Chapter 1 – The Dream
Harry Potter sat in his room, eyes staring blankly ahead. The once vivid green eyes were dulled with pain. Not physical pain, but emotional turmoil. For you see, Harry Potter was not an ordinary boy. Not by a long shot. He was a wizard. That alone was enough to single him out in his 'family' of Muggles, but Harry was not even an ordinary wizard. He was the Boy-Who-Lived, and had survived an attack by the most powerful dark lord of the time, Lord Voldemort. No one knew how, or why, but Harry had done it, and Lord Voldemort was left as nothing more than a spirit.
But now, Voldemort was back. He had been steadily gaining power and followers for a year now, while the public was ignorantly unaware of his return. But Harry knew better. He had seen Voldemort, just a week before, during his attempt to 'save' Sirius. But that had all been a trick. Harry was lured there, thinking his godfather was in danger. Voldemort had used Harry to get at a prophecy stashed in the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic, and in falling for the trap, he had brought his godfather there.
'If I hadn't been so stupid!', Harry berated himself for the millionth time. 'I had to go and 'play the hero', as Hermione put it. If I had just listened to her, Sirius might still be here…'
Harry had been having these thoughts over and over since the start of summer, when he had locked himself in his room and only came out to use the bathroom and get his meager meals. The Dursleys were all too happy with this arrangement, as they hardly had to see the boy. They treated him right and gave him slightly better meals than usual, but that was simply because of the threat of the Order coming to check on Harry every three days. Harry had written to them as promised, saying that everything was fine, and not to worry. He did ask them not to write to him for a while, as he needed to come to them on his own terms.
So that was how the days passed for Harry. But, a week into summer, something happened that changed Harry's demeanor for the better.
He had just finished his dinner when he began his ever-present train of thought concerning Sirius, always ending with the veil. He had been dreaming about it for some time now, always unable to catch Sirius as he fell through the veil, eyes wide with shock. He tried his best not to sleep at all, so as not to be plagued with the vivid dreams of Sirius and the veil. But tonight, he fell asleep much earlier than usual, around 11:00pm.
Harry was standing in front of the veil at the Department of Mysteries, but Sirius was no where in sight. Harry figured out immediately that he must've already fallen through. There seemed to be voices coming from behind the veil, and they seemed to want him to join them. He walked slowly up the dais, as if in a trance, until he was standing right in front of the archway. The veil fluttered as if in a slight breeze, but there was no wind to speak of.
Standing in front of the veil, Harry came to his senses a bit. He didn't want to just walk through, but he couldn't seem to move away from it either. So he settled on pushing the veil to see if there was some kind of opening. What he saw was not what he expected.
Stretching out below him was a bottomless chasm. The sides were very steep, and it seemed to be incredibly deep, as all Harry could see was darkness at the bottom. He stood on the edge, looking around to see if there was any kind of relatively safe way down. Seeing none, he tried calling to Sirius.
"Sirius!" he shouted. His voice echoed a few times before there was silence. He stood there for a while, his heart going a mile a minute, before trying again. But before he could fill up his lungs all the way, he heard a very faint voice in the distance.
"Harry? Is that you?" Harry was completely floored that he recognized the voice, let alone heard someone answer. In his usual dreams, he had always felt a sense of loss afterwards, but the voice filled him with renewed hope.
"Sirius? What's going on?" he shouted back. He waited a moment, before he heard his godfather's voice return, excited and seemingly relieved.
"Thank God I finally got to you! I've been trying to get you to come here forever, it seems!"
By now Harry was completely confused, as he had no idea if this was really Sirius, or just a very cruel dream. "What do you mean you've gotten to me? I am dreaming, right?"
"This is a dream Harry, but it's the only way I can talk to you without you actually, physically, coming in here as well."
"But where is 'here', exactly?"
"First, answer me this. What do you see?"
Harry chanced another glance down the chasm, being careful not to fall in as well. "Well, it's like a huge gap that looks really deep. But that doesn't answer my question."
"Right now you're in a dream world. That is how I can talk to you. The place I'm currently 'living' in is known as Purgatory. Living people aren't supposed to see Purgatory, because you can't have a body here."
Harry had never really had a Christian or Catholic up-bringing, but he knew that purgatory was the limbo between Heaven and Hell. "What are you doing in Purgatory? …Does that mean you're really…dead?"
"No Harry, technically, I am not completely dead."
"What do you mean, 'not completely'?"
"What I mean is, my body may be lost, but my soul is still here. I can't get out, because I don't have a body. Ghosts don't have bodies, I know, but before you even ask, I don't want to come back as a disembodied spirit."
By this time Harry was getting excited, but before he actually believed what he was hearing, he needed to know something. "You mean you can actually come back?" Harry desperately needed this question answered, and he stood there, holding his breath and crossing his fingers.
"Yes Harry, but it's very difficult. You see, no one has ever come into Purgatory and gone back to Earth."
Harry's hopes had soared when he heard Sirius say yes, but then he was sobered a bit by the fact that no one had ever done it. "I don't care how hard it is, I'll get you back, Sirius. You know I'll at least try. I've done the impossible before, anyway," he added with a little smirk.
"Harry, only animals can come and go here. They are treated like guardian angels, since they are well known for looking after their masters. The few evil creatures that there are can't die easily, and when they do, they don't go to Hell. From what I've heard here there is a different place for the animals, both magical and non-magical. Evil creatures don't have a choice as to what they do, and when they die, they are freed from their tasks."
"Wait a minute. From what you've 'heard'? There are more people down there?" Right after Harry said that he realized how stupid it sounded.
"Of course there are others down here. Usually people that fell through the veil, like me, but some people are down here that didn't want to die, and are trying to find the way out. That's how ghosts come about."
"Have you seen…?"
"No Harry, your parents aren't down here. Trust me, I've looked for them. They probably went straight to Heaven when they died."
Harry thought of this as good news and bad news: good because his parents must be finally happy together, no Dark Lord chasing them, but bad because he couldn't rescue them with Sirius. He went back to thinking about the topic of conversation before, regarding the animals. "I thought there was no such thing as an evil animal…" Harry mused out loud.
"Well, technically, there isn't. When I said 'evil animal', I meant animals that were bound to an evil person. When they die, they are free. But that's beside the point. What I'm trying to tell you is, you can't hope to rescue me without animal assistance."
"And just how am I supposed to get that? Walk up to the next squirrel I see and ask it to help me?"
"I can't give you the answer straight up. That's a rule here. But I can tell you this. It would be wise to follow in the Marauder's footsteps." As Sirius said this, his voice began to fade.
"Sirius! Wait!" Harry called desperately after Sirius's voice, but there was no answer. Harry felt the tug of consciousness pulling on his sleeping mind and he seemed to be soaring upwards, very fast.
Harry awoke with a start, sitting upright and panting for breath. He reached for his glasses on his nightstand, putting them on and realizing he was covered in cold sweat. He wondered why this was, because he usually only sweated when he had a particularly bad nightmare, but this dream…he couldn't remember all of it, but it had been very real. He did remember Sirius though, and that made his eyes water a bit. Thinking of Sirius always did this, but he swiped at the tears angrily, thinking about what Sirius had said instead.
'Follow in the Marauder's footsteps… What's that supposed to mean? How is becoming a prankster going to help me get Sirius back?' he thought to himself. He looked at the clock on the nightstand and saw that it was 4:31am. 'Wow," he thought. 'I slept longer than usual that time.'
Harry got up and walked over to the windowsill, standing beside Hedwig and looking out into the night. It was still dark, but not to the point where Harry couldn't see what was going on in the yard.
Birds were singing an early morning tune, and the wind was making the trees and the grass sway lightly. It was an entrancing site, but Harry had too much to think about to enjoy the beauty. His thoughts began to wander, thinking of other things that the Marauders had done. 'What had Sirius been talking about? Something to do with animals…' Then it hit him. He needed to become an animagus. That was what the Marauders had done. Animals could come and go into Purgatory and come back out, so if he could become an animal….
Harry began to pace around the room restlessly. He needed to reflect on what becoming an animagus meant. He'd probably have to do it with someone's help, more than likely Hermione's. Ron could join too, but that was his choice. He'd also need to tell an adult his plans, but he certainly wasn't going to run to Dumbledore anymore. He was sick of the Order always treating him like weapon, a child that needed to be protected. Sure, he did have to stay away from Voldemort until he could find out what the 'power the Dark Lord knows not' is, but in the mean time, why not try something that might give him the upper hand if (or more likely, when) he got into trouble? Maybe he could tell Professor Lupin…yes, that seemed like the right choice. After all, he had been there when Harry's father, Sirius, and Pettigrew had become animagi.
Harry went over to his nightstand and got out a piece of parchment and a quill. He began to write his letter to Hermione first, seeing as if Hermione didn't want to do it, he'd probably have a hard time.
How are you doing? I'm doing ok, considering…you know. But anyway, I need to ask you a question, and I need a reply as soon as possible. Will you be willing to become an animagus? I need to know as soon as possible, because I intend to try. I don't want to get started unless everyone that wants to do this is present.
I know by now you're probably having a fit at me suggesting something like this, but I need every advantage I can get. You know what I'm talking about. I'm going to write Ron a letter like this as well, and I need your replies as fast as possible. Please don't tell anyone about this letter, as I don't think Dumbledore or the Order will appreciate what I'm doing.
I don't want your sympathy, and I don't want your reply to be about Sirius, and me blaming myself. I know it wasn't my fault, and something happened today that made me realize he's not as gone as I thought.
Harry wrote a similar letter to Ron, and then tied both letters to Hedwig's leg, who woke up grudgingly. "I need you to deliver these as fast as you can, ok girl?" he asked softly, so he didn't wake up the Dursleys.
As Harry watched Hedwig soar out into the early morning, he leaned on the window sill, breathing in the cool air. He had come to a decision as he wrote Hermione and Ron's letters. He wasn't going to just sit around and wait for Voldemort to come to him. Harry was going to do something to improve his fitness. He may not like the idea too much, but being fit could help him, even if he had to run away from something. He also needed, as much as he hated to admit it, to contact Dumbledore, but only to ask if he could move to Grimmauld Place for the summer. As much as Harry hated having to contact the man he deemed half responsible for Sirius's 'death', knowing that Sirius wasn't dead yet made it bearable to at least write him a letter.
With these thoughts in his head, Harry grabbed another piece of parchment to write a letter to Dumbledore for when Hedwig came.
Dear Professor Dumbledore,
I would first like to apologize for the destruction of the things in your office. I hope you have been able to replace or fix everything that I broke.
I'm writing to you to ask permission to go back to Grimmauld Place earlier this summer. I have nothing to do over here, and I need to keep my mind off of…certain things. Please let me know when the Order will be picking me up.
Harry set the letter on the nightstand, leaving it there for Hedwig. He thought about telling Dumbledore about the dream Sirius had made him experience, but he decided that he wanted to keep that to himself. He would definitely tell Hermione and Ron, because that would give them a reason to become animagi. He was going to ask Lupin to guide them, telling him that they wanted to do this for him. If he consented, then Harry might tell him the real reason.
Harry looked at the clock again and saw that it was now 6:00. Yawning, he got up and went to the bathroom, deciding not to take a shower, because if he did what he wanted to do, he'd probably be sweaty and need one later.
A/N: Well, there it is: the first chapter of my first fanfiction. I hope you enjoy, and please review. I could use constructive criticism, and flames are not welcome. I am sorta making this up as I go along, though I do have some ideas that I want in the story. If you have any suggestions that aren't overly-used, I'd be happy to see if I like them, and/or if I can fit them into my story. See you next time! Yugioh/Potter/Pokemon fanatic