Author's Notes: Written for EvangelineKL's Mirror of Erised Competition on the HPFC forum.

We know what Harry and Ron see when they look in the Mirror of Erised... but what do the other characters see? Write a fic about a character... At some point they must look into the Mirror of Erised and you must describe what they see. Your story should be at least 800 words.

No, I don't know why the Mirror of Erised happens to be at Lestrange Manor. I'm sure you're all intelligent, and you can come up with your own reasons.

Enjoy!

)O(

He should not have looked.

When he saw the mirror, propped up against the wall, Rodolphus should have known to turn away from it and leave, not to look into its depths. When he thought of it later, he could not justify his actions, even to himself. Curiosity, perhaps? Boredom? He knew about the Mirror of Erised, he knew what it could do to those who looked at it. And despite his knowledge, he had looked.

It was late at night. The manor was empty for the first time in far too long – for weeks, the Dark Lord had been staying in the safety of Lestrange Manor, but he had finally found some other, even safer locale to stay. Rodolphus could not honestly say he was sorry – for all his faith to the Dark Lord, he did not care to have him as a house guest – but when he had left, Bellatrix had gone with them, leaving Rodolphus more alone than ever. She would come back eventually, he had no doubt, but until she did, Rodolphus was left to suffer through night after night of lonesome insomnia.

He had been wandering the manor – anything was better than lying alone in bed, silently speculating about exactly what Bellatrix was doing – and he saw the mirror standing in one of the unused rooms of the manor.

He had approached it, reading the inscription on the frame, knowing what it was, and he had looked in anyway.

Dust covered the glass, and he wiped it off with his sleeve. Squinting into the murky surface, Rodolphus searched for figures or shapes within it. He didn't really know what he was expecting to see, only that he had nothing better to do with his night than take a good, long look.

At first, in the darkness, the mirror seemed only to reflect the room, with Rodolphus's somewhat blurry shape towards the centre. But as Rodolphus looked at it, blinking every so often to clear his eyes of the dust now hanging in the air, he became aware of a second figure. And the closer he looked, the clearer it – she – became.

"Bella?"

She was standing at his side, her arms lightly around his neck and her chin resting on his shoulder as she smiled up almost angelically at him. Rodolphus's hand went automatically to his shoulder where her head was in the reflection, but it only passed through air.

The longer he looked, the clearer the image became. He and Bellatrix looked young and happy, as they had on their wedding day – no, Rodolphus corrected himself, he looked young and happy as he had on their wedding day. On their wedding day, Bellatrix had looked sullen.

Bellatrix – was it his imagination or was she a good deal smaller in the mirror than in real life? – stood on tiptoe and touched Rodolphus's cheek, turning his head so his lips could meet hers. Rodolphus looked on, mesmerized as the Bellatrix in the mirror melted into his arms, holding onto him as though she would never let go, and when she broke the kiss and pulled back, Rodolphus could clearly see her lips forming three words.

I love you.

And he heard her voice speak the words too – not her voice, exactly, but the soft, tender tones which he imagined she would speak in if ever so inclined. The ones he imagined she would speak to the Dark Lord in…

"I love you so much, Rod," whispered Bellatrix, her hand stroking his hair, running slowly down his cheek and throat. Her voice seemed not to come from the mirror, but Rodolphus could not have identified the source if he tried, and he didn't care. "The Dark Lord is nothing – nothing – compared to you…" Her fingers trailed along his shoulder, down to his chest.

This is not real. Rodolphus shook his head a little, trying to clear it, trying to tear his gaze away from the woman in the mirror. It's not real, and I should go… His reflection mirrored his actions, seeming to shake Bellatrix off a little.

"Don't leave me, Rod…" Bellatrix's eyes filled with tears and she clung to him. "Please don't leave me… Never leave me… I could never live without you…"

She caught his hand and squeezed it gently, and Rodolphus felt a pulse go through his fingers. His breath caught. Bellatrix's hands were tangling in his hair now, and he could feel the light tugging on the strands, he was sure of it. Her lips were against his again, and Rodolphus could not tear his gaze off the mirror, even as he felt his head move almost involuntarily to the side once more, to meet where he imagined her lips would be.

He could swear he felt the warmth of her body pressing against his, the tingle where her flesh brushed ever so lightly against his. She was holding onto him so tightly, as though she would never let go, and she kept whispering that she never would, that she would never ever leave him, that she could never love another man half as much as she loved him.

But her touches were insubstantial, the feelings fleeting and almost uncomfortable in their gentleness, and as much as Rodolphus wanted desperately to think that Bellatrix was really there, draping herself over him and assuring him of her love, there was a small part of him that knew all too well that, at that very moment, she was undoubtedly with the Dark Lord.

She was probably draping herself on him, assuring him of her love, and he was probably brushing her off as though such confessions meant nothing. To him, they probably didn't.

But oh, what such confessions would have meant to Rodolphus.

)O(

Fin