Disclaimer: I do no own Harry Potter, or I would have killed him off by now. Only the thoughts are mine.
Summary: All of the tragedy and misfortune in the life of one Harry James Potter finally culminate one night at Hogwarts, and he sets off for the Room of Requirement in order to deal with his emotions. One-shot.
A/N: This is just a one shot; it's a scene that sparked Missing Elements, which is so crappy that I've placed it on hiatus. This piece stands alone, so don't expect any more of it. Please do review, though, with your comments and criticisms—I look forward to reading your thoughts on this.
"I need to see him again," came the furious mutter of a boy whose jet-black hair was hidden by a silvery invisibility cloak; he paced desperately down a small stretch of hallway, eyes closed and fists clenched. "Just one more time."
He suddenly made a sharp turn and continued his frantic steps, whispering forlornly all the while. "Give me more time, I have to see him, I need to be with him."
To anyone else, the hopeless murmurs of a sixteen-year-old boy would be taken as a sign of a near mental breakdown, but for Harry Potter, they were merely the only expression of grief he could bear. The invisible pleas were all of his thoughts, suppressed for the past six months, pouring out at once when he could no longer manage to hold them all in. He'd planned on doing this a lot sooner, but could never bring himself to act. Tonight, everything had come to a head.
Harry wheeled around once more; his eyes squeezed shut even tighter than before as though willing for something or someone to appear before him. "Let me see Sirius," he begged, finally voicing the prayer he'd kept locked away for so long.
Hermione and Ron had done their best to get him to say it, and Ginny had become so upset by his silence that she stopped talking to him altogether. Harry knew he had to deal with this on his own terms, but he had tried as hard as he could to put it off indefinitely.
Tonight, after all that time, all that pain, he would ask for help.
A third turn was completed by the boy-who-lived, and the words of his desperate appeal came so furiously that they couldn't be separated; they tumbled as one, a mass collaboration of denied hopes and desires. Unbidden, they spilled out in a frenzied whispered cry, one that held so much longing that the emotions seemed tangible, radiating off the teenage student who simply didn't know what else he could do.
"Let me see him," begged Harry one final time as he came to a rest in the center of the hallway, facing the wall. He opened his eyes slowly, holding back any visible signs of emotion with all of his might. Before him was a door of deep mahogany, a piece elegant only in its simplicity. He reached out tentatively with one hand, allowing two fingers to rest on the tarnished golden handle that was just inches away. Harry stayed this way for almost a full minute, frozen in fear of what he would or wouldn't find inside the room. Closing his eyes once more for strength, Harry placed his hand firmly around the knob and twisted it firmly, pressing forward and taking a few blind steps into the room.
When he finally opened his eyes, he could hardly believe the sight that greeted him.
The room was simple, bare, unadorned, yet the item that stood in the center of the floor commanded the attention of all that saw it. It didn't shine or glimmer, but there was an air of unmistakable familiarity that drew Harry towards it. He knew in an instant what it was, having been met with the object more than once in his time at Hogwarts, but it took his breath away all the same.
The first time Harry had seen the mirror, it had shown his family all gathered around him in a teary reunion that had captivated his attention for days; later that year it had displayed his own reflection pocketing the philosopher's stone to stop Quirrel and, essentially, Voldemort from obtaining a means for immortal life. This time, thought Harry as his heart quickened, it would show a different desire. The one he had been waiting for.
Several cautious steps brought Harry in front of the mirror, and his breath caught. After so long—after all this time—
'Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi.'
Harry traced the outline of the face in front of him with one trembling finger. It was so real, so close—
'I show not your face but your heart's desire.'
"Sirius," he breathed.
The image of his fallen godfather grinned back sadly, his face just as Harry remembered it. His fingers dropped from the cool plane of the mirror, and Harry let out a weak shaky laugh.
Once he had started, he couldn't stop. Emotions flowed out of him, tears and desperate hopeless laughter mingling as power in the air. The memory of Sirius Black, his every detail exact from the moment he had passed through the veil, watched with a pained expression of fondness, his long-haunted eyes dark as they surveyed his godson.
Harry sunk to his knees, truly grieving for the first time in his life. He let go of prophecy, of fate, of pain, past, and of person as he wept with all of his being on the smooth stone floor.
This went on for a quarter of an hour, until Harry had purged himself of all emotion and was left staring at his godfather's face, committing every detail of it to memory once more. He sat in silence, gazing fondly at Sirius's image for a long span of time, his invisibility cloak abandoned in one corner of the room. No words were needed, realized Harry in a moment of clarity, because words could never capture the depth of the emotions he'd been storing.
The moment was ruined as, one moment later, the door to the room opened and two sets of feet stepped into Harry's hideout.
"You weren't supposed to be able to get in," said Harry dryly without moving. "You shouldn't have been able to even see the door."
"I suppose our need was greater than yours," offered Hermione softly from the doorway. Harry could sense her gaze trained on his back, but he did nothing more to acknowledge her presence.
The other set of feet traveled forward in an almost revering manner. "Bloody hell, Harry. It's been years since I've seen that. What's it doing in here?"
Harry could almost sense Hermione's frown as she tried to put the pieces together. He grinned in spite of himself when she asked cautiously, "Harry, what kind of mirror is that?"
Ron ignored her and stepped closer to Harry, following his friend's steady gaze. "I'd forgotten all about it. Wonder what I'd see this time," he mused quietly, his eyes scanning the inscription that graced the top of the mirror.
Hermione's eyes followed the path of her best friend's, and as she deciphered the message, her brain went into the usual overdrive. "That's the—but it—and you—oh no, Harry!" Ignoring Ron's look of confusion, Hermione dashed over to Harry and put her arms around him.
"Figured it out, have you?" asked Harry quietly while keeping his eyes trained on his godfather's face.
"Harry, look at me. Look at me. Harry, you can't do this to yourself!" wailed Hermione frantically. She grabbed his chin and pulled it towards her, forcing his eyes away from the haunting image. Harry looked away in shame, knowing that his eyes were probably a bit bloodshot and that his face was most likely streaked with the remnants of his earlier episode, but Hermione only gripped him more tightly.
"Harry, oh, Harry, you can't… you should have at least told us!" she cried again, looking on the verge of tears.
"I didn't really know what I was doing when I came up here," Harry admitted softly. "I just… I wanted to see him again."
Ron sat down on the other side of Harry, crossing his legs and tilting his head to examine his best friend. "So you see Sirius, then?" he asked, not bothering to skirt the issue.
With a sigh, Harry nodded, his eyes sliding invariably back up along the mirror's surface. "He's so close," he murmured.
"He's not coming back, Harry, and you have to realize that," pressed Hermione urgently, her cracking voice betraying her calmly composed facial features.
Ron said nothing, and Harry had never appreciated his friend's silence more than at that moment.
For a while, the group just sat together, feeding off of the emotions in the room, each of them thinking their own thoughts. When the spell had ended, it was actually Harry who broke the silence and initiated conversation, something that hadn't happened all school year.
"Thanks," he said in a low voice, returning his eyes to the ground. He knew he couldn't waste away in the memory of his godfather, but he had needed this chance to say goodbye. The healing would take a while, he knew, and the pain of that err in judgement would haunt him forever, but this was the time he had needed to come to terms with everything that had occurred not only in his last year at Hogwarts, but throughout his entire lifetime. His parents, Cedric, Sirius—he had needed to remember and to comprehend, to let it all sink in all together.
For once in his life, Harry Potter had simply needed to be overwhelmed.
And now…now was the time for starting over; it was time to begin again, as the phoenix rises anew from a bed of its own ashes.
Harry glanced to his right at Hermione, whose face was glistening with tears. He then shifted his gaze to Ron, his first friend, looking more mature than ever. Taking a deep breath, Harry looked back towards the mirror one last time, gaining one final draw of strength from his fallen godfather. He then closed his eyes and turned around, sliding backwards so that his back rested against the cool plane of the mirror.
Hermione and Ron smiled back at him as he opened his eyes, and Harry knew somehow in that instant that it would all be all right in the end.
He took another deep breath, and then began to speak. "Dumbledore, he told me the prophecy."
And as he spoke, Harry felt relief.
It had been a long time coming.