Title: Surreality

Author: Perse

Rating: PG

Category: drama, angst

Summary: At the beginning of 6th year, Harry begins to have vivid dreams. The catch is that they are happy dreams, showing what his life might have been like with his parents. But Dumbledore and Snape think this is the Dark Lord's doing, and that it needs to be undone. (Snape mentors Harry, non-slash)

Disclaimer: The characters and situations of Harry Potter do not belong to me. I make no money from this story. Please don't sue.

Author's Note: This is eventually going to be a Snape and Harry story, though Snape won't show up for a few chapters. Dream scenes are in italics. Enjoy!

Chapter 1

oOo

"Harry Potter, if you don't get up right now, I'm going to come up there and drag you out by your toes!"

Harry merely grunted and rolled over, pulling the sheet up over his head.

"I don't think she's joking, son," came a male voice a few minutes later, much closer. The bed dipped as the man sat beside him.

Harry didn't bother to open his eyes. "She always says that. She's yet to do it," he said fuzzily.

"Perhaps that's because she knows I have a better way."

He was still too sleepy to register that threat. He didn't even sense trouble until the sheet had been yanked away and he was being mercilessly tickled.

"Dad!" he protested, giggling and writhing. "All right, I'm up! I'm up!"

James Potter chuckled and relented. "You're awake, but you're not up. Come on," he coaxed, pulling him upright. Harry watched him through bleary eyes as his father smiled and reached out a hand to smooth his hair. "I am sorry you inherited this. Too bad you didn't get your mother's hair genes along with her eyes."

"Nope, no good. People would confuse me and Ron."

His father laughed. "Good point. Let's go; your Mum's about to give your breakfast to the dog."

Harry rolled out of bed and, grabbing his glasses along the way, followed his father. "We don't have a dog," he mumbled. "Not 'till Sirius gets here, anyway."

In the hallway, his father draped an arm around his shoulders and steered him towards the kitchen. "How do you manage to get up at school?" he asked.

"I don't. Why do you think I'm always late for class?" Harry shot back.

"I just thought you were following in my footsteps. Up to no good, perhaps?"

Harry smirked, then placed his left hand over his heart and his right in the air. "I solemnly swear…that I will never do anything you didn't do."

"Oh, well that is comforting," a female voice interjected. As they entered the kitchen Lily Potter turned to them, flicking long strands of thick red hair over her shoulder. "Do me a favor Harry, and stay out of your father's footsteps."

James sputtered, "Hey, I turned out all right!"

She merely raised an eyebrow at him.

Trying not to laugh, Harry innocently said, "Morning, Mum," and went to give her a kiss on the cheek.

"So what are you two up to today?" James asked as he gathered his things for work.

"I'm taking Harry shopping. He needs new pants," Lily said as she handed Harry his breakfast.

"Mum!" Harry complained, thinking of many things he would rather do with a summer day than shop for clothing.

James gave him a completely unsympathetic look. "Have fun, son."

Harry mustered as good a sneer as he could manage that early in the morning before taking his seat and giving his attention to his food.

James crossed over to Lily. "Have a good day sweetheart," she told him, and they shared a quick kiss.

Harry gave his obligatory "Yuck" at the display of affection, though he was smiling. His Dad gave him a look, then came and planted a huge kiss on Harry's forehead. Harry wrinkled his nose. "Da-ad!" he complained. But he didn't really mind.

They shared a smile as James finally got out the door and off to work.

oOo

"Harry? Wake up, Harry. You really have to wake up now."

He came awake with a start, blinking up at the fuzzy but familiar red head. He fumbled for his glasses, putting them on and bringing Ron into focus.

His friend looked mildly concerned. "Are you okay, mate? I've been trying to wake you for half an hour. You're usually up before me."

"Yes. Yes, I'm fine."

Ron didn't seem to be buying that, probably because he was so accustomed to dealing with Harry's nocturnal problems. Sure enough he soon asked, "No nightmares?"

"No," he answered honestly. "Not nightmares."

Ron studied him for a moment. Apparently he concluded that he was all right, for he said, "Well, come on then. We'll be late and in detention on the first day if you don't hurry."

Ron moved off to finish getting ready and Harry sat up with a groan. In the past, he had looked forward to the first day of classes. But not this year. This year, he hadn't looked forward to coming back to Hogwarts at all.

For everything the magical world had given him, it also kept demanding that he give things up. He missed Sirius with a pain that was nearly physical. And the prophecy—and his future—hung over him like a guillotine.

But that dream…that dream had seemed so real. At the moment, he thought he would give anything to be living in that dream. The sense of loss and impending doom constantly blanketed him in his waking hours. The happiness he had felt in the dream was something he had never really felt. As it left him now, he felt an ache set in somewhere deep inside him.

It was almost enough to make him forget classes, and just go back to sleep.

In fact, after simply sitting on the edge of his bed for a few minutes, he let himself fall back over into the pillows, glasses and all. He had just shut his eyes again when he heard an exasperated, "Harry!"

Then Ron was tugging him upright, telling him that if he was sick he was taking him to the hospital wing, and if he wasn't they were going for breakfast while there was still breakfast to be had. Harry still felt a bit fuzzy, but he allowed Ron to pull him out of bed and prompt him to get dressed. Slowly, his friend's presence began to soothe that ache he had been feeling.

And somewhere he found the strength to begin his 6th year at Hogwarts.

oOo

to be continued

This first chapter was more of a little prologue; I promise they'll get longer. Constructive feedback is welcome!