Author: The Spangled Pandemonium

Title: Stronger than Desire

Chapter Title: In the Looking Glass

Summary: After a hard night studying in the Library, Hermione gets lost and finds the Mirror of Erised in a dusty old classroom. When she gazes into it, she finds a certain blonde haired Slytherin in its depths…

I slammed the dusty tome onto the table, mentally cursing the entire population of Hogwarts. Wait, not just that—the whole damned wizarding world. Not to mention the all the Muggles.

Muggles. I felt bitter just thinking about them being there, for living and breathing and eating and watching their television. Why didn't they have to wallow through filthy old books while juggling Transfiguration homework and upcoming tests in Arithmancy? I knew perfectly well that I was being unreasonable, but I didn't care one bit. Certainly it was excusable for a person born into a Muggle family to be a little racist about one's origin once in a while.

Algebra and Chemistry couldn't be that hard, could it?

I, Hermione Granger had been wading through borrowed books in the Common Room, hours earlier, with my two best friends, Ron Weasley and Harry Potter. Being the perfectionist that I was, I was completely unsatisfied with my insufficient research on the magical items of the 16th century. Really! Professor Binns would never be content with the work I had done! Even though Ron pointed out that I had written a whole page of parchment more than what was required, I was certain that there was something missing. I eventually borrowed Harry's Invisibility Cloak so I could add more depth to my paper. Fatigue or not, I would never forgive myself for submitting something I didn't feel satisfied with.

I chided myself for letting my thoughts stray, and averted my brainpower back to the topic at hand. I had spent three full days poring through books. It was an important paper, yes, and I had squeezed every drop of effort I could into it. I hadn't had a decent night's sleep, being too busy digesting useless information from whatever manuscripts I could find. How I longed for the Internet back at home!

Did we really need to study this? I thought nastily. It's not like Professor Binns is really going to use this information for anything remotely useful. Truthfully, it was only my personal philosophy that kept me slaving away like this. As the political situation of our world became more and more unstable, I had begun to lose my interest in the content of many of my classes, and uninspiring subjects like the History of Magic were beginning to be unbearable.

I turned my gaze back to the volume in front of me. Though the words occasionally blurred from lack of focus, I gave a small yelp as I found a passage of information I could use.

Already my eyes were beginning to flicker shut. Just as I felt as if I were about to collapse from sheer exhaustion, noisy footsteps jolted me awake.

Copying the paragraph down quickly, I killed the candle and shuffled out of the library.

As I padded down dim hallways, I realized the footsteps had become more frenetic, as if something were trailing me. I caught a glimpse of a cloak and flinched as I saw that it was Filch. Oh, I was such a fool! I hadn't even thought of asking Harry for the Maurauder's Map! I hadn't the foggiest idea where I was going.

I bit my lip and tried to relax my racing pulse, hoping my tired, irregular breathing couldn't be heard. I ducked into a gloomy spot and paused, straining my ears for any noise. All I could hear was the beatbeatbeat of my heart. I sighed with relief. Filch may have known Hogwarts inside and out, but he wasn't an exceptional tracker. He was good, but not excellent. After many years in the school, I had finally learned how to lose him.

The sound of running feet had faded away, and I stood in the middle of a corridor I didn't recognize. Clutching the Invisibility Cloak around me, I began to walk, reciting in my head a calming mantra that I usually used if I panicked in a middle of a test. I scanned the damp stones that lined the corridor, hoping (begging) for a way to get back to the dormitory. Where on earth was I? Maybe it was the dark, but I truly could not recall ever being in this area before. Dimly, I remembered the Room of Requirement, and how the school often played tricks on its students, but I was in no mood for adventure. I just wanted my bed.

I muffled a screech as a thin mangy cat sauntered into a pool of mercuric moonlight. Its fierce yellow orbs glanced around predatorily, reminiscent of its forefathers in the jungle. The lean, drooping whiskers twitched as the feline set its eyes on where I stood. As quickly as it had come, it vanished, leaving me alone in the bleak night.

It knew where I was.

I waited for a few tense seconds before dashing down the passage, throwing a random door open and shutting myself in. Fumbling with my robe's pockets, I yanked out my wand and locked the entrance.

Only then did I dare to look to see where I was. The tall glass windows illuminated the room, revealing the desks and chairs shoved to one corner. The room seemed to be coated with a layer of dust, I noticed.

I hobbled around unhappily, and let out a telltale squeak as I saw a tall white object looming in the corner of the room. It seemed incongruous, that strange shape perched in such an ordinary (albeit neglected) classroom. Granted, it was even more absurd that I was lurking around Hogwarts late at night—but still.

Cautiously, I came closer, weary of the shadows that surrounded me. The object disturbed me. Like closed shower curtains, things hidden under cloth always made me edgy. With a swift yank from my hands, the thick material fell with a muted whoosh and sent up a cloud of filth.

As my eyes watered and my nose threatened to release a sneeze, I found myself staring into a mirror—into my own reflection.

The icy glow of the moon rendered my hair black, and turned my skin smooth. Yet my appearance wasn't what surprised me. What scared me out of my wits was a boy, standing behind me, encircling his arms around my waist.

His hair was silver, and it fell on his face messily, as if someone had tousled it. His body was long and lanky, with broad shoulders that balanced his tall form. His fingers danced on my shoulders, and he seemed to quiver silently with laugher. Suddenly he looked up, gazing intently at me through spiky lashes.

Only then did I realize that it was Draco Malfoy.

I recoiled, spinning around with my wand brandished. There was no one there. The classroom was as silent as an abandoned church, and as ominous as one as well. And yet, when I peered into the looking glass, he was still there, smirking as he ran his hands possessively through my hair.

Gaping at the engraved inscription around the edges of the frame, I realized what stood in front of me. Harry had told me about this! This—this was the Mirror of Erised!

I scurried out of the room, terrified of myself and what the mirror had just revealed to me.

Authors Note: Hello again, after trying to run from writer's block, I came up with a little idea. Thus, this story. I'm not sure I want to continue it, as my other fic remains untouched. However, if I get enough appreciation (ahem), I'm willing to carry on with the plot. Thank you!