Isilme Malfoy (webmistress hehe)
“Oh, come on, Severus, it’s just a big piece of glass! You can’t get hurt, can you?”
Professor Snape made his way through the dungeon room where the Erised mirror seemed to be waiting for him. The time had come in which he should face whatever it chose to show him.
“No. No I won’t do it, thanks. I’m off to my room, I’ve got some work to do and...”.
But he didn’t turn his back. He closed his eyes, sighing, as if waiting for a signal, for a divine order that would force him to look at that mirror. Suddenly he felt scared. Of what he would see. Of what he didn’t want to face again. Because the polished surface never lied, it always showed the deepest desire of a person’s soul.
“It’s time…to see…you want to see…”, said a whispering voice inside his head.
He walked towards the full-length mirror and placed himself in front of it, a trembling hand covering his face. Even though he had been sure that he was prepared to stand it, the vision made him fall down to his knees.
‘I may never get rid of you’, he muttered, looking at the ethereal figure on the reflection, who was smiling at him.
On the surface, a young man with astonishing sparkling blue eyes and unkempt raven hair, who wore a scarlet and gold scarf around his pale neck, held his hand to Severus.
‘James, you fool. I can’t go with you now, no matter how much I long for it’, he said to the reflection. ‘I need you…back…but you’ll never return. This is just…absurd’.
The young man continued smiling and nodded.
‘Yes what? What are you affirming? That you know I loved you? That you’re sorry for all the pain you’ve caused me? No, it’s late for that. Of course you knew. You were completely aware that I would have given anything to stay by your side. But no, you had to choose her, your family expected great things of you. Offspring, for instance’.
The Potion’s master didn’t look like himself anymore, kneeling in front of a memory. He extended a hand, in a desperate effort to touch his enemy and former lover, but his fingers only found a polished crystal surface, transparent and cold…as the dead.
‘We were born to hate each other, Potter. You were a famous, insanely-perfect Gryffindor boy, and I was a talented but naturally impopular Slytherin. I tried to turn your existence into a living hell, but you always won, making tricks without losing that angelical, too-innocent-to-be-real smile of yours. I didn’t even realized that I loved you until that night in which you risked yourself to save me. Don’t think that I started loving you all of sudden. No, I had always felt attracted to you, always looked for a way of getting a look from your eyes, but I wasn’t aware of that. Love was a mystery buried in my unconscious self for years’.
Snape stopped speaking and held his breath when he felt that the illusion of James Potter was paying attention to him. “I’m going mad. He’s a product of my imagination, he can’t hear me. It’s too late”. But the boy had his beautiful eyes open with an expression of deep, quiet interest.
‘At least I can believe that you’re listening to me, may it be true or not. That night you…said you didn’t want me to die, and I certainly couldn’t understand you. But I had no time to ask, your lips pressed against mine and I stopped thinking, forgot our enmity and everything apart from the fact that I wanted that, your touch, your kisses. You hugged me behind the bushes on a fullmoon night. From that moment on, we kept on treating each other like rivals in public, but we met secretly in the dungeons or any other place to make love at nights. I sometimes dream that I go back to those times, your body curling up by my side, filling me completely, making me feel more alive than what I have done since you left. That was happiness for me, and I believed with all the heart that you felt the same, that you’d never go away from me. But I was so wrong…’.
James’ reflection was at that moment putting his glasses in its right place, and looking down as he did it. As if he felt sorry.
‘I had my plans for both of us, James, but then one day you approached me and said that you must choose a wife because it was your duty to do so. You mentioned Lily Evans, but at that time blood froze in my veins, so I hardly heard the girl’s name. We’ve been just lovers- you said, seemingly astonished at my reaction-I’m sorry if you were expecting something else...’
‘Just lovers-I uttered-Of course Potter, just a fuck every now and then and that’s all. Well it’s been not the same for me, you know. Perhaps you could have told me in advance.’
‘Exactly, James, you could have told me. Then perhaps I wouldn’t have fallen for you this much and I would have been able to endure this pain. But I felt like rubbish that night. You became engaged to Lily and both of you got married several months after leaving Hogwarts. And while you were founding a happy home, I was drowned in my own despair and felt unhealthily eager to join the Deatheaters. So I did it.’
‘It’s not easy to feel alone in the world, at Hogwarts I had a certain protection but outside I only found pain and horror. With the Dark Lord it was obeying or getting killed. I was nineteen years old when I heard that you had had an heir. More or less at the same time, I overheard a conversation in which the Lord talked about getting you and your family killed as soon as possible, because you refused to join us’.
‘I felt scared to death. I had sworn to myself that I’d be your worst enemy from your engagement day on, but I was lying. I risked my life by going back to Dumbledore and became a spy, yes James, just to tell him that you were in danger and needed protection. I couldn’t sleep nor even breath until the day they found you lying on the floor, lifeless. While everybody around me celebrated the Dark Lord’s fall and the heroism of a baby, I silently cried my heart out at Dumbledore’s office.’
‘That’s why I can’t stand your son’s presence. He seems to me like a nasty prank of destiny, because he resembles you so much. He’s got your same temperament, your bravery and your eagerness to defeat the forces of evil. And I’m sure he’ll manage it. I’m here to protect him although I do my best to make a hell out of his life. What were you expecting from me? I can’t adore him’.
The image in the mirror stared at him more intently as a single tear dropped from the professor’s eyes.
‘I could stay here forever, in fact I find no sense to my existence. I’d be happier with you wherever you are’, he sighed.
But James shook his head with a slight smile. Dying was not a good idea at all, he seemed to say.
‘Don’t do that. You can’t be listening. But I almost hear your voice coming from the mirror. I haven’t forgotten it, you whispered in my ears so many times…You liked me, didn’t you? Then why did you have to fulfill their expectations? If you had remained by my side, you would have suffered no harm. I wouldn’t have entered a world of death and danger. I hate to think that things could have gone the right way’.
‘Severus’, a familiar voice said behind him, after the sound of a door closing.
Snape took his eyes off the reflection and looked vaguely at the school’s Headmaster.
‘Yes?’, he answered, still lost in thought, as if he hadn’t woken up of a dream.
‘Stand up, please’, the older man said gently. ‘I think it’s time for you to come back to the present’.
He obeyed and managed to stop looking at the Erised mirror, then turned his back to face the other wizard.
‘Was he there?’, asked Dumbledore.
‘Sorry? Ah…yes, it was him. James was listening to me, but that can’t be, can it?’
‘You know this mirror shows one exactly what one desires to see. So yes, it’s possible that you saw him listening. But you also know how many human minds have get lost because of these reflections of happiness’.
‘I only wanted…’, Snape said, regaining his composure and his natural voice tone.
‘To see him once again, of course. But you don’t need the help of Erised to do that. You can see him anytime you want, because you’ve kept his memory in a safe place, haven’t you? He’s inside your heart’.
‘There was a moment in which I wanted to go with him’.
‘And throw everything overboard? No, Severus, you have things to do here. We all have. One day you’ll eventually join him wherever he is, but now it’s your turn to live. I told you some time ago and I tell you once again now, life is the most precious magic that we have. He saved yours, and you tried to save his, isn’t it a clear proof?’
Snape nodded and made his way to the door, followed by the old man.
“Do you know what, James? I’ll live on to help your son to defeat the Dark Lord again. But someday I’ll leave forever, and you can be sure that, no matter if I go to Hell, Heaven or whatever they want to call the place, I’ll meet you again and I will speak. And you will listen. And I won’t have to touch a dead piece of crystal again”.