Remus was staring himself in the mirror. His hair, the brown flop that seemed to have made its home on top of his head, needed cutting again. His second-hand school robes were still a size too big, and he noticed that for the first time in his life he needed to shave. He ran his hand over the small amount of stubble on his chin, and tried to stand up straighter. He had recently gotten that long awaited growth spurt, but still felt remarkably short compared to James and Sirius, but then he had always felt like a second to them.
James, Sirius, and Lily had invited him to take part in one of their newest adventures that evening, but he wasn’t really in the mood for it. As a prefect he was hardly able to go and cause an uproarious scene, and as a friend he didn’t want to be the one to have to call it all to an end. Besides, it would just be one more occasion to watch James and Lily flirt with one another. He looked at the way his robes hung off of him in the mirror. He was very thin, and looked so much like he was longing for a life, unlike James who always seemed so full of life. He stared at his face again for another moment, and then stretched his face into a smile. The beauty of his smile was lost on Remus, he could not escape the scars on his face. He put his hands over them and started scrunching his face up, trying to making different expressions. This time he tried to look distinguished. He put his chin up, and puffed out his chest.
“Oh it’s no use,” he said, slinking back into his normal posture. “James and Sirius are off playing heroes, Lily proudly at James’ side, and here I am, worn out robes, a strange face, and an affliction that will certainly keep me from having girlfriends.”
“What are you doing, Remus?” asked James, coming up behind him. “Making sure your hair is parted on the right side?” He laughed and nudged his friend’s arm.
“No,” he frowned. “Just, trying to retie my tie,” he fidgeted with the knot of his tie, which seemed to be tighter around his neck.
“Are you coming with us tonight?” James asked, pulling his sweater over his head. “Come on, Sirius really wants you to come, too.”
“No,” he answered sternly. “I have too much work to do.”
“Your loss,” James grinned at him again and went out into the commons room to meet with the others.
Remus came out of the bathroom and went to get a book from his bag before sitting down in one of the large chairs by the fire. The boys were laughing about something, when Remus saw Lily come over to him. She was so beautiful in Remus’ mind. The perfect compliment to James’ handsome nature, Lily was delicate and kind. Just being in her presence made him feel even more loathsome.
“I’ll be along in a second,” she said to James.
James gave Lily a quick kiss on the cheek before following Sirius out of the commons room. Remus had his face hidden in his book, reading the same sentence for the fourth time.
“Are you really not coming with us?” she asked, looking over the top of Remus’ book. “You’ll miss all the fun.”
“Not tonight, no,” said Remus, shyly. A feeling in his stomach was rising, a feeling that had been burgeoning for quite some time now. He had always adored Lily, if only as a friend, and could not deny being jealous of her and James’ relationship. “I’ve got a few chapters to finish.”
“You could finish them later, Remus,” she said, a tone of disappointment in her voice. When she was looking at him with those green eyes he couldn’t help but feel like he had to give in. He already let pass so many of James and Sirius’ nonsense, but it was even harder to say no to Lily.
“Could you just go, it’s alright,” he said, returning his eyes to his book.
Lily shrugged and turned to leave, but then stopped short. “Remus, can I ask you a question?”
“Do you have a problem with me?” she looked concerned as she knelt down to look him in the eye. “It just seems to me that you enjoy spending time with James and Sirius, but not when I’m around.”
Remus shifted in his seat. “Look, Lily, I don’t have a problem with you...it’s just, you know,” he could feel his face flushing red. He crossed and uncrossed his legs nervously.
“I know what?” asked Lily.
“That you’re a girl, and you spend lots of time with James, and I spend lots of time with—"
“—with no one, is that it?” she asked, putting her hand on his knee.
“I suppose, yes, I suppose that is a way you could say it,” he moved his knee so that her hand would fall off of it.
Lily thought for a moment, and then stood up. “I understand,” she said. “Stand up, Remus.”
Remus sat there shaking for a moment, and then he pushed himself from his chair and stood facing her. She was just as tall as he was, but he barely noticed. He stood there, unmoving, his breathing had stopped. Lily took one of his hands in hers. Remus looked down at their hands clasped together, and then looked back to Lily’s face with a frightened look.
“I take it you’ve never been kissed by a girl, have you?” She smiled, kindly.
He stiffly shook his head, “well look at me!” He looked her in the face, his eyes sparkling with fresh tears. “Look at my face, my scars.” He could feel his tears streaming down his face and running over those same scars, burning his skin. He struggled to ignore his embarrassment at being seen like this by Lily.
“Don’t cry, Remus,” said Lily. “It’s alright.” She leaned in to him slowly and kissed him gently on the lips. Remus closed his eyes and didn’t even notice once she’d pulled away and let go of his hand. When he opened them, she was standing there, tracing over the scar on his left cheek with her finger. “Your scars are not who you are, Remus. The man you are is here,” she put her hand on his chest, “and here,” her other hand she placed on his temple. “Your scars are just physical proof of how strong you are.” She slowly took her hand from his face. “Just be patient.”
With that she backed away slowly and turned to go catch up with the other boys.
Remus stood watching her leave before slumping back into his chair.