Lavender came down to breakfast after everyone else had started eating. She was often late because unlike Parvati, Lavender had to work at looking good. Just this morning she'd had to redo her hair three times before she was satisfied. No one was allowed to see Lavender Brown with limp flat hair. She had pride unlike some girls. She looked across the table at Hair-like-a-bush Hermione who sat studying a newspaper like her OWLS depended on it. Lavender didn't think Hermione cared what she looked like. Why else would that girl come to breakfast, sit in front of the entire school with her frizzy hair sticking out from her head like a triangle, when with a little time and a little care she could be pretty?

The witch had started haranguing Ron and Potter. Lavender decided that Hermione could smooth her hair with a whole bottle of Sleekeazy's Hair Potion and it would still frizz from all the energy leaking out of her brain. At first the boys seemed irritated, but somehow she convinced them to pay attention and soon they were studying the paper too. Lavender had no idea how she managed it, but Ron and Potter always did whatever that girl wanted. While they read her newspaper, Hermione scanned the room like McGonagall in a snit, as if every student was a personal disappointment.

Lavender concentrated on her toast. Yesterday, McGonagall had lectured her after class, telling her that she could easily get six solid OWLS if she would spend as much time on her studies as she did on her hair. The professor said strong OWLS would be more important to her life than the nonsense she worried about now. Did McGonagall expect her to be Hermione? Lavender knew she wasn't.

Ron pushed himself away from the paper to listen to Potter talk. He glanced at Lavender and she was glad she'd spent so much time on her hair that morning, whatever McGonagall thought. She flashed him a smile, but he didn't notice. Ron stayed deep in conversation with Hermione and Potter, until Hermione snatched the paper off the table and rushed out of the Great Hall with both boys trailing her. Lavender watched them go waiting for a glance from Ron, a chance to say good by. He didn't look back.