Title: Mirror, Mirror (Show Me What I Want To See)
Summary: That night, Harry visited the Room of Requirement and wished for a way to see Sirius again. Inside of the Room of Hidden Things, he found the Mirror of Erised. But when he looked into the mirror's depths, what he saw was not what he expected... H/G
A/N: I'm basing this off of the fact that a mirror resembling the Mirror of Erised was in the Room of Hidden Things in DHP2. No one knows what really happened to it, so I thought... why not? I wanted to do a one-shot for Harry and Ginny for Valentine's Day, and this idea has been seeding in the back of my mind for about a year now... Figured I'd give it a try. Here we go with my first HP one-shot. Enjoy!
It's the middle of the night and the rest of the students in Gryffindor House are sound asleep in their beds when Harry James Potter creeps down the stairs and stands in the middle of the Common Room. He's tired, and his head aches with the need for sleep, but every time he closes his eyes, he sees Sirius falling towards the veil. Sees that same shocked look cross Sirius's face as his wand falls from his hand. Sees the same expression of joy and triumph on Bellatrix, and hears the manic sound of her laughter dancing through the air. These images won't leave him alone, and he knows that if he lives to be a thousand years old, he'll still remember the death of his godfather as clearly as he does right now.
Shaking his head in an effort to dispel the haunting images, he moves slowly across the room and sinks down onto the chair that is closest to the fire. He stares into the flames with a somewhat dazed expression, wishing that Sirius's face would pop out of them. But that will never happen again, will it? Hermione like to tell him that he has to accept that Sirius is gone. After all, the two-way mirror didn't word, and according to Nearly Headless Nick, Sirius will not be returning a ghost, not when James and Lily are waiting for him on the other side. Harry sighs, feeling heavy with the knowledge that he will never get to see Sirius again. Death is so… final. All of his dreams of knowing what it was like to have a father... gone up in smoke with a single curse from a psychotic dark witch.
Of course, he does still have the Weasleys, and Arthur Weasley has always tried to act like a father to him, but it isn't the same as having your very own family. Even Remus, wonderful as the man can be, isn't the same. There's always that invisible barrier that hangs between him and Remus. Sometimes Sirius was able to breach it and erase that wariness from Remus's eyes, but Harry doesn't know how to do that. It's like a tangible thing and he's always aware of it.
Harry tucks his knees up close to him and sighs again. For all of the wonders that magic can and does perform, there is so much that it can't do. It leaves a sour taste in his mouth. He thinks idly of those fairy tales that he used to listen to Aunt Petunia reading to Dudley when he was younger, and how when he was locked up in his cupboard, he would dream about having magic and being able to do anything. When he was eleven and Hagrid came for him, he'd thought the giant's presence was a dream come true.
"If only I knew then what I know now..." he mutters wryly.
"What was that?"
Harry jumps, his hand darting instinctively to his wand. He's gotten used to thinking that the castle isn't safe, not with Umbridge around, and it's hard to remember that she's no longer a threat. His head whips around and locates the source of the voice, and instantly, he relaxes. "Ginny? How long have you been here?" he asks, staring with surprise at the small girl in the chair opposite his. She's curled up with her feet tucked underneath her blue silken robe, a book open upon her knee.
"I've been here all along. I guess you just didn't notice me," she replies. "Sorry, I thought you were talking to me. Continue moping."
Against his will, his mouth twitches into a smile. "I wasn't moping. I was just... just thinking about when I was eleven and Hagrid came to see me for the first time. I thought magic was the most marvellous thing ever, and that it could do anything." He rolls his wand between his fingers.
Ginny lifts her gaze from her book and smiles sympathetically. "We all miss Sirius, Harry," she remarks quietly, seeing to the heart of the matter as usual. She's so good at reading him that it should worry him, but somehow, it doesn't. "But you have to accept that there are some things even magic can't change."
A lump swells in his throat, and for a moment, he can't speak past it. "Hermione keeps saying I have to get over Sirius."
"Hermione is just worried about you. She doesn't really understand. It's only been a couple of weeks. Give yourself some time." Ginny closes the book and smoothes her robe down as she stretches her legs out in front of it. Her feet are tiny, Harry noticed, and she has purple nail polish on her toes. It looks good. "You'll probably always miss him, but with time, it won't hurt so quite so badly."
"You know that from experience?" he asks, because it sounds like she does.
She tilts her head. "Well, it took me about four years before I stopped missing Tom Riddle."
He nearly chokes and can't help looking at her in pure horror. "What?"
"He was my best friend that year, Harry. I didn't know he was evil at first. I can't say I miss the evil bastard that tried to kill us both, but the sweet, kind teenager who was willing to listen to everything I had to say?" Ginny sighs quietly. The way she's sitting causes the fire to cast her features into darkness, making it hard for him to see her face. "Yeah, I miss him every day."
"I'll listen to you," he offers, feeling chilled at the realization that she could miss anything about Tom Riddle. It doesn't seem right.
"Harry, you didn't even know I was here until I said something to you," she points out. "Look, it doesn't matter. I'm just saying, it will take time, but eventually you won't think about Sirius all the time. Whole days will go by and he won't be on your mind. After a while, you'll be able to remember the good times that you shared, few as they might have been."
Harry turns his attention back to the fire and ponders her words silently. During the last few weeks, Ginny has been something of a relief to him. When Hermione is being too smothering, and Ron is being too... well, Ron, she'll sit beside him in silence without saying anything. It's comforting. Once in a while, when they know they won't be disturbed, he has the opportunity to ask her about Sirius. She spent more time with Sirius than he did last summer, and Sirius told her stories about the Marauders. He soaks up those stories like a sponge, knowing that hearing them from her is never going to be enough, but that it's all he's going to get.
"Will you tell me?" he asks at last, his voice soft in the dim room.
Ginny doesn't seem to be surprised by the question. She places the book down on the coffee table and he notices that it doesn't have a title. A journal? He flicks his gaze back up to her face, which is now clearly illuminated, and holds it there as she says, "Did Sirius ever tell you the story of how your father finally got your mother to go out on a date with him?"
Every bone in Harry's body tenses. He shakes his head, unable to speak for the rush of want that has flooded through him. What he saw in Snape's pensieve this year has changed how he thinks about his father. Even the combined efforts of Sirius and Remus weren't enough to soothe over the wound that was caused by what he saw. But that doesn't stop him from wanting to hear stories that might prove Snape's memory wrong. His breath catches in his throat, and he has to swallow a couple of times before he can speak. "Please, tell me."
"Well, it was at the end of their sixth year," says Ginny, combing her fingers through her long, golden red hair. The strands catch the light of the fire and glitter. "Lily had been turning James down for a good two or three years by that point, but he was determined not to give up. He bought her a bouquet of magical violets and tried to set up a surprise date." Her mouth twitches, like she's trying not to laugh. "Except what he didn't know was that Lily already had a date that night. She wasn't very happy when James crashed it to ask her out on another date. Sirius told me that Lily was getting ready to hex your father silly until she saw the violets that he'd brought her. Apparently they were her favourite, and she couldn't believe that James Potter had taken the time to figure that out instead of just bringing her roses or lilies. It must have changed the way she thought of him, because the next time he asked her out, she said yes."
He grimaces at the story. It's not quite what he had hoped to hear. "Why did she ever go out with him?" he mumbles. "Flowers? Anyone could do that."
"Oh, I don't know," Ginny says thoughtfully. "No one is perfect, Harry. We all have our bad sides. Obviously Lily finally saw something in James that she thought was worthwhile pursuing. If he chased after her for all that time, he must have felt something pretty strong for her. Most teenaged boys would have given up for the first girl that agreed to jump into bed with them." Her voice is slightly bitter, and Harry remembers what Hermione told him a couple of days ago, that Michael Corner had dumped Ginny to go after Cho Chang.
"But he wasn't a very nice person," Harry says with a small frown, banishing those thoughts. He doesn't want to think about Cho Chang - or Michael Corner, for that matter.
"You didn't know him," she points out.
"I knew enough." The memory of the pensieve is enough to make him wince.
"Oh really?" Ginny says sharply. "Is this about Snape?"
Morosely, he nods. He can't quite remember when he told Ginny about the pensieve. Maybe she heard back when he was telling Ron and Hermione, he doesn't know. "No wonder Snape hated him. I just don't know what my mum saw in him."
"Harry, for Merlin's sake," she says, exasperated. "Your mother was not a paragon of good, you know. Lily Evans was a human like the rest of us with both good parts and bad. You just don't realize that because you haven't met anyone who disliked her, except for your dreadful aunt. Yes, Snape hated your father. And yes, maybe you're right, and James Potter was a bit of a bully. But you saw one incident from Snape and you're allowing it to taint everything you know about him. Just imagine if, twenty years from now, your child saw a memory of you in Malfoy's pensieve. I doubt you would come off looking all that good, and you're certainly not a bad person."
Harry stares at her, open-mouthed. Put like that, he suddenly feels a bit foolish. When he was younger, he was convinced that his father and mother were saints who could do no wrong. Coming to Hogwarts had not dispelled those thoughts when all he heard, left and right, was praise for his parents. It had been jarring to realize that they were not as perfect as he'd always believed. Uncomfortable, he looks away from Ginny and stares into the fire again.
"It's not your fault." Her voice has softened. "You never got the chance to know them as people. All I'm saying is don't let anyone else's view of either of your parent's color how you think about them and what they did for you. Lily and James loved you, and so did Sirius."
A weight he didn't even know was on his shoulders is gone. Harry drops his head. "How do you always do that?" he says. "How do you always know exactly what to say?"
She laughs. "Maybe I just know you, Harry."
By the time he looks up again, she's gone, leaving him with an odd feeling of loss. Ginny knows him, but more and more, he's realizing that he knows nothing about her.
At breakfast the next morning, Harry is noticeably tired. He keeps trying to muffle his yawns because Hermione shoots him a disapproving look every time he's not successful in hiding one. Not that she's doing much better. Now that OWLS are over, she's already started trying to prepare for sixth year, and it's wearing on her. Ron just rolls his eyes and mutters something about looking forward to going home for a few months. Harry wishes he felt the same way. The prospect of a summer at the Dursleys, cut off from everyone, does not thrill him.
He pokes at his breakfast, not eating very much, still thinking about his parents and Sirius. Ironically enough, it's Ron of all people who gives him the idea. His redheaded friend has been watching Harry play with his food, concern evident in his pale blue eyes. Hermione isn't the only one worried about how Harry has been dealing with Sirius's death.
"You holding up alright mate?" he says at last.
"Yeah," Harry says. It's his standard answer, but - surprisingly - he realizes it's mostly true. The heavy weight of grief no longer feels quite as suffocating as it did before, though it's still present. "I just wish I could see him one last time. I don't even have a picture of him."
"You've got the ones of your parents. Wasn't Sirius in a few of those?" Hermione asks, looking up from her book.
"A few." He doesn't know how to explain to them that it's not the same. Harry doesn't know that Sirius, the one who could laugh and joke around, the one without the haunted shadows in his eyes, the one who hasn't yet spent over a decade in Azkaban. That man is not his godfather, not yet, but he doesn't think Ron and Hermione would understand that. It flashes through his mind that Ginny would, but he quickly pushes that thought away, not yet willing to examine it too closely.
Ron keeps looking at him as he shoves a few pieces of bacon in his mouth. "Too bad you couldn't get to the Mirror of Erised again," he says suddenly.
It's like a bolt of lightening has struck. Harry's green eyes widen. The Mirror of Erised. He hasn't really thought about the mirror since his first year. After the fight with Voldemort, he was quite adamant about never wanting to see it again, no matter that it showed him the image of his family, whole and healthy. But now, hope is flooding through him for the first time since Sirius died. The Mirror always shows the truest desire of your heart, and Harry knows without a doubt that his deepest desire is to see Sirius again.
"That's a terrible idea," Hermione says immediately. "Ron, you know that the Mirror is just an illusion. Even if you see someone in it, they're not really there. The Mirror isn't going to bring Sirius back, even if you could find it. Why would you even mention it?"
Blushing to the tips of his ears, Ron pokes his eggs. "I was just thinking of our first year, that's all," he mutters, embarrassed over her criticism, "You were so happy, Harry. I don't think I've seen you that happy since. It was the first time you had the chance to really see your mum and dad. I just thought..."
"Well obviously you weren't thinking," says Hermione scathingly. The tone of her voice, or maybe the words themselves, start a fight. Harry sighs to himself and hunches his shoulders in an effort to avoid notice; sometimes the two of them try to pull him into their fight and make him pick a side, and he hates when they do that because they're both his best friends, maddeningly annoying as they can be.
To keep Hermione from getting on his case, he decides to drop the subject for the rest of the day, but it stays on his mind. That night, he takes his Invisibility Cloak from his trunk and wraps it around his shoulders. Ron is watching him through a crack in his curtains, and their eyes meet for a split second before Harry drapes the cloak over his head. He can tell that Ron isn't going to tell anyone about where Harry is going. The sympathy and pity in his friend's eyes are enough to tell him that. He leaves the dorm room and walks down the stairs to see that Hermione and Ginny are in the Common Room. Hermione keeps looking from the boy's staircase to the portrait hole every few seconds - obviously she realized that Harry was a lot more fascinated with the idea than he let on. Not for the first time, Harry curses Hermione silently.
"Hermione, if Harry wants to look for this mirror, you can't stop him,. He's a big wizard now," says Ginny, rubbing her eyes sleepily. She lifts her head and glances at the spot where Harry is standing. His heart turns over. Does she know he's there?
"It's a bad idea. You know how Harry can be, Ginny. Professor Dumbledore says that men have wasted away in front of it," she says primly. He regrets telling her about that. Of course, Hermione is probably right, but Harry has to know, and the train leaves tomorrow. If he doesn't go now, he's out of time.
Ginny stands up, like she has somehow heard this thought, and sways slightly. "Well, you're welcome to sit there guarding the door all night, but I'm going to go for a walk," she tells Hermione. "I'll bring you back a snack from the kitchens." Slowly, she saunters towards the portrait hole. Hermione is so distracted with monitoring the stairs that she doesn't even respond as Ginny opens the door and looks significantly at the spot where Harry is. Catching the hint, he stumbles forward and out into the hall. She climbs through after him and swings it shut.
"You realize," she says, "If you get caught, especially by Snape, you're going to be in a ton of trouble. And as your friend, I think this is a really bad idea." She pauses and her eyes soften in a way that makes Harry feel funny. He attributes it to the rush of getting past Hermione and holds his breath as she whispers, "But as someone who loved Sirius, I wish you the best of luck."
Merlin, he kind of really wants to hug Ginny right now, but he suppresses the urge and instead hurries off down the hall. He knows exactly where he's going: the Room of Requirement. If the Mirror is inside Hogwarts, he's pretty sure that it can give him a shortcut to it, and if not, then the Mirror is outside of his reach, maybe forever. Harry tries not to think about that possibility as he paces the required few times in front of the blank wall, thinking hard about the Mirror of Erised and how he wants to find it. A door forms and he steps forward and pulls it open to reveal a room crammed with junk.
Okay, that's not exactly what he was hoping for. Slowly, he steps inside, allowing the door to close behind him. He sweeps his eyes over the piles of stuff and realizes that it must be a place where people put things they don't want anymore. Certainly, none of it looks valuable. It's interesting, sure, but not what he's looking for. Harry is wondering whether the Room misinterpreted his thoughts when he rounds a corner and sees it, tucked away in a corner with what appears to be a couple of old curtains tossed over top. Without thinking, he breathes in sharply, and then bursts into a flurry of coughs as dust settles into his lungs.
"Bloody room," he mumbles, stumbling forward. He drags the sleeve of his pyjama top over his hand and holds it to his mouth for protection as he pushes the curtains away and looks at the top of the mirror. Yes, there are the familiar words etched deeply into the top. Harry rips a small section of the curtain away and quickly wipes the worst of the dust from the surface before he looks into the glass.
Through the smears of filmy gray, he sees - yes, it's them. His heart warms at the sight of his parents, Lily and James Potter. Both of them are waving and smiling, looking like they've just stepped out of his pictures. A third figure steps into sight and he bites his lip against the sudden flood of emotion at seeing Sirius again. It's an older Sirius, older than his parents, but one that still looks healthier and happier than Harry remembers. Sirius looks at him and smiles, but there's a sad cast to his face that Harry wasn't expecting.
"Sirius…" he whispers, reaching out to touch the glass. The impact of his fingers against the cold surface is a shock. The tears slowly sliding down his cheeks, not so much. For the first time, it occurs to him that maybe Hermione was right, and it wasn't a smart idea to track down the Mirror of Erised. For how can he tear himself away now?
In the mirror, Sirius begins acting strangely, beckoning to something - or someone - who is out of sight. Momentarily distracted from his grief, Harry watches in curiosity as his godfather finally pulls himself out into view. The Harry in the mirror looks exactly like he does now, except his face is lit up in a brilliant smile. He's holding hands with someone else, who finally follows him after a couple of tugs. Harry feels a fresh jolt of shock at the sight of Ginny, who tucks herself neatly into the side of mirror-Harry and waves happily at him. Sirius wraps an arm around both of them and looks out at Harry with a broad grin.
"I don't understand," Harry mutters, except he thinks that maybe he does. Suddenly, an awful lot of things are slotting into place, things that were so confusing or random before that he dismissed them, but which are now unavoidably staring him in the face. The Mirror of Erised has always shown him things that were unattainable before, but for the first time, this… He shivers as mirror-Harry leans down and kisses Ginny and looks away, momentarily overwhelmed by what he never even knew that he wanted.
By the time he looks back, they're all just staring at him again, watching him silently, collectively happy smiles still present on their faces. Harry curls his fingers into fists, wanting so badly to join them, but knowing that he can't. It hits him, then, that if he doesn't walk away, he never will. Hermione can't make him stay away. Dumbledore could move the mirror a hundred times and it would make no difference. He has to be the one who is willing to give them up. He has to be willing to let Sirius go. It's what Sirius would want.
Going right away is more than he can bear. He lingers a few minutes more, memorizing the shade of Lily's hair, the curve of his father's jaw, the way Sirius's smile doesn't tighten at the edges. Then he gives himself another five minutes, and then just one more, until the tears filling his eyes make it impossible for him to see any longer. So he turns away and, blinded, stumbles back down the aisle. At the end, he pauses and finds himself rushing back for one last glimpse. They're still there, still watching, frozen in time.
"I love you, Sirius," Harry says softly. It's the first time he can remember saying those words out loud. Pity he's saying it to cold glass rather than a living person, but it still makes him feel better. He lets his fingers graze the glass one last time before he walks away again. This time, he doesn't stop.
"You alright, mate?" Ron asks again between bites of breakfast. Both of them have been watching Harry since the start of the meal, but Ron is the first one to give in and ask. They don't have much more time before the professors will be herding them out to catch the train.
"Yeah," Harry says. It's actually the whole truth this time. He's had all night to think about what he saw and what it means. Seeing Sirius again, even if it was just in the Mirror of Erised, has taken the remainder of that awful heaviness away, leaving a stinging longing mixed with pain in its wake. Time will someday heal the rest, and he finds that he's actually started to believe what Ginny told him. Someday, thoughts of Sirius will make him smile.
Ginny. Harry's eyes seek her out unconsciously, remembering what else he saw in the mirror. He hasn't acted yet, but he knows he wants to. As though sensing his stare, she looks away from her friends and meets his eyes. She raises an eyebrow and tilts her head in greeting. Acting completely without his permission, his body nods in the direction of the doors, a silent indication that he'd like to speak to her alone. Eyebrows raised, she says something to her companions and gets up at the same time that he does. Hermione visibly burns with curiosity as they walk out the doors together.
"I found the mirror," he says as soon as they're outside the Great Hall.
"Did you?" Ginny leans against the wall. She's wearing her hair down, and the golden curls frame her face in an appealing way. "Did it make you feel better?"
He answers honestly. "Yes and no."
She understands. She always does. "I'm sorry, Harry. If I could bring him back to you… I would do anything."
"I know." He leans next to her, but keeps his body turned towards hers. It feels like a natural move to inch closer until there's barely any space between them. "I saw something else in the mirror."
Her eyes drop, examining the lack of space, before rising to focus on his face. "Oh? What would that be?" They're so close that her breath washes over his face when she speaks.
Harry kisses her, closing those last couple of inches. As far as first kisses go, it's not spectacular - he's not exactly had that much practice - but it causes an explosion of joy and rightness that makes his legs go weak. "I saw you," he whispers against her lips, pulling back only when he hears the doors opening. Ginny looks dazed, and both of them remain silent as a few students walk by.
"Are you sure?" she says at last, sounding shocked.
"It was hard to miss." His hand reaches for one of her curls. It feels like silk against his fingers and he enjoys the feeling of being allowed to touch. "I guess I'm not very good at figuring out what my heart desires."
Her lips twitch with the effort it takes not to smile, or maybe laugh. "I think you do a pretty good job. You get it eventually," she says.
"Eventually isn't good enough. Will you teach me?" he asks earnestly. "I want to know everything about you. I never want to not notice you again."
She blushes. "If you're sure," she says.
Harry realizes that he is. Even before he saw her in the mirror and understood fully, Ginny is the one thing he's always been sure about, even when Hermione told him that she'd gotten over him. Some part of him has always known. "I've never been more sure of anything else in my life," he says, meaning every word. He doesn't know what will happen in the future, but he knows that it will be easier to face if Ginny is at his side. "Will you… will you write to me this summer?"
"I will. Even if Dumbledore tells me not to, I promise I will."
It's not enough, but as more students leave the Great Hall, Harry realizes that it has to be. Hermione and Ron appear, and Harry takes a half-step back before Hermione's keen eyes pick up on anything. He takes quick, fleeting glances at Ginny out of the corner of his eye, trying to memorize her, as the four of them return to the dorms and pick up their things. As they go down to the carriages, Ginny has a small smile curving her lips, a secretive smile, and it's filling him with a heat that he has never felt before. The urge to kiss her again is maddening, like she's some exotic new sweet that he has become instantly addicted to, and it's hard to restrain himself. He wonders if she's having the same trouble.
"Another year over," Hermione sighs once they've finally gotten settled on the train. She sits down on one of the benches in the compartment they've chosen and glances out the window, then fiddles with her bag. "I hope next year won't be quite so exciting."
"You'd be bored to death if it wasn't," Ron says with a grin. "Admit it."
Hermione snorts. "With all of the schoolwork we've got coming up, I hardly think I could be bored. Our sixth year is important, you know."
Ron groans. "That's most boring of all!"
Ginny laughs softly as she sits down next to Hermione, leaving the space beside Ron for Harry. "Don't worry, Ron. There are lots of ways to spice up your life."
A bolt of heat nearly consumes Harry as Hermione turns to Ginny, looking interested. "Right," she says. It's not the kind of thing that Hermione usually indulges in, but she looks like she can't help herself. "Have you got your eye on someone else, then?"
"Someone else?" Ron's head pops up.
"I broke up with Michael," Ginny tells him, pulling a magazine from her bag. It's old news, but Ron doesn't really keep up with that kind of stuff. Hearing that his little sister is dating has the tendency to turn him strange colors, including the current unbecoming shade of red that clashes with his hair. Harry fights back laughter as Ginny adds, "He's dating Cho Chang now, last I heard."
"And you?" Hermione prompts. Just for a split second, she glances at Harry before she hastily turns her attention back to Ginny. Harry barely refrains from rolling his eyes and has to work to hide his grin. He'd never realized that his friends were so completely unsubtle.
"I have someone in mind," Ginny says simply, offering no further details.
"No, you don't!" Ron bursts out before Hermione can speak. "Ginny, you're… you're too young to date. I mean, unless it was someone like Harry - " He cuts off and looks hopefully between the two of them. Both Ginny and Harry reward him with equally blank looks.
"What are you on about, Ron?" Harry says.
Ron sputters. "I just thought, well…"
"You thought you could decide who I date?" There's a hard edge to Ginny's voice, but mischief gleams in her eyes as Ron chokes and fumbles through an explanation. Then he says something that sets Hermione off, and before Harry knows it, the two of them are deep into one of their fights, and probably wouldn't notice if he and Ginny started snogging in the middle of the compartment. Liking the sound of that idea, he looks at Ginny, who has her head buried in her magazine. She flips a page, lifts her head, and winks at him.
Please review! And Happy Valentine's Day.