This started as a drabble... but obviously escalated to a ficlet. Hope you like it!

It takes courage to fight your own war

It takes courage to fight in someone else's war.

She likes to pretend.

Pretend, pretend, pretend she's perfect and there's nothing out there and she's perfectly whole and nothing's hurting. Like the scars on her face aren't reflected in her mind like bloodied mirrors and she isn't bothered by them - dammit, she says she isn't. But the scars, oh, the scars, they stare back at her and they tell her this is what you've done wrong.

She's standing on the Quidditch Pitch, and she's alone. She watches them fly around her, and she thinks, thinks so hard it's hard to stand. See, she isn't the thinking type. She's more the impulsive, recklessly brave type.

She feels bitter and alone and cold, and when she runs her fingers over her face they dip into the red lines and suddenly, she doesn't feel so stable. Some man, who couldn't even care, had ripped her pieces apart, and now the ends were jagged and messy, and it's one big puzzle piece that just doesn't fit and numbers, all sorts of numbers, making her someone else she really isn't, she says. She doesn't like the statistics and the pity and your life has changed for the better. Oh, if anyone knows it, it's her: this is life-changing.

So she's pretending, she's wearing all sorts of covers over her loosely-stitched body and it's like a lock she doesn't want to open, because she doesn't want anyone to see the pain that's carved into her face and into her mind and it's everywhere. If they opened the lock, oh, they'd see someone who's just angry, angry, angry and maybe a little bit of - what's that, something else?

There's this girl, though, with pale skin and pink lips and blue eyes and a heart that speaks louder than her own puzzles or her own numbers.

A soft voice, and soft nostalgia, and blonde hair and beautiful eyes are telling the scars they aren't shallow graves on her face. The dreamy voice tells her the battle's over, but the war is yet to be finished, and her own war - well, that may never end.

It makes her feel less achingly numb when the hair tickles her neck and the girl kisses her scars like each one, every single one, was a story she wanted to absorb and a puzzle she wanted to piece together, one by one.

The voice, all soft tones and mysteries, tells her we can pretend all we want, believe all we want, but we should never, ever pretend about ourselves. Those lines aren't lies. They are red, bitter, and angry truths, and she is going to have to live with them written on her face like a canvas, so the world can see her truths instead of the lies she mindlessly speaks.

And sometimes, she thinks those aren't deformations, mutilations, but these are stories, written in blood and penned by bravery and courage.