Lavender Brown had always been a pretty girl. She took pride in being a pretty girl. She worked hard to maintain it. Even during that awful year under the Carrow's, she'd maintained being a pretty girl.
As she sat in her bed in St Mungo's, covered in bandages, she knew her days of being a pretty girl were over. She was on a specialist ward for victims of bites from werewolves in human form. Something so new no one really knew the best way to treat the wounds.
Lavender had seen the others. She knew what the scars would look like. Parvati had offered to be there when the bandages came off.
She couldn't deal with the horror and sadness in her best friends eyes. She was sick of sympathy.
Bill Weasley was going to be there with her. He'd left his job at Gringotts to work with people like her. Help them adjust. It was easier knowing he'd already been through it, harder because every time she saw him she wondered how her scars would compare to his.
Would she be missing huge chunks of flesh or would she just be covered in scratches. She was dreading the day she'd have to leave the comfort of the hospital. Having to face a world that flinched at the sight of her. See the pity at the evidence of her bravery.
They all had scars.
The ones who fought. She knew this. But being here, on this ward of wounds that never truly heal, made her face the realty of war in a way she never had before.
They'd been fools. Picturing glorious deaths and tales of their heroism. She'd never pictured this. There was beauty in death. There was no beauty here. She should have died a pretty girl.
"What was that?"
Shit, she'd said that last bit out loud and worse, Bill had heard her. She hadn't even noticed him arrive.
"I was just thinking out loud. Sorry"
"I'm getting the healer. We need to get those bandages off you. There are worse things to live with than a few scars" he says as he storms out the door.
His brothers death hit the family hard. Yes losing a brother was tragic. Watching his twin attempt to function on his own was heart-breaking for them. She'd asked before about George. The dark look in Bill's eyes was enough to tell her what words could not.
Lavender had asked how his family were. He'd been general. She wondered if he knew. Knew that she only wanted to hear about one person. The boy she'd loved longer than she had been aware of it.
Was he happy? With her? The papers said they were together. They didn't look it in the pictures though. Yeah they were stood next to each other, went to lunch together but they'd always done things like that. Were they friends? Were they lovers? Would Bill tell her?
Bill is back with a healer and his assistant in tow. She likes the healer. He's mean. No sympathy, pity or molly codling. He treats them like soldiers wounded in a war. Not children fighting to survive. Mean is probably being harsh. Clinical is probably a better word. She might not be a bookworm but she loves words. Poetry and song. She likes pretty words. Pretty words for a pretty girl. Maybe it's time she learns some ugly words.
The bandages are coming off.
The healer moves in for a closer look while his assistant gasps. Bill squeezes her hand. Soon, only moments away she'll have to look and face her new realty.
One where she's no longer a pretty girl. One where Ron Weasley is completely out of her league.
They hand her a mirror. She holds it face down on bed. Why did they give her such a gorgeous ornate hand mirror? Did they think it would help? Using something so beautiful to witness her own disfigurement?
Her fingers trace the gilded cravings on the back of the mirror. She knows she has to do this. The curtains are around her bed. Only three people are currently witness to what's become of her.
She'll be the fourth. Somehow she resents that.
That they know and she doesn't.
She takes a deep breath and flips the mirror.