Desire, part one:
I Show Not Your Face But Your Heart's Desire
Lily Evans couldn't sleep. She had been sitting upright in her bed since midnight, and now it was nearly two. It wasn't that she was cold. Spring had finally come to Hogwarts, and the temperature had risen remarkably the last few weeks. She didn't have any unfinished homework either, nor did she have any problems to ponder on. She had no idea why this insomnia had caught her, but right now, sleeping felt like something she would never be able to do, ever again. Lily shook her head, got up from her four poster bed and wandered the floor restlessly, her bare feet making soft clapping noises against the chilly stone. Finally, deciding she wouldn't risk waking her room-mates, she grabbed the candle burning on her bedside table and went down into the common room. It was empty, like she'd hoped it would be.
She flung herself into the nearest armchair, placing the candle on the table in front of her. She closed her eyes. What she wouldn't do for a bit of sleep... Her thoughts wandered off, and suddenly, surprisingly, she found herself thinking about Potter. He had asked her out again today. Again. She couldn't believe his nerve. She had turned him down just last week, hadn't she? Again? And yet he had surprised her. Again.
She had been sitting by a table in the common room, adding the finishing touch to her Potions essay when something had cast a shadow over her parchment. She had turned around, only to find herself facing the smirk of the boy she'd come to loathe over the years. James Potter, Oh yes. She'd turned back to her essay, but he had grabbed a chair and sat down opposite of her.
"Lily," he had said,
and surprised her, because he always called her Evans. She looked up.
"I am going to ask you one last time and if you reject me, I'll
never ask you again."
He said it so seriously that Lily frowned. She hadn't seen that one coming.
"Are you serious?"
He nodded. She raised her eyebrows. "Wow. Well, go ahead."
"Okay. So, here goes... Um, Lily, would you please be my date to the Halloween dance?"
Her answer came as a reflex. She didn't give it a second of
thought, having done this so many times.
His face fell. He sat there for a second, then got up heavily, mumbled, "Bye then, Evans," and lumbered off to his dormitory.
Lily couldn't remember ever feeling sorry for him when she had rejected him before, but now she actually did. He had just seemed so... beaten. So sad. Lily set her glance on the candle's dancing flame and hugged her knees. That the phrase "I feel sorry for James Potter" would ever enter her mind would have been unthinkable just a year ago.
But she had to admit, after entering his sixth year, he had changed. Not completely of course, he was still a git, but he wasn't a slimy, egocentric git. Just a plain one. Lily smiled at this thought and got up. She had to move, she just couldn't help herself. She had never felt this restless in her life and if it was going to cost her a detention, then well, too bad. Creeping through the portrait hole she thought she heard someone moving behind her, but didn't dare to look. If someone was going to see her in her nightgown, she'd rather not be facing them.
aimlessly around the castle for an hour. She said hello to some
portraits here and there (and escaped from some of them, when they
started telling her off for being out of bed at this hour), nodded to
Nearly Headless Nick who was gliding sadly along the corridor and
almost had a heart attack when a mouse ran over her bare foot on the
fourth floor. On her way back to Gryffindor castle, she heard
footsteps coming her way. Her heart racing, she grabbed the handle of
the nearest classroom door and flung herself in. She waited
breathlessly behind the door, cursing herself for being out of bed
when she knew somebody was bound to find out. The footsteps stopped
outside the door. Lily held her breath as somebody entered the room,
and closed the door. She swore. Loudly.
"Miss Evans... I would rather prefer you kept such language to yourself."
"Professor Dumbledore, I am so sorry, I really didn't mean to, I will go right back to bed..." He stopped her blabbering by holding up one finger. He, too, was dressed in nightwear (bright purple) and a matching night cap, and his glasses were askew on top of his head. He looked, quite frankly, very funny, but Lily had never wanted to laugh less in her life.
"I had expected more from you, Lily. You are, after all, a Prefect."
Lily nodded sadly, chewing her lip. Dumbledore smiled, "Come here. As you are here, you might see it. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Lily frowned. "Sorry, Professor?"
Dumbledore smiled again, "In quite a hurry, were you Miss Evans? Or else, I would have thought you might have noticed this..." He made a silent hand gesture towards something that stood in the middle of the room.
Lily gasped, puzzled how come she hadn't noticed before. It was really an impressing sight. The mirror was as tall as the classroom ceiling, with a golden frame and something written across the top. She went closer, following Dumbledore, and whispered "Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi." She gave the Headmaster a quizzical look, "What language is it in?"
"Oh, it is in English... Try reading it backwards, Miss Evans."
Lily stared at the golden letters, rearranging them in her head, "I show... not your face... but... your heart's desire?" She said, her eyebrows tensing with concentration.
Dumbledore nodded, "It is a mirror most peculiar," he said. "Hundreds of years old, with magical powers only known by few. This is, as far as I am aware of, the only of its kind in the world."
"It doesn't show your face... What does it show then?" Lily asked indignantly.
"Simply your deepest, most desperate desire. It is called The Mirror of Erised," Dumbledore said.
Lily stared at the mirror in awe, wondering what she would see if she stepped out in front of it. Her becoming Head Girl? Being accepted to the Healing training programme maybe?
"Can... Can I try it, sir?"
"Certainly," replied the Headmaster. "But I think I shall leave you alone to it. And if you promise me you will go straight to bed afterwards and never to go look for it again, then I will not put you in detention."
"I promise," said Lily quickly. "Thank you, Headmaster."
"Good night, Miss Evans," said Dumbledore, opened the classroom door and disappeared. Lily drew her breath, closed her eyes and stepped in front of The Mirror of Erised. Clenching her fists, she opened her eyes slowly. She stood staring into the mirror for several long minutes, not quite knowing what to do with herself. She was numb with shock, and a cold wave of realization hit her in the face. How could she not have known?
Lily ran all the way back to Gryffindor tower. The boy in the Mirror of Erised disappeared.
James Potter couldn't sleep. He was sitting in the window sill in Gryffindor common room, looking out at the moon. It would be full soon. The Marauders would come out again. He smiled. Had it not been for his friends, he would never have gotten through this day. After being so thoroughly rejected by Lily, he had had no energy left to even try and pretend that things were alright. Right now, he did not care about his image. All he wanted to was to jump off the Astronomy tower.
Suddenly, there was a noise behind him. He turned his head slightly to see someone creeping through the portrait hole. So, he had seen correctly before. It appeared to be the same nightgown too.
Lily's heart leapt as she saw that it was James sitting in the window sill, staring at her. After a few seconds, he simply turned his head back towards the glass. Lily bit her lip.
He had goose-bumps when he heard her say his name. She had never said James before. It had always been "Potter" or "idiot" or her favourite: "git".
He stood up and walked across the room, towards his dormitory. Without turning around he said, "I don't know what you're going to tell me, Evans, but I know it won't make me feel any better, so just leave me alone."
"James," Her voice was so pleading that he had to stop. And was that a sob he just heard? He turned around, only to see her standing there, so small and lost in her white nightgown, her red hair in two loose braids and her green eyes flooded with tears.
"My heart's desire," she whispered. "Is you."