Title: Cauterize

Author: Lady Altair

Rating: K+

Author's Notes: (Reformatted 16/12/10) There were some formatting issues that were sticking me in the eye, and since this is still hugely popular and well-reviewed, figured I'd take fifteen minutes and clean it up, for my own peace of mind. :)

Summary: Of course it's missing something vital. That's the point." Dennis Creevey takes up his brother's camera after the war.


Days after the battle, Dennis Creevey finds Colin's camera exactly where it was left, in perfect condition in his brother's room. And he leaves it again, because he is young and it is nothing but salt and lemon in a fresh and painful wound.

It's years later and the camera gathers dust. And Dennis finds it again, and the wounds are covered over in scars; he picks it up this time.

Lavender goes first. She's the easiest to convince; she's proud of the scars that mar her neck, shoulder, back, arm. Her wounds look new even years later; she wears them like high fashion, a beautiful lace of white and pink scars.

They're all she wears. Dennis feels like a rabbit caught in a predator's gaze when she pins him down with her eyes, hazel with a strangely amber-yellow sheen. She pulls up her long hair to uncover the thick webbing of scars down her back, glances at the camera over her shoulder and looks devastatingly, indestructibly beautiful in the black and white of the photograph.

Katie Bell would be terrifying if she weren't so sweet and friendly. When she sits for her portrait, she brings him a Bramley apple pie and worries after his slight build.

She poses twice, and Dennis displays the photographs together. Two profiles, each of her smiling prettily off to the side. She looks lovely in one, the unblemished side of her face innocent and clean. The other is a horror of purpled, ropey veins embedded into greying skin like some parasitic vine, weaving around to sink into the outer corner of her eye and poison it liquid black.

Morag McDougall and Anthony Goldstein are photographed together. He's seated in a chair and she's standing behind him, her wild auburn curls in a flyaway halo. She's grinning, her hands clasped over his eyes, her own brilliantly blue eyes sparkling. Anthony's hands reach up, clasped over her ears, his ears pink against the neat black curls of his hair.

Hear no evil, see no evil.

She's blind and he's deaf. Those pink ears don't do much hearing, her electric blue eyes stare at nothing. They wear matching wedding bands on their left hand and seem to exist in a space apart from the world where such a thing should never work.

George Weasley goes next. When Dennis displays the photograph, some ignorant critic finds fault with the framing. "Too heavy on one side…empty space on the left. Terrible photograph…missing something vital," he concludes.

Dennis doesn't quite know how to explain, that's the point. These are scars of the war; the blank white emptiness of the backdrop on the right hand side of the photograph is the scar, more than the missing ear that's barely noticeable.

Of course it's missing something vital. That's the point.

Charlie Weasley peruses Dennis' half-completed gallery while the photographer dabbles about with the light and his camera. He whistles and asks after Lavender's photograph.

Dennis sneaks a photograph while Charlie leans up against the wall, lens focused on his muscled, burned, freckled, tattooed arm against the red brick of the wall.

He asks for Lavender's name, to owl her. Dennis gives it to him, not really believing any man, even this rough, confident Weasley, has enough nerve to owl a complete stranger for a date.

Dennis does their wedding photographs a year later. All the silly, traditional ones with dresses and bridal parties and what not, but they come in earlier for another set.

Charlie's obviously given his bride ideas. Lavender drapes herself across Charlie's chest, and the ravaged skin on her back gleams silver and gold.

A hundred names, to be joined by more, glitter in shining ink like tiny, elegant chains of precious metal, woven through the rough tissue of her scars. Lavender's tattooed a memorial into her ruin, made herself a living reminder. It's almost arrogant, but it's terribly beautiful.

It's too minuscule to discern in the photograph, but Charlie lays a rough, calloused hand on Lavender's back directly below a link in the chain that glitters in shining silver. He knows exactly where to findFred Weasley.

In truth, Harry's photograph is the least interesting of all. It would sell for the most, of course, if the thought crossed Dennis' mind to put the collection up for sale (not that he will, ever), but it's entirely predictable: a frame filled only with the scar and the brilliant green of his eyes.

He takes another one, of the round burn in his chest, that he likes so much more. At Harry's request, he labels it 'anonymous.'

Andromeda Tonks with her Teddy. It's another photograph taken 'unofficially', on a break from the shoot to calm the screaming, furious toddler.

He doesn't quite know how someone can look both lost and found at the same time, but the still-beautiful Andromeda manages perfectly, her expression painting despair, grief, determination, love, and hope all at once as she tenderly comforts her grandson, cooing to him softly as he wails into her shoulder, his hands fisted into her long brown hair.

She looks small in the frame. Andromeda looks alone.

Neville firmly, though politely, refuses to sit for a photograph. He sends a picture of his parents instead, happy and young, with an infant version of him between them.

If you're looking for scars…he writes on the back.

The Montgomery sisters hold a picture of their youngest brother between them, only five years old and never to grow any older. Greyback's left a deeper scar on them than any of the victims who bear the mark of his claws.

Hannah Abbott hasn't a visible scar to show, and she seems rather puzzled when she arrives at Dennis' request.

She's wearing her late mother's pearl necklace. It's a very lovely picture, the bottom half of Hannah's smiling face and the creamy sheen of the pearls against her collarbone.

Molly and Arthur Weasley's is another accident. He happens into the kitchen during the annual DA/Order gathering at the Burrow, and the two of them are alone there, gazing fondly, sadly, at the enchanted clock.

Molly has one of the metal hands grasped in her own, hanging at her side.

The clock stands tall in the middle of the frame, with Arthur on one side and Molly the other. Dennis took it just as Arthur reached over to grasp Molly's hand (and Fred's, within hers).

He retreats quickly, and he's not sure they ever knew he was there.

It seems obvious to title it 'Holding Hands,' but he imagines not many look beyond the couple to see the small metal clock hand in Molly's grip, fallen off the clock but carefully looked after.

Parvati and Padma aren't identical anymore. They each wear their own scars; Parvati's cheek is rippled with a burn scar, Padma's chin and lower lip twisted and gnarled with some dark curse.

They stand nose to nose, still mirroring each other.

The masterpiece of the collection is the last one Dennis ever takes, years after the collection is put on display. People roar when it joins the display. How dare you, he doesn't belong with heroes!

Draco Malfoy sits in the center, pale skin and hair white against the black backdrop, head bowed over his bared left forearm. There's only a scar there…faint, barely visible, the twisted black traded away for twisted white tissue.

Dennis thinks it was Astoria's idea; she'd been to the gallery a few weeks before she contacted Dennis to offer the shoot. She'd been hugely pregnant at the time; when they come to his studio, she has a newborn cradled in her arms and Draco is lugging a diaper bag over his shoulder.

Draco balks a little when Dennis asks him to sit. Astoria is firm.

"For your son, Draco." His eyes meet hers, and there's a current between them and Dennis truly wishes his camera hadn't been across the room at the moment because that's the photograph he really wants. Malfoy, collapsed on the chair, looks in supplication and regret up at his wife and child. An exhausted Astoria with her days-old son in her arms looks back. Go on.

He tries to look arrogant, but there are circles under his eyes and he just looks tired and there's a shadow of shame lurking somewhere underneath.

When he's done (it's a quick photo, and he knows it's the one) Draco stands and gathers up his things and leaves immediately, his patience with the whole affair spent.

Astoria thanks him while Draco waits in the hall and then she goes, her son drooling onto her expensive robes, asleep and open-mouthed against her chest. She has a very kind smile.

People clamor for another collection, but all of the inspiration is gone. Dennis almost thinks it was Colin's work, really, that he left it all in the camera for him to find.

He puts Colin's camera away after the Malfoys have left and that's the end of it all.