Summary: Pieces, and what you build from them.
Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters: Sybill, Dean, Dennis, Blaise, Draco, Molly, Lucius, Voldemort, Bellatrix
Disclaimer: Harry Potter created by J. K. Rowling. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement or defamation is intended.
Original story: Mirror by etrangere
Mirror Cipher (the All Other Angles call-response)
Sybill knows that true astrology requires understanding the influence of the unseen. The future is a delicate thing, easily marred by the softest touch, as careless fingerprints are left on a crystal ball. It is not enough to make the passage of the major planets, their orbits and their intersections, without also measuring the minor perturbations caused by smaller moons and comets, by asteroids and space dust. If you cannot anticipate the unknown that already exists, how can you foresee the greater unknown beyond? But, of course, staring into that semi-transparent curve, Sybill has only ever seen herself looking back.
Dean loves West Ham, knows every player, every score, but no one expects him to try out for the team. Yet the moment they find out he is artistic, they usually suggest becoming a professional, like there is no step between having pencils and paints and having something that you can make into a career. Those portrait sketches -- Harry's hair across his forehead, the turn of Ginny's ankle, the corner of Seamus's mouth, that half-finished sketch in waxy gold, that negative space waiting to be filled -- it's not a living. There is no deeper meaning. He just likes to draw.
Dennis does not have Colin's talent with a camera, but he has a skill earned in endless practice and remembrance. He constructs the shot in pieces of cream curved shoulders, platinum falls. This is his brother's memorial, he thinks, not a petrified name carved in dead stone, but life in moments frozen by the flaring flash. He is wrong, of course. Colin is only in his head, not in the press of a button, the click of a shutter, the fade of a photograph. The camera only goes skin deep and there is no life here, only its static representation.
Blaise's mother considers Europe their own personal smörgåsbord. She takes a little taste of each country and moves on. The choicest of morsels she undoubtedly savours for a moment more; still, she never lingers long. She teaches her son to be beholden to no-one's taste but his own, to keep only what interests and enriches. His assurance lies in looks and skills, not in history. He draws no lines between a memory of dresses swirling like liquid gold and the sweets he deftly deprives an unsuspecting Draco of, between a soft smile and a musical voice and Draco's self-entitled whine.
Draco does not recognise the constraints that have been placed upon him. Influence is ubiquitous and thus invisible; understanding is beyond him. Even were he to listen, certain thoughts, explanations, would prove impossible to construct. Entire concepts are lacking in the language he has been taught. He cannot recognise the double standard in his sneering mockery of Molly and Arthur, of Lily and James. Similarity does not exist for him. He lives in a world where the hands on his shoulders are those of Stern God and Indulgent God. The perfect son is perfectly created in their perfectly intersecting image.
Molly measures all Mothers against herself. This is not arrogance. She is what she is. Molly knows she will never be described as willowy, will never move with calculatedly unconscious grace, will always stand out, be down to earth, be common as muck, be solid and steady in the glittering, flittering crowd. Molly sees the insult in indifference, in the lift of a nose, in the set of a back -- and she is stung, yes, the pain is tallied up, yes, but it is placed opposite the column that says 'I'm a Good Mother' and she never comes up wanting.
Lucius prides himself on pride. It is not his indulgence. It is the air in his lungs. It is the blood in his veins. His hair will be tied back just so, his collar this sharp, his robes an unblemished, uninterrupted fall of opaque tone. He will wear his pocket watch with its platinum chain, and his rings. He will wear his fine leather boots with the silver buckles. He will enter with her arm on his, with masks matching and all due solemnity, with the simple bow and the courteous curtsey. He will know and be known. He will.
Tom, who has not been Tom for a long time, if ever, who eschews the name for one of his own making, sees clearly in the dark. Is he not the Darkest of Lords? Has he not sloughed off mortal trappings? Can he not see the thoughts crawling behind those eyes as easily as he sees his face in their wet surfaces? Of course he has. Of course he can. Just as he can see her breasts rise with each panicked breath, see each trembling twist of her slender fingers, the submissive curve of neck, the inviting curve of hip.
Bellatrix smiles -- and what a contrast this! Dark instead of light; skin prison pale, sallow not translucent; lips blood red, a gash in a manic face always ready to open around a thick laugh, a blunt barb. Time has added weight to her faith as it has taken it from her body. She has matured in her cage like vinegar in the bottle, sharp and sour, in smell presaging the bite; noble; ancient; most pure. Oh, what a sister! What a woman! Let others nestle in comfort like eggs on careful velvet -- she lives life to the fullest. She lives!
On a blank page, draw an outline, negative spaces to be filled. Sketch in details as you observe them. Construct her from all those angles. The curve of a shoulder, the curl of hair, the swirl of a dress, a nose, a mouth, a soft smile, a musical voice, legs to bend, eyes to weep and shine. Make the lines deep, make them sure to stay, engrave all that is and take away all that is not, that will never be. Now, do you see who is revealed? There is no one, of course. The glass has always been empty.