Snape and the Mirror of Erised (requested fic)
Would you consider writing a short Mirror of Erised fic? A friend sent me your awesome post about the Mirror of Erised when she read my own Snape/Mirror drabble - it’d be great to see you fic-ify that (if you haven’t already!)
Thank you! This was a great prompt, and my original thoughts on this have spun out in to some sort of massive character exploration fic of Snape and Lily that doesn’t meet your original criteria in any way, shape or form…
…so I thought that whilst I was off writing that epic, which now won’t go away, I should actually have a go at writing what you actually requested: a short Mirror of Erised fic.
It’s rather stream-of-consciousness…apologies for any obvious errors.
Snape and the Mirror of Erised
McGonagall fixed the older man with a cold stare. “And what are you going to do about it?”
Dumbledore rested his elbows on his desk, and in turn, lay his chin upon his steepled fingers. “I believe the best course of action is to do nothing at all.”
“Nothing at a-“ McGonagall broke off, fury building in her slight frame as she paced around Dumbledore’s office. “Nothing at all! Albus, you know the consequences of-“
“-and so does he.” Dumbledore interrupted. “I have, Minerva, already had this discussion with our young friend.”
McGonagall gave a disparaging snort.
“If this is not concern for a friend, then why are you here?”
“It’s not that I don’t worry about him,” she said, selecting her words carefully. “I just wouldn’t-“
“-consider him worthy of your social circle? A passing acquaintance, perhaps?” Dumbledore gave a thin, but amused smile.
“Albus, we’ve been through this.”
“Indeed we have. I will say it once more, Minerva, so that we are abundantly clear: I have every faith in our youngest member of staff.”
The room was deathly silent.
Slowly, Dumbledore leant forward, his voice dropping to barely more than a whisper. “But apparently, it seems, my word no longer carries the weight it once did?”
McGonagall took a deep breath and stared the ceiling, silently counting before eventually returning Dumbledore’s gaze. “Alastor told me.”
Dumbledore sat back in his chair, his face stony. “Alastor. Of course.”
“It’s true then?”
“Neither he nor I have ever denied it,” Dumbledore leant forward again. “But how would widespread knowledge aid the boy now?”
“And you wonder why I cannot stand to sit next to him at the table? The things he must’ve seen! The things he must’ve done!” McGonagall’s temper rose again, and she resumed her march around the room. “Did you see him when the children arrived? It goes to show!”
“It was war, Minerva. How many adults do you think we have here at Hogwarts who are still ignorant of Thestrals?”
“Was he there when Dorcas was murdered?”
Dumbledore grimaced. “I do not know who he watched die. I have not asked.” He fixed McGonagall with a hard stare. “He probably watched many of the Order perish. He maybe even had a hand in it.” He stood, and gripped the desk, his voice low. “Dorcas? Benjy? Maybe even the Prewett boys.”
McGonagall swallowed hard. “And yet you invite him here?”
“Do you remember Wilkes? Rosier?”
McGonagall gave a curt nod.
“It may seem appalling that he watched your friends die, Minerva. My friends too. But did Alastor tell you how he came to murder those two boys?”
“They evaded the aurors!”
It was Dumbledore’s turn to scoff. “Are we taking Alastor’s word as gospel now, Minerva?” His voice was icy. “Do you think, perhaps, Alastor may have wreaked a little revenge for Benjy whilst Crouch authorised such behaviour?”
McGonagall was silent.
He straightened up. “Severus led Alastor and the rest of the aurors to those boys. And to Karkaroff. Dolohov, Travers, Mulciber, Yaxley, Avery, Selwyn, Macnair.” He fixed McGonagall with another firm glare. “His own friends. It is apparent, upon discussion with Severus, that he regarded those boys as his brothers. You are aware how tightly knit Slytherin house is, I assume?”
“I had no idea he’d done such a thing.”
“I would hardly have stood before the Ministry and assured them that Severus was no longer a Death Eater if I did not believe his remorse and defection were genuine.”
McGonagall sank into the chair opposite Dumbledore. “When did he come to you?”
“It was a long time before the end of the war. Many months before I employed him here, even. He was deep undercover, not knowing whether he was going to be exposed as the traitor, but he still fed me – and therefore the Order – vital information from within the Death Eater camp. His information was always accurate.” Dumbledore sighed. “I do not applaud his actions, Minerva. I will not pretend to you that he was always on our side. There was, regrettably, a time when he was loyal to Voldemort’s cause.”
“But you believe that time has passed?”
“I know for a fact that it has. Long before Voldemort met his demise two Halloweens ago.”
McGonagall stood. “I thank you for your time and your candour.”
“I am assured that this will go no further?”
“Then, Minerva, could I beg of you a small favour?” Dumbledore pulled out some papers and started to study them intently. “Could you head by the seventh floor and have a word with our,” he paused, and smiled down at his papers, “mutual friend?”
McGonagall walked up and down the corridor, concentrating hard on what she wanted – and without delay, the door appeared. Silently, she pushed her way in and just as she’d complained to Dumbledore originally, she caught sight of the young man.
He had been starting to look better. He’d always been slender, even as a small child, and his sudden growth spurt during his final years as a student meant that he had an underfed, lanky appearance throughout that time – no matter how many plates and bowls full of food the house elves put before him. She’d hardly been surprised when he’d turned up as a teacher looking no different at all.
But ever since Christmas, he’d taken a turn for the worse. He barely spoke at the table during meals, and she’d seen him forlornly pushing the same scoop of mashed potato around his plate until enough time had elapsed for him to make his excuses and head back to the dungeons.
At first, she’d assumed he’d realised that the elves would serve him in his quarters, and was taking advantage of cakes, and pastries, and fizzy drinks in his bed – as she, to her shame, had done in her first few years as a teacher.
His skinny appearance was the telltale sign that he wasn’t gorging alone, forgetting that as Head of House, he had to make a showing at mealtimes; no, his skeletal frame proved that something had put the boy off his food.
And here, in the Room of Requirement, was the answer.
His bony frame was hunched over, staring avidly at the mirror before him.
“You do know what this room is, don’t you?”
Snape tensed, like a frightened animal – but didn’t reply.
“It gives those who request it what they need. Tonight,” McGonagall said, taking a step forward, “I wanted to find you. I wanted to find you with the mirror. And here you are.” She took another step closer, and she could see Snape vibrating beneath his dark robes. “How did you open this room, Severus?”
She took another step closer, and Snape bolted upright, breaking eye contact with the mirror. McGonagall hadn’t been able to peer into the reflection; hadn’t been able to see what he’d been gazing at.
“I needed to be reminded of something,” he said, quietly. “Something I once lost.”
“And have you found that something again now?”
“I…“ he shrugged, and looked at the floor.
“This mirror should not be in this school,” McGonagall said, kindly. “I will discuss with Dumbledore a better place for it to reside.”
Snape’s head snapped up, his greasy hair swinging, and his teeth bared in angst. “No!”
“No?” McGonagall was gentle, aware that she wasn’t making progress with the young man. His moment of anguish was quickly covered by his usual mask of coolness, only this time, he was staring at a fixed point over her head, determinedly not looking directly at her.
“Severus, this mirror should be used sparingly. Good men have lost themselves before it.” She paused and stared at him until he finally glanced down and met her eyes. “I wouldn’t want to lose you.”
His jaw dropped – only for a second, and only by a fraction – and then he schooled himself to his usual look of indifference. He nodded, curtly, and swept out of the room.
Snape avoided the seventh corridor for the rest of the year.
It was well over a decade before Snape even saw the mirror again.
His first day back at the castle had been beyond difficult. Dumbledore’s portrait slept soundly behind him as he held discussion after discussion with each of the teachers, silently absorbing their hatred and disgust, as he regaled them with directions of how the new regime would operate under his leadership.
When the final teacher left, he’d reached into the bottom drawer of the desk and taken out the bottle of Ogden’s finest that he knew Dumbledore had hidden. “In case of emergencies,” the portrait had laughed, finally waking now the two were alone.
It was definitely an emergency.
Snape – against his better judgement – drank the whole bottle. He hadn’t slept for weeks, and he just wanted to fall into the cool sheets of his new bed, and forget that the world existed; forget that he was going to lie in the bed of the man who he had murdered, the man whose death had caused his own soul to shred – most painfully – inside his body.
It had been a difficult few weeks.
When Snape stepped into the bedroom and saw a mirror, he steadied himself in the doorway. He hated mirrors; with his appearance, they were decidedly not his friend.
He sat down heavily on the bed, as far away from the mirror as possible, and pulled his boots off, followed by his robes. He was left in just his underpants, his legs white and hairy, his torso marred by scars – mostly from his youth, before he became talented enough at healing and using Dittany to mitigate the worst of the damage.
He really hated mirrors. He hated how the room had one. He hated how he couldn’t bring himself to banish something of Dumbledore’s from the room, even. Snape hissed, and flicked his wand. His case, which he hadn’t bothered to unpack, hurtled from behind the desk in the office to his side. He flicked again and again, his meagre belongings flying across the room until he reached what he was looking for.
“Accio,” he whispered softly, and the torn photograph jumped into his hands. He had Lily right here – for the first time in years, she was gazing back at him. Happy. Alive. He carefully propped the picture up by the side of the bed, and this time, he caught sight of the mirror full on.
To Snape’s surprise, it wasn’t his own ugly appearance that stared back at him.
He stood, wobbly on his own legs, and unsteadily headed towards the mirror and the figure reflected within it. He reached out a hand; it was almost as if he could touch the boy. Although, no, he wasn’t a boy. He grasped the mirror with both hands and pressed his forehead against the cool surface.
Staring back at him, with a concerned smile, was an elderly wizard with messy hair, bright green eyes, and a lightning shaped scar on his forehead.