D/C: I don't own Harry Potter.
Hello! Well, this is a bit of an odd pairing for me...I don't think it's ever been written either; I checked. Hehe. But this is for a fanfiction contest, where we have to make a romance between two unlikely characters - those two seemed VERY unlikely, so here you go. Enjoy!!
The room was just a blur of colour; lustrous velvet in reds and gold, gleaming satin in blues and silver, shimmering chiffon in greens and yellows, orange chintz and pink sarcenets. Ribbons, shawls and samples of cloth were draped over arms of sofas or else lying in glittering pools on the brown moquette. Wherever you looked, you'd find a brilliant flowery pattern, a simple chequered one or unique stripes.
In the furthest wall of the room, sitting across from the French windows was a mahogany desk, on which a glossy blonde head was resting over several sheets of paper, bearing different designs and textures. A peacock quill poked out from one of the ink bottles on the desk, tickling the hairs on that blonde head. Soft music played in the background from an ancient, fancy-looking record player...but still the blonde wouldn't raise her head, not even when the cream-coloured double doors of the vast room opened and a dark-haired girl in a fuchsia Sari walked in.
"Lavender?" she said on spotting her at the desk. "Oh, Lavender, don't tell me you've slept here again."
The blonde stirred, and slowly lifted up her head from her designs. She pushed her long curtains of blond hair from her face and looked blearily at her best friend. "Oh, hello, Parvati," she murmured drowsily. She stretched her arms in front of her and cast a quick look around the room. "What's the time now?"
Parvati Patil sighed and shook her head. "It's ten in the morning, and you've gone and dozed off in the studio once more," she chastised her gently. "Seriously, you're going to overwork yourself to death."
"I got caught up in this design," Lavender Brown explained, and started searching through the sketches for the said design. She found it and held it up for Parvati to look at it. "See here, it's made of gold silk, with a silvery chintz sash. It has a bit of a plunging V-neck neckline, with silver lace sewn around the edges. I believe Madam Florence would like it, don't you agree?"
Parvati moved to the desk and picked up the design from her friend's hand. The sketched woman in the design was moving around the sheet, modelling for her so that she could see the dress robe from all angles. Lavender was brilliant when it came to designing robes; Parvati wasn't near as good as she was. However, Lavender was a terrible tailor, and that's where Parvati came in. The little Patil and Brown design boutique was quite a success. As Madame Malkins was the only one who worked in the field of wizard clothing, people were more than delighted to try the designs of another robe maker, and their designs became really popular with the customers. Parvati took care of all other matters such as buying stocks of cloth and talking to the customers and taking their measurements...whereas Lavender just huddled behind her desk, her quill moving feverishly across the sheets.
Parvati had tried to convincing her several times to leave her working space and come down from the studio to the boutique below, but Lavender would mute out her words. It wasn't as if she feared them...it's just that she didn't want anyone to be afraid of her. She didn't want anyone to take one look at her scarred face and recoil in disgust. Her life had never been the same after that fateful night at Hogwarts, where lives were lost and destinies were decided. She wished she'd died that night instead of having to live with the hideous face Fenrir Greyback had given her. She just didn't lose her face that night, she lost her confidence and faith in a world she'd always thought would accept her no matter what. She'd lost connection with the outside; the only person she ever made contact with was Parvati...even her parents wouldn't see her that much. She refused to meet with anyone else.
Good looks had always been so important for her, but now she realised how superficial that made her seem. She knew now that relationships couldn't be built on outside appearances alone. Popularity had always mattered to her; she had dated Ron because he had become so popular. Beauty and fame...working in the boutique gave her that, in an indirect way, making her famous through her beautiful designs. Engrossing herself in her work, she was able to take her attention off of the dark thoughts which lurked in the back of her mind.
She looked up at Parvati from her thin, scarred face, and regarded her anxiously from her slightly sunken blue eyes. "What do you think?" she prompted her.
Parvati hit the design with the back of her hand. "It's beautiful, Lavender; you're a genius," she complimented her, and Lavender beamed; words like those always managed to keep her going. Parvati handed her back the design, and wadded off to look for piece of fabric. She bent down to pick up a burgundy piece. "So, guess who I ran into on my way here."
Lavender dipped the tip of her quill into the ink and pulled another sheet of parchment to her. "Who?" she asked, carefully sketching black lines across the grainy paper.
"Viktor Krum!" Parvati squealed. "The Bulgarian Seeker! You remember him, don't you?"
Lavender shot an incredulous look at her friend; as if anyone could forget that muscle-build and the stoic features. "Of course I remember him, Parvati," she said, sounding slightly exasperated. "Did you talk to him? What was he doing here?"
"Yes, I talked to him. He actually remembered me as Harry's date in the Yule Ball, and came to talk to me," she said, giggling. "He's been invited here to make a special appearance during this year's Quidditch Tournament. He said he was going to stay here for a couple of weeks."
"That sounds nice," Lavender said absently; she had soon lost interest in the conversation, and had returned to her sketches.
"And you won't guess what else he said to me!" Parvati went on, her voice becoming more animated by the second. "Apparently, he's heard about our boutique while in Bulgaria! There's this friend of his who keeps importing his robes from us, and Viktor thought they were really nice! He even asked me if we could have a robe made for him so that he can wear it during the Tournament!"
That caught Lavender's attention, and she looked up again. "H-he what?" she spluttered.
"Isn't it exciting?" Parvati said, grinning. "An international Quidditch player has requested one of our designs! He told me he would be coming around to the boutique later this afternoon, as he has some things to sort out during the morning, so that we can take his measurements and the design specifications. Oh, Lavender, you have to come down and meet him! He's brilliant; looks even more amazing than he did at the Yule Ball!"
Lavender stared at her like she was crazy. "Are you for real?" she demanded. "I can't meet Viktor! I can't have him look at my face! He's famous, for God's sake, one look at me, and he can go and spread it around the entire magical community in a mere few seconds! I'll be humiliated!"
Parvati's happy smile slipped off of her face. "Are you still going on about that, Lavender?" she said wearily. "Look, no one cares about the way your face look. What they care, and should care about is how your face got wounded. Once they know that you sustained those injuries whilst fighting in the final battle against You-Know-Who, they will all respect you. They'll see you as the courageous and strong Lavender; they'll adore you."
Lavender's quill-hand was shaking now, and she accidentally drew a streak across the sheet. In her frustration, she crumpled it up and threw it across the room, so that it rolled to a stop at Parvati's feet. "I don't want them to see me as the courageous and strong Lavender! I want them to see me as the pretty Lavender!" she cried, her eyes brimming with tears. "You have no idea, Parvati...you absolutely have no idea how it feels to wake up to a face like mine. I, myself, feel disgusted looking at it, and there's no way I will ever allow anyone to see it..."
"What about Bill Weasley, then?" Parvati pressed on, using her usual argument. "He has the same problem, but he's not ashamed of it. He's always walking up and down the streets of Diagon Alley, with his little daughter perched on his shoulders, not caring about those who look at him. If he can do it, then I don't see why you can't!"
"Good God, Parvati...Bill is a guy! It's different when you're a guy! Scars are actually sexy on guys! But on girls, they're just hideous!"
"I thought you'd given up on that superficial nonsense, Lavender."
Tears rolled down Lavender's cheeks, and she laid her head against her arms on the desk. "So did I, Parvati," she said in a choked whisper. "So did I."
A/N: So, what did you think? Does it seem interesting enough? I have the next couple of chapters lined up...if I get reviews for this, then I'm updating. Thanks!
- S. N. B.