To Sleep, Perchance to Dream
All recognizable Harry Potter characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story. I am merely borrowing the characters to play with them.
I am not a native speaker of English. Please excuse my mistakes.
Warnings: Completely AU, partly OOC, perhaps Weasley bashing, possible time paradox. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, as well as places is purely coincidental.
Part I - To Sleep, Perchance to Dream
"Move it, freak!" Dudley shouted, before he pushed eight-year-old Harry full force from behind, causing the younger boy to fall down the stairs at school.
The world around Harry turned black and he knew nothing more for a long time. He was brought to the nearby hospital, where he remained in a coma for two months.
Everything around Harry was quiet in the small hospital room; however, as Harry's unconscious mind slowly recovered from the bad concussion, it managed to develop an ability that had been dormant on his mother's side of the family as she descended from a long line of Squibs going back as far as Rowena Ravenclaw, who had been a Seer.
Over two months, Harry was forced by his own mind to watch scenes of wizards, who wanted to kill him, of his relatives, who abused and neglected him, and of friends and teachers, who loved and supported him. By the time he woke up from his coma, he had just watched himself killing Voldemort and felt happier than he had ever been before, since his mother had died. 'The only sad thing was Professor Snape's death, but perhaps we'll be able to prevent it, if we know how it happened before,' he mused, somehow knowing immediately that he had seen his own future. 'I won't go back to the Dursleys,' he decided. 'I'll go and search out Professor Snape. He kept me safe during all my years at Hogwarts. He'll be able to help me get away from my relatives, especially if I show him my memories in the thing he used earlier, whatever it was called.'
For the rest of the day, he impatiently endured the nurses' and doctors' fussing; however, as soon as it became night, he silently crept out of the hospital, not willing to stay for at least another week like the doctors had told him. He hurried into the park in search for a stick that he could use as wand, knowing from the memories he had watched that he could call the triple-decker bus to travel to Hogwarts. 'No,' he mused. 'Maybe he isn't at Hogwarts at the moment. I don't know if the summer holidays are already over. In my fifth or sixth year I managed to change into a phoenix and could flash myself somewhere. I should try that instead.' Remembering exactly how his older self had practised the Animagus transformation, he slowly turned each of his body parts into a phoenix form.
Without further thinking, he concentrated on the image of Professor Snape that he remembered from his visions and flashed.
Severus Snape was just finishing a complicated potion that Poppy Pomfrey urgently needed when all of a sudden something white entered his field of vision. 'What the...' the Potions Master thought and quickly extinguished the flame under his cauldron, before he let his eyes wander along the ingredients shelf in search for the white thing that had intruded his private sphere.
The white object seemed to be a feathered ball that had remained on the floor. 'A phoenix,' Snape realised in surprise. However, as soon as he leaned down in order to offer the bird a ride on his hand, the phoenix stumbled backwards and transformed into a small boy, dressed in stripy pyjamas.
'Am I delirious?' Severus wondered, as he recognised the boy, terrified. "Potter?" he asked in disbelief, having no idea how his childhood enemy could have made his way into his private lab.
"Yes, I am Harry Potter. I'm very sorry to disturb you, sir," the boy said politely. "I urgently need to speak with Professor Snape. Are you Professor Snape, sir?"
"I am Professor Snape, and I'd like to know what gives you the right to intrude into my private quarters, let alone at this time of the night," Severus sneered, observing contentedly as the small boy backed up even more.
"I am very sorry, Professor, but I was in hospital, and I could only escape at this time of the night. I only woke up from a come or something this afternoon," Harry explained uncertainly.
"From a coma?" Severus asked incredulously.
"Yes sir. My cousin pushed me down the stairs a few days before the beginning of the summer holidays, and ever since then I have been in hospital in a coma, and I've had many strange visions. Many of them involved you, sir, and since you always helped me and kept me safe, I decided to come to you. I'm sorry for being such a burden, but I didn't know how to contact you. I was glad I managed to come here at all, because I learned in one of the visions how I could change into a phoenix and flash."
Severus sighed as he observed the boy in disbelief and surprise, taking in the dark rings around the boy's eyes. His cheeks were feverishly flushed, and beads of sweat were building on his forehead. "You do not seem well enough to run around, let alone flash yourself over such a distance. Do I understand correctly that you just ran away from the hospital?"
"Yes sir," Harry admitted, hesitantly averting his eyes to the floor.
"Very well. Let's get out of my lab and sit in the living room," Severus decided in a gentler voice and led the small boy into the next room, noticing that Harry looked around in obvious amazement.
Severus glanced at the clock on the mantelpiece. It was already midnight. "Mr. Potter, as eager I am to watch the memories that brought you to me in a Pensieve, I suggest that I ask Madam Pomfrey to come and check on you and we retire for the night. We'll have enough time to continue our conversation in the morning. Do you agree?"
'If he lied about these visions, he'll be in a lot of trouble,' he mused as he transfigured the sofa into a comfortable bed and motioned the child to lie down. 'Why would he willingly come to me if it wasn't true though?'
"Yes sir. Thank you sir," Harry said gratefully, before he added hesitantly, "Professor, the headmaster must not know that I'm here. He would send me back to my relatives right away, but I hope that you'll understand if I show you the memories, sir."
"Professor Dumbledore is not at Hogwarts at the moment. We still have one week of holidays left, and he returned to his home for the week," Severus replied and headed to the fireplace to call the healer.
A few minutes later, the healer, whom Harry already knew from his visions, stepped out of the fireplace, and Severus explained quickly why Harry was in his quarters.
"A very good choice to seek out Professor Snape's help, sweetie," Poppy said gently as she waved her wand over Harry several times. "He'll be best able to help you, and he was your mother's best friend."
"I know," Harry replied tiredly, and a small smile appeared on his face.
"It was not a good idea to run away from the hospital and flash here though," Poppy continued in a sterner voice. "You probably aggravated your condition. You have a concussion that is not completely healed, and you're running a temperature. No transforming into your phoenix form, no flashing or flying or anything else strenuous for a week. No Apparating or travelling by floo either. Severus, you need to keep an eye on the child."
The Potions Master quickly fetched the potions the healer asked for, observing as she spelled them into the boy's system, before he let out a long sigh, as Harry drifted off to sleep. "So that means I'm stuck with the offspring of my childhood enemy for a week?" He raised an eyebrow at his friend, who rolled her eyes in exasperation.
"He is also Lily's son. Don't forget that, Severus. She made you his unofficial godfather and asked you to keep the child safe, didn't she?"
"Very well," Severus sighed. "Poppy, I need to see the visions the boy was talking about. May I take the memories into a Pensieve? I assume Legilimency would aggravate his condition even more."
"That's true," Poppy replied thoughtfully. "You may only take one memory at a time and only as long as Harry is willing to cooperate. If his headache becomes too bad, you'll have to stop immediately."
"Poppy, I'm sure the boy will be missed at the hospital, and the doctors will certainly contact the Dursleys. Is there any chance that they might contact Albus?"
"Severus, I have no idea. Let's call Minerva and have tea together. I know that she was always very fond of little Harry. She'll do everything to help you hiding him if necessary."
The three colleagues and friends spent half of the night drinking tea and speaking about the small boy that was fast asleep next to them, safe from their talking and laughing by a Silencing charm.
In the morning, Harry jerked awake, realising that he couldn't breathe. Something was clouding his face, and he could only see something red in front of his eyes. Unable to recall where he was at first, Harry began to panic, when an unknown voice penetrated his ears.
#It's all right. Don't make yourself so upset. I merely came to say Hello,# a phoenix's voice suddenly penetrated Harry's ear. #I'm Fawkes, by the way, and I'm glad to have a chick friend here at my nest AKA Hogwarts, even if you're still a nestling.#
"Can you get away from my face so I can breathe please?" Harry asked sleepily, sighing in relief, when Fawkes obeyed immediately.
#I'm sorry, nestling; I didn't want to frighten you,# the phoenix apologized and stepped aside, just when the Potions Master entered the living room.
"Good morning Harry; Fawkes," he noticed in surprise. "Did Fawkes bring a letter for me?" he queried.
#I merely wanted to become friends with the chick here,# Fawkes trilled happily and flashed away, causing Harry to chuckle.
"What did he say? Can you understand him?" Severus asked, raising an eyebrow at Harry.
"Yes, he said he wanted to become friends with me."
"Very well; how are you feeling, Mr. Potter?" Severus asked, gently.
"Fine. Err, are you just leaving, sir?" he asked, apparently suddenly realising that Severus was wearing a travel robe.
Severus let out a long sigh. "No Mr. Potter; Professor McGonagall, whom I'm sure you'll remember from your memories, and I paid your relatives a visit this morning to ensure that they'll confirm that you're still living with them and that you have just gone to visit a friend in case anyone asks for you."
"Oh, that's good. Thank you, sir," Harry agreed, sighing in apparent relief.
"I have known Petunia well when I was your age," Severus admitted hesitantly, "and she has always hated magic. She gave your mother a hard time, while she attended Hogwarts. Now, since Madam Pomfrey ordered you to stay in bed for the moment, I suggest having breakfast here in the living room. Afterwards, I'd like you to tell me about your visions."
"Can't I just put them..." Harry slowly trailed off, remembering that he wasn't allowed to question an adult's decision.
"Into a Pensieve?" Severus asked gently. "Madam Pomfrey told me that I may only take one memory at a time and that it might worsen your headache. Therefore, I'd like to tell me about the visions today, so that I can watch the memories, which I deem the most important, first."
"Oh, all right."
"Have you seen Cicero in your visions? He is my personal house-elf," Severus explained and called Cicero, causing Harry to smile.
"Hello Cicero," he said in a soft voice. He couldn't recall having seen Cicero, but he had watched visions of Dobby and knew that the house-elves were very kind beings.
Severus ordered breakfast, and Harry smiled in amazement as it popped up on the table in front of him. 'Watching visions and seeing magic in real is very different,' he mused, suddenly realising that his stomach felt a bit queasy and that he wasn't hungry at all. "I'm sorry, Professor, I don't think I can eat right now. May I begin to tell you instead, while you eat?"
Severus gave Harry a sharp look. "Are you feeling worse than last night?"
"I need you to get something into your stomach, so that I can give you the potions," Severus said gently, holding out a piece of buttered toast for the child. "Just try if you can manage to eat a bit."
Harry only managed to take a few bites, before his stomach revolted and he got sick all over himself. "I'm sorry, sir," he apologized, feeling absolutely terrified to do that to the professor, who had been so nice to him.
"That's not a problem," Severus said kindly, cleaning Harry and his bed with the flick of his wand, before he held out a glass of water for him, instructing him, "only take small sips." A few minutes later, he stepped to the fireplace and called Poppy.
The Mediwitch waved her wand over Harry several times, before she said thoughtfully, "I have the impression as if Harry caused his condition to worsen immensely by flashing yesterday. I just hope that he didn't cause permanent damage to his brain..."
"Am I going to be too stupid to attend Hogwarts?" Harry asked anxiously, glancing from the Mediwitch to the professor.
"No," they both replied simultaneously, before Poppy explained, "You might get headaches more often than other people and you might get really sick from it. You don't have to worry though, sweetie. As long as you're here at Hogwarts, Professor Snape and I are here and will be able to help you."
"Thank you," Harry said in relief, sighing contentedly as he felt the potion take effect, which Poppy had just spelled into his system.
"Now Harry, you will stay in this bed until I'll tell you otherwise," Poppy said sternly and turned to the fireplace.
"Poppy, stay please," Severus said in his soft silky voice. "Mr. Potter was just going to tell me about his visions, and I'd like you and Minerva to listen in."
Poppy agreed, and a few minutes later, the Transfiguration professor, whom Severus introduced as Professor McGonagall, stepped out of the fireplace.
"I know you," Harry said in a small voice, "you're the head of Gryffindor and the headmistress after the war. You were my head of House, because I was so stupid to listen to people who caused me to talk the Sorting Hat into placing me into Gryffindor instead of Slytherin, as he originally intended to. Oh well, I better start at the beginning, don't I?" he suddenly remembered, leaning against the head of his bed.
"Yes please, Harry," Minerva said gently, taking a seat on the chair next to Poppy, while Severus had made himself comfortable in his favourite armchair.
In a quiet voice, Harry began to tell the teachers how Hagrid came to bring him his Hogwarts letter and took him shopping. He told them about his Sorting and about Professor Quirrell, looking up startled when Severus conjured a parchment and pointed his wand at it, causing the professor's meticulous handwriting to appear.
"I am merely taking notes of which memories we have to watch at any cost," the professor explained, calmingly. "Please go on, but only as long as you feel well enough to do so."
Harry continued to recall his visions, although he was not exactly sure what was going to happen during his third Hogwarts year anymore. After the events at the end of his fourth year, of which he was again sure that they had occurred during his fourth year, he felt absolutely exhausted. "I'm sorry, but may I lie down for a moment?" he asked in a small voice, causing the teachers to jerk out of their stupor, in which they had been following his story with horror and interest.
"Of course, Harry, lie down and get some rest," Minerva said softly, while Poppy gently helped him into a comfortable position and waved her wand over him.
"Thank you," Harry said gratefully and visibly relaxed as he felt his headache subside due to the headache potion the healer had just spelled into his stomach. "The worst about everything are the prophecy and the Horcruxes," he continued to explain, before he remembered something.
"Mr. Potter, we really appreciate that you're able to give us so much information that is very valuable. However, I believe that you need to rest for a while, in order not to aggravate your condition even more," Severus said sternly, noticing that Harry was fiercely rubbing his forehead as he spoke.
"Okay, Professor. I need you to teach me Potions, so that I'll be good enough in a few years' time to work together with you. We must invent a potion together," Harry replied as he slowly succumbed to the sleeping potion Poppy had unobtrusively spelled into his system, leaving the adults to exchange confused looks.
"Now that was interesting, Severus," Poppy smirked, glancing at the Potions Master's confused expression.
"Well, Lily has always excelled in Potions," Minerva threw in. "Why shouldn't Harry be able to invent a potion together with you, whatever it is that he deems necessary to invent."
Severus contented himself to roll his eyes at his older colleagues. 'Inventing a potion together with a Potter,' he sneered inwardly; 'I must be going nuts.'