The mirror had been known to do one thing only—show any willing witch or wizard their heart's desires. It should have done nothing more and nothing less. While some had the willpower to walk away from the image of their desires, others could not. Some wasted their lives away, sat in front of the mirror, while they lived a full life in their heads.
The wizard would go mad with desire the longer they sat there. Then it became unmanageable to leave the mirror, without causing their minds to come undone. Their perceived reality was something entirely different from actual reality, the mirror causing their minds and personalities to become split down the center. The victim of the mirror would forever walk the thin line of their world of desire and a world without, causing intense hallucinations. They could no longer function around other wizards in their society, becoming social outcasts, and were constantly at war with their own minds.
One would think that when George Weasley walked towards the mirror, he was the most content man in the world. The only object of affection that was shown in the mirror was his reflection, something that many wizards would have dreamed of seeing-one's self as it is. To see nothing but yourself in the mirror meant you didn't want for anything, and your hearts desires had been sated for the moment.
A wise wizard would remember that a war had just occurred. While doing repairs to Hogwarts, the young Weasley had found himself in front of a mirror that did not show his reflection. The reflection staring back at him found himself with the left ear intact, and while George moved—hoping that the reflection would move with him—it stayed static, staring at him. A cheeky grin was on the young man's face.
It took him moments to realize that his reflection was not himself at all and as the figure stepped to the side he saw himself standing next to his twin brother.
Sitting in front of the mirror, legs crisscrossed, sat George Weasley. He had stayed there for hours, while others had continued to fix up Hogwarts. He made no move to get up as the mirror lured him closer and closer, as he watched the reflection in front of him. They couldn't have a conversation, but to see the light in his eyes was just enough for George.
That was the way that Hermione had found George. She was told that the whole family was looking for him and began looking as well. They assumed he was off to mourn for the loss of his friends and especially his twin brother. When she quietly entered the room she noticed his reflection, and the dried tear stains on his face.
"George, what are you—"
George cut her off and quickly motioned for her to come forward, "Hermione, you'll never believe it…" he trailed off more to himself than her.
Cautiously, she walked closer until she recognized the mirror in front of her. Harry had taken her down here after first year when he discovered the mirror. It was after Christmas when he introduced her to it, Dumbledore had moved it and during the night the trio had found it once again. Harry wanted one last look at his parents, before promising to give it up. While Hermione was intrigued by the mirror she began her research, looking for anything she could get her hands on to explain the phenomenon that was Erised. She had forgotten about it over the years, like the rest of the world should have—like Dumbledore would have liked.
She walked closer to it, until she could see her own reflection and George's together. She sat next to him and sighed as she realized her own desire had manifested. Beside her sat a young man with red hair, identical to the boy sat next to her—except he had his ear back in place. She saw herself and George in the mirror's reflection, with Fred sat in between them.
"I can see him," George told her, and reached his hand out to touch the glass. He never looked at Hermione, his gaze was fixed upon his twin's—he was mesmerized by it. George didn't think that he would see him ever again after the battle.
"I do too—", Hermione choked out, swallowing back tears.
"You see him too?" George asked excitedly. He finally turned his face from his brother's and onto Hermione's. She sat much like him—with a defeated look upon her face and small tear stains across her cheeks.
It hadn't been long since the last battle and she dreamt of the horrible sight every night, seeing his smiling face one last time and hearing his heartfelt laugh before the wall blew up.
She watched the rubble fall over his body, the stone encasing his entire form, but it was too late. She fought against her instinct as it urged her to run after him, throw the rocks away and pull him free.
Hermione knew that she was needed elsewhere, helping Harry and Ron. Her face contorted in anguish as Ron and Harry pulled her from the scene. Tears streaked down her dirty face, when they pushed her on through as they ran through Hogwarts courtyard. Her Anguish turned to anger and the mountain troll that had been released was no match as she cast spells at it and ran through the remains of Hogwarts. Harry and Ron not far behind as they outran spiders and fought death eaters along the way. The courtyard was filled with dueling wizards as flashes of red, white, and green illuminated the atmosphere.
Their school was slowly crumbling to the ground around them and a cold unsettling feeling fell over the school. When they stopped in front of the bridge they could see dementors covering the sky as they drew nearer to the castle.
"NO!" Her voice rang out when she saw Greyback biting into Lavender's shoulder. She sent a powerful stinging hex his way, throwing him off of the young girl's body. A large orb dropped from the sky, bashing him on the head and Professor Trelawney stood above on a balcony with a knowing smile on her face.
The tears had finally fallen when they moved down the steep mountainside of Hogwarts and down towards the dark lake. Her dry sobs forced her away from Harry and Ron as they crept towards the small shack.
When they were finally able to go to their dead and bury them, she stood at the entrance of the great hall in shock. She couldn't move when she saw his body and the way that George was draped over him, the look of horror etched across his face. Molly was whispering to him as she smoothed her son's hair one last time.
She had to cling to Harry as he brought her over to mourn. She sobbed against him, screaming "No!" against his chest. It was worse than the cries and the screams she had let out at Malfoy Manor when she was being tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange.
Her cries filled the great hall, but everyone stood unmoved by them—it was just another casualty of war—desensitized by what they had just gone through.
No one had noticed the once shy bookworm sobbing into Harry, as she mourned for the chance she had never gotten. She cried for every moment she had seen him and not touched him, for every moment she had touched him and not held him. She blamed herself endlessly and thought of every scenario; how she could have done something different, made a different move, run down a different passage and saved him.
Hermione clung to Harry as he stood and watched the grieving family. His face showed that he was deep in thought while his best friend cried over someone they both loved—he suspected that her love was different. Hermione clutched his jacket tightly, her face pushed into his shoulder as he rubbed her back in a soothing manner.
Hermione was jostled and moved over when Ginny came running from the group of Weasley's and into Harry's arms as well. Harry had squeezed his girlfriend into his other side, rubbing her back as well while he looked on at the Weasley family. Ron was crying over his brother's body and Percy was trying to hold George up now, his face held a look of pure and utter terror. She finally stepped away from Harry, letting him focus on his girlfriend and the Weasley family.
She walked away, busying herself by checking on the survivors until it was time for them to finish what Tom Riddle had started all those years ago.
Now she was forced to confront a ghost that she had yet to put to rest. She hadn't even tried to put the fresh memory away in a tight little box—an impenetrable unfeeling box—to tuck away deep into her memory where every other event of the war went.
Fred was staring back at her with a light in his eye and he looked the same as he did in battle, right at the very end. In the mirror she could see Fred reaching out to touch her, and then his hand was holding her reflections hand. She could see his hand attempting to squeeze her own and it made the constricting in her chest worse. When she looked down she saw that her hand was on its own, resting lightly on her thigh.
"It's impossible to see the same thing, George, it's different for everyone—that's what Dumbledore had said..." she trailed off softly. She had felt her heart restricting in her chest, the tears begged to be let out and that made her angry. "It's an illusion—a terrible illusion!" she spat out. Her tone had changed and the boy in the mirror's brows furrowed with confusion. It made her more upset to see that the mirror was playing with her emotions—acting as if he could really have emotions.
He began to stand up when she quickly moved from her spot to turn away from the mirror—staring at the thing only made her heart ache more. She recalled Dumbledore's words, trying to comfort herself. "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live". Her 'what ifs' did nothing but leave her mind with disdain, and her heart filled with multiple regrets.
"He's looking at you though," George replied and stood up slowly as well—except he looked from the mirror and back to Hermione. She pressed her fists against her sides, half-moons appearing against her palms as she squeezed her hands tightly into a fist.
"No, he's not," Hermione replied bitterly.
The man he knew in the mirror had begun staring at her longingly. He moved around her in the mirror, trying to bring her attention back to him—the pleading look on his face almost more heart breaking than that on George's. His twin couldn't stand to look at his desperation anymore.
"Hermione! Just look at him," George demanded from her, "if he's not real then it won't matter."
"I can't, I'm sorry," her voice broke as she rushed from the room. She slammed the door and crossed her arms afterwards, walking away in quick strides. Her knuckles turned white as she squeezed the fabric of her sleeves tighter. She had never seen the mirror do that, nor had she seen any magic as powerful as that—it was downright cruel what could be shown to those who had loved and lost.
The hairs on her neck began to stand up as she made her way past the entrance to the old classroom which held the closet that led to the dungeon and the mirror itself. Dumbledore had made sure to keep it closed off, but the enchantments that had been around in in their first year we're gone. No one was looking for the Mirror any longer—it had just been a coincidence that George found it.
The palms of her hands pressed against her eyes as she walked briskly through the castle, trying to calm herself before seeing the rest of the Weasley gang. There was no way for her to explain herself to them—no one had questioned her about her outburst during the battle of Hogwarts. They didn't even question her on the day that the buried Fred.
Her tears and sobs were only one of the few more pronounced at the funeral, but the loudest cry belonged to George. Hermione's tears were nothing compared to his, and her heart not only ached for Fred, but his twin as well. Nothing she had felt for Fred would ever compare to the love shared between the Weasley twins. The only one besides Harry that comforted her was Bill Weasley. He had silently kept his hand on her shoulder when Harry stood with Ginny. She couldn't blame Harry for not remaining at her side—he was where he was truly needed.
Bill kept his large hand on her shoulder throughout the ceremony, and after she had exhausted herself, he had let her lean against him; after the casket had been laid in the ground, he picked her up and brought her back to the burrow. The rest of the Weasley's met up at the burrow and didn't say anything as Bill guarded the room, sitting on a chair outside of Fred and George's old room.
Harry had promptly thanked him and peeked inside. He settled one of her nightmares and tucked her in once again, and told her to sleep and rest. She didn't move for almost a week, until Professor McGonagall had asked for volunteers to help clean up Hogwarts so they could open once again. Hermione was the first one to rise that day, and sat in the corner away from the rest of the family—looking at George was the hardest for her, but over time of having to wake up with the family she found herself moving closer to him each time. The pain of losing Fred was fresh, but the want to comfort his brother was winning out.
Hermione was now out of the halls of Hogwarts, but George had stayed behind. He looked back at the mirror once again, and saw the look of hurt and sorrow on his own face, though the face was not his own.
"I miss you, Fred. I think Hermione does too. I know this isn't you though, but I knew you fancied her for a while—too noble to act on it. I'll try to take care of her," he let out a long sigh, "I don't know how to be without you here, Fred. I'm just…me now," George spoke softly to the mirror.
The reflection stared at him back and soon George had nothing to do but turn his back on the mirror and walk away from it. He wasn't ready to leave his brother, but with the way Hermione had left—he needed to get to the bottom of it. Fred had never mentioned anything more than having a small crush on her during their sixth and seventh year.
Her actions made him think differently.
He made his way out of the room, and with one last longing look towards the mirror, shut the door and marked the door.
George planned to come back tomorrow with fresh eyes and some more research on the strange things that had happened during his stay with the mirror.
As the door clicked shut, he entered a hallway that would lead him far away from this part of the castle, and the mirror slowly began to vibrate. The metal clinking against the stone floor and wall behind it, and soon a small crack appeared at the bottom of the mirror.
The vibrations continued, and the crack began to grow until it branched off into three separate sections. It dragged itself across the mirror, disfiguring the red headed figure that was still left standing, watching the door.
The mirror stopped vibrating, but the cracks remained along the glass and all of Hogwarts stayed undisturbed.
The red head began to touch the glass experimentally. In a rage of frustration he began to bang his fists against the glass until one large piece from the top of the mirror fell off and shattered on the ground. A pink puff of smoke rose from the shattered mirror piece and thunder roared through the halls and on the outside of Hogwarts.
The workers were already heading to Hogsmeade while others left by the Floo Network, so no one could hear the loud banging against the mirror.
McGonagall sat at her office desk writing the new letters of acceptance to future students when thunder clapped through the sky and lighting lit up the night. She had yet to re-decorate Dumbledore's old office, so the windows were bare of curtains.
"Oh my," she murmured as she raised her head to look at the lightning. Even a few of the portraits we're taken back by it, including the one of Albus, which hung to McGonagall's right side next to a book case and his very own phoenix.
Everyone had gone home for the day, and it was just her and a few teachers who elected to stay on the grounds, along with Hagrid. She was also working on getting Hagrid's wand privileges back, so that he could finally be allowed to do magic. Though she suspected over the years that he was quite capable of a few things, but she never spoke a word to the Ministry or another soul.
She ignored the pestering feeling that was drawing her away from her work, because there was nothing to fear anymore. She dipped her quill in ink once more, until the bottle slowly began to vibrate against her desk and grabbed her attention. Her quill and body began shaking as the bottle of ink slipped from the table and fell onto the ground, ink splattered over the floor and some of the books began to fall from their shelves.
"Albus," McGonagall cursed under her breath and marched through the castle. She held onto the wall as the shaking became worse. Normally she had Albus to rely on—he had been known to put things in the castle that shouldn't be there, and it seemed like this time would be one of those. She regretted not paying attention more to his ramblings.
The lightning lit up the sky once again, and soon she could see a trail of light pink dust leading towards the third floor.
"No, no, it cannot be—he locked that away for years. No one has looked for it in almost a decade. Not since Voldemort…" McGonagall trailed off, "that has magic beyond even my years," she was astonished even by herself for thinking that something like that could happen.
She rushed into the empty classroom, walking briskly through the various doors and entrances that would lead into the small dungeon like room. She threw open the door that contained the Mirror of Erised. McGonagall covered her mouth in shock when she saw the shattered bits of glass were scattered around the floor. Red hand prints covered the edges of the mirror and were even on the ground in front of it.
The pieces were slowly disappearing into smoke when she heard a pitiful groan coming from the other side of the room. She had suspected the shaking had something to do with the mirror, but now her suspicious had been confirmed. The mirror had brought someone back, and she didn't know how long the magic would last; if it had really brought someone back.
Albus suspected early on that the Mirror had become unstable with its magic. Tamsin Blight, who had created it, promised that it would do its purpose once in its lifetime before it broke. The mirror had great magic—her magic—running through its glass and frame. If the mirror fell into the wrong hands, the consequences would be severe.
She drew her wand in a flash, and quickly moved through the dungeon and studied the hand prints. They had been smeared around frame of the mirror, it looked almost as if someone had climbed out of it and fell to the ground. Something had broken free and she didn't know if she was ready to face it.
Whoever had been there last unleashed their heart desire, and it wouldn't be long for them to come back to collect it.
Walking forward she kept her head held up high and as she rounded the corner of a pillar her wand dropped in shock, it clattered on the ground. She brought her hand up over her mouth and her eyes widened.
Fred Weasley's body was on the ground, blood rushing from his hands—staining the floor red underneath them. His body was sprawled out on the damp ground passed out and he was breathing.
Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing, because it belongs to JKR. I'm just dabbling in her world and playing with her characters that she's created. I also do not own the character Tasmin Blight. She is a real historical figure, for the purpose of the magic behind Erised, that has been introduced into the HP verse.
Beta'd by burrsquee on tumblr