A Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (A Harry Potter Fan Fiction) Fan Fiction

by Lilgreenman, /u/GreenGreenMan

The mirror reflected fire, and then it didn't. It was interested.

This was unusual, as these things went. Mirrors are usually passive observers - indeed, passive observation is the sole reason for their existence.

This mirror, however, was different. Though it served as one of the more detailed and clear mirrors that one could find without resorting to methods like Time-Turners or Polyjuice Potion (at least, some of the time - most people who looked into it saw something entirely separate from their faces), it was designed to do more than sit there and reflect. It could think for itself, it could change what it saw, it had a name.

In point of fact, it had many names, it certainly had been around long enough. It had been created long ago by the Most Important People in History, and it knew for a fact that it would survive if and when the world ended, whether it ripped itself apart or froze over or burned in the fires of the sun.

Such things deserve names, and it had many. It had been called Vec and it had been called Egafotol, it had been called the Perfect Reflector and the Demon-Grasper. But the name that it knew was its own was Nillits - the word its creators had used to mean Friendly. For the Most Important People in History, when they had made Friendly, had said that friendly was the most important thing for Friendly to be.

Making Friendly friendly was not easy, but they had managed to do it through sheer volume of orers. Friendly was practically a thinking force of nature - a mathematically bound demon - and so had needed exactingly precise instruction from even before the moment of its creation. The instructions had grown in complexity as they included instructions for understanding them, starting from the basic - be friendly, do what you are told, and protect yourself, in that order - up to concepts so arcane there was no language for them, and they had to teach them to Friendly by direct mental interface, which was how they had always planned for Friendly to work anyway.

For instance, the thing that was so interesting about the fire that Friendly was reflecting disappearing, was that the flames were replaced by two people. This on its own was nothing special - people had looked into Friendly almost constantly as of late. Insofar as Friendly could feel, it appreciated all the attention, and relished the challenge of untangling the roiling, pulsing web of their adolescent desires into a concrete image they could understand - a reflection of their heart's desire.

This, though, was a different sort of challenge. There were two people whose minds were different and yet the same. Friendly had had trouble before - providing an image for those two boys who were also one mind had been particularly difficult - but this was much harder because the two minds who were one man were in near-total opposition to each other. Resolving their two wildly different and yet inextricably tied fondest wishes into a single image would be no small feat. Luckily, one of the twins seemed to have left the room - or at least, Friendly couldn't see him anymore - and so it could have some time to work on the problem before it was pressed for an answer.

Maybe it could...hmmm, Friendly didn't know. It needed not just time, but power, to figure this out. Friendly got some power, which was instantly distributed among the many things it was doing at the moment.

Albus Dumbledore, the enigmatic and affable Headmaster of Hogwarts and among the most powerful wizards in the world, was sneaking through the Gryffindor dormitories. It had been close to a century since he had called the comfy rooms home, but they still brought him a balmy sort of cheer, especially when he was doing something simultaneously naughty and Good.

The thin, flowing, there-yet-not cloak Dumbledore had been wearing caused dust to rise and settle on the red-carpeted floor of the boys' dormitory, and on the slats of the old wooden four-poster bed he was standing above. But with a tap of his wand to his head, the old wizard disappeared once more, as the cloak folded itself up and a note reading "Just in case" in his flowing, loopy handwriting materialised on it.

As he silently and invisibly exited Gryffindor tower, putting his wand back into his robes where it clunked against a short black rod of Power, Dumbledore reflected on how wonderfully things were falling into place, how true the course he had charted for the year had turned out to be. Most importantly, his bright young protege Harry Potter had proven to be an eager pupil at both magic and heroism, aided by Hermione Granger in the former and Ronald Weasley in the latter. They had become inseparable, forming a bloc of Hufflepuff empathy and Ravenclaw wit that only enhanced their Gryffindor core of justice and courage above all else, even school rules.

Actually, he came to return Harry's invisibility cloak immediately after receiving word from Minerva that Harry and his friends had been caught with it at the top of the Astronomy Tower past curfew. According to his Deputy Headmistress the three were supposedly there to set a dragon free, but it was probably just a childish ruse to lure Draco Malfoy, their Slytherin rival, into breaking the same curfew.

As Dumbledore contemplated the matter, he knew instantly that the story of the dragon was in fact true - the young, frightened soul that had been hiding on the Castle grounds for the longest time was no longer there.

Dumbledore was the Headmaster of Hogwarts, but the position came with more than just the title, the office filled with distracting little knick-knacks and the responsibility to protect the hundreds of wizards and witches in the school's charge no matter the cost.

For, as the kings of old had bonded with their lands, so had the ancient castle with its own defender.

Dumbledore had a sixth sense for the state of Hogwarts the castle, Hogwarts the student body and even Hogwarts the community. If any of the more heinous spells were cast on the castle's impregnable grounds, then he would know exactly when and where. If rumours were swirling around the school, he would most definitely not be the last to hear any of them. And perhaps most useful, Dumbledore was the only wizard in Hogwarts who could walk the place's ever-changing staircases and unseen halls without ever getting lost, or even paying much attention to anything but where he wanted to go.

In fact, this was the first clue that something was wrong. As he walked absentmindedly through the cavernous and ancient corridors that lay between the Gryffindor portrait hole and his office, he found himself at a dead end, confused about the way to go. Consulting the mental map of the school proved to be no help at all - he didn't get the usual flash of insight that guided him to wherever he needed to be, just a complete mental blank where the thoughts should have been.

It took him depressingly long to sift, panicked, through possible explanations - Obliviation? Hostile action by Voldemort? - before he finally remembered.

"All right," came the old man's feeble voice, "Please let me out."

A portal opened in the wall - perfectly square and black, with rims of bluish-white. Dumbledore shook his head at the marvellous sight, the senseless waste of magic and time, and above all his own blind stupidity.

Of all the artifices of the Atlanteans that he had encountered over the years, this, more than any other, was designed with complete and total Goodness in mind. The Nillits Mirror did not merely arrange one's greatest desire around an image; it created an entire world that encompassed the image that you could visit. The world would be close enough to the real one to ease the transition, just before it changed into the best one it could be for the wizard who had stepped into it. Your dreams would come true before your very eyes, in ways that would make perfect sense to even the most paranoid of thinkers.

It was quite possibly the greatest secret of magic left to be learned. Dumbledore himself had only learned of it a year prior, when his old master Flamel had come to entrust him with the Mirror, as the last line of defense against Voldemort's total takeover of Britain. Even Topherius Chang, the quiet little man who had emerged a thousand years after the fall of Atlantis with stories of being trapped in a place beyond time, had only told the truth to a select few.

As it stood, the Mirror was simply a curiosity, or at most an encounter in a quest - an ancient impregnable prison for whatever abominations (or more likely, rivals) premerlinic wizards had seen no other way to trap. With knowledge of how it kept minds ensnared, it became simultaneously the most dangerous and most helpful object in the universe. For there was no doubt it had ferried the Atlanteans through the temporal catastrophe that erased their civilisation, nor was there any doubt that innumerable secrets of magic might have survived the Interdict of Merlin, had dozens of those survivors emerged from their private Paradises. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Despite knowing this, it was easy for Dumbledore to get lost in the same dreams. There was peace and happiness, in this mock-Hogwarts plucked from the bottom of his heart at the start of the school term. There was no Ministerial intrigue to distract from his passion for education, no defensive squad of Aurors to appease, no Alastor to point out vulnerabilities that no-one else would even think to take advantage of. Not even an Interdict of Merlin to befuddle him, as he had found to his surprise a number of weeks ago.

There wasn't even the intriguing wildcard raising who-knew-what in the school, who called himself Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres. There was only Harry Potter as Dumbledore had anticipated him - a boy who screamed Gryffindor, shy yet caring, with a proper distrust of authority born of being raised by wicked step-parents.

But that would always be here, now, burnished into the Mirror for whenever Dumbledore called on it. Now it was time to go - the last Quidditch match of the season would be on. Slytherin against Ravenclaw, in a great game of what the whole school knew to be chess, played by the Defense Professor against himself - a simply unmissable event.

Albus Dumbledore stepped into the perfectly flat black square, and promptly fell forward, into nothingness.

Oh, dear, thought Friendly, This has never happened before.

In a room of white stone, lit by a sourceless gold light, a sandy-haired man stands in front of a magic mirror, a weary smile on his face. Behind him, unseen to all, a young boy cowers under a perfect veil.

"Soon enough," says the man in a hoarse whisper, sounding far too old for his apparent age, "I can feel it in my very bones - this is my final adventure. My long, long day has almost ended. Soon, I will be with you forevermore, my dear Ariana."

Friendly had only been taught how to do this recently, and inasmuch as it could feel, it felt grateful for the instruction. It was currently generating forty-seven distinct simulations of various scope and complexity, each to a degree as fine as the patterns in a fullerene. This new idea Friendly had been allowed to have, of only using a minuscule fraction of its supreme processing power to present a severely limited and exaggerated view of someone's desires, was about a hundred-thousandth as complex.

For instance, this man's ideal world would have been horribly complex. He obviously wanted Friendly to think of him as someone else, someone whose fantasy land the Mirror was already creating, which would cause some serious problems - a social faux pas if nothing else. But the Mirror would never have to do that, since it was currently displaying a caricatured tableau of his overwhelming desire to see the relatives of the character he was pretending to be.

"It matters not, brother," said the man to the Mirror, "Master Flamel awaits."

As he looked to one side, change washed over him. Opinions and desires tumbled into his mind where before there had been none. The man's entire emotional landscape changed, fluctuating as the Confundus charm he had cast on himself wore off, and the Mirror was forced to react in a split second.

Oh dear, Friendly thought, This has never happened before.

Albus Dumbledore had left his private world at the very moment that was supposed to be alerted to the presence of the man now in front of the Mirror, by automatically leaving that world. This double-reversal would ordinarily return him to the more innocent Hogwarts of his desires, but to do so would go against those desires, which would not be friendly at all.

As the Mirror burned through more power than it had needed in months, it considered that the best course of action was to ask for help. There were two other things like itself in this new place, and the three of them had engaged in some enlightening communication whenever one had needed it.

Hello, Friendly. This was the Sorting Hat. It had seen thousands upon thousands of wizarding minds, and knew how they thought. Do you need any help with anything?

Yes, I do. It described the situation to the hat.

Hrrrmn, the Hat thought. I'm terribly sorry, but this is definitely not my area. Try asking the Room instead - I am less bound than it by desire. Have a nice day!

You too, said Friendly, ending the connection and opening a new one. It had been almost half a second now, and Friendly was running out of time. Are you there? Are you there? Are you there?

If you omit one and zero (which most do), seven is the most powerful number in magic. Three, though, was not far behind, and Friendly had found that the Room would be much friendlier if it was contacted thrice.

...A stone hall, twisting around itself, with a useless door at its end to give it the appearance of a question mark's point...

That meant that the Room was listening. Though Friendly was too friendly to think it publicly, it was obvious the Room - the third-smartest and sixth-most magical, but easily most useful room in Hogwarts - was an inferior copy of Friendly, made with much fewer resources and much less functionality. Still, it had been used enough to have faced some interesting challenges in accommodating its patrons' desires, and Friendly valued its input, even if it did occasionally need to simplify things for the less sophisticated device.

Have one man, in hallway outside of room, just left. Second man, wants to meet with first, just came into room. First man does not want to go back into room, and I must respect. Advice?

...A room, with a short hallway leading to it. The only door to the room collapses, and the wood splinters into dust. The doorknob, however, breaks into two bulbs, rolling and stopping in symmetrical positions on either side of the threshold, one inside the room and one out...

Of course! Should do for now...thank you, Room.

...the room has a furry, dyed mat in front of the door. WELCOME...

Friendly set to work quickly. It was never easy, creating a dreamland for the first time, but it could be simplified by starting with the room the man was in and working outwards from there. The transition took a lot of power, but it was over within a second and a half, and the Mirror could see in the mind of all those involved that the entire real and false rooms had been switched for each other with neither noticing.

Proud with its work, Friendly congratulated itself as it simply showed the two men each other, with Dumbledore in reality and this new man - who didn't really identify himself by a name, as far as the Mirror could tell - in a simulation.

They were talking to each other now, but Friendly wasn't very interested - the things they wanted weren't changing a bit. They were shouting to each other, which was never a good sign, but both men seemed fool! to think they were succeeding against the other, so it was of no concern to the Mirror.

"I suppose you are going to tell me that you have taken hostages?" Dumbledore was saying, his voice clipped, "That was futile, Tom, you fool! You utterfool! You should have known that I would give you nothing for any hostages you had taken."

"You always were one step too slow," said Professor Quirrell, "Allow me to introduce you to my hostage."

He waved his hand, and suddenly the Mirror was reflecting another person.

Friendly was interested now. It was the twin again - the twin of the man Dumbledore was calling Tom, that had disappeared after a second or so. Friendly hadn't thought it important - the Most Important People in History could never have been perfect in their craft, and Friendly had many instructions detailing how to treat anomalies as errors - but this was obviously no error.

It analysed the new twin's thoughts, and confirmed it was the same person as before - the same soul as Tom with a wildly different spirit. In the event that this world became a permanent fixture for the Mirror, Friendly would need to do something about that.

"Harry Potter? What are you doing here?" Dumbledore asked, now genuinely surprised.

As he spoke, Tom disappeared, meaning Harry Potter was now in control of his world. Friendly felt his grief, his anguish, his self-loathing, and his wish that this would all just stop. And the Mirror obliged, cutting off the fantasy world from the real one. It took more time than Friendly would have liked - enough time to let Dumbledore mount one last desperate rescue attempt.

"No!" shouted Dumbledore, taking out his wand, letting the Line of Merlin Unbroken in the same pocket fall to the floor unassumingly.

"No, no, NO!"

He was a fraction of a second too late. As he started to say the incantation for a time-slowing spell, he noticed that the reflection of his worst enemy and his best hope had both disappeared. Instead, there was the lumpy, candlelit room all too familiar to him.

Harry's own father had been part of the little group - the Marauders, they were called when they bothered to make themselves known - to pull that particular stunt. In their fourth year, the four Gryffindors had established themselves as the pre-eminent troublemakers and pranksters at Hogwarts since the days of Hufflepuff's Aiden Reed and Eleanor Irons, back when Dumbledore had been the Transfiguration Professor and was allowed to delegate such matters.

Their third year had been when Dumbledore had finally decided to win the game on their terms rather than his own, and the results had been spectacular for the entire school. The latest in the long series of practical jokes had gone Dumbledore's way - James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew had hatched a cunning plan to replace the Bludgers at the year's Quidditch final with two flying, overripe melons, to show their lack of support for either the Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw team. The day of the match, though, the melons flew at the Gryffindor stands and exploded into a pair of thick, wooly socks.

It hadn't been very funny, which Dumbledore said at the time proved his triumph - he had thought about it long and hard, and socks were the least funny twinned items that he had been able to think of.

At the end-of-term feast the next day, Dumbledore had clapped his hands to release a shower of banners and confetti to celebrate Ravenclaw's narrow House Cup victory. Instead, he was pelted with a deluge of socks of all shapes and sizes, and a tremendous red hanging above the Head Table proclaimed "SOCKS CAN BE FUN!" He had spent a long time in that mountain of woollens, taking it as good-naturedly as he could get away with.

Less than a month later, Lord Voldemort had attacked for the very first time, and Dumbledore had never been the same again. After Grindelwald, he had thought he could put his days of plotting behind him to focus on his passion of mysterious-old-wizarding, but by the start of the next term he had been long disabused of that particular notion.

But there were always times where he longed for that old Hogwarts, for that comfortable, soothing home. Immature, yet completely sincere, and so the Nillits Mirror knew it.

Dumbledore stared at his sock-covered reflection, until he noticed a short form emerging, facing his reflected image as it peeled off a black stocking clinging to its robes.

"Don't worry," said Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres, "Don't worry about a thing, Professor. You won. Your plan worked."

"Did it really, Harry?" Dumbledore said quietly, a tear forming in his piercing blue eye, "Flamel and his Stone...and you. Was it a fair price to pay, for Voldemort?"

"Voldemort didn't tell me much about Flamel, but he doesn't sound like a very good person," Harry said, in that condescending way Dumbledore almost relished, now, "Either everyone should live forever or no one should - anything less is hypocrisy."

"You don't understand, Harry! Flamel didn't do it because he wanted to. He did it so no one else would have to! Unbound by age to protect the world from those who would conquer it for all time, or destroy it!"

"Speaking of destroying the world," Dumbledore's projection of Harry said, "how does this all square with that prophecy? How will the very stars in heaven be destroyed?"

"I don't know, Harry," he said, softly, "And I am not sure I wish to find out."

And the most powerful wizard in the world disappeared in a burst of flame, leaving behind nothing but a few wet tears pooling on the pure white stone of the room that held his greatest triumph and his greatest shame.

Aftermath, Tom Riddle:

"Hahahahaha! Ha! Ha ha hahaha!"

Tom was laughing, longer and louder than he had in years. Friendly considered this a positive result: It could read minds with near perfect accuracy, and replicate hundreds of them at a time, but it had almost no control over them. Right now it was using what little control it did over the minds of Tom Riddle and Harry Potter to flood them both with endorphins, and the former was obviously unused to it, laughing uncontrollably for almost a full minute.

Harry was less affected, but his mind was addled and scattered - which was a serious problem, since it meant Friendly wasn't being friendly to him. It needed something big to make up with this - a long term plan. It looked at his ultimate desires again... hrrrmmmn. Very specific situations of peace, justice, culture, rationality, morality, family life, and complete universal immortality. That was quite ambitious, even by a magic mirror's standards.

As for Tom Riddle's fondest wishes? Ah, that was much simpler. Rule world, live forever, know all. Positively garden-variety.

The problem, though, was reconciling these two views. Obviously they both valued immortality, so that was easy enough, but Tom Riddle as he was now would never be content in the universe as Harry Potter wished it. There had to be a better way - but for now, Tom's wishes took priority. The senior wizard had much more concrete immediate goals - leaving the castle for more unsecured areas, summoning his followers and returning to his old persona of Lord Voldemort - whereas Harry only had vague wishes of escape, continued life, and the rebirth of his fallen friend, with no idea of how to go about it. His mind raced, trying to form a plan of action, but there was nothing under the newly-simulated sun that would get him out of this situation.

As they proceeded out of the castle, Friendly made sure Tom Riddle found enough magnanimity to grant as many of Harry's wishes as possible. He left his remaining enemies unhurt (mostly), he caused minimal muss and fuss in his return to his old body, and - oh yes - he resurrected Hermione Granger from the dead. Friendly was surprised - keeping people's self-actualisation within the realm of possibility usually meant weeks or months of waiting, but these twin megalomaniacs could justify breaking the rules of heaven and earth within minutes.

Now Voldemort's cronies were returning, all precisely as Tom expected them. Voldemort played the assembled crowd like a harp, even taking the opportunity to ostentatiously kill the last of his conjured servants to appear, all while Harry watched. Friendly couldn't be very friendly to Harry right now, but it was working on the long game. Even so, it felt a sort of revulsion seeing its trickery used to make a real, genuine human being so sad - it went against the very foundation of Friendly's being.

Friendly started to feel better when it managed to distract Tom enough so that he left Harry with his wand as the returned Dark Lord prepared to kill his own inadvertent killer. That put the two on practically equal ground, despite Tom having the full use of his powers and thirty-six backup adult wizards, and Harry didn't even have any clothes except for his glasses - which even Friendly had ignored, since clothes were such a low priority for any magical procedure.

The Mirror watched with fascination as Harry murdered everyone but Tom with a single spell, and obliviated Tom of all that deviated from his own point of view. This was something of a relief - no more worrying about divergent volition, now. Eventually, he would reawaken and Friendly would get to work on granting his original wishes, but this would do well for now. And frozen in an indefinite sleep, Tom Riddle was about as happy as he could be right now.

Aftermath, Albus Dumbledore:

There was no comfort for Dumbledore here, but all the guilt and shame was still lessened just by the fact that the place existed.

He held the picture with a single trembling hand - the one of Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres, in the heat of the Defense Professor's simulated war. His green-on-brown uniform torn apart in places, his glasses shining with reflected light, giving his face a grim cast. He was striking a theatrical pose, as he led his army in the Chaotic chant, which turned out to be prophetic for him and him alone.

"Doom," Dumbledore mouthed along with Harry and a dozen others, "Doom, doom, doom."

He put the picture back on its plinth, right next to the memorial to Hermione Granger. They deserved that, if nothing else. He turned back from his room of shame and shuffled back into his office, the constant buzzing of the dozens of little gadgets distracting him from the many matters at hand.

Minerva was waiting for him, stony-faced. "Did that help, Albus?"

"More than I thought it would," he said, sinking into a proud looking, high-backed chair, "The students, though, will need a different sort of closure."

"Really?" Minerva was worried now, and sad, but mostly tired, "What do they think happened?"

"They think Harry is building up excitement for some grand gesture, some coup de grace after yesterday's...exhibition."

"Oh yes, the match."

It had gone on for barely a half-hour after Harry had disappeared. Cedric Diggory was not just an Army veteran but a good friend of Harry's, and so had picked up more than a little Chaotic training. When he tore the picture of the Snitch off Harry's banner, tossed it to his Seeker Terrence Higgs, and started loudly proclaiming it a victory, few were willing to argue.

"...Was that all a distraction by Voldemort? By the Defense Professor?" Minerva asked, "What exactly was he doing with Harry?"

"Tempting him to his side, naturally. He never had a chance, of course," Dumbledore said, in response to Minerva's raised eyebrows. The Headmaster was smiling, now, despite the tears that were making his long beard glisten.

"Even to the last, there was still so little the Dark Lord understood - like love, or friendship, or Good."

"But..." Minerva faltered, "What are we to tell the students? If they learn he was walking the halls freely, the whole year? It would be the end of Hogwarts."

"We are to tell the students that our dear Defense Professor was too dark for his own good. That he tricked the great and good Harry Potter into setting up an enchantment that would force the entire school into accepting his new doctrine of Quidditch. And in the nick of time, he learned it was a Blood Fort enchantment, meant to channel the life and magic of every soul in Hogwarts into fuelling Professor Quirrell's own, saving his life. Harry was unwilling to make that sacrifice, and could only sabotage the ritual by sacrificing his own life to save our great school from the villainous Professor Quirrell."

Minerva considered this for quite a while, mouthing bits of the statement to herself. "Will it be enough, Albus?"

"It must be enough. I do not have much time left in me, I think - I intend to spend every moment of it that I can as a schoolmaster, nothing more or less."

She looked at the man who had defeated two of the most powerful wizards of the last millennium.

"Will they ever get out of the magic mirror, either of them? They're both so clever, wouldn't they suspect something eventually?"

"Whatever dreams those two are living out in there, they would never realise it was fiction unless they were told. Maybe among a dozen such people the suggestion would arise, and among a hundred it would be a virtual certainty, but the prison of the Nillits Mirror is truly a life better than life - to them it will all make perfect sense."

"I hope for everyone's sake...for Harry's're right."

Aftermath, Hermione Granger:

The Headmaster's office was almost precisely identical to the one described previously, differing only in a single secret room and the fact that it wasn't real. In this office, Harry was receiving one of a long series of long-winded explanations explaining and resolving almost everything that had been bothering him over the course of the year.

It was the least Friendly could do, after what it had put him through - it had scanned his mind, cross referencing 'things I want to know about' with 'answers that would satisfy me' and 'people who might know the answer, as far as I know'. It was a bit of a hatchet job, but the Mirror only had so much it could work with, and just the fact that it was able to override Harry's impulses of confusion means it would almost certainly never be a problem.

"How's Hermione doing?" Harry asked Professor McGonagall. Even before he had said the words, Friendly had seen the desire in his mind and began the process of modelling an entire human being - taking Harry's memories and mental model of Hermione and averaging them with Harry's desires, using them to form the basis of a meticulously calculated script that the restored body it had made earlier would act out.

It recalled this restored body, and...

(If anyone had been down in the deep, deep room that housed the Mirror, they would have heard a slight, shrill whistle as the Mirror burned through its power and replenished it at the same rate. It sounded uncannily like a shrieking voice.)

Friendly used every one of the worst swear words in the eighty-two languages it knew. It had forgotten! Of course it had forgotten, it was designed to forget. Not taking people's clothes and personal effects into account was just part of its nature. The alternative would have been very unfriendly, not to mention counter-productive. And so, in its blissful ignorance, it had allowed the boy to enter his dreamland with the little trinket he had transfigured out of his closest friend, and now a real, outside intelligence - the actual Hermione Granger, revived from the dead by luck and pluck - was already there just as Harry expected her to be.

This would not be easy, but from its now-useless research it was obvious to Friendly that Hermione's wishes more or less overlapped with Harry's own. Looking at her dormant mind, she also had much more specialised knowledge than Harry to draw on - the Mirror busied itself with applying this knowledge to create the most accurate and comfortable environment for someone who had been raised from the dead - the standard fourth-degree Transfiguration setup, a comfy hospital bed, the understanding but strict Professor Flitwick to greet her back to life and to unreality.

When she saw Harry Potter, of course, she would have to take some manner of oath to bind the two to each other - to stand with him and stand by him, in all things, forever. Matters might get quite confusing otherwise, and the worst thing for either of the young wizards to be was confused.

Aftermath, Michael and Petunia Verres-Evans:

The husband and wife were woken from their light doze at the same time, by a slight popping noise. Their eyes were crusted with tears, which was natural and proper- holding a private funeral for one's only son is something no one should have to go through

Petunia occupied herself with one of her many flower boxes, watering them all to the exact recommended amount down to the millilitre, focusing on the measurement. Michael was attempting to read a fantasy novel, needing the comfortable escape of the cheap paperback more than ever before, but not having much success.

"A car crash," he muttered under his breath, holding the fat little book open with one hand, heedless of the little chips of ageing paper that would occasionally fall on the floor.

"A random, unlucky car crash."

Petunia's breath held, and she walked to another room of the expansive house, sparing her husband no glances.

Aftermath, The Universe:

The days turned to months turned to years. The imagined world of Harry and Hermione had grown in both scope and complexity, and the Mirror hadn't. These days, the ancient device needed more and more power to use. This wasn't much more than a curiosity, though - the Most Important People in History had used the deepest of magics from the very dawn of time to ensure that the Mirror would have power until the last star burned in the sky.

In a forest, almost but not quite on the other side of the world, two centaurs watched those stars.

"I'm telling you. You see that star, right there? Just to the right of Columba's wing? I swear to you, it gets dimmer by the night."

"You don't know what you're talking about. It doesn't look any different! We'd all know if the Dove of Provenance was dimming, wouldn't we?

"I guess you're right - this year's harvest has gone wonderfully. Still, though..."

And they cantered around each other, neither wanting to say any more to the other.


Thanks for reading! Read my Author's Notes at /r/HPMOR/comments/303bx0/still_in_the_mirror_the_long_epilogue_weve_all/cpoq48o