Chapter 1 – Gamble of Fate
He stared into the mirror’s reflective surface; refusing to move, barely daring to breathe. His breaths, at first, came as ragged gasps as he looked into entirely unfamiliar green eyes. Brilliant green that was wide and alert, a haunted, hunted look too close to the surface. A messy mop of black hair that parted to reveal a jagged scar in the shape of a lightening bolt that seemed completely inconsequential near an old, white scar that ran across his cheek.
He wore a plain black T-shirt, a black glove on his right hand that stretched up his arm in a brace and disappeared under his sleeve. His left arm bore the old wounds of a wolf’s fangs, where he had managed to slow down a werewolf attack.
It took him a bare five seconds to take in his appearance and realize what he was doing before he launched into action. Immediately, he grabbed the edge of the large standing mirror and pulled, dragging it around until he had the glass safely facing the wall. It was only then that he pulled out his wand and really looked at the large, white room he was in.
There were two doors leading out of the room, but he ignored these, painfully mindful of the consequences that may lie behind either. Instead, he moved to a corner of the room—opposite to and as far as he could get from the mirror—and sank down to the floor, clutching his wand protectively and keeping a wary eye on the doors while his gaze frequently darted back to the mirror, as if expecting more danger from it than either door.
—Twelve Years Ago—
"Harry!" The black haired teen looked over at his friends call and couldn’t help but grin.
Ron’s cheeks were red and he was grinning widely, proudly wearing his finest dress robes. The taller boy laughed, "Can you believe it? They’re really doing it!"
"Yeah... it’s great," Harry agreed, smiling. But on his mind, as ever, was the pressing reality of the prophecy, soon to be fulfilled.
"Hey, come on, let’s go over to look at the gifts—‘Mione and Ginny are over there already." Ron suggested, throwing an arm amiably around his best friend’s shoulders and steering them across the lawn.
Bill and Fleur couldn’t have picked a more perfect day to have their wedding. The sky was blue and the sun shown down merrily. The grass was green and the Garden Gnomes were, for once, behaving... Well, mostly, Harry amended to his thoughts as he noticed Fred nonchalantly kick one over the fence out of the corner of his eye.
The guests were all laughing and chatting, dressed up and mingling as if they hadn’t a care in the world. The happy couple themselves looked oblivious, hanging on to each other as they spoke with their guests. There was really no other way to describe it than perfect.
Harry’s smile became a little less strained. He should worry about Voldemort tomorrow. For now, though, couldn’t he just enjoy himself, like everyone else?
"The Mirror of Concinere," Harry turned his attention towards the small group he was being led towards to see Remus Lupin standing across from Hermione and Ginny, an ornate, full-sized mirror between them.
"A fancy gift, indeed," the one-time Defense professor continued, smiling and nodding to the two new arrivals, "It’s said that those who look into it are given a glimpse of their future."
Hermione frowned at that, "Not more Divination."
The werewolf smiled easily, "No, nothing like that. This is a magic of a different sort," he explained, "The Mirror of Concinere was said to first have been a gift to an early Roman ruler, one Marcus Valerius Corvus. It is said that because of this mirror, Marcus was able to live to the age of one hundred."
"But where did the mirror come from?" Ginny asked.
"No one really knows who created it," Lupin admitted, "A wizard, of course, but the name is not recorded."
"So, if it doesn’t work by divination," Ron started, crossing his arms against his chest and frowning a little, "Then how does it work? Isn’t divination the only way to see into the future?"
"Actually," Lupin corrected, smiling and casting a look at Hermione, "It’s theorized that it works off a regular Muggle theory: probability."
"Probability?" Ron repeated, frowning deeper, "What’s that got to do with telling the future?"
"Well, one simple example," Lupin explained, "Would be predicting the outcome of pulling a coin at random out of a purse. Say there are thirteen knuts and one sickle, then there’s a much larger probability that you’ll draw a knut than a sickle. The mirror, then, would show you drawing a sickle and, chances are, it would be right."
"Then it doesn’t really show the future," Hermione stated with understanding, "It shows the most likely of possible futures."
The professor nodded, "Exactly."
"So... can we try it?" Ginny asked, grinning expectantly and blushing a little.
"There’s no harm in trying," Lupin agreed amiably, waving her forward.
The red-head stepped in front of the mirror and smoothed down her dress before looking up and gazing into the reflective glass. Suddenly, her grin widened and she looked away again, blushing more furiously than ever.
"Er... Ginny? Are you alright?" Harry wondered uncertainly.
Ginny took one look at him, blushed even redder, and took off running. Harry sighed.
"I thought we were over that stage," he muttered to Ron.
"Professor? Did it work?" Hermione wondered, glancing from the mirror to the man in confusion.
"How can it have?" Ron asked in annoyance, "She barely looked at it for a second!" He stepped forward importantly and glowered at the mirror. A second later he was scowling at it more fiercely than ever, arms crossed and face purple.
"That bloody thing! What the hell does it know, anyway?" He grumbled, stomping off to the side again.
"Ron? Did it show you something?" Harry prompted.
Ron harrumphed. "It’s a bloody load of rubbish, is what it is," he grumbled.
"Well, I want to try it next," Hermione said, stepping in front. Like Ginny, she smoothed down her dress—as though, somehow, that might make a better impression on the mirror—then looked into the glass.
A moment later, wide eyed, the girl stepped away from the glass, not saying a word.
"Hermione?" Harry prompted, feeling a little bewildered at everyone’s strange behavior.
Hermione opened her mouth as to say something, then promptly shut it again, a slight blush coloring her cheeks.
"Well, Harry?" Lupin asked, an amused smile on his lips, "What about you? Care to give it a try?"
Harry looked up, caught completely off guard. "Er, well... I don’t know about that, Professor..."
"Well, it’s good for a laugh, at least," Ron said crossly.
Hermione tried to say something again, but promptly shut her mouth once more without any words coming out at all.
"You sure, Harry?" Lupin asked, "It’s not everyday you get an opportunity like this."
"I think I’d rather just deal with my future as it comes, if it’s all the same to you," Harry replied, perhaps a little tersely.
"Oh! But it’s really rather lovely, Harry!" Hermione burst out at last.
"Lovely?!" Ron repeated incredulously, "You call that rubbish it shows you ‘lovely’?"
Hermione huffed, poking the red-head in the chest, "Well, of course it wouldn’t show you anything nice! You probably wouldn’t appreciate it even if it did!"
"Well, I certainly don’t appreciate what it did show me, that’s for sure!" Ron declared.
"What the...?" Harry muttered, tuning out the argument as he saw a hint of movement in the mirror. Looking around at the tables on another part of the lawn, he frowned. There didn’t seem to be anything there.
"Harry... what is it?" Hermione asked, even as Ron retorted to her newest comeback.
"Nothing," Harry replied quickly, "I just thought I saw something."
"So, are you going to try it?" Hermione prompted.
"I don’t know..." Harry said again, looking at the mirror reluctantly.
"It doesn’t even show you that much," Hermione continued, "It didn’t show me anything besides what happens here at the party."
Lupin nodded knowingly, "The farther into the future it goes, the less predictable things are. Usually, it only shows things that are likely to happen in the next hour or so."
"Besides," Ron added, "Just because that stupid piece of glass thinks it’ll happen doesn’t mean it will. I know what I saw definitely won’t happen!"
Harry smiled a little and looked back at the glass, "Well... I guess if it’s only a few minutes in the future, it can’t be too bad."
Cautiously, the teen stepped in front of the looking glass and let his eyes land on his image, meeting his own vivid green eyes.
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