Disclaimer: All of this is based upon the lovely J.K. Rowling's work. All of the direct quotes are from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, text copyright 1997.
Warnings: Spoilers for SS/PS
"What do you see when you look in the mirror?" Harry asks, looking at me with those wide, innocent eyes.
How exactly am I supposed to answer that?
It is not like I can tell him the truth. I could never tell him the truth; he would not understand. I am not sure that I even understand.
So instead, I evade.
"I? I see myself holding a pair of thick, woolen socks. One can never have enough socks," I put in conspiratorially."Another Christmas has come and gone, and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books."
I gently lead Harry out the door, insuring that he puts that lovely cloak back on. With it, he reminds me so much of James.
'But then,' I think, 'he is nothing at all like James. He is far kinder, far slyer, far nobler than James ever was or could ever be.'
I turn back around as soon as he is gone, the mirror barely even reflecting me. Yet, I cannot resist its pull, and soon enough, I am nearing it again.
What do I see?
I see me, exactly as I currently am. Old, grayish-white beard, half-moon spectacles. But there is one difference. I am smiling, really smiling. I don't do that anymore, not since…
I shake my head and continue to stare at the glass, just outside of its reflective range.
What else do I see?
I see a boy. I am standing next to a boy, a very special boy, with my arm wrapped around his shoulders. And his sea green eyes look up at me with love. And I playfully tousle his dark hair. And we are both smiling. And we are both happy.
And we are both whole.
I slowly approach the mirror, desperately wishing for a closer look at him. There is a tight feeling in my chest, a vice gripping my heart.
What do I see?
I see the son who I have always wanted. I see the son who I lost. I see the student who I loved more than anything.
I see the student who I failed horribly.
I see him as he can never be again: innocent, kind, loving… human.
I sigh heavily and inched forward, my nose almost touching the glass. The tightness increases and moves to right behind my eyes, all but forcing them to be transfixed on the image before me.
He is in the deep places now, places I can never follow him. Places that no one should ever want to go. He is so lost that even he can't find himself. He is twisted and bent and cruel…
…and all I can think as I stare into the reflective surface is that I would give anything to have him back again. To have him as he was and here with me.
And I can't fight the tears I know are soon to come.
Harry asked what I see in the mirror.
Well, I see myself… and Tom. Tom as he would have been had I given him the chance.
Tom as he should have been, my arm wrapped around his shoulder. My son.
I see Tom where there is only Voldemort left now.
I see something that can never be ever again.
It does not do to dwell on dreams… and forget to live.
But what am I to do when dreams are all I have left?