Title: I Give You a Wondrous Mirror
Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling owns the characters and places in this story. I am making no money from this story and am writing it solely for fun.
Summary: HP:DH SPOILERS, HPDM slash, epilogue compliant. Harry is too busy ten years after the war to help out just one family, but that's exactly what he has to do. And as he hunts their enemy, magic no one understands is hunting him.
Warnings: Spoilers for Deathly Hallows, slash, het, violence, language, UST (unresolved sexual tension), weirdness.
Pairings: Harry/Draco, Harry/Ginny, Draco/OFC, Ron/Hermione, Luna/Dean. Mentions of past Draco/OMC.
Author's Notes: This story will be long and probably a bit tricky to follow in some places, but I promise everything will be explained at the end. It is HP/DM slash and compliant with the epilogue in DH—kind of, as again you'll see by the end of the story. Also, the choice of jobs for a few of the adult characters contradicts what Rowling has revealed in recent interviews, but since it works better for my story, I've chosen to consider only what's stated in the book as strictly canon.
The title is from Walt Whiman's poem "This Day, O Soul":
This day, O Soul, I give you a wondrous mirror;
Long in the dark, in tarnish and cloud it lay—But the cloud has pass'd, and the tarnish gone;
... Behold, O Soul! it is now a clean and bright mirror,
Faithfully showing you all the things of the world.
Chapter One—Mirrors and Dreams
"Call me June, if you must call me anything," the middle-aged witch snapped, and her fingers beat out a nervous tattoo on the arm of her green chair. It hadn't escaped Harry's notice that she kept darting nervous glances at his wand and her own, as if she thought he would raise the one and enchant the other away.
So deep and bitter were the wounds the Ministry had inflicted on the relationship between pure-bloods, or halfbloods, and Muggleborns.
Well, I wouldn't have chosen this job if I wanted an easy one, he thought, and leaned forwards, making sure that he kept eye contact with her at all times. "June," he said gently. "I promise that the Blood Reparations Department doesn't want to confiscate your wand as the Ministry did ten years ago. They just want to make sure that you aren't suffering from want of contact from the wizarding world. If we don't know where you are, it's a lot harder to make sure that you get warnings of—" Death Eater attacks, he almost said, but the Death Eaters were gone. All that remained were those Dark wizards that played at being them. He changed his sentence midway through, hoping she wouldn't notice. "Any Dark magic that might trouble the wizarding world," he said. "And the Aurors can't Apparate into homes that don't have wards open to receive them."
"That's an improvement, if you ask me," said Madam White harshly. "I don't want them in my house." She seemed to forget that Harry, himself, had shown her a license with the official Ministry seal on it as she stood up to rant. She was probably in her late fifties, but she moved well for all that, her flyaway hair, which reminded Harry of Mafalda Hopkirk's, flopping behind her. The parlor in which they sat was small, with just barely enough room for a hearth, a table, and the chairs she and Harry occupied, but she circled the table and strode rapidly back and forth near the hearth, and seemed to make it much larger just with the movement. "Do you know what they did to us? Do you, young man?"
Harry took a deep breath. Sometimes there were people like this whom he simply couldn't deal with any other way than by exposing his personal pain. "I do," he said. "I saw it happening."
Madam White turned around and stared at him. She had blue eyes that had sharpened instead of faded with age, and even though she didn't wear glasses, her gaze glittered as she stared at him. "Thought you were out gallivanting about the country that year," she said. "Saving us all from You-Know-Who."
Harry entertained wistful thoughts of a day, far in the future, when no one in wizarding Britain would be afraid to call Voldemort by his proper name. "I spent a lot of time doing that, but I was also in the Ministry during the Muggleborn trials," he said quietly. "I saw Dolores Umbridge questioning a Muggleborn woman, taunting her about not being a real witch, claiming she must have stolen her wand from a pure-blood." He watched Madam White's hand come down quickly on her pocket again. "And I don't believe any of it," he ended firmly. "My own mother was Muggleborn. I helped set up the Blood Reparations Department, to try and strengthen relationships between wizards and witches of all kinds in our world. That's why I'd like to see you able to accept Ministry protection again, Ma—June. There are fewer pure-blood supremacists than there were, but they do still exist. I have children. I don't want them to grow up in that kind of world, where the pure-bloods can strike unseen at people like you, and you won't have warning because you aren't in contact with the rest of us."
Madam White was silent for long moments, her fingers again tapping the pocket that held her wand. Harry kept his hands calmly open in his lap, holding her gaze whenever she was willing to look into his face, hoping she would trust him.
Only once did he look away, when he thought he caught a flash of movement above her hearth. But he quickly realized that a mirror hung there, not a portrait, and it was only trying to show him the same stupid, meaningless things that mirrors always did. He looked away again hastily.
Finally, the Muggleborn witch said in a begrudging tone, "I reckon—you sound sincere. I reckon it couldn't hurt."
Harry couldn't hide his smile as he stood, and not just because she, unlike the last two Muggleborns he had contacted, had agreed to come back into the fold. This was his last assignment for the week, and now that it was done, he could go home to Ginny and the children.
He stood, extending his hand, and she clasped it. Then he drew his wand. She tensed, but Harry only tapped his robe pocket, and a small, shining golden globe rose out of it and hovered in front of Madam White. She examined it in wonder.
"What is this?" she demanded.
One of Hermione Granger-Weasley's creations, Harry thought, but of course the name would only have meant something to Madam White if she hadn't lived among Muggles for the past decade. "This is a device that keeps you in contact with the Ministry," he explained. "It will deliver news if you ask for it. Simply decide what you'd like to know about and speak the words into the globe; you'll immediately see any and all newspaper articles with that word in it. That way, you don't have to have owls flying to your house and scaring the neighbors."
"The magic about it feels too extensive just for that." The witch reached up to catch the globe, and nearly dropped it in shock. Harry knew that probably came from the warmth of the thing. It felt alive.
"It also permits the Aurors entrance into your home, but only if they truly think you're in danger," Harry said. "And it allows you to communicate with what we're calling the Orb at the Ministry, if you'd like. You can ask for help faster than an owl flies, or even faster than a Floo call. And if you hear anything about pure-blood supremacists—" He gave a small shrug of his shoulders. "We'd certainly appreciate hearing it in turn."
"I suppose you aren't bad, for one of their sorts," Madam White said.
Harry knew what she meant: one of the people who had stayed in the wizarding world, instead of left, and continued to try and repair all the wounds that still lay between pure-bloods, halfbloods, Muggleborns, and the other magical species. He contented himself with bowing and asking if she had any other questions.
She didn't. Harry was finally free to stride out of her house, locate a side street sleepy with the late summer afternoon, and then Apparate home.
The first thing that happened to him after appearing was a collision. Harry landed with a whoof of expelled air, but laughed aloud when he realized what had caused it: his three-year-old son, James, riding a toy broom. James rolled on top of his father and grinned down at him. He had Ginny's red hair and brown eyes, and at the moment one was ruffled and the others shining brightly as he contemplated the mess he'd made.
"I made Mummy scream three times today," he confessed happily.
"Won't she just be thrilled when you get older?" Harry muttered, not sure if he meant it or not, and hauled James to his shoulders. The broom hovered obediently along behind them as Harry carried his son into the kitchen. James waved patronizingly to his two-year-old brother, Albus, still tethered to the kitchen table with a golden Baby Leash spell. Al stared back mournfully. Harry made a silent vow to find some version of the spell that worked on James. It seemed the boy's accidental magic was so far concentrated into finding a way around any restraint, and the Baby Leash would only hold for perhaps ten minutes before it broke apart into a fall of golden light.
Harry bent down to hug Al and enjoy, for a long, precious moment, the clutch of small hands at his hair and robes. Then James tried to hit Al over his head, and Harry had to straighten and put James on the other side of the table.
"Oh, thank God you're home, Harry, they've been like this all day," Ginny said in an exhausted tone, bustling into the kitchen through the far door. She carried baby Lily in her arms. Harry took a quick glance to be sure she was asleep, and then accepted her himself while he leaned over and kissed Ginny. At the same time, he maneuvered adroitly to keep James away from his younger brother, conjuring a series of enchanted singing birds with his wand when his body didn't provide enough protection for Al. James promptly tried to catch them.
"I thought Molly was helping you?" he asked, dropping into a seat on the far side of the table and letting the sense of family wash over him. In seconds, he was intensely happy, even though James already needed another diversion and Al's lip was trembling because he didn't get to sit on his father's lap, too. A few taps of the wand solved both problems, giving James a miniature Snitch to chase and Al a seat on his legs next to Lily. Al buried his face against Harry's shoulder and clung. Harry stroked his hair with his free hand. No matter how much time Al spent around just his mother, he seemed to prefer his father still.
"She was, but then she had to leave because Fleur thought Victoire had dragonpox." Ginny rolled her eyes, even as she began to set their dinner cooking with a few efficient sweeps of her own wand. "Never mind that they'd practically eradicated the disease, Fleur was sure, and you know what Fleur's like when she gets panicky."
Harry smiled into Al's hair. Though Ginny and Fleur had learned to tolerate each other, his wife still had no patience for her sister-in-law's fits of emotion.
Today, though, he thought he had good enough news that it might take Ginny's mind off the neverending struggles in the Weasley family.
"Hermione's feeling better," he said.
It took a moment before Ginny could glance at him, since she was busy directing the salt cellar and a jug of water and a pat of butter into the air all at the same time. Then the importance of the words seemed to strike her, and she turned around to stare.
"Do you mean—"
"I do, actually," Harry said. "She's taken off all the time she needs to get over Hugo's birth, she says. And Ron agrees with her," he added, before Ginny could say that Hermione had probably overestimated her own readiness. "For a wonder. So she'll be taking over the Blood Reparations Department work again, and I—"
"Can stay home with the children," Ginny said, her face lightening. "And—"
"You can go back to work." Harry smiled at her. "I'm sorry to have left you here with them for so long, but—"
"You have to do the Blood Reparations work when Hermione's not there, you're Harry Potter," Ginny said, in a tone of such complete understanding that the intense happiness washed through Harry again. "And of course you're good at it, and if I didn't want children I wouldn't have had them, but—" She halted for a moment, then enchanted the dinnerware to continue without her and came around the table to give Harry a very long, very thorough kiss. James and Albus were too busy, one with his hunting, one with his hiding, to notice.
"I can't wait to go back to playing Quidditch again," she whispered.
Harry nodded, and stroked her hair. Ginny's old team, the Montrose Magpies, was still holding open a spot as Seeker for her, but she'd been grounded for nearly a year, first by her pregnancy with Lily and then by the fact that Hermione was recovering from her own unexpectedly difficult labor with Hugo, and so Harry was needed in the field until all hours. To have her future opening up in front of her again was probably like the first discovery of magic.
And now Harry had the time to spend with his children, and Andromeda could start bringing Teddy to visit regularly again, instead of once a week. He was looking forwards to it. Of all the things he did, all the things he was, nothing mattered as much to him as the label of "father."
"Oh, shite!" Ginny exclaimed abruptly, and whirled around to bat her wand in the direction of the pots and pans, from which a distinct smell of burning had begun to emanate. Harry muffled his laughter against Al, who had gone to sleep clinging to him, and then felt James tug on his sleeve.
"What's shite, Daddy?" he asked. And then his face became delighted when he saw his mother's scarlet face. "It's a bad word," he said. "Mummy said a bad word."
"You are such an evil influence on them," Harry taunted his wife, and Levitated James into the air. James squealed; he was the most fearless of Harry's children, and never minded the game. Harry shifted so he could pick up Lily and Al at the same time, and then stood. "Let's leave the kitchen while your mother's cooking."
He made James bounce, which caused him to shriek with laughter, and Ginny shot him a grateful stare. Harry grinned back. Ten years of marriage, and he still didn't feel as if he'd been married for that long, or, most of the time, as if he were twenty-eight. He had a much better life than he'd been able to imagine when he was still a child living in the cupboard under the stairs.
If it hadn't been for the total lack of reflective surfaces in the house, and the way his dreams sometimes included very odd things that had never happened, Harry would probably have called his life perfect. But Ginny understood him so well, and put up with his peculiarities, and so it was very good.
"You do know what it means when you take a wand from another wizard, Potter?"
Malfoy's voice, sneering and inhospitable as ever, even when Harry had tracked him down in Malfoy Manor specifically for the sake of returning his wand to him. Harry rolled his eyes to hear it. The idiot was eighteen, or nearly so, and had only changed a bit.
Well, he would have to find his own redemption. From this day forwards, Harry highly doubted that he would ever see Malfoy again.
"Yes, I do," he said. "I was able to use the wand almost as if it were mine. But I've repaired mine now. I don't need yours." He held out the length of hawthorn and unicorn hair, amused by the look of shock on his old enemy's face. "Here. Take it."
Slowly, as if thinking the wand would turn out to be a Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes prank—and the suddenness of his grief for Fred took Harry off guard—Malfoy reached out and snatched the wand from him. And then he stood holding it as if he couldn't believe he had it back, and, more than once, staring at Harry.
"Erm," said Harry, who thought he should leave. No reason to see him ever again, he repeated to himself firmly. "Good-bye."
And that was where, in the real world, the confrontation with Malfoy—except it wasn't even a confrontation, was it? Just a meeting, just something you arranged so you could give him back his wand—had ended. He'd turned and walked away from the front gates of the Manor, feeling relieved and contented that that was undoubtedly the last time he'd ever see the Slytherin. He felt mingled pity and contempt whenever he considered Malfoy, but it could become anger easily. Malfoy was not exactly the reason Dumbledore was dead, and his involvement in that deed had helped Harry in the end, but he was still too tangled up in memories of pain for Harry to feel relaxed around him.
But in the dream, he didn't turn and walk away. He simply stepped forwards, and Malfoy gave a small smile, as though to say he hadn't expected this would happen but didn't mind that it was happening now.
"It's not usual to return a mastered wand to its former master," he whispered into Harry's ear. "And I think we should do something to make it a little less unusual. You wouldn't have had to take this from me if we were friends; I could have lent it to you. Will you, then, Potter?" And his hand sneaked under Harry's hair and lightly caressed the nape of his neck, freezing Harry in place with a sudden charged feeling like the rising of a storm.
"Will I what?" His voice was a croak, but it still overrode the real voice screaming bloody murder in the back of his head.
"Will you be my friend, so I can have lent it to you?"
And Malfoy was so close, and magic roared around them like a wind or a tsunami, and the air shook as if it were a rippling piece of cloth or a reflection in a tilted mirror—
Harry opened his eyes and sat up with a loud gasp, fighting to keep from letting his breath rasp further and waking Ginny. He leaned his forehead on his hand and closed his eyes, shuddering. Luckily, Ginny had had a long enough day that she just flopped sleepily on her side and muttered at him a few times.
Harry spent a few moments raking his fingers over his forehead and his scar, a habit of his whenever he was stressed. The scar hadn't ached for ten years. Voldemort really was gone.
But sometimes it burned.
It was doing so now, and so were the words on the back of Harry's right hand from Umbridge's Blood Quill, and so was the mark over his heart where the locket had scarred him, and so were the lines on the inside of his arm from Nagini's fangs. Whenever a dream like this happened, always feeling real and always concerning Malfoy, they simmered like a Muggle stove heating up. Hermione had done research for him, cast spells on him, tried to isolate the scars and make them burn one by one, and lectured him with magical theory that made Harry's head spin. She'd also hauled him off to specialists at St. Mungo's.
Nothing. No one knew why they did it, and why the sensations seemed to intensify as time passed instead of subside.
Harry had been careful to avoid Malfoy's presence for the last decade, and to keep away from reflective surfaces of any kind after the first time he'd looked into a mirror while the scars still burned. He'd stumbled out of bed and into their loo after a dream of Malfoy, breathing hoarsely, and met his own eyes in the mirror.
Ginny had heard him scream, heard the shattering of glass. She was the one to find Harry lying in a puddle of it and bring him to hospital. She had never discussed it with him, but Harry knew she still feared he'd tried to hurt himself.
Harry, meanwhile, had given up trying to convince her that his magic had shattered the mirror because something had reached out from its surface and tried to pull him through.
This was an old problem now, one he could deal with. He slowly calmed his breathing and reassured himself that there were no mirrors in the house, and no standing pools of water, and no highly polished glass or silver. Ginny was not quite the housekeeper her mother had been, and was happy enough to let their cups and cutlery get a little tarnished.
All done now, Harry thought, as the burn in his scars began to fade. It's all right.
And then he heard an owl tapping on the window.
And the marks from Nagini's fangs seemed to explode into flame.
Harry stood, and stumbled to the window, opening it with his left hand. The owl circled his head once, dropped a letter at his feet, and then flew out again before he could ask if it needed a reply.
Harry picked up the letter, fumbled for his glasses, and then left the bedroom so that the light from his wand wouldn't disturb Ginny. His fingers became nerveless, though, and not just because of the steady burning from the fang marks, when he recognized the seal on the outside of the letter. It was the Malfoy coat of arms, the same one he had seen clinging to the iron gates the day he'd gone to the Manor to give Draco his wand back.
"Oh, no," he whispered.
But he had no choice save to open the letter, since he didn't know why one of that family would choose to contact him after all this time.
The writing inside was neat and spiky—not Draco's handwriting, which he still vaguely remembered, but a woman's.
Dear Mr. Potter:
I am certain that you never thought I would have occasion to call upon you, but I do. During the war with the Dark Lord, I saved your life by concealing from Him that you still lived after his Killing Curse. That means that you owe me a life-debt. I am calling it in now.
Strange and threatening letters have arrived at my family's home, all of them promising horrific harm to us. Someone has tried to steal our family heirlooms and to freeze our Gringotts vaults. Blood magic has been worked against us, and has been stopped only by the Manor's wards, so that we are virtually prisoners in our own home.
And now someone has accused Draco of a murder he did not commit. A young Mudblood witch has died. You know as well as I do, given your—work—what this could mean, if the right elements of the Ministry use the news to stir up anti-pure-blood sentiment. The balance between our kind and yours is too fragile right now for such a disruption.
I formally request and require that you discover who has been threatening my family and stop them from doing so. At such time, I will consider your life-debt fulfilled.
The scar on the inside of his arm burned like a firework. Harry was sure that, had he been near a mirror at the moment, shadows would have stirred inside it, showing him a hundred thousand things that could not be true.
He closed his eyes.
Then he stood and went towards his study, where he stored most of the books he had inherited from Sirius and had found useful enough to keep. He needed to know what he could about life-debts and fair means of collecting them. He would owl Hermione in the morning to learn more, but since it was the middle of the night, he'd let her sleep.
To get to the study, he had to pass three bedrooms. He paused in the doorway of each one to gaze at his children. James snuggled so far under the covers that only his bushy red hair showed above them. Al slept in a fetal position, hands clenched as if fighting an unseen enemy. Lily in her cot was softly snoring; she had been the calmest of their three children, sleeping through the night at only two months of age.
His love for them was a fire that burned steadily in him, stronger than the spitting pain in his arm. By the time he came to the study, he was resigned to facing whatever came of this unexpected summons by the Malfoys, for the sake of stabilizing the wizarding world so that his children could have a more peaceful life in it than he'd had.
And for the sake of keeping whatever magic hunted him far, far away from them.
I won't let you get away with whatever you think you're going to, he told the pain in his scars and the shadows in the mirrors. I won't.