Disclaimer: Everything recognizable belongs to J.K. Rowling and associates. No Copy Right Infringement is meant. Note: Mention of child abuse, but not the actual action of it happening in the story; hope that makes sense.

Opposed Mirrors Reflecting

"So, friend, when I first looked upon your face, our thoughts gave answer each to each. Opposed mirrors each reflecting each, although I knew not in what time or place, methought that I had often met with you, and each had lived in other's mind and speech."

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

.~~.

As the fog began to clear and the disjointed mayhem in my mind dissipated, my surroundings became more focused. No longer was I stuck in a world where death and blood coated my skin; where the smell of fire and decay refused to leave my senses. I felt the skin on my face and around my nose tightened as I cringed. Never had I smelt something so foul and pungent. A mixture of scents I knew would be seared forever into my memory. It was beyond ghastly.

My eyes seemed almost too weak to open, as if I had spent the last forty-eight hours with no sleep. I could only image the state of my hair and the many tangles that would ensnare it.

When I expected to see light filter between my partially opened lids, all that came was darkness, with a very dim flickering light. I couldn't understand what was happening or where I may have been. I could feel my heart start to pound even more loudly in my ears. Fear seemed to waft off of me in waves.

As I went to move, needing to become somewhat familiar with my surroundings, the silkiness of the sheets was the first thing I registered before the pain became almost blinding. Nothing made sense and all became lost in the agony.

Why hadn't I felt it upon waking? my mind pleaded. Where was I? What had happened to me? Who was responsible for my utter confusion and the hysteria running havoc in my veins?

I tried to speak aloud. Perhaps someone was near and could answer questions I couldn't even fathom above the pain. However, the only thing to leave my dry, chapped lips was soft, anguish-filled groans. Everything seemed to be sore, but the part which pained me the most was my back. It truly felt as if the skin had been peeled from my muscles with someone's bare hands. I wondered if my backbone was literally visible.

"Hush, sissy. You shall be well again." Unwelcomed and confused tears filled my tired stinging eyes. I didn't recognize the voice, nor could I empathize with the love which tinged the tenderly spoken words.

I wanted to ask more than anything 'who had spoken to me so lovingly', but couldn't string the words together. Everything was a dry jumble of sounds in my throbbing throat.

Over and over I tried to wet my throat, but my mouth didn't seem to want to make any saliva. Perhaps it had all been converted to my useless, salty tears. As I tried to move, to find any position that would be somewhat more comfortable than the anguish I was in, nothing but pain flared.

Immediately my eyes stung with the free flowing tears, as wave upon wave of torture flooded my body. It was beyond anything I had ever felt, even in the "dream" I had just had.

I couldn't distinguish between what was real and what was surreal.

Had I just taken part in some imaginary battle at Hogwarts? Had I truly watched people I loved being killed and sacrificed for some totally insane notion of blood supremacy? Had I gone completely insane and broken into a place which was reputed to be the most magically protected establishment in all of Wizarding Britain? If all these things had truly happened, where was it all now? Why was I lying in a silk-covered bed with my back on fire? Why wasn't I out on some battlefield bleeding, or helping to round up the fallen victims?

Nothing made sense out of the utter chaos and no answers were forthcoming. The only thing that seemed to comfort me was an unknown voice filled with a love I didn't understand or feel in return. Or did I?

"'Oo t-there?" I finally asked, able to get even that much out of my desiccated throat, above the agony.

Again, I was taken by surprise. The sound of my voice was unrecognizable. It was also scarily funny that such a random thought would run through my mind amidst the pain.

"It's okay, sissy. The confusion will soon pass. I promise," the soothing, yet oddly young voice consoled me. Who was this "sissy" person? The only name I could associate myself with was Hermione. I was she, and she was me.

"Just breathe. You know mother won't heal these wounds. At least for a while yet and with father being away, well . . . I'm trying the best I can to take away the worst of the pain, but I only have this salve Uncle gave me."

I didn't know how to respond; if there was anything I could actually say. The only thing I wanted – beside the immense pain to stop – was this so called confusion to lift. I couldn't remember this voice that spoke to me, I couldn't remember any salve and surely this Uncle was just as much an anomaly. And above all what kind of mother wouldn't heal a child's pain? What mother would allow a child to suffer so, and Merlin above was I suffering. I didn't know how I was able to sustain such pain without constantly screaming my voice raw. Or perhaps I already had.

As I went to try and speak again, the heat flared relentlessly in my back, my teeth dug unforgiving into my tongue. I could now taste the bitterness of blood filling my mouth. Bile rose in my throat and scorched the lining even more. I wanted to pass out. I wanted to be relieved of this pain any way possible. It was truly unsustainable.

"I'm so sorry, sissy," the young – too young – voice repeated over and over. Soft hands could be felt on my battered skin as something was removed and then as gently as possible replaced. Whimper after pathetic, useless whimper left my chapped lips. "I'm almost done. I just need to replace these strips, sissy. Mother said if you wish to be a Mudblood, then you have to be healed like a diseased one. I know you don't want to be a useless muggle, sister. You can't help what you dream. She is just upset. All will be well in the morning . . . you'll see."

I wondered if this young person actually believed the platitudes he fed me. His voice was uneven and he sounded as if he was just mumbling, trying to make sense out of the insensible. I was a Mudblood as he so naively put it, but not diseased. My parents hadn't been useless muggles, and I surely couldn't help what I dreamed. And above all else, what kind of woman – mother – would punish a child for something beyond their control? It didn't matter how upset she may have been.

Would all truly be well? It was a question I didn't want answered.

Strip after strip was replaced on my back as more blood filled my mouth where I continued to bite down on my tongue. After the torture was done and each new strip had been replaced over another gash in my back, I whimpered in thankfulness. The skin on my cheeks was tight from where my salty tear tracks had dried.

"There you are, sissy. You'll be well in the morning. You just have to b-be." And the voice finally broke.

The young one had been so brave, so valiant as my wounds were cleansed and taken care of. But now that the task was complete, my supposed sibling fell apart. There was nothing left to occupy the agonized time. We were both left to the silence of our tears and grief-stricken moans.

Warm body heat suffused into my skin as (whom I could only assume was) my brother cuddled up to my side. He was careful not to touch any part of my flesh where the clean strips (soaked in some kind of salve) layered my torn back.

Soft strokes were felt in my hair as his tender fingers ran over my scalp. It surprised me how his fingers didn't become entangled in my wild curls. Surely the state of them must have been disarrayed.

Little by little the immense pain receded, and even though I wished it had been a lot more, any small measure of relief was welcomed.

I wanted to say thank you – I wanted to say anything to my young hero/caretaker, but my lips were unresponsive. My facial muscles were just too worn out from cringing and trying to fight off the pain in any manner I could.

"Hush, sissy. You need not thank me." I didn't know this boy from Merlin, but he seemed quite the opposite. He seemed to be able to read me easily, as if he was privy to my thoughts. It was beyond scary and daunting. "You'd do the same for me." His fingers still swept through my hair in a soothing manner that was lulling me to sleep. It seemed to be the only thing that was quieting my pain.

"I know you don't mean to be different, sissy, but I wish you wouldn't. Sometimes I'm scared . . . scared you will say something which will send mother over the edge of no return. Why can you not have these dreams?" His voice was becoming shakier and more emotional as he asked me questions I had no answer to or recognition of. "Can't you stop, Hydra? Can't you please stop for me . . . for Sirius?"

Wave after wave of hysteria and vertigo hit me. If I hadn't been lying down, surely I would have toppled over. The only thing I could understand out of his insane mumblings was the name Sirius. The name Hydra was as foreign to me as this sweet boy next to me. Sirius was long gone, yet this boy-child seemed to think otherwise. What kind of rabbit hole had I fell into?

"Don't u-u-understand," I finally mumbled painfully, swallowing the residue blood in my mouth. I wanted to sick it all back up. One wasn't meant to swallow blood.

"You do, Hydra!" he continued to call me, as if it would stir some long forgotten memory in me. "Think, sissy. You aren't this Hermione girl. You aren't some common mudblood; just saying so sends mother over the edge, and then Sirius when he tries to protect you so. We are better than they. We don't have sludge in our noble veins. Why must you have these dreams," he asked me brokenly.

My heart now seemed to hurt even worse than my back. This tragically broken boy was crying and hurting and pleading for someone I couldn't recognize.

"S-Sirius," I whimpered, trying to get out any information he could tell me. I needed any kind of clarification.

"You recognize the name?" he asked, a little hope lining his dejected voice. I nodded my head slightly and then winced when another wave of pain shot through the torn skin on my back.

"He's our brother, Hydra. He's the oldest by a little over a year. He's off to Hogwarts soon. I know he really wants to go, no matter what he claims. He just doesn't want to leave us defenseless." I could hear the fear in his young voice. He didn't want his brother to leave as much as Sirius didn't want to. I could only surmise that Sirius somehow was our protector. Our shield.

And at that thought, something triggered in my mind. Small flashes started to race through my mind. The light from the fast-moving pictures were all but staggering and blinded me with their brilliance.

Shiny raven hair . . . mischievous face . . . sneaking around downstairs to watch all the pretty women dancing with their partners . . . lessons on etiquettes and proper decorum . . . playing at the seashore . . . pureblood . . . dancing lessons . . . Yule tide celebrations with extended family . . . grandfather sneaking me chocolates . . . brothers crying with me after a severe punishment . . . Sirius standing between mother and me . . . Sirius yelling at her to stop using dark magic on me after only waking up from uncontrollable dreaming . . Father hitting mother about the face and her falling down . . . Sirius wiping yet more tears that fall helplessly . . . Sirius singing me from my pain while playing with my perfectly straight raven-colored hair . . . Sirius . . . Regulus . . . Hydra . . . me . . .

I wasn't this Hermione . . . I wasn't she . . . I hadn't fought in some battle . . . I wasn't Muggle-born . . . Dirty blood didn't flow through my veins . . . Draco Malfoy was nonexistent . . . Good hadn't finally triumphed over evil . . . Harry wasn't my most beloved friend . . . I wasn't Mudblood.

Pureblood . . . Hydra Melania Black.

I was she and she was me.

"Reg?" I whimper through the utter upheaval and bedlam of my mind.

"Yes, sissy," he answers, hopeful happiness filling his voice beyond belief.

He knew I was regaining my memories and for a little while longer, at least until the dreams of Hermione the Muggle-born returned, I would be fine and all would be well in the morning.

"You're Hydra and I'm Regulus, your brother. Welcome back, sissy." His tears of relief fell onto my upturned cheek.

And goodness, what a painful homecoming it had been.

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Author's Notes: Here is the last part of my one-shot (or more like two – hehe).

This story was kind of like an alternative realities. I had fun with the idea, and though this story is short, I had much fun writing it. I have more ideas for this story and could possibility extend it out, but not sure if I will. I guess my muse will decide.

Anyhow, if you have the time, please review. I welcome all opinions and thoughts. Hope all is well with everyone!

Posted: Friday, 7 June 2013