Lavender stalked across the grassy earth, each of her steps thunking angrily against the ground. How could he have broken up with her? What had she done wrong? And what did he see in Hermione, anyway? What did Hermione have that she, Lavender, did not?

He was just a jerk. That was the plain and simple truth. Ron Weasley was a jerk. So what if he loved Hermione Granger and not her? What did she care? She didn't like that big-head anyhow. But even as she told herself this, a droplet of salt-water began to drip down her cheek. She brushed it aside with the back of her hand with a loud sniff, even as another fell.

Lavender marched until she reached the pumpkin patch by Hagrid's hut. Miserably, she plunked down on one of the larger pumpkins, slumping over in agony.

So caught up in her sulking, she did not immediately notice that someone else was sitting on another pumpkin nearby. When she did, she started rather badly, jolting straight-up and hastily swiping at her damp eyes with her palms. He continued to look at her, unperturbed.

"What are you doing here, Zabini?" she snapped.

"Sitting," he said simply. "Same as you."

"Why?" she barked. She knew she sounded childish, but she could not believe that someone had caught her in such a personal moment. A Slytherin boy her own age, no less. Could life be any worse?

He shrugged. "It's a good place to think, escape the mass. Let thought settle."

Her cheeks coloring red, she gave a quick nod and looked down at her knees, smoothing her skirt around them. She tried unsuccessfully to blink back her remaining tears, but no such luck. They continued to stream without pose down her face, even as she attempted to hide them with her hair.

Suddenly she noticed his hand was close to her arm. She lifted her head a fraction. Zabini had his arm out, reaching across the pumpkins separating them, holding out a handkerchief to her.

"What?" she sniffed.

"Here," he said. "Take it."

"What'd you do to it," she said in a clogged voice. "Charm it to stick to my face permanently? Enchant it to give me a rash?"

"No. I didn't do anything. It's just a hanky."

She glared at him.

"Really," he said.

Still suspicious, Lavender took it carefully between her forefinger and thumb, as though handling a dangerous specimen. Gently she dabbed one corner of her eye with the fabric. Nothing happened, so she wiped the other eye, and then blew her nose.

"Thanks," she mumbled.


And the sniffling Gryffindor girl and quiet Slytherin boy sat together on pumpkins as the day slowly wore on. They did not actually sit together on the same pumpkin, but maybe they didn't have to. Maybe they were still sitting together, in some odd way. Or maybe not.