Standing on his balcony clad in only his pyjama, Harry closed his eyes. He felt weary; years of war had made its marks on his soul.
He imagined that the breeze that flew past his balcony could heal him. The logic part of him knew it couldn’t – nothing could heal him from the horrific scenes he’d had to witness, the people he’d held as they died – but he wanted to imagine.
He wanted to pretend.
The sky was beautiful. Large clouds were making their way over the city – though they didn't look quite like real clouds, Harry thought. They seemed to shimmer in all sorts of colours, the swirling mist making beautiful patterns. Behind them stars appeared, as though they were playing hide and seek.
Harry closed his eyes once more and because of that, he didn’t notice as a strange light began illuminating the sky and the city. It was late at night and it should have been completely dark, but the strange light flashed in all the colours of the rainbow, the same way the clouds did.
The light touched Harry’s forehead and he looked up to find the city bathing in green and yellow and pink and blue. It didn’t look real but Harry had seen too many unreal things in his life to think it wasn’t. He saw people gathering outside on the streets below, pointing and gazing up at the sky.
A part of his mind wondered if the light was dangerous, but mostly, Harry simply relished in the beauty before him.
Angelic, he thought.
His knees buckled beneath him and he sank to the floor. His body felt like lead and his eyes slipped close. Above him, the sky continued to play.
It sounded far away but it could just have been his ears playing tricks on him. He felt so tired, so worn out, like a dish rag that had been used far too many times.
“Harry,” the voice called again. It was gentle, flying on the wind ever so softly.
Harry forced his eyes open – and gasped when he saw the vision of light before him. Within the light stood a woman. Her hair was long and flowing around her, like a dark red halo. She was wearing a long, white dress which Harry wasn’t sure where it ended and the light started.
Harry recognized her from pictures and his own dreams and knows he must have fallen asleep on the balcony. “Mum.”
Lily smiled. “Hello, my son.”
Harry tried to stand but his legs wouldn’t follow his lead. He only managed to sit up, gazing at Lily the whole time.
Lily dropped down to her knees before Harry. “No need to get up on my behalf,” she said to him. “I know you’re tired.”
Harry tried to shrug it off. “I—I’m fine. I just haven’t slept all that much lately.”
His mother smiled sympathetically at him. “Lately as in years?”
Harry looked at her and he knew he couldn’t lie to her. So he said nothing; he merely basked in her presence. He hadn’t dreamed of her in months and she was a welcome break from his constant nightmares.
Images of death flashed before his eyes. There are so many – he lost count long ago.
He forced the memories away; this was a nice dream, a lovely dream.
“Your father and I are so proud of you,” Lily said. “We’ve watched your every step and we’ve tried to protect you best we could from the other side. Unfortunately, we couldn’t always do much – or anything at all.”
She sounded sorry, very sorry, not for herself but for her son.
Harry shrugged once more. “It was my path in life. My destiny.”
He’d said it so many times before that he almost believed it. To Ron, to Hermione, to Ginny. He didn’t think they believed the words either, but perhaps the lie makes them feel better.
He didn’t know if it was the presence of his mother in this dream or that it was simply time for the poorly structured walls around his heart to start to fall, but Harry felt his heart begin to break. Piece by piece it came undone, as though someone was undoing the puzzle that was him.
He swallowed hard; this wasn’t him. He was the Saviour, the Boy Who Lived, the one who would save everyone. Who had saved everyone.
He didn’t break. Harry Potter didn’t break.
His breathing felt heavy and there was a lump in his throat that wouldn’t disappear even though Harry tried to will it gone. He began to shake.
His mother held out his arms and after only a second’s hesitation, Harry threw himself into her arms. She wrapped her arms around him and held him close as he shook with tears of grief that had never been shed before. Sorrow for innocence and lives lost poured down Harry’s cheeks and wet the fabric of his mum’s dress.
He felt little and he wished that someone had held him like this before. When the war was raging and everyone was grieving or fighting, but also long before that, when Harry was little and had scraped his knees because he fell when Dudley and his friends were chasing him.
His mum rubbed his back and it felt soothing. Her hands were warm and she felt alive in a way that she never had been in any dream of his before.
Harry looked up at her. His eyes were wide and shining with tears.
“Why can’t you be real?” he said to her. A part of him hated how weak he sounded, but mostly he didn’t care. It felt so good to be held.
“Who says I’m not?” asked Lily and she smiled down at him. Her eyes were sparkling green, just like his.
Harry shook his head. “No, you’re a dream,” he sighed. “You always are.”
She ran a hand through his hair. “If you are so set on this being a dream, then take comfort in it, sweetheart. Nothing can hurt you in your dreams.”
She touched his cheek and wiped away the tears that still spilled down Harry’s cheeks.
“You’ve grown into quite the handsome young man,” she said with a smile. “You look so much like your father.”
“Everyone says that,” Harry said, his voice thick from crying. “But I have your eyes.”
She nodded. “Yes, you do. And your son will have the same ones.”
Harry startled. “My son?”
“Yes, in a few years,” his mother said. Her eyes were soft and filled with love. The light played around them and he realised that it seemed to come from within her.
“I will have a son?” asked Harry quietly.
She nodded. “And a wife,” she said with a wink. “A pretty wife.” She sighed softly and looked a bit sad, reaching out to pull Harry closer once more. “It is a while until it will happen, but it will. You will be happy again, Harry.”
Harry gazed disbelievingly at her. He wondered if it was possible to be happy again, after all the years of misery.
“You should talk more with your friends too,” she said to him. “They don’t want you to lie for them – and they need to talk about the things you’ve all been through too.”
Harry shook his head. “It’s my pain, not theirs. And they wouldn’t understand.”
She took his face into her hands. “They share your pain because they lived it too. They understand far more than you think.”
Harry was beginning to feel tired once more. His mum pulled him down so that he could lie with his head on her lap. She was warm. He saw her face, smiling down upon him, trails of red hair almost reaching him and beyond them, the multicoloured sky shimmering brightly.
“It’s supposed to be night,” Harry said.
His mother chuckled. “It’s one of our curses: we always bring light wherever we go.”
“We?” asked Harry sleepily.
She nodded. “We, Harry. The angels.”
Harry smiled back and it felt like the first true smile he’d given anyone in years. His eyelids felt like lead but for the first time in as long as he could remember, his soul did not feel the same way. He felt lighter. Brighter, perhaps was the word; he felt as though the light of the dream, the light of his mother, had settled in him as well.
She ran a hand through his hair again and again in a soothing motion.
He imagined that this wasn’t a dream.
“Say hi to dad,” Harry said as his eyes began to fall shut. “And tell him I miss him. I miss you both so much.”
It felt as though the wind kissed his forehead and eased away the lines on his face. “We miss you too, my baby boy.”
Even though his eyes were now closed, Harry thought he could still see the play of colours on the sky. He felt the warmth of his mother's body; she was soft and inviting. A trail of red hair reached his face and tickled him but it wasn’t unpleasant.
Slowly, the word faded away until everything around him was light and warm. Harry slept without dreaming, without knowing anything of the outside world. He only heard his own heartbeat and the sound of his own breaths. He was weightless in a never ending space and he was freer than he had ever been before. Thoughts came but passed just as quickly, never staying, never being lingered upon. He was carefree, surrounded by love.
He couldn’t tell how much time had passed. At some point, he began to be more aware of the world around him; he could hear cars driving by on the street below and the birds flying overhead sang happily their morning routine.
He was lying on the stone floor of his balcony. He realised he should have been cold, but he wasn’t. He was warm, all the way from the inside to his fingertips and toes. It wasn’t simply bodily warmth either; it was something else, something more. There was a smile on his face and he wondered how long ago it was since he’d smiled for real.
He recalled the dream he’d had. He’d dreamt of colours in the sky that had played in a fantastic angelic symphony – and he remembered his mother. She’d been there, with him, light and beautiful and she’d comforted him and held him.
Harry stood up. He felt— different. Fresh. New.
He took a deep breath of the cool spring air. It seeped
into his lungs and filled them and it felt almost as though it was the
The sun had barely had time to rise above the city; it was still early in the morning.
With a last look at the sky, Harry walked inside. There was a strange feeling inside of him; it was as though he didn’t want to stop smiling. The dream played before him; he wondered how he could have fallen asleep on the balcony and why he’d dreamt of the sky being in every colour he could imagine. Nothing of the sort had ever happened, even to him who lived in the Wizarding world.
He smiled and signed it off to vivid imagination.
Then he started making coffee, all the while giving into the urge to whistle.
In the hall lay a newspaper and on the front page it said, ‘Angelic Light Over London’. Below the headline were large pictures showing the fantastic images of the London sky lit in every colour of the rainbow.
Author’s notes: Idea by my boyfriend, who gave me the following bunny: “On a spring night a strange light illuminates the sky, some would later describe it as angelic, at the same time Harry is having the most vivid dream about his mother. When morning arrives the light is gone and Harry awakes with a smile on his lips.”