Chapter 6: Dreaming

"Harry? HARRY!"

Someone was shaking him roughly, and his head felt like it was on fire. Not opening his eyes, he lifted one hand to the scar on his forehead. It was burning. Someone was holding his wrist now, trying to pull his hand away from his face. He realized he was yelling.

The pain began to subside. Harry breathed slowly, still rubbing his scar. Eventually he was able to open his eyes and see Sirius's worried face above him.

"Harry."

"Sirius."

"Harry, you were screaming. What happened?" Sirius sat on the edge of the bed and managed to pull Harry's hand away to get a proper look at him.

"I..." Would Sirius laugh at him? Think him weak for screaming at a nightmare? No, his godfather looked concerned, worried. He had said that Harry could come to him with anything, and if Harry had ever needed something like a parent, it was now. So he told him the story.

"I...I had a dream. Wormtail was there, and Voldemort. Only he didn't look like Voldemort, he was...small and...I don't know. It was like he wasn't fully there. And there was another man that I didn't recognize, and they killed this Muggle. And my scar was hurting, really hurting. The last time that happened, Voldemort was at Hogwarts. But I don't reckon he could be near me now, could he?"

Even in the dull moonlight, Harry could see the color draining from Sirius's face as he spoke.

"I don't know, Harry," he said finally. "Does it still hurt?"

Harry sat up in bed, putting his hand back up to his forehead. "Just prickles a bit. Nothing like earlier."

Sirius sighed. "Was there anything else? Did they just kill the Muggle, or did something else happen?"

Harry hesitated.

"You'd better tell me, Harry." Sirius looked stern.

"Voldemort wanted...me...for something. Wormtail suggested using someone else, but Voldemort said it had to be me."

Sirius was really looking worried now, but when he spoke, his voice was calm. "Alright. I'm going to write a letter to Dumbledore, see what he makes of this. Fair?" Harry nodded. "If anything else happens, anything at all, I want to hear about it immediately."

"Alright."

"Think you can get back to sleep?"

Harry shook his head. Sirius smiled slightly. "Me neither. How about a cup of tea?"

"Okay."

They were both quiet as Sirius boiled water. Harry didn't really want to talk about his scar anymore, but he wasn't sure how to change the subject. Sirius tapped the teapot with his wand, lost in thought.

When the tea had finished steeping, Sirius poured two cups and settled down at the table, facing Harry. They just looked at each other for a minute. Then:

"April told me you fought Voldemort your first two years at Hogwarts."

Harry looked down. "Yeah. Well, second year, it wasn't really him. Just a memory..." And he explained all about Riddle's diary, and then about Quirrell.

"Well, April was right," said Sirius with an odd smile. "I do have my work cut out for me." Catching the look on Harry's face, he hastily continued. "And don't think for one minute I regret it." Harry had to smile. It felt good to be able to tell someone all of this.

"Do you do anything normal?" asked Sirius suddenly. "Or is it all adventures?"

Harry grinned. "What's normal? You're the one who became an Animagus!"

Sirius laughed. "I meant girls and pranks and...Oh, yeah. What about that Ginny Weasley?" His eyes were glinting as he said this.

"She's been like that since I stayed at the Burrow two summers ago," Harry explained. "Although it got worse after second year, since I guess I saved her life and all."

"That'll do it," said Sirius. "But you don't fancy her?"

"No, not really," said Harry, thinking of Cho Chang.

"But there is someone?" Sirius pressed on, with a knowing look.

Feeling himself turning red, realizing he had no one else he could properly confide this to, Harry explained about Cho.

"Quidditch player, you say? Ravenclaw?" said Sirius. "I'm impressed. But don't ever let me hear about you fancying some Slytherin!"

Harry thought briefly of Millicent Bullstrode and snorted.

"What about Hermione?"

Harry stared. "Well, she's...I mean, she's...I guess she's like my sister."

Sirius laughed again. "That'll do it, mate. 'Specially if Ron ever figures out which way his head's screwed on. Stick to the sister story. Your friendship'll last longer."

They talked like that until dawn. It was easy, Harry decided, to talk to Sirius. He didn't judge him, in fact, he seemed to understand everything Harry had to say. It wasn't the unnerving mind-reading that April sometimes seemed to do, it was like Sirius had been through the same things, and understood because, well, he'd been there too.

They talked about his parents, about the Marauders, more about Harry's first years at Hogwarts. Eventually, the conversation turned to more serious matters, and it was difficult to get started, Harry was again surprised at how easy it was to open up.

"I didn't about any of it. The Dursleys just told me mum and dad had died in a car crash. They don't like anything that isn't normal, you see. And I guess magic is about as far from normal as you can get."

"I remember your aunt from your parents's wedding," said Sirius. "She looked like she wanted nothing more than to be away from there. She hated James, resented Lily. I confess I did my best to avoid her, but off course, as your mother's sister, she was maid of honor, so it wasn't easy."

"I have a picture of you," said Harry. "In a book Hagrid gave me, with all sorts of pictures of my parents. There's one from the wedding with you in it."

"I'd like to see that book sometime."

"Okay." Harry felt a bit odd about what he wanted to say next, but before his godfather could ask, he plunged ahead. "I didn't really give it much thought, until I heard about...well..."

"Until someone slipped and told you why I was in Azkaban?"

"Yeah. When I heard, I got out the album, and found the picture. I hated you, you know."

"I think I figured that out when you stuck your wand in my face and told me you were going to kill me."

Harry tried to smile.

"Don't worry," said Sirius. "I didn't blame you. I was actually quite proud. If I have been the murderous traitor you thought me to be, that's exactly what I would have wanted you to do to me."

"But I didn't let you kill Pettigrew."

"Wormtail. And that just makes you a better man than me."

Harry was silent, not really knowing how to respond to this.

"Can I ask you a question?" said Sirius.

"Sure."

"How did you find out? I didn't think anyone would tell you."

Harry winced. He wasn't sure how Sirius would feel about his illegal trip to Hogsmead.

"Well...don't get mad."

"I won't."

"Remember how I said I wasn't supposed to visit Hogsmead?"

"I do."

"Well, just before Christmas, Fred and George gave me the Marauders' Map, and I used it to sneak into Honeydukes. I met up with Ron and Hermione there, and we went to the Three Broomsticks. It was fun, until Fudge and some of the teachers showed up..." And he told Sirius all about the conversation they had overheard.

"I gave April a pretty hard time about it," he confessed when he was finished.

Sirius was very quiet for a little bit. "Well, I won't deny that that's a stunt I probably would have pulled had I been in your position," he said. "But if there's ever a murderer stalking you again, please, please don't do anything like that."

Harry smiled. "I promise."

There was a knock at the front door.

"That'll be April," Sirius said, getting up. "I didn't realize how early it was. Quidditch tomorrow!"

Grinning, Harry got up too. "I can't wait."

"Me neither."

AN: I wrote this several years ago when I first finished read Harry Potter and felt strongly that Harry and Sirius never got the time they deserved. If only someone with their wits about them had been in the Shrieking Shack! I thought to myself, and so I invented April. But part of the tragedy of Harry Potter is that these characters never did get that time, and part of the tragedy of my life is much of the writing I did for this story was lost when I went through the editing process back in 2012. I'd be lying if I said I was going to rewrite any of it, so I'm calling it complete and posting it as is. I apologize if this is in any way a letdown, but at least we can say, in some universe, Sirius and Harry were a family for a time. (April too, of course.)