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I took prompts to celebrate my flist's having reached the 600 friends mark in the wake of Deathly Hallows' release. This fic is for eaivalefay.

Summary: Neville has a secret scar but finds the strength to Heal it.



Neville didn't feel any anger when it happened, just a sense of bleakness that threatened to make him cry. He waited until his mother's fingers stopped tightening around his forearm, and then gently, as gently as possible considering the pain, he pried her fingers out of his flesh and cleaned the blood off her fingertips with a flick of his hand; the Healers didn't allow him his wand during visits to his parents, and that, he knew, was for the best.

And now he had a bracelet of half-moon scars around the middle of his right forearm because he'd not been able to bear the thought of losing a sign of real emotion from his mother. He didn't know what had prompted it—perhaps it had been his new hat, perhaps the forest green robes he'd worn that day—but the fact was that his mother had reacted with fear and attacked him, and her eyes . . . there'd been something of rationality in their cast.

She was still there, hiding in her own mind, still there, and that gave Neville hope.

He looked at his scar when hope eluded him, and, in his own way, prayed for the strength to try the new treatment that Healer Greengrass had been developing. Daphne never pressed him, of course, but he knew she was confident about Pensieving, and, in spite of his fear, he was excited about the possibilities it might afford his parents.

He just didn't want to make them remember what they'd been trying so hard to forget. Wasn't that torture? Did a good son do that to his parents? Was the Healing truly worth the pain?

He looked at his scar, self-made, really, and couldn't decide.

Upon his next visit, however, when his father seized his arm, pushed up his sleeve, and cried when he saw Neville's "bracelet," Neville realized that the time had come. They were still in there, his parents, and they were trying to get out. If Pensieving could help that process, then he needed, he owed it to them, to try it.
~*~

The first thing his mother did, when she was able, months later, was to heal his scar.

"Never hurt yourself again," she said, her voice weak but her spirit strong.

And Neville did cry, then. "No, Mum. I won't. Never again."

"No Marks!" his father admonished, wrapping his arms around them in the way Neville had wished for for far longer than he could honestly remember.

Overwhelmed by joy, all Neville could do was nod. No Marks.