Disclaimer: Me own nothing.

OHMIGOD THIS IS TORTURE. I don't know how I'll make it through writing at least seven fics not about Lily/Teddy (That's what I've decided. "Incandescence" counted as fic 1.)

Every time I listen to a song or read a fic or see a prompt, it reminds of Lily/Teddy or gives me a great idea for a fic about them and shit, I can't even listen to my iPod because then I'll see my Lily/Teddy playlist on there and listen to it and…

So I was thinking a bit and then something reminded me of Lavender, and I spent about thirty minutes thinking of possible people to pair her up with. Originally, this was supposed to be Oliver/Lav, but I love Ol too much with Katie Bell, so Dean Thomas came to mind.

Listen to: She's So Lovely by Scouting for Girls. (No, seriously, it's perfect.)

-;-

the girl with the lion hair

I love the way she makes me drool
I think that she is beautiful

(Scouting for Girls.)

So he's walking down the hallway, one hand tangled in Ginny's and the other pinching her bum every so often, making her squeal and blush, when Ron appears 'round the corner and immediately, he steps to the other side of the freaking spectrum and there's about six feet of space as the bloody boy shoots him a death glare, as if Dean's shagging his little sister in front of his eyes. And then blue eyes begin to wander and he spots her.

She's so tiny, with a goofy grin and wild, curly blonde hair. Her gaze follows Ron as he argues with Ginny about something. She's got slim hips and the sweetest arse and her head turns to meet his eyes for the slightest bit second.

It's like he's found out he's a wizard again.

And then she turns away and back to hold Ronald's hand and fuss over his messy ginger hair and Ginny walks up and links their elbows again, sticking her tongue out at her older brother. Dean leans in and kisses that tongue teasingly and she laughs out loud, smacking him playfully, and as they walk away he can't help but glance over his shoulder at the girl with the lion hair.

x

It's one of those days where everything and everyone's gone bonkers. Seamus has blown up Dean's Transfiguration homework again, he's quite sure that he and Ginny have broken up for good (it wasn't as if it weren't coming soon, anyway - he can see the way she glances at Harry), and he's got detention every night for a week starting tomorrow. He crawls into the portrait hole grumpily, ignoring the voice behind him that was calling, "Dean!", and finds himself in the empty Gryffindor Common Room, alone at last.

As he begins to walk towards the stairs leading to the boys' dormitory, his foot catches on something very leg-like and he falls over clumsily, his face planting into the carpeted floor. "Bloody hell," he mutters angrily, feeling his face burn up as he pushes himself onto his forearms, turning over to see what re-introduced him to the ground. It's a pale, shuddering leg. At first he has to stifle a scream - it's not often he finds unattached legs, you see - and then he realizes it belongs to a body! He sits up straight and crawls on all fours to find her, face buried in her palms, hair flying everywhere, trembling and sobbing and lovely.

"Oh, hello," she mumbles politely, looking up and smiling at him shyly. And then she bursts into tears.

Not very experienced in the world of crying girls, he kneels down to match her short height sitting down, and holds her hand awkwardly. "Um… why're you crying?" he asks, feeling very stupid.

She looks up at him. He loves the way her hair flows around her like a mane, fierce and uninhibited. "I broke with my boyfriend," she admits, looking at the ground, slight tears falling down her cheeks. "I think he liked someone else."

"You were with, er, Ron Weasley, weren't you?" Dean asks cautiously, sitting down next to her and wrapping an arm around her timidly, trying not to make her uncomfortable (but he really just feels the need to touch her.)

She shudders again and lets out a strangled cry, pulling her hands to her face again. "Y - Yes," she splutters, sniffling horribly. "You… You don't reckon he likes Hermione Granger, do you? She - She's the reason I broke it off with him."

Dean shrugs and gives her an apologetic look. "You know, Ron's a right git, anyway. There're a lot of boys at Hogwarts. Plenty."

The girl looks at him and narrows her light blue eyes, pulling away from him ever-so-slightly. "And are these boys any better than Ronald is?" she chokes, her voice high and pained.

He stares at her for a moment, speechless. "Uh, I dunno, I don't really check other boys out, so… I wouldn't know…"

She looks at her lap and then begins to cry again. "'M sorry, that was mean," she admits, and then promptly reaches over and buries her face in his chest, shaking. "I'm sorry…" she says again. "I don't know you and now I'm getting your shirt all wet…"

"Shh, it's okay," Dean murmurs, throwing an arm over her back and rubbing soothingly. "It's alright to cry." She nods and smiles against his shirt before shuddering again and sobbing. Her hair smells like lavender soap. After about ten minutes of sitting in silence (occasionally broken by another cry), Dean opens his mouth. "You know… I think we're in the same year, but I never did get your name."

"Lavender," she whispers, and sits up straight, smiling at him timidly. "Lavender Brown."

"Lavender Brown," Dean repeats, looking at her in awe. "Dean Thomas."

"I suppose we're friends now, then."

x

"Harry's a git," Lavender says bluntly when she appears in the doorway of his dorm room. "Wow. I've never called anyone that before. I see why Seamus says it so much." In spite of himself, Dean chuckles before frowning again and recrossing his arms over his chest.

He sighs, pulling out his wand and summoning an old Snitch, tossing it up and down sadly. "Don't say that. Everyone knew he and Ginny would get together in the end, anyway. How'd you get in here?" he asks curiously, avoiding her gaze as she walks over and sits at the foot of his bed nervously, so short her feet don't reach the ground.

"Parvati knew a spell. I didn't ask about it." She grins and he smiles, laughing. "You're wonderful, you know that, Dean? I've no idea what Ginny was thinking, splitting up with you." She lets out a whoosh of air regretfully. "You're going to make some lucky girl a great husband someday. I wish there was someone out there for me. Someone like you."

And as she looks out the window, the afternoon light illuminating her bright face, for once, Dean doesn't open his mouth.

x

"I can't believe you!" she shrieks, her wide blue eyes revealing her shock. "You… You've got no right, no right to have done that to him!"

"He tried to kiss you!" Dean chokes back, his dark skin tingeing pink. "I… I didn't know you wanted him to."

Lavender frowns and glares at him. Despite her height, she looks like a lion with her wild hair tied in pigtails and her eyes like the Atlantic ocean; wild and mad. "We were in Madam Puddifoots! It was obvious we were on a date, Dean!" she says back hotly. Dean simply turns around and shrugs (his trademark), muttering under his breath. "You're mad!"

"You're mad!" Dean roars, but when she shrinks back and her hair flattens and she looks so vulnerable, he immediately backs away and takes in a deep breath. "Lav, I'm sorry," he says, sighing and putting up his hands in surrender. "He just… You're a really good friend of mine and I guess I was just being a prat."

Lavender smiles, and, without warning, runs up and hugs his waist tightly, cheek against his shoulder. "I forgive you, Dean," she says reassuringly, and Dean reaches down and hugs her back, loving the feeling of her curls tickling his chin. "You're a really good friend to me, too."

And as he laughs and takes her hand as they amble together back to the common room, he's never hated the word friend more.

x

There are probably thousands of witches and wizards here, but his eyes are focused on the shaking figure next to him, his arms wrapped around her comfortingly. "It's alright, it's alright, it's alright," he repeats on and on endlessly in her ear, pressing his chin against the top of her head, but it's more for his sake than hers.

(He realizes half of their relationship ((can it be considered that?)) involves her crying.)

"I don't know how we'll make it through this," Lavender confesses, her face so close to his that it hurts to hold back and not snog her senseless.

"Shh, everything is going to be okay," Dean lies, pulling her close again and glancing at Seamus, who's looking somberly down at his feet, his eyes red.

"How do you know?" she asks, sniffling, her nose taking in the scent of the Great Lake and cologne that wafts from him calmly.

"Because you're here, and I'm here, and we're together," he replies softly, and buries his face in her hair, letting a single tear fall.

x

"Where is she?" he asks Seamus quietly, almost inaudibly, as Harry and the others discuss what they're to do. The Room of Requirement has never seemed so much of a place of safety as it does now, but there's something missing that makes his stomach churn.

"I dunno," his best mate replies apologetically, knowing already without words who he was talking about.

And then she crawls in, terrified but in one piece, clothes tattered slightly but not a scratch on her, and his heart nearly does a backflip. "Dean!" she cries, and hugs him close, crying without tears. "I missed you so much."

"It was terrible without you," he admits gently, hugging her back, shaking. "Without Seamus, too," he adds goofily, and Seamus claps his friend on the back, laughing.

"Don't ever leave again," Lavender demands softly, her hair tied up in a knot as she looks up at him with that innocence in her eyes. "Promise?"

"Promise," Dean agrees, and she grins, looking like a lion cub.

x

He's running through the ruined halls, dodging spells and watching as the people he had seen walking to classes the past few years are killing, dying, hurting. He can't help but feel selfish as he passes people in need, but he knows he can't fight properly without knowing she's safe.

And then he spots a body, writhing on the ground in pain, and he knows it's her because her hair stands out above all else, wild and beautiful and lovely. "Lavender," he gasps as he falls to his knees and gathers her in his arms, her back sticky as blood seeps into his clothes, her eyes shut tight, her mouth frozen open in pain. "No, no, no, no, no."

"It hurts, it hurts," she sobs, curling up against him and trembling horribly.

"It'll be okay, please… Just stay with me, stay with me, Lav," he pleads back, the tears falling freely now. "I - I promised never to leave you but you gotta promise it back, okay, sweetie? Don't leave. Please. Promise me."

Apologetically, she gazes up at him and her face, ravaged by scars, is more like a lion than ever. "I'm not good at keeping promises," she sniffles, and God, she's beautiful. "But I promise anyway."

"You're so brave," he whispers, and presses his nose into her hair, tangled and messy. "So brave. Like a lion."

"In case I end up breaking that promise," she says, "I love you, Dean."

His voice is strangled as he sobs, their roles reversed, her hand coming to rest on the back of his head, pushing him into her neck. "I love you, too," he whispers, his breath hot against her cold skin.

And in the midst of a battle, their world is silent.

x

He sits by her side in St. Mungo's for days. Weeks, maybe months. He's already lost track of time, lost himself waiting for her. Parvati and Seamus join him every so often, sitting on the plastic chairs and sighing, mourning for a friend who's not quite lost.

And then one day her eyelids flutter open and her hair comes alive and his heart begins to beat again. "I thought you were going to break your promise," is the first thing Dean confesses as she comes to. The first thing that comes into view for her is him, always him.

"I couldn't let you become better than me at keeping promises, now could I?" she replies, her voice feeble, but regaining its roar.

He shakes his head, smiling for the first time since the battle, and wordlessly he leans in and meets her lips, two broken pieces finding their match. She pulls away and grins, her hair tangled around both of them, as Seamus laughs in the back of the room, his voice saying clearly, "It's about time."