Shift to Reality A Harry Potter fic by Stormy

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Giving in to a deeply rooted depression, Harry is lost in a world where there is no Voldemort, no tragedy and no pain. Can Sirius convince his godson to give up the paradise in his mind for cold reality?

Takes place: the summer following Book 4: Goblet of Fire

Archived: The Weather Witch's Domain

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Chapter 1 (Added 13-Jul-02)

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Wait for me!

Don't I always?

You two...here, you forgot this.

Thanks!

You're the best, dear.

I know, I know...have fun you two.

Is something wrong?

I feel like there's something wrong...danger…

Don't worry about it. Nothing can go wrong here.

Better get going you guys. That breeze isn't going to last forever.

You're right. Last one there's a Slytherin!

Now that's just cruel....I approve! Wait for me!

Too slow!

Slow? C'mere you--

ACK! Help!

Run!

I'm tryin'! I'm tryin'!

You can never escape my wrath!

Whose wrath?

...Yours, of course. Dear.

Get going, you guys.

We'll be back!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

(Excerpt from letter to Sirius from Hermione)

...And then Pigwidgeon returned with Ron's letter. We know he can't answer much because the Dursely's don't like Hedwig flying around (they think it draws too much attention), but he ALWAYS writes a thank you letter for his birthday. He didn't even respond to the letter Ron sent inviting him to the Burrow later this summer. Can you find out from Dumbledore if he's okay? Ron and I are getting worried....

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Knut for your thoughts.

Hey, mine are worth galleons.

Nope, two sickles and that's my final offer!

You're still thinking something dangerous is out there?

Sort of.

I wish you wouldn't dwell on it. It's not good for you.

I know. I'll try, okay?

Whatever makes you happy kiddo. Here - catch!

Hey! You cheated! Get back here!

C'mon slowpoke! You can do better then that!

I'll show YOU who's slow!

*~*~*~*~*~*

(Excerpt from letter to Dumbledore from Sirius and Remus)

... Hermione's not one to exaggerate even if Ron is. Something's up, and I want to check it out. I'd like your permission Albus, but I'm going to check on my godson either way.

Dumbledore, this is Remus. I happen to agree with Sirius. Harry hasn't responded to anyone all summer. A quick visit from us - OW, Padfoot! Stop scratching--oh, all right, from his GODFATHER, would probably--okay, okay, would DEFINITELY cheer him up. We await your reply - and I'm going to go drown Sirius in the bathtub now. He hasn't had a chance to clean up since the 'errand' you sent him on...

*~*~*~*~*~*

I won!

Congratulations!

...mumblegrumblegrowl...

What was that?

I said, 'and he calls ME a cheater?'

Well, you can take the credit then. I don't mind.

Nah, I'm just teasin' ya.

No, I mean it. You can have the win. I don't want it. I don't EVER want it.

Easy tiger - what's wrong?

You can tell us.

I...I know.

So what's up?

...............

Please...

...I just want it to stop hurting.

It will. I - WE promise you that.

Yeah buddy. You have our word. We'll protect you.

It's not your fault.

You mean that?

Would we lie to you?

No.

Come on in guys. It's getting a bit cool out.

Nag, nag, nag...

If you don't like it--

No, no! I love it!

Wimp.

And darn proud of it! C'mon, nag and naglet. Inward!

You mean ONward.

Nope, 'cause we're going in. Inward!

You are so weird.

Why, thank you!

*~*~*~*~*~*

(Excerpt from letter to Sirius and Remus from Dumbledore)

.... And I thank you for writing me first, even if it meant presumably tying Sirius down (I assume he survived his 'drowning?') I have felt something amiss with Harry this summer and was considering asking Mrs. Weasely to let him go to the Burrow earlier then usual, but your suggestion is also excellent. I feel a visit from his godfather and his favorite teacher would prove most beneficial.

Please exercise extreme caution Sirius. We have not yet secured enough information to set you free in the eyes of the Ministry and I do not wish to see you sent back to Azkaban. Remus, I leave this in your capable hands...

*~*~*~*~*~*

Remus Lupin and Sirius Black appeared in front of number four Privet Drive with no more then a brief shimmer to announce their presence. A simple charm had waived any possibility of them being spotted from any nosy neighbours that might be peering through their curtains. Remus looked at his best friend of many years and raised a single eyebrow.

" What are the odds of Petunia remembering you?"

" I know, I know." Sirius sighed and nodded. A second later, a large black dog appeared at Remus's side, its tail wagging back and forth in eager anticipation. Remus couldn't blame him.

Not long after the entire ordeal of the Triwizard tournament, Sirius had been pulled away from Harry's bedside, sent on a mission for Dumbledore to gather the former members of the Order of the Phoenix. He had felt extremely guilty for abandoning his godson when the boy needed him most but it couldn't be helped and despite reassurances from Remus that Harry understood, Sirius had never let that guilt disappear.

' I don't care if he understands,' he wrote to Remus while away. ' He shouldn't HAVE to understand.'

Hermione's letter had arrived nearly a month after the summer holidays had started, two days before Sirius had returned from his errand. It had never occurred for Remus to open a letter not addressed to him, and so the news of Harry's withdrawal had come as a surprise to him just as much as it was for Sirius. It had taken a good deal of pleading and threatening on Remus's part to prevent Sirius from leaving right that second to go and check on his godson, persuading him instead to wait for a response from Dumbledore. Albeit reluctantly, Sirius had acquiesced, letting Remus bully him into showering, shaving, eating and finally getting a few hours of sleep while waiting. When Dumbledore's letter arrived, Sirius admitted he was feeling much more clear-headed and much better then before. He was more then ready to go and check on James and Lily's legacy.

Remus scruffed Padfoot's head gently with one hand as he knocked on the door with the other. He shifted from one foot to the other, feeling an odd sense of urgency take root in his stomach. A quick glance down at the dog's stiff muscles confirmed he wasn't the only one feeling a bit rushed.

The door opened a crack, and Petunia Dursely's beady little eyes peered out, widening in shock as they registered Remus' presence, and then narrowing again.

" What are YOU doing here?"

Remus blinked in surprise. He hadn't expected Petunia to recognize him. It had always been Sirius who had accompanied James whenever they picked up Lily for a summer adventure. He himself had always gone to get...well, anyway. " You know me?"

" Lily had pictures of YOUR kind all over our room," Petunia sneered. " Do you think me stupid?"

" Of course not. I'm here to check on Harry, Petunia. It won't take very long."

Remus was determined to be pleasant. While however deserving she was of being antagonized, bickering would only delay their true purpose for being there.

" Check on him? For what? He's alive, that's all that's expected of us. Lazy good-for-nothing little scab - barely gets his chores done and then sleeps the rest of the time, no matter what else needs doing." Petunia scowled. " I don't want you here, even more when Vernon's not here."

At Remus's side, Padfoot started to growl, not liking her tone one bit. Petunia looked down, saw the bear-sized dog and gasped. The door slammed shut in Remus's face. He blinked again." Well, that was rude."

A muffled voice from inside asked, "Mum, who was at the door?"

" No one important. Ignore it Duddy-dear."

'So much for being pleasant.' Padfoot barked sharply and Remus looked down at him in mild reproof. " Oh, don't you start. That was YOUR fault. If you hadn't of growled, you wouldn't have scared her."

Padfoot snorted and turned his head. Remus muffled a smile and pulled out his wand. " Alohomora."

The chain undid itself from the inside and the door swung gently open. Petunia scrabbled back at their entrance, pulling Dudley behind her in an effort to protect her mammoth son. Dudley peered around them, his eyes wide with fright. His pudgy hands gripped his large bottom in a manner that had become almost instinctual since Harry's eleventh birthday.

" I won't take much of your time, Petunia, Dudley." Remus said gently, trying not to frighten them further. Padfoot growled and then pushed past the werewolf, racing up the stairs to the small bedroom where Harry slept. He paused outside the closed door, pawing at it futilely, drawing a panicked but determined shout from downstairs: " Don't let that mutt scratch the wood!"

Remus rolled his eyes and tapped his wand against the door, muttering the magic word. The door opened silently. Padfoot jumped inside the moment it opened and sniffed the air. Remus did too.

It was stale, the windows tightly closed. Hedwig's cage was empty but a quick look at the window found Hedwig perched on a nearby tree, looking as worried as it was possible for an owl to be worried. Remus's attention was drawn back as Padfoot barked once and nudged the pile of blankets on the ratty old bed. Remus hurried over.

" Harry?"

He pulled the blanket back and noted the pale but relaxed features of the most famous boy in the wizarding world. His wild black hair clung in damp strands to his face and neck, his scar standing out sharply against the pale contrast of his skin. Beside him, Sirius returned to his human form, concern written on his face.

" Harry, wake up."

Several calls and nudges later, Remus and Sirius looked at each other worriedly. Harry didn't look sick; he felt warm but not abnormally so, but he wouldn't respond to their calls.

" What's going on Remus?"

" I'm not sure." Remus bit his lip thoughtfully and looked around the room. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary except the lack of personal effects and furniture that usually labelled a bedroom to be someone's. He spotted Harry's books in the corner and went to check it out. Nothing more then Harry's texts from that year - and one he didn't recognize.

Sirius brushed a few determined strands out of Harry's face and looked up.

"Remus? This isn't a natural sleep."

" I was just thinking of that, but I don't see any potions around."

Sirius nodded at the book Remus held in his hands. " What's that?"

" I found it with Harry's textbooks. It's not on the required reading list."

Sirius glanced at the cover. Dreamscapes and the Worlds Within. " Well, if that doesn't sound incriminating."

" I know." Remus sat down on the other side of the bed and began flipping through it, noting the dog-eared pages and several underlined phrases. A loud slam from downstairs announced Vernon's arrival and Sirius's eyes narrowed. He seriously disliked that man.

Vernon's loud voice boomed up from the living room. " WHO'S here?!?"

" We'll have to bring Harry with us," Remus said decidedly. " We can bring him to Hogwarts - he'll be as safe there as he is here."

" That depends on your definition of safe," Sirius growled, but he nodded.

Loud thuds sounded up the stairs and Remus looked anxiously at the animagus who sighed resignedly and melted into his dog form just as Harry's door flew open.

Vernon Dursely stood in the doorway, blocking the light and glowering at Remus.

" What are you doing here? Breaking and entering on private property--"

" Mr. Dursely, I'm just here to check on Harry. I'm a teacher from his school with permission to be here--" Remus began.

" Permission? I didn't give anyone permission, and neither did my wife! Coming inside after she told you to leave, breaking through the locks! " Vernon's face was turning purple with rage and indignation. " I should call the police, have you taken away--"

Sirius leaped to his feet and began to growl, his black hair bristling with anger. Vernon saw the large dog and paled slightly, taking a step backwards. " What is that animal doing in here?"

" He's my...pet, Mr. Dursely. And he's leaving with me. Incidentally, so is Harry."

Vernon's eyes lit up like bulgy Christmas trees.

" You're taking him? Good riddance! Get out of here, all of you. And don't come back!" He whirled around and tramped back downstairs, throwing one last comment over his large shoulder. " You have five minutes to get out and then I'm calling the cops!"

Remus shook his head. " What a family." Shrugging, he set to work gathering up Harry's things. He threw his books and robes into the large trunk. Then he shrunk the broom and Hedwig's cage, placing them inside as well. Harry's presents from Ron and Hermione were still unwrapped, placed along the wall next to the battered dresser and he added those as well as his invisibility cloak. He took one last survey of the room to make sure he had gotten everything and then turned to see a transformed Sirius gather his godson in his arms. He raised an eyebrow. " Sirius?"

" I cast a Never-Mind charm," Sirius growled. " Those miserable excuses for muggles won't even acknowledge me or Harry. Just make sure you wipe their minds about us being here."

Remus nodded. Sirius strode out the door and Remus followed, floating the large trunk behind him. The Dursely's were all huddled in the kitchen, no doubt with their eyes on the clock, eager to make that important phone call if they didn't hear Remus leave the house after the required time. Sirius went directly outside and Remus went into the kitchen, ignoring the protesting shouts. Three memory charms later, Remus exited the house with Harry's things, walking to the corner where the anti-apparation shields ended. Sirius was waiting for him; Harry in his arms, and Hedwig perched on his shoulder, hooting softly.

" Everything taken care of?"

" Of course."

" Then let's go." With a soft pop, Sirius, Harry and Hedwig disappeared. Remus followed soon after.

*~*~*~*~*~*

Did you hear that?

Hear what?

……….Never mind. I must be imagining things.

No drifting off, you! I need someone on my side!

Oh, fight your own battles. We're not taking sides here. And it's your turn.

OW! Okay, okay, yeesh…

Is that move legal?

Of course it is! Cross my heart and hope Slytherins fry!

Why don't we just check ye old rule book to make certain…

Oh, no need. Trust me – would this face lie?

For me, yes. To me…well…

Hey!

I'm still checking the book….

Oh all right – I'll take it back.

Good call!

After this long, I know how you work.

I'm gonna have to find a new way then. Spoilsports.

My turn!

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End Chapter 1

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