Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Note: The Mirror Reflects was written in response to the Armchair_Slash February Challenge, Across a Crowded Room. – a fic/art challenge, where the art was created first and the fics written based on the work of the artists. This fic was written for Milena Lupin's wonderful artwork The Mirror of Erised.
Many thanks to my beta, Plumeria.
THE MIRROR REFLECTS
If you believe that mirrors are only sheets of glass, you are very much mistaken. There is an invisible world behind each and every one of them – even behind non-magical ones. That's what cats look for when they curiously stick their head around the side of the mirror to have a peek behind it. Muggles think they look for the "real" cat behind the mirror, but they are looking for the world they know is there.
Mirrors are patient. They wait for you in silence, and when you decide to come visit, they quietly allow you to indulge in complete and uninhibited self-centredness. They let you brush your hair, scrutinize your skin and clean your teeth in front of them. They tolerate you flirting with yourself and turning your face this way and that to decide which side is your best one. They let you try out different smiles and facial expressions, and rehearse lines from a dialogue you fear or hope or fantasise that you will have. If your mirror is a magical one, it's likely to comment on your looks or your actions. But even magical mirrors are silent for the most part.
The Mirror of Erised has not been used in a very long time. Half asleep in a dusty room with blinded windows and furniture covered by sheets, it has been waiting for something to happen. Silence, all silence. The Mirror of Erised doesn't have a voice. It has other means of communication.
'The Mirror is surprised and pleased when the door to the room opens after years of darkness and dust. Light falls in, and against the bright rectangle of the door is the silhouette of a young man. He hesitates on the threshold – he has probably been looking for something and just happened to open this door. Then he comes into the room and closes the door behind him, a little disoriented at first in the near-dark. He carefully picks his way around covered armchairs and tables and couches to the windows, where he opens the blinds.
Then he sees the Mirror. He approaches it cautiously – he is obviously familiar with large magical mirrors and knows what they can sometimes do or be. But when the Mirror keeps silent and nothing else happens, he comes close. He is about seventeen, tall and slim and fit with very fair hair and grey eyes. He stretches out a hand to touch the gilt frame, sees the inscription around the top and frowns.
He is clever. He has it figured out within seconds. The furrow between his eyebrows disappears, and his eyes are wide now with interest and apprehension. He seems to be a little afraid to see what the mirror will show him.
He looks straight into the glass and meets his own gaze. The Mirror feels a spark of excitement. This boy is unusual. Or rather, his heart's desire is. To have another human being as your heart's deepest desire is rarer than you might think. Most people are shallow and greedy and self-centered. Even wizards are. They are vain and materialistic – they want money, a grand house, the fastest broomstick in the world, Quidditch trophies, beauty – all depending on age and disposition. If there is a human being present at all in the image of their heart's desire, that human being is usually themselves. The Mirror hasn't included another person in the image of anyone's heart's desire since little Harry Potter came to visit night after night to get a glimpse of his dead parents.
What a coincidence that the deepest desire of this beautiful young man is – Harry Potter.
In the world behind the glass, the Mirror is trying to call forth the image of Harry. He will now be... what, seventeen? Yes, seventeen. The Mirror concentrates. It feels the image. He'll be slightly over medium height, with a thin angular face, high cheekbones, wild dark hair and wary eyes. Wary but with a spark of laughter deep down, like gold glittering at the bottom of a lake. The scar on his forehead will still be plainly visible, and he will still be wearing his trademark glasses.
The Mirror gives Harry the final touch; an impish grin and a light tan. And it has the pleasure of hearing the boy in front of it draw a shaky breath as he sees the image appear.
* * *
When Draco sees the inscription on the gilt frame, he is a little nervous. His heart's desire...? He isn't sure what that is exactly. He desires many things. But most of all, more than anything...?
What am I scared of? That the mirror will show me a castle the size of Hogwarts and a diamond-filled vault at Gringott's to prove to me how shallow I am?
He looks in the mirror and only sees himself. His reflection doesn't seem pleased.
I see myself? What about "I show not your face"...? No, it's just not possible that I desire myself most of all. Is it? Oh, Merlin. That would really be the most shallow thing imaginable.
A shadow begins to form behind him in the glass. It's like a ghost at first, but the image gradually becomes clearer, like a developing photograph.
Draco fails to hold back a gasp as Harry Potter appears behind him. The image is so real that he has to turn around to see if Harry is actually there, but of course he isn't. Still incredulous, Draco touches the glass, but it's cool and flat against his fingers. Cold glass instead of warm body.
That Potter grin. It makes Draco's face hot and his hands shaky. He remembers vividly what it's like to kiss that mouth, having done it for the first time so recently.
He takes a step towards the mirror and leans his arm on the glass and his forehead on his arm, to come as close as possible to Harry-in-the-mirror... and Harry-the-image follows him, close behind, and rests his chin on Draco's shoulder. There is a little smile at the corner of his mouth.
And Draco can see the shadow of a smile on his own face too, soft and dreaming and not at all Malfoyesque.
This is what you do to me, Harry. I'm still myself, but yet not myself at all. With you, I'm... more than myself.
* * *
The boy closes the blinds and leaves, and the Mirror dozes again in the darkened room. Pleasant thoughts and whispers move around the world behind it. Mirror dreams are always vague and breezy; they are only reflections of reflections.
The dreams continue, slowly rolling in like waves, until the door to the room opens and light enters. It's been a week, perhaps two, since the boy was here. He is here again now, but this time he has brought Harry Potter with him. His heart's desire.
The Mirror is wide awake now, wide awake and delighted.
* * *
"Is this it?" Draco asks.
"Oh, yes, it's the Mirror of Erised," Harry says as the boys approach the mirror. "I thought Dumbledore had disposed of it."
He has told Draco what happened in their first year, with the Philosopher's Stone – from the Invisibility Cloak to the blistering of Quirrell's skin. And a lot of other events and details; enough to make Draco re-evaluate everything he has ever thought about Harry Potter. He looks at him now with a kind of awe. At all he has been through. At his strength, his resilience and the surprising warmth that he has retained through it all.
"It's too valuable to just dispose of like that," Draco says. "Magical mirrors can be very interesting. And very useful."
He opens the blinds and returns to the mirror; brushes some dust off the frame with his hand. A shiver of anticipation runs through him. What will the mirror show, now that Harry is here with him?
And what will Harry see? Will he see me? And if he doesn't – what will he tell me?
Harry slowly walks up to the mirror. He stops behind Draco, gazing into the glass. The two boys are quiet and still for a long time, and Draco glances at Harry. He can't read the look on his face.
"What do you see?" Draco finally whispers, desperate to know, but afraid to.
What if I see him, and he sees... someone else? Perhaps he sees a beautiful woman, or another man... a big country house, a Quidditch trophy... Or Voldemort dead and destroyed, and himself in triumph? What if he sees his parents again? What if this only makes him miserable? What have I done?
Draco begins to panic and has to fight an impulse to run out of the room, but then there is the warmth of Harry's front down Draco's own back, pushing softly into him. And when he feels a chin on his shoulder and arms creeping around him, he sees mirror Harry do the same to mirror Draco. Harry-in-the-mirror smiles lightly, a smile that is almost no smile, only a look of happiness and deep contentment. When Draco cautiously turns his head, he sees the same near-smile on the real Harry's face.
Draco meets his own gaze in the mirror and his eyes are wide with amazement.
"I see you."
Harry's smile broadens. Draco can see it in the mirror and feel it against his cheek.
"And I see you."
Draco's face goes hot and he sees mirror Draco flush.
"But... I mean... I see the real you. I see the reflection of you, of you here – not a magical image."
"Yes. So do I. I think it's because we..." Harry-in-the-mirror is blushing too now. "...because we are... each other's deepest wish. That's why we can both see us both. That's why the mirror reflects us as we are, here and now, like an ordinary mirror."
Draco opens his mouth and closes it again, because the words he was going to say suddenly seem so inadequate. Then there's a small smile on his face, too.
I'm the deepest desire of Harry Potter's heart.
That's a thought you could laugh at, isn't it?
But they don't laugh. Harry just digs his chin into Draco's shoulder and lets his hands slide down his arms, down to Draco's hands. They lace their fingers together and their eyes meet in the mirror.
"So it's really true then, what Dumbledore said to me about the Mirror of Erised," Harry whispers.
Draco waits for him to continue, but he is quiet for so long that Draco has to ask.
"Yes? What did he say?"
"That there is only one way to use it as an ordinary mirror."
"And... what is that?"
"He said that it shows no more or less than the deepest desire of our hearts..."
"...and the happiest man on earth would look into it and see himself exactly as he is."
* * *
The room feels very dark when the boys have closed the blinds and left, but the Mirror is content. It will dream soft, pleasant dreams for a long time now. It is very rarely required to act as an ordinary mirror and only reflect what really is – not even once in a century.
Magic is reality here, in this room, in this castle. But the Mirror has just been reminded that those rare moments, when it is required to set aside its magical abilities, are the most magical ones of all.