, and Hermione almost had the urge to snap at him to ask how he proposed to do that, but refrained herself from doing do because she didn't have any ideas either.

She didn't understand why they were still alive. She had expected to die when the Dark Lord walked into the room- expected for him to give the order to have them executed immediately so they couldn't interfere with his plans anymore. The snake-like wizard had eyed them with so much hate that those red eyes glowed.

But he had merely sneered at both her and Ron, turning those eyes to Draco who growled back in a predatory manner while clutching tightly onto Harry.

"So you're the one Lucius refuses to tell me about."

The voice was scarily charismatic, smooth and deep with a smug tone that made Hermione think of a great leader, a thought that she didn't want at all.

"He has said that you would not interfere with my goals, but now I see that he's wrong." Voldemort took a step forward, stretching out a clawed hand towards the vampire childe, his skin grayed and thin over blood vessels. "But your Father will not be punished by me if you hand over the boy."

That had been the wrong thing to say, Hermione thought now, pursing her lips as she stared back at Ron now in the cell, watched him try to come up with ideas for escape. Considering how scared she had been, Hermione was surprised that Draco could charge at the Dark Lord with such rage. He never even loosened his grip on Harry, clutching the dark-haired boy in his arms as he tried to attack the Dark Lord.

He had been grabbed before he could reach the Dark Lord, by at least 5 separate Death Eaters and cast with Stupefy, hitting the floor hard as Hermione grasped onto Ron's hand in the throne room.

"Hold them back." The smooth voice had commanded as he marched toward the throne, and Hermione found herself stupefied by another Death Eater, one that wasn't very strong as she continued to fight the curse for several long moments.

She had watched with blurry eyes after she collapsed to the ground, gasping for breath after hitting her head painfully on the unyielding stone floor. She watched as Voldemort had sat down on the throne, watched as light had emitted from the grey stones before her vision darkened and the last thing she remembered was hearing the smooth voice scream out in fury and denial.

The next thing she knew- she had woken from a jab from a Death Eater, whom had herded her and Ron along the still unconscious Harry and Draco down a long corridor towards their current cell.

"Our wands are gone." She informed Ron, watching as he rummaged around the cell.

"I know that." He looked up against the wall of their cell to the small window facing outside, where the dim lighting was shining through. Hermione frowned as she watched him. Surely he didn't think that anyone would be able to reach that high…? Or that anyone could even fit through a window that small?

"Shouldn't Harry and Malfoy be awake by now?"

Hermione glanced in the direction of the two still unconscious on the ground, and shook her head. "The spell that Draco got hit with was very strong… and Harry… well, we don't even know why he passed out in the first place."

That was what worried her the most besides their imminent fates from Voldemort, she didn't want to admit. From what she could gather from the information that she had been given with the last day, everything was supposed to be over once Harry got to the faerie throne. Voldemort was not supposed to even get there at all. Harry had been the first one there!

"If you figure a way out through that window," she grumbled to Ron, who was still staring up at the small exit. She leaned against the bars of the cell tiredly, "then let me know."

"What does that mean?"

Harry was seated under the canopy of the tall tree, with his almost-doppelganger sitting opposite. A light rain had started to fall in the dreamscape, and Harry was tempted to turn up the hood for his school robes. But there under the tree, the surrounding grass was still quite dry.

"It might mean that we've been lucky so far." His Slytherin counterpart responded, brows drawn together in thought. "If you weren't able to access the faerie heritage through the throne, then it means that it doesn't respond to your blood. That means that Voldemort won't be able to access it, either."

That wasn't much consolation, Harry thought darkly. If he had been able to access the throne, then Voldemort wouldn't even be in the equation now.

Another thought occurred to Harry.

"But does that mean that I might not be Emerald?" he asked his counterpart curiously. "That everyone was wrong after all, and I'm not anyone special at all…"

"You're an idiot." His counterpart said sharply. "If you weren't the one the prophecies talked of, then neither of us would be here right now- we'd both be dead."

"That doesn't help, you know." Harry retorted dryly.

"You're not helping with your self-doubts!" The other hissed, sounding peeved. "Maybe that's why you can't access the throne. It's because you honestly don't think you can, so you refuse the power that it offers. If that's the case, then we're all screwed because Voldemort sure as hell doesn't have problems like you do."

"That's ridiculous."

"Or maybe," his alter self continued, voice running over his own. "Maybe you don't want to be Emerald, don't want the responsibilities that being a faerie prince would bring. Maybe you don't want to share Draco with the memory of who you used to be."

Those eerie green eyes stared at Harry, and then he said, "That's it, isn't it? You don't want anything more to do with Emerald than what you already have in common."

"That's not it." Harry denied.

"It is. You really don't recognize this place, huh?"

Harry fumed for a moment. "It's a dreamscape, isn't it? It's just somewhere that my mind finds peaceful- maybe this is the place I'd come to within me if anyone ever tried hypnosis on me or something. I'm within my own mind! That's why I'm talking with you!"

His Slytherin counterpart was only quiet for the moment it took to gather up enough words to form cohesive ideas. "But there really is no 'me' or 'you'. I only used those words so you would have an easier time understanding your situation right now. You're not in just any dreamscape, Harry. Look around you. Doesn't it look familiar?"

Harry closed his eyes and tightened his jaw, determined that he wouldn't look. Besides, he already knew what his surroundings looked like.

"You grew up here, Harry."

"I grew up on Privet Drive!"

"You grew up… here."

And when Harry opened his eyes again, he wasn't facing his almost-doppelganger, wasn't sitting under a tree in the light rain, wasn't inside the same forest anymore. He was now staring at bright, thin spires leading into the sky, and a delicate and almost glass-like material covering those spires and the area around it. There were no vines here, nor was the sky dark and filled with the smoke of oncoming war. Instead, the rain had let up to patches of sunlight shining through the clouds and illuminating the mystical caste before him in a way that was almost blinding.

It was the same faerie castle, looking perhaps a hundred years younger.

continued in chapter 13

Authoress' Rambles: It really has been a long time, hasn't it? Hello again, everyone. It's been nearly a year since I updated my stories- a year filled with college admissions, moving to another country, an original story, another fandom, and starting university. I've been to three countries in the past six months, laughs. Almost four- but my grandparents didn't want me to go to Japan with my mom.

Other than that useless information, I'd like to thank everyone who didn't give up on this story and continued to bug me about finishing it. Special dedication to Yana5 for the continuous emails. Everyone can thank her as the reason this chapter is finished now. ; Two more chapters and an epilogue left!