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Chapter 1 : Just Harry
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Although he was originally on his way to Gryffindor tower, Harry Potter found himself wandering the damaged and silent halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The castle was still with sleep, all those who survived the epic battle just hours before having finally succumbed to exhaustion. But Harry, while drained as well, could not for the life of him quiet his mind. His thoughts paced in his brain like a caged tiger. After an eternity meandering down one corridor and another, his body was too weak to continue walking any further, so he slipped into the open door of an empty classroom to rest.
Closing the old door behind him, he took a moment to bask in the silence of the dusty room. It was one of the few rooms in the castle that remained intact, albeit more than a little dirty, after the battle. Surveying the room he recognized it as the same one he had escaped to during his first year at Hogwarts. Just like that night seven years previous, the Mirror of Erised stood in all its ancient grandeur in the center of the room. This of course meant that Dumbledore had moved the mirror back to its home after the showdown with Quirrell and Voldemort in the underground chamber.
As Harry approached the mirror he knew he’d see his parents again for the second time in less than 48 hours. However, he was quite taken aback when the looking glass reflected simply his image. Harry stood there for a few moments expecting something . . . anything to be revealed next to his mirror self, after all it was supposed to reflect the heart’s true desire.
When nothing materialized something his mentor, Albus Dumbledore, had explained to him in this very room drifted through his mind. “The happiest man on Earth would be able to use the Mirror of Erised . . . and see himself exactly as he is.” (Sorcerer’s Stone, pg. 213)
But surely he wasn’t anywhere close to happy, much less the happiest person in the world. Great loss haunted the walls around him and many of the people he loved had died the previous night. Beyond that, he was under incredible stress, being pulled in several different directions, all in efforts to begin reconstruction of the wizarding world. In fact, that was the reason he had retreated to this empty room, so that he could have a few minutes to himself to recover.
So how was it that the Mirror of Erised believed him to be a happy man? Harry sank to the floor at this thought. He stared long and hard at his reflection. He took in every scar and scrape, the dirt smeared across his face and arms, and the finely carved bags beneath his eyes. He was no longer the innocent boy who was oblivious of the power he could wield. The mirror revealed a man who looked older than his seventeen years, who had seen the darkest horrors of the world and had been changed by them.
As Harry ran his fingers along his lighting bolt scar he finally realized why the mirror showed only him. The Harry that sat in front of the ancient mirror was no longer running and fighting the demons of his childhood. He was no longer the orphan child of James and Lily Potter – he had a family now. Nor was he the “Boy that Lived” or the “Chosen One”; those titles died with Voldemort. He was not the gangly boy who lived in the cupboard under the stairs of Number Four, Privet Drive. He was not a liar, a savior, or even a Gryffindor. No. The man that gazed at his reflection in the ancient mirror in a dusty room in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was Harry. Just Harry.
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