Title: Through the Looking Glass
Summary: Blood dripped from his hand, evidence of the quill Umbridge used on him … but all Harry can do is stare at the reflection shown to him through the Mirror of Erised, wishing, somehow, it could be real. AU.
Warnings: slash: male/male, chan (18/15), time travel, unknowing incest.
His hand throbbed and Harry pressed a cloth to the back of it, grimacing when the blood etched words stained his makeshift bandage in a familiar sentence: I must not tell lies. No matter what he had tried over the past several weeks, he could not staunch the blood. Magic made the blood flow more freely and the one Blood Replenishing Potion he had managed to poach from Snape had made him physically ill. He assumed that it was a curse put upon the quill so that the one being punished could find no relief. The best he could do was wrap it in old scraps of cloth that he had cleaned himself so he wouldn’t leave a blood trail across the castle as he made his way back to Gryffindor Tower.
Steps slowing, Harry paused in front of an old tapestry, his eyes staring at it unseeing as a wave of pain overcame him momentarily. He looked down at the blood soaked bandage and sighed. He couldn’t go back to the common room like this. Hermione would nag him about it and tell him to go see Dumbledore—Dumbledore, the man who ignored him and made him feel so insignificant and worthless that he didn’t even bother looking Harry in his eyes.
Harry knew he shouldn’t expect anything else. He was just another student after all. There was little love between him and his Headmaster, and yet somehow he had come to trust the man with his wellbeing. Dumbledore was there after he saved the Philosopher’s Stone from Voldemort, when he rescued Ginny Weasley from the Chamber, when he fought hundreds of Dementors as he watched his godfather fall to the ground unconscious, when he had barely escaped with his life after Voldemort’s rebirth, when—still, it was always after, he reminded himself. Dumbledore was just the one to sit at his bedside and give him a few platitudes, never there when Harry needed him. He shouldn’t expect him now, even when Harry knew that other students beside himself were being tortured.
The little faith he had in the man evaporated as he continued to stare at the tapestry before turning away from the tower, his feet slowly moving as he began to wander aimlessly through the halls.
Blood soaked into his fingers, and Harry looked down again at the bandage that was now stained completely red and bleeding through to the other side. He sighed as he lifted it up carefully, inspecting the torn flesh on his hand. The words were barely legible as the cuts were still open and torn. He wasn’t certain how deep they went and couldn’t really tell as they kept swelling with more blood. He would have flexed his hand if he weren’t afraid of just how painful it would be.
Dabbing at the back of the hand with the edges of the bandage, he walked into an empty classroom somewhere on the fifth floor and sat down on the dusty desk at the front of the room, not bothering to look around. Instead, he focused on the wound.
“Damn it,” he hissed as he dropped the bloody bandage and, after reaching down, he glanced up. His eyes met dark green ones behind similar glasses. He stilled, his bleeding hand held protectively against his chest, as he looked directly into his reflection in a familiar mirror.
The mirror was pressed up against a corner behind several desks so that Harry was looking at it from an angle, only able to see his reflection instead of his heart’s true desire. Not bothering to retrieve the bloody scrap of cloth, he slowly stood, his eyes skimming over the familiar etching on the frame. It reminded him exactly what the mirror could do. Suddenly, he desperately wanted—just wanted once more—to see his family standing with him, knowing that he was not alone no matter how often it might seem like it.
Pushing the desks to the side, Harry walked toward the mirror, never taking his eyes from his reflection, uncaring as dust settled around him and mixed in with the blood on his hand. He just wanted to forget the pain, if only for a moment, forget the insults that were hurled at him in the corridor, the degrading and snide remarks made to him in class, the pitying looks from his friends who could never understand, and the long looks Cho gave him that should belong to Cedric who was now gone, dead before Harry’s very eyes.
Finally, he stood before it and looked at his reflection hungrily before allowing his eyes to travel to what was around him. He stilled in shock. Instead of seeing his parents and his grandparents behind him, he saw just one other person in the mirror. A boy, slightly taller and older than Harry, was smiling at him lovingly, his messy brown hair falling into his hazel eyes. Startled, Harry drank in the stranger’s form, wondering who he was, but knowing if he asked he would only hear his own voice.
No one would answer him.
The boy in the mirror reached out tentatively and touched Harry’s reflection’s cheek, sliding the back of his fingers down in a gentle caress that caused Harry to shiver at the intimacy in it. This, Harry realized, was love: an emotion so elusive he had never felt it, and yet, which he saw reflected at him clearly in the mirror.
Tears sprang to his eyes and Harry shuffled closer, watching as his reflection turned to the other boy and leaned up, his hand reaching up to cup the other boy’s cheek. A ring glinted on reflection Harry’s finger, catching the light in the dim room, and Harry was startled to see a rune on it. He wondered to himself what it could possibly mean. There was an identical ring on the other boy’s hand, and a sense of longing swept through Harry as he leaned closer, reaching out with his blood stained fingers to touch the other boy’s face, to wonder at the love shining out of his eyes, which reminded Harry so much of his father’s gaze.
His fingers touched the mirror, the blood staining the glass pink, and then before Harry could understand what was happening, he was falling—down, down, further—through the looking glass.
There had been blood on the mirror when Charlus Potter woke up. He blinked several times in the dim light of early morning, trying to figure out exactly how it had gotten there. A soft snuffling sound caught his attention and he was startled to see a young boy, a few years younger than himself, curled up in a chair, his bleeding hand cradled against his chest. Charlus looked back at the mirror. That explained how the blood got there, but not where the boy had come from.
The cottage was small with little more than a bed, a kitchen (if you could call it that), and a living room. It was a tradition of all Potters to travel the world for two or three years after graduating Hogwarts before settling down in married life. Usually a Potter would propose to his sweetheart on his graduation day before leaving, but for some reason Charlus had found himself hesitating when he thought of asking Dorea Black to marry him. Instead, he had left quietly for Tunisia where he wanted to spend at least a year, knowing that his parents were probably whispering with the Blacks about the nonexistent proposal. He’d always thought he would propose when he returned, if Dorea hadn’t moved on and if he hadn’t found someone else to share his life with. The “cottage,” as Charlus liked to think of it, was in a Muggle area but heavily warded. No one could enter without express magical permission, and Charlus knew he had never seen this boy in his life.
Carefully, he pulled his wand from under his pillow and leveled it at the sleeping boy, wondering just who he was. “Expelliarmus,” he whispered quietly, not wanting to wake the boy for some reason, and a wand flew out of the boy’s sleeve, answering one of Charlus’s questions. A Muggle hadn’t managed to get into his home, but a wizard, one who went to Hogwarts and was a Gryffindor from the looks of his robes.
Charlus slipped the boy’s wand under his pillow and crept across his bed, careful to keep his eyes on the stranger. He found it fascinating that a boy who hadn’t taken his N.E.W.T.s had managed to get past his wards when he knew his own father wouldn’t be able to. Reaching out hesitantly, Charlus tipped the boy’s head up, wondering if he would recognize his former housemate, but instead saw a total stranger. Messy black hair fell into the sleeping boy’s eyes and a livid scar in the shape of a lightning bolt marred his forehead. The boy had high, pureblood cheekbones, the Black nose, and long, thin fingers that were typical of the older families in England and Wales. Still, Charlus had no idea who he was, even though he had grown up around the children of all the notable families in Great Britain.
Glancing down at the boy’s bleeding hand, Charlus stared at the horrible words etched in the back of the skin. His jaw clenched. Charlus knew that several of the old families used Blood Quills as punishments, but rarely often enough to leave permanent scars on the back of a child’s hand. They didn’t want to permanently mark an heir, after all. He sneered to himself at the hypocrisy of it all. It was surprising that the Blacks used a quill on one so old. His stomach turned cold at the lie Dorea had told him when she insisted that the Blacks didn’t hold with such outdated ideas. The evidence was clearly to the contrary. He wondered if it had anything to do with this particular Black having been Sorted into Gryffindor; it was completely unheard of for a Black not to be in Slytherin. Perhaps that was why Charlus hadn’t heard of him.
A recalcitrant Black.
A smile formed on his face. Charlus rather liked the sound of that.
He carefully reached out and brushed the messy black fringe from the boy’s face and green eyes slowly fluttered open and met his questioning gaze.
The boy gasped at the sight of Charlus and leaned back momentarily before staring, his eyes wide behind horn-rimmed glasses. “It’s you,” he murmured and then smiled tentatively up at Charlus.
“Who did this to you?” Charlus asked quietly as he traced the blood-stained edges of the cut. “Who made it scar?”
Startled, the boy looked up at him. “What does it matter? No one’s going to do anything about it.”
Charlus clenched his jaw at the hopelessness of the statement.
“How did I get here?” the boy questioned, looking about the room. “Where am I?”
Laughing, Charlus traced the hand gently once more before releasing it. “I was going to ask you the same thing, young Black. No one should be able to get through my wards.”
“I always seem to do the impossible,” the boy acknowledged, his eyes leaving Charlus’s face for a moment and focusing on the mirror, his brow furrowed in thought. “I think I fell through a mirror—the Mirror of Erised.”
“Desire,” Charlus whispered to himself, sitting back on the bed and taking in the boy’s form. “You are a long way from Hogwarts.”
“The farther the better,” the boy admitted tiredly.
Charlus’s eyes narrowed. “I just graduated last month and I don’t recognize you. You’re clearly a Black—”
The boy jumped at the assertion, surprising Charlus.
“—but Dorea never mentioned a cousin or nephew Sorted anywhere but in Slytherin. Your parents must not be pleased. Is that why they did that to you?” He pointed to the bloodied hand, and the boy looked down at it, his brow lined in thought.
“I don’t have any parents to care, not anymore.” He stood up and turned to the mirror, gently reaching out and tracing the dried blood as if trying to remember how he got to the small cottage in Tunisia.
Charlus looked over his shoulder, marveling at the eyes so unusual for a Black, and met the boy’s gaze through the looking glass.
The boy had never left, and, within a few days, Charlus found that he hadn’t wanted him to. The scars on his hand slowly healed but the one on his forehead never did. The boy had never given his name, saying that if Charlus hadn’t known it then it wasn’t important, and had been startled when Charlus had offered to give him one, but had said nothing in response.
When a Hogwarts letter didn’t come in August, the boy had seemed almost relieved, and Charlus had been secretly glad, wondering why he spent half of every night awake, just watching the boy sleep, tracing the scars on his hand and promising himself that if he ever found who did it, he would make them pay.
“What’s your favorite star?” Charlus asked one dry night in October when they were in the desert, a telescope set up as Charlus quietly taught the boy Hogwarts’ sixth-year curriculum.
“Sirius, the dog star,” the boy had whispered, and he had been Sirius Black ever since.
Charlus knew that there were secrets hidden beneath the dark green eyes, but he never pried. Instead, he fell quietly in love with the boy, his Sirius, teaching him everything they knew as they traveled from Tunisia, to Jerusalem, to Russia, and then finally to Japan. There they quietly married when Sirius was finally sixteen, cutting the palms of their hands with a silver dagger and then feeding each other from a pomegranate to signify their union (according to pureblood rites that were rarely used now, but were still valid by magical law).
Never asking how Sirius had fallen through the mirror to find him, Charlus was content to love his husband. They finally arrived back in England after knowing each other for just under two years so that Sirius could take his N.E.W.T.S before they set off again to travel the world.
Stepping through the fireplace, Charlus arrived at twelve, Grimmauld Place during Sirius’s second day of exams, and was unsurprised to see Dorea waiting for him. He knew that it was only a matter of hours before his return was known, especially as he had sent his parents a letter to tell them to expect him for tea in a fortnight. He didn’t want to distress Sirius before his exams were finished by meeting his in laws, knowing that they would be angry that Charlus had married without telling them and would never beget an heir to carry on the family line, not that Charlus cared when he slept with Sirius in his arms.
“Mr. Potter,” Dorea greeted from the top of the stairs, bending into a low curtsey. He bowed back to her, sweeping his hat from head. “What a pleasure to see you after all these years.”
“The pleasure is all mine,” he answered as he came up the stairs, allowing her to lead him into the sitting room for a light snack.
He knew she was expecting a proposal or an overture of good faith. He saw that she wasn’t wearing a wedding band and knew that if she had been engaged, it would have been the first topic of conversation as she handed him a cup of pumpkin tea and a shortbread. His eyes strayed to the family tapestry against one wall, wondering where Sirius would be placed on it, curious as to what his name had been before Charlus had named him for his favorite star.
“I must admit I hadn’t expected you so soon,” Dorea began, smiling at him, and his eyes strayed to her messy black hair that fell to her shoulders, barely tamed by the many pins that sought to contain it. It reminded him so much of Sirius’s hair and if there had been any doubt in his mind that Sirius was a Black, it was erased in that moment. “I thought you would be traveling for at least another six months before finding your way back home.”
She didn’t mention marriage, Charlus was happy to realize. “We came back for the N.E.W.T. exams,” he confessed carefully.
Dorea looked up at him with gray eyes full of questions.
“My husband just finished the seventh-year curriculum,” he admitted as he watched the witch he had once contemplated marrying. “There was no conceivable reason to wait until we finished our travels when we could easily come back to England for a few weeks.”
“Oh, I see,” she said carefully, her voice strained. She set down her own teacup and fidgeted with the sleeve of her dress. “Do I know him?”
“Yes, I think so,” Charlus began carefully. “He’s a Black.”
Her gray eyes flashed as she looked at him before turning back to the tapestry. “He must be from one of the earlier offshoots,” she mused, getting up and walking over to the tapestry. “It only records names for four or five generations after they break off from the main line, even if they carry the name of Black. I would have noticed if you were added onto it.”
“That must be it,” Charlus replied, silently disappointed that Sirius was so cut off that he didn’t even have a place on a moth-eaten tapestry. “It’s of little importance.”
“No,” Dorea answered hollowly. “No, I suppose not.”
Charlus didn’t stay much longer. There was still over an hour before Sirius would finish with his Charms practical, so Charlus wandered the halls of Hogwarts, looking into classrooms where classes were going on for everyone not taking O.W.L.s or N.E.W.T.s. He meandered into an empty classroom, not wanting to listen to a few witches who were trying to follow him and giggling behind their hands. He locked the door carefully behind him.
Looking around, he saw an old mirror in the corner and, remembering what Sirius had admitted the first day they met, he walked forward, looking at the warning inscribed in the frame, knowing this was the mirror Sirius had looked into and somehow fallen through two years earlier. Bloodstained fingerprints hovered near the middle and Charlus reached out hesitantly, but didn’t touch them, afraid that he would somehow lose himself inside the mirror. Taking a step back, he took in a deep breath.
He didn’t need to look. Charlus had everything he wanted without falling through the looking glass.