(A/N: This story was originally written as a giftfic for a Doctor Who crossover fic exchange on LJ. The request was: The Marauders stumble upon a blue police box in one of Hogwarts' hidden passages. Reviews are much appreciated. :D
Disclaimer: I own neither Doctor Who nor Harry Potter, and I make no money whatsoever from writing about these characters.)
Dreams and Nightmares
"Right," said Remus, "we've done all this bit, but once you get round the corner, the passage forks. Right leads you back up to the fourth floor, but we haven't looked left yet."
"It's probably another dead end," said Peter grumpily.
"That's what you said about the last dead end, and that turned out to be a fake wall," said James. "We won't know 'til we look, will we? So let's go."
He and Sirius led the way, striding down the narrow passageway with a confidence born from their intimate familiarity with the hidden ways of the castle. They held their wands aloft, lighting up the bare, dusty walls and the uneven stone floor. Remus followed them. He was only half aware of his surroundings, his concentration focused on the map before him - a map that was still incomplete, glowing with softly whispered spells, ink spreading with every footstep as it learnt the paths Remus already knew. Peter scampered beside him, with his wand alight so that Remus could see the map clearly.
Remus narrowed his eyes. "Coming towards the corner…"
A hand grabbed his arm, pulling him to a halt. At the same time, he heard James and Sirius let out exclamations of surprise. Frowning, Remus looked up, his attention broken. James and Sirius had stopped dead. It was Peter who had pulled him back, to prevent him from walking straight into them.
"That wasn't there before," said Sirius.
The two boys moved to the right so that Remus and Peter could see what they were looking at properly. All four of them directed their wand lights at the object: a large blue box, tucked in one corner of the stone passage. The sight was so incongruous that Remus rubbed his eyes, wondering if these night time strolls had finally gotten to him.
"What is it?" he asked.
James stepped forward. He tapped the frame of the box with his wand. "Looks like it's made of wood."
"There's a door, look," said Sirius. "Some kind of wardrobe?" He looked around at them, flashing a white-toothed grin. "Shall we find out what's in it?"
Peter shrank back against the wall. His wand light was trembling, making the shadows flicker over their faces. "It could be dangerous."
"We can handle it," said James. "It's a wardrobe, what's the worst it could be - a Boggart?"
Sirius tried to open the door, to no effect. "It's locked."
"No barrier to us, though," said James.
He and Sirius were grinning at each other. Remus could tell that they had already made up their minds, and he was feeling rather curious too. He raised his wand, just in case.
They backed away from the blue box and pointed their wands at it. "Alohomora!"
In that split second, as they called out the spell, some sense of foreboding tickled Remus' body, making the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. He glanced down at the map, the Marauders' Map, the most perfect magical artifact the four of them had created. James' cleverness, Sirius' skill, Remus' quiet diligence and Peter's encouragement - all had come together to breathe life into the parchment in his hands. It registered every nook, every cranny, every twist and turn, every entrance and exit, every statue and every stair. It showed the four of them, each represented by a tiny dot, but the corner of the passageway was empty. The map was failing to register what his own eyes could see. The blue box did not exist.
Something was very wrong.
The combined spells hit the blue box with a sound like a metal gong striking hollow wood. The doors flung themselves open. Behind them stood a man, a man in a long brown coat and a pinstriped suit. He had his arms held out wide and he looked around at them in faint surprise, before grinning like a lunatic.
"Hello! I'm the Doctor."
He stepped forward into the corridor, squinting a little from the bright light shining in his face. He didn't look threatening, but they all kept their wands pointed at him anyway.
"Stop right there!" James demanded. "Who are you? What were you doing in there?"
The Doctor glanced back as a red-haired woman appeared at his shoulder. "In there? Oh, you know…"
The woman tapped his shoulder. "Doctor? Where are we?"
Sirius raised an eyebrow. "What were you doing in there with her?"
"All right, all right," said the Doctor, "one question at a time, please." He raised his arms. "Look, I'm unarmed, don't mean any trouble, me, and neither does Donna - that's Donna, by the way -" he indicated his companion, who smiled briefly, "- so you can put down those - er, what are those things you're pointing at us?"
"What, you don't know? Never seen a wand before?" James flicked his wand and a shower of golden sparks flew from the tip, dancing around the ceiling for a moment before fading away.
"A wand…" the Doctor repeated, gazing up at the sparks.
"Isn't that like magic?" said Donna. "Wands and spells and all that. But it's all tricks, isn't it? I mean, it can't be real magic-"
The Doctor looked thoughtful, his eyes wide. Remus frowned. The pair were acting as though they had never seen magic before. But that wasn't possible - Hogwarts was inaccessible to Muggles - and besides, that blue box they had just emerged from was clearly a magical artifact. He had caught a glimpse of the interior before the door had closed behind them, and it was definitely bigger on the inside…
It seemed that James was thinking the same thing because he interrupted Donna, "Hang on - you're Muggles?"
"It means non-magical people," Remus added helpfully.
"I know what it means!" said the Doctor. "But - listen, could you just put down those wands, we don't mean any harm, promise, and we're being half-blinded here…"
Slowly, the boys lowered their wands. Remus kept a tight grip on his, ready to raise it again at a moment's notice. He had no idea what to make of these people. Glancing down at the map again, he counted only four dots in the corridor. The Doctor and Donna did not exist. They're something more than Muggles, Remus thought, and he cleared his throat to mention something, but the Doctor was still talking.
"Thank you! Now where are we?"
"We're in Hogwarts," said James.
Remus didn't think the Doctor's eyes could get any wider, but they did. Donna gasped.
"Hogwarts? You mean like Harry Potter?" She looked at James, taking in his messy dark hair and glasses. "Are you Harry Potter?"
James shook his head, clearly rattled. "I'm James Potter."
"You can't be Muggles," said Remus quietly. "How can you know about Hogwarts?"
"Hogwarts!" shouted the Doctor, making them all jump. He grinned hugely and paced about, Remus watching him warily. "We're in Hogwarts! And if you're James Potter, then that means… You're the Marauders! The Marauders, marauding about, isn't that brilliant! Donna, meet Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs, otherwise known as Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, Sirius Black and James Potter. Brilliant students, terrors of the school, and very fond of wandering around the grounds at night - hang on, are we in a secret passage? Is this an actual, proper secret passage? I love a good old secret passage!"
He spoke very fast, so fast that Remus could barely keep up. He felt bewildered. This strange man, this Doctor, who had appeared out of a magical blue box, somehow seemed to know all about them.
"How do you know our names?" Sirius growled, pointing his wand at the Doctor.
"Bit of a mystery, isn't it? Us getting into Hogwarts, knowing your names, getting past all your secret charms. But the real mystery is… why do you exist?"
Sirius blinked. "That's a bit of a philosophical question, isn't it?"
"Not to me, it isn't. Hold still." The Doctor took out something from inside his jacket and pointed it at Sirius, ignoring the wand which was still pointed at him. He swept it up and down - it looked something like a thick metal wand, with a blue light glinting at the end.
"Oi! What are you doing?" said Sirius.
"Is that a wand?" Peter asked.
"You could say that," the Doctor replied, frowning as he concentrated on the metal wand. "Well, you do exist, I'll give you that. What about the rest of you?" He swept the metal wand around at Remus and the others. Remus flinched as the blue light passed over him, but he felt nothing. The device made a noise that reminded him of something, but he couldn't think what - was it something electrical? A Muggle's version of a wand?
"All right," said James, who was looking more and more incensed. He didn't like not knowing what was going on any more than Remus, but while Remus' instinct was to observe and try to figure things out, James favoured the more direct approach - "tell us who you are and how you got here, or we'll jinx you."
Sirius kept his wand trained on the Doctor, while James pointed his at Donna. She made a face.
"Don't you point those magic sticks at me, sunshine!"
The Doctor gave her a warning glance, his hand on her arm, and she quietened down, though she still looked very formidable.
"Yes," he said, smiling as he returned the metal wand inside his suit jacket and fiddled around for something else, "let's see, we're in Hogwarts, secret passage, middle of the night, Marauders era, and you look - ooh, about sixteen? Which makes the year 1977, and we represent the Ministry of Magic - Aurors, investigating security at Hogwarts." He pulled out a wallet and flashed it at them. "I'm Doctor John Smith and this is my assistant, best Auror in the business, Miss Donna Noble."
"You're Aurors? But you were acting as though you'd never seen magic a minute ago," said James.
"Oh, well, bit of an aftershock from the journey, you know," the Doctor replied. "My magic box scrambles up the old brain box a bit, but we'll be fine, don't worry, all back to normal now."
"Did you say you were investigating security?" Peter asked. "Have you come to help with the Dementors?"
The Doctor and Donna looked at each other. "Actually," said Donna, "we were on the case of the missing-"
"Dementors!" the Doctor interrupted. "That's right, missing Dementors. What are they doing here? They're supposed to be guarding Azkaban, not invading the school."
"Let's see that paper," said James, still suspicious. The Doctor handed the wallet to him, grinning, and James peered at it. He passed it around to the rest of them.
"If you're Aurors," said Sirius, after looking at the parchment, "then why did you appear here in the middle of the night?"
"Oh, come on, Sirius, Aurors don't do front doors! That wouldn't be a good way to check security, would it, barging in the front door? It was so dark I thought we'd taken a wrong turn and ended up in the Sunless Salt Caves on the Lost Moon of Poosh, but here we are, eh? Hogwarts, looking very insecure, and very, very… real."
Peter passed the wallet to Remus and he scrutinised the parchment closely, tapping it with his wand. The words shimmered, fading away for an instant before reappearing in a different font.
"It's enchanted," he murmured. "The parchment is enchanted." He looked up. "Sirius-"
But the Doctor was still talking; that man did not shut up. Remus had always thought of Aurors as strong and silent, the very best of the trained hit wizards who dedicated their lives to fighting the Dark Arts. As a weapon, the Doctor's gabbling tongue was working well right then though. Remus simply couldn't get a word in edgeways.
The Doctor's face became stern. "… And you lot, eh, you shouldn't be wandering around the corridors at night, should you? If I was a teacher, I'd send you straight back to your dormitories and give you a week's worth of detentions!"
"But you're not a teacher, are you?" said James, as Remus handed back the wallet to the Doctor, who gave him a smile and a wink.
"No, I'm not." The Doctor's grin became devilish.
"Then please don't punish us," Peter whined, "we won't break the rules again, honest, just don't tell the teachers…"
"All right, no need for that," said Donna, looking askance at Peter. "I ain't your mother. We Auroras-"
"Aurors," the Doctor murmured.
"-Aurors, we don't have time for this, do we, Doctor?" She stared at her companion pointedly. "Remember, the children-"
"Oh, yes, of course," said the Doctor cheerfully, "but I think we've got time to check around the rest of Hogwarts, don't you?"
"I've seen the film. I think I know what it looks like."
"The what?" said Sirius.
"Dumbledore!" said the Doctor hurriedly. "Take us to Dumbledore! He's the Headmaster, isn't he?"
"We can't. We'd get into trouble," said Peter.
"Show us to the door, that's all I'm asking. Just the door. You can scurry back to Gryffindor Tower after if you want."
James and Sirius looked at each other, considering. Remus stuffed the map into his pocket, deciding he'd rather not look at it any more - it was too disconcerting. Maybe it was best if they took the strangers to Dumbledore. Dumbledore would know what to do. He glanced at Sirius, silently asking his opinion, and Sirius nodded.
"All right," said Sirius.
"Follow us," said James.
The two black-haired boys, Sirius and James, went ahead, with Donna and the Doctor in the middle, and the other two boys bringing up the rear. The corridor was still dark, despite the thin beams of light emitting from the wands. Donna stuck close to the Doctor, linking arms with him, partly because she couldn't see very well and partly because she wanted to talk without the boys hearing.
She hissed in his ear. "We're in Hogwarts? How can we be in Hogwarts?"
"I don't know," the Doctor murmured back. "I suppose we'll soon find out."
"We were supposed to be back in 2007. Biggest spate of child disappearances ever recorded, and what do you say? Ooh, let's pop into Scotland Yard for a bit, have a cup of tea, find out what's going on - and we step out into Hogwarts! What year did you say, 1977?"
"Slight spatial-temporal displacement, nothing to worry about."
"Nothing to worry about? We've landed in a flippin' magic castle! You're not going to tell me it's all real now, are you? Noddy's not real, but Harry Potter is? Or James Potter - who the hell is James Potter anyway?"
"Harry's dad," said the Doctor. "Haven't you read the books?"
"No. Saw one of the films though. That one - the one with the big black things, scary-looking-"
"Yeah, them. I went to see it with a friend. She's got a niece who's a huge Harry Potter fan. Bought a plastic wand and everything. But they've got real, working wands! And the Dementors, Doctor - don't tell me they're real too!"
The Doctor shook his head, but they were both distracted by James pulling aside the back of a tapestry at the end of the secret passage. Sirius held it up so they could all duck through. Donna stepped through and gasped as she looked around. They were at the foot of a staircase next to a statue of a gargoyle set into an alcove, and the wall opposite was adorned with portraits, the chests of their occupants all rising and falling softly as they slept. Sirius' wand light caught the left side of one particular portrait which was snoring loudly - a corpulent man dressed in rich robes, sleeping in an armchair with a fire flickering behind him.
"The pictures are moving," she said, hardly able to believe it. "Oh my God, they're really moving. This really is Hogwarts. It's even better than the film!"
The Doctor went up to the portrait of the corpulent man and poked at his stomach with his index finger.
"Don't do that!" Remus hissed.
"Ouch!" said the portrait man, waking with a start. He stared indignantly at the Doctor. "What did you do that for? Can't a wizard get a good night's shut eye without being woken by some young hooligan or other?"
"Fascinating," the Doctor murmured. He scanned the portrait with his sonic screwdriver. "This one's artificial, but what magnificent work - you'd never guess it was a surveillance system. Unless you're me, of course."
Donna watched him carefully. All she wanted to know was whether a talking portrait was good or bad. Judging by the Doctor's delighted expression, everything was all right. So far. But she kept expecting this fictional world to disappear beneath her feet.
"What are you doing? Stop blinking that light at me!" said the portrait man.
"Nothing to worry about, just a regular portrait check. Go back to sleep."
The portrait man huffed, but as the Doctor turned to face the boys, he settled down and was snoring again within a few seconds.
"What was that about?" James asked.
"Nothing," the Doctor replied airily.
As he spoke, Donna started climbing the staircase, looking for more portraits. The Harry Potter craze had largely passed her by, but nevertheless her heart was starting to beat faster with excitement. Everywhere she had ever been with the Doctor, he had always seemed to know how everything worked, and it always worked through science, not magic. Yet now she was witnessing magic in front of her very eyes. This wasn't the world of the Doctor. This was something else.
Donna brushed her hand over the cool stone wall as she took another step. It all felt so solid. She had reached another alcove, a window. Leaning against the sill, she peered out at the Hogwarts grounds. Her stomach dropped.
"So, which way to Dumbledore's office then?" the Doctor asked. He looked up as she shouted. "What?"
She could feel herself trembling. "Doctor, look outside."
He bounded over to her at once. "What? Where?"
She pointed wordlessly. The Doctor peered outside and frowned. "No… Is that…?"
"It's nothing. On the other side of the lake, there's nothing, just nothing. How can there be nothing?"
Silvery moonlight lit the grounds, throwing the grass and the still waters of the lake into soft relief. Tree branches stood out sharp and black against the starry sky. But looking beyond that made her eyes water, as they strained to see into blackness. There was nothing to fix on. She couldn't look that way for long; it made her too uneasy. She focused on the lake instead, on the way it reflected the sickle-shaped moon, and the gentle lapping of the waves against the shore, which she could just make out.
"What are you talking about?" Sirius demanded, who had just followed them up the stairs.
The Doctor turned around. "Change of plan, Padfoot! Time to nip into the grounds for a quick peek."
"Outside? But it's dangerous," said Remus. "There might be Dementors out there."
"Well, it'll just have to be very quick peek," the Doctor replied with a disarming smile.
Remus scanned the sky nervously. They shouldn't be out here. James, Sirius and Peter could all transform and make a quick getaway if necessary, but he couldn't. There was no full moon tonight.
"You're right," said the Doctor to Donna. "There's no horizon. The sky just stops."
"What?" he asked.
"Can't you see it?" Donna said. "Look! It's dark."
"What are you talking about? It's the middle of the night, of course it's dark!"
"No, but it's like - it's like nothing. Nothingness going on and on."
Sirius shook his head. "Barking mad, the pair of you."
"Look out!" James cried. "Dementor, coming over the lake!"
Instantly, they all turned to face the lake. An eerie black shape glided over the water towards them, bringing cold and dread in its wake. Remus shivered. It must have seen them, for it was heading straight towards them and he couldn't stop shaking - he knew which memories were about to surface-
"Get back, all of you!" James yelled. "Get back into the castle! Me and Sirius'll hold it off!"
"Have you two got wands?" Sirius asked the Doctor and Donna. "Aurors should be trained to deal with Dementors, right?"
"Er," said the Doctor. "We must have left them back in my magic box."
"A Dementor…" said Donna, her face white. "I can feel it… Why is it so cold, Doctor?"
"If you don't have a weapon, then go!" Sirius cried. The Dementor was almost upon them; it had reached the shore of the lake.
Remus could hear distant snarling. He and Peter stood frozen, petrified, as Sirius and James stepped forward with their wands raised.
"You heard Sirius, now run!" the Doctor yelled. Suddenly he felt a hand grab his own - a warm hand, a jolt of life after the icy breath raising goosebumps upon the rest of his body. For a moment, his head cleared and his limbs were free. They ran, all four of them, the Doctor pulling at Remus' hand and Donna with Peter. They pelted uphill to the safety of the side door tucked away next to the greenhouses.
Behind him, he heard Sirius and James bellow out a spell together.
A flash of light…
The Doctor reached the door first. Bursting in, he held it open for the rest of them. "Come on, come on!"
Remus ducked inside, Peter followed and Donna brought up the rear. He turned at once, his heart beating wildly. Between them, James and Sirius had created a shimmering white shield which forced the Dementor to halt a few feet away from them.
"Padfoot!" Remus yelled desperately. "Prongs!"
Two boy-silhouettes became two four-legged shapes, and he and Peter cheered as the stag and the dog raced up the hill towards them. He had been afraid that they wouldn't have been able to transform with the Dementor so close. The weak Patronus was already fading. The Dementor brushed it aside like a gust of wind and sped towards them.
"Come on!" the Doctor yelled.
A large and magnificent stag galloped past him, bowling over Peter, who squealed. A black dog raced right behind it. It charged through the door, tail wagging, but with it came a chill wind. The Dementor, black and terrifying, revealed its gaping mouth as it turned its sightless face towards them.
The Doctor slammed the door.
The dog hit Remus full tilt. He gasped as the breath left his body and his head almost cracked on the stone wall. Heavy paws pressed into his chest. The dog was right on top of him, panting; he wrinkled his nose as he caught a whiff of smelly dog breath.
"Get off me, Padfoot."
The dog licked his face twice, as enthusiastic as a puppy. Sometimes Remus thought that Sirius channelled dog behaviour far too easily. Other times he felt sure that Sirius was doing it on purpose because now he had smelly dog-saliva dripping down his cheek.
The dog transformed, and a human Sirius pulled him up. Remus wiped his face with his robes in disgust. Sirius looked far too pleased for his own good.
"You idiot," said Remus. "Could that have been any closer?"
Sirius grinned. "It's more fun that way."
They looked around. Everyone seemed all right, although they were all still breathing hard from the chase.
"Is this door safe?" asked Donna. "It could be right outside, trying to get in."
James shook his head. "Don't worry. Dementors can't get inside the castle. We're safe."
"I think I'll stay inside from now on, thank you very much," said Donna, glaring at the Doctor.
"All right," said the Doctor. "I think we'd better see Dumbledore."
They were all shaken from the close encounter with the Dementor. The Doctor snapped questions at them as they moved through Hogwarts, following the map to the entrance to the Headmaster's office.
"Why are there Dementors inside the grounds? What are they doing here?"
James shrugged. "Dunno. Some people reckon they're wild, out of control of the Ministry."
"People say it's You Know Who," Peter said, shivering.
"He's using Dementors to attack the school? What for?"
"To frighten people, I suppose. Half the students have left the school already. There aren't enough to keep it properly defended."
"Dumbledore does his best," said Sirius, "but I reckon the Dementors will be getting past the last defences any day now…"
"Those things," said Donna, "the Dementors, what do they do?"
"You don't want to know," the Doctor replied darkly.
They turned right onto a wide corridor and stopped next to a statue of a gargoyle.
"We're here," said James. "The entrance is password protected though, and we haven't worked it out yet…"
"Oh, I can handle that," said the Doctor airily. "All in a day's work for an Auror."
Remus had been silent and subdued so far, but he finally worked up the courage to voice the concern which had been niggling at him all this time.
"How do you know our nicknames? No one apart from us knows them." He also wanted to ask if the Doctor knew about his true nature, but he didn't quite dare to say it out loud.
"I read it from your minds. I'm a very good Legilimens."
Remus was alarmed. "But how could you do that? I didn't see you cast a spell."
"Like I said, I'm very good." The Doctor fell silent for a moment, as if pondering, then suddenly grinned at them. "Oh, of course, mind reading! Yes! Remus, would you mind giving me access to your mind? I won't look anywhere you don't want me to, I promise."
Remus bit his lip. "I don't even know you…"
"It won't hurt, I promise." The Doctor's gaze was earnest, but Remus was thinking, what if he finds out that I'm a werewolf? I can't let him see. I can't… But he already knows our nicknames. He already knows. He knows what I am, and he doesn't mind…
"All right," he said. He expected the Doctor to use his strange metal wand, but instead the Doctor pressed the tips of his fingers lightly on either side of Remus' face. The Doctor closed his eyes and at once Remus felt a presence at the edge of his mind, much more intimate than their close physical proximity. He automatically reacted in fear, shutting out his mind, barring the alien presence.
The Doctor winced. "Ah. Just relax… That's it. Don't let me anywhere you don't want to - imagine a door and close it."
Remus did so instinctively as he felt the Doctor begin to sift through his memories. They came to the surface as the Doctor examined each one and then discarded it. Mapping the secret passages. Frowning over a complicated Potions textbook in the library. Laughing at one of Sirius' jokes in the common room. Anxiously watching James and Sirius as they plotted yet another prank on their least favourite teacher. These were all recent memories. The Doctor began searching further back, and faster, plucking out memories in a blur, so that even Remus barely recognised them - just the flash of Sirius' dog form, the face of a fellow Gryffindor, the creaking branches of the Whomping Willow, the full moon-
What are you looking for? Remus thought.
"There's something here," the Doctor murmured. "Something deeper… something hidden."
He felt a jolt of fear. My memory of being bitten?
"No, it's all right, Moony, it's not that…"
"Argh!" He jerked backwards as sharp pain shot through his head. The link between their minds severed abruptly, causing the Doctor to recoil too. "You said it wouldn't hurt!"
"I'm sorry, Moony. There's a whole set of memories in your head that are being suppressed somehow. I tried to reach them, but something stopped me."
He didn't say anything, just looked unhappily at the Doctor.
"Did you see anything? Even a glimpse of those memories?"
There had been something, but the pain had clouded his mind. He shook his head. "I don't know."
The Doctor grabbed his shoulders, staring at him intently. "Think, Moony! This could be very important! Was there anything, anything at all?"
He tried to think back, to recall any of the rush of images which had overwhelmed him. He'd barely sensed them as images; his mind had registered them as pain so sharp he'd almost passed out. "I don't know… I think there was… a book..." He tried to imagine it in his mind's eye, but he couldn't quite get it right.
"A book, what book?"
Remus frowned. "A thick book, I think… I don't know."
"Do you remember the title? The cover?"
He shook his head.
The Doctor exhaled. "All right. Thanks, Remus, you've been brilliant."
Remus smiled. "Good luck, Doctor. Do you need a light? Lumos."
"Thanks. Now, password, password, password, password. Think, Donna - sweets. Fizzing Whizzbees! Sherbert lemon! Acid Pops! Bertie Botts' Every Flavour Beans! What else, what else? Donna?"
"How should I know?" Donna asked, exasperated. "Mars bars!"
"No, no, no, magic sweets! Think, think, think!" The Doctor clutched his head, messing up his hair so that it stuck up at odd angles. "Peppermint Toads! Canary Cream! Fudge Flies! Toothflossing Stringmints!"
"Sweets?" said Remus. "Er - Sugar Quills?"
"Drooble's Best Blowing Gum?" James said.
"That's it, keep guessing!" said the Doctor. "Let's see, Pepper Imps! Ice Mice! Everlasting gobstoppers! Square sweets that look round! No, wait, wrong book!"
"Liquorice Wands!" said Sirius. The boys were starting to get into their stride, whispering the sweet names to avoid waking the portraits around them or alerting any of the teachers.
"Oh - I know!" said the Doctor. "Chocolate Frog!"
And with a loud creak, the gargoyle moved aside, revealing a narrow entrance to a spiral staircase.
"You did it!" said Remus.
"I can add that to the map," Remus mumbled, already bending over the parchment, his wand ready. "Dumbledore's office - password, sweet names…"
"Well, off you go, then," said Donna, making a shooing gesture with her hands. "Don't want to get caught, do you?"
Sirius grinned and held out his hand, which the Doctor shook. "Nice meeting you. It's about time the Ministry did something about the Dementors."
The rest of them shook hands before Donna and the Doctor stepped onto the staircase. Remus looked up from the map long enough to watch them go. The pair of them waved as the staircase whirred into action. Up it went, until first their torsos and then their legs vanished.
"Are we going back to bed now?" Peter asked. "I'm tired…"
James grinned. "Oh, no."
The staircase spiralled up like an escalator. More magic, Donna thought, glad that she finally had the opportunity to talk to the Doctor alone.
"So," she said, fixing him with beady eyes, "Harry Potter, then? It's really existed all this time and you never knew?"
"It's not real," said the Doctor firmly. "Either that or Jo has a lot of explaining to do."
She raised her eyebrows. "'Jo'? You've met JK Rowling?"
He had a big dopey grin plastered across his face. "Yeah."
"Looks like there was something she forgot to tell you," she said dryly.
"Look, Donna, it's not real, it can't be real. If there was a secret society of witches and wizards living on Earth, I think I'd know."
"Should have asked Jo."
"It's not real, Donna, I'm telling you now, it isn't real. Magic in the Harry Potter world… it's just impossible, it goes against every scientific law."
"Well, wouldn't be the first time you've said that. Anyway, if it's not real, then what's this?" She spread her arms, indicating the space before her. "We must be somewhere. And you said that the boys were real. They weren't hallucinations or… or holograms or anything."
"No. No, they were real. And so is this place. But you saw the darkness outside…"
"Yeah, like we were floating in space or something."
"Not space. Not something. Nothing."
Confused, she was about to speak again, but the Doctor put a finger to his lips.
"We're here," he said. The staircase had stopped without her noticing, leaving them standing in front of a large oaken door with a brass knocker in the shape of a winged lion. The Doctor held out his hand. She took it, and together they pushed open the door and stepped into Dumbledore's office.
If Donna had ever read the Harry Potter books, she might have recognised it from the descriptions. They were at the top of a tower, the circular room lit by candlelight. The walls were covered in portraits of previous Headmasters, all sleeping. A black cabinet stood on one side. A spindly globe on the large claw-footed desk let out puffs of steam every few seconds. Things whirred and glowed and cast oddly shaped shadows. The whole room would have had a peaceful atmosphere, if it weren't for one thing.
Dumbledore wasn't there. The chair behind the desk was empty.
"Where is he then?" Donna asked.
The Doctor looked around. "Headmaster? Dumbledore?" He frowned. "Why isn't he here?"
"It's the middle of the night, he could be in his bedroom sleeping," Donna suggested.
"He wouldn't be - surely the lift sensors must have tripped off…"
"Blimey, you know a lot of this Harry Potter stuff. How many times have you read them?"
The Doctor sniffed. "Just once. I have a really good memory."
She snorted. "Well, if Dumbledore isn't here, what are we supposed to do now?"
The Doctor paused, frowning. She had learned to recognise this as his thinking expression, and it wasn't wise to interrupt the Doctor while he was thinking very hard.
"Oh!" he said suddenly, making her jump. He smacked a hand to his forehead. "Yes! How could I not realise? You're right, Donna, it is real. This is a reality patch. A bubble of reality suspended within our universe, with its very own physical laws."
"What, you mean like the TARDIS?"
"No, not at all like the TARDIS!" he replied impatiently. "The TARDIS is alive, there's nothing in the whole universe that could ever compare to her. Well, maybe a bit. Well, yeah, I suppose it is like the TARDIS - good thinking, Donna!"
She rolled her eyes.
The Doctor started pacing up and down. "But to create something like this must have taken a phenomenal amount of energy. I'm talking massive amounts. There must be some kind of central unit. An energy source, to warp space and time so much that it alters the laws of reality itself, and all contained in this one tiny bubble, isolated from the rest of creation. That's clever, that's very very clever."
"But why, Doctor? I mean, Harry Potter, for God's sake. It's a children's book. Why would anyone create an entire reality based on a children's book?"
"You know, that is a very good question," said the Doctor. "Haven't got the faintest idea."
"I have," said a voice - a new voice, high and fluty.
Donna started. The Doctor stopped his pacing and whipped around. A shape dropped down from the rafters in the ceiling: a bright, brilliant shape, with wings like trailing fire and scarlet and golden plumage. It landed on a perch by the empty desk and looked at them with one brilliant black eye.
"Fawkes!" said the Doctor delightedly. "I didn't know you could talk."
Donna's mouth fell open. "Is that… is that a phoenix?" The creature was more beautiful than anything she had ever seen represented on film. Its iridescent feathers blazed, every tiny movement creating a ripple of flame. The long tail streamers almost reached to the floor. It was dazzling.
The phoenix clicked its golden bill. "I am not Fawkes."
"Oh? Who are you then?" The Doctor looked stern. "Name yourself!"
"I have no name. It has been forgotten. I call myself Phoenix, for that is the part I play."
"Well, then, Phoenix. Tell me what's going on."
The phoenix shivered slightly, raising its feathers. "First of all, I want you to promise me, Doctor. I've been watching you since you stepped out of your magic box. Promise me that you'll help me. The Dementors - I can no longer keep them at bay - they're closing in on me, Doctor. They bring the darkness with them…"
"All right, all right, calm down," said Donna, for the bird was visibly agitated. "Of course we'll help you. That's right, isn't it, Doctor?"
"I'll do my best," the Doctor promised.
"Then I shall answer you. Long ago, I maintained this reality with the help of my brethren. Such wonders we created, Doctor. My masters were most pleased. But then they vanished, and one by one, my brethren died, until I alone remained, trapped in the darkness. It was so cold and I couldn't find the way out. I dreamed and dreamed, but nothing I could think of lasted for long. I lacked the power to maintain the reality alone." The phoenix's head dipped. "I thought I would perish. I searched and searched, crying out for help… and then, I found another mind. The mind of a human female… Such ideas she had. Such imagination. She imagined a whole world, like nothing I had ever seen, and I brought her creation to life."
"JK Rowling," the Doctor breathed. He frowned. "But hang on - if you could connect with a mind from the outside universe, why couldn't you escape yourself?"
"I tried, Doctor, I tried," cried the phoenix, fluttering its wings. "I reached out and fed her imagination into the system, but the system is only designed to work one way. It brings the outside in, but the doorway out is lost."
"The system?" said Donna. "What's the system?" She had thought that the Doctor could be incomprehensible at times, but this bird was certainly making an effort to match him.
"The central processing unit," said the Doctor. He held up his sonic screwdriver and swept it around before pointing it at the phoenix, which jumped. "Ah… so you are the central processing unit. No wonder you shine so brightly. All that energy… all that imagination - it's all contained in you."
"That thing is a computer?" said Donna.
"Hey, no need for that," said the Doctor, "you're a computer too, if you think about it. The brain is just another very complicated computer."
"But I need more power," the phoenix said. "I can barely keep the castle existing. I chose the world of Harry Potter, Doctor, because it has entered the imagination of millions. All across the earth, people are thinking, dreaming and talking about Harry Potter. With their help, I will expand and populate this world as it was meant to be. Then, finally, I'll be safe from the darkness."
"Populate?" Donna said. She was starting to feel that something was wrong. "But, Doctor, you said that those boys were real. They were real, living people, like us."
The Doctor's eyes widened. "You're right - the system brings the outside in… Phoenix, you didn't…"
"I had to!" said the phoenix. "I'm all alone and I couldn't fight the Dementors by myself. The imagination of children holds such power. They breathe life into this world, they believe in it, and their strength keeps me going. I haven't found a Dumbledore yet…"
Donna snorted. "So that's why Dumbledore isn't here. He doesn't exist!"
But the Doctor's frown was growing more and more pronounced. "You stole children from Earth and trapped them here - you rewrote their minds! I saw it, with Remus Lupin - you gave him fake memories and suppressed the real ones underneath."
"I had to, to maintain the reality."
"You didn't have to!" The Doctor started pacing again. "So, that's the plan, is it? Fill this world with stolen children, using their imaginations to create an entire universe. Millions of children, snatched away." He glared directly at the phoenix, which, for all its splendour, was unable to look him in the eye. "Well, if that's the plan, then it will stop. Now. You can end this reality and send those children back where they came from!"
"I can't! This dream is all that protects me from the nightmares!"
"The missing children…" said Donna. "Those missing children, back on Earth - they all came here? They all just vanished in their beds, hundreds of them."
"I'm sorry," the phoenix said woefully.
"But Remus and James and the others - they didn't know who they were, they thought they were from here," she went on. "Doctor, if their minds were rewritten, then why weren't ours?"
"I didn't bring you here," said the phoenix. "You came yourself."
"Yes," the Doctor said. "We don't fit. It was an accident that the TARDIS arrived here - the two realities crossed, and we landed right in the middle."
She looked again at the phoenix. It seemed so sad and lonely and beautiful. But, she thought, if that thing has the power to create its own reality and rewrite people's minds… She leaned over to whisper in the Doctor's ear, not wanting the phoenix to hear.
"But Doctor… does that mean it could rewrite us whenever it wants?"
"No," he whispered back. "You'd have to be in a receptive state of mind. All those children were asleep in their beds before they vanished. Imagine it - they were dreaming about Harry Potter… and then the dream became reality."
"What are you whispering?" the phoenix asked, shifting from foot to foot on its perch. "Can you help me, Doctor? If you don't like my plan, then give me one of your own. I don't want to be alone again…"
Before the Doctor could reply, a tremor shook the school. The candlelight flickered wildly, causing strange shadows to dance across the room, and the world turned upside down for a second. It took that second for Donna to realise that she had lost her footing. She had fallen right on top of the Doctor, who wasn't much of a soft cushion with his spindly limbs.
"Oof," he groaned. "You're heavy…"
She was outraged at his cheek. "Shut up, space man! Come on, get up. God, you look like I could snap you like a twig."
The Doctor got to his feet, wincing. "I feel like that as well."
"What was that, an earthquake?"
Meanwhile, the phoenix was more agitated than ever. A blur of flame, it raised and flapped its wings, feathers standing on end, tail swishing this way and that.
"They've got inside," the phoenix whimpered. "They're coming."
It had been Sirius' idea to sit and wait for the Doctor and Donna to return. James had wanted to sneak up after them, but thankfully Remus and Peter had managed to convince him to stay. It was only when Remus mentioned his fear that the Headmaster might find out that his friends were Animagi and blame him for his bad influence that James relented. Even so, they were both impatient.
James fidgeted, creating light patterns in the air with his wand. Finally, he burst out, "Why did that woman call me Harry Potter? Who is that? Why do I feel like I should know that name?"
"That's strange," said Remus. "I feel the same way." Unbidden, the indistinct image of the book the Doctor had called forth from his mind appeared again.
"And me," said Peter.
"You know what we should do," said Sirius suddenly. "They came from inside the blue box, didn't they? We should look inside while they're not there."
Remus thought about protesting this plan, but at that moment, the entire school shuddered. He fell back against the wall, the map fluttering out of his hands. As soon as he regained his balance, he dashed over to retrieve it and stared at it with mounting horror. He swallowed.
"What the hell was that?" Sirius growled.
"Dementors," Remus whispered. "They're inside the castle. Hundreds of them."
"You're joking!" said James. "Let me see that map!" He snatched it off Remus and scanned it frantically, with Sirius and Peter peering over his shoulder.
"He's right," said Sirius, white-faced. "Bloody hell, he's right."
Peter pointed at the parchment. "They're coming up this corridor, from both sides! We're trapped!"
"Spells, now!" James cried. "Peter, you face this way with me. Sirius, Remus - the other end. Expecto patronum!"
Remus gulped. He had never been any good at the Patronus. He could think of no happy memories to call upon, certainly not when he could feel the dark and cold pressing upon him already. His eyes couldn't pierce through the darkness enough to see the approaching Dementors, but he shivered with the unnatural cold and he heard their rattling breaths, like Death coming to get him.
Remus stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Sirius, and even in a moment like this, Sirius' face showed no hint of fear, only determination. Remus didn't want to let Sirius down. He faced the Dementors and took a deep breath.
Something white and hazy, like a thin cloud, shot out of his wand. Sirius' was stronger, but still not a full Patronus. They couldn't do any more than keep the Dementors at bay like this, let alone drive off so many of them.
"We'll have to run," said Remus.
"Dumbledore's office!" James cried. "Moony, what was the password?"
"Ch - Chocolate Frog!" Remus gasped, turning towards the gargoyle. It opened, much more slowly than he would have liked. He dived into the staircase as soon as the gap was wide enough, and his friends piled in after him.
Their faint Patronuses had vanished. A Dementor appeared before the gargoyle, like a piece of night come to invade the school. It reached out a rotting, corpse-like hand.
"Expecto patronum!" Remus cried. A tiny wisp of light left his wand, just enough to make the Dementor recoil, and then they were going up, up, up and away…
"What is it?" the Doctor demanded. "What's coming?"
"They come out of the darkness," the phoenix whimpered. "They tear at the edges of my reality. They eat it all up."
"My nightmares, Doctor! The Dementors! They're here! They're coming!" Like a terrified child huddled under the covers, the phoenix hid its head beneath its wing.
Something large and heavy thudded against the door of the office. Donna clutched the Doctor's hand tightly as they turned to face the door.
"Now might be a good time to tell me what these things can do, Doctor!"
"They feed on happiness," he replied grimly. "All your good memories, your imagination, your soul, all gone. They suck away every last thing that makes you human and leave you to rot."
A second bang. The Doctor had used his sonic screwdriver to lock the door, but somehow she didn't think it would hold them off for long.
"Oh, well, that's not so bad then," she said sarcastically. "Rowling only created the worst creatures imaginable."
The Doctor hugged Donna tightly. Right then she didn't care that he was skinny and sharp as a rake; she hugged him back, glad that at least they wouldn't face their end alone.
The door flew open. Four boys tumbled into the office, all clutching their wands, black robes crumpled and faces sweaty. The Doctor and Donna sighed with relief. Just the Marauders.
"Dementors!" Sirius gasped. "They're all over the school! Where's Dumbledore?"
"He isn't here," said the Doctor, striding forward at once to lock the door again.
"What? Where is he?" Remus asked, turning a shade paler.
"The entire school is in danger!" said James. "The defences must have broken. We need him!"
Donna shook her head. "He isn't here, and he's not coming. It's just us."
"Is that… is that a phoenix?" Peter asked, staring open-mouthed.
"Trapped," the phoenix wailed. "My nightmares are coming for me."
"A talking phoenix?"
"Ssh, never mind that!" said the Doctor. He ran over to the phoenix and touched its wing. The phoenix jumped, its feathers ruffled, and glared at him with baleful eyes. "Phoenix! Listen, Phoenix, the Dementors are only figments of your imagination! Without you, they have no power. You could banish them, easily, just by willing it."
The phoenix shook its head. "Nightmares, my nightmares…"
"Doctor," said Donna slowly, "they're outside the windows…"
There were two large windows behind Dumbledore's desk, both facing out to the west. Ordinarily, they would have had a beautiful view of the starry sky and the hills surrounding Hogwarts, but instead there was a patch of rippling darkness, and a dead, rotting hand reached out to touch the glass.
The Doctor looked up. He took out the sonic screwdriver from inside his jacket and thrust it before the phoenix's beak. "Phoenix! What's this?"
"A - a metal wand?"
"That's right! Thank you! Now, everyone, get back - wands ready!"
They backed away into the middle of the office. The Doctor was pointing his sonic screwdriver at the Dementors like a wand, but Donna didn't have anything. She looked frantically from side to side - she needed a weapon, anything.
The glass smashed.
The Dementors came swooping in, like giant black bats. Donna screamed, but her cry was drowned out by a much higher one. The phoenix had let out a shriek of pure terror. It took off in a blaze of red and gold and soared over their heads to land on top of a chair behind them. Despite the phoenix's fiery presence, the temperature of the room had dropped sharply and the air became difficult to breathe. She counted - one, two, three, four, five, six, seven Dementors. One for each of us, she thought.
The Dementors' hoods flapped slightly, revealing just a hint of a face behind. They sucked in the air hungrily, but it was more than just air that they were leeching from the atmosphere around them. A sudden bleakness struck Donna's heart. She remembered vividly her mother telling her what a disappointment she was. A failure, who would never amount to anything. I'm not, she thought. I won't bloody give up now!
Next to her, Peter stood trembling and frozen, the only one of the four boys who did not have his wand ready.
"Give that here," she snarled. She grabbed his wand and he let it go with a tiny squeak, stepping back. "All right, Doctor," she said, "I've got one of these magic sticks - what do I do?"
"Expecto patronum, on the count of three," said the Doctor. "You have to be thinking of a happy memory for it to work. One-"
The Dementors were bearing down upon them. They seemed in no hurry to reach their prey.
The nearest Dementor paused, raising two scabby hands to lift up its hood-
Think of a happy memory. The moment when she and the Doctor had waved at her grandfather from inside the TARDIS! She couldn't think of any other moment as purely joyful as that. Holding her wand steady, she tried to recall the delighted expression on Gramps' face, in spite of the darkness before her. A chorus of voices yelled out the spell, and she bellowed with them, as loud as she could.
To her amazement, a shimmering white shield burst out of the wand and hovered in front of her. The Dementor let out an inhuman screech as the Patronus flung it back. She was so shocked that anything had happened that her concentration slipped and the shield began to fade at once.
"No," she gasped. Think of Gramps. Think of Gramps. The shield brightened again, but it took all her strength just to keep it lit. The others were the same - barely holding their wispy shields of varied intensities.
"Expecto patronum!" yelled the Doctor, pointing his sonic screwdriver at the Dementors. From the metal wand burst a Patronus. Not a faint cloud or shimmering shield, but a full-bodied, white glowing shape. It charged at the Dementors so fast that she could barely make it out - something furry, she thought. The nearest Dementors were hurled away, back out of the window. As it turned to attack the rest, Donna finally recognised its shape. A huge, white wolf, its lips drawn back in a silent snarl. The last of the Dementors vanished, and so did the Patronus.
The Doctor slumped back. He looked at his sonic screwdriver. "Well, I'm glad that worked."
"Show-off," said Donna, poking him, but she smiled in relief as he grinned back at her.
"That was a full-bodied Patronus!" said James. "You drove them all away. Thanks, mate!"
"Don't thank me just yet," said the Doctor, leaping up. "They're still out there, and they'll be coming back any minute."
"What can we do?" Donna asked. Everyone turned to the Doctor, their rescuer.
"Oh, don't look at me," he said. "Phoenix!"
The bird was still cowering and shivering. "Have they gone?" it asked. "Can you save me, Doctor?"
"This is your world, Phoenix." The Doctor crouched down in front of the phoenix, stroking its head gently. "You have to save yourself."
"But I can't."
The Doctor's eyes gleamed. "Yes, you can. Did you see what you did there? You gave Donna and me the power to hold off the Dementors. You made my sonic screwdriver into a real, working wand."
"You mean it wasn't already a wand?"
"It is now! You created the laws of this world, Phoenix, and you're still making them. You make bits of wood do magical things! You made all the portraits, every single one with a personality of its own. You made Hogwarts! This crazy, wonderful, brilliant castle, which only first existed in the imagination of one human woman. You breathed it into life, literally! You have wonderful dreams, Phoenix. You can make the nightmares go away like that!" He clicked his fingers.
"Um, excuse me," said Remus, but Sirius talked over him.
"Doctor, are you barking mad? What the hell are you on about?"
The phoenix cocked its head at them. "I'm sorry, children," it said. "I'm sorry for deceiving you."
Peter had been keeping watch behind them. "They're back!" he cried, his voice tremulous.
"Don't believe in them!" said the Doctor. "They don't exist!"
"You are barking mad," said Sirius, shaking his head. But he was grinning.
"They don't exist," said the phoenix. "They don't exist. Get down, all of you!"
The Doctor ducked at once, pulling down Donna with him. She cried out as the phoenix spread its wings and swept right over them, tail streamers catching her hair.
The phoenix whistled as its wings flared out in front of the Dementors. "I don't believe in you!" it cried. "You don't exist!"
The phoenix was glowing so brightly that Donna couldn't see past it. She squinted. It didn't feel cold any more; instead, heat radiated out from the phoenix as trails of fire licked at the edges of its wings and blazed forward to consume everything before it. They're gone, she thought. The Dementors are gone.
Gradually, the heat died down, and Donna could open her eyes fully again. The Doctor stood up, holding out his arm, and the phoenix settled upon it, its strong talons gripping his sleeve.
"See that, eh," said the Doctor, stroking down the phoenix's neck with one thumb. "You're beautiful, aren't you? You can wish away the shadows. Wish I could do that."
"I didn't know phoenixes could defeat Dementors," said James, looking impressed.
"Not even talking ones," Sirius added.
"You saved our lives," said Remus breathlessly.
"Thank you," said Peter. All four of the Marauders nodded and smiled. They looked exhausted, cheeks flushed from danger and fatigue, but they were all breathing, all alive.
The phoenix turned its head aside coyly. "You're welcome. But I haven't saved your lives, not yet. I have yet to restore them."
"Doctor," said the phoenix. "Thank you for your encouraging words, but I still don't have a way out, and the darkness will creep upon me again sooner or later… Can you show me the door?"
The Doctor grinned. "Oh, yes. My magic box has a very handy door and this one works both ways. Into the TARDIS, come on!"
Remus had glanced at the map once again before stuffing it back into his pocket. All the Dementors had vanished. He hoped that the rest of the students had held them off long enough for the phoenix to save them.
"I can transport you," said the phoenix. "Join hands."
Bemused, but willing to take instructions from the beautiful bird, Remus' right hand took Sirius', and his left hand Donna's. They formed a chain: the Doctor, Donna, Remus, Sirius, Peter and James. The blurred memory of the book was niggling at Remus again, like an itch he couldn't scratch. He felt sure that he had read that book, that he had read it many times, staying up late at night to be absorbed by its words.
"When I say, grab on to my tail feathers," the phoenix instructed the Doctor. He nodded. Lifting its wings, the phoenix took off. "Now!" it cried.
The Doctor lunged upwards with his free hand and caught one of the long tail feathers. Instantly, the phoenix blazed and they were engulfed in flame, but Remus felt no heat, only exhilaration. Definitely better than Floo powder, he thought.
He blinked, and when he opened his eyes, the light of the phoenix revealed the secret passage again, the blue box still tucked in the corner, as mysterious and strange and welcoming as ever.
"Oh, I'm glad to see this again," said Donna, grinning. Taking out a key from her pocket, she unlocked the door at once.
The phoenix perched on the Doctor's arm. "This is the way out?"
It looked around and spoke with a slight hint of sadness. "What will happen to this world when I leave?"
"I think you know that," said the Doctor softly.
Donna had been about to go in, but she turned at the entrance, as if a thought had struck her. "Hang on. What about all the kids?"
"As soon as the program stops, they should return to their original states," the Doctor answered. "The whole thing will just be a bad dream. Or a good dream, I suppose, if you fancy being a Hogwarts student."
"Oi," said James. "We're still here, you know. What do you mean, a dream?"
"You're dreaming, James, don't worry about it. You'll wake up for school tomorrow, and it'll all be fine."
"I'm not part of his dream!" said Sirius. "If anything, he's in my dream."
"Yeah, that too," said the Doctor.
They all frowned. After all this, Remus still did not understand the Doctor. He didn't register on the map. He didn't fit with anything Remus thought he knew. Instead, he had the strangest idea that the Doctor went more with his other memory, the set of memories the Doctor had told him were suppressed.
"Are you leaving, Doctor?" Remus asked. "Are you a dream too?"
"Oh, yes," said the Doctor. "But I'm a very good one. Come on, now, Phoenix, let's find your home…"
Donna vanished into the blue box and the phoenix flew in after her, whistling in delight at what it found. The Doctor followed them.
"Wait!" said Remus.
He poked his head back out of the door, Donna next to him. "What?"
"Goodbye, Doctor. I'll remember you, even if it is only a dream."
The Doctor smiled. "So will I."
He closed the door and the boys stood back, watching in amazement as a strange whirring sound filled their ears. The magic box was disappearing.
A few miles and a whole reality away, a sixteen year old boy woke up in his bed in a sleepy little village in Kent, unaware that he had been missing for almost a month. He looked at the clock and sighed. He'd stayed up late reading and had overslept again, dreaming about it. Frowning, he tried to remember. He'd dreamt he was in Hogwarts. There were characters he knew, and two he didn't. A red-haired woman and someone else - a man, a wizard, there had been something important about him…
His sister came into the room and shrieked at the sight of him, and the last fragments of the dream fled his mind.