He rolled his long sleeves up neatly. With a swish of his wand and a whispered incantation, Lorcan transfigured the nearby hairbrush into a sleek, sliver razor blade. The fifteen year old boy took but a moment to admire it, to twirl it between his fingers with practiced ease before positioning it carefully on his left forearm and pulling.
A sharp intake of breath, a barely audible hiss as beads of scarlet seep out of the newly-inflicted wound.
Again he repeated his actions, placing the blade and pulling it across it pale skin of his left forearm.
And then his tears began to fall. Slowly at first, drop by drop, and then they turned into great, heaving sobs that wracked his tiny frame.
"No normal guy likes other guys!"
"Sorry excuse for a human being!"
"Just kill yourself and make the world a better place!"
His sight blurred by tears, he held the small razor blade in his hand and brought it down against his forearm, pressing and pulling, until it was shredded to ribbons and the bathroom sink stained with crimson.
He grasped the edges of the sink for support as he sniffed and choked.
He paints a lovely picture, but there's a shocking twist. The paintbrush is a razor and the canvas is his wrist.
"Lorcan?" came a muffled voice from outside the door. "Lorcan, are you all right? Why are you crying?"
But Lorcan did not hear him, his sobs echoing around the bathroom and blocking out the soft voice of Lysander.
His arm was still bleeding.
"Lorcan? Lorcan, can you hear me?"
Like before, there was no answer.
"Lorcan, I'm coming in," warned Lysander as he muttered an 'alohomora' and padded into the bathroom.
The sight that greeted him stunned him speechless. Eyes wide, his mouth opened and closed like a goldfish as words eluded him.
"Ly? What - what are you doing in here? How did you get in?" Lorcan whipped around to stare at his twin, flustered.
"I – um, I heard you crying from outside. You didn't answer me, so I unlocked the door…" Lysander trailed off uncertainly, before he caught a glimpse of red out of the corner of his eye.
"Lorcan? Lorcan, what – what is that? You didn't –"
"No, no, it's – uh – it's nothing. Don't worry, Ly," he stuttered, trying moving his arm out of view.
"It doesn't look like nothing, Lorcan! How much of an idiot do you take me for?" Lysander retorted. "I'm getting Mum. She'll know what to do." As he made to step out of the bathroom, Lorcan gripped his arm, his eyes panicked.
"No! No, please don't get Mum, Lysander. She – I don't want to worry her. Please."
"I can't Lorcan. Not this time. I'm sorry, but it's for your own sake," he mumbled, tugging his arm out of Lorcan's grip before sprinting downstairs.
Terrified, Lorcan hastily unfolded his sleeves so that they covered the evidence. He splashed water onto his face, erasing the streaks of tears and the redness of his eyes.
Luna was just outside the bathroom, her grey eyes speckled with hints of worry. With a sigh of relief, he noticed that Lysander wasn't with her.
"Mum?" said Lorcan, trying to swallow his anxiety. Just act normal, he chanted in his head like a mantra.
"Ly told me that something was wrong. What happened?" asked Luna, stepping into the bathroom.
"Nothing's the matter, Mum," Lorcan replied, thankful that his voice remained steady. "I don't know what Ly told you."
In an attempt to appear more at ease, Lorcan had placed both arms loosely at his side as he leaned against the porcelain sink.
As he did so, however, Luna's perceptive gaze caught sight of a scarlet stain on the lower part of his sleeve. Her eyes narrowed as she said, "Lorcan, can you roll up your left sleeve for me?"
Oh shit, thought Lorcan, never realising that the cuts had yet to clot. "Um… It's nothing, Mum. It's probably a stain that couldn't be removed in the wash or something. It's not what it looks like!" His eyes were wide, pupils darting left and right as he backed away, his breaths wheezy, shallow and erratic, clutching his left arm tightly to himself.
Luna covered the space between them in two large, graceful strides, putting her arms around Lorcan and embracing him tightly until his struggles ceased and he began to calm down.
"It clearly isn't nothing, as you so stubbornly insist, Lorcan," she whispered into his ear. "Why don't you roll up your sleeve and show me? I promise I won't get angry."
"I – I can't," Lorcan chocked out, sobs threatening to take over for the second time that day.
Gently, Luna lowered the two of them onto the bathroom floor, never once letting go of Lorcan. She carefully rolled his left sleeve up, taking care not to touch the wounds she knew would be there.
"Oh Lorcan," she breathed, once she'd had full view of the self-inflicted injuries, crisscrossing over old, healed cuts.
"I'm sorry, M – Mum," whispered Lorcan, turning his head and placing it where her neck and shoulder met, sniffling. "You're disgusted."
"No, my angel, never disgusted," Luna soothed the distraught boy in her lap. "I understand," she whispered, as she herself drew her sleeve up to reveal old, jagged scars that littered her entire arm, "completely."
A startled gasp came from Lorcan as he looked as his mother's arm. He looked up at her then down at her arm again uncertainly.
"Yes," murmured Luna, in response to his unasked question. "But why is another story for another day," she continued as she rubbed circles on Lorcan's back.
"You feel so much pain in here," she placed one hand on Lorcan's chest, "so you cause pain here," she gestured to his arm, "to numb the pain. You feel like you deserve to suffer, to be punished, to feel pain, so you inflict these cuts upon yourself. The sting keeps you alive."
"After I clean the wound, we'll have to talk about this, all right? Self-injury is never the answer. You can tell me anything – You are never alone, Lorcan." Luna's hand went back to rubbing calming circles on Lorcan's back as she felt him begin to tremble.
Wordlessly, Luna flicked her wand and summoned an antiseptic potion, gauzes and bandages from the kitchen cabinet downstairs.
"I'll have to clean these up lest they get infected, okay?" At Lorcan's nod, she poured antiseptic onto a cotton gauze.
"This will sting," she warned. "Take a deep breath…" Luna lightly dabbed the cuts with the potion as Lorcan hissed softly and flinched.
"We're done," she announced, wrapping a bandage deftly around his arm. She smiled warmly and helped Lorcan off the floor.
"Why didn't you heal it with potions?" Lorcan questioned. "Why did you just leave it bandaged up to heal on its own?"
Banishing the potion to the kitchen cabinet once more, Luna kissed Lorcan's cheek and said, "Well, I thought you might have wanted to keep the scars."
As she led the way to his bedroom, Lorcan smiled, albeit tearfully, at his reflection in the mirror, feeling the hurt inside already begin to diminish.