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'Cauterize' is one of those fanfics that manages to tell a beautiful story in only a few words, with such precise and vivid details that you can almost see Colin's photographs for yourself, complete with the lingering damage left on the survivors of the Battle of Hogwarts.
The contrast between those who are proud to show the physical scarring they have been left with and those who are suffering from psychological scarring is handled in a wonderfully tender manner, especially when it comes to Harry himself who even has two photographs to show that he has experienced both kinds of trauma throughout his life.
The themes of hope and loss are woven throughout the fanfic, which provides a fluid read from start to finish. The descriptions of those who have suffered are almost poetical, from a survivor who 'wears them like high fashion, a beautiful lace of white and pink scars' to a child victim who was 'only five years old and never to grow any older'.
This seemingly simple but incredibly deep fanfiction is one of those rare gems that manages to shine amongst an entire sea of stories.
Photos as a method of catharsis. A Haunting one-shot that will make you re-evaluate all Harry Potter fanfiction, if not fanfiction as a whole. It make the most of what is not a happy ending (for those in-universe), and converts the pain into something tangible. Lines like "Of course it's missing something vital. That's the point." really drive the message home. It feels like a short story and is a wonderful way to cut through saccharine glurge and sugar overdose. Yet, at the same time, reading it while depressed (which is how I first read the fic) still allows for the work to protrude an almost triumphant feel by the end.
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