AUTHOR'S NOTES: "Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" "It sure as hell ain't you, 'Hawk!!" Heh! You'd think with a name like Mirror, Mirror, this story would be some sort of amalgamation of Harry Potter and the Snow White fairy tale...where the young princess (played by Hermione) runs off into the woods to escape a wicked step-mother (ever notice how there were never any wicked step-FATHERS?) and finds a house in which dwell the Seven Gingers (Arthur and Molly had to've had seven children for a reason, and I think this might just be it!). As interesting as that story might be, this story ain't it! This story, as anyone who's been paying attention to my profile page (and shame on you if you haven't) will know, was inspired by an episode of STAR TREK.
On October 6, 1967, episode #33 of STAR TREK aired for the very first time; it was an episode that would debut the concept of the Mirror universe...a concept which has been re-used by the STAR TREK franchise on several occasions and has even wormed its way into other facets of pop culture. In that episode, four members of the crew of the USS Enterprise end up in a parallel universe as a result of a transporter accident while returning to the ship from an away mission; an ion storm caused the transporter to create a rip in space which swapped the four crewmembers of the normal universe with four crewmembers of the evil Mirror universe. The four crewmembers had to find a way back home while avoiding assassination by junior officers hoping to advance in rank, dealing with the suspicions of a bearded Spock, and of course, taking time out for Captain Kirk to nail a hot female crewperson. You gotta wonder...with the superchagred libido of normal universe Kirk, Mirror universe Kirk should've been a puritanical celibate...but I think he was an even bigger horndog than the Kirk we're used to. A very scary thought.
I can hear you all out there now..."Uncle BlackHawk, what's this got to do with Harry Potter?! Is this a HP/ST cross-over?!!" In a word? No. The concept of the parallel universe is what we're dealing with here, and the title was merely borrowed in an attempt for near-instant recognition. You have to understand...I'm a geek; I run with a geek-crowd. The term "Mirror Mirror" is like a household word with my people, so a story with said title would immediately summon up images of evil parallel universes and bearded Spocks. Okay, so, the bearded Spock isn't something I want you to relate with my story, but you're getting the point, right?!
I feel like I'm rambling, here. Crap. Am I rambling? Anybody??? It's been almost a month since I've posted anything...I think I'm getting rusty on how to write an engaging Author's Note. Hrmm...hard to believe it's been a month!
I think it needs to be stated that this story is in no way related to my last multi-chapter fic, Aftermath; this story is set in the Trio's Fifth Year (circa ORDER OF THE PHOENIX), however, it cannot be said that it is canonical. You'll see that by the end of the chapter, I've fairly gone off the reservation and am dipping my feet into the pool (gotta love mixed metaphors) of Alternate Universe (AU) fiction. Many of you don't like AU fiction, and for those who don't, I'm sorry. One day I will write a multi-chaptered follow-up to Aftermath that could fit easily into established continuity, but right now, this story is what's knocking around in my head.
In fact, it's been knocking around in there so hard, I haven't been able to concentrate on anything else! I would like to apologize to anybody who's spent this last month waiting for me to post one of many one-shots I've been working on. I have about a half-dozen or so one-shot stories in various stages of incompletion, but I haven't been able to work on them since before New Year's, since this story has consumed all my creative thoughts. I hope to produce a one-shot story for Valentine's Day, but as yet I don't have a plot in mind and without a plot, any story I would write would just be a few thousand words of mindless dialogue...and, really, who would want to read THAT?! So, if anyone's got any good ideas for a Valentine's Day plot, feel free to let me know!
As I said above, this story will be hopping the line into AU fiction, and as such, the characters may seem OUT-of-character. Let me asure you, that is PURELY intentional. These characters will not seem entirely like the characters you're familiar with because they are NOT the characters you're familiar with...with the exception of this first chapter. The Ron and Hermione and Mr. Weasley are, indeed, the characters you've known since you've been reading HARRY POTTER, so if I've screwed them up, feel free to let me know!
DISCLAIMER: Normal-universe HARRY POTTER characters are the property of J.K. Rowling; Mirror-universe HARRY POTTER characters are the property of bearded Mirror-universe J.K. Rowling...but she doesn't know I'm using them, so SHHHHH!!!!
GRATUITOUS SHOUT-OUT: Thanks ever so much to my Beta Reader, CutewithAcapital-Q for checking things out ahead of time and giving them her stamp of approval. (So, really, any fault you find with the story is really on HER shoulders, not mine!!) :-p
"Through the Looking Glass"
The last month of the summer holiday had not turned out very well for Ronald Weasley. It all seemed to start with Harry Potter's arrival at Number 12 Grimauld Place, the secret headquarters of the even more secret Order of the Phoenix.
At first, it was Harry's anger at him and Hermione for their lack of letter-writing over the summer, despite the fact that they were under strict orders from Dumbledore to keep Harry in the dark. Things had snowballed from there.
Harry was put on trial by the entire Wizengamot for casting the Patronus charm in front of his cousin Dudley, thereby violating the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery (casting a spell beneath the age of seventeen) and the International Statute of Secrecy (casting a spell in front of a Muggle).
Of course, Harry got off without even so much as a slap on the wrist. Not surprising, really; Harry was always getting away with things like that. Like when he caused his uncle's sister to inflate and go floating off into the night sky over Little Whinging; the Minister of Magic himself assured Harry that he wasn't in trouble for that one.
It always appeared to be those around Harry who took the heat while Harry was almost untouchable. That was great news for Harry, but it usually meant lots of pain for the people he surrounded himself with. It was also the reason Harry and the Weasley children were arriving at King's Cross Station separately and under protection from members of the Order.
Of course, dealing with Harry's problems wasn't the extent of Ron's bad time for the last month. He, Ron, had made prefect, and no one…not Harry, or Hermione, or his siblings, or even his own mother…seemed to think he deserved it. Everyone just assumed it would be Harry.
Ron was used to the lack of faith from his mother, and he really didn't care what the twins and Ginny thought. The jealous look Harry had given him had made him uncomfortable, but it was Hermione that made him feel the worst – assuming the badge was Harry's and fawning all over him and then the way she stumbled over herself to try and congratulate him when the truth came out…that really hurt.
Ron had always thought of himself as not good enough and complete rubbish at everything. Getting the prefect badge showed Ron that everyone else around him thought the same thing about him.
And if that wasn't bad enough, Hermione had gotten another letter from "Bulgarian international Quidditch prodigy" Viktor Krum…Ron's former idol…the man who had swooped in and taken Hermione from him…not that he'd ever had her in the first place. This, of course, led to a row between Ron and Hermione.
"I just don't understand why you keep writing to that grouchy old git, 'Mione," Ron grumbled as he, Hermione, and Mr. Weasley made their way through King's Cross Station towards the barrier leading to Platform 9¾. Harry had already gone through the barrier, Ron and Hermione were next, and Ginny and the twins were close on their heels. All three groups of students were guarded by different members of the Order.
"And I don't understand what business it is of yours to whom I write, Ronald!" Hermione shot back, "And stop calling me ''Mione'!"
"Then you stop calling me 'Ronald'!" he bellowed, sounding childish.
"'Ronald' is in fact your name, Ronald," she hissed in response, her nose in the air in a very haughty manner, "Whereas 'Mione' is just you being too lazy to say my actual name!"
"I'm not lazy!" Ron shot back angrily, drawing looks from passersby as they moved towards the barrier.
"Oh, really?" Hermione scoffed, "Who was it, then, who wanted a lie-in this morning instead of getting up early like the rest of us? If we're late, it's your fault!"
"I was knackered! I couldn't sleep last night," Ron wasn't about to tell her he couldn't sleep because he was thinking about her and his recently acknowledged feelings for her all night, "Why are you always nagging me? You're supposed to be my friend!"
"I am your friend!" Hermione yelled, stopping in her tracks to turn and look at him. She would never admit it to Ron, but his suggestion that she wasn't his friend hurt her feelings worse than almost anything else he'd ever said to her.
"Ha!" Ron scoffed, laughing in Hermione's face. He was letting his temper get the better of him, but he couldn't help himself, "If you were really my friend, you'd stop nagging me all the time…and you wouldn't get mad at me for calling you ''Mione'!"
"Well, if that's your definition of friendship, Ronald," she said, her voice cold, "Perhaps we aren't friends after all!"
"What? How can you…?"
"It's not as though we behave like friends, Ronald."
"Sure we do, we…"
"I'm starting to think the only reason you and I even associate with one another is our mutual friendship with Harry."
"I seriously doubt that you and I would even speak to each other if we weren't both friends with Harry."
"You're wrong," Ron said flatly. There was a flash of anger in his blue eyes mixed together with a glint of hurt, "You and I are friends, 'Mi--…Hermione…with or without Harry."
"If you truly are my friend, Ronald," Hermione replied, "Then you shouldn't have a problem with me corresponding with Viktor."
"I don't understand what you see in him," he said, grimacing at the thought of Hermione and Viktor-bloody-Krum together, "He can't even say your name right! 'Herm-o-ninny'…what the Hell is that?!"
"At least he tries to say it right!" she snapped, "You seem to think it's funny to keep calling me a name that I hate!! And as long as you refuse to drop the subject of Viktor Krum, let me tell you this: he's a much better friend than you've ever been!"
"How can you say that?!" Ron exclaimed, hurt and angered by Hermione's claim, "He doesn't even know you!"
"He knows me better than you do!" Hermione retorted, "Viktor actually listens when I talk to him."
"Yeah, but I bet that pumpkin-head only understands about a third of the words you use," Ron snorted.
"He's smarter than you are, Ronald Weasley!" Hermione rounded on him viciously at his comment about Viktor's intelligence, "And he actually respects me! You won't hear Viktor Krum telling me with whom I can or can't be friends!"
"I respect you…" Ron replied, lamely.
"HA!!" Hermione scoffed.
"I do!" he insisted. Ron really did respect and admire Hermione; he just had the uncanny ability to put his foot in his mouth most of the time he was speaking to her.
"If you respected me, Ronald," she went on, refusing to give any ground to Ron now that he'd made her mad, "Not only would you stop trying to control who I'm friends with, but you'd also listen to me when I tell you things that are for your own good!"
"You mean nag?" he sneered. Okay, yes Ron respected and admired Hermione, and had even developed some deep emotions concerning her…but he was still much too willing to let his temper get the better of him…which is what was happening now.
"I…do not…NAG!!" she shouted, jabbing him in the chest with her finger as she spoke.
"You're constantly nagging me…and Harry," Ron countered with a cruel smile on his face, "Every time we want to have a little fun, there you are going on about homework assignments and rule-breaking!"
"If it weren't for me and my 'nagging'," Hermione replied, her voice quavering a slight bit, either from hurt or from anger, "You and Harry would never do homework! And all that rule-breaking is bound to get you…and Harry…expelled one of these days! And with you being a prefect now, if you continue to break rules, you're going to lose your badge!"
"What difference does that make?" Ron shouted, "You didn't think I deserved the bloody badge in the first place!"
"What…?" she tried to sound confused by his statement, but she blushed in embarrassment, knowing exactly what he was talking about.
"You heard me," he said flatly. He was hurt and angry at the reaction he got from his friends and family when it was revealed that he was the one selected to be the new Gryffindor boys' prefect, instead of Harry, "The way you were cooing all over Harry when you thought it was his…the whole bloody lot of you think it should've been Harry. None of you think I deserve it; none of you think I'm worthy…"
"No…I never said…" Hermione could see the hurt look on Ron's face and it made her feel horrible. She was embarrassed and disappointed in herself and everyone else who had been in Ron's bedroom when he received the badge; everyone had made him feel so bad…even Mrs. Weasley couldn't believe that it had been Ron who had been chosen. Though she, at least, had been thrilled for him once she realized it was true. His two best friends, however, could barely conjure up enough sincerity to congratulate him convincingly, and she knew that that had shattered his highly fragile sense of self-worth.
"If you'll excuse me," Ron said in that same flat tone; the one that said his feelings were too hurt to continue vehemently arguing with Hermione, "I need to use the loo."
"Ron, we really need to stick together," Mr. Weasley said. He had kept quiet during Ron and Hermione's argument because he knew better than to get involved. The two of them had gotten into enough of these arguments over the summer that they'd become infamous during their brief time at Grimauld Place, and anyone trying to get in the middle of it only made things worse. Better to let them have a go at each other until the row came to its eventual, inevitable conclusion. They never seemed to stay mad at each other for very long…for reasons that seemed to escape no one, save the two people involved in all these many arguments. Now, though, with Ron looking to wander off into a Muggle-filled train station, Arthur saw fit to intervene, "For safety's sake, we need to remain together."
"Don't worry about it, Dad," Ron said, waving a hand dismissively at his father as he continued on towards the signpost marking the restrooms, his voice was cold and flat and his eyes were full of pain, "I'll only be a few minutes…and it's not like a Death Eater would waste his time on me. Even my friends think I'm bloody worthless."
"Ronald…Ron!" Hermione called, tears pricking at the corners of her eyes. An angry Ron, she could deal with, but a hurt Ron was more than she could handle, "The train, Ron…!"
"Come along now, Hermione," Mr. Weasley said, taking hold of Ron's luggage trolley and ushering the girl along towards the barrier, "Ron will be fine. Once we've gotten you squared away, I'll come back for him."
Once inside the Muggle restroom, the toilet stalls were all occupied, and Ron had to wait briefly before being able to use one of the urinals. A busy train station at this time of day meant a lot of people getting on and off trains, and ultimately that meant a lot of people needing to use the loo.
When he finished at the urinal, Ron stood at the sink, slowly washing his hands and gazing into the mirror; silently despising the image that looked back at him. He had never had the greatest amount of self-esteem, but right now what little he did have was gone.
He would always ever just be one of two things: just another Weasley, or just Harry Potter's sidekick. The worst part was he wasn't even the best of either of those. Hermione was the smart one…she was bloody brilliant…a genius…and if you're going to pick someone for a sidekick, you'd want to pick the one who knew just about everything about everything. And among Weasleys, he was practically nothing.
Bill was the handsome one, as well as the cool one, and with his job as Curse Breaker, he was tied with Charlie for being the adventurous one and the one with the coolest job (although Charlie may've edged him out just slightly on the job front…live dragons beat dead mummies any day). Percy was the smart one (although Bill had been Head Boy, too, and had gotten just as many O.W.L.s as Percy, so there Bill was again…the bastard). Fred and George were the funny ones and they were twins, which also set them apart. Ginny was the baby and the only girl, which, in a family where the last girl to be born happened generations ago, meant she may as well have been some sort of bloody Messiah.
Ron was just…Ron. There was absolutely nothing special about him. He was tall, sure, but then so were his Dad, Bill, and Percy…although if he kept growing, he would probably be taller than all of them, Bill included. He had blue eyes…again, just like Dad, Bill, and Percy. Freckles like the rest of the family, though, thankfully, not nearly as many as Charlie…he looked practically tan he had so many!
He had red hair, again, just like everyone else in the family; even both his parents were redheads. How did that happen? Did that mean he should start looking at redheaded girls and ignoring his feelings towards Hermione? Should he give Susan Bones the Hufflepuff a go instead of pining away for a girl so clearly out of his league as Hermione? Maybe it was best if he just put Hermione out of his mind for now…he felt bad enough as it is.
He continued to gaze into the mirror and couldn't help noticing the one part of his face that seemed uniquely his: his long nose. His mother always told him that one day he would grow into it…just as his Dad, Bill, and Percy had grown into theirs. Of course, Ron couldn't see it…he couldn't see himself growing that much! Everyone made fun of his nose when he was little…especially the twins, but they made fun of everything about him. It almost seemed as if his only reason for being born was for the twins to have someone to pick on, and no matter how much he begged and pleaded for them to stop, they'd just keep going, getting progressively crueler as they went on.
Then, of course, was the fact that nearly everything he owned was a hand-me-down. Draco Malfoy had once joked that the Weasleys had more children than they could afford, and while it made Ron see red and jump to his feet ready to fight the albino ferret, it didn't make it any less true. One quick look at himself in his hand-knitted Weasley jumper from last Christmas…which he'd already grown out of, it appeared…spoke volumes. And once he put on his school uniform it would be even worse.
School robes were to be black; his were so old and faded, it had been many years since the shade they were could be considered black. His were, at this point, more a very dark, dull grey…and they were too short. His school jumper wasn't much better, with the nattiness of the sleeves and hem. He knew his parents were doing their best, and his father's recent promotion helped considerably; but being a teenager meant wanting to fit in…to be like everyone else…and Ron Weasley definitely did not look like everyone else.
Feeling even worse about himself than he had when he entered the loo, Ron decided to concentrate on something other than his physical appearance, which on second thought was probably not the best idea. He was stupid, he was lazy, he was quick-tempered yet dull-witted, and he had deplorable table manners…what other horrible things had Hermione said about him? Oh, right, he didn't respect his friends…he was mean, cruel, he'd never be an international Quidditch star…and the only reason Hermione associated with him was because he was friends with Harry.
"Bloody Hell…" he said softly to the sad-eyed image in the mirror, his voice breaking slightly. Hermione really did think that, didn't she? He was just her acquaintance…an annoying hanger-on who she had to tolerate to spend time with her friend, Harry. He was nothing…less than nothing to her, probably. It would certainly explain why no one believed he should be a prefect.
Ron reached into his trouser pocket and pulled out the shiny, gold and scarlet badge. Hermione thought it should be Harry's; she was so excited at the prospect of being a prefect with him. Learning that it wasn't Harry sure put a damper on her good mood in a hurry.
(Author's Note: The following flashback is courtesy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, pp. 162-163.)
The door banged open. Hermione came tearing into the room, her cheeks flushed and her hair flying. There was an envelope in her hand.
"Did you – did you get –?"
She spotted the badge in Harry's hand and let out a shriek.
"I knew it!" she said, excitedly brandishing her letter. "Me too, Harry, me too!"
"No," said Harry quickly, pushing the badge back into Ron's hand. "It's Ron, not me."
"It – what?"
"Ron's prefect, not me," Harry said.
"Ron?" said Hermione, her jaw dropping. "But…are you sure? I mean –"
She turned red as Ron looked around at her with a defiant expression on his face.
"It's my name on the letter," he said.
"I…" said Hermione, looking thoroughly bewildered, "I…well…wow! Well done, Ron! That's really –"
"Unexpected," said George, nodding.
"No," said Hermione, blushing harder than ever, "No it's not…Ron's done loads of…he's really…"
She couldn't think of one decent thing to say about him to save her life, and her bumbling, fumbling attempts just made things worse. Hermione was thrilled beyond belief at the prospect of being a Gryffindor prefect alongside Harry, but the thought of being a prefect with him left her shocked and embarrassed.
And if she couldn't see any redeeming qualities in him that would make someone select him as a prefect, Ron knew there was no way in Hell that she would see anything in him worth feeling about him the way he felt about her.
"Hopeless," he muttered to his reflection, his look of sadness quickly being replaced by anger. Not at Hermione, but at himself. "Completely hopeless and utterly worthless! That's all you're ever going to be…"
All Ron wanted was to be recognized for something, but if not even his friends and family thought he was worth anything, what could he really expect to ever accomplish that would be worthwhile? Surely he was doomed to a life of failure and obscurity while all those around him went on to lives of greatness.
Ron happened to glance down at his watch and cursed to himself; it was very nearly time for the train to leave. Turning his back on his image in the mirror, Ron rushed from the restroom and began hurrying towards the barrier between Platforms 9 and 10; the Hogwarts Express would be leaving in less than two minutes. Everyone else had no doubt already gone through; thanks to his trip to the lavatory, Ron was running late.
Later than usual, actually. The Weasley family was always rushing to catch the Hogwarts Express with only minutes to spare, so this time was really no exception. Of course, while everyone else was already through the barrier, Ron was in the loo, recovering from another argument with Hermione, and having to wait his turn behind a bunch of Muggles. Now, he was nearly late for the train that would be taking him to his Fifth Year at Hogwarts.
"Dad's probably yanked out what's left of his hair by now, and Mum must be having kittens," Ron groaned as he hurtled towards the barrier between Platforms 9 and 10; at least his trunk and Hogwarts supplies had been taken through by his father, so he wouldn't have to spend any time getting his luggage aboard. He caught sight of a familiar face as they ran quickly through the barrier ahead of him. "Great, even Neville Longbottom's getting there before me!"
Lowering his head and moving faster, Ron raced headlong through the barrier between the platforms. Darkness engulfed him for the briefest of instants, and then there was a feeling of being turned inside out and dragged backwards through his navel…similar to the Portkey he'd used to get to the Quidditch World Cup last year, but tinglier. Ron had never felt that way any of the other times he passed through the barrier.
Ron had expected the split second of blackness to fade to the wizarding train platform that was so familiar to him, but that split second stretched on into a whole second…then a minute…then what seemed an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year, an eternity! Blackness was suddenly the only thing he knew…until, quite suddenly, it wasn't blackness any more.
Ron awoke in his four-poster bed at Hogwarts, groaning as he got up for the very first day of class. He'd apparently been dreaming about running late for the Hogwarts Express. "Could've been worse," he thought, "It could've been one of those inappropriate dreams about Hermione, and I could've woken up calling her name…again."
Inappropriate dreams about his best friend, Hermione Granger, were becoming a regular occurrence for Ronald Weasley, and on more than one occasion, he'd awakened in his bedroom at the Burrow with his best friend's name on his lips. Luckily, none of those occasions had been when his other best friend (the one he didn't dream about snogging), Harry Potter, had been visiting and sharing his bedroom.
Thinking about Hermione reminded Ron of the argument they'd had prior to leaving for Hogwarts. He couldn't remember them making up; nor could he remember the trip onboard the Hogwarts Express, the Sorting ceremony, the Welcoming Feast, or the first night back in his bed at Hogwarts. The stress of arguing with Hermione must have gotten to him.
"She probably won't speak to me anyway," Ron muttered as he threw back his covers. His Fifth Year at Hogwarts was already starting off in the tank. He hoped it couldn't get any worse, but really he feared it wouldn't get any better.
Ron got up and couldn't help noticing, through groggy eyes, that no one else was in the dormitory.
"Thanks for waking me, Harry," Ron grumbled to his absent best friend. Usually, whichever one of them woke first made sure the other was up, but this time, Harry left Ron to his own devices, "He's probably still sore at me for getting the prefect's badge."
Ron made his way into the boys' lavatory and got himself ready for the first day of class. He made his way down to the Gryffindor common room, still too groggy from sleep to notice two important facts. It was dark outside, and there were only four beds in boys' dorm.
-- End Chapter 1 --
AUTHOR'S END NOTES: Well, there you have it. The first chapter in my new on-going, multi-chapter story. I hope you enjoyed it. And, yes, I know there weren't any Mirror-universe characters running around, but this is still just the first chapter...give it time.
Thanks for reading, and if any of you are so inclined, go ahead and review so I know what you thought.
Thanks again, and I'll see you in two weeks for Chapter 2!