"Come on, Artie! Hurry up!"
"I'm going as fast as I can, you git! Slow down!"
Crimson and Blue robes flowed down the halls, over the stairs and through archways, dodging other students, and ducking around corners. Alfred held tight into Arthur's hand, practically dragging him around the halls of Hogwarts, the young Gryffindor on a mission with the young Ravenclaw unwillingly along for the ride.
"Would you at least tell me where it is you're taking me?" Arthur demanded, tripping over his feet for the umpteenth time.
Alfred just smiled that cheeky smile of his over his shoulder. "You'll see soon enough, we're almost there!"
Sure enough after a few more rooms and a rather terrifying ride on a staircase, the two first years reached a dark hallway with a slightly ajar door on the very end. Arthur crinkled his nose in distaste as Alfred started off down the hall, scrutinizing the layer of dust that covered just about everything.
"I don't think we're supposed to be here, Alfred," he mumbled, following cautiously after him.
"Aw, come on, dude," Alfred scoffed. "Where is your sense of adventure?"
Arthur rolled his eyes. "Probably wandering about the Gryffindor common room, where it belongs. I'm a Ravenclaw, Alfred. We tend to think logically about things before we dive headfirst into them."
Alfred waved him off, before slipping into the room at the end of the hallway and beckoning him in as well. "You'll thank me for this later, I promise," he replied, finally pulling Arthur and his calculating glare in behind him.
It took Arthur's eyes a few moments to adjust to the dim lighting, but when they did, they immediately found themselves trained to a large structure on the back wall of the seemingly otherwise unused room. It was a tall mirror, with an old, gold frame and an inscription on top that Arthur was too far away to read.
He didn't need to get close to know exactly what it was, however, and thus he found himself trained to the spot, staring at it with mouth agape.
"Alfred, do you know what this is?" he asked finally when his voice finally started working again.
Alfred shook his head, but continued staring at it excitedly. "No, but I know what it does! Arthur, this thing can show you the future! Look!"
And he pulled Arthur over to stand next to him in front of the mirror.
"See? I'm the Griffindor seeker!" he exclaimed, his eyes shining at his reflection. "We just beat Sytherin for the championship, and look! You're even cheering me on! Thanks dude!"
But Arthur didn't see any of that. Arthur saw himself opening a letter and finding out he was a Ravenclaw prefect, something none of his brothers ever managed to achieve. His parents and peers were congratulating him, telling him how he was one of the best prefects Hogwarts had ever seen, everyone seemed to like him, wanting to be his friend, sit with him at lunch...
He cleared his throat harshly, snapping out of his trance to realize Alfred was still going on about being a quidditch star. "Shut up, would you? This thing doesn't show you the future."
Alfred instantly deflated. "It doesn't?"
Arthur shook his head, stepping forward and standing up on his tip toes to read the inscription etched into the frame. "Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi," he expertly read. "I show not your face but your heart's desire. The Mirror of Erised... I've only read about it, I didn't think it actually existed."
"I show not your face, but your heart's desire?" Alfred asked, stepping up to the mirror as if to examine what it was showing him a bit more closely. "So this thing isn't showing me the future? Just what I want to be the future?"
"Pretty much, yes," Arthur nodded. "I see myself as House Prefect."
"What a boring desire," Alfred snorted, ducking and laughing playfully as Arthur made to whack him in the arm. "Ow! Kidding, kidding!" They stood side by side, looking into the mirror for a bit, until Alfred finally broke the silence. "You know, even if it doesn't show the future, this thing is pretty cool. Know what we should do? Come back here, every year about this time, and see how our desires have changed. It would be fun!"
Arthur shrugged, not really seeing the harm in that. "I suppose we could. As long as we don't get in trouble," he added for good measure.
And Alfred laughed, promising they wouldn't.
They kept their promise, and showed up in that same abandoned room the following year to check their reflections.
"Not too different from last year," Alfred mused, tilting his head to the side. "I'm a chaser now, though, obviously."
"Considering you are a chaser, that would only make sense," Arthur mused, watching himself getting hugged by his joyful parents. "Everything is pretty much the same for me as well," he smirked, "but my brothers are crying in the background now, which is quite the pleasant sight."
Alfred chuckled. "So you've gotten more sadistic. Awesome."
They laughed, bid the mirror farewell, and promised, once again, to check back in exactly one year.
They continued on that way as time went by, and every year each of their reflections would change just ever so slightly.
By year three, Alfred had grown into his gangly limbs and had developed muscles, while Arthur had lost his freckles, and had grown at least another four inches. Year four brought on a sudden loss of acne and glasses for Alfred, while Arthur was still four inches taller, with tidy hair and smaller eyebrows.
Yet each year, despite the changes in their reflection's appearances, their desires remained fairly unchanged. Alfred was still star of the quiddich team, and Arthur was still house prefect. It was comforting in its certainty, yet both boys secretly longed for a change. Surely their desires couldn't remain the same for seven years? It was just a matter of finding something they desired even more.
A change, that came suddenly their fifth year.
"Okay mirror, show me what you got!" Alfred exclaimed, striding up to it. "I mean, we finally beat Slytherin last year, so that's taken care of, and you're a prefect, so it's got to have something new, right?" he asked with a chuckle.
Arthur shrugged, his nose still stuck in his potions textbook, like it had been for roughly two months as the OWLs loomed over them. "I don't bloody know, look for yourself, you twit."
Alfred rolled his eyes, and settled them on his reflection.
In the mirror, Alfred stood proudly in his quidditch robes, as per usual, grinning proudly as the spectators in the stands cheered him on. Everything seemed pretty much the same as before, until all of a sudden, someone was running out of the stands, directly at him. Alfred blinked, leaning forward a bit to get a better look.
A messy tuff of blond hair, and some majorly impressive eyebrows, revealed the person to be Arthur. Alfred watched curiously as mirror-Arthur ran through the pitch and directly up to Alfred, where he threw his arms around his neck and started kissing him.
Not like, 'jolly good show, old chap! Well done!' kissing, but full on, passionate, 'I'm so proud of you, you bloody beautiful fool' kissing.
Which was, well, freaking shocking, to say the least.
Alfred felt his blush crawl up his neck and settle hotly in his cheeks, where it preceded to glow with the intensity of a thousand suns. As his mirror self and mirror-Arthur continued to make out in front of him, he spun frantically to check on the real Arthur, who was still nose-deep in his book, and sighed in relief. Not that he could have seen it even if he wasn't studying, but the fact that Arthur couldn't see his face turning a shade that almost perfectly matched his robes, was probably for the best.
But the weirdest part, even weirder than seeing himself kissing his best friend, was that, well, it felt right.
He'd never thought about it before (who would?), but now that he was staring at it in the face, well, why not? Arthur was nice, smart, funny, brave... He was always there for him, keeping him out of trouble, and when that failed, bailing him out of trouble. They studied together, ate together, walked to class together, and for two boys not even in the same house, that was a pretty big deal.
Allowing himself one more guilty glance at Arthur's fingers running through his hair, he turned back to the real Arthur and cleared his throat. "Um, all you, bro," he squeaked (much to his own horror, but thankfully, Arthur didn't seem to notice).
Arthur took his head out of his book (Holy hippogriff, had his eyes always been that green?) and marched over to the mirror with a frown.
"W-what do ya see?" Alfred asked lamely, trying with all his might not to stare at Arthur's suddenly very noticeable behind.
Arthur rubbed his eyes with a yawn, and turned away from the mirror, his nose buried back in that book. "I'm getting all O's on my OWLs, and then sleeping," he replied shortly, and for some reason, Alfred found himself pouting and grumpy that he was apparently no where in Arthur's desires at all. "Come along, we can still attempt this potion before sundown if we hurry."
And Alfred followed him out of the room, because what else was he supposed to do after realizing he was in love?
During year six, they decided to forgo their annual mirror meet up.
Arthur took his prefect responsibilities very seriously, especially as rumors of him being named head boy flew about the castle, and with quidditch tryouts just around the corner, Alfred, as Gryffindor captain, was fairly busy himself.
They promised each other they would meet up for sure the next year, and returned themselves dutifully to their responsibilities.
At least, that's what Arthur did.
Alfred crept down the hall, wincing as the door to the old, abandoned room creaked upon opening. He tip-toed over to the mirror, trying his best to remain as quiet as possible. He'd never done this at night before, nor without Arthur, and suddenly, it felt a whole lot more like rule-breaking than it ever had in the past. He wondered briefly if this was how Arthur felt every time they snuck up here, and made a promise to himself to apologize at some point in the near future.
He knew, before he even looked into it, what the mirror would show him. Since his last encounter with the enchanted object, his feelings for his friend became more than apparent, and it was with little surprise to see his own daydreams reflected back to him in the glass.
They were laying out by the shores of the lake, relaxing, a luxury neither of them had much time for these days. Arthur's head was in his lap, and as he ran his fingers through his messy mop of hair, Arthur was fiddling with the hem of his shirt.
Alfred smiled wistfully at the image. He and Arthur, together, simply enjoying each other's company. He would trade every championship, all the fame and glory he'd acquired in the last six years, for that dream to become reality.
He indulged himself for a few more minutes before slipping out of the room, a gentle smile on his face with the knowledge that, if nothing else, his dreams that night would be sweet.
"Hey, hey Matt! Have you seen Arthur?"
Matthew, Alfred's brother and Hufflepuff prefect, blinked at him owlishly. "You don't know where he is?" he asked skeptically.
"No! I haven't seen him all day," he sighed, pointedly ignoring any and all implications his brother was implying with that tone of his. "We were gonna study for our NEWTs this afternoon, and he never showed up."
Matthew shook his head with a frown. "Sorry Al, I haven't seen him. Maybe he's in the Ravenclaw common room? If I see Kiku or Ludwig, I'll ask them for you, eh?"
"Thanks dude," Alfred sighed, nodding to his brother and running off, back out of the great hall.
Well, that was the last place on his list, Alfred mused tiredly. He had checked all of Arthur's usual haunts, the library, the herbology greenhouses, the kitchens (though he was banned from those, he still managed to find a way to break in every couple of months or so), even the prefect's bathroom, and yet he was nowhere to be seen.
Save for the Ravenclaw common room, of which Alfred wasn't able to gain entry, there was just one other place he could think to look.
To the old, abandoned, mirror-room it was.
Much to Alfred's relief, the door to the room was ajar when he arrived, which meant that there was a good chance Arthur was up there. Keeping quiet, so as not to startle him, he pushed the door aside and walked into the room, sighing with relief when he noticed a messy tuff of blond hair standing out among the darkness.
Arthur was seated cross-legged on the floor in front of the mirror, Alfred could tell he wasn't asleep, but you never would have known with how still he was. He crept closer, amazed that Arthur hadn't noticed him, to get a better look at his face. Arthur stared at the mirror longingly, a look of such fondness and love that Alfred wasn't certain existed outside of his daydreams. He didn't know what Arthur was seeing in that reflection, but he was jealous of it all the same.
"Arthur?" he asked, wincing when Arthur jumped and spun around to gape at him in surprise.
"Hey," he said lamely. "Where have you been all day, dude? I've been looking everywhere for you."
Arthur fidgeted uncomfortably. "I've just been busy, is all. Preparing for NEWTs and all that."
Alfred narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "Which was why we were gonna study for them together this afternoon, but you never showed up." He froze, his eyes widening in clarification as the puzzle pieces fell together. "Dude, you weren't up here all day, were you?"
"What?" Arthur gasped, blushing furiously. "What are you—Don't be daft, you idiot!"
Alfred glared, the seriousness of the situation settling in. "Arthur. Have you been up here, staring at this mirror, all day?"
Alfred could see the weird mixture of guilt, fear, worry, and just a bit of defensiveness in Arthur's eyes, as he turned his nose up in the air and spat, "So what if I was?"
"Dude!" Alfred exclaimed, shocking both himself and Arthur with the intensity of his voice. "What are you thinking, man? You of all people know how dangerous it is to sit in front of this thing all day!"
Arthur's shocked expression immediately melted into one of anger. "Of course I know how dangerous it is, you git!"
"Then what were you thinking?" Alfred cried. "It's. Not. Real, Arthur! People have wasted away in front of this thing, and—"
"SHUT UP," Arthur blurted harshly. "Just shut up! You think I don't know that, Alfred?" he cried, and to Alfred's horror, tears began welling up in his eyes. "Of course I know it's not real! I'm a Ravenclaw, remember? Prefect, Head Boy, logical thinker?" He paused, facing the mirror once again and gazing at it hopelessly.
"I know it's not real. That it will never be real, and that sitting in front of this damned thing wishing it were is completely pointless, but..." he sighed, running a hand through his hair desperately. "Is it so bad to not think logically every once in a while? To throw all caution to the wind, and enjoy day-dreaming of impossibilities?" He wiped a tear from his eye before it had a chance to fall.
"I'm not ready to give it up yet. Sure, it may be impossible, but as long as I'm here, as long and we're here at Hogwarts, there is a chance. I'm not ready to give it up, Alfred," he choked out, the tears falling too fast now for him to try and stop. "I'm not ready to give you up..."
Alfred's heart was racing. "M-me?"
Arthur nodded with a self-deprecating laugh. "Of course you, stupid. It's always been you, ever since second year. You didn't think my desires have revolved around nothing but school for last six years, did you?"
Actually, Alfred had. He blushed hotly. "W-well, I, uh..."
Arthur shook his head, adverting his eyes. "Maybe not always at the center of my desires, but you've always been there. Working on homework with me, winning a quidditch match for me, kissing me..." He sniffed, a small, heartbroken smile forming on his lips. "When we leave school, and you go off to become a hero, fall in love, start a family, everything you desire, where will I be then?"
Alfred stood silently in response, unsure of how to reply. Finally, he closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and walked purposefully over to the mirror and stood rigidly next to Arthur. He knew his face was probably burning red, but he kept his eyes trained on the glass, knowing he wouldn't be able to do this if he looked away.
"Wanna know what I see when I look into this thing?" he asked, not even bothering to waste his energy keeping his voice steady. "I see you. Doing homework with you, winning a quidditch match for you, kissing you, you calling me an idiot..." He ran a hand through his hair nervously, he could feel Arthur's eyes boring into him, but he couldn't bring himself to look at him just yet. "But that's not the important part."
"W-what's that?" Arthur asked in a whisper.
Alfred finally looked down at him, smiling nervously. "You're smiling in the mirror. And I'm pretty sure I put it there, so if you keep crying, I'm not sure if this is gonna work ou—mmph!"
And just like that, they were kissing. Alfred's fingers were in Arthur's hair, Arthur was fiddling with the hem of Alfred's shirt, and the both of them were smiling as they giggled against each other's lips.
It was the first time in years that the mirror was able to reflect exactly what was happening in front of it.
Lame ending is lame. I had such high hopes for it, too! Ah well.
Usually I'm on team Slytherin!Arthur, but I kinda liked the idea of someone from Ravenclaw being the one that gets pulled in by the allure of the mirror, when they're supposed to be all logical and stuff. Alfred is always Gryffindor though, I wasn't gonna change that. XD
Anyway, hope you enjoyed! :D