For All the Beautiful Things

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She was waiting patiently, hiding inside the bathroom of the dormitory room until all other occupants left. Once she heard the door close one last time and the voices of other girls die out, she slowly crept her way out. When her bare feet touched the marbled ground with soft steps they led her to the enchanted mirror Ashley Kirke, one of her roommates, had left behind.

As she reached the squared-cut glass hanging on the nearest wall, Ariana Malfoy took in a ragged inhale, her stomach a giant knot as silver eyes reflected back at her.

It'd been over a week since her return to Hogwarts and it seemed like things could not be going any better. She took her final exams, gently laughed with her friends, and most of the students stopped whispering behind her back or impassively asking what exactly happened that one Hogsmeade day. Even as time kept going on, knowing that things changed, Ariana still couldn't shake off the fact that she had reminders of the past still present, always reminding her.

Looking into the mirror, Ariana saw a scar decorating her left temple, the now-healed cut of torture blemishing her beautiful face. On her lip another scar healed into an extra line on her mouth that had not been there a month before. Underneath her eyes shadows of the nastiest shade of yellow were present, making it seem like she'd developed some sort of illness instead of old bruises finally clearing up. As she blinked at the reflection, she could see patches of skin that were still burned.

She was all banged up, but like Madam Pomfrey had said, all of it would fade away in time. If not, there were spells or potion remedies that would erase it for her. But sometimes at night, when Gryffindor Tower was completely silent, all the memories of how she got every cut, every burn still played in her head, traumatizing her further. 

Sighing, watching her warm breath fog up the glass, Ariana stared a little more at her reflection as she blinked away the memories. It made her feel disturbed, looking at herself with all the marks of Tanya Rowle's evil plot to destroy everything she loved. She understood a bit better why most people didn't really look at her anymore. It was for the same reasons why she refused to stare too much at a mirror— because no one will ever be  fine with a fourteen year-old taken as a hostage and tortured.

Ariana knew once she returned home that her mother will wave her wand and remove those experiences from her skin, only leaving the ones inside her head that no one would ever be bothered by.

Squinting slightly into her reflection, noticing another scar that she hadn't seen before, the door to her dormitory opened softly; a pair of bright eyes stared at her from the doorway.

 "I never really pictured you as being vain, Ana."

Like a reflex, Ariana Malfoy pointed her wand at the mirror, making it disappear as she turned to the door all in a second. She cleared her throat, crossing her arms over her chest as the bright eyes became more visible. "You're not supposed to be here."

"Yeah, but I haven't been much for rules before, have I?" James Potter shrugged casually, closing the door behind him with the same faintness as when he opened it. "Besides, that slip-and-slide method of keeping the boys out of the girls' dormitories is rubbish. Did they not think of levitating spells?"

Tossing her wand onto the mattress of her four-poster, Ariana kept her arms crossed as she watched the Fifth Year Gryffindor carefully. "What do you want, Potter?"

"Can't a bloke just come and say a hello?"

"You had the chance about a week ago, at a much more appropriate time," she told him bluntly. 

James let out a noise that sounded almost like a mixture of a chuckle and a scoff. "Do I make you uncomfortable, Ana?" He winked at her, approaching with light steps as he tried adding humor to the awkwardness. "Besides, you were the center of attention for an entire week, and I sort of like to lay low."

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