Saturday, May 26, 2007

Harry Potter and the Prince of Nightmares

Chapter Ten – Dreaming Truths and True Dreams

Voldemort slammed his fist down on the arm of his throne in a rare show of temper. His eyes blazed red in his dark throne room and the stone walls echoed his sibilant voice ominously. "How dare you tell me that they have refused my alliance?"

Typhulus found himself trembling as he bowed in front of Voldemort. "They have not refused your generosity, My Lord," Typhulus tried appeasing his Dark Lord's anger. "They have merely refused to see the inevitability of it."

The Dark Lord stood up from where he was seated. His steps clicked loudly against stone floor. Typhulus could vaguely see the Dark Lord's black robe swirling in the dim interior of the room.

Finally, the Dark Lord stopped. "They want Harry Potter dead before they will join an alliance with me?" the Dark Lord asked rhetorically. "Then they will get a dead Harry Potter. It's not as if I hadn't planned on killing him anyways. I just wanted to attain the secret of immortality before the little project."

"My-My Lord," Typhulus stuttered, not sure of how to tell his Dark Lord that killing Harry Potter was not the best idea to encourage the vengeful Nightmares to cooperate with the Dark Lord. "Even the Nightmares do not have the secret to immortality. They die when their chosen mate dies."

"Just because you don't have the answer doesn't mean the rest of them don't," the Dark Lord hissed. "Besides, we'll have to overcome this little problem anyways, since I don't plan on dying. It is rather troublesome that four of my seven horcruxes have already been destroyed, though."

Harry found himself wandering through the empty hallways of Hogwarts as he dreamed. He knew he was dreaming, because not a single candle was lit and yet Harry knew exactly where he was: He was on his way to Draco's room.

As loud as his footsteps were, Harry thought that he really ought to have woken up. And even though he tried to wake up, he found himself walking closer and closer to Draco's room.

It was going to be another one of those dreams, Harry could tell.

Soon enough, Harry was in front of the door to Draco's room.

In these dreams, he somehow bypassed the Slytherin common room. If it would only be so easy in real life. Then, Harry would have no problem confronting Draco about these dreams in the first place. As it was, Harry hesitated between facing a legion of unfriendly Slytherins and being caught out after curfew.

There was never a word spoken between Harry and Draco. The door simply opened. Harry went in, as he always did. Draco was sitting on his bed, waiting.

If Harry was honest with himself, he would admit that he actually could enjoy these dreams, where there was no tomorrow, no yesterday. There were no enemies, no enmity. Where there were only Draco and Harry and there was Harry and Draco. With an understanding so complete between them that no words were ever spoken.

However, they were only dreams. Besides, Harry was sure that Draco was sending them to Harry, and Harry thought he would enjoy these dreams if they were private.

Besides, Harry found that sleeping with somebody in his dreams, while pleasant, quite exhausting. In this way, Harry had had little sleep in the past week and found himself nodding off in classes other than History of Magic. When he wasn't staring at Malfoy, that was.

So, Harry thought desperately of a way to, if not wake up, at least change the direction of the dream. Hurry it up a little. Make it end quicker. Or at least not so exhausting.

In his dream, Harry sat down next to Draco, and Draco draped himself on Harry's back. Draco's pale blond hair tickled Harry's neck a little and Draco's hands rubbed soothing patterns down Harry's back, under his shirt.

There were kisses in Harry's dreams. Draco planted butterfly kisses all the way down Harry's neck, and Draco's soft tongue traced the faint teeth marks on Harry's shoulder, leaving it a little chilled as Draco moved down Harry's back.

With a sigh, Harry leaned back, and both of them collapsed on Draco's soft bed, no doubt custom ordered from some exclusive furniture maker.

The silk sheets rustled softly as Draco turned both of them over, so that Harry lay on his stomach, with Draco's comforting weight on top of him. Somehow, the candles in Draco's room had gone out and their clothes had disappeared so Harry could feel Draco's warmth in sharp contrast with the cool night air in the Slytherin dungeons.

It was a dream, after all, and inexplicable things happened in dreams all the time.

Which reminded Harry quite jarringly that he was in a dream, which he shouldn't be dreaming, for various reasons, the most practical of which was he needed true rest.

But as experience had taught Harry, he couldn't wake himself up from his dreams.

Although, Harry thought desperately as he tried not to be pulled under the soothing patterns Draco was drawing on his chest, the delicate fingers skimming carefully over bare skin, touching but not quite touching spots Harry had never known were so sensitive...

Maybe an interruption would help. Some sort of interruption.

Like a third wheel to cool the scene.

Which reminded Harry abruptly that somebody had said something about a third person.


She had offered to be there if Harry ever needed a third person. This would be the perfect time, even if Harry was just thinking it his dream.

Harry tried to picture Lavender.

She was tall and thin, with straight brown hair—this week—and really long eyelashes—longer than even Draco's. Harry pictured her with red lipstick, a bit of blush, and a touch of eyeliner, since Harry had never seen her without any of those three. A Hogwarts school robe completed the picture.

A sudden weight fell onto the bed.

Harry looked over, and to his immense shock and relief, he saw Lavender there, just as he had pictured her. She smiled brilliantly at Harry, her white teeth shining unnaturally in the dark room.

Harry smiled back hesitantly.

Apparently, Draco—the Draco in the dream—noticed that Lavender was there, too. Suddenly, both Harry and Draco were fully dressed. Harry still lay on the bed, but Draco stood stiffly beside the bed.

When Harry looked over at Draco, he found cold silver eyes piercing through him. Then, Draco gave Lavender an even more glacial look, if it was possible.

Then, all went black as Harry fell into a dreamless sleep.

"What did you do with Lavender?" Hermione demanded at breakfast.

"What?" Harry asked, confused. For the first time in a long while, Harry felt actually refreshed in the morning. In fact, he couldn't remember any dreams from last night, nightmares or otherwise. "I didn't do anything with Lavender."

"Well," Hermione said doubtfully. "Don't look now, but she's got to have at least a pound of makeup on her—I'm not exaggerating—and she's been sneaking looks at you all breakfast."

Ron turned from his breakfast to join in the conversation. "So?" He asked, after turning around and looking at Lavender. "Lavender's always looking at Harry anyways. And I think you should worry more about a filthy Slytherin looking at you."

Automatically, Hermione looked across the table, and found Blaise's blue eyes on her. Seeing that he had her attention, Blaise blew her a flying kiss, making Hermione blush furiously. She looked away quickly. "I have no idea what Blaise thinks he's doing."

Ron looked between Hermione and Blaise suspiciously. "Are you sure you didn't do anything with him?"

"Nothing that would elicit this kind of reaction." Hermione paused. "We just had a walk on Saturday."

Ron's brown eyes widened. "You had a walk with him? You took your time away from studying and walked with him?"

Hermione shrugged, trying to be nonchalant. "I had most of my homework done already."

"You took time away from studying to go on a date with Blaise Zabini!" Ron exclaimed, throwing his hands up into the air before collapsing onto the table. He muttered, "What is this world coming to?"

"It was not a date," Hermione refuted. "It was a spur of the moment walk to the lake and back."

"You went to the lake?" Harry asked. Even Harry knew that a walk around the lake was the standard date on Hogwarts campus.

"What do you mean spur of the moment?" Ron questioned. "For you, maybe, but he probably planned it all along. Probably's been planning it for months, the sly, sneaking Slytherin."

Hermione rolled her eyes in exasperation. "You are just being paranoid. Besides, if I wanted to date somebody, I can. It's not like I'm seeing anybody."

"B-b-but..." Ron trailed off, not quite sure of what to say to that. There was just something not quite right about Hermione dating somebody. To Ron, there was Harry, the hero, and there were Hermione and Ron, Harry's friends. He had never even thought about Hermione dating somebody—Victor had just been a one-time thing—and it sat uncomfortably in his chest.

"What is important, though," Hermione continued. "Is why Lavender is still looking at you like that."

This time, Harry couldn't resist looking over at where Lavender sat. She was whispering something with Parvati, as usual. Girl stuff, they had said once when Harry had asked in second year. He hadn't bothered asking again.

When Lavender caught Harry looking at her, she flashed a brilliant smile at him.

"I told you I dreamed true," Harry heard Lavender say.

"Ooh," Parvati cooed, and then lowered her voice so that whatever she said next was unintelligible to Harry.

"Ugh," Hermione intoned in disgust. "Not some stupid divination thing again."

Unfortunately for Hermione, Hermione, Ron and Harry all caught Professor Trelawney's name distinctively in Lavender and Parvati's conversation.

Harry continued eating his breakfast. "I really didn't do anything with Lavender, see?"

Hermione looked at Harry suspiciously before finally nodding. "I suppose it's not really your fault if she dreamed some random girlish dream."

"But you did do something with Zabini," Ron said in an accusative tone. He wasn't going to drop it.

"Yeah, well?" Hermione asked. "Ron, you're one of my best friends, but you are not my boyfriend. Therefore, while I am glad you care about whom I decide to date, you have no authority to tell me whom to date. Or not date. Blaise happens to be a very nice person and a perfect gentleman."

Harry heard Ron mutter something under his breath. Something about money and position and purebloods.

"I didn't hear that," Hermione said loudly. "And I'm not sure I want to. At least Blaise can speak clearly and articulately to express himself."

Hermione decided to eat her breakfast stoically.

Ron sighed.

Harry asked half-heartedly, "Who wants to tryout for Quidditch team?"

It seemed as if the entire Gryffindor house showed up for Quidditch tryouts, even the first-years who obviously would not qualify and the girls who had never shown any interest in the sport before. Harry thought that there might even be a Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw in the mix.

The Boy-Who-Lived himself was the captain, after all.

Harry sighed as he eyed a couple of first year boys dubiously. He could hear them talking about being seekers, a position that Harry himself occupied and did not plan on giving up. At least he could tell them that.

For the Keeper and Beaters Harry needed, though, he would have to give everybody a fair tryout, even if Harry already knew that they were not qualified.

"Alright," Harry said through the cacophony, but nobody seemed to have heard. He took a deep breath. "Alright!" He shouted.

Instantly, the crowd quieted, as if waiting a show to begin. Harry looked over the crowd hesitantly before announcing, "The try outs for Beaters are first. If you want to try out to be a Beater, please line up here."

A minute passed as people shuffled around.

When there was finally a semblance of a queue in front of Harry, he decided he might as well go ahead. "I'm going to let out the bludgers," Harry explained as he gestured to the field. "And four of you will hit it at each other. I will decide who's best."

Harry looked back to see if people understood, only to see Lavender at the head of the line. "Lavender," he said. "I didn't know you're interested in Quidditch."

"Oh, of course," Lavender replied, surprising Harry. "I'd do anything to protect you, including keeping those evil, nasty bludgers away from you."

"Um... okay." Harry was at a lost as to how to respond.

It turned out, though, that just as Harry had assumed, Lavender was completely unqualified to as a Beater. Normally, high heels wouldn't matter on brooms, but one of Lavender's flamboyant red high-heels fell off during the try out, causing her to panic.

"Oh, the heel is going to break!" Lavender shrieked desperately as she watched her shoe fall, while the other three Gryffindors were still trying to heat the bludgers. Unfortunately, one of them hit Lavender straight in the face. Harry thought that Lavender probably broke her nose.

The next thing Harry knew, Lavender was sprawled rather awkwardly on the ground with her broom several feet away from her and the other three Gryffindors were descending too. Harry approached Lavender carefully. She lay unmoving, and didn't make any noise except a very faint groan.

"Um, Lavender?" Harry said. "I think you'd better go see Madame Pomfrey."

Lavender said something, but the lawn muffled it so that Harry couldn't understand it.

"I'll bring you to the infirmary, okay?" Harry offered. He actually felt rather guilty for not stopping Lavender earlier. Bludgers were rather nasty, and he had known that Lavender would not make the team. He really should have just told her so.

Looking around, Harry saw that everybody had formed a ring around Lavender. He told them, "We'll do tryouts another time."

Harry slung one of Lavender's arms awkwardly around his shoulder and together, they half hopped, half limped to the infirmary.

"Are you okay?" Harry asked.

Lavender seemed almost delirious, though. "Okay, okay," she muttered. "I'd do anything to keep you safe, Harry."

"Um, I'm actually quite safe at Hogwarts."

"Did you know Parvati and Padma are seers?" Lavender asked incongruously. Without waiting for Harry's answer, she continued, "Well, I'm a seer, too, because last night, I saw myself with you and Draco."

"Uh..." What did Lavender expect Harry to say? "I think it might've just been a dream."

"No, no," Lavender waved Harry's theory away. Or she would've, but her hand only moved minimally. "I felt it, that it was real. Besides, I didn't know that Draco had his own room—but I dreamed it. I asked around today, and it was true."

"Okay," Harry accepted, even though he still wasn't very convinced. He thought everybody knew that Draco had his own room. At least, all the Slytherins knew. But then, Slytherins were very good at keeping secrets.

"You know, Draco was looking very sexy on top of you when I dropped onto the bed," Lavender continued and tripped a little so that Harry staggered under her weight.

Harry thought the bludger must have hit Lavender pretty hard, or she wouldn't be saying things like this. Fortunately, they were almost at the infirmary. When Lavender healed, Harry could pretend that this conversation hadn't happened.

Still, the last part of what Lavender said triggered something in Harry's memory. Sure, Harry had dreams with Draco on top of him, but the part about somebody dropping onto the bed.

"Oh, bloody hell," Harry cursed aloud as they arrived at the infirmary. Lavender had dreamed true, even if it wasn't about the future. Harry only just remembered his dream.

Madame Pomfrey was nowhere in sight. So, Harry took it upon himself to lay Lavender down so she could at least get some rest. And he could get some rest, too. As he put her down, though, somehow she didn't let go of him and they both tripped onto the bed, so that Harry found himself on top of Lavender.

"Um, Lavender?" Harry said as he tried to untangle himself unsuccessfully. Lavender seemed determined to hold onto the corner of Harry's collar. "Can you let go?"

There was no response from Lavender.

Suddenly, a cold voice said behind Harry, "Don't worry, Potter, it's all the same if I amputate her arm."

Draco could feel the cold anger that had been swirling just beneath his consciousness finally coming to a head.

No matter what had happened before, Potter had always been at the center of it. In first year, Draco had taken Longbottom's Rememberall, and Potter had chased him. Through the subsequent years, they sneered at each other, hurled insults at each other, and dueled with each other. But every time Draco had done something, Harry had responded.

Except for now.

Because of the bond, Draco had been plagued with dreams, hot, heavy, lusty dreams. Not only did Draco never dream before—Nightmares had no souls, little subconscious, and generally gathered dreams more than made them—these dreams always ended with an unsatisfied and rather frustrated Draco.

And while it was true that these dreams featured Harry Potter, the dark-haired, green-eyed hero of the wizarding world, Draco found it strangely disturbing that the real Harry Potter had no visible reaction to these nightly apparitions that plagued Draco.

Last night, though, a very strange occurrence took place in Draco's dream: Brown had appeared.

Throughout the day, today, Draco had pondered over the meaning of the girl who had designs on Draco's mate and could possibly—very unlikely, but still possibly—severe the bond that was forming between him and Potter.

Draco had decided to restrain himself from any action against the Gryffindor girl only because he had thought that even a Gryffindor shouldn't be blamed for something that had happened merely in a dream.

However, when Draco saw Harry walking with Brown down the hall, he had found himself in a rare state of shock. Still being understanding, though, Draco had waited, rather unnecessarily. In fact, he had almost decided to leave once he saw the pair of Gryffindors arrive at the infirmary.

Staying true to Slytherin values, though, Draco had decided to stay just in case something did not go as it should. Something didn't.

Draco found his mate and a girl engaging in foolish flirting—and perhaps beyond flirting—on a bed.

Harry was Draco's, Draco vowed. All of Harry.

If Harry was angry, he took it out on Draco. If Harry was upset, Draco would notice. If Harry laughed, it would be with Draco by his side. And if Harry decided he needed a little lusty entertainment, he should certainly go to Draco.

That Harry had decided to go to Brown...

It made something ugly in Draco raise its head.

"Actually, if it's all the same to you, I'd rather you don't," Harry said carefully, as if sensing that Draco felt more than usually antagonistic.

"It's not the same to me," Draco replied evenly. "I think I'd feel much better if I cut of her arm."

Harry had managed to unwind Lavender's arm from around his neck. He looked around, but Madame Pomfrey remained conspicuously absent. "Why don't we talk about this outside?" Harry asked.

"I think the conversation is just as well in here," Draco said. "Give me one reason why I shouldn't cut off her arm."

"Um..." Harry was at a loss as how to reply. All the obvious reasons—compassion, empathy, simple self-preservation from the wrath of Headmaster Dumbledore as well as Harry Potter—seemed not to apply for the Nightmare in front of him. Finally, Harry said, "You're supposed to be my ally, remember?"

At this, Draco snorted, and then laughed a strange, dry laugh. "Your ally, Potter, not your slave, and only for the war. Lavender contributes less than nothing to the war. Besides, even that is only after you have accepted the bond." Draco took a menacing step toward Harry. "Why haven't you accepted the bond yet?"

The bed was just behind Harry, but Harry told himself that he wouldn't have backed up anyways. He was a Gryffindor, and he wouldn't bow to Slytherin filth. Even if the Slytherin filth looked rather attractive and was rather powerful.

"I have accepted the bond," Harry replied evenly. "We have a bond. I can't break it. I accept it. What more do you want me to say?"

"It's not about saying anything." Draco shook his head slowly, so that his pale hair fluttered in front of his face. "It's about believing. What do you think magic is about, Harry? It's about believing." Draco paused to look at Harry and to make sure that Harry was still listening. "We killed God because we made sure nobody believed in him anymore."

Harry found himself fascinated by Draco. There was a certain... charisma that Harry had never before encountered in anyone else. It was if time slowed down for Draco. Harry could only point out, "But you believe in God."

"Ah." Draco smiled self-depreciatingly at this. "But we don't have souls, and so we don't have magic. Or rather, Lucifer already has all of our souls so it doesn't matter if we believe in God or not."

Harry had no reply to this. While Uncle Vernon and Aunt Veronica claimed to be Christians, Harry had never even seen a Bible in their house, even after all the cleaning he did. He knew little more than what Seamus had told him, which was very little.

"So God is the Christian God, then?" Harry asked.

Draco eyed Lavender suddenly, but decided that she could wait. "Of course there's a Christian God," Draco replied. "I imagine there's a god for every one that somebody believes in. God didn't make people; People made God."

"But you said something about Lucifer..."

"Yes, well, some people made God. Then, they gave him a son. They also made angels, and one of them was Lucifer and some of them were Nightmares. Things you make up in your mind can get out of control. So it is with things many different people make up." Draco paused before continuing. "Of course, if you don't believe in God, there is no God for you. But it's not about saying. It's about believing."

Harry found himself having a little trouble with this. God was God—Harry wasn't sure which God. People could choose to believe in him or people could choose not to, but shouldn't the god remain the same god?

Harry's relief at having distracted Draco was short-lived, though, when Draco said, "Magic is about believing. For example, if I believe I can cut off her arm, I can."

Harry looked behind him apprehensively, and Lavender had only one arm. Harry wasn't sure if it was a good sign that there was no blood. Harry could see the white bone and red fleshy stuff where Lavender's arm was truncated, making it somehow surreal.

He turned back to Draco, and was just about to somehow make Draco undo the amputation, when Draco waved his hand negligently in the air. "Or I could choose to make you believe that I have cut off her arm. Of course, if you believed it hard enough, you would've been the one to relieve her of her arm, not me."

Harry found Draco's smile rather unsettling and he thought he certainly wasn't in the mood to appreciate Draco's humor.

"Well, maybe not," Draco corrected himself. "It's difficult for you wizards and witches to do wandless magic, simply because your spirits are not as good at focusing. Still, if you believed hard enough..."

Draco sighed as if in regret. "Well, you didn't. And I hadn't made it real because I decided it wasn't worth the effort. You would just ask me to grow it back anyways."

Hermione turned to Ron impatiently. "Tell me what we are doing again."

"Shh..." Ron admonished. "We are spying on the Slytherins to see what evil designs they have."

"No, we're not," Hermione said, gesturing impatiently. "We are staring stupidly at an empty gray wall that leads to the Slytherin common room and we don't even have an invisible cloak to hide underneath."

"Well..." Hermione's logic was mostly infallible, Ron had learned from the past five and some years. "We can always claim that we want to speak to Malfoy or something."

"Right," Hermione answered sarcastically. "Because you are always willing to speak with Malfoy without violence involved. I think we're better off telling them we're seeing Blaise or something."

"That's a brilliant idea!" Ron surprised Hermione by saying. "That's exactly it. We're here to tell Blaise that he has to stay far, far away from you and that if he touches even a single hair on you, Harry and I will send him to the darkest pit in Hell where he won't ever see the sun ever again."

"Besides the various obvious illogical and redundant references in your sentence, can I say, 'not this again'?" Hermione rolled her eyes. "You really have no jurisdiction over this part of my life, and besides, you don't honestly expect me to be a spinster, do you? Even Harry has a mate."

Ron was saved from having to answer when Nott burst out from the Slytherin house.

Fortunately for the two Gryffindors, Nott didn't seem to notice them at all. Instead, he was muttering to himself as he stared angrily at the floor. "I can't believe Malfoy," they heard him mutter vaguely. "I'll show him. I'll show them all with my Lord. I'll show them when the dementors come flying, because of me. Then, I'll see what they have to say."

When Nott disappeared around the corner, Ron and Hermione left the Slytherin entrance by tacit consent.

Once they were back in the Gryffindor common room, Hermione burst out, "Nott is planning something."

"Of course," Ron answered. "He's a Slytherin. Being a Slytherin is synonymous with 'planning something.'"

"No, I mean, Nott is planning something on a grand scale. Voldemort is involved. So, apparently, is Malfoy."

"What?" Ron asked, alarmed. "You mean Nott is planning something with Malfoy for Voldemort?"

Hermione pursed her lips in thought. "I don't think so. I don't think that Malfoy can betray his mate like that. But Nott definitely mentioned Malfoy's name."

"Wait, wait, wait." Ron waved his hands frantically. "Who gave you the only book on Nightmares?"

"Blaise," Hermione answered slowly, not seeing Ron's point.

"Exactly." Ron continued triumphantly, "And Draco Malfoy is known to hang out with who the most?"


"So, if Draco wanted to plot something," Ron concluded. "And he wanted to throw you off track, he would give you a book with wrong information. Since it'd be suspicious if he handed it to you himself, he would have somebody else do the dirty work."

Hermione frowned thoughtfully, and finally shook his head. "I don't know. I can't see Blaise doing it. Besides, wouldn't Dumbledore have known if Malfoy wasn't telling the truth?"

"I always knew that Blaise was planning something," Ron said, more to himself than to Hermione. "And, well, Dumbledore... he hasn't been here much for the past three weeks. How would he know what Draco has planned? Draco could very well be a Nightmare, but we still don't really know what they are."

"But Nightmares and Nightmares is a famous book," Hermione protested. "I've read about it in several different other books."

"I'm not saying that it's not, but how do you know that the version you have is the actual book. It's not that difficult to make a book with false information and a false title."

"Fine, I suppose it's possible," Hermione relented reluctantly. "So, what do you think we should do?"

Ron answered without pausing, “What we've always done, of course. Watch over Harry."

Hermione added, "We should tell him."

"He might not believe us."

"But we should tell him anyways."


Anonymous said...

I love this and can't wait for you to post a new chapter!