Thanks again for all the reviews!
This is the last chapter of I Give You a Wondrous Mirror, and, as promised in the story's summary, is fully compliant with the epilogue of DH—in one world. Thank you to everyone who read and reviewed. This is the longest story I've written to date, but not, I hope, the only one of this length. I'll probably start a new WiP in a week or so.Epilogue—Nine Years Later
"Come on, Al."
Harry hid a smile behind his hand. Despite James's tone of voice, he was Levitating his little brother's trunk with an expression of extreme patience. Harry couldn't be sure that James would ever be as calm and polite as Al was—there was a reason his eldest son was in Gryffindor, after all—but he had certainly improved from the spoiled bully he had once seemed set to grow into.
Or maybe it's just that he's been at Hogwarts one year already and is enjoying the chance to play tour guide, Harry thought, as he listened to James telling Al about the Sorting and how he mustn't expect to have a parent nearby every time he got into trouble. Al nodded, absorbing some of it and rejecting the rest. It helped, Harry thought, that he had Scorpius beside him, who tended to squeeze his hand every time James lied outrageously.
Arms slipped around Harry's waist. He leaned briefly back into Draco's embrace and squeezed his lover's hand the way Scorpius was doing for Al.
"I thought it would be easier the third time," Draco muttered into his ear. "It isn't."
Harry chuckled and turned his head to steal a kiss. "There was too long a break between James and Teddy," he said, when they came up for air. "If they'd gone one after another, we'd be old hands at this by now."
"No, you wouldn't," said Lily, who was walking behind them at a sedate pace. Narcissa followed her, keeping one eye on her granddaughter so that Lily wouldn't get dirt on her new, formal blue robes. Harry thought it highly unlikely that she would anyway. Narcissa had raised Lily "properly," which meant Lily tended to wash her hands obsessively after touching a post-owl and come out of mock duels with her brothers lacking any wrinkle in her clothing. But Narcissa hadn't counteracted, or maybe she had encouraged, a perceptiveness and directness that Harry thought made his daughter a sure candidate for Gryffindor House when it was her turn to board the Hogwarts Express. She eyed him now and said calmly, "You'll always mourn when one of us leaves home, because you love us so much." She turned her head towards Narcissa. "They'll be wrecks when we get married, won't they?"
"I prefer to think of that day as occurring a long time from now, dear," Narcissa said, with a fastidious little shudder.
Draco rolled his eyes and drew Harry along faster, until they were halfway between the boys and the women of the family. "We'll have to make sure to keep her entertained," he said in a low voice to Harry. "Otherwise, our sons are likely to come home and find that she's terrified us into obedience."
"She's not that bad," Harry said automatically.
"Harry, she's a demon in human form."
Harry laughed under his breath. He was sure Hermione or Ron would have heard fervent disdain for Lily in Draco's voice. But Harry, after nine years—or nineteen, depending on which view one took—of constant and close companionship, could hear the affection breathing, guarded, under the surface. Draco simply didn't see why he should express himself openly around strangers.
Ron's voice called from the other side of the platform. Harry turned his head, searching, and then waved as he caught a glimpse of Ron and Hermione herding Rose forwards. Hugo strolled along behind them, hands in his robe pockets, his face moody. Harry made a mental note to offer to take Hugo to Flourish and Blotts when they went back to Diagon Alley. Ron's son had never become reconciled to the fact that his sister was older than he was and therefore would be attending Hogwarts first.
"Rose!" Scorpius yelled. "Catch!" His hand flashed out, tossing a practice Snitch in her direction.
Unsurprisingly, Rose snatched the little golden ball out of the air without half trying and gave Scorpius a superior look. She and Scorpius had an interest in Quidditch unmatched by the rest of the children. James preferred pranks and hanging out with his friends; Al preferred books; Hugo had already taken a shine to experimental magic of the kind his uncles had used to create Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. Lily did a great number of things perfectly, but Harry suspected her main interest was world domination.
"You'll have to do better than that if you want a place on the Slytherin team as Seeker," Rose said now.
Ron rolled his eyes and gave Harry a long-suffering look, the same one he used whenever his daughter talked about being in Slytherin House. Harry just looked back unsympathetically. One of his sons was certain to end up there, Scorpius if not Al. And if Lily didn't become a Gryffindor, Slytherin was the House for her.
"They'll all be so impressed with me that they won't look twice at you," Scorpius was telling Rose. "I can ride a broom faster than you can any day."
"There's the little matter of staying on it," Rose said smugly, referring to an period earlier in the summer where Scorpius seemed to have fallen off his broom every time Harry and Draco's family saw Ron and Hermione's. Predictably, Scorpius's ears turned pink, and he began some scathing retort.
Harry didn't listen to it. Draco had tapped his shoulder and was murmuring, "Look there."
Harry glanced up. Opposite him and Draco stood a very large wizarding family Harry didn't recognize. The parents were gathered around what looked like triplet witches, hugging them tearfully and making them promise to write; their daughters looked torn between tears of their own and fearsome embarrassment.
But the important thing was the conjured mirror—for what purpose the family had brought it Harry didn't know—hovering behind the photograph-snapping grandfather. The surface started to boil with shadows, just from the one glance.
"Shall we?" Draco asked, his hand tightening on Harry's shoulder.
Harry hesitated for a long moment. It had been years since he and Draco had looked into the other world through the mirrors. For one thing, it was too depressing for Harry to watch what his own cowardice had wrought—his other self falling steadily back in love with Ginny, reconciling to her by forgetting what she had done rather than forgiving her, and persuading himself that his brief love affair with that Draco had been a deadly mistake.
He did want to know what that other Harry looked like on the morning of letting one of his children go to Hogwarts. He and Draco hadn't bothered to look when they saw Teddy or James off.
"Just for a moment," he said, and he joined hands with his lover and leaned forwards, staring intently.
Draco saw it all.
He saw the way the Harry of the other world—who looked under considerably more strain and stress than his lover—hovered near his children, staring intently and protectively at a quietly terrified Al, but ignoring his wife. There was no physical contact between them, no gentle touches. It was the same situation as the last time Draco and Harry had looked into the mirror, three years ago. Harry had confessed to finding his double's imperfect relationship with Ginny extremely sad. Draco thought it was all that the reckless idiot of the mirror world deserved.
He saw the moment when the steam cleared and that Harry caught sight of his other self.
Draco felt a surge of quiet but fierce pride when he saw the expression in the eyes of that Draco. Standing beside Marian and a Scorpius who obviously had no memory of Al's friendship, he stared at Harry for a moment, then jerked his head down into a curt nod. Then he turned away.
The reflected Harry kept staring. The angle of the mirror didn't allow Draco to be certain about the expression in his eyes. It could have been regret, desire, or fear. He could have curled his lip or been ready to spring across the platform and catch the other Draco's hand between his.
But he didn't offer any acknowledgement of the nod he'd got. Instead, he turned away and continued to speak with his friends and his children, the people he'd chosen to share his life with.
Shadows covered the images. Harry must have stopped concentrating. Draco glanced down at him to find his face transfixed in an expression of disgust and consternation.
"All right?" Draco whispered.
"That idiot," Harry said. "The unmitigated prat. Of all the ways it could have gone. Of all the choices he could have made." He shook his head and turned sharply away, striding the few steps that still separated them from Al and Scorpius. He knelt down to fuss with their sons' robes, answering a few of Al's questions. Draco was sure they were about the size of the library at Hogwarts. The boy would make a fine Ravenclaw—if the Hat could persuade him to be Sorted separately from Scorpius, at least.
Draco glanced back one more time at the mirror. He would have been more inclined to place the blame on Ginny Potter. But he could see Harry's point. It was the way that other Harry had hidden from reality that created the rift between him and the mirror world's Draco. They could at least have remained friends. They could have continued meeting in dreams as lovers. But the second Harry had chosen, and chosen not wisely but thoroughly, and this was the result.
Strange, that in that world it was Harry's choice which decided it all, and in this one it was both of ours.
Of course, to Draco, that was just another sign that their new world was better than the one they'd come from, and that the life-debts knew what they were doing when they arranged for him and Harry to be bound together.
Scorpius's imperious voice summoned him from ahead. Draco smiled and lengthened his stride. Scorpius probably wanted to demand one more recital of the List for Survival in Slytherin.
Harry glanced up at him. His left hand rested lightly on Al's shoulder, and Al still had hold of Scorpius's wrist. As Draco came up, he had to find places for both Harry's and Scorpius's hands, and then the four of them were bound into a tightly joined circle.
To Draco, it was appropriate. His and Harry's first connection had come about through Scorpius, and then through the friendship of their sons.
From the way Harry caught his eye, he was thinking the same thing.
Draco gave a smile that he knew was thoroughly self-satisfied, and began to recite the well-worn advice that Scorpius, Rose, and maybe even Al could use—but quickly, because they had a train to catch.