Categories > Books > Harry Potter > I, Alone
Chapter 18 - The Mirror of Erised
"You know, I still don't buy it," Tracey stated without looking over her shoulder at her friend. "I mean I can understand Harry feeling bad about the game, but to hide out in the locker room all that time?" the auburn haired witch gave a decisive shake of her head as she buttoned up her school shirt. "I mean, who does that?" Tracey asked, turning to face the other witch with her looking for agreement to her statement.
It had already been a day since they had risen early, hastily dressed, before racing down to the common room to see if their friend was alright. The two young witches had sat and fretted for nearly an hour before Blaise, followed by a lagging Harry, had emerged from the boy's dormitory to start their day. When questioned, Harry had confessed to hiding out in the Quidditch locker room, a story Blaise hesitantly corroborated. The reason Harry had given was that he felt bad about losing the game and was embarrassed about falling off his broom.
"I am sure he had his reasons," Daphne replied as she slipped on one black sock, not bothering to look up at her friend as they conversed back and forth. "He did have a rather bad day, Tracey," the seated witch reminded her friend. "The entire House was rather put out with him…not like that's any different from any other day," Daphne added a bit sadly. "I am sure he just didn't want to deal with it," she stated in Harry's defense.
Once again Tracey gave a short shake of her head. "I don't believe that," she replied as she turned and picked up her skirt from her bed before stepping into it. "We all know that Harry is more than a little clueless to the world around him. If anything that would make him a little oblivious to what and how others would act, wouldn't it?" she asked as she pulled up the skirt and zipped it up.
Daphne couldn't help but agree with her friend except that she knew something about Harry that her best friend didn't. Given Harry's life, could he have thought that he would get a beating or something of that sort for losing the game? The young witch really had no clue what being abused was like or what impact it could have on a young child. I'm fairly certain that it can't be good, she told herself silently. I need to find out more about the kind of abuse Harry went through. Maybe that Ican help him!
"How should I know?" Daphne asked, evading the question as she finished slipping on her other sock. "Maybe he's not as socially inept as we think he is. I wouldn't be surprised if he's fed up with all the whispers and rumors. He's certainly had to have heard them. Everyone deals with things in their own way after all. Maybe he's just never been allowed to be himself and do things his own way before?" she responded with as she stood and reached for her own skirt.
"What makes you think that?" Tracey curiously asked as she scrunched up a sock before thrusting her toes, followed by the rest of her foot, into it.
Daphne froze for the barest of moments, fearful that she might have said too much and given away the fact that she knew something…something incredibly private about Harry, which the others didn't. "He was raised by Muggles after all," the girl answered with, trying to play it off.
Tracey pondered the girl's words for a long moment, her hands still holding the top of her sock where it rested just below her knee. "I guess," she final said. "There is no telling what they may have taught him." Tracey grabbed her other sock and slipped it on absently before stepping into her shoes as well. "They are Muggles after all."
"I know, right?" Daphne replied as she finished pulling up her skirt and zipping it closed as she slipped on her shoes. "Maybe we should talk to Hermione about it," she suggested. "I mean her parents are Muggles after all." That's right! Hermione's parents are some kind of healers in their world. Maybe she can ask her parents about what happened to Harry? I'll have to be careful about how I ask her though, Daphne pondered. The last thing she wanted to do was tip off the overly bright witch about Harry's condition.
"That's brilliant!" Tracey exclaimed. "Why didn't Ithink of that?"
"Because I'm the brains of this duo," Daphne quipped, trying to hide a cheeky grin and failing miserably.
"Then that means I must be the beauty," Tracey fired back without missing a beat as she flounced her hair over one shoulder playfully. "I can live with that."
"It's a beautiful world you live in, Davis, isn't it?" Daphne asked with a good-natured smirk.
"Of course it is. Why ever would I want it to be anything other, Greengrass?" Tracey asked in a haughty tone of voice. The two friends broke out into squeals of laughter as they collapsed and rolled around on their respective beds for several long moments. Once the uncontrollable laughter had died down to a smattering of giggles they began to gather their books and other things they would need for class that morning. "It really was a bit brill on your part to think of speaking to Hermione."
"I have my moments," Daphne replied, pausing long enough to buff her fingertip against her chest. "Besides," she quickly added after the two of them shared a grin, "I seriously doubt we'll learn that sort of thing in Muggle Studies. From listening to Hermione rant about that class it is seriously outdated." I can't help but wonder just how many other classes are outdated as well.
"Harry and her both have said that it is like a hundred years or more behind how the actual Muggle world is," Tracey offered as she slipped the last of her books into her book bag and closed it, securing the fastener. "It kind of makes me wonder just what real Muggles are like and all," she said, turning to face the other witch who was closing her own book bag at that moment.
"I asked my Dad once what they were like," Daphne confessed, gathering up her inkwell and quills before slipping them into a side pocket of the bag before her.
"That's right," Tracey replied a bit excitedly."Your Dad employees Muggles at some of his businesses. What did he say?"
Daphne gave a slight shrug before hefting her school bag off the bed. "He said they're pretty much the same as us, without the magic of course. They work and worry about their families. They love, hate and fight the same way we do. He did say that they are fairly inventive," she added in athoughtful tone as the two of them headed out of the dormitory.
"Without magic, I guess they would have to be," Tracey offered. "I saw a Muggle thing they ride in once," she said rather proudly. "It was made out of metal and had windows in it so that they could parade themselves about. I guess they like to show off the fact that they have one at all," Tracey said, recalling that there had been more Muggles walking than in the moving metal boxes. Maybe only certain Muggles can have them?
"I think they are called Coopers," Daphne said in aslightly superior and knowing tone.
"Whatever for?" Tracey asked with a puzzled frown as the two of them walked through the Slytherin common room and out the hidden door.
"I'm not really sure," the other witch replied."Maybe because they're cooped up inside of them?" Truthfully, Daphne had once overheard her father speaking to a Muggle once and they were discussing the blue Muggle transportation thing parked outside the café they were at. She had heard the man refer to it as a Cooper and so assumed all of them were called that. A carriage was a carriage after all, regardless of how it looked.
"They do go fairly fast," Tracey admitted as they started up the stairs. "Not nearly as fast as a broom, mind you. Certainly nowhere near as quick as the floo or apparition."
"I can't imagine living without magic," Daphne said, feeling sorry for Muggles in general. "They must waste a great deal of time just trying to get from one place to another. It must be dreadfully boring to be trapped inside one of those things till you get to where ever you're going."
"Do you think Harry and Hermione have ridden inside one?" Tracey asked as they reached the top of the stairs and headed for the great hall and waiting breakfast. "We could always ask them what it is like," she offered with a trace of excitement in her voice.
Daphne couldn't help but smile, recognizing the tone in her friend's voice for what it was. You're more like Hermione than you think you are Tracey, she thought to herself. Growing up with Tracey she had learned that once her friend wanted to know something she wouldn't stop until she did. It was a trait shared by their bushy-haired friend. She's like a dog with a bone, she just can't let it go. "It doesn't hurt to ask," Daphne said, supportively. "I'm certain Hermione would love to help us further our understanding of Muggles."
"I would," Hermione interjected, having heard the tail end of the conversation as her two friends neared the doors to the great hall where she had been waiting for them. "What would I be educating you on?" the Gryffindor witch asked.
"Coopers!" the two Slytherins said in unison.
"Coopers?" Hermione asked, her brow creased in puzzlement at the unexpected answer. "Just Coopers and not all automobiles?" she enquired.
"What's an automobile?" Daphne asked.
"Well they are what the non-magical drive around in," Hermione replied.
"Coopers," Tracey said with a nod of agreement."That's what they're called so why also call them automobiles? Isn't that a bit confusing?"
"No," Hermione replied, shaking her head slightly from side to side. "A Cooper is a type of automobile," she told the others. The young girl thought for a moment before suddenly realizing how to explain it. "Just like a Nimbus is a type of broom!" she exclaimed triumphantly.
"So there are all types of these auto mo bills?" Daphne asked quizzically.
"Automobiles," Hermione corrected. "Yes, there are a great many different kinds. The manufacturers of them seem to come up with new models and designs every year. They are available in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors."
"So you've ridden in one before?" Tracey asked, wanting to know what it was like.
"Loads of times," Hermione assured her. "Mum and Dad own a Mercedes. Mercedes is the name of one of the companies that building the automobiles," she added upon seeing their confused expressions."We'd best get seated or we'll miss breakfast," she added, turning to lead the others into the great hall.
"What is it like to ride inside of one?" Tracey pressed, following the muggle-born witch into the hall.
Hermione, with a little help from Harry once they had arrived at the Slytherin table where all the Outsiders sat, spent the remainder of the meal explaining what it was like to ride in a car. The others, Blaise included as he was just as uneducated about Muggle transportation as Daphne and Tracey, seemed fascinated about the smallest of things. The fact that Hermione usually read a book while riding seemed to amaze them till she pointed out that it was no different than riding the Hogwarts Express really.
"If you like I can ask Mum and Dad if they would give you ride over the holidays," Hermione finally offered the others. If they experienced it for themselves then maybe they understand what it is like better she figured. The others squealed with delight and plans were quickly made for adate to meet up at the Leaky Cauldron. In all the excitement Daphne forgot to ask Hermione concerning abuse and the possible ramifications if could have on asmall child.
November gave way to the frigid winds of December as the temperatures in the Scottish Highlands dipped even further and refused to rise all that high during the day. The coldness was keenly felt within the large stone castle where the chilled winds seemed to blow through the halls on aregular basis. The students spent a great deal of time in their common rooms where the fires were kept blazing to ward off the cold. Sadly, the weather did not keep the Quidditch teams from practicing on a regular basis.
Harry guided his broom along the edge of Black Lake enjoying the day's weak sunshine. The first time he had tried to attend practice with the rest of his teammates he had been chased from the pitch by bludgers and hexes. It was apparent to the bright lad that his presence was not wished for. Left with little to do and still wishing to practice he had spent the time flying over the Forbidden Forest instead.
The young seeker decided today to fly over the lake in the hopes of maybe seeing Rin once again. I know she said that she would be gone till after the frozen tears, whatever those are, he thought to himself. The young wizard still wished to see her again though, which is what had brought him to the edge of the lake this day. With practiced ease Harry turned his Nimbus and headed out over the open water at a leisurely pace.
As the airborne wizard left the shore behind him the water passing beneath his feet steadily grew darker till it was a uniform black. I guess that is where it gets its name from. Emerald eyes scanned the water's surface, hoping to catch aglimpse of his newest friend. "If she is a Mermaid then I would guess that she would live in the deeper part of the lake," he reasoned aloud to himself. Ahead of him the water's surface began to froth and bubble before shooting up into the air directly in his path.
Harry tightened his grip upon the broom and swung to the side, narrowly missing the cold water. Glancing back over his shoulder he saw the water fall and the surface of the lake settle once more. "What was that?" he wondered aloud as he turned back around only to have to roll to the side to avoid another wave of frigid water. As he swerved to the side another wall of water shot into the air, forcing the young wizard to climb into the sky quickly to go over it.
What's happening? he asked himself as he looked blow him, catching the hint of something pink disappearing into the churning waters. Whatever it was, it appeared to be keeping pace with him as he moved further out over the water of the lake. It didn't take him long to realize that whatever it was it had to be large to displace that amount of water up into the air.
Before Harry could get a clear look another tower of water shot up into the air, causing him to swerve to the left only to have barrel role to the right to avoid a large tentacle arm that sprang from the water to block his path. Harry grinned as he narrowly missed the member though he had little time to rejoice as two other tentacles appeared causing him to hastily alter his course. Now that he knew what it was the Slytherin Seeker bent low upon his broom and weaved his way through the fleshy members.
For the next hour the young Seeker played tag with the great squid who called the lake its home. Harry had read in Hogwarts: A History that the squid was very playful and had never hurt a student, ever. There were cases where the multi-legged creature had even saved students from drowning in the frigid waters of the lake. It must be pretty boring for him, Harry thought as he ducked under a wave of water, only to grimace as several drops managed to slide down the back of his neck, sending shivers down his spine. Maybe he plays with the Merfolk?
Harry pulled up on his broom and rose high enough to avoid the creatures reach. The water bubbled and the Great Squid's enormous head broke the water enough for it to train its eye on the hovering wizard. "Thanks for the play!" Harry yelled down as he waved to the creature. "I'll try to come back tomorrow and play some more," the boy promised. The squid seemed to wave back as it slowly sunk back beneath the dark water's surface.
Upon returning to the pitch he noted that the others had finished their practice and apparently returned to the castle. Landing near the broom locker Harry quickly stored his broom away. It was one of the conditions of him being allowed to have a broom that it had to remain with the school brooms. Madam Hooch had provided him with the password to the locker as well as the spelled rope that secured his Nimbus. The rope prevented anyone else from taking the much desired broom from its resting place. Madam Hooch had explained that all brooms were kept in the locker to prevent having students flying through the halls of the castle. Apparently there had been any number of accidents before the rule was brought into play nearly a hundred years ago.
Harry quickly left the pitch and made his way up to the castle. Now that he wasn't dodging sheets of freezing water and the appendages of aplayful squid he realized that it was fairly cold outside. The trail led up ahill and then through a gate before he finally made it to the relative warmth of the old drafty castle. Harry was walking along a corridor when he heard avoice call out behind him.
"Oi! Scarhead!" Draco Malfoy called out. "Where are you off to?" questioned the blonde youth as those with him snickered.
The last thing Harry wanted to do at the moment was deal with the Malfoy scion so he turned right into the first corridor that came along and broke into a run. Behind him he could just discern over the noise of his own running feet that the boy had given chase. From the sounds behind him, Harry assumed that Malfoy's shadows, Crabbe and Goyle, were with him as well. Harry had loads of experience with running from bullies. Dudley and his friends had enjoyed a game they called 'Harry Hunting'. It hadn't taken Harry long to figure out that he only needed to stay ahead of his pursuers for a while before they would give up. Especially Dudley, who couldn't run a great distance to save his life without gasping for air and clutching his side.
Harry quickly dashed down another corridor and then turned right at the next intersection. If I can get far enough ahead of them and they can't see me they'll probably give up, he reasoned. He couldn't picture either Crabbe or Goyle running for any length of time without collapsing like his cousin. The fleeing wizard ducked down several other corridors before selecting a random classroom door. With barely a thought Harry yanked open the door, jumped into the classroom and closed the door behind him.
Slowly Harry slid down the door till he was sitting upon the floor with his back against the door. He tried to slow his breathing so that he could hear if anyone was coming. After several long tense minutes he guessed he had given them the slip. The young wizard rose to his feet and pulled out his wand."Lumos!" the wizard called, causing the tip of his wand to light up brightly, allowing him to see the room he was in.
It looked like an unused classroom. The dark shapes of desks and chairs were piled against the walls, and there was an upturned wastepaper basket to one side. Propped against the wall facing Harry was something that didn't look like it belonged there, something that looked as if someone had just put it there to keep it out of the way. It was a magnificent mirror, as high as the ceiling, with an ornate gold frame, standing on two clawed feet. There was an inscription carved around the top: Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi.
Harry raised his wand to get a better look at the inscription, puzzling over its meaning. "It's backwards!" he suddenly realized."I show not your face but your heart's desire," he read aloud as he stepped forward till he was directly in front of the mirror. Harry had to clap his hands over his mouth to stop himself from screaming as he saw his reflection. He whirled around. His heart pounding far more furiously than when Malfoy and the others had been chasing him, for he had seen not only himself in the mirror, but a whole crowd of people standing right behind him.
Raising his wand higher into the air to shred its light further, the boy took several steps away from the mirror towards the door. "Is anyone there?" he enquired into the stillness of room. After several long moments of silence Harry turned back around and noticed that once again the mirror was not reflecting any image at all. Gathering his courage the boy once more stepped before the mirror and watched as the same grey indistinct shapes of people appeared.
Harry resisted the urge to turn about and see if anyone was actually there. The young boy's heart was beating furiously within his chest. As he watched the three nearest shapes shimmered and came into focus. Harry gasped, seeing his friends Tracey, Daphne and Hermione. "A...are you really there?" he asked in a halting tone of voice only to see the three girls in the image smile and nod slightly as if to his question.
Harry spun about with a huge grin upon his face. He wasn't certain just how his friends had come to be there but he was glad of their company. As his eyes fell upon the empty room behind him the smile slowly slipped from his face. Perplexed, the young wizard turned back towards the mirror once more and watched as the image of his friends appeared once again.
As Harry watched Daphne turned and laid a hand upon his shoulder as Hermione slipped her hand around his bicep on the other side. Not to be left out Tracey stepped up behind him and rested her chin upon the shoulder nearest to Hermione. Harry found it very disconcerting to see himself being touched and yet not being able to feel anything. A quick glance to either side showed him that he was truly alone in the room. "My heart's desire," he mumbled to himself as he once more looked into the image in the mirror.
All three girls were smiling just as they always did when the Outsiders were together. From the brief glances they shared with each other it appeared that they could see each other as well. Another form shimmered and came into focus revealing the form of Blaise Zabini who gave a grin and a nod towards Harry. The wizard, though in focus, still appeared to be behind as well as further back than the witches who were standing with Harry. It was as if Blaise was a part of the image but not part of the group currently with him, or so Harry thought as he regarded the mirror intently.
"I don't understand," Harry stated to his friends in the mirror. "Are you guys my heart's desire?" he asked as his brow creased in thought. Turning away from the mirror Harry retraced his steps to the door and left the room, being certain to close it behind him. The young wizard made certain to pay close attention to where the room was at as he made his way back towards the inhabited portions of the sprawling castle.
"How can they be my heart's desire?" Harry asked himself. I mean I can see maybe wanting to be rich or courageous, possibly even to be with my family, he pondered as he walked along. Well maybe not my family, he reasoned recalling that the only family he knew were the Dursleys and that was really the last thing he wanted. A sudden thought struck him, "What was Blaise doing there?" Sheltered though he may be Harry did understand that boys were usually attracted to girls. For instance there was a certain weather woman that uncle Vernon never missed watching. But that's not till I'm loads older.
Before he knew it Harry found himself outside the entrance to the main hall where the evening meal was being served judging by the noise funneling through the open doorway. He made his way along the Slytherin table, ignoring the glares directed at him be many of his housemates. It was apparent that many still were not finished with blaming him for their House's loss to the Gryffindor team.
"Where have you been?" Hermione asked sharply as Harry made to seat himself at the end of the table with the other Outsiders.
"Quidditch practice," Harry replied distractedly as he couldn't seem to get his mind off what he had seen in the mirror. Boys only like girls when they are grown up and married though, he thought to himself. Uncle Vernon said I would never find anyone who would want to be with a freak like me and that it would be better off if I never became a parent. Maybe that's it! Maybe I want someone to love me! That can't be it, he thought, recalling just who he had seen in the mirror.
"I thought practice was over hours ago?" Tracey asked in a confused tone.
"Really?" Harry replied, only then noticing that above them was the twinkling of the night stars where the great hall's ceiling should be. "Wait, that can't be right," he mumbled as he was certain it had still been early afternoon when he had returned to the castle and given Malfoy and the others the slipped. Was I at the mirror that long? That would have been hours! He realized.
"We were starting to worry that something might have happen to you, Harry," Daphne told him in a worried tone of voice. The young witch could clearly see that Harry was confused judging by the boys expression."You sure you're alright, Harry?"
Harry mentally shook himself trying to put aside his encounter with the mirror for the time being. He could feel their eyes upon him, awaiting his reply. "I'm really sorry," he offered the three of them with aheartfelt smile. "I guess the time just got away from me."
"Don't worry mate," Blaise offered, "I told them that you were flying and probably just didn't want to come down. I know I would be up in the air as much as possible if I had a Nimbus to use!"
Tracey snorted humorously. "That would be just so you couldn't do your assignments," she quipped.
"You wound me with your slander, Davis!" Blaise exclaimed in a dramatically offended tone, drawing laughs around the table."However true your words might be," he added with a wide grin.
"We're all going to the library after we're finished here?" Hermione asked once everyone had filled their plate and started to eat. "I need another reference book for the essay for Professor Snape."
"For the Wiggenweld Potion?" Daphne asked as she too felt she needed some additional information to flesh out the essay in question. Seeing the bushy-haired witch nod in way of answer she added, "I'm in."
"Sounds good," Harry replied as Tracey just gave a nod as she was busy chewing.
"I'll pass," Blaise offered. "It pays sometimes to have a Mum that is into brewing," he told them only for everyone to break out in laughter as Tracey stuck her tongue out at him in was of response.
Harry sat chewing on the end of his quill lost in thought over the mirror he had discovered. He had long since given up any pretense of studying or working on his assignments. The three witches seated at the table with him had more than once exchanged worried glances between themselves. When they had asked him what he was thinking about he had responded with something about Quidditch practice or one of their study assignments.
"I think we should head back now," Hermione stated as she closed her textbook. "It should be close to curfew and I have to climb all the way up to the seventh floor," she added with a dejected sigh.
"I…I think I'll stay a bit longer," Harry said upon seeing the other stand and start to put their things away. "I just need abit more for this essay," he offered in way of explanation, glancing down at the partially filled piece of parchment before him.
"We can stay with you," Tracey was quick to offer.
"N…no that's alright," Harry countered with. "I shouldn't be long. I'll catch up with you in the common room." The three witches finished packing their things and after saying bye to Harry left the library. As soon as his friends were out of sight Harry hastily packed up his own stuff, cramming them into his book bag as quickly as he could. After waiting several more minutes the young wizard left the library, descending to the first floor of the castle before making his way to the room the mirror was located in.
Harry slipped into the unused classroom and quickly dropped his book bag near the door. "Now then," he said aloud as he approached the mirror and stood before it, "There has to be a reason why I am seeing them." Once again the images of the three witches he had just left appeared standing next to and behind his reflection. "Hi guys," he offered with a small wave which the images, including the one of himself, returned.
"I still don't understand it," Harry stated. "If this shows me my heart's desire then why am I seeing Daphne, Tracey and Hermione?" As he regarded the images in the mirror, half hoping they would provide the answer, the image of Blaise appeared once again just as it had before. Behind the Slytherin boy there were other vague images of people but there were blurred so that he couldn't tell who they were.
Harry's brows creased. "Well, that's new," he said as the images suddenly faded from view till not even his own reflection was in the glass anymore.
"So this is what had you so distracted, is it?" Tracey asked, startling the boy, who spun about nearly quick enough to lose his footing. The young Slytherin girl crossed her arms over her chest and arched abrow in question.
"What? How?" Harry stammered upon seeing the three witches regarding him with questioning expressions upon their faces.
"I think those should be our questions, Potter," Daphne replied in an even tone, not sure what to make of the wizard's actions. She was glad that Harry was alright, but perturbed at the same time that he had been hiding something from them.
"You didn't really think you could sit there all evening, without hardly touching your assignments, and not cause us to worry?" Hermione enquired. "We're your friends. If something is bothering you then you should share it with us," she gently chastised him upon seeing the guilty expression on his face.
"No. I mean…" Harry began with, only to trail off, not really certain what to tell them. The young wizard's shoulders sagged as his eyes fell to the floor. "I am really sorry for causing you to worry about me. It wasn't my intention," he finally told them.
"Apology accepted," Tracey quickly said. "So what's with the mirror?" she asked, looking over his shoulder at the large ornate mirror curiously. "You don't strike me as the vain Type, Potter," Tracey added. "If anything I would think that would be Malfoy."
"That is what I am trying to figure out," Harry replied in a frustrating tone of voice ignoring the girl's snide comment. "When Ilook into the mirror, I see the three of you next to me," he told them. All three witches turned and looked in the mirror upon hearing his words. The reflection in the mirror showed nothing but the empty classroom and its assortment of stacked desks.
"I don't see anything," Tracey replied, leaning forward a bit to get a better view. "I don't even see all of us. Are you sure it isn't broken?"
"Do you know what the inscription means, Harry?" Hermione asked as she cast her own /Lumos/and held her wand higher to get a better look at the words.
"You have to read it backwards, like you're looking at it in a mirror," he absently replied as he stared at the mirror trying to figure out why there was no image in it currently. It always showed me when I stood here. Maybe…maybe it only works for me? That doesn't make any sense at all!
All three witches looked up at the top of the mirror and read the letters there backwards, only to promptly start blushing at the implications."You…you said you saw us in the mirror, Harry?" Daphne dared to ask, her own cheeks ablaze. We're Harry's heart's desire?
"Uh huh," Harry replied without a thought. "Maybe it only works if one person it standing before it," he hazard a guess aloud. "Tracey, stand here," he directed the blushing auburn-haired witch. Reaching out he took Hermione and Daphne's hands and pulled them to the side, headless of how they avoided looking directly at him. "What do you see?"
Tracey stared into the mirror for a long moment and then gasped, one hand flying to her trembling lips. "Mum? Dad?" the suddenly distraught witch exclaimed in a trembling voice as her eyes filled with tears."No!" Tracey yelled, thrusting out an arm, halting her three friends in their tracks as they moved to comfort her. "I haven't seen them in so long," Tracey said in a sad voice as tears slipped from her eyes and rolled down her cheeks. "Just a few more minutes. Please…just a bit longer," she begged in barely a whisper.
Tracey took a stuttering step closer to the mirror till her nose was almost touching it. Her parent stood there with loving smiles on their faces and waved to her as she stared hungrily back at them. The years of pain and feeling abandoned by them just seemed to disappear as if they had never happened. The young witch raised her hands and placed them flat against the glass of the mirror as though she was hoping to fall right through it and reach them. She had a powerful kind of ache inside her chest, half joy, half terrible sadness.
Tracey wasn't certain how long she stood there gazing at her parents but eventually the image waivered and then vanished. "No!" she screamed in a pleading tone of voice, only to feel two sets of arms hug her and pull her away from the mirror and towards where Harry was waiting. Pulling away from Daphne and Hermione, she lunged forward and collapsed against Harry chest, sobbing heavily into his robes. The young wizard could do little more than hug his friend as she cried.
"I want to look," Hermione said turning to look at Daphne. "I haven't seen my parents in a few months so it will be good to see them again, even if only for a few minutes." The blonde Slytherin simply nodded and stepped over next to Harry and Tracey and began rubbing small sympathetic circle on her friend's back in an attempt to comfort her.
Hermione Granger turned to face the mirror and gathering her Gryffindor courage opened her eyes. For a long moment it was if there was nothing but her own reflection then the image changed. The young witch's eyes slowly but steadily began to widen as the color rose in her face. Try as she might she couldn't pull herself from the image which was there before her. After several long minutes she heard Daphne calling her name and just barely managed to turn her head. By this time her face was beet red all the way up to the tips of her ears.
"Well, did you see them?" Daphne asked as Hermione numbly walked over. "Wait, what did you see?" she suddenly asked as she realized that the witch was blushing profusely.
"N…nothing. N…never mind!" Hermione stammered in way of reply. "How's Tracey?" she enquired, trying to look at the witch in question without looking at the wizard holding her.
"I'm alright," Tracey replied, lifting her head from Harry's chest. "Sorry about that," she offered after a short sniffle."I really thought I was past all that. Guess not," she added with aweak smile as she accepted a threadbare handkerchief from Harry and dabbed at the tears on her cheeks.
"Guess it is my turn," Daphne said, taking a deep breath and expelling it sharply. The petite witch stepped before the mirror trying to ignore the nervous butterflies in her stomach that were playing Quidditch from the feel of it. Right, what's to be afraid of? Tracey broke down in tears and Hermione was so embarrassed that you could feel the heat radiating off her face. Nothing to be afraid at all! The young witch stood before the mirror for several minutes before a smile blossomed on her face.
"Well?" Hermione asked as Daphne turned away from the mirror and moved to join them. "What did you see?"
"My sister, Astoria," Daphne was a little too quick to reply with. Tracey arched a brow in question realizing that her friend was not telling the truth but decided not to push the issue. "I think we better head back as it is past curfew already," the blonde witch stated in an attempt to change the subject.
"I'll walk Hermione home," Harry offered, looking towards Daphne to indicate that she should take Tracey back to the Slytherin common room.
"No!" Hermione exclaimed loudly before the words had barely left Harry's lips. "I…I mean I think Tracey needs you more right now. Also if you walk all the way up to the seventh floor there is a greater chance you'll get caught. I'll be fine," she assured them. "If I get caught I'll just say that I lost track of time in the library."
"Are you sure?" Harry asked, uncertain of what to do. As much as he wanted to see her safely back to the Gryffindor rooms, he couldn't ignore Tracey's desperate grip upon his arm.
"I'll be fine, Harry," Hermione answered without hesitation.
"Alright, if you say so," Harry replied reluctantly as he stepped forward and gave her a hug. "Sweet dreams," he said near her ear.
"T...thanks," Hermione said before leaving a chaste kiss on his cheek. "You too," she added as she pulled back, her face once again a bright red.
The four Outsiders quickly made their way back to the Grande Stairway where they parted company with Hermione who headed up while the remainder of them descended into the dungeons. Surprisingly everyone made it back to their dormitories without getting caught.
Harry sighed heavily as he watched Hermione get up from the table and disappear within the maze of bookshelves that was the Hogwarts's library. It had been two days since the four of them had stood before the mirror he had discovered within an unused class room. Since that time the Gryffindor witch had been acting rather peculiar. It wasn't that she was avoiding his company as she still sat with them as usual, however something certainly had changed between them.
Harry still couldn't help but feel as though the bushy haired witch was keeping her distance. When they were all together, he noticed that she always sat the furthest from him. The few times he had tried to speak with her alone to see how the rest of her house was treating her, she had deftly avoided him by one means or another. I must have done something to upset her, he reasoned as he continued to look in the direction she had left, even long after she was gone.
Daphne frowned, noting the dejected look which had settled upon the wizard's face across from her. "You alright there, Harry?" she asked.
"Hmm?" Harry answered distractedly as his head turned and regarded the blonde Slytherin witch. "Yea, sure," he quickly added, plastering a smile on his face for her benefit. The young wizard looked down at the parchment and started writing once again; pausing every so often to glance in the direction Hermione had gone. I just wish I knew what I did to upset her!
Daphne turned towards Tracey to see if she knew what was going on only to see her best friend staring off into space, clueless to the exchange that had just taken place. Using her elbow she nudged the witch next to her startling her from her thoughts.
"Huh? What?" Tracey asked turning to look at her friend with a slightly puzzled expression.
"You looked miles away," Daphne said with a small grin.
"I'm not feeling well. Think I'll head back to the dorm," Tracey said as she started putting her things away. "Nothing serious," she added upon seeing the concerned look that appeared on Daphne's face at her words. "Think I'll have a bit of a lie in as I'm feeling knackered."
"I'll walk you back," Harry offered, both concerned for his friend as well as feeling that maybe Hermione may not want him around. If I have upset her than she'll probably be able to study better without me here, he reasoned.
"No, that's alright," Tracey hastily replied. "If you do that then who will walk Hermione back or escort Daphne down to the dungeons? "I'm just feeling a bit tired is all, really. Nothing to worry about," she assured them both as she put the last of her things into her book bag. The witch quickly left the library after promising to see them tomorrow.
Daphne watched Tracey leave with a worried frown before she turned back towards Harry. "So," she began with, drawing the boy's attention. "What is going on between Granger and you? Don't bother denying it," she added, seeing him about to object. "You look like a puppy that's been kicked and she seems to be intent on being as far away from you as she can be while still being near you."
Harry's shoulders rose and then fell as he exhaled heavily."I wish I knew," he mumbled as his eyes fell to the parchment before him. "I think I must have made her angry at me or something."Maybe…maybe she would be happier if I wasn't around anymore?"
"What did you do?" Daphne enquired.
"Nothing," Harry whined. "At least nothing I can think of."
"Did you say anything to her?" the Slytherin witch asked. As near as she could recall, Harry had been his usual kind and courteous self.
Harry shrugged as he looked up at her with a thoroughly depressed look upon his face. "You tell me. You've been with us every time we're been together these past few days. Did I say something inadvertently that she might have found offensive?"
"If you had I'm certain we would have called you on it, Potter," Daphne told him with a knowing grin. After several minutes of contemplation she finally had an idea. "Harry, why don't you go back to the common room? I'll talk with Hermione and see if I can't get her to tell me what the problem is." After a multitude of thank yous, a hug and a quick kiss on the cheek, Harry rushed out of the library hoping to catch Tracey and walk back with her.
Hermione, having found the large tome she went looking for, returned to the table with the book open and reading it as she walked. The Gryffindor witch stopped upon reaching their table, only then did she noticed that Daphne was now the only one still at the table. "Was it something Isaid?" she asked with a playful smirk.
Daphne chuckled. "Tracey wasn't feeling well so Harry offered to walk her back to the Dungeon so she could rest." It was close enough to the truth that she didn't feel too bad about lying to her friend. "I still have work to do so I decided to stay," she told Hermione. "Besides, if you had come back to an empty table you might have felt like we were avoiding you."
"I get enough of that from my own House," Hermione replied with a rueful grin. "I don't know what I would do if it wasn't for all of you," she said as she retook her seat once more, carefully setting the large book down. "I hope Tracey is alright. It's terribly nice of Harry to walk her back," Hermione added is a slightly wistful tone.
"He's sweet that way," Daphne said, agreeing with her.
"I know, right?" Hermione replied with a soft smile as she thought of the wizard who was her very first friend.
"So why are you avoiding him?" Daphne bluntly asked, deciding it was far better to cut right to the chase than try to draw the reason for her behavior out of her a little at a time. Daphne didn't like to see the sorrowful expression Harry had worn just a few minutes ago any more than she liked watching Hermione avoid the wizards company.
Hermione blinked, confused by the other girl's challenging tone of voice, before stammering, "I…I'm not avoiding him." The witch quickly glanced down at the book before her as she felt her cheeks heat into a blush."W…whatever would give you that idea?"
"You always take the seat furthest from him and never on the same side of the table as him," Daphne started with. "The only time you've spoken to him in the past few days is when he's asked you a direct question. You don't want him to escort you to the Gryffindor tower. Maybe it is the sad dejected look that Harry has been wearing the past couple of days!Whatever he did it is hurting him that you seem to want nothing to do with him."
Hermione's head snapped up at her words. The witch's eyes were large with surprise at the news that her actions were causing Harry pain."I never…it's not anything he did," she sputtered, suddenly feeling terrible. She knew that she had been acting strange around Harry. She had tried to act natural but whenever she was near him she would see…, why can I not get that image out of my head? she asked herself as the heat rose in her face.
"Well, he thinks he did something to offend you," Daphne told her, repeating what the wizard had said not all that long ago at their very table. If the first year Slytherin was curious as to why Hermione's face was a bright red she hid it well.
"He didn't do anything," Hermione reiterated. "It's me. Just me and that stupid mirror," she stated. "I don't know why Ilet it get to me."
"What did you see?" Daphne asked, curious to know. Seeing the witch across from her hesitate she pressed on. "I think we are both a bit more mature than our ages would indicate, Hermione. I hope you know by now that we're all your friends and no matter what you saw in the mirror it won't change anything between all of us."
Hermione chewed her bottom lip for a long moment. She had always felt that she was far more mature than her peers. It wasn't that she expected them to be more mature but rather she realized that from all that she had read and studied that she had acquired a greater knowledge and understanding of the world. It was only natural that with that would come a quicker growth into maturity. "Well, girls do mature faster than boys do," she replied with a small grin as once again her complexion returned to a more normal tone.
"If only it weren't so!" Daphne declared with an eye roll. The young Slytherin had attended enough high society functions with other Pure-bloods to know that the boys her own age were anything but mature. Sadly, many of those older than her were just as immature. "So, are you going to tell me what you saw or do I have to hex it out of you?" she asked as she brandished her wand threateningly.
Hermione grinned, realizing that Daphne was correct and that they were friends and should be able to talk about anything. More so than being friends, they were both girls. If anyone would understand her problem, Hermione was certain that it would be Daphne. "Aright, but you have to promise not to tell Harry!"
"Girl talk remains girl talk," Daphne assured her."Though I might share it with Tracey when she feels better."
Hermione gave a slight nod of permission. "When I stood in front of the mirror I saw..," the witch paused, liking her lips as her cheeks slowly turned pink and then blossomed into a bright red once again."I saw Harry and he was with me," she quickly confessed. Seeing the other girl's confused expression she added. "He was holding my hand and…and, he kissed me!"
It took only a second for what Hermione had said to sink in."He kissed you!" Daphne exclaimed loudly, her eyes nearly bulging in disbelief.
"Shhhh!" Hermione hissed trying to shush her. "On the cheek!" Hermione clarified, suddenly blushing to the tips of her ears as she realized how Daphne had taken her words.
"But…," Daphne stammered after a moment, "he already does that."
"I know!" Hermione snapped irritably. "But this time is was different. It was like we were…together," she stated in asofter tone.
"Together?" Daphne asked.
"Together, together," Hermione replied with a nod of confirmation.
Daphne stared at the witch across from her for a long moment before her lips puckered out in a silent O as she realized what Hermione meant. "Together."
Hermione nodded once again in agreement. "It is so embarrassing that I've hardly been able to look at Harry. Every time I see him I see that image in that mirror again! What am I going to do?"
"Well, the first thing you need to do is let Harry know that he hasn't done anything to hurt your feelings," Daphne replied in athoughtful tone. "We're probably too young to be thinking about anything else."
"Yea, too young," Hermione agreed in a shaky voice. Both witches realized that though they may be more mature than the boys in their class they were not yet ready to start thinking about being together with anyone other than in the capacity of friendship. "Came here to learn magic after all," she added only to see Daphne hesitantly nod in agreement.
Tracey Davis slipped along the corridor, staying in the shadows, so that none would notice her. One thing she was well known for was her unerring sense of direction. It didn't take her overly long to find the classroom she was looking for. The young witch paused at the door, glancing both ways along the hallway before she opened the door and quickly slipped through it, closing it as quietly as possible behind her.
The first year student traversed almost the length of the classroom before pulling forth her wand. "Lumos!" she said, bringing forth light from the tip of the slender piece of wood in her hand. A few further steps found her once again before the mirror that Harry had discovered. "Hi Mum, Dad," she said to the images which formed in the mirror. "I've missed you both so much," she told her parents as she slowly seated herself upon the cold floor, never taking her eyes from them.
Sitting there she told them about her day. Which classes she had, what they studied and how well, or poorly in the case of potions, she had done. Her mother, a striking woman with the same auburn hair that Tracey wore, smiled down lovingly at the seat girl. The dark haired, brown eyed Mr. Davis nodded contentedly, his eyes shining with encouragement and love for his only daughter. Seeing their smiling faces and the love that they so evidently had for her, Tracey felt the tears once more begin to run down her cheeks. The distraught witched hunched over, her face in her hands, as she began to cry for what she never had, her parents love and praise.
How long she had sat as such she wasn't certain of but suddenly there was a warm pair of arms about her and someone murmuring her name in her ear. Tracey turned slightly and buried her face against Harry's shoulder."Why? Why?" she begged, grasping the boys robes till they were balled up in her clenched fists. "Why don't they want me? Why can't they love me?"
"I don't know, Tracey," Harry told her as he held the weeping witch, gently rocking her back and forth without even realizing he was doing so. "My own family…," he started to say before pausing to consider his words, "are less than stellar. They didn't want me either," he shared with her. "They were all too happy to remind me of that fact every chance they got. Sometimes I just don't understand grownups," he confessed with a sad shake of his head.
"How can they not want you?" Tracey asked between her sniffles. "You're The-Boy-Who-Lived. You're Harry Potter!" she exclaimed in a slightly disbelieving tone of voice as she sat up and looked at him only to see a sad crooked smile and pain filled emerald eyes regarding her.
"That stuff mattered even less to them than it does to me," Harry said as he reached out and wiped the tears from her cheeks with his thumb. "To them I was just the freak that lived in the cupboard under the stairs," he told her without a trace of bitterness or anger in his voice. "My aunt and uncle hate magic as well as anything to do with our world, including me."
"Oh Harry!" Tracey exclaimed, momentarily forgetting her own sorrow as her heart went out to the boy before her. "That must have been awful!"
Harry gave a lopsided shrug as he settled his hands in his lap."I guess they were right in some sense. I am a wizard after all. That would make me a freak to them as well as everyone else who lived in Little Whinging."
"You are not a freak!" Tracey declared, her voice holding an angry note to it. "How anyone can possibly think that about you is just ludicrous! You're no more a freak than I am."
"I don't know, Davis," Harry replied, a cheeky grin slipping across his face. "I associate with a Gryff. Party with a bunch of ghosts and can't play Quidditch correctly. I think that pretty much makes me afreak even in our world."
"Let's not forget that you do tend to hang out with a bunch of icky girls, Potter," Tracey shot back, a smile blossoming upon her lips.
"Really?" Harry asked in feigned surprise. "Here Ithought you guys were hanging out with me all this time!"
"How many times do I have to tell you, Potter? We're girls, not guys," Tracey quipped with a grin.
"There it is," Harry told her. Seeing Tracey's slightly puzzled expression he explained. "That smile of yours that I haven't seen for the past few days. Your smile is always the one that brightens our group up, Tracey. It has been downright depressing not seeing it of late."
"Is that so?" the young witch asked, suddenly feeling her cheeks burning into a slight blush at his gentle words.
"We should probably get back," Harry suggested as he climbed to his feet, missing the witch's reaction to his words. "I'm certain it is after curfew already," he added as he offered his hand and helped Tracey to her feet once she took the proffered member. "Want to say goodbye?" Harry enquired with a tilt of his head towards the mirror.
Tracey gave a nod and then faced the mirror once Harry had stepped to the side. Once again she saw the image of her parents, their eyes again watching her lovingly as they never had in real life. "Bye Mum, Dad," offered in parting before turning away to face the wizard with her once more."How about you?"
Harry thought for a long moment before declining. "I think I'm alright. I don't need a mirror to show me my friends. I just need to look around me to see all of you."
"Very wise words, Mr. Potter. Five points for Slytherin," spoke a soft grandfatherly voice from the edge of the wands light. Both students turned about in surprise to see the Headmaster standing there wearing a soft humorous smile. "Back again, are we Ms. Davis?"
"So," said Dumbledore before Tracey could reply,"you, like hundreds before you," he continued with as he stepped nearer to them and into the light cast by Tracey's wand, "have discovered the delights of the Mirror of Erised."
"I didn't know it was called that," Harry replied, turning slightly to regard at the mirror once more.
"But I suspect you've both realized by now what it does?" the aged wizard queried.
"I…it show's me my family," Tracey hesitantly replied.
"And our young Mr. Poster here saw you and a certain two other witches, I believe," Dumbledore told her with a knowing smile as Harry's mouth hung open in surprise. "Let me help. A person who had everything they ever wanted would stand in front of the mirror and see only themselves."
"It says that it shows us our heart's desire," Harry stated, looking up towards the inscription at the top of the mirror.
Dumbledore nodded in agreement. "It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts. You, who have never known the joy of friends, see them standing about you. Ms. Davis here, separated from her parents since an early age, wishes for their love and approval. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible."
The Headmaster sighed regrettably. "The Mirror will be moved to a new home tomorrow, and I must ask that neither of you go looking for it. If you ever do run across it you will now be prepared. It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that," he instructed them both though he peered directly at Tracey when he said it.
"Now, I believe it is well past the time when students should be within their houses," Dumbledore said as he pulled a slip of paper from the sleeve of his robe. "Take this with you. It should get you past anyone who might detain you for being where you shouldn't be as well as when you shouldn't be."
"Sir…Professor Dumbledore, can I ask you something," Harry queried.
"You just did, Harry," Tracey quipped, followed by ahumorous snort at the confused look he gave her.
"Quite right, Ms. Davis," Dumbledore agreed with achuckle of his own, "However you may ask me one more thing."
"What do you see when you look in the mirror," Harry asked with an embarrassed expression.
"I? I see myself holding a pair of thick, woolen socks," the aged wizard replied with. "One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Christmas is mere days away, alas I will no doubt get more books. People for some reason feel that I do not have enough of them apparently. I've been collecting them for well over a hundred years. Would that I had as many pairs of socks," he told them with a merry twinkle to his eyes before seeing them out the door.
"You've changed," Tracey told Harry as they walked along the corridor, her arm wrapped around his as he escorted her back to the Slytherin common room.
"Really?" Harry asked, not thinking he was any different than he had been all along. The young witch on his arm nodded. "For better or worse?" he hesitantly asked, fearful of the answer.
"Definitely," Tracey replied with a grin and in the same cryptic tone women the world over use when they don't want the men around them, or young boys as the case may be, to understand what they are thinking.
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