Summary: In the wake of his fifth year, Harry's newly discovered talent goes unnoticed even to him. He thinks the dreams of Voldemort's victims are just that - dreams. Until he starts falling in love.
Rating: M in case
Disclaimer: Harry and Cedric are JKR's!!!!!
Angels and Shifters I: I See Dead People
Chapter One: That Dream Again
He was in a wood of some sort. That was all he could tell. He didn't recognise it, but something told him he should know where he was.
Harry looked down at his feet. The grass was littered with autumn leaves, brown and red and gold, which crunched satisfyingly under his feet. The dew was glistening in the sunlight streaming through the trees. It caught on a spider's web, and Harry grinned at the silvery masterpiece.
There was a peaceful air about the place. One couldn't help but feel at ease. Harry stuffed his hands in his pockets and began, as he did every time, to walk. He paused only to admire the passing of a white cabbage butterfly before he saw a break in the trees.
He'd never made it this far before. Harry picked up the pace and was almost at a run when he stopped dead in his tracks.
Never had he got so far in his dream as to find another human being. But there was a boy sitting at the base of a tree, reading a book. Harry was just about to call out when a pounding ache told him to wake up.
"Ow," Harry muttered, rubbing unconsciously at his forehead and stifling a yawn. Glancing around the Transfiguration classroom, he saw several blurred faces staring at him. A moment later Hermione pushed his glasses onto his nose and elbowed him painfully in the ribs.
"Am I boring you, Mr Potter?" Professor McGonagall reprimanded.
"No, Professor, sorry." Harry struggled to keep his mouth shut against a second yawn threatening to break out.
"Kindly try to pay attention. That is the second time this week."
Harry ignored the sniggers coming from Lavender and Parvati's direction and rubbed his eyes wearily.
"Really, Harry, you have to do something about your sleeping patterns," Hermione said reproachfully ten minutes later. "If you keep falling asleep in class, you'll end up with more detentions than lessons and you'll fail your NEWTs."
"Thanks for that vote of confidence, Hermione," Harry said dryly.
"Oh, leave off him." Ron swung his bag around, almost knocking Neville flying. "Oops, sorry, Neville. What d'you expect him to do, ask You-Know-Who to infiltrate his mind at a more convenient time?"
"It's not Voldemort," Harry muttered. Already the details of the then-vivid dream were slipping away like water. "I can tell. With him, my scar always prickles."
"You said 'ouch' when you woke up."
"That's just a regular headache."
"I still think you should tell someone about these dreams, Harry," Hermione said seriously. "You were dreaming about the Department of Mysteries corridor for months last year because he was thinking about it; who's to say this forest of yours is nothing to do with him?"
Harry opened his mouth to argue and closed it again. There was no use with Hermione.
"Fine, if it makes you happy, I'll go and see Dumbledore after lunch. Not before, I'm starving."
On his way up the spiral staircase, Harry thought hard. He couldn't deny there was something strange about the dreams. They'd begun shortly into term, each one lasting slightly longer than the last. And each time, he woke with a headache. But he hadn't been lying; it wasn't his scar at all – it felt more like the time Dudley had hit him over the head with his cricket bat, and it only lasted a few seconds.
The strange thing was the detail. Whenever Harry entered the dream, he knew it was detailed like real life, completely unlike usual dreams – but the moment he woke, it slipped away, and all he was left with was a fuzzy image and the feelings from the dream, mainly a sense of peace and tranquillity.
How he could explain it, he didn't know. Part of him was worried, but another part of him enjoyed the dreams and the challenge of trying to reach the end of the forest before his head jerked him back into reality; and also the sense of calm that for the most part was missing in his day-to-day life. The thing was, even with the brief pain, it just didn't feel like anything Voldemort-related at all.
Harry blinked, realising he'd been standing at the top of the staircase outside Dumbledore's door for a whole minute. He shook himself mentally and knocked.
The first thing he noticed was that most of Dumbledore's instruments were repaired. When Harry had apologised (and fruitlessly tried to persuade Dumbledore to let him pay) for the damage, very little progress had been made. Slightly cheered by the difference, Harry looked round at the Headmaster and cleared his throat.
A tired but thoroughly positive smile greeted him. "Good afternoon, Harry. How are you?"
"I've been worse, sir," Harry murmured, reaching out to pet Fawkes. Dumbledore's eyes twinkled.
"Is this a social visit, a vision report, or have you fallen asleep in class again? I assume it is not Voldemort-related or you would have said so immediately."
Harry grinned sheepishly. "Oh, you know about the sleeping thing?"
"There is not a lot that goes on in this school that gets past me, Harry," Dumbledore chided gently. Seeming to think along the same lines as Harry, he added, "Not a lot that is publicly visible, anyway."
Harry could tell from the slight dip in the cheerful tone that Dumbledore was also thinking of Umbridge's detentions and quickly steered the conversation in the right direction to avoid straying back into that topic. "Um, I've been having some funny dreams lately …"
Dumbledore sat up straighter, what was left of the cheerful aura vanishing. Harry quickly added, "They're weird, but I don't get the feeling they're from Voldemort. But Hermione thought I'd better talk with you anyway."
"Hmm. Your scar doesn't hurt when you have them, then?"
Harry shook his head. "I get a bit of a headache when I wake up but it's definitely not my scar."
"That is strange." Dumbledore considered. "What do these dreams consist of? … Why don't you sit down, sorry, I'm being very impolite …"
Harry sat and explained shortly about the forest, the lengthening time he was staying in there for, and the way it came out all fuzzy in his mind afterwards. "I don't understand it."
"Hmm." Dumbledore stared at him for a moment, although Harry got the impression he was actually looking through him, thinking hard. "Well … I have to say I'm stumped."
Harry flopped back in his seat.
Dumbledore paused for a moment before continuing. "I could – with your consent, of course – try to infiltrate your subconscious with Legilimency to see if I can find out where they're coming from. I will understand, however, if you don't want to go down that road."
"Er …" Harry thought. He didn't like the idea of anyone poking about in his head. But perhaps it was best if he did find out what the dreams meant. And Dumbledore was the only one he would trust to use Legilimency on him. "OK."
Dumbledore looked slightly surprised at his permission, but stood and made his way around the desk before kneeling in front of Harry's chair. "All right. Just relax, and if there is anything you don't want me to see, or don't want to relive, imagine a closed door, and I won't go through."
"I'll be gentle," Dumbledore promised. Harry swallowed and nodded.
For a minute, he couldn't feel anything. Then a strange sensation, like a finger poking around in a bag of gravel. He resisted the urge to expel it from his mind and tried to relax as images appeared in front of his eyes.
Memories from classes that day. Ron and Hermione bickering over breakfast. Then the crunch of leaves under his feet, and Harry was reliving the dream.
"Who was that boy?" Dumbledore murmured.
"I dunno. I only caught a glimpse before I woke."
Harry got the sensation someone was rewinding a videotape in his head, and a moment later, a still image of the boy appeared as if on pause. From what he could see, he was about his age and fair-haired, but that was all he could tell.
The image faded and Dumbledore moved again. Harry waited patiently.
"Well?" Harry asked finally.
"You'll be pleased to know these dreams are nothing to do with Voldemort at all," Dumbledore replied, standing up again. "However, I would advise you watch your step, Harry. You don't have to stop yourself from having these dreams, but I do think you ought to be careful – something about them doesn't feel right."