A Shard of Glass
A/N: I owe huge
thank you to Suburban House Elf for a wonderfully fast and efficient last
minute beta, and also to the Queens of all Awesomeness for their advice and
support with this fic, especially to Dogstar for prodding me to post this on
the Quill at last….
was a trait of the Smith family. His Great Aunt Hepbzibah, it was said, had
kept enough trinkets to fill a museum and they still often stumbled across secret drawers and false
panels containing little nests of jewellery, crockery and other magical and non
magical knick knacks. His father kept every essay he had ever written at school
(something Zacharias found immensely useful when it came to exam time. Even his mother, who had
been the model of efficiency in all other things, had kept all the piles of old
photographs in her box in her room - she never let anyone throw any away, not even the blurry
unfocused snapshots which hadn't been taken properly.
Zacharias - well, he didn't hoard things. It made him angry to see all these
pathetic piles of rubbish - empty clothes, tarnished metal, broken toys - just
lying around while their owners were dead. It was like that man had said. Zach
had drawn a picture for his mother when she was in hospital - it had taken him
hours and he'd even performed a simple charm on it when his father wasn't
looking. The letters flashed gold and green - Get Well Soon. He'd
forgotten it, though, when visting hours came next day- it had stayed in his
bag until the day before the funeral, when all of a sudden he'd thought of it, and
dug it out of his bag. The undertaker had stopped him at the door. You know,
son, nobody brings anything with them into this world, and nobody takes
anything out with them. That's a fine picture. Why don't you keep it with you? And when Zacharias had
seen her, later, looking so still and cold in her casket he knew the man was
right. She couldn't see the drawing. She couldn't care. There wasn't any point.
That was part of the reason why
Zach hadn't been up to the attic in so long. All those pointless piles of junk,
kept for no reason - the only people who had ever cared for these things were
dead, or had simply forgotten them. Some of them might be valuable but so what?
They'd be better off selling
them to someone who cared. Zach kicked at a pile of old robes lying on the floor, raising a cloud of dust. He
wouldn't have bothered coming up here, except that he was curious. What did
Potter want with his family history? Why was he so interested all of a sudden?
Not that he was
going to help him, of course. Not unless he explained what he wanted, in
person, instead of sending that Weasley girl to try and butter him up. As if.
He hadn't forgotten that trick she'd played on him at the Gryffindor -
Slytherin match. Still, Zacharias wondered. A cup, she'd said. And a locket.
Well, it would be long gone, most of the stuff that was actually valuable had
been sold by his dad, years back. Still, no harm in looking. There were lists,
somewhere - under all this stuff probably - of what they had had. Zacharias
tripped over a rocking horse which had had its legs smashed off and landed in a
pile of old curtains. At this rate he'd end up killing himself.
"Lumos," he hissed again at his
wand, which flared up and died down again but not before Zach had caught a
glimpse of something promising.
he said, pulling towards him a box labeled: H. Smith, to be sorted. He
shone his wand light inside carefully, and then recoiled. Pink. Everything was
brightly, hideously pink.
earth?" Zacharias said, appalled, pulling out a piece of material that lay
on top. It was spattered with pink and purple polka dots and decorated with
layer upon layer of frills. Zacharias let go of it very quickly. Somehow he
didn't think that was what Potter was looking for.
There was a tea
set underneath, decorated with rosebuds - Zacharias examined each of the cups
individually and put them carefully aside. They certainly didn't seem like
anything that would be of use in the fight against the Dark Lord, but you never
knew. There was a music box which sounded as if the charm on it was running
out, the tinkling tune sinking lower and lower down the octaves and then
petering out, a couple of old parchment rolls with writing in Gobble-de-Gook
and a pouchful of jewellery. Zacharias dug his hand deeper into the box, and
then withdrew it with a sharp cry. There was a cut across the tip of his middle
finger, the blood welling up. Zacharias sucked the wound clean and then put in
his hand again, more cautiously. His hand closed around a flat object which he
drew out carefully. It was triangular shaped, wrapped in a piece of cloth but
one corner stuck through the protective cloth.
unwrapped it slowly, sure, by the pricking feeling of tension in the air, that
this object was powerfully magical. It slid out onto his palm, a bright silver
that seemed to shine almost painfully brightly in the dim attic. For a short
moment Zacharias saw his own face reflected in it, then the image changed.
Zacharias sat a
long time in the dark, forgetful of his task, focusing only on the broken
Zacharias asked later at dinner.
Jonas Smith grunted from behind his newspaper. He didn't like to be disturbed
at meal times.
"I was in
the attic today. I found a piece of - of glass. I thought it might be
Enchanted how?" His father had looked up from his newspaper now.
know," Zacharias said, uncomfortably. He didn't feel like telling his
father what he'd seen, somehow. "I just thought it was."
Jonas had lost
interest now, his eyes back on the Daily Prophet. "Best to leave it
alone if you think it might be enchanted. Ask one of the house-elves to look at it for
you." And he rustled the pages of his newspaper to show he was busy and
didn't want to be asked any more questions. Zacharias scowled, and pushed away
his plate. He didn't feel like eating anyway.
He found Dorry
in the laundry room, ironing shirts. She was very careful, twitching the
clothes into place with a stick and a hook, so as not to touch them with her
bare skin. "Dorry," he
said. "I was in the attic today."
master shouldn't be going up there," Dorry said reproachfully. "He
will give himself the sneezes."
friend of mine asked me to look for something." It stuck in his throat to
call Ginny Weasley a friend, but it made things simpler.
asked about my Great Aunt Hepzibah. About a locket and a cup. I thought you might know..."
yes." Dorry nodded. "Old Misses Hepzibah's things. Well, you won't be
finding those things in the attic, Master Zacharias. They been stolen."
after she died and never came back. Not that they'll be much good to a thief,"
Dorry said in a satisfied voice.
that cup was a Smith family
heirloom, see. It had charms that even the strongest wizard couldn't
burn the lips of any who tried to drink from it, unless they were a Smith, so
that they'd never be able to put food to their lips again. And it would only
rest still in a box made of wood from Smith orchards."
digested this. Was that the kind of thing Potter and his gang would want to
know? Zacharias had hoped he'd have some sort of information that would leave
him one up on Potter and his lot - after all they were always so picky about
sharing their information with everyone else.
wondered if he dared ask Dorry about what he really wanted to know. It didn't
feel right somehow asking about the mirror from a house elf - it was too
personal, somehow, too private. But Dorry was looking at him askance, as if
wondering why he didn't just go and leave her to her ironing. It was now or
he said, as casually as he could. "I, er, did find something- in Aunt Hepzibah's
things. It was broken but - I found a mirror." Zach looked down at the
loudly. "Dorry is a careless house-elf and her finger slips and now she burns herself. Bad Dorry!"
the elf's voice was more high-pitched than
normal, as if she were in great distress.
watched her flapping her finger around agitatedly. "Perhaps you should run
it under the tap."
"No, no, I
have ironing to do, I don't have time for taps and questions, questions and
taps." She waved
her arms to dismiss him looking almost angry.
move. "I have to know what that mirror is."
should leave it where it belongs!" Dorry shook her head. "Master
shouldn't worry about things that are long past."
is it? Is it enchanted? I looked in it and I saw things - things that couldn't
be real. Why did it do that?"
The house-elf puckered her cheeks and
order you to tell me!"
shouldn't have looked, Master! Your Great Uncle..."
What about my Great Uncle?"
Hezekiah caught a glimpse of himself in Erised and then he had to have it. Paid
a near fortune to get hold of even the smallest shard of an Erised mirror and
then he nearly wasted away with looking only at it. Misses Hepzibah, she was so
worried about him. 'Tis a wicked thing that mirror. Wicked!" She shook her head.
does it do?"
her wrinkled old face towards him, her eyes sharp. "It shows your heart's
desire, that's what it does, and then it eats away at you unless you have the
sense to break free of it. A wicked thing, I'm telling you!"
started. He had almost forgotten where he was, sitting there with the mirror in
his lap. He'd only meant to take a quick peep. Just to see if what Dorry had
told him could be right. His heart's desire. Was it really?
It was an owl,
half slumped on his windowsill and knocking to get in. Zach went to open the
window and the owl collapsed on the floor in front of him, feathers dropping all over the
carpet. Zacharias looked at it in disgust. What a mangy old bird. He untied the
letter fixed to his foot.
bother you at home and all that but I need to know if you found any more about
the thing I was talking to you about in the DA last week. I wouldn't ask but
it's really important.
snorted and tossed the letter into the bin. She'd have to try harder if she
thought he was just going to roll over and fetch for her. He took a
piece of paper and scribbled on it. Tell him to ask for himself if he wants
to know. Then he went back to the mirror.
Master a hot drink,” Dorry said tentatively, creeping into the room. It had
been their custom, since Mrs Smith had died, for Dorry to bring Zach something
to drink in the evenings. He supposed it was her way of being sympathetic. She
was very forward for a house-elf.
it on the table." Zach didn't move.
Dorry looked at
him sorrowfully. "I told master he should get rid of that mirror. He will
be hurting himself."
minute. I just want to look a bit longer."
Dorry shook her
head. "That is just what your uncle said,"
you know all this stuff anyway?" Zacharias said irritably, putting the
glass down. "You aren't that old."
told by my mother, and she was told by the house-elf before her - Hokey."
Dorry gave a shudder. "She was a bad house-elf, very bad. But she kept the
family secrets and passed them on, as is a house-elf's duty."
always known about this mirror? Didn't you ever want to take a look?"
kindly. "Oh no, Master Zacharias, house elfs is not having heart's
desires. It is not our place." There was something in Dorry's eyes almost
scowled and turned his face to the wall. Bloody house-elves and their bloody place.
They never stopped going on about it.
passed an uncomfortable night. He kept tossing and turning, unable to relax and
his mind went over and over what he had seen in the mirror. In the end he got
up, lit his wand again to look
once more in the mirror. His
mother smiled at him, that firm slow smile that told him he had done really
well, as he passed the picture into his hands. He could see the paint
glittering Get Well Soon. Except in the picture, she didn't look sick
, his fingers tightening unconsciously around
muttered something and candles re-lit themselves. A boy stood in the doorway,
head tilted to one side, watching him.
your note." He held up the piece of parchment with Zach's note scribbled on
you get in?" Zacharias hissed. Bloody Potter - so bloody arrogant
walking into someone else's house.
easily. You ought to do something about your security spells."
you get the information? Ginny wasn't lying, you know, it is important." He
won't tell me why?"
Harry looked at
him coldly. "I can't. Now just tell me."
with trepidation that he had his wand in his hand. "It isn't fair,"
he said sullenly. "You can't just walk in here and tell me what to do. Who
put you in charge anyway?"
Potter pointed at his scar. "Remember? I'm the Boy Who Lived and, you
know, I didn't ask for it, but somehow I've got to defeat Voldemort and I'd
really appreciate not having to play anymore stupid games."
forward angrily and Zacharias noticed for the first time how much thinner he
seemed to be then when he last saw him, and how much paler.
"But - but
how do I know?" he said.
"How do I
know I'm doing the right thing helping you if I don't know what I'm
softened just a little. "I guess you don't," he said. "If all
I've done in this fight so far isn't enough to tell you whether or not you can trust me, then I
guess, you don't."
"It's not you
so much," said Zacharias. "It's your friends. Those Weasley twins
were always on at me every time I asked a simple question and then your
girlfriend kept attacking me for no reason..."
flashed in Potter's face for a moment but it was gone before Zach could
interpret the look.
my girlfriend," he said. "And they aren't here. It's me you
have to trust, Smith. I need to know."
in a long breath. He supposed it was as near to an apology as he was going to
get. "All right," he said "I was going to tell you anyway - I
just wanted you to know - I wasn't just playing games. I needed to know."
Potter said impatiently. "So?"
hesitantly, Zacharias told him all
he knew. Potter listened attentively and
nodded his head at the end.
help?" Zacharias asked.
said Potter. “I have to speak to Hermione about that wood thing - she might
know a way of tracking the cup through that. I don't know. Anyway -
problem," said Zach, feeling a little happier. Somewhere beneath them they
heard a door click.
better go," Potter said abruptly. "I've left my broomstick outside.
You - er - won't tell anyone about this, will you?"
Potter paused. "What's that on your hand?" he said suddenly.
- I cut myself - it's nothing." Zacharias couldn't help glancing at the
mirror as he said this and Potter followed his gaze. In two paces he was by
Zacharias' bed and holding the mirror up to the light. There was a long silence.
you get this?" Potter asked.
attic." Zacharias said, sullenly. He didn't think Potter had any right to
pry into his buisness, especially since Potter so emphatically refused to tell
Zacharias anything about himself.
it's an Erised mirror. I didn't know there was more than one."
there is." said Zacharias. "And this one's mine."
changed," said Harry quietly. "I can see... it's the end of the war.
And everyone's safe. And - " he stopped suddenly, putting down the mirror.
"You should get rid of it, you know." He threw the mirror down on
the bed. "You can become obsessed with it."
shifted uncomfortably. Why did everyone keep telling him that?
Harry looked at
him keenly, as if he'd never seen him before. "I mean it, you know. You
should get rid of the mirror."
of your business," Zacharias said harshly.
his mouth as if to say something and then seemed to change his mind.
"Fine," he said "I have to go."
"I saw my
mother in it," Zacharias blurted out suddenly. He didn't know why he was
telling Potter this except suddenly he felt he didn't want the other boy to
leave without understanding first.
to look at him. Suddenly Zacharias felt embarrassed to have admitted to such a childish
desire. What a stupid thing to want.
"I saw my
mother too," Potter said quietly. "The first time I looked in the mirror.
And my father, and all my family. I didn't want to ever leave that mirror. I
didn't want to do anything except - look. But Dumbledore spoke to me, he said -
that you mustn't dwell on dreams and - forget to live."
thought of the afternoon spent staring into that mirror. He could spend
the rest of his life looking at that image. And leave all the fighting to be
done by Potter and his lot. He could see the wisdom in what Dorry had said -
that mirror was dangerous.
and the others - I know you don't like her -" Harry said seeing the
expression of Zacharias' face. "But they're doing something good with the
DA this year - you could help them, you know."
Zacharias admitted. "Perhaps I could. Just so that you Gryffindors don't hog all the
suddenly, and clapped him on the shoulder. "Good," he said, and got
up. "Now I really have to go. See you later then, mate."
Zacharias sat a
long while in the dark thinking over what Harry Potter had said, and turning
the mirror shard over and over in his fingers. In the end, he got up, wrapped
the mirror back in its cloth
and tip toed out side into his garden. It was in the apple orchard he found the
perfect spot and he dug a little hole and placed the mirror shard inside.
Because, after all, whatever else he might be Zacharias Smith was not a