Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy was 7 years old when he imperiously declared – to both his parents and his grandparents, during dinner one evening – that he was gay. He did not use that precise word, as it wasn’t one he knew, but he got the point across quite well. He had been reading fairytales, as many small children do, and declared his intention to one day be swept off his feet by “Prince Charming” which was very adorable. His mother had chidingly corrected him, of course, explaining that little girls were rescued by Prince Charming while little boys rescued princesses.
“Don’t be silly, Mommy.” Scorpius had scoffed, rolling his eyes. “I don’t wanna fight a dragon or battle ogres. I wanna wait in my tower, all pretty, for Prince Charming to rescue me.”
While Astoria gaped like a fish, Lucius choked on his venison, and Draco laughed so hard he almost fell out of his chair, Scorpius’s grandmother – Narcissa – spoke serenely. “Any prince would be quite lucky to have you, Scorpius. You’re certainly as lovely as any princess I’ve ever met.”
And with his grandmother’s blessing, Scorpius knew that – one day – he’d have his prince.
Scorpius was 11 when he met his prince. Albus Severus Potter was dashing and bold and funny and clever and wickedly devious. He was beautiful, with dark hair and green eyes and pale skin with a light dusting of freckles over his nose and cheeks. He was taller than Scorpius by several inches and outweighed him by nearly 50lbs, though he wasn’t chubby; Scorpius was just delicate. Albus smiled easily and laughed often and he was Sorted into Slytherin just moments after Scorpius was. The two boys were best friends right away and Scorpius knew that Albus was meant to be his prince. He was perfect.
The only problem, of course, was that Albus liked girls. When Scorpius realized this, he never faltered or wavered. If he couldn’t have Albus, he would simply have someone just like him. Someone fierce and stubborn and full of light; someone charming and sly and bold. He wanted someone strong and tall and powerful. And so he measured everyone against the standard that his best friend had set. And – as is most-often the case when someone tries to use someone unattainable as a standard – no one ever measured up.
And even when they got older and Scorpius shot up to 5’9”, becoming tall and graceful and slender and strong, he still wanted a prince to sweep him off his feet. It didn’t matter if he wasn’t delicate and weak anymore; childhood wishes are hard to kill and he longed to be cherished and protected by someone daring and charming and ridiculously Gryffindor in nature. Someone brave, but still ambitious and clever and witty and wicked. Someone just like Al, who had somehow ended up a few inches shorter than him, though a fair bit more muscular. Scorpius refused to give up on that hope.
Scorpius was nearly-16 when his life changed forever. He was finally, after years of begging, being allowed to go on a “Weasley Family Trip” with his best friend. The trips took practically the entire summer and involved traveling and close-quarters with Arthur and Molly, their 6 children plus 5 spouses and 1 significant other, 13 grandchildren (including Teddy Lupin), and the assorted significant others and friends of said grandchildren. They were loud and boisterous and insane and Scorpius – who had grown up in quiet, polite, well-mannered surroundings - loved every overwhelming second of the time he’d spent surrounded by them during the holidays. Especially Christmas, which was chaotic and warm and full of light and laughter; something which had been sorely lacking in the young man’s life, though his parents and grandmother certainly tried their best. But they weren’t quite able to drag the Manor out from under the shadow war had cast on it so long ago and Scorpius found the oppressive atmosphere hard to bear after falling in love with the way his friend’s family was. So he had spent the last few years begging his father to be allowed to go and – finally – Draco had agreed.
Now they were in London, just two days after the school term had ended, in some dusty old house that had once belonged to Scorpius’s grandmother’s family – the Blacks – gathering to prepare to travel the following day. It was evening and Weasleys were still pouring in, children and assorted guests in tow, filling the place up with noise and laughter and warmth. Scorpius had spent an hour or so chatting with his cousin Teddy (whose grandmother was his grandmother’s sister) about his upcoming wedding with Albus’s oldest cousin, Victoire Weasley. Now, however, he was lazily exploring the house with Albus and Rose and Lily.
“This is just the attic. Dad stores all kinds of crap up here.” Albus explained, pushing open another door and climbing the creaking, groaning stairs behind it. It was dim and dusty and the air smelled vaguely damp and old, like mildew and mold and stale air combined. There were old trunks and boxes and crates and even some furniture covered in white sheets. Albus started riffling through a trunk, saying. “We used to love poking through these when we were kids.”
Lily giggled, throwing open a wardrobe; at barely 14 she was a bit childish sometimes. Her Slytherin nature wasn’t as refined as Al’s and she often came across as annoying rather than coy. “Well, yeah, of course we did. There’s so much cool old stuff here from when the Blacks still owned the place.” She rolled her eyes at Scorpius and added. “Dad’s old house elf hoarded stuff back when they tried to clear it out when Sirius Black was still alive and then after the Second War Dad stuck it all up here and even forced Mundungus Fletcher to give back a bunch of what he’d filched. Sentiment and all.”
Scorpius nodded slowly, wandering towards the far side of the room. Rose was digging through a crate of books, making distressed sounds over the state some of them were in. A Ravenclaw to her very marrow, it was torture for her but she couldn’t seem to stop. Lily had pulled an incredibly old-fashioned wedding gown that was yellowed slightly with age out of the wardrobe and was holding it up to herself, looking contemplative. Albus was still digging through the trunk he’d opened, which was filled with the most random assortment of junk Scorpius had ever seen in his life. Broken quills, a wig, what looked like it might be a dead rodent of some sort, a claw from a dragon…and those were just the things that had spilled over the side while Albus shifted things around.
The blonde wandered over to a bunch of cloth-covered furniture and began peeking under the dust cloths in curiosity. A battered hat stand made of antlers had Scorpius pulling a face; it looked horrific and deserved to molder away in an attic in his opinion. A tattered chaise in faded blue velvet looked like it just needed some TLC and maybe a touch of house elf magic to make it presentable again. Perhaps when they graduated and he and Albus got the flat they’d been talking about, he’d ask Al to ask his dad if they could scrounge some furniture from up here. Surely there were other salvageable pieces as well.
The next cloth Scorpius peeked under revealed a mirror. A six-foot tall mirror, in fact. Tugging the cloth all the way off and letting it drape over a trunk, Scorpius stepped closer to the gilded frame of the mirror, studying it carefully. The piece radiated magic in the slow, steady way that older artifacts often did. It was beautiful, if a bit ostentatious, and Scorpius wondered what it did. Up near the top was an inscription that had him frowning.
“Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi.” He said out loud, still frowning. “What the hell is that? It’s not Latin…”
Rose chuckled, looking up from the books she was still going through. “No, it’s mirrored. You know, written backwards?”
“It means, ‘I show not your face but your heart’s desire.’ If you read it the other way, I mean.” Lily piped up; she’d abandoned the wedding dress and had a large dark-purple and lime-green sunhat on her head; it looked awful. “It’s the Mirror of Erised. Dad got it ages ago. It’s fun at parties.”
“So…it shows your desires?” Scorpius asked, intrigued. He knew what he wanted, mostly, but as a magical artifact perhaps the Mirror would show him his actual “prince charming” and he could then set about finding the man. “That’s amazing.”
“It shows nothing more and nothing less than your deepest and most desperate desire.” Harry’s low, soothing voice spoke from the top of the stairs, startling the teens. He smiled and added. “Go ahead and try it, Scorpius. I’ve found that most people are surprised by what they see.”
Scorpius stepped in front of the mirror, then frowned. It was himself, though he noticed that the reflection wasn’t precise. He short, spiked-up hair was longer and falling loosely around his face and he was casually dressed in denims and a blue tee-shirt instead of his current black slacks and green button-up. He also looked lost and a little confused. And surrounding him was a strange white mist. The glass looked fogged-over, as though someone had breathed on it. Frowning more, Scorpius reached out to wipe the glass clean and realized the fogging was on the other side of the mirror’s glass.
“What do you see?” Albus chirped cheerfully from next to him, grinning broadly. “Anything cool or really surprising? Mine was pretty simple last time I checked, but I was younger…might have to check again. See what it is now and all.”
“It’s fog.” Scorpius explained, watching as his reflection locked eyes with him – his eyes were intense and burning – and raised a hand. Using one finger, he began to write in the moisture clinging to the other side of the glass. “Lots of fog and me, looking lost.”
“Ah.” Harry nodded sagely. “That happens sometimes, when someone isn’t ready to face the truth of what they want.” He gave Scorpius a gentle, fatherly-sort of smile. “Maybe you should think about that this summer while we’re on our trip and you can take another look at the end of the summer.”
Scorpius nodded slowly, eyes glued on the words his mirror-self had written. ‘The heart has reasons that reason cannot know.’ It was a quote, Scorpius knew, by Blaise Pascal. One he had never understood, in fact. Perhaps Mr. Potter was right and he needed to think.
“Yes…” He said carefully, turning away from the mirror purposefully. “Yes, I think I’d like to look again before school. Thank you, Mr. Potter.”
Harry flushed. “Sure thing. And please, don’t call me Mr. Potter. Harry is fine, or Uncle Harry like my nieces and nephews do. Or even Dad, if you’re comfortable with it.”
“Oh Merlin, call him Dad!” Albus crowed, turning away from the mirror with a wicked smile. “Then I can call your dad ‘Father’ like you do! That would be hilarious.”
Scorpius cracked a smile. “Until he hexed you, yes, it would be.” He agreed, laughing when Albus stuck out his tongue. “I’m joking, um…Dad.” He added, seeing the concerned look on Harry’s face. “Father adores Albus, I assure you. He’d probably find it funny to be called Father by him.”
Harry nodded, looking unconvinced, but let it go. “Right. Well, I just came up because Molly’s got food ready and I’m rounding up the grandkids and their guests. So…”
As everyone trundled out the attic, excited for some of Molly Weasley’s home cooking, Scorpius put the image in the mirror firmly out of his mind. He’d worry about it later. Little did he know just how much it would change things. If he had, he’d probably never have looked at all.