Author's note: Thank you so much for taking the time to click on 'The deepest desire of our hearts'. This will be a reasonably short fic (about 5 chapters, each chapter 4-8 pages long) that primarily examines what Severus Snape would see (in my opinion) if he looked in the Mirror of Erised during Harry's first year at Hogwarts. However, there are a couple of twists along the way ;) I don't want to spoil it for you, but throughout the story you will gain insight into Severus', as well as Dumbledore's, and Harry's points of view. That's all I'm going to say :P

All of the chapters except the final one have been written, so I plan to update regularly. However, as I have begun my masters degree, I may not have the next chapter up until next weekend. In any case, please hang tight, I will update as soon as I can.

Happy reading! I really, really hope you enjoy this story!

The Deepest Desire of our Hearts

'The Mirror of Erised'

Severus' POV

I was patrolling the corridors of the castle, keeping alert for any sign of disobedient students who foolishly hoped the rules did not apply to them. After one hour of monitoring the halls in such a way, I was up on the fifth floor. So far, not a single student had been detected. Although this is the way things ought to be, I hoped to find someone before the night was out otherwise these three hours of patrol would have been a waste of my time. I could hear who I assumed was Filch shuffling along the floor above me. One hour to go until I could rest for the night, to only then wake up to face another day of Christmas celebrations. It was such a ridiculous holiday where people felt obligated to act joyful when they weren't.

I should make a point in saying that the staff were not required to monitor the corridors every night like I was, especially at the ridiculously early hours of the morning. None of the other staff were doomed to such misery. Why? Because Albus saw it fit to confide all of his concerns to me. Of course, I appreciate being his confidante, but I knew that if it weren't for my promise, and it pains me to say it, to protect Harry Potter, he would not bother informing me of anything.

So here I was walking around all hours of the morning in case Mr Potter should place his whims of pleasure before his safety, which would then require my intervention to prevent him from doing something stupid. Immediately, the third floor came to mind. Naturally all the staff knew what was being contained there, so it was no surprise to any of us that, when Albus mentioned the area was forbidden, the foolish children wondered why. Did they ever consider that perhaps there was a good reason they weren't told?

I sighed; children. They feel they have the right to know everything. But what was hidden on the third floor was dangerous- precious, but dangerous. Yet somehow, Potter with the kind of curiosity that made his father a fool, discovered Hagrid's 'Fluffy' and was determined to stick his ignorant mind where it does not belong.

So like his father. Albus constantly tells me that if the boy didn't look so damn much like my nemesis, I wouldn't despise the boy so much. Originally, perhaps this would have been the case, but it only took a month for me to discover he is every bit as arrogant as his father was.

I continued along the fifth floor corridor until I came across an unused classroom. This triggered a memory of a conversation I had with Albus a couple of days prior. I back tracked to the door and stared at it as I tried to recall what the Headmaster had mentioned to me in passing.

"Mmm?" I had hummed as he was leaving my office one day.

"Next time I am away, would you do me a favour and leave the door to the unused classroom on the fifth floor ajar for me?" he asked casually as if this wasn't an unusual request.

These words forced me to look up from the essay I was marking.

Eyebrows raised, I uttered. "May I ask why?"

Albus smiled benignly at me, a knowing twinkle in his eye.

"You will understand in time."

I pondered his words silently for a moment as Albus remained at my door as if encouraging me to continue questioning him.

"It wouldn't have anything to do with your addition to our protection of…" I trailed off, knowing it was unwise to speak of the substance without placing proper security around my office to ensure we could not be overheard.

Albus chuckled. "Very sharp of you, Severus; it is indeed. But there is another purpose I have for it before I transport it to the third floor," he murmured mysteriously.

"Why the secrecy, Albus?" What other function could this item have except to protect?

"It is one of my more brilliant ideas," Albus smiled at me as he walked out of my office. "Please heed my request, Severus," he called behind him.

I remember grumbling to myself, determined to obey his orders, but not before sneaking into the room myself; if I am to open the door when Albus is absent, I needed to know what any curious students would be up against should they enter the room. But then, with constantly keeping an eye on Quirrell, yet another one of Albus' requests, I had momentarily forgotten about the mysterious classroom.

My curiosity piquing, I turned the door handle to the unused classroom and pushed it open. I had enough time to see the moonlight shining through the window opposite before a loud clatter drew my attention sharply to the floor upstairs. I heard Filch's muffled screams, and I knew he had apprehended a child out of bed. I whipped out my wand, leaving the door ajar as Albus had requested, making a mental note to return to it later, and hurried up the stairs. I was willing to bet anything it was Potter.

After meeting Filch, we spread out in search of whoever was foolish enough to enter the restricted section. No, allow me to rephrase that; we set out in search of Potter, who was the only student foolish enough to enter the restricted section believing he wouldn't get caught. If anything happened to that boy… why did he have to take after his good-for-nothing father? Why couldn't I be responsible for the safety of a more obedient, less curious, more intelligent student who actually deserved my time? Of course, these questions were merely rhetorical; I already knew the answer; I simply wasn't that lucky- doomed to be rescuing the kid forever.

After searching for one hour, Filch decided to give up his search. I did too, as I was feeling drowsy, and was certain Potter was safe. I intended to check the Gryffindor dorms before heading to the dungeons just to be sure, when I walked past the notorious disused classroom again.

The door was still ajar.

I looked around me to make sure Filch had indeed retreated for the night, and that no ghosts, students, or heaven forbid, Peeves was lurking around. Swiftly, I quietly entered the room.

But I wasn't alone.

In that moment, I was overcome with a multitude of emotions, and I was forced to pause to consider my next course of action. I had found Potter; he was in the classroom- the very one Albus had asked me to keep ajar, the one that contains the weapon that will be used to protect the Philosopher's stone. Coincidence? I think not. But my immediate reaction was to whisper menacingly: 'Well, well Mr Potter, thought you could enter the restricted section and get away with it, did you? Fifty points from Gryffindor!'

Oh how I would have relished saying those words; it may have dissuaded him from being the arrogant child that he was.

But what I saw the boy doing prevented me from allowing myself that satisfaction; I was irrecoverably curious. Albus' 'weapon' must have been the ceiling high mirror that stood at the front of the classroom. Mr Potter was peering into it, his hands pressed up against the glass as if he wished he could enter the mirror. What could he see? Not that I cared; but I wondered the function of the mirror; perhaps it would give me insight into Albus' 'brilliant idea'. I waited for Mr Potter to get bored of his reflection, but for the next half hour he was consistently enthralled with whatever he could see. Fleeting thoughts to deduct points and discipline him entered my mind multiple times, but for some strange reason, I could not bring myself to interrupt him.

After those 30 minutes my reverie was interrupted when I heard Potter whisper: "I'll come back" to whatever entity he saw in the mirror. As much as I wished I cold say it to prove how narcissistic the boy was, I knew it wasn't himself that Potter was so intrigued by.

Knowing I had seconds to make myself scarce, I left the room, being careful not to disturb the door and sprinted into a neighbouring classroom. Like a child, I peeked through the door waiting for Potter to leave. But I never saw him, only a flicker of black as a figured walked passed me. Of course, the boy had inherited his father's invisibility cloak- as if the boy wasn't hard enough to keep track of as it was!

But at least he was gone- hopefully he had the sense to return to his dormitory- I would have to check on him later.

Cautiously, I left the classroom I found refuge in, and returned to the abandoned one housing the mysterious mirror. Once I entered the room, I closed the door behind me, being careful to lock it with a flick of my wand. I approached the mirror squinting at the beautiful gold engravings that lined the top of the frame: Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi.

I stared at the mirror in disbelief, my gaze tracing the frame in awe.

This was the Mirror of Erised.

This was Albus' weapon?

I was stunned; I had read about the mirror of course, but it is one of a kind, rare and precious. My mind boggled as I considered how Albus managed to come into possession of it. The first time I read of the mirror was during my seventh year at Hogwarts. Despite the evident deep magic instilled in such an object, I had my doubts about its accuracy and actual existence; after all, how could a mirror see and reflect the deepest desire of an individual's heart? No matter what magic was imbued in such an object, how could it know something so deeply personal when even the individual themselves are not aware of it? Now that I stood before this artefact, I suddenly believed in its magic, not because I had dared look into its magical depths, but just from the way Potter behaved in front of it, and knowing Albus required it to protect the most precious substance in existence. Hell, it must be real.

In the split second I had to guess what my deepest desire would be, I couldn't choose only one. Deciding that I might as well be shown, I forced myself to look into the glass. I couldn't breathe, but my heart was pounding eagerly against my chest. For a moment there was me, staring back with black eyes, black robes, and an unamused expression. I thought it hadn't worked; my heart sank with disappointment, but before I had to time to berate myself for caring, I had suddenly disappeared, and my reflection was instantaneously replaced by a beautiful woman, with long red hair, and green almond-shaped eyes.

"Lily," I breathed, my tight chest relaxing as if I was afraid the mirror wouldn't show me what I knew to be true.

Lily smiled at me, as if glad I remembered her. How could I forget? She looked exactly as she did the last time I saw her during our graduation from Hogwarts, but she wasn't wearing he graduation robes, but a beautiful summer dress I remember seeing her in before I-

I turned away from the mirror feeling ashamed. This was my deepest desire; for Lily to be alive again- to see her standing in front of me- for her to smile in my presence and not be disgusted by the sight of me- to be forgiven for all I had done- for that day during fifth year… for her death.

And for one dangerous second, I believed it was possible.

No, I couldn't stay here; I needed to forget the mirror, forget what I had seen. If I didn't, I would never leave this room. All I had ever hoped for was right in front of me. I had only looked at her for a second, but that was all I needed to know that I could waste my life away wishing it were true. But it wasn't- it never could be- Lily was dead, and no mirror could ever change that. It was a lie; Lily hadn't forgiven me.

I closed my eyes willing myself to stay composed. After taking two deep shuddering breaths, I forced my eyes to continue avoiding the mirror as I walked hastily out of the room, roughly closing the door behind me. I forced myself to keep walking; if I didn't, I knew I would have turned back. I glided straight to the dungeons. The moment I closed the door to my living quarters, I allowed myself to breathe again.

I was resolved to never visit that damned mirror again, but no matter what I did, what its glass reflected never left my mind. I couldn't sleep; seeing Lily reflected so perfectly at me, happy and undamaged was something I never thought I would see again. 'And something you will never see again,' I kept telling myself.

It's pathetic to admit, but that mirror was addictive. I no longer wondered why Potter wanted to enter the world it created for him; it was nearly impossible to walk away from it. But no matter how many promises I made to myself, all the self-talk went out of the window the following morning when I woke up to an aching heart, my mind filled with nothing but Lily.

After managing to resist the constant tug in my heart towards the room for the entire day, I found myself weakening that night. Despite knowing that it posed an impossible reality, I was too weak not to return to the Mirror of Erised.

Author's note: I hope you enjoyed the first chapter! This is the first time I have ever written any of the Harry Potter characters in first person, so I hope you feel I have done Severus justice! Thanks so much for reading :) If you liked it, please leave me a review, I always love hearing from my readers :)

Please note that some of you may feel that this examination of Severus' deepest desire is incomplete or not what you imagined. I just want to say that there are still 4 chapters to go! We're not done yet :P

I will post up Chapter 2 next weekend at the latest. My goal is to complete posting this story as soon as possible so I can go back to concentrating on my 'Trust me' outtakes (so sorry to all those who have been waiting for them!).

Until next time, happy reading! :)